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Mandarin Compatibility FAQs 

Related FAQs: Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins& their Relatives 1, Mandarins, Mandarins 3Mandarin Identification, Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Disease/HealthMandarin Reproduction

Related Articles: Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins, real Gobies & their Relatives,

Lots of live substrate, rock... yesssss. Here's a Synchiropus ocellatus in Nuka Hiva. 

With stinging celled life? Not too stinging, not too crowded... not anemones... may get eaten

Mandarin Dragonet Tank Mates      8/27/13
Hello, and thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.
Currently, I have a Coralife Biocube 29, which is home to one Maroon Clown,
<Mmm, this species of Clownfish gets too big for this setting... better to use a smaller one like Ocellaris, Percula>
and one Mandarin Dragonet (female, I believe).  I have approx. 35lbs of live rock, and 20lbs of live sand.  I purchased the Mandarin against my better judgment, because she tilted her head at me -
 the whole reason I say “against my better judgment” is because I swore I’d never get one, due to the fatality rate.
<Actually; not too high; likely middling for marines nowayears>
 However, knowing the fatality rate, and knowing I had a surplus of pods in my existing tank that she would decimate IF she lived, I toted my Mandarin, and two bottles of Tigger Pods, a bottle of Artic-pods, and a huge dose of determination home, and began the process of making “fish soup” with every single type of fish food I had in my house, and started massively overfeeding my tank, and sitting there, magnifying glass in hand, with the pumps turned off.  Determination has finally paid off!  I have a Mandarin that eats frozen food! 
<Ah good>
Her belly is no longer sunken, and is starting to round out nicely.  Her fins have all grown back, her color is beautiful, and I’m hoping I’ve beaten the odds - I still supplement the tank with pods every 4-6 weeks, and overfeed the tank (twice a day), which leaves me doing 10% weekly water changes out of sheer paranoia.  :D
That said - I’m in the process of also setting up a 55 gallon FOWLR tank, and would prefer to leave the Mandarin in the Biocube, and turn it in to a reef tank.  What I can’t seem to find, are any fish that won’t compete with her for food, that aren’t too territorial, and that are willing to just hang out in the water column.
<Look to the Gasterosteiforms... Seahorses, Pipefishes; Apogonids (some species)... Cardinals... there are others>
Do you have any suitable tank mate recommendations that won’t stress my little Mandy, that are also reef safe?
<Oh yes>
 Or, does the possibility exist that she may “teach” a male to eat frozen, if I were to attempt a second one, and just have a pair in this tank?
<Oh; this as well; yes>
Anything you can offer will be greatly appreciated!  I bow to your infinite wisdom.  :D
<I wouldn't bow too far. Cheers! Bob Fenner>
Re: Mandarin Dragonet Tank Mates    8/28/13

Good to know I was at least on the right track - was looking at Pajama Cardinals, or Banggai  Cardinals.  Pipefish, I assumed were out, because everything I've read says 50 gallon tanks.  Would one cardinal and one pipefish have the potential to work out if I just stay with the one mandarin?
<A mate for the Mandarin would be my first choice... maybe w/ a pair of smaller species seahorses, and/or just one Banggai>
 (Not sure I want to tempt the fates twice, as every person I know has failed to get even one to eat frozen).  The clown will be rehomed.
She was my first fish, and has kind of taken the mandarin under her fin for some reason.
Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Red Mandarin and Papuan (or Blue Spot) Toby Puffer Compatibility     4/25/13
Good Day!
I have quick question on compatibility.  Long story short, we have a Red Mandarin Dragonet - we have had great success with this guy in our very young tank.  He has taken to target feeding Nutramar Ova, Arctipods, and frozen Mysis shrimp (on occasion) and we some how happened to get a good run of pods in our 2 month old tank.  The tank is a 30 gal biocube and
with about 25/30 lbs of live rock with lots of places for pods, as well as about 20 lbs of live sand.  My wife has fallen in love with the Papuan and Blue Spot / Jewel Toby puffer and, everything that we have found says they are compatible. 
<Mmm, Canthigasterines/Sharpnose puffers, are biters...>
These are the only fish that would be in the tank and I just want to make sure that they would be a good match.
<They are not>
 The Mandarin is male, about 3 inches long.  My main worry is fin nipping, but I'm not sure if there is anything else to worry about.  Should we hold off on the puffer until we get our big 75 gal tank up and running and can move the Mandarin or do you think we should be ok?
Thanks for you time,
<I would hold off. You want more peaceful choices here. Bob Fenner>

