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The many methods of training Dragonets


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FLNanoReefer

I put a shot glass in the tank and a Maxi-Jet 1200 but I was unable to get the flow right. I left the shot glass in there and I will start to try feeding him PE Mysis tomorrow. Has anyone had any luck spot feeding them?

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I put a shot glass in the tank and a Maxi-Jet 1200 but I was unable to get the flow right. I left the shot glass in there and I will start to try feeding him PE Mysis tomorrow. Has anyone had any luck spot feeding them?

 

 

I have been putting live nauplii into the glass jar and after 3 days, both mandarins will go into the jar and eat the nauplii. I also put some pellets or reef caviar in the jar as well, hoping that they may eat those foods after all the brine shrimp are gone--no luck so far. I sort of target them by syringing the nauplii into the jar and adjacent areas with a big catheter syringe and large bore red rubber catheter with the end cut off ( so the stuff goes straight out and not to the sides). I find that I have better control with this than a turkey baster. Any small animal veterinarian should be able to sell you a 35cc catheter tipped syringe and a 12 french red rubber catheter. I place the jar with some pellets in it at the spot where the fish expect it and I insert the catheter tip into the jar and slowly inject the nauplii. In this way the jar is filled with live food and some spills out the mouth of the jar and entices the fish to enter the jar. Will keep you posted if they start to eat the pellets.

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FLNanoReefer
I have been putting live nauplii into the glass jar and after 3 days, both mandarins will go into the jar and eat the nauplii. I also put some pellets or reef caviar in the jar as well, hoping that they may eat those foods after all the brine shrimp are gone--no luck so far. I sort of target them by syringing the nauplii into the jar and adjacent areas with a big catheter syringe and large bore red rubber catheter with the end cut off ( so the stuff goes straight out and not to the sides). I find that I have better control with this than a turkey baster. Any small animal veterinarian should be able to sell you a 35cc catheter tipped syringe and a 12 french red rubber catheter. I place the jar with some pellets in it at the spot where the fish expect it and I insert the catheter tip into the jar and slowly inject the nauplii. In this way the jar is filled with live food and some spills out the mouth of the jar and entices the fish to enter the jar. Will keep you posted if they start to eat the pellets.

Are you enhancing your brine shrimp with anything? I just bought a brine shrimp hatchery and I placed the Mandarin in a breeder net. I will hopefully start to train him tomorrow.

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Are you enhancing your brine shrimp with anything? I just bought a brine shrimp hatchery and I placed the Mandarin in a breeder net. I will hopefully start to train him tomorrow.

I was feeding the newly hatched brine shrimp with PhytoFeast phytoplankton for 24 hours after hatching (4 drops/500ml), but I have switched to the de-capsulated brine shrimp from ORA. After they hatch overnight, I pour the entire contents of the hatching bottle into the tank. I had to make it simpler for my house sitter. I use tank water adjusted to SG=1.018. I don't think that adding 500ml of a slightly lower SG to my Solana 34 gallon tank will be a problem for 10 days, as my tank SG tends to creep up despite the ATO bottles. My understanding is that freshly hatched brine shrimp still have their yolk sac partially intact and that is a major source of nutrition for the predator. After 24 hours, the yolk is gone, so their nutritional value depends on what they have been eating, but it would seem to me that the yolk would be the most nutritious.

 

Did you get an ORA mandarin or a wild caught? I will restart training after I get back from vacation. Best of luck--I'm looking forward to hearing about your success.

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FLNanoReefer

My Red Mandarin is wild caught. The only ORA Mandarin's that my LFS had were the ORA Spotted Mandarin's and they were $200 each. How long does it take for your brine shrimp to hatch? I started my culture yesterday at around 7 P.M. and they still haven't hatched.

 

I will update often on my success (or failure) of my training. Hopefully I will be successful!

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Hello thanks for this post, I plan to try wild caught Green Mandarins, extremely hard to find/get ORA one.

 

I plan to do the breeder net method, floating in my BC 29 Display so some questions:

 

1. Do I leave the hood opened or closed with the floating breeder net?

 

2. Is it ok to turn the lights on in the aquarium (the two PCs + Lunar LEDs) for the normal aquarium photo period

 

or

 

is that bad because the Mandarin will be by the surface??

