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Old 07-08-2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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Mandarin Advice

I am hoping to set up a mandarin species only tank in my room. I have heard they are tricky feeders but I would just like to know all the details. E.g. Minimum tank size, what to feed, other inhabitants (inverts mainly), and possibly any experience people have had with them. Thanks for any help
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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Make sure you see it eat at the LFS before you bring it home.

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Old 07-08-2010, 03:48 PM   #3
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20g is to small for a Mandarin. They are obligate feeders. Wild caught Mandarins only eat copepods. They can be trained to eat mysis shrimp, but those are far and few. Ora is suppose to be sellimg TR mandarins by the end of this month. If you can get one of those then that would be the only way one would servive in a 20g.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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My advice would be to not plan on them until

1- You have researched the fish extensively enough to understand its needs.

2- They are available as captively bred fish (should be relatively soon from ORA).
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:27 PM   #5
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I would mostly agree with the above, with a few exception, I have a 165 gallon reef, and was told that my gorgeous marron feather star wouldn't make it- WRONG!

The key is quality water, quality lighting, and proper feeding methods.

Copepods can be bought at reefstogo for a cheap price, and, once these are plentiful in the aquarium with a good amount of quality live rock (very important, in both the sump and aquarium) and sump (a sump is required to populate these critters correctly) you should be fine at 29 gallon and above- 20 is a bit to small- would make a great sump tho.

Were it me, I would populate the feeders first, then add the dragonet.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:03 PM   #6
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Agreed. You've obviously done a good bit of your own research which is what I was encouraging the OP to do. A 165 lends itself to maintaining water quality by about 8x or so over a 20 which can easily be the difference between a crash and nothing. My math sucks though.

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Old 07-09-2010, 12:01 AM   #7
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LOL na, in this case the "math" is subjective to the reader- nothing more.

Either way, you gave good advice. Considering my time in this hobbie.

That is all any of us can do- advise, and hope they either improve upon our mistakes, or, avoid them altogether.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:09 AM   #8
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The OP said he wants to do a "mandarin species ONLY" tank. So how many does he plan to keep? More than one, it sounds to me. Which also sounds to me like way too much competition for copepods in a tank that size. When I first started a fish tank I bought a mandarin for my 75-gallon and I purchased many bottle of copepods and it still got extremely skinny to where I returned it to the store.... possibly before it died anyway. I highy doubt a 20 or 29-gallon tank can hold enough Live Rock to sustain even one Mandarin let alone multiple.... unless the sump is 4X bigger than the main tank.
However, as mentioned above, the tank raised mandarins from ORA should do fine. Suposedly they eat pellets.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:59 PM   #9
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The green mandarin is the fish that got me into SW aquaria. I waited 3 years before buying my first one. And it was from an established coral display tank my LFS had-he had the fish for about a year and it has yet to look at frozen foods. I wouldn't recommend a tank under 75 gallons, and I even let mine mature for a year with frequent additions of copepods.

Even if you can find a mandarin that eats frozen food, I can't imagine that a fish that eats 24/7 would be satisfied with periodical feedings of mysis or brine shrimp.

And as for the specie(s) topic. I can't recommend more than 1 mandarin/75 gallons with a generous amount of live rock; I'd even go as far as saying 1 mandarin/75 lbs of LR. These guys really eat non-stop.

I have my mandarin in a tank with 4 tangs: a powder blue, lieutenant, naso, and an orangeshoulder, a surplus of crabs, and a fire shrimp.

Favorite fish, hands down.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:46 PM   #10
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I guess I'm the exception to the manderin rule. Did my research, knew what they were all about, and bought one. My tank was only 4 months old, with about 90lbs of LR. However, I was easily able to train my manderin to eat mysis/brine. He will eat anything now. I've even seen him nip at flake.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CEverii View Post
I guess I'm the exception to the manderin rule. Did my research, knew what they were all about, and bought one. My tank was only 4 months old, with about 90lbs of LR. However, I was easily able to train my manderin to eat mysis/brine. He will eat anything now. I've even seen him nip at flake.
What else you got in that tank? AS Mandarins are very slow feeders and other fish would easily eat all the food before it would even have a chance at it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:59 PM   #12
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Scooter blenny, Kole tang, 2 clowns, and a fairy wrasse. My manderin is a fat little dude lol. When I turn off my power heads, he knows its feeding time and comes right out and pick up the mysis/brine.

I used to feed him with a long tube that had a syrenge on the end of it. Now though he swims freely to grab the food.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:04 PM   #13
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There's always an exception. I've kept 4 tangs in a 75 for over a year, and they have yet to touch one another. Everyone's got different luck, I guess.

Still, I wouldn't advise the OP to stick a mandarin that is weened on frozen or prepared foods in a tank less than 55 or 75 gallons.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:06 PM   #14
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I agree. 20 is way to small.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:14 PM   #15
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After you do your homework if you still want to try and train a mandarin onto prepared foods let me know and i will dig up a thread i found a while back on how to do it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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Here's how I trained my Manderin:


First, make sure you buy come of those copapod in a bottle things and dump it in before you get him.

Next buy your Manderin!

After he's in the tank, let him settle down for a day or two.

Buy some kind of heavy duity airline tubing, along with a small syringe. The heavy duity airline tubeing I got from my LFS for free. It's like a thick plastic that can be heated and bent. I will post a pic of my syringe setup when I get home.

Next, get your frozen brine/mysis ready. Suck some up in the tube using the syringe, and put it right in front of the Manderin. It may take some time, but he will eventually try it, and realize it is very tasty!

After a while, once you dip the hose into the tank, he will actually swim toward you expecting and awaiting you to feed him. You now have a trained Manderin.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:39 PM   #17
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In reply to ryshark I was only planning on putting one in there actually (with some clean up crew as well) and if the mandarin did manage to adapt to eat most foods I might of added a few other small peaceful inhabitants.
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