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Sjlawgirl

In-tank pod condo?

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I have a 20L nano reef tank and am about to add a captive bred mandarin.  I do not have a sump/fuge and will not be adding one.  Can an in-tank (DIY of either a drilled acrylic box or a created box from plastic canvas both with LR inside) pod condo be enough to self-sustain a nano tank or would it be better to just have a small (2.5 gallon) pod tank set up and add them at will? Or should I do both... I have a green clown goby, exquisite purple firefish and a bangaii cardinal in the DT already.  Hoping the mandarin will truly be eating prepared/frozen foods but want a pod supply too just in case.

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Tagging along to this as I would like to know. A mandarin goby is one of the fish I would love to get but don’t want to because of the live food feeding. 

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While I have no experience with actually owning a Mandarin, I also wanted one and did very extensive research on what it would take.  The in-tank pod condo would not be enough to continuously seed the tank, and the 2.5 gallon pod condo may be too small as well, unless you have them breeding at a crazy rapid pace.  You should contact who you planned on buying it from, and try and have the purchase pending on whether it eats frozen or not.  If they agree, you can buy the fish, buy pods, have your condos, and try and get the mandy eating frozen.  if you can't by the time the pods are depleted (like 1-2 weeks)  return the fish.

 

20l +2.5gal would not produce enough pods to sustain the mandarin without it eating frozen.

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My vote is no to either being reliable. Keep in mind, cultures crash too. Pod condos are something people used to try but fell out of favor... they don't work well or we would all just add a pod condo and have mandys.

 

It also should be noted there are many reports of the captive bred ones being very very tiny and not taking most prepared foods right away so you need pods ready when it arrives until it can be weaned back onto foods. 

 

Have you thought about turning the entire tank into a pod breeding machine? Heavy feeding (for the pods) and a lot of display macroalgae?

 

I did this and kept 6 dragonetts in a 29g very very fat. I emulated Matt Petersons Biocube breeding set-up from Coral Magazine and found it very successful. I figured emulating the needs for spawning fish is the absolute best I could offer them.

 

Photoshop unfortunately ate a lot of my photos and ruined mine and many other threads.

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For a mandarin, that would be a very small area for pod population growth to feed the mandarin

 

 

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Are the mentioned alterations capable of self sustaining a mandarin in a 20l? NO.  But they certainly are good starting points.

Are we talking a Biota captive bred Mandarin? If yes, expect it to take 3-5 months before it really starts accepting food offerings in an amount that can SUPPLEMENT its growth, not a main food source.  If you do buy one get some pods from AlgaeBarn before/when it arrives and afterwards as well, be prepared to overfeed frozen/pellets at the detriment of other things to compensate for the needs of your Mandy(especially during the training process).  Excess food is good for the pods though.  Hopefully you have high quality LR like pukani as the pods will thrive like a pod hotel right in the rock structure this way.  Consider getting a hang on back refugium if you are serious about redesigning your current system to be more proper long term.  Do you see pods currently? How long has the tank been set up?  If you are willing to do research and alter your tank to suit its needs, and have the funds to buy it live food then maybe a Mandarin could be right for you.

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/388519-rey-the-biota-mandarin-pellet-trained/

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Regardless if a the Mandarin eats pods or Frozen it doesn't change the amount the fish eats. The Mandarin eats consistently almost non stop throughout the day, so we say Establish a colony of pods to consistently feed them. Then I see so many threads with people stating to get one that eats frozen as if the fish finds it likes Mysis, that 1 or 2 feedings becomes enough to fill it up for that day. The reality is, even if it eats frozen are you going to continuously stand in front of the tank following the fish around all day with food?

 

You will need more like a 10 Gallon tank for culturing copepods, and remember it will be your best and cheapest option to begin culturing phytoplankton to sustain your pod population as well. I would work on getting the culturing part down first before taking on the Mandarin, when you have that down keep several dollar tree shower lufas in with the pods, and rotate them from the pod tank to the display tank every day or two shaking them out, then putting it back in the pod tank.

 

I personally wish this particular fish would be removed from trade, the truth is most of these fish are dead within 2 years regardless eating frozen or not, as its just not realistic for its owner to keep up with its feeding demands for any sort of extensive period and most simply starve to death in the home aquarium. A Nano tank would honestly be the last place i would even consider trying to take on a Mandarin, but it sounds like your mind is set, so good luck!