 

3. Should I just use the three lunar LED's all the time them while training?

 

4. Does the mysis labeled as enriched have to be enriched again??

 

5. How big should the breeder net be, I see some 6x6x6 however I found a 10x6x6? ( I found one that attached by suction cups so that should be good so I can close the tank lid

 

6. don't release the mandarin until it is fully trained?

\

thanks

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My Red Mandarin is wild caught. The only ORA Mandarin's that my LFS had were the ORA Spotted Mandarin's and they were $200 each. How long does it take for your brine shrimp to hatch? I started my culture yesterday at around 7 P.M. and they still haven't hatched.

 

I will update often on my success (or failure) of my training. Hopefully I will be successful!

Most of the cytst that are going to hatch will do so by 24 hours. However, the best hatching (% and least time) is at temperatures around 78-80 and salinity at specific gravity=1.018. At lower temperatures, the hatch will take longer. A constant light source is also supposed to aid in hatching. The empty shells will float when the bubbles stop, but will swirl around with agitation and may make you think that they haven't hatched. The brine shrimp are really tiny--best way to see them is to hold the bottle up to the light and look really closely.

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Hello thanks for this post, I plan to try wild caught Green Mandarins, extremely hard to find/get ORA one.

 

I plan to do the breeder net method, floating in my BC 29 Display so some questions:

 

1. Do I leave the hood opened or closed with the floating breeder net?

 

2. Is it ok to turn the lights on in the aquarium (the two PCs + Lunar LEDs) for the normal aquarium photo period

 

or

 

is that bad because the Mandarin will be by the surface??

 

3. Should I just use the three lunar LED's all the time them while training?

 

4. Does the mysis labeled as enriched have to be enriched again??

 

5. How big should the breeder net be, I see some 6x6x6 however I found a 10x6x6? ( I found one that attached by suction cups so that should be good so I can close the tank lid

 

6. don't release the mandarin until it is fully trained?

\

thanks

I am pretty new at this, but I would be very careful leaving anything uncovered. The morning after I put my ORA mandarins in the holding tank (which was inside the Solana 34), the female became hysterical (not to be anthropomorphic about a fish, but she was extremely agitated) and kept trying to jump out. I did not know that these guys were jumpers. I suspect that being up away from the bottom of the tank was scaring her. Hard to say. Anyway, I covered the chamber with a piece of plastic mesh and a piece of eggcrate and while I was looking for something to weigh it down, she managed to jump/push her way out. The water surface was over an inch from the lid and she is only about 1 1 /2 inches long. Fortunately, I keep a glass cover on my tank and it was closed, so she jumped into the main tank and was hiding behind some rocks. Then she went into the rocks and I hardly saw her for the first week. At one point, I thought that she must have died, but she was just really hiding inside the rock caves. Given their normal environment is on the sand and on the rocks, being restrained up in the water column may stressful. I suspect that the ORA ones are used to a bare bottom, stark tank and all the rock and other fish are pretty foreign to them. I think that your idea of keeping the lights low is a good one, because she didn't start to panic until the lights came on. I felt that she would be less stressed with her mate, so I released him at the same time. I am only going to be feeding live food while I am gone (my wonderful dedicated dog sitter is willing to hatch the de-capsulated brine shrimp daily for them) and will resume bottle glass jar training when I get back.

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FLNanoReefer

I released my Mandarin back into the tank because it was not eating in the breeder and it was starting to look skinny and stressed. He is not enjoying swimming around it the rocks eating pods.

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FLNanoReefer

I found the Mandarin dead this afternoon. His stomach was sunken in and he was very slimy. I think that he died of starvation but just to be safe I did a 5 gallon water change. The clowns look fine so maybe I will try again in a few weeks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, I missed out on a lot during my busy times.

 

While I'm a bit late for the party....I will however generally answer things I may have not clarified or missed or may need re-clarification.