Suitable for a Mandarin? Sys., comp.      8/21/12
Hello Crew,
I've always admired the mandarin fish, but have shied away from getting one based on what I've read about it's particular needs.  Now that my tank has been running for over two years, and I have a very large pod population I am revisiting the idea of adding a mandarin, but wanted to get your expert, conscientious advice.
Display Tank: 90 gallons
Sand:  fine grade, about 4 - 4.5  inches deep
Live rock:  large amount, probably 1/5 of tank space, with lots of nooks and crannies
Sump:  approx 35 gallons, with live rock in all 3 partitions of sump
Refugium:  18 gallons (part of sump), fishless, with a deep sandbed (6 inches),
live rock, and Chaeto
Notable/Relevant Equipment:
Skimmer:  Bubble King 180
Phosphate Reactor (2 little fishies, w/Phosban)
LED lighting
1 Yellow Eye Kole Tang
1 Foxface Rabbitfish
1 Midas Blenny
1 Mystery Wrasse
<Mmm, this>
1 Red lined Wrasse (Halichoeres biocellatus)
1 Indigo Dottyback
<And this fish may cause the Mandarin some harassment/trouble. Just keep your eyes on... the Callionymid is slimy, unpalatable, so many erstwhile antagonists learn to leave them alone>
2 Ocellaris Clownfish (breeding pair)
couple hermits and snails
Mixed LPS and SPS, gorgonian, 4 rock flower anemones (3 red ones, my favorites),
2 clams
Water Chemistry:
Temp:  79.7F
Salinity:  1.025 - 1.026
PH: 8.05 - 8.25
dKH:  8.0 - 10.0
Calcium:  430
<Mg? I take it w/in ratio>
Phosphate:  0.0 ppm per Hanna test kit
Nitrate: 0
There's quiet a bit of pod diversity, but dominated by Mysis shrimp.  When the lights go out, the DT is crawling with Mysis everywhere you look,
seems like millions of them.  Bristleworms, mini sea stars, amphipods, copepods are also present.  The clown fish babies also provide a meal from time to time.  In the day time you don't see as much but they're obviously there.  One of the concerns I've read is about wrasses out-competing mandarins, but the mystery wrasse only seems to eat whatever I put in the tank (ferociously).  I do see the red-lined wrasse pick through the rocks, though, so I suspect that would be the mandarins main competitor.  None of the other fish seem interested in pods. 
So do you think this is an environment a mandarin could do well in? 
<I give you very good odds of success here>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Suitable for a Mandarin?    8/22/12

Mr. Fenner,
Thanks for the response!  I think I will give it a shot, and add a green mandarin.  I'm not too worried about the indigo Dottyback, he's pretty small and at the bottom of the tank's pecking order.  He pretty much keeps to himself in a
small area in the rocks. 
<Ah, hopefully a tank-bred/reared specimen... much easier-going. B>

Mandarin Goby, env., comp.     4/5/12
I have a question about a Mandarin Dragonet. I have a 29 gallon Bio Cube mixed reef aquarium.
<Not an ideal home for a Dragonet.>
 I have had it running for approximately two years. I have approximately 40 lbs of live rock. Specific gravity 1.025 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 0 Calcium 450 Alkalinity 10 DKH. I have a refugium in the back with Chaetomorpha. I have an 8 year old Clownfish,
<This could be a problem. Species?>

 Blood Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp and Cleaner Shrimp. Several months ago I was interested in keeping a Mandarin Goby. I started culturing copepods in several Tupperware containers.
<Good job on starting a culture ahead of time.>
 I was able to collect several hundred a week. I had a Six Line Wrasse in the aquarium but gave him to a friend a couple weeks before I got the Mandarin.
<Smart move re-homing the Wrasse. It would have been difficult to provide ample pods for the Dragonet with the Wrasse in the tank.>
The Mandarin has always been very active and gained plenty of weight since I got him. He did have small white marks on his fins but after reading I thought it was debris from sand.
<Most likely sand.>