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I have a Biota mandarin from LiveAquaria. It’s true they are super tiny when you get them and you have to be prepared to put a TON of time and money into their care, especially if you have a nano. I added a refugium in the back chamber of my tank, added a rubble pile in the back corner of my display tank, I hatch brine shrimp, and I culture copepods now for my little guy Finnick.

 

I just tried to post a video, but I’m not sure how to do that here; it says it’s not the right format. Here’s a picture:

 

E251B9F5-EE23-409A-8605-5763691B308C.png

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Thanks for replies!  I already culture phytoplankton and am about to start culturing brine.  I think I will get a 10 gallon for pod culture and use the 2.5 gallon for brine.  My bangaii will only eat frozen or live and LOVES chasing the guppy fry I give him for a snack (and before you lose your mind over freshwater fish being fed to saltwater fish...relax.  These are saltwater guppies!  Yeah...they DO exist).  Yes, the mandarin is a captive bred biota.  I did drill holes into an acrylic box to use as a pod condo so I guess I will do both the culture tank and condo and see how it goes.  I like the loofah idea and will def use that in the culture tank.

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If you're in the New England area, Colchester Pet sells captive bred mandarins that eat flakes.  I hear you should still supplement with pods, but I imagine this cuts way down on the amount of pods needed.

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Thanks but I'm in California. My biota fish arrived today. I'm not too worried about it. Whatever happens, happens as far as if it eats frozen/prepared or not.  If it ends up only eating live then so be it.  I think it will be fine as long as I have a pod-only tank and brine hatcheries and keep them going. 

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Good luck! Don’t worry too much if your tiny little guy goes to hide behind a rock for a while and sits very still at first... I was worried about mine, but he was fine by the next morning. 

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On 5/18/2018 at 2:42 PM, Sjlawgirl said:

Thanks but I'm in California. My biota fish arrived today. I'm not too worried about it. Whatever happens, happens as far as if it eats frozen/prepared or not.  If it ends up only eating live then so be it.  I think it will be fine as long as I have a pod-only tank and brine hatcheries and keep them going. 

How’s your new addition settling in?

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I *think* it's doing ok.  Once drip acclimated, it "flew" into the rock behind my stylophora.  Day 1-never to be seen other than a bit of color using a flashlight.  Day 2-came to edge of rock but still mostly hidden by a tiny piece of hair algae.  Pretty much in the same spot since.  I have used a pipette to directly place pods and some frozen Cyclops behind the coral-just in case-but I can't even tell if what I'm looking at is the head or tail.  It really IS tiny!!!  No more than an inch IF that.  It's definitely still alive but doesn't seem to go anywhere or move unless made to.  (today is day 4)

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3 hours ago, Sjlawgirl said:

I *think* it's doing ok.  Once drip acclimated, it "flew" into the rock behind my stylophora.  Day 1-never to be seen other than a bit of color using a flashlight.  Day 2-came to edge of rock but still mostly hidden by a tiny piece of hair algae.  Pretty much in the same spot since.  I have used a pipette to directly place pods and some frozen Cyclops behind the coral-just in case-but I can't even tell if what I'm looking at is the head or tail.  It really IS tiny!!!  No more than an inch IF that.  It's definitely still alive but doesn't seem to go anywhere or move unless made to.  (today is day 4)

Yeah, that sounds like what my little guy did at first too. I was so worried at first and tried so may food and feeding options. I’ll post more details this evening, but my little guy likes copepods, fresh hatched baby brine shrimp, and tiny pellet food that I sprinkle on the water and crush some up with my fingers into a fine powder and sprinkle... he swims around the surface hoovering up the mix of all three things like a tiny cute vacuum. 

image.jpg

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So, when I first got my little guy about 7 weeks ago, I was prepared to try anything to feed him. I added pods to my tank, tried to use a glass jar with a small opening for him to swim into, and tried to make a baby brine shrimp feeder.

 

I started hatching baby brine shrimp, culturing copepods, and bought tons of different types of foods to try. The main issue is that their mouths are so tiny when you get them; they don’t seem to be able to eat all the things you might hope for. In the beginning, I had the most success target feeding frozen baby brine shrimp, in the area near the bottom of my tank where he liked to hang out the most.

