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Simone's Mandarin Manor (Fusion 20) - Moving Madness


Simone

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9/19/14 - I started this journey with a Nuvo 8 that I called the Mandarin Motel because it was a temporary home for my spotted mandarin pair. I have now upgraded to the Fusion 20 which I named the Mandarin Manor.

 

 

fish & inverts:

spotted mandarin pair Olive and Donovan

blue stripe pipefish Twiggy

tail spot blenny Hippo

pom pom crab

hermit crabs

nassarius snails

 

coral and gorgonians:
· zoas & palys
· GSP
· mushrooms
· many photosynthetic gorgonians
· spiral/wire coral
· golden torch

· green hammer

· ricordea florida

· purple cespitularia

· yellow frilly sponges

· Australian mini scoly

· pink goni

· sympodium

· blue encrusting photosynthetic sponge

· Fijian sea fan red with white polyps (melithaea sp.)

 

equipment:

IM Fusion 20

Sicce 1.5 return pump

Nanobox Mini Tide ( will be getting a Duo)

Cobalt Neotherm heater 100w

IM Ghost protein skimmer (Pico Skim 2 ordered)

IM media reactor

 

filtration:

skimmer

reactor with Phosguard and Rox carbon

Purigen

filter floss and Poly Filter

Seachem Matrix biomedia

chaeto

live rock and Mini Reef Flakes sand

 

tank plans:

fill the tank with awesome corals but still leave some negative space

upgrade light and skimmer

seahorses!!!

 

 

Here is the original post for the Mandarin Motel:

 

I'm a newbie working to create a captivating little tropical microcosm in the coziness of my own home. I started this tank in September of 2013 but I have given it a make-over in the past month in terms of the equipment, aquascape and inhabitants. I currently have a pair of juvenile mandarins in this tank. This situation is temporary, well informed, and cautiously executed so please don’t make nasty comments, especially if you don’t want to take the time to read the whole story below. I will be getting a larger tank very soon (thus calling the tank a motel); I have just graduated from nursing school and am looking for work so I want to wait until I move to upgrade.

 

Please see the next post below for the full story on the make-over and the mandarins. All kindly expressed comments and advice are welcome and appreciated.

 

 

betayastanktoshop.jpg

 

IMG_0546.jpg

 


current equipment
· IM Nuvo 8 gallon
· Nanobox Mini Tide with custom mounting arm
· inTank media basket with filter floss, Rox carbon, Poly filter, Seachem Matrix, Phosguard, and Purigen
· IM Ghost protein skimmer
· Neo Therm 50W heater

aquascape
· BRS Florida dry rock plus small pieces cured live rock
· Carib Sea Arag-alive sand

inhabitants
· juvenile spotted mandarin female, Olive, frozen trained and healthy, had her more than 8 months

· juvenile spotted mandarin male, not yet named, frozen trained and gaining weight, had him 3 weeks

· tail spot blenny, Hippo
· 3 scarlet leg hermit crabs

· various snails

coral and gorgonians
· zoas & palys
· GSP
· mushrooms
· many photosynthetic gorgonians
· spiral/wire coral
· golden torch

· green hammer

· blueberry gorgonian: snagged as a freebie at LFS as it was a small piece that broke off of a larger one, yes I realize how difficult these are to keep, have had it for about a month, we will see if it survives

· purple cespitularia

· yellow frilly sponges

· Australian mini scoly

 

front left view

 

IMG_0558.jpg

 

front right view

 

IMG_0557-1.jpg

 

left side view

 

IMG_0583.jpg

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The Makeover

This tank was very much inspired by Polarcollision’s TOTM-winning Nuvo 8; I was/am so impressed with what she was able to achieve in such a small tank. As a total novice, I made some choices when I started this tank that I wanted to change as I gained some experience, so I decided to do a tank make-over.