Yesterday when I got home from work his rear fin had been damaged as well as his left fin. Today when I got home from work he was struggling to swim and eventually died. I truly don't believe it to be from starvation; he was quite fat. His stomach did not appear to be shrunken.
< Starvation will take weeks and it's easy to spot an underfed Mandarin.
Stomach would be severely pinched if it had starved. Frayed fins are a sign of an attack.>
 The Clownfish is semi territorial of one spot in the tank but the Mandarin didn't go near it.
<How can you be certain?  One or two quick attacks from a mature female Clown could easily kill a Mandarin.>
 I don't know what happened. I am wondering if you have any ideas?
<My money is on the Clownfish.>
 Is it maybe disease ? Is it dietary?
<Not likely.>
I'm totally lost he looked so healthy a few days ago. I still have my copepod cultures but I'm not going to buy another Mandarin if he is also going to die. I am just wondering if this is human error or if the Mandarin was perhaps sick?
<An eight year old Clown is going to claim a large portion of a 29 gallon bio-cube. It was only a matter of time before the Mandarin ventured into the danger zone. I would remove the established Clown before adding any new fish.>
Thank you very much
<Quite welcome, Jordan>
Re: Mandarin Goby 4/5/12

Hello Again
Thank you very much for your advice. I don't have the heart to remove the Clownfish he was the first fish I bought.
<Understandable. Smaller Gobies such as- Gobiosoma sp., Elacatinus sp.- should go unnoticed.>
 I will just have to wait him out.
Thanks again

mandarin's together    11/22/11
As far as I can see online, a green mandarin goby (dragonet) isn't compatible living with a spotted one, but my LFS has them together in a small tank, he said the only issue was with competition for Pods, and
as long as one of them was ORA or both were,
<Well... more likely to be easier going if cultured vs. wild-collected>
they could get along fine together, seeing that everything online i have seen says other wise i am thinking he just has a weird couple, or is this actually normal?
<And much more likely to get along if only one is male, or both female. Bob Fenner>

Re: Semilarvatus Pair - UPDATE and New Question <Mandarin addn.>   7/2/10
Bob -
Thanks again for the great advice. These two instantly became best friends again when they got to the display tank.
<As I presumed>
After some initial harassment by the B/Fs and tangs already in the tank, they are now quite happy in their new home and get along great with their tankmates.
<Ah, good>
Separate question... Your article on Mandarins recommends a tank of at least 100g, assuming there are no food competitors like B/Fs. My setup is a 220g display with 300lbs LR and LR rubble, AquaC EV240 skimmer,
Ozotech 300mg Ozonizer and a 36*14 refugium (with miracle mud, Gracilaria and Ulva). I don't have any fish that would bother a Mandarin. However, I do have 4 B/Fs (the 2 Goldens, a Raffles and a Doublesaddle) that would compete for food. The B/Fs get 4 feedings per day (mostly Spectrum pellets with an occasional frozen option for
variety) and all 4 eat like pigs. Do you think my setup is big enough to support a Mandarin with 4 B/Fs, given that the B/Fs get plenty of supplemental feedings?
<Likely so>
I found a Mandarin that's been at a dealer for a few weeks (supported by a refugium!) that looks to be in great shape, so I'm quite comfortable skipping QT as recommended in your article and FAQs.
<Thank you for this update. BobF>

