Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by Nav, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Just checking if any of you know any bay area LFS carrying the mandarin fish? I saw one in Roberto's tank last week and was so much in love with it.

    Best part was that his mandarin fish just ate the normal food (that the other fish ate) and not any pods. He also said they're as cheap as $20 in the bay area?

    Any advise where to get? when to get? what to feed? goods/bads?

  2. gunit

    gunit Guest

    Pretty sure Aqua Exotic has some. Though I'm not sure if they're eating flake and/or frozen food.
    Nav likes this.
  3. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    Mandarins are difficult to care for and can be extremely hard to keep in even the most mature reefs. They should be allowed to naturally hunt for pods as well as being presented frozen food as well as live brine and live black worms.

    IME most mandarins on frozen don't last long and that includes people buying them when they are eating frozen but later they find they are no longer eating frozen. It takes a lot of live pods to keep them fat and happy.

    They are a cheap fish, around $18-$25 dollars and readily available but take into consideration the well being of the fish and how good its habitat will be versus your enjoyment.

    Just my .02
    Nav likes this.
  4. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    They definitely aren't easy to keep but and I had one die before I did really well with my second one which I still have to this day. My first one was actually purchased when I didn't really know any better and later found out that the mandarin I chose was already on his way out. Also, I lucked out with my second fish in that while he was originally in a 10 gallon with an established pod population, he eventually took a liking to pellet food. I hardly ever really feed frozen food but he sure looks pretty still, IMO.
    Nav likes this.
  5. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Mandarin dragonets are very difficult and generally only recommended for tanks at least 75-50 gallons. They eat very slowly and continuously throughout the day. Even if you train them to eat frozen or pellets, they still need an ample pod population to be able to survive long term. Newer tanks don't have adequate pod populations.

    People do keep mandarins in smaller tanks, but they generally only survive a few years at most. Wild caught mandarins need to be trained to eat frozen foods, a process that could take weeks or months, and they need pods to eat in the meantime. Once trained to eat frozen, they also need to be fed in smaller tanks at least twice a day with all the pumps and filtration totally off. This allows the food to sit on the bottom where the mandarin can get it (no shrimp or hermits in the tank as they will eat all the food before the mandarin has a chance). Not only does this affect your water quality, it's a serious PIA when you go on vacation and you have to find someone willing and able to follow the regimen.

    If you do decide to go for it despite all the warnings against it, ORA has tank raised mandarins that are already trained to eat frozen foods. Give Matt at Aqua Exotic a call. He orders ORA fish on occasion and can get it for you. It will probably be more like $50-$60, but it's worth it to get one that already knows what frozen food is.
    Nav likes this.
  6. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    The problem I encountered with my green Mandarin was that he ate prepared food when I bought him but shortly after being in my tank he exclusively ate pods. They were easier for him to eat (constantly available), gave him something to do (hunting) and are more nutritional. He completely stopped eating prepared food within a week. That being said, he was a fat and very happy fish until he was eaten by a carpet anemone. My wife is still upset about it, it was a poor decision on my part but everything is food for something. I don't feel any worse than I do for the crabs that get fed to my mantis shrimp, or for the shrimp that get fed to my cuttlefish.
    Nav likes this.
  7. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

  8. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    Reefs2go has a cheap pod pack for $10 shipped.
  9. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

  10. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    I prefer the Reefcleaners Pods+ to the reefs2go pods. The Pods+ is all copepods. The reefs2go pods tend to be mostly amphipods, which mandarins don't eat and will compete against the copepods in your tank. You can also get a bottle of pure Tisbe pods from marinedepot (Neptunes and Atlantic sometimes also carry it). The Tisbe pods are just one type of pod. The Pods+ is a variety of different pods, so theres more diversity.

    Mandarins eat HUNDREDS of copepods every day. Since your tank is only 30 gallons, and doesn't have a sump or refugium, your mandarin will probably decimate any pod population in less than a week, even if you build it up beforehand.
  11. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Ha that's interesting... So my overall take from all comments is that it's not the best idea for me to have a mandarin & even if I plan to get one, I can risk getting an ORA mandarin that could eat other foods...

    - Navdeep
  12. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Personally, I don't think Mandarins are a terribly good choice in anything less than a 75 gallon tank. In the wild you will see mandarins that are as big and wide as a pint of beer and 10-15 years old. In a smaller tank, a fish that size wouldn't survive and most don't seem to live beyond a few years when raised in such small confines.

    If you want a challenge, then you can certainly give a mandarin in a 30 gallon tank a try. Most of the progress made in this hobby has been through trial and error, just remember that these animals are living creatures and they didn't ask to be stuck in a glass box in your house. There are many things you can to do help improve your chances of success. You can buy a mandarin that is already eating prepared foods, build a mandarin diner, culture pods in buckets, train it to eat pellets or frozen, feed the tank more often, and culture live blackworms or brine shrimp. It's all just about how much you really are committed to doing it long term and how much research you do to make sure you have the greatest chance of success.
    Nav likes this.
  13. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    I agree with Blu, you are free to do what you want but don't start a thread asking what you can do save your Mandarin when he starts starving.

    I have ordered the reef cleaners pod pack also, it was more expensive and I had to hit $50 on the order for free shipping. If you don't need a full compliment of snails and crabs, Reefs2go is cheaper. Also, my other livestock keeps the amphipod population in check but I have a 30g refugium for them to breed in.
    Nav likes this.
  14. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I believe that if you get desperate, you can feed freshly hatched baby brine shrimp or gut-loaded adult brine shrimp. But brine shrimp are like eating celery for people ... not much to them, unless you slather them in peanut butter or velvetta (ie feed the adults algae)


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