 

-COVER ALL EXTENDED CONTAINERS holding a mandarin of any sorts. As I mentioned in the OP I have lost one due to an unexpected leap of faith one day sadly.

 

-As for lighting, keep in mind they too can go blind from harsh lighting just as we can (I never thought of mentioning this before for some reason :P ) and do keep in mind, they are somewhat easily spooked and may further reduce their likely hood to feed. So do everything that could scare them, in moderation.

 

-As for enriching food such as brine shrimp, and those "Bio-Encapsulated" Frozen Fish Foods: I tend to see it as a necessity regardless of whether or not it has been previously "enriched" since in the case of frozen foods we should be rinsing off the frozen food water due to all the phosphates, and other nasties to begin with which of course most of the vitamins will be leeched out already in turn = replace it with even better ;)

 

-Also, for when the mandarin seems stressed for too long of a period in the breeder/fish keeper. Then simply switch to another method (Bowl,Shot Glass, etc) since at least you can still attempt to train it before it may be too late or during the time period in which it feeds on pods in conjunction to training.

 

-For training containers, the bigger the better.

 

-Glass Bowl/Shot Glass method works well with both pellets and mysis as long as the flow isn't excessively strong = stuff flows away rather than slowly in a circle.

 

And most importantly, ALWAYS be prepared before jumping into raising one of these and when in doubt about something its always a good idea to ask before jumping the gun, especially for something long term like this :D

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Had my male blue green mandarin for 2.5 years in my 20L. It was wild caught and took time to train. From what I've read, the green spotted and scooter dragonets are easier to train. I was wondering if anyone has pictures of a "fat" mandarin as in what they should look like when they are healthy. Mine is the fattest blue/green male I have ever seen (at LFS or internet). However, it is faaar from the fattest green spotted females I've seen. They look like mine after eating willy wonka's blue berry pie bubble gum.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Wow, I missed out on a lot during my busy times.

 

While I'm a bit late for the party....I will however generally answer things I may have not clarified or missed or may need re-clarification.

 

-COVER ALL EXTENDED CONTAINERS holding a mandarin of any sorts. As I mentioned in the OP I have lost one due to an unexpected leap of faith one day sadly.

 

-As for lighting, keep in mind they too can go blind from harsh lighting just as we can (I never thought of mentioning this before for some reason :P ) and do keep in mind, they are somewhat easily spooked and may further reduce their likely hood to feed. So do everything that could scare them, in moderation.

 

-As for enriching food such as brine shrimp, and those "Bio-Encapsulated" Frozen Fish Foods: I tend to see it as a necessity regardless of whether or not it has been previously "enriched" since in the case of frozen foods we should be rinsing off the frozen food water due to all the phosphates, and other nasties to begin with which of course most of the vitamins will be leeched out already in turn = replace it with even better ;)

 

-Also, for when the mandarin seems stressed for too long of a period in the breeder/fish keeper. Then simply switch to another method (Bowl,Shot Glass, etc) since at least you can still attempt to train it before it may be too late or during the time period in which it feeds on pods in conjunction to training.

 

-For training containers, the bigger the better.

 

-Glass Bowl/Shot Glass method works well with both pellets and mysis as long as the flow isn't excessively strong = stuff flows away rather than slowly in a circle.

 

And most importantly, ALWAYS be prepared before jumping into raising one of these and when in doubt about something its always a good idea to ask before jumping the gun, especially for something long term like this :D

 