 

I removed a media reactor several weeks before the make-over to make room for a skimmer to compensate for the high bio-load and maintain stability during the transition. I originally had several large piece of rock glued into one that dominated the tank which I grew to dislike so I broke it up, removed a bunch, and added small new pieces of cured live rock. I like the tank so much more now that I have some negative space. I then rearranged my corals and added a bunch of photosynthetic gorgonians which I think add a lot of movement, color, and depth to the tank. I had originally had only the return pump for water movement but added a tiny Tunze universal mini pump behind a rock at the back of the tank to give some flow for the gorgonians; it seems to be adequate as they are getting great polyp extension. Future plans include expanding my tiny zoa garden and adding more corals to the tall rock.

 

Before

IMG_0497.jpg

 

After

betayastanktoshop.jpg

 

The Mandarins

I have had my little juvenile female spotted mandarin Olive in the tank for about 8 months and she has been doing very well; she eats a variety of frozen foods with gusto, is a healthy weight, and has grown in size. I had a baby clown for awhile but he was gobbling up so much of Olive’s food that I decided to find him a new home. My tail spot blenny Hippo is still in the tank, I intended to move him when I got the male mandarin but they all seem to be fine in the tank together, so I’m still deciding what to do about him.

 

I really wanted a male mandarin to pair with Olive and debated the issue for a long time, doing research and asking members who keep mandarins for their advice. Matt Pedersen successfully kept 6 dragonets in a 24 gallon tank and had a friend who kept a spawning pair in a 10 gallon so I thought keeping two juveniles in an 8 gallon temporarily could work. Tamberav cautioned me that if they didn’t get along there would be no space in the tank for them to get away from each other. Kat suggested that I should give it a try and just make sure I could take him back to the LFS if it didn’t work out. I was also not 100% sure that Olive was female, but after looking at many pictures, I felt confident enough to try it.

 

I was able to get a male who was already eating frozen from my awesome LFS so I brought him home a placed him in a clear acrylic breeder box inside the tank for the purposes of training (to ensure he was eating well) and to see how the two would interact. Olive immediately approached the box and started interacting with the male, following and observing him closely and then curving her body towards him and the male reciprocated. I was so excited! This continued without any signs of aggression at all. In a few days I felt confident enough that they had started to establish a pair bond and that the male was eating adequately to free him into the tank. For a few minutes they seemed to ignore each other as the male checked out the tank and then they started following each other around and that was that, never a sign of aggression even when they eat right next to each other, and they spend a lot of time together especially when the tank isn’t fully lit. I can’t believe my luck, fingers crossed that this continues. The male is still thin but clearly gaining weight and eating frozen well from the rock and substrate as well as in a little acrylic box I am using for a diner. Having trouble choosing a name, open to suggestions.

 

mandarin pair swimming together

IMG_0520.jpg

IMG_0521.jpg

IMG_0522.jpg

 

male eating from diner

IMG_0532.jpg

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Snow_Phoenix

This is very nice! I have a male spotted mandarin that's been with me for almost a year and has been weaned onto frozen. He adapted to 3 tank moves - 12G to 30G to (present) 15G and shares the tank with a baby Galaxy Clarkii Clownfish, a Truncatus Anthias and a YCG. I debated on getting him a female Spotted Mandarin. Even though my tank has a healthy pod population due to the display macro I have, I still shy away from the idea since I'm worried about them fighting more than anything.

 

But I guess I could try it with your method - watch how they interact through the breeder box and such.

 

Love your tank's new scape btw. Those gorgs look gorgeous. :)

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Very nice! Really like the new scape too. I think more negative scape looks a bit better in the cubes since they're, well, cube-ish shaped. Looks more open. Great story on the mandys, hope it all works out! Maybe I missed it above, but what size tank are you looking at as the "final" stage for them?

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This is very nice! I have a male spotted mandarin that's been with me for almost a year and has been weaned onto frozen. He adapted to 3 tank moves - 12G to 30G to (present) 15G and shares the tank with a baby Galaxy Clarkii Clownfish, a Truncatus Anthias and a YCG. I debated on getting him a female Spotted Mandarin. Even though my tank has a healthy pod population due to the display macro I have, I still shy away from the idea since I'm worried about them fighting more than anything.

 

But I guess I could try it with your method - watch how they interact through the breeder box and such.