Copperband and Mandarin Compatibility -- 03/20/10
Hi WWM Crew,
<<Greetings Steve>>
I looked over your web site and could not find a specific answer to my question, so here goes. First off, my set up (main tank) is a 120g Oceanic with dual over flows down to my 55g refugium. The main tank has about 4" sand bed CaribSea and 140# Vanuatu LR, lighting is 150 W MH/T5 and blue and white LED. The system has been up for 1 yr now with no issues. The fuge has about 6" sand bed crushed coral and about 100# LR, also housed is my UV/skimmer/200w heater/500gph return pump. The tank is along side a common wall to my garage, so I plumbed all PVC through the wall and into the garage where the refugium is located.
<<Ah, nice'¦having room to easily access the peripherals sure makes maintenance of these easier (I have to get on my knees and work in the very cramped confines below my in-wall system'¦but I digress [grin])>>
Water parameters are perfect, no detection of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/SG 1.024/79F with heat controlled chiller.
Livestock from beginning of setup: 1 blue tang/1 yellow tang/1 mandarin/2 Anthias
<<The Anthiines are haremic'¦generally groups of three or more are suggested>>
/7 green Chromis/1 clown/1 Pseudochromis/1 neon goby/1 Naso tang
<<This many Tangs; and particularly the 'Blue' and Naso, are going to need bigger quarters to avoid health/social issues further down the road>>
/1 cleaner shrimp/1 peppermint shrimp. The tank has various corals doing quite well along the arches I created with the rock.
I have no anemones.
The tank is thriving with many little creatures/stars and many others that have come out of the rock and that I believe the Mandarin eats.
<<Mmm'¦probably not as diverse a palate as you think. If you watch the Mandarin feed you will notice it likes to 'study' its prey before consuming. As such, any 'fast movers' are in little danger. Harpacticoid Copepods are a favorite'¦along with other benthic organisms slow and/or small enough to catch>>
I never see him eat,
but all fish including him are very healthy and round not skinny.
I feed frozen mixtures (Mysis/emerald entree/pellet/flake etc.).
<<The only thing here the Mandarin 'might' eat would be the frozen Mysis'¦but you should see it doing so if it is. Even in a system as large as yours, and supported by the plankton-producing refugium, it is not unusual for these fish to slowly starve if they won't accept supplemental feedings. But perhaps'¦in this case yours is finding enough natural fare>>
The question: will a Copperband butterfly (if introduced) compete with the food the Mandarin consumes?
<<Not to a large extent directly, in my experience. The Copperband will prefer larger fare like adult Mysis and other similar sized crustaceans (pods) as well as worms too large for the Mandarin (to sometimes include small Bristleworms, and any Feather Dusters you might have). The tiny Harpacticoid Copepods will not be in danger from the Copperband, but its predation on the adults of the other species mentioned may well impact the availability of enough 'juvenile' specimens to supplement the Mandarin's diet. And like the Mandarin, if the Copperband can't find enough natural food stuffs (unlikely to do so in the long term), and doesn't accept supplemental feedings (many don't), it too will slowly starve>>
Do they eat the same food?
<<Generally not direct competitors for the natural are available'¦but may impact indirectly as described (as do the Pseudochromis and Goby, already)>>
I'm worried that the Copperband will starve my mandarin.
<<I can't say if the Copperband will 'tip the balance' here re the availability of sufficient food organisms for the Mandarin. But I do think you are at good risk of tipping the balance of the entire system with this addition. As stated, I think you are already 'overstocked' re the Tangs>>
I want him to help with Aiptasia control as well as aesthetics.
<<Newly introduced specimens will often do so at first (but even then only 'small' Aiptasia are usually preferred). But most will eventually stop actively preying upon these pest anemones in captivity. Better to directly attack the problem in my opinion'¦and Aiptasia-x from Red Sea does a great job here. The product is effective (but still no panacea) and very easy to use as 'injection' is not required. Even if you do decide to get the Copperband (hopefully only after thinning out those Tangs [e.g. -- Naso]), I very much suggest you treat as many pest anemones as you can with the Aiptasia-x prior to its introduction to help it in its battle (assuming it even shows interest re)'¦don't worry, there will still be plenty you miss/little ones springing up>>
Thank you,
Steve S.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Scooter blenny/ mandarin pale swimming in circles breathing heavy   12/7/09
Hi thank you for your help ahead of time. I reference your site all the time it is a wonderful source. I have scoured the pages and can not find anything like my issue.
<Let's see>
I have a 2 year old 30 gallon mixed reef mainly soft coral and two LPSs a frogspawn an a galaxea.
<Yikes-ville! The last two alone are "super stinging"... really need about a foot about them of "DMZ/No person's land">
Only mentioning them because of there stinging ability.
<Ahh, I see you are aware>
I have a hang on back fuge on my tank with 3 inches of sand crumbled live rock and some Chaetomorpha macro. It is only 1 gallon it is mainly for breeding amphipods. My tank has about 35lbs of live rock and about 20
lbs of live sand. A Coralife super skimmer 65, a penguin 150 BioWheel running carbon for mechanical filtration. A maxi jet 1200 and 400 power heads.
Readings are spg 1.022,
<Too low... I'd keep the density of water NSW, 1.025-26>
ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5 temp 79 ph 8.3
I keep a tomato clown, a algae blenny, scooter blenny/mandarin, and a short finned fuzzy dwarf lionfish. I know its a high bio-load and a odd choice of fish to house together but I do a 5 gallon a week water change and my
nitrates never go over 5 ppm. Everything besides the scooter have been together for over a year and a half now.
<Can be done>
I received this scooter blenny about 4 months ago from a friend who had a tank crash and had to get rid of him fast. I don't believe in keeping mandarins at all because they all seem to die untimely deaths in captivity.
IMO best left to the wild. That and I don't believe my tank was sufficient size for it.
So my problem is my scooter who is nice and fat was always active and eating copepods Has defiantly
<And likely definitely>
grown while in my tank. Was found this morning a very pale color just sitting rather still and seemed to be breathing heavy. I found this odd right away because he never stops moving. I checked all my water params and showed the readings mentioned above.
<Mmm, no other fishes showing dire signs of stress I take it>
So I assumed he would be dead soon just by his actions. All the reading I have done about them this seems to be a common sign of impending death. I get home later in the day to find he has his color back, is still breathing heavy but now he is swimming in clockwise circles at the bottom of the tank and occasionally moving to a different spot. Not doing his normal eating routine at all. Again I checked everything still the same?
<Got me>
So I am curious if there is a chance he could have been stung by the dwarf lion or is this a mal-nutrient effect or maybe just the end of his life cycle?
<Likely is "summat he et" as they say in scenes of the "olde S.E. U.S.... or a brush with some of the stinging life here>
I have scoured your site and the internet and can not seem to find any reference to scooters doing the circle thing. Only things I find are loss of color and no movement.
Thank you for your time I hope you can offer some insight to what is going on here.
<Thank you for sharing Nate. I do hope Santa or one his surrogates is bringing you another, larger system. Your life here needs it. Bob Fenner>

