mandarin goby long term success

jedheuer

New member
How to achieve success with the mandarin gody long term? Specifically nutritional requirements? I have an eating target mandarin but many say that he still needs pod food from the LR which he picks at all day. My question is how to know if he is remaining healthy and getting the nutrition he needs? If he is eating brine shrimp and staying fat will he just keel over dead one day because he is not getting proper nutrition even though he is consuming a lot of protein calories? What are peoples thoughts and experiences?

Thanks.
 

MattL

New member
Brine shrimp has no nutritional value, unless it has been enriched.

A 40gal without pod supplementation (through either a refugium or constant culturing of pods outside the tank) is likely far too small to keep a mandarin dragonette alive long term, even if he is taking prepared foods.

I suggest the Mandarin primer stickied at the top of the forum.

Matt:cool:
 

jedheuer

New member
Thanks Matt.

I have thoroughly gone over the mandarin primer but I was still unclear as to why mandarins fail even when they are eating. I do have a refugium to supplement pods as well.

Would soaking the brine shrimp in a vitamin help? Also a technique I am trying is keeping a bunch of live rock in a 20 gallon, and swapping it out with some pieces in the display tank. The mandarin grazes the pods and then I return it to the 20 gallon to become repopulated. Hopefully that will help as well.
 

MattL

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14153568#post14153568 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jedheuer
Thanks Matt.

I have thoroughly gone over the mandarin primer but I was still unclear as to why mandarins fail even when they are eating. I do have a refugium to supplement pods as well.

Would soaking the brine shrimp in a vitamin help? Also a technique I am trying is keeping a bunch of live rock in a 20 gallon, and swapping it out with some pieces in the display tank. The mandarin grazes the pods and then I return it to the 20 gallon to become repopulated. Hopefully that will help as well.
Well, the refugium will go a long way to helping you achieve long-term success if the pod population therein is thriving. You may want to consider feeding the refugium or dosing cultured pods if you feel the numbers aren't high enough.

I am also sure an enhanced brine shrimp would be far better than just frozen brine. I believe Hikari sells a vitamin enriched frozen brine.

But Mandarins are difficult fish to keep long-term. From my experience, most failures are due to a lack of being able to graze on their natural food source constantly throughout the day. That means they need access to their food source free from competition of other fish (Wrasse, etc), and they need it constantly (not periodically, as with feeding).

Matt:cool:
 

Sitarangi

New member
I've kept my spotted mandarin in a 29g and recently moved him to a 46g tall. Hes fat as a pig. I made him a 'pod bottle' in my 29g. It was a water bottle full of cheato and tiny LR with some holes poked in the top. I hid behind my rocks in the DT. In my 46g he keeps fat by eating bristle worms. He eats pellets and frozen mysis, but I know that doesn't do much to stimulate it's diet. I've had him since july and hes doing great.
 

Sitarangi

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14154539#post14154539 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by snorvich
Actually, mandarins do not eat bristle worms. Matt is correct in his answers.

I remember reading somewhere is they'll go after the very tiny ones. If im wrong, then I don't know what my mandarin is snacking on to keep him so plump. I have about 50-60 pounds of FLR and TLR in my tank as well as lots and lots of amphlipods. Also I have no other predators of pods in my tanks, no wrasses and the such.

Jedhuer, Just watch your dragonet and take pictures of him and observe his weight. If you notice him getting skinnier id get rid of him ASAP. Watch him, he should be nipping something every 10-20 seconds in the rocks.
 

davocean

New member
I also agree w/ Matt.
Many get stoked to see their mandarin eating prepd food, and that is a plus, but IMO they need constant grazing of pods.
Observation is great, but more times than not, once you notice they look skinny, it's usually too late.
While keeping them alive in a small tank CAN be done, it's a matter of how much time/money you're willing to invest.
FWIW I had one in a 90g years ago w/ about 150lbs LR(no fuge) and it depleted the pod population and starved.
 

MattL

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14155147#post14155147 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Sitarangi
I remember reading somewhere is they'll go after the very tiny ones...
They do not. I wish they did -- they'd be easier to keep.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14155147#post14155147 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Sitarangi
If im wrong, then I don't know what my mandarin is snacking on to keep him so plump.
It is good that he is not skinny. He is probably eating pods and the prepared foods you feed him.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14155147#post14155147 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Sitarangi
I have about 50-60 pounds of FLR and TLR in my tank as well as lots and lots of amphlipods. Also I have no other predators of pods in my tanks, no wrasses and the such.
That is a good start, but that is way too little LR to sustain him long term without any other measures.

When we talk about long-term success with Mandarins, we're talking years. You are doing good so far (although the tank is too small), but you will probably need to actively start supplementing pods.

