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Old 02-04-2011, 04:27 PM   #51
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There was a Green Mandarin in a tank I maintain when I first started working on it, he said they used to have 2, I wonder if there were 2 males. Anyways, I was surprised it lived so long, 125 w/ 200 # LR, no 'fuge, must've been enough. It did great until one Saturday I came in to do some work and the Banded Jawfish had it in his mouth head-first. So I think he just came around the corner at the wrong time and got the WHAMMY.

Now there's a scooter blenny in there and the pods colony is huge what with the ATS. When I reach in there to frag corals they scatter all over. Can a 125 w/250+ lb LR support a Green Mandarin and a Scooter Blenny, or will they fight also?
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #52
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assuming my mandarin is ora and i watch him eat prepared foods, is a 14g big enough for him spacewise? i have a yellow watchmen too
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:42 PM   #53
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14 is probably large enough space wise because the are not big swimmers. Just be careful because i have heard that a lot of those ORA mandarins will revert back to not eating prepaired foods when you put them in your tank. I would see if you can find some people that have gotten the ORAs and talk to them.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:24 PM   #54
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I thought I could keep a mandarin I also kept adding coepods to my tank
It still ended up dying
Don't buy one until you have a large population of coepods
There amazing fish though!
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:05 PM   #55
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was yours ora fayliliy? and thanks pat
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:23 AM   #56
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My LFS has had the ORA mandarins in a few times..they have all seemed to be eating great as far as i saw..they were 80 bucks though! I waited until one of the wild mandarins they had started eating prepared foods and got her instead..much cheaper and I've never had bad luck with one yet. (though i do support ORA...just don't have the cash to show it )
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:51 AM   #57
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In a 15 year old 300 gallon reef tank, I have over 100 pounds of very cultured live rock and many critters to eat. All my coral and even angel fish do great with only supplemental feeding and most of the fish are at least 5 years old. Mandarin Dragonets have been the exception. I have many other species that eat critters, but every Mandarin I ever had lasted a maximum of 6 months. I don't know anyone that has kept one for any real length of time. My bet is they can live 6-7 years or more. I would be interested in hearing any success stories as my tank is designed for creatures like the Mandarin. If these guys can supply me a fish that will actually flourish in my tank, then it is worth $80. Why spend $30 on a fish you know isn't gonna make it?
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:13 AM   #58
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I know this a little bit of an old thread but I thought I'd throw in my experience anyways; I have a 28 gallon nano cube, no refugium, with about 28lbs live rock and 15lbs of sand... All of this has resulted in a very plump, happy, and healthy mandarin dragonet... By now most of you are probably going, "What!?!?" ...am I right?

I setup my nano cube, got it cycled, and ready for fish and corals, etc. After the tank had been running for about a month and a half, maybe two months, I had a few small Zoa colonies, and I decided it was time for a fish. I was originally going to get the mandarin as the last fish, but somehow it ended up going in first. He was a little thin when I got him, and didn't eat any prepared foods at the time. I tried to get him to eat some prepared foods over the next couple weeks, but he never really took to the idea. I did add a bottle of live copepods when I first got him, so I knew he wasn't starving, especially since he fatten up pretty quickly, and has stayed nice a plump since then. I decided I would setup a small fuge in an Aquaclear power filter, but that sort of didn't work out, and actually caused more problems than it solved (mostly my fault because of how I set it up...). Anyways, after about a month of running the fuge, this was about 4 months after I started the tank (~2 months after getting the mandarin), I took down the fuge, and just added more copepods, as well as some rotifers. Since then I haven't added anything else, as far as pods or other food for my mandarin, and he has stayed very active and healthy/plump. I have decided to use the sump of my nano cube as a refugium, with some live rock rubble, chaeto, caulerpa, and some mangroves. This will be fully completed within the next week or so, and I have also bought some more rotifers and copepods that have been added to the tank, and into the refugium. My reason for setting up the refugium is actually not at all for the mandarin (who is nice and plump on his own), but for helping with my water quality. I don't have high nitrates, nor any phosphates, but I have been getting bad hair algae and Cyanobacteria since I setup the tank. I have also ordered a very strong cleanup crew, so that should take care of these problems. Anyways, I think it will be fun to see what happens with my tank once I have the refugium running.

I have no doubt that the difficulty that is often associated with these fish is, of course, because of their diet. I feel that as long as the tank has had enough time for a healthy pod population, not necessarily large, to exist, you can keep these fish without to much trouble, at least not feeding trouble. As long as you supplement a large amount of copepods and other micro-organisms, provide plenty of places for them to live and reproduce (algae, plants, rocks, sand, etc.), and don't kill them with a UV sterilizer, then you pr tank should be able to support a mandarin. Granted some tanks, just are too small for a mandarin (probably anything below about 20-25 gallons) without frequent supplementing/replenishing of the pod populations. If your tank is large enough to support a mandarin, but you, like me, don't want to go way out of your way or original plans for the tank, in order to keep one, just be sure that you add some copepods and other small animals (rotifers, amphipods, isopods, etc.) to your tank, provide some places for them to live (there isn't a need to buy a mass amount of macro algae for a refugium, or have huge refugium to begin with...just make sure that there are some nice clumps of algae or plants in your tank - hair algae is even suitable, though obviously it doesn't look very nice- you also will need to make sure that there is an adequate amount of good quality live rock, which should be about 1-2lbs per gallon. I think that mandarins are often thought of as much more difficult than they actually are... However, they are not for a beginner aquarist unless you have the proper setup, knowledge, and are willing to purchase copepods on a regular basis, incase your mandarin isn't getting enough food from your tank.

I hope all of this was helpful to somebody, and I do realize that there are people who will think I am crazy for making mandarins sound "easy" in some ways, but I really do think that they are easier to keep than they are often thought of, though as I have said, they can be challenging fish depending on their tank and environment.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:33 PM   #59
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I disagree slightly. You have obviously been somewhat fortunate in your experience, I can list hundreds more where the outcome was not as good. Dragonettes are difficult in general because their feeding habits are so particular. I have seen reefs swarming with Pods that still couldn't keep Mandarins fat. I still would never recommend a Mandarin to any tank, much less a nano tank, unless the owner was dedicated to extreme measures to provide a food source the Mandarin could thrive on. You have done this, but for every one of you there are hundreds that kill these fish off as fast as they buy them. I love these fish, have a 300 gallon 20 year old reef that grows sponges and everything else, but I have given up on Mandarins for good. I am thrilled you have had a good experience, because it is so depressing to hear about all the failures.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:44 PM   #60
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I'm really glad it worked out for you, really BUT like said above for every one that makes it to the stage yours is at, there are hundreds that don't. The odds are just against it.

There is a weekly thread usually about someone getting one adn the advice given is always the same. They really are difficult fish to keep based on their dietary needs. I have one myself, an ORA one which is slowly bit surely converting over to prepared foods and fattening up quite a bit. I consider myself lucky too. But I can't reccommend one to a first timer or a new tank setup just for the reason of their food supply. You got lucky, really. There are people with a 10 year old tank and refugium that have trouble keeping them. lol

I appreciate your experience but hope that it won't spur someone to disregard the good advice given here and just get one hoping the odds are with them. Such beautiful fish deserve better.
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