thanks, all your info is very helpful B)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Maybe this is a good time to give an update on my ORA mandarins. I have successfully gotten all 3 to eat, but it took quite a bit of work. My first pair (which turned out to be a pair of males due to a shipping error see http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...74770&st=0) were eating out of the jar in about 5 weeks. All three reacted differently. Of the first pair, George (who has gone on to another home) hung out on the back wall and started eating brine shrimp within 2 days and seemed pretty mellow. Gracie (who I still have and is actually a male, renamed Desi) was terrified from the beginning despite having the lights down. He/she escaped from the isolation chamber (which was covered) and disappeared into the rocks. I literally did not see he/she for a solid 2 weeks and was sure he/she was dead. During that time I suspect that he ate the brine shrimp that I faithfully injected into the rocks daily--see below. I started by filling the jar with the brine shrimp to entice them to enter and placing the jar close to where they hung out. Of course the brine shrimp tend to swim out, but they still got the idea within a week. Then I added Nutramar Ova and started to decrease the amount of brine shrimp. I fed twice daily while they were training. Once we figured out that they were 2 males, I caught George (who was submissive and easier to catch) and took him back to the LFS. Desi (nee Gracie) was eating so well that I cut down to once daily. He is easily twice the size that he was 5 months before upon arrival. When I got my replacement female, Lucy, she seemed very calm. I kept the lights off for 2 days and her in an isolation chamber with the sides partially obscured and a secure cover and then released her into the main tank. I kept the lights at 50% of their regular intensity for another 2 days before turning them back up. She seemed very calm and never hid in the rocks, but hung out along the back and sides of the rock. She ate NOTHING that I could discern for 3 1/2 weeks and got really emaciated. I was offering Nutramar Ova, Cyclop-eeze and Spectrum pellets twice daily. I would feed Desi and whatever he didn't eat in the jar after half an hour, I would suck up in a catheter and dump literally on her head wherever she was resting. I really thought she was going to die, but 5 days ago she started to nibble at food in the sand. She has never had much interest in the brine shrimp, but likes the Nutramar. Within the last 2 days, she has learned to go into the jar to feed and is doing much better. Still looks really thin, but is more lively. I had to get a bigger jar as Desi has grown so much and we almost always get a crab or two sneaking in to eat as well, but she accepted the larger jar readily. As you can see, he has grown a lot in the last 5 months. This is the original small jar:

post-50043-1311807752_thumb.jpg

 

 

Here is my advice based on an n=3 (ie I'm certainly no expert).

1. Be prepared to hatch brine shrimp daily until they are trained, which could take 1-2 months. It is relatively easy to do on the kitchen counter if you have a tolerant spouse.

2. Use live brine shrimp to lure them into the jar. Once they enter the jar readily, add some Nutramar for at least a week with the brine shrimp. Once they are eating the Nutramar, you can decrease and then stop the brine shrimp over a period of a week or more.

3. If you are going to watch (and who can resist??), be sure to make no sudden moves while they are investigating the jar. If I even move my head while sitting beside the tank, Desi will flee the jar even after feeding in it for several months.

4. If you have other fish that try to enter the jar, cut a smaller hole in the plastic lid to make the opening smaller. The mandarins are somewhat flattened top to bottom compared to most other fish that are flattened side to side, so make an oval opening that is wider side to side than top to bottom. Push the jar into sand so that the opening is at the same level as the sand, so they don't have to swim up to enter the jar. My ocellaris and box fishes know that they can fan their fins by the opening and get some food to flush out, but they can't get into the jar.

5. Forget the turkey baster and ask your dog/cat veterinarian for a 35 or 60cc catheter tip syringe and a 12-14 french red rubber catheter. Cut the side holes off of the tip of the catheter so stuff shoots straight out. With this you can accurately deliver food into the jar or in front of the fish. Do not vigorously shoot food at them, just slowly ease it out with the syringe so it falls nearby and they aren't spooked. Turn off the pumps while you do this so the food settles near the fish. If the fish is hiding in the rock work, you can inject the brine shrimp into the rocks with this set up.

6. Be prepared that this will likely over feed your tank, so you will need to do more water changes and deal with a bloom of scavengers. I am battling the rapidly increasing bristle worm population, but that is another story.

 

My other observation is that all 3 fish had distinct personalities with likes/dislikes and phobias. Be patient and try to observe what each one needs. I still offer Cyclop-eeze and pellets with the Nutramar. Lucy eats a bit of the Cyclop-eeze, but Desi ignores everything but the Nutramar. I offer a piece about 1/4 x 1/8" twice daily now. Whatever is not eaten in an hour, I dump in the tank for the ocellaris and box fish.

 

What would I do differently? Maybe try to put the isolation tank on the bottom to lessen the stress--I don't think that they like being suspended in the water column. Be sure the lid to the isolation chamber is very secure. Maybe keep the lights lower longer.