As you noted above, you have had him since July. But these fish can live years, and they typically starve to death over a period of months in captivity. When people say they have success with a Mandarin, they usually talk about having one last 2 years, as it also usually takes them several months to deplete a pod population. So not to be a downer, but keeping one for 6 months is not considered a success (or a failure).
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14155147#post14155147 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Sitarangi
Jedhuer, Just watch your dragonet and take pictures of him and observe his weight. If you notice him getting skinnier id get rid of him ASAP. Watch him, he should be nipping something every 10-20 seconds in the rocks.
Strangely, I do not recommend this practice. By the time you can observe emaciation, a lot of damage is done, and it is an uphill battle to correct.

In your case, I would suggest adding an active refugium of decent size and dosing with cultured pods. The refugium will also help with your high bioload.

Matt:cool:
 

jedheuer

New member
Great info Matt and others...

I understand the need for pods for mandarins and understand that one could starve if pods where its only food supply, but I fail to understand how one could starve if it is scarfing brine shrimp. Would it be the same equivalent of me going on an all donuts diet or something like that (i.e. food with little nutrients). Eventually the mandarin would be devoid of nutritious food and croak with a belly full of brine shrimp?
 

Sitarangi

New member
i think (emphasis on the think) that they eat copepods and tiny amphlipods. I still run a BW filter on my tank and its full of the little buggers so sometimes I dump the filter pads in the tank and see him go after the little buggers.
 

snorvich

Team RC member
Team RC
Brine shrimp roughly equates to cotton candy for humans. Again, the fact that they eat mysis or brine shrimp is nice but irrelevant. In the LONG run, it is the supply of copepods that will determine success. Matt's advice is excellent. This topic comes up frequently and while there are anecdotal stories of "success" until they have supported these fish for years it is not really all that valuable.
 

viodea

New member
I've heard the tank have to be established for at least 6 months to a year with lots of pods to be able to keep Mandarins. I don't think this help at all. Every tank is different. I bet there are tanks are established but still don't have enough pods due to various reason.
I'm still unable to get a firm answer on what kind of sign I can look for to tell a tank is ready or not. Some say when you see pods everywhere but what everywhere means to one may not be the same as others.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
I've long considered mandys one of the easiest to keep (no worries holiday feeding, no diseases, no fighting, no problems)---I just don't lose them. I'm keeping both a mandy and a scooter blenny healthy in a 54, with a 20g fuge.

Re your question, Viodea, the signs are: at minimum1 lb per gallon porous rock in your main tank, a sandbed in both fuge and tank, and a ball of cheato roughly the size of a basketball, with more live rock in the fuge as well as the main tank. Pods generallly come in with the cheato, and will thrive and breed rapidly in this environment. I would add: no sponges, filters, or filter socks in the system. They trap pods. A pod can handily survive a trip through an Iwaki pump (one of the more violent) and make multiple trips through your system. Mine are pumped 15 feet up to the tank, and probably cycle a few dozen times before a fish gets it. As soon as pods appear in the main tank (usually early) and IF you set up such a fuge, then I would think you are ready: the tank has shown it is viable for pods, and your cheato purchase has brought in no few. They will start breeding in your fuge and will keep ahead of the mandy from then on.

You can tell how well a mandy is eating by how many 'hits' or 'pecks' per minute they make at the rock. They should be rewarded several times a minute.
 
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backej1

New member
I've got a nice fat mandarin that only eats pods only. He's in my 450 gallon tank that has a 150 fuge. He's been doing great for almost 2 years.
 

viodea

New member
I have porous rocks in my main tank but less than 1lb/gal for sure. I want to keep a open aquascape. I have a 40gal sump with 1/3 as a fuge with a chaeto. I don't see too many pods there... maybe too small to see. I can see some tiny creatures (assuming pods) on my sand bed and some rocks but not as many as when I had hair algae problem.
I thought pods usually hangs inside the chaeto or on the sand bed, how does it goes from there to the pump? I don't see any in the water column at all. I still having trouble understand how pods make their way up.
 

davocean

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14159223#post14159223 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by viodea
what kind of pod do they eat? copepod? amphipod?

While copepods are their main diet, they do eat amphipods as well.
You'll see them peck at copepods, but when they hit the larger amphipods, it's cool to see cause there is a bit of a wrestling match getting the whole thing down it's mouth.
In my 180g I had a pair that were so healthy they actually started the mating dance at night and spawning, very cool to see.
A fuge w/ lots of chaeto is a must have IMO, and for best success keep from having fish that compete for pods such as wrasses.
 

jedheuer

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14161259#post14161259 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by davocean

A fuge w/ lots of chaeto is a must have IMO, and for best success keep from having fish that compete for pods such as wrasses.

Do you think chaeto in a fuge supports pods better than live rock? I was thinking of scaling back my chaeto and putting in more live rock but maybe not now if chaeto is as good or better pod support system.
 

davocean

New member
Chaeto seems to be a great food source, LR gives the nooks to hide and also has growth/food, so my answer for best succes is to have both.
I had a nice basketball size clump of chaeto, and a buch of LR rubble.
I also had rubble pod piles tucked in behind rocks in display.
The key IMO is for them to have both food and sanctuary to be able to reproduce w/out predation.
 
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