Green mandarin, chewed    12/7/09
Hi there I have a 75 gal reef tank 30 gallon sump 6 months old. It has 3 PJ cardinals, 5 chromis, 1 yellow tang, 2 cleaner shrimp. When I started my tank I seed the live sand from three tanks. From 15 feet
away you could see pod shells in the tank they were big.
I decided to get a green mandarin (*tank was 6 month old).he was doing well within hours hunting for pods and a little elusive. Day two he looked great .had a bit of sand on his tail but hey he wanders on the bottom sometimes. Day three he seemed to be missing some of the flesh between the bones in his tail kept an eye on him.
<Eaten, beaten. Needs to be removed, STAT!>
Day four all the flesh was gone off his tail and had a with spot which appeared to be a missing piece of skin, it was white. I put him in the sump and he lasted another 12 hours. I wanted to get an other but wondered if you have
seen or heard of this before. I will add a couple of pictures. Thanks for reading Paul
<What's that saying? With a twang like Jeff, the Dude's alter-ego:
"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you"... Summat has chewed this Mandarin to bits... could be your "pods"... I would not place another Callionymid here. Bob Fenner>

Scooter Blenny stomping over mushroom corals 7/10/2009
Hi Crew,
<Hi there, Mich here.>
I have a 400 gallon custom aquarium
<Ooo! I'm jealous!>
that I have just populated with a scooter blenny. The fish is crawling all over the rocks with mushroom corals
on them and even knocked one off.
Is this continuous stomping over my mushroom coral going to be harmful to the corals in the long run?
<I wouldn't be too concerned about harm to the mushrooms... Is what these fish do. I'm more concerned about how the mushroom might defend itself.
Depending on the type of mushroom, your blenny could very well end up as a tasty treat for the mushroom!>
Thank You.

Re: Scooter Blenny stomping over mushroom corals con't from 7/11/2009 7/25/09
I certainly don't want my fish to become food,
<Me neither!>
and I'll keep a good eye on the blenny though it's usually somewhere in my live rock forest.
I do have a question about my blue devil damsel that decided to swim headfirst into a large power head.
The grid that kept the fish out somehow broke and I'm guessing there was a chuck of food in the powerhead and it went in to get it. Now the bottom lip of the fish is detached but still connected on the two sides.
It looks like a blue line between the top and bottom of its mouth. How do I prevent this fish from dying?
<A very good question.>
It's in a small 5 gallon hospital tank right now, gasping at the top of the water.
<Not a good sign.>
I don't expect the fish to be the same afterwards but will it survive this incident?
<Well, a bit of time has passed. I'm hoping that your fish has survived, but I would not be surprised if it did not. I apologize for my delayed response. I was out of the country and am just catching up.>
Also, should I use medication as an preemptive strike against infections?
<I would focus on keeping your water quality as high as possible.>
Thank You.

