I keep wanting a Mandarin, but I am always holding off. I hear your tank has to be established for a while before one can be introduced into your tank.
My 55 gallon has been up for four months now, but the majority of my tank was in a 29 gallon 6 months before that. My aquarium sand and rock is almost a year old!
However! I am going to be upgrading once again to a 120 gallon at the end of next month. I already got the tank, I am just waiting to pay it off and fix up the stand a little.
The process will be the same as what I did with my last transfer. I am not going to rinse the sand out that I will be taking from my 55. I will stir it up a lot to get all the gas out of it before transferring it over on top of the new sand I will buy. It's 90 pounds of live sand, and I am going to buy two bags of 30 pounds of regular sand. I have about 80 pounds of live rock, I am going to add a few more pounds of rock (Not live) to make it live rock eventually. Being I got so much live rock, I really don't want to spend the money for more live rock.
The last point I will make! At night when I shine a light on my tank to look at it. I see so much small creatures running around my rock, and some even swimming around. There seems to be so much more life in my tank at night, than during the day. Is this the food the Mandarin eats? I don't know what they are, but their just really small and FAST creatures running around my rock, sand, and even my glass. I am assuming their a good sign!
I don't want to loss all that life by rinsing out my sand when I do the transfer.
So would my 120 gallon tank be ready for a Mandarin, Or do I need to wait again?
Sorry for the LONG post!