 

As time went on, he seemed to become more at ease, and I discovered that when I sprinkled whole and crushed tiny pellets onto the surface with the pump and MP10 off when the blue lights were on, copepods were attracted to the food, and Finnick started swimming up to the surface to feed. Not sure if he was going for the pods, or the pellets, or both, but he started  swimming around up there with my other fish. So now I sometimes add some pods, newly hatched brine shrimp, frozen, or flake (in addition to always giving some of the pellets), and he swims up there every time (as long as the white lights and pump are off). I do often turn on the MP10 (with the pump still off) for part of the feeding time, to swirl the food around, and he usually remains at the surface for that. 

 

My little guy seems to be growing well, hopefully this will continue. I think these captive bred Biota mandarins seem like they may be more assertive feeders... it will be interesting to see how successful they are as more people gain experience raising them!

 

Would love to see pics of your little one, if you are able to get a decent shot. Also, is it a male or female?

 

I just figured out how to post a video on YouTube so I could post this:

 

 

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Wow!  Thanks for all that info.  My little guy came out from the rock last night!!  I thought it was a patch of old detritus or algae I missed and was gonna suck it up at first.  Once I realized what it was, I figured it was dead.  Nope!  It's alive! It's hanging out on the sand behind some main rock so I can't get the best view yet and it's just TOO small that I can't see any detail and thus, can't tell if male or female.  I really need a magnifying glass for real!  I have some 100 and 300 micron food coming tomorrow but for now I have been dropping in some sinking tadpole pellets (had a dwarf frog once upon a time...).  If it doesn't like them the crabs do so....

 

I need to be super careful using the siphon because honestly, I would have sucked that thing up and flushed it without even noticing and wondered the rest of my life what happened to it. :eek:  Will update.  BEAUTIFUL tank by the way!

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7 hours ago, Sjlawgirl said:

Wow!  Thanks for all that info.  My little guy came out from the rock last night!!  I thought it was a patch of old detritus or algae I missed and was gonna suck it up at first.  Once I realized what it was, I figured it was dead.  Nope!  It's alive! It's hanging out on the sand behind some main rock so I can't get the best view yet and it's just TOO small that I can't see any detail and thus, can't tell if male or female.  I really need a magnifying glass for real!  I have some 100 and 300 micron food coming tomorrow but for now I have been dropping in some sinking tadpole pellets (had a dwarf frog once upon a time...).  If it doesn't like them the crabs do so....

 

I need to be super careful using the siphon because honestly, I would have sucked that thing up and flushed it without even noticing and wondered the rest of my life what happened to it. :eek:  Will update.  BEAUTIFUL tank by the way!

Oh my gosh, yes they are so itty bitty, but they do grow pretty fast. Frozen baby brine shrimp and fresh hatched baby brine shrimp are good options... I recommend checking out the Shrimpery, along with additional brine shrimp eggs. I get the eggs from a local chain and they are very inexpensive and one vial makes tons of batches. 

 

San Francisco Bay Brand ASF66170 Brine Shrimp Shrimpery Baby Fish and Reef Tanks https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006OOO7V4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_i_r5JbBbNNKMMPT

San Francisco Bay Brand ASF65031 Brine Shrimp Eggs Vial for Baby Fish and Reef Tanks, 6 grams, 1 Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007PGPLXS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_i_b7JbBbD2GA8SX

 

And thanks about my tank, It’s still very very new so I have to watch over it closely as I adjust my feeding and maintenance routines to take care of these precious creatures. 🙂

8894034F-7C78-4C9D-B681-9211A1FC2AE5.jpeg

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Here it is next a trochus snail who is bigger than the fish! I hope it starts swimming soon. It just sits there moving very little.

20180524_175621.jpg

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36 minutes ago, Sjlawgirl said:

Here it is next a trochus snail who is bigger than the fish! I hope it starts swimming soon. It just sits there moving very little.

20180524_175621.jpg

Awww so small! Maybe try to turn off your pump and circulation and squirt a little frozen baby brine shrimp close by? 

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On 5/17/2018 at 9:14 AM, Exodus said:

Regardless if a the Mandarin eats pods or Frozen it doesn't change the amount the fish eats. The Mandarin eats consistently almost non stop throughout the day, so we say Establish a colony of pods to consistently feed them. Then I see so many threads with people stating to get one that eats frozen as if the fish finds it likes Mysis, that 1 or 2 feedings becomes enough to fill it up for that day. The reality is, even if it eats frozen are you going to continuously stand in front of the tank following the fish around all day with food?