Mandarin Compatibility - already doomed? 6/4/09
Thanks so much for offering your time. I've spent hours reading www and have learned a ton.
Obviously not enough though because I think I just messed up in my fish selection.
<Let's see.>
I've had a 30g reef tank for 10 years and just upgraded to a 130g tank.
My 130g also has a sump and a small refugium.
I was hoping this would be my chance to get and sustain a Mandarin Dragonet.
When I stocked the 130g with live rock I looked (and found) the most porous, lightweight rock (about 140 pounds) I could find and am very pleased with what I got. There should be lots of places for copepods to hide and reproduce.
I've also read up on copepod culturing (just in case) and am considering getting a plankton reactor to feed the pods (and other filter feeders) in the tank with the phyto in hopes the pods really will take off.
<Could, but may not be necessary.>
As far as stocking goes I moved my pair of tank raised ocellaris clowns into the 130g and turned my 30g into my quarantine tank.
I am currently quarantining 4 Pajama Cardinals in there.
That completes my fish list until my tank is ready to house a Mandarin so the total fish population for the 130g was supposed to be:
2 ocellaris clowns
4 pajama cardinals
1 or 2 mandarin dragonets
<A blissfully light stocking level, should work out nicely.>
I just finished reading B. Fenner's book and realized that the cardinals may very well be after the copepods too (as are the clowns).
<Most fish will if the opportunity presents itself, however as long as it is not their sole food source you should be fine. Are the cardinals taking prepared foods?>
What do you think? I was looking for herbivores but haven't found any 'gentle' herbivores. All of the ones I considered seemed to be very territorial. And all of the omnivores/carnivores seem to eat pods!
<I think you have good chances here.>
So even with a stocking list as short as mine, have I reached pod production limits?
<I don't think so, every tank is different but the odds are in your favor.>
Thanks in advance,

Re: Mandarin Compatibility - already doomed? 6/5/09
Thanks so much for the fast (and encouraging!) response.
As for the question in regards to the cardinals: They don't seem to like my Spectrum pellets but they do eat frozen food and Cyclop-eeze wafers so the pods would not be their only food source.
Have a great weekend,
<I think you are in good shape here.>

