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Old 11-26-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Mandarins, are they really a difficult fish?

Mandarins, are they really a difficult fish? Yes, they are. They need more attention than almost any other fish in your tank due to their feeding habits which I will get into later. They have great personality and are great to watch among our reef setups.

Purchasing-Many mandarins starve in our tanks and the LFS's tanks due to lack of food in these tanks. A mature tank, at least 6 months old is best. Even better if you have 75lbs. of live rock and an established refugium full of pods. Please consider these before you buy a mandarin and don't think that since it is only $15-$30 that you can just go buy another one after it dies of starvation. A semi-plump/fat mandarin is best to purchase as the skinny starving ones are usually too far gone to bring back. After aclimating, it is best to use a cup to transfer them from container to display tank.

Feeding-As I said before, their diet consists mainly of pods. There are ways to train them to prepared foods. It is best that as I said before, you have at least 75lbs. of live rock in an established tank with an established refugium. Some may accept prepared foods right away, and some may only take pods to begin with. When you buy the mandarin, also buy a net breeder and some vitamin enriched brine shrimp. Aclimate the mandarin as you would any other fish, then transfer the mandarin from the container to the net breeder. Then, melt half a cube of the vitamin enriched brine and soaked it in a garlic food soak for about half an hour. After the food soak, place the brine in a syringe, remove the needle, attached a piece of airline tubing to the syringe and squirt a bit of brine into the net breeder. Make sure there is water movement, but not too much so the brine moves a bit so the mandarin seems interested. At first it may not eat, but after a few tries, the mandarin should realize that the brine is food. If this does not work, you may want to try live brine, freshly hatched is best I have heard. This process may take up to a week, maybe even two weeks. After about a week or two, you will want to try to get the mandarin eating other foods than just brine, such as mysis, or mysis with a mix of Rod's to get a better diet with a little variety. Make sure there are no competitive eaters in the tank either or your mandarin may have some trouble getting food.

Compatibility-Mandarins of the same gender generally will fight to death, so males don't mix with males and females don't mix with females. A male and a female are fine in the same tank. If keeping both a male and a female, it is best that they are introduced at different times, maybe a month apart. Then, when adding the second mandarin, make sure the second mandarin is bigger than the one that is already in the tank. This is just to reduce aggression. Different species of mandarins don't mix either, so don't go mixing a spotted and a green or you won't have a pretty ending. Some gobies and wrasses may pick on mandarins.

If you have any other information, pictures, stories, etc.... to add, please feel free to do so.

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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I never believed in QT'ing them either for a couple of reasons. Of course the biggest reason is that they will starve in the QT tank without pods and rocks. Secondly, I've never heard of a mandarin developing ick Something about their skin being a bit slimy-er maybe??? Dunno. I had a velvet outbreak years ago. Mandarin never showed anything and lived for 6 years after that.

They would also not be tolerant of copper I believe.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:35 AM   #3
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Hey Guys just thought I would throw in my story. I have a 75g tank with about 60-70 lbs live rock and my tank was 4 years running at the time. I picked up a little Green Mandarin from a LFS. She was quite slim at the time but I thought I would give her a try anyway. I acclimated her in the regular way and into the tank she went. I know that to many this would be a no no but I never tried to get her to eat anything. In a few weeks I noticed she was gaining weight. Then one night I thought I was going to lose her I saw her sitting on a rock and all the color looked to be drained away and she did not move as she normally did as I would come closer to the tank. The next day she was out and moving around like nothing ever happened. I noticed this happened every night. I know some fish make themselves a cocoon but she did not look to be in one. Anyway moral of the story is she is now just shy of being chubby and doing very wellfor the last year and a half. I would like to find her a boyfriend but I am not going to attempt this until I upgrade to a 180g or bigger. My thoughts are that I have enough pods running around for her but I don't think they would support a second Mandarin. I know I got lucky but you may too if you have an established tank.

Wayne Wiklund, La Riviere M.B. Can.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:57 AM   #4
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The color fading to a near tan is too help them camoflauge themselves and blend in with the sand at night. Glad to hear she is fat and happy. My female is fat and happy as well on prepared foods.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:20 AM   #5
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Thanks Thom. I thought the fading had to be some what normal but wasn't sure.

Wayne
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:16 AM   #6
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I love Mandarins. It's a pity I can't quite support the pod population and I already have a Scooter Blenny. Otherwise I'd be searching for a Mandarin that eats pre-prepared foods now!
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:37 AM   #7
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I watched a show tonight on madarins. Very cool. This lady was filming them, like 25, and their little world. They ate pods almost constantly. They would just scoot around and hunt. Then she paned back and there was the ocean, miles and miles. She filmed a show about a fish in a 5 foot by 5 foot area. Very interesting fish. If you think you have a healthy pod population, once madarin is introduced, would it need supplements? How long till they are all eaten? Would it eat faster than pop comes back? I have a 29g is why I ask. Not getting one but curious.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bige View Post
I watched a show tonight on madarins. Very cool. This lady was filming them, like 25, and their little world. They ate pods almost constantly. They would just scoot around and hunt. Then she paned back and there was the ocean, miles and miles. She filmed a show about a fish in a 5 foot by 5 foot area. Very interesting fish. If you think you have a healthy pod population, once madarin is introduced, would it need supplements? How long till they are all eaten? Would it eat faster than pop comes back? I have a 29g is why I ask. Not getting one but curious.

If you had an established tank with plenty of live rock and an established fuge, you wouldn't need any supplements. I'd say any tanks less than 75g without a fuge, a mandarin could pick clean easily within a matter of weeks to a few months. On smaller tanks, yes, the mandarin would eat pods faster than the pods could reproduce, that is why many train them to prepared food.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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I only see my mandarin every few days or so. He's usually hunting somewhere in the rock. Occasionaly I do see him around the pod pile. Yes you can make a pile out of LR rubble that pods will breed in and around. Great for maintaining a mandarin. You can also use a cleaned platic photo film canister if you can still find one. Drill a 1/4" hole io the top, drop some food and rock rubble to weigh it down and stick it in a corner.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:32 PM   #10
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i want one for my 30g!
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