 

Love your tank's new scape btw. Those gorgs look gorgeous. :)

 

Thank you, Shadowlurker! Yeah I'm not sure how common it is for a pair to get along like this, I just hope it lasts. I also wonder if it matters which fish you add first, the male or the female. I had my female first and thought maybe that helped because perhaps she was less territorial and didn't worry about him as a competitor for food because she knows there is plenty.

 

Very nice! Really like the new scape too. I think more negative scape looks a bit better in the cubes since they're, well, cube-ish shaped. Looks more open. Great story on the mandys, hope it all works out! Maybe I missed it above, but what size tank are you looking at as the "final" stage for them?

 

Thanks! I think you're right about the cubes, it's better aesthetically if they aren't filled to the brim with rock. I am planning a longish shallow tank around 30 gallons with a sump/refugium. I'd like to have my current fish plus a pair of ruby red dragonets and a pair of pipefish. Ocean Rider has tank-bred banded pipefish that eat frozen mysis and I am hoping to get some of those.

 

http://seahorse.com/shop/Banded-Pipe-Fish.html

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OMG Does that boy have a heart shaped marking on the top of his head?! You gotta name him Cassanova. Luvr Boy. Mister Love. Don Juan. :lol:

 

Looks very good, they like each other which is fabulous. fingerscrossed

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Polarcollision

Loving the new direction of your tank! The dragons are so cute together, too. If I had the energy for another tank, it would be exactly what you're doing here, plus seahorses. Can't wait to see more updates and maybe even a movie of the little guys! FWIW, I kept a small clown, TSB and clown goby in the 8 gallon. Never any nutrient or territorial issues. Since the mandarins live mostly along the sand and the TSB takes a rock, I would think they should all be fine together for you too.

 

While I wait for SPS to grow, I've been thinking up a system to automate a BBS hatchery. One of the lasts posts over on my 24g thread has the details. 'Cause realistically it isn't a whole lot of fun to be tied to the tank every day hatching brine shrimp for pipefish backup food, right?

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OMG Does that boy have a heart shaped marking on the top of his head?! You gotta name him Cassanova. Luvr Boy. Mister Love. Don Juan. :lol:

 

Looks very good, they like each other which is fabulous. fingerscrossed

 

Thanks Kat! :happydance: Yes, it does look like a heart, I didn't realize that before, so cute. Appreciate the name suggestions :)

 

Nice tank. After eels mandarins are one of my favorite fish.

 

Yeah mandys are my favorites right now, such cute mannerisms and behavior.

 

I love garden eels too, but don't think I'll ever get them due to the crazy requirements.

 

I mean who can resist this face?

 

http://s732.photobucket.com/user/Betaya/media/Internet%20Photos/303368238_4a98d7e922.jpg.html'>303368238_4a98d7e922.jpg

 

...clearly not this clown

 

http://s732.photobucket.com/user/Betaya/media/Internet%20Photos/tumblr_lvytzyO1Qp1qdkjypo1_500.jpg.html'>tumblr_lvytzyO1Qp1qdkjypo1_500.jpg

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Dr.Brain Coral

Hah that's cute. There's a good advanced aquarist article about garden eels. They aren't to bad to take care off I'm pretty sure. As long as you have deep sand.

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Beautiful tank! I had to bookmark that pipefish website. I am planning on a pair at some point as well and can't say no to captive bred ones!

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Loving the new direction of your tank! The dragons are so cute together, too. If I had the energy for another tank, it would be exactly what you're doing here, plus seahorses. Can't wait to see more updates and maybe even a movie of the little guys! FWIW, I kept a small clown, TSB and clown goby in the 8 gallon. Never any nutrient or territorial issues. Since the mandarins live mostly along the sand and the TSB takes a rock, I would think they should all be fine together for you too.

 

While I wait for SPS to grow, I've been thinking up a system to automate a BBS hatchery. One of the lasts posts over on my 24g thread has the details. 'Cause realistically it isn't a whole lot of fun to be tied to the tank every day hatching brine shrimp for pipefish backup food, right?

 

Thank you Polar! :D

 

Yes, I'd love to get seahorses too!

 

I have a movie of when the male was first let out into the tank and I'll make some more so stay tuned.

 

The automated BBS hatchery sounds awesome I'll check it out. I don't think I'm up for doing the hatching myself everyday, I'm tied to the tank enough already lol.

