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lgreen's Mandarin FAQ


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#1
lgreen

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lgreen's Mandarin FAQ


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(Photo by: Luc Viatour www.lucnix.be)

Copyright lgreen 2008

Note: In this guide, Mandarins will be referred to as Dragonets (since they are actually Dragonets, not Gobies or Blennies).

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. The Basic Truth About Dragonets
III. The Dragonet Family
IV. Dragonet Basics
V. The Case Against Keeping Dragonets In Nano Tanks
VI. Successfully keeping Dragonets in Nano Tanks

I. Introduction

The purpose of this thread is to help educate you first about the potential consequences of keeping such a delicate fish in a nano tank and second to help provide some info and advice should you choose to venture down this road.

As reefing in general is not an exact science the approach I have taken to organizing this information is to provide a framework that includes my knowledge of dragonets, but also to encourage others to share their experience and knowledge for the benefit of everyone.

II. The Basic Truth About Dragonets

Generally speaking, dragonets are not a suitable choice for nano tanks. Nor are they a suitable choice for any inexperienced reefer, regardless of your tank size. Although these fish are very attractive and often inexpensive, if you are inexperienced and/or do not provide the proper habitat for these fish, they will die. This is not to say it is impossible. With proper research, the right habitat, and some special care, mandarins can be kept alive in nano tanks. I cannot stress enough though that this is NOT a beginner fish.

The most basic explanation for why these fish are so difficult for many to keep is because their diet is very specific and therefore they can be very difficult to feed. A more detailed explanation for the case against keeping dragonets in nano tanks can be found later in this guide.

At the most basic level, successfully keeping a Dragonet in a nano-tank does not just involve providing the right food, but MOST IMPORTANTLY providing a continual source of that food. Methods for providing a continual source of food will be discussed below.

III. The Dragonet Family

Synchiropus splendidus

Common names: Green Mandarin Goby, Red Mandarin Goby

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Synchiropus picturatus

Common names: Yellow Target Mandarin Goby, Spotted Mandarin Goby

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Synchiropus ocellatus

Common names: Scooter Blenny, Scooter Dragonet

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Synchiropus stellatus

Common names: Red Scooter Blenny, Sterry Scooter Blenny, Red Scooter Dragonet, Sterry Dragonet

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IV. Dragonet Basics

First and foremost it is necessary to distinguish Dragonets as their own genius of fish. They are often incorrectly classified as gobies and blennies. Dragonets are most commonly found in the western pacific ocean ranging from southern Japan to northern Australia. They tend to hang out in shallower reefs and lagoons. Dragonets are bottom-dwelling carnivores that feed mostly on small micro and macro invertebrates such as copepods.

Copepod:

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V. The Case Against Keeping Dragonets In Nano Tanks

So what we already know is that Dragonets are very difficult to feed since their primary source of nutrition is the copepod. Therefore the biggest challenge in keeping a Dragonet is not just having copepods, but rather having a continual supply of copepods. You may see copepods in your tank, however you must consider that a dragonet can wipe out a tanks worth of copepods in a short amount of time. Therefore, not only must you have copepods, but the population of copepods must be continually breeding. The key to keeping your copepod population continually breeding is to provide the correct habitat, which basically consists of hiding spots where the Dragonet can not get to them. This is what can prove to be the most difficult challenge in a nano tank. There is simply not enough space to provide the habitat (hiding spots) in a nano tank to support the continual copepod population that the dragonets need. So in general with out really going above and beyond in terms of providing the correct habitat for the copepods, your success at keeping a dragonet in a nano tank, or any tank for that matter, will be limited. As we will discuss below, successfully keeping a dragonet in a nano tank will involve providing some sort of supplemental habitat to your tank dedicated specifically to copepods.

I would also advise people be very cautious when reading success stories about dragonets. Many people buy a dragonet and if it lives for a week or even a month, they consider that a success story. This is very false. This is a fish that can look totally healthy and appear to be eating for 2-3 months and then just suddenly disappear. Now if someone tells you that they have successfully kept a dragonet in their nano for 3-6+ months, I would consider their experiences/techniques worth discussing.

VI. Successfully keeping Dragonets in Nano Tanks

Please share your stories, methods, and thoughts in this thread for others to read.

Edited by lgreen, 23 June 2010 - 12:17 PM.
Thanks, HankB


#2
Luis138

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread. I love mandarin fish and although I don't have any I will someday.

My tank is barely one week old and from my researches and what not I know my tank has to be at least 1 year old for a mandarin to survive.

What I want now is to "seed" my tank with as many 'pods as I can to get it nice and ready for my dragonet.

I can't wait to read the finished article, specially the part on culturing your own copepods.

Thank you again,

Luis
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#3
scottyreef

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very informative lgreen another great tread

#4
SeeDemTails

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I got tons of great info on keeping them in nanos and how to train them. Working at a LFS gave me hands on access to every mandarin that came in. I have successfully trained atleast 6 mandarins to eat mysis, three greens and three spotteds...Including the one I have had for close to 6 months in my 37 g.

Many things go into successfully keeping a mandarin, I would be happy to share any of my info if needed!

#5
Kraylen

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#6
Luis138

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I got tons of great info on keeping them in nanos and how to train them. Working at a LFS gave me hands on access to every mandarin that came in. I have successfully trained atleast 6 mandarins to eat mysis, three greens and three spotteds...Including the one I have had for close to 6 months in my 37 g.

Many things go into successfully keeping a mandarin, I would be happy to share any of my info if needed!


Please do!!!!!!

Luis
Set as I am in my ways and my arrogance.

#7
reefturkey

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That was very informative, Thanks

#8
halfpint

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Woot!