Re: NovAqua dechlorinator question... actually Copepod culture, Mandarin fdg., comp....   12/11/08 Hello to whomever gets my questions today (and I am sorry in advance as there are many). My questions are listed numerically below: 1) I currently have a 125 gallon FOWLR and am planning a 175 gallon reef. My wife did not give me permission to buy the new tank yet, so I have many months of research until I can annoy her enough to let me get one. <Mmm, worthwhile ploy to try> Anyway, in that new 175 reef, I intend to get a Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) or a Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus). I realize these guys need A LOT of copepods. My question is can I just buy A LOT of copepods for the Mandarin rather than reproduce them? <You could, but...> 2) If I can buy copepods, how many do I need to introduce daily (or weekly) to sustain him. <Depends on the species of Copepods employed, what else is eating them...> 3) I realize that I can just reproduce copepods in the live rock or in a refugium, but I would still need to buy them in order to introduce them to my tank. So, my question is can't copepods (as all living things) introduce diseases into the tank? <Mmm, strictly speaking/writing, yes... but in actual practice this is exceedingly rare... These crustaceans are raised in exacting conditions... sans fish/hosts that would harbor parasites> Should I (can I) quarantine them (this sounds incredibly silly, I know). Is this a reason not to introduce them on a daily/weekly basis to feed the Mandarin? <No need to quarantine... though I'd just grow these in a large, tied-in refugium with a good deal of Live Rock, a DSB... macroalgal culture there...> 4) Can I add 2 Mandarins to a tank? Will 2 males fight - even in a 175? Would there be sufficient food? If not, I go back to my earlier question of introducing more copepods daily/weekly. Could this work? <Yes, maybe, likely, uh huh> 5) Can I also introduce a scooter blenny (Synchiropus ocellatus) into the mix? Does a scooter blenny also feed exclusively on copepods? <Can, and can live on some types of Copepods... see the Net, even WWM (!?) re this group....> 6) Would a Mandarin be compatible with a Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosus) or a Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) or would either Angelfish be too aggressive for the docile Mandarin? <Both/either would very likely work out fine here> 7) I also plan on keeping corals (I have not done my research yet, so I can't tell you which ones, but I don't want to limit my options, so I am considering SPS, LPS, softies...). But generally, can you tell me if the Mandarin can get along with all corals (or vice-versa) and if not, which types of corals are off limits? <Some... e.g. Catalaphyllia, might ingest the fish> 8) I also have a question regarding my FOWLR tank. As mentioned above, it is a 125 gallon. The inhabitants are a 2" Rectangle Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus), a 2.5" Purple Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis porphyreus) (I know, the trigger might eventually eat it), a 3" Tomato Clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus), and a 4" Imperator Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) (I will upgrade the tank eventually). I also plan on getting a 3" puffer (have not decided which one yet) and a 5-6" Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) (Yes, I will upgrade the tank in the future). My question is can I add a 5-6" Yellow Goatfish to the mix or is the Goatfish too docile for the above fish? <Would likely get along... but all need more room... soon> 9) Last question, I promise. Do you recommend wearing gloves when sticking my hands into the aquarium (to clean, move rocks, etc.)? If so, what kind of gloves? It's just that I always worry that some residue from my hands will harm or kill my fish (I wash my hands with plain water before touching the aquarium, but I still worry that there might be soap residue somewhere on my hands). <Long-length gloves, and keeping ones arms out entirely (using tongs, other tools) is recommended... as is washing, rinsing ones hands, arms entirely right ahead of sticking them in a system> Thank you so much for your help. I hope you don't blacklist me for asking too many questions. <In future, please cluster questions per subject category... much easier to refer you (do see WWM re Copepods/culture, Mandarins period...), post for others use... Bob Fenner>

Mandarins and Frogspawn/Hammer coral 11/9/08 Hello. <Hello, Jessy here> Thanks for providing such a great site. I have been searching for awhile, and cannot seem to find any information about mandarin compatibility with frogspawn and hammer corals. I know that these corals can send out long stinging tentacles, especially at night, and I know that mandarins and anemones do not go well together as they can easily be stung or consumed.  I have a 110 gallon tall tank with refugium. I have a pair of mandarins (have had for almost a year and are doing great), and I would like to add a frogspawn or hammer coral or both to the tank (partly for aesthetics and partly for my clownfish). Would this be okay or would I be risking death for the mandarins? Thank you for your time. <I have a very large frogspawn and a very fat and happy mandarin. There won't be any issues between the two.> Jocelyn <Jessy>

Chromis feeding  7/3/08 Hi guys and gals I have 135 g tank with 100lbs of live rock. Tank is about 8 yrs old. I am thinking of buying 5 chromis. For fish I currently have a yellow tang, Foxface Rabbitfish, royal Gramma, clarkii, and a mandarin dragonet. My question is this: Will the 5 Bluegreen chromis deplete the population of copods for my mandarin? <Mmm, not likely... they spend most all the time near the surface... the copepods et al. that Callionymids are interested in are at, in, near the bottom> I am feeding phyto and see copods on the glass all the time. I just love that little guy and would hate to add fish that would be detrimental to him. I checked your FAQ's but couldn't find this answer. Thanks so much for supplying this service. When I get on here I just read ( and learn) for hours. Cindy
<Good. BobF>