 

You will need more like a 10 Gallon tank for culturing copepods, and remember it will be your best and cheapest option to begin culturing phytoplankton to sustain your pod population as well. I would work on getting the culturing part down first before taking on the Mandarin, when you have that down keep several dollar tree shower lufas in with the pods, and rotate them from the pod tank to the display tank every day or two shaking them out, then putting it back in the pod tank.

 

I personally wish this particular fish would be removed from trade, the truth is most of these fish are dead within 2 years regardless eating frozen or not, as its just not realistic for its owner to keep up with its feeding demands for any sort of extensive period and most simply starve to death in the home aquarium. A Nano tank would honestly be the last place i would even consider trying to take on a Mandarin, but it sounds like your mind is set, so good luck!

I disagree, respectively of course. I’ve had my mandarin for 1.5 years now in a 14g biocube and he is extremely healthy.   He was wild caught and I had to train and work with him to eat frozen and pellets but I did it. He eats whole mysis shrimp, pellets, roe, cyclopods etc. I feed once a day in the evening for all fish, and this has been working just fine. Yes he still picks at pods on the rocks during the day, but his nutritional requirements are definitely being sustained/satisfied with my current feeding routine. Not sure you can compare a mandarin needing to eat tiny pods all day to one eating 2-3 decent pieces of mysis and pellets....

   Regardless I do agree that research should be done on all potential livestock before making a purchase. And close monitoring of livestock should be continued until you know they are thriving. It would be a shame if this fish was removed from the trade, as this single fish has probably inspired many people to get into this wonderful hobby. With that being said, we as the hobbyists should take responsibility as above and make sure we provide the best environment for our animals, with a back up plan in place in case it doesn’t work out.

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On 5/24/2018 at 8:58 PM, Reefaddiction said:

I disagree, respectively of course. I’ve had my mandarin for 1.5 years now in a 14g biocube and he is extremely healthy.   He was wild caught and I had to train and work with him to eat frozen and pellets but I did it. He eats whole mysis shrimp, pellets, roe, cyclopods etc. I feed once a day in the evening for all fish, and this has been working just fine. Yes he still picks at pods on the rocks during the day, but his nutritional requirements are definitely being sustained/satisfied with my current feeding routine. Not sure you can compare a mandarin needing to eat tiny pods all day to one eating 2-3 decent pieces of mysis and pellets....

   Regardless I do agree that research should be done on all potential livestock before making a purchase. And close monitoring of livestock should be continued until you know they are thriving. It would be a shame if this fish was removed from the trade, as this single fish has probably inspired many people to get into this wonderful hobby. With that being said, we as the hobbyists should take responsibility as above and make sure we provide the best environment for our animals, with a back up plan in place in case it doesn’t work out.

 

1.5 years is a fairly short timeline imo. I am not sure if you are suggesting a few mysis is = to pods. This whole post seems a bit misleading to new people.

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9 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

 

1.5 years is a fairly short timeline imo. I am not sure if you are suggesting a few mysis is = to pods. This whole post seems a bit misleading to new people.

Thanks for not posting earlier. I just bought three for my ten gallon!

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4 hours ago, Tamberav said:

 

1.5 years is a fairly short timeline imo. I am not sure if you are suggesting a few mysis is = to pods. This whole post seems a bit misleading to new people.

 You are certainly entitled to your own opinion. Not sure in what sense you find my post misleading. By no means am I promoting or encouraging people to go out and put mandarins in nano tanks. People will do this regardless of what I or others say. I simply wanted to share my story with those who are considering buying a mandarin. It is possible to keep them in nano tanks but it requires a significant amount of time and attention and it is a very difficult thing to do. I’m not encouraging it but wanting people to be aware of what it entails.

   1.5 years for a mandarin in a nano means that what I am doing is working. There is definitely a difference in a mandarin just eating pods and one that predominantly eats prepared foods with pods as supplement. I use a small tuft of chaeto behind my rockwork as a pod condo to help with this.

    If you read my prior posts I have always warned people to do extensive research before putting anything in their tanks, especially mandarins in nanos. The point of my post is that yes it can be done if your fish is taking prepared foods and if you can keep up a decent pod population in your tank. 

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