Good thread, broskey.
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#9
travisurfer

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First and foremost it is necessary to distinguish Dragonets as their own genius of fish.

very nice, l, i did find a typo though unless, of course, dragonets are much smarter than i remember them to be. this can't help but make me wonder if a similar anemone quide would be a good idea.

#10
Matty1124

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this needs to be sticky-ed in this forum... great post lgreen! very informative

#11
Luis138

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Many things go into successfully keeping a mandarin, I would be happy to share any of my info if needed!


I thought you were going to share your knowledge.

Luis
Set as I am in my ways and my arrogance.

#12
Fish_Maniac

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I love mandarins and I plan to have them in a 50 gallon that im setting up just for them

#13
Dooderino

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Here is my contribution to the Mandarin FAQ.

When I was at a home show last year it was this very fish that got me to go to the LFS and research the SW option. When I got involved and learned that it would be a real possibility that I would not be able to have a Mandarin I was pretty bummed. But the more research I did the more I found out about ways to make it work. I did learn about pod factories, dosing pods and training. I thought it would be wise to find one already eating frozen foods but that was a pipe dream in these parts.

I bought the Mandarin and put him in a breeding net. You know, the FW net cube used to keep babyfish from becoming lunch. He was in there for 2 weeks. I did give him some pods but mostly I gave him frozen brine. When he started to take the shrimp regularly I released him into the tank. To feed him, I feed the other animals first and with the pumps off I would put some frozen brine over the area he typically hides/sleeps. When it sunk to the bottom he would eat some. Then I started adding the pellets in with the shrimp. It took awhile but he started to eat the pellets too. Now that's all I feed him.

I have mine trained to eat Dainichi pellets, no joke.

I didn't think it would work either.

Here is proof.
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#14
SeeDemTails

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Here are some pics from a couple days ago of my Spotted Mandarin. Still happy and healthy for almost 8 months, eating mysis every other day.

I still havent noticed a difference in the number of pods around at night from before and after the fish, and I do NOT have a refugium.

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#15
brian92

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Very good article

I have an LFS that said they wean mandarins onto frozen before they sell them. I have yet to be down there but could that possibly be a legitimate claim?
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#16
Dooderino

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Very good article

I have an LFS that said they wean mandarins onto frozen before they sell them. I have yet to be down there but could that possibly be a legitimate claim?

Sure, but if it was me I would want to witness it in person.

#17
brian92

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Sure, but if it was me I would want to witness it in person.

Yeah definetly. I'm split between a getting a mandarin or pair of banggai cardinals to breed. Not sure.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
My 20 Long
http://www.nano-reef...?...=174191&hl=

I am 100% serious, that I believe you are likely a borderline functional, mentally handicapped 14 year old. If that is in fact the case, I apologize.

and Petco ONLINE?....Jesus F_____ Christ.


#18
strapingyunglad

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Wholey crap dooderino! that vids awsome!
weres your tank thread? if you dont have one MAKE ONE!
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#19
Dooderino

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Wholey crap dooderino! that vids awsome!
weres your tank thread? if you dont have one MAKE ONE!

Link is in my signature.

#20
Break

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Lol, this thread is still missing the most important information. Maybe Tails should just write it up and have it pasted in here?

#21
Acerone

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Here is my contribution to the Mandarin FAQ.

When I was at a home show last year it was this very fish that got me to go to the LFS and research the SW option. When I got involved and learned that it would be a real possibility that I would not be able to have a Mandarin I was pretty bummed. But the more research I did the more I found out about ways to make it work. I did learn about pod factories, dosing pods and training. I thought it would be wise to find one already eating frozen foods but that was a pipe dream in these parts.

I bought the Mandarin and put him in a breeding net. You know, the FW net cube used to keep babyfish from becoming lunch. He was in there for 2 weeks. I did give him some pods but mostly I gave him frozen brine. When he started to take the shrimp regularly I released him into the tank. To feed him, I feed the other animals first and with the pumps off I would put some frozen brine over the area he typically hides/sleeps. When it sunk to the bottom he would eat some. Then I started adding the pellets in with the shrimp. It took awhile but he started to eat the pellets too. Now that's all I feed him.

I have mine trained to eat Dainichi pellets, no joke.

I didn't think it would work either.

Here is proof.
Posted Image



Dainichi? Isn't that food for KOI?

Here are some pics from a couple days ago of my Spotted Mandarin. Still happy and healthy for almost 8 months, eating mysis every other day.

I still havent noticed a difference in the number of pods around at night from before and after the fish, and I do NOT have a refugium.

Posted Image

Posted Image



Mysis by Hikari? That's also one of the biggest KOI food company.
29 Gallon BioCube
25 Pounds of Fiji Rocks
Mighty Mite RO/DI


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#22
SeeDemTails

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The way mine eats it thinks it s a koi, sucks them off the surface.

#23
Seiryoku

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How fast do these guys grow? Was considering putting one in my 10g while I got it used to pellets and what not. Much easier for me to do this in a 10g than a 20H... Would transfer it over after I was comfortable with it's new eating habits.

Or...would it wise to break in the new food in its permanent home as not to confuse/mess with its mind?

#24
Acerone

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How fast do these guys grow? Was considering putting one in my 10g while I got it used to pellets and what not. Much easier for me to do this in a 10g than a 20H... Would transfer it over after I was comfortable with it's new eating habits.

Or...would it wise to break in the new food in its permanent home as not to confuse/mess with its mind?


Just wondering if Capital Aquarium is still in business? When I lived in Sactown and Elk Grove I use to go their almost weekly... :D
29 Gallon BioCube
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Mighty Mite RO/DI


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#25
Seiryoku

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Yeah they are, but I don't even bother going there any more. Place has gone down the pooper.