 

I would also like to express my appreciation to ORA, especially Laura Cousins, who were very supportive and helpful during the last few months. Once the shipping error was figured out, they quickly replaced my extra male with new female. They really care about these fish and they do want these precious fish to succeed in their new homes.

 

Good Luck to anyone else who goes for it.

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burtbollinger

My ORA target was added 2 days ago...it took 48 hours for him to eat, setting a clear container in the back of my aquarium. It ignored mysis, rod's food, cyclopeeze, and new life spectrum. He ate Hikari frozen blood worms as soon as they were added to the cup. He later ate added new life spectrum small fish pellets the same day.

 

EDIT: Just received Nutrimar Ova...he absolutely flips out over it...feeding until his belly actually bulges a bit. I can't recommend this food enough...epsecially for the ORA mandarins.

Edited by burtbollinger
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  • 5 weeks later...
altolamprologus

Just thought I'd share my mandarin training method.

 

Using a 5 mL pipette, I first fed tiggerpods to get my mandarin to associate the pipette with food. I fed her several times with pods on day 0(the day I got her) and a few times the first day. Later in the first day I defrosted frozen spirulina brine shrimp and let it soak in a small amount of garlic extreme. Then using the pitpette, I put a few shrimp in front of her. She seemed completely uninterested.

 

The second day I tried again. This time she picked at a couple pieces and once she realized it was edible she started gulping them up as fast as she could. I fed her a few brine shrimp at a time approximately 10 times a day for the next couple days.

 

Then I mixed in frozen mysis, which she took to immediately. I started adding in small amounts of crushed flake food and on day 7 she was eating flakes, though with not as much enthusiasm as when I fed her brine.

 

To this day, she still knows the pipette means food and comes to it everytime she sees it, waiting for me to feed her. She is eating brine, mysis, pods from my cultures, and the occasional few flakes.

 

Perhaps she was just a rare exception that took to frozen food way quicker than most mandarins, but it seems the use of pods to make the connection beween the pipette/jar/etc and food makes training mandarins a lot easier.

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Just thought I'd share my mandarin training method.

 

I did the exact same thing except started out with bloodworms which my mandarin took to immediately. I fed him those for about a week then started mixing in Hikari Mysis. Now he eats straight mysis. I try to feed flakes occasionally but he doesn't really care to even look twice at those :)

 

Now he fights (not really, just gets in the way) the clowns and cleaner shrimp the second that pipette hits the water. I've had him about 8 months and he's good and plump!

 

Here's my little fatty

5749719888_cc57a9ac39_z.jpg

Edited by sanchez
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  • 1 month later...

I have a 44 gallon at home which is my seconf marine aquarium. I have kept marine for about 6 months now, and looking at these posts it seems pretty easy to train a mandarin onto frozen. I wanted to get a spotted or a splendicus and use the LFS fish catcher method. I also keep a 10 gallon aquarium at school and want to know if taking a frozen trained mandarin and putting it in there would be viable. It will be the only fish in there and will have plenty of hiding places.

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  • 2 months later...
altolamprologus
I have a 44 gallon at home which is my seconf marine aquarium. I have kept marine for about 6 months now, and looking at these posts it seems pretty easy to train a mandarin onto frozen. I wanted to get a spotted or a splendicus and use the LFS fish catcher method. I also keep a 10 gallon aquarium at school and want to know if taking a frozen trained mandarin and putting it in there would be viable. It will be the only fish in there and will have plenty of hiding places.

You could keep him in the 10 gal at school, but you would have to have some way of feeding him twice a day(and probably 3 times a day on friday and monday) and be able to feed him over breaks. Water quality would probably suffer in such a small tank as well.

 

BTW get a female mandarin. They aren't imported as frequently as males, but it's worth the extra effort to get one. They are smaller so they eat less pods and they're a million times easier to train.

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My little guy loves anything he can look at for a while then pick at lol. I use the dinner method because the flow in my tank usually makes things move to fast for him to actually get a good look at it before giving it a taste.

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