 

Your tank is developing beautifully BTW, looks much more mature than it is.

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I think by and large this site's community has gotten over the reflexive "NO MANDARINS IN LESS THAN A BERJILLION GALLON TANK" edict. Plenty of folks here and others have debunked that bit of regurgitated dogma. Is as easy as just hucking in the fish and letting it graze for all of it nutritional requirements? Nope.

 

Admittedly 7-8 gallons (of actual water) is a bit on the small side but if the fish are happy and you've got a plan beyond "hope they never grow", kudos for pulling it off with such style! I think in another thread on here in the last day I said a breeding pair probably wouldn't be viable in an evolve 8 or smaller. Cool, now my experience's time-to-obsolescence can happen within a 24 hour period. ;)

 

IMO you've done an excellent job of selecting livestock that will tolerate or even thrive in a tank with your mandarins. The gorgonian forest, especially. The frequent bath of small-particulate food that a feeding mandarin will blow around must have them loving life if the pictures are any indication.

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Hah that's cute. There's a good advanced aquarist article about garden eels. They aren't to bad to take care off I'm pretty sure. As long as you have deep sand.

 

From what I've read the other issue is creating a gyre-like flow pattern to circulate food past them so that they can grab it from their burrows.

 

Beautiful tank! I had to bookmark that pipefish website. I am planning on a pair at some point as well and can't say no to captive bred ones!

 

Thanks Tamberav!

 

I think by and large this site's community has gotten over the reflexive "NO MANDARINS IN LESS THAN A BERJILLION GALLON TANK" edict. Plenty of folks here and others have debunked that bit of regurgitated dogma. Is as easy as just hucking in the fish and letting it graze for all of it nutritional requirements? Nope.

 

Admittedly 7-8 gallons (of actual water) is a bit on the small side but if the fish are happy and you've got a plan beyond "hope they never grow", kudos for pulling it off with such style! I think in another thread on here in the last day I said a breeding pair probably wouldn't be viable in an evolve 8 or smaller. Cool, now my experience's time-to-obsolescence can happen within a 24 hour period. ;)

 

IMO you've done an excellent job of selecting livestock that will tolerate or even thrive in a tank with your mandarins. The gorgonian forest, especially. The frequent bath of small-particulate food that a feeding mandarin will blow around must have them loving life if the pictures are any indication.

 

Thank you BulkRate! Yes, I think the gorgs and mandarins work well together; everything that doesn't get eaten by the other inhabitants gets circulated and gobbled up by the gorgs when the pumps turn back on. Hopefully I will see some growth from the gorgs as a result.

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It is so gratifying to get feedback from people whose tanks I admire. I was scared to post about my tank for a long time because I was afraid of being judged but now I'm so glad I finally decided to take the time to document and share my tank.

 

Here is a video of the male mandarin getting released into the tank, not a terribly eventful video but figured I'd share anyway. It's not a great quality video and please excuse the micro bubbles, the skimmer was still breaking in. The video also show a beautiful light blue maxima clam that has since died :tears:

 

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Here is another video, a funny one that was taken several weeks ago when my male mandarin was still quite thin. The star of the video though is Hippo, my tail spot blenny who managed to get a piece of food attached to the top of his head and kept chasing it around trying to eat it.

 

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I love your tank!

 

That's the look I'm going for in my 30 long but I'm not quite there yet, I made the mistake of getting a few 'nano' gorgs so I need to get some more full size ones. Where did you get yours?

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I love your tank!

 

That's the look I'm going for in my 30 long but I'm not quite there yet, I made the mistake of getting a few 'nano' gorgs so I need to get some more full size ones. Where did you get yours?

 

Thanks! All but one of the gorgs are from KP Aquatics, some are the nano size and some the full size. The spiral coral is from one of my LFS here in the SF Bay, Aquatic Collection in Hayward, I believe they sell on Ebay as well.

 

Very cool!

 

Thank you!

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FishyFishy11

Beautiful tank! One of the best looking nuvo set-ups I've seen so far. Do you have the ghost skimmer in one of the back chambers? I didn't know they'd fit...

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