Mandarin dragonet Fin bleached... comp. f'    2/6/08 Hello, I have a problem with my Mandarin. On his front fins he is beginning to get a bleached out look. <I see this> He still seems to move around the aquarium and do his thing but his fins look horrible. It is as if they are rotting, but all of my searches that do with mandarins and fin rot turn up nothing similar to what my pictures portray. Do you know what this is and how to treat it? <Have seen... likely a decolorizing trend due to stress, nutritional deficiency...> I have hat him for one month now. I have had my aquarium set up for four months. I do not think it is out of food because I can still see copods jumping on the rocks. <These copepods may not "have nutritional value" here> It is a 90 gallon reef. With the Mandarin I have a yellow head pearly jaw fish, five blue green chromis, a yellow tang, two false percula clown fish and two cleaner shrimp. I also have a lot of snails and three hermit crabs (only three because those are the three I am not able to catch.... yet). For corals I have a frogspawn and an acropora. <Oh! The Euphyllia may have "stung" this fish...> I also have a bubble tip anemone. <Or this... may consume this Callionymid one night> Last week (1/25) I got the clowns and the anemone. That is when I noticed the problem with the fins. Sat (2/5) I did a 15 gallon water change. I have a SeaChem test and it reads 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite 0 nitrate. The salinity is 1.025. Temp is 79-80. Ph is between 8.2 and 8.3. I hope I have given you enough information to help me with this. Attached are a few pictures to help illustrate the problem. Thank you, David <The greater possibility is that this Dragonet was stung... will likely heal (or be consumed)... I would move either the two stinging celled animals or the Psychedelic "Goby"... Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility... Labrids and Mandarins  01/13/2008 I would appreciate your thoughts on compatibility. <<Andrew here>> In my 90 that I have had running for nearly 4 years, I already have a Yellow Watchman, a Dragon Goby, and a Neon Blue Goby. I'd like to add a Clown Fairy (solorensis) wrasse. I enjoy wrasses and would consider adding a second type of wrasse. When having multiple wrasses, is it best to avoid keeping those of the same genus, in this case, add anything but another Cirrhilabrus? <<A very nice fish indeed. You can add multiple female fairy wrasse's, but stick to one male. Follow this link for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm >> Another fish I'd like to keep is the mandarin. Would there be compatibility issues with a mandarin, the wrasses, and the gobies I currently have? <<No, I don't see any issues there. The main issue with a mandarin is excellent water quality and a vast amount of copepods. As your tank has been running for 4 years, I would certainly say that your system should have a great amount of pods apparent. These of course, can always be bolstered up by purchasing pods from a supplier>> Thanks for your advice. <<Thank you for the questions, A Nixon>>

Missing Mandarin… Once Was Lost But Now Is Found... comp.   10/2/07 Good afternoon Crew! <Hi Luvebug, Mich here!> I hope everyone is well. <A bit of a sore throat here today.> I unfortunately am missing my Mandarin Goby that I have had for about 8 months. <I see you found in your follow up email.> The tank is 40 Gal.., which I know is small for a Mandarin Goby, but he has done extremely well since we got him. There is about 40 lbs. of live rock, the tank has been established for close to 5 years, <Excellent.> and I often buy coral or polyp frags with lots of copepods for food as well as the things that grow in the tank anyway, and he will also eat the Mysis shrimp the other fish eat, so I don't think he starved to death. <Good, is a painful way to die.> ( The other fish being a Scooter Blenny, Pajama Cardinal, Maroon Clown, Magenta Gramma, snails, Hermits, a large Anemone, <These frequently eat fish, particularly slow perchers like Mandarinfish.> a Bubble Coral <These can also eat fish, again particularly slow perchers such as Mandarinfish.> and a Pink and yellow Nudibranch. <Nudibranchs are generally not suited for captive care. They are often obligate feeders and may only survive if one specific food item is present. They are generally short lived and their death can bring about the death of everything else in the tank as some are highly toxic.> -So not all fish} Anyway, two days ago my boyfriend cleaned the tank and did a water change, and took out the plastic vegetation decorations, which he still has not put back. The last time we saw Mandarin was during the cleaning right before the water change, since then he is nowhere to be found! I've lifted up the largest coral with all the hiding spots and turned it around, looked underneath, etc. but he seems to have just disappeared. Usually he is very friendly out in the front of the tank with no cover, and water changes and cleanings don't bother him much, what could have happened? <Guess he/she made it into the filter somehow.> Thanks for the help, <Welcome, Mich>

Missing Mandarin… Once Was Lost But Now Is Found  10/2/07 Hello again everyone, <Hi Luvebug, Mich here.> Just wanted to say disregard my question about the mandarin goby. My stupid boy friend left the cover off the filter intake along with all the plants he left out, <Now, now, he did clean the tank...> so I found my little guy in the Fluval. What a way to make my day pleasant! <YAY!> At least I know I was caring for him properly. <I would be concerned about some of tank the tankmates as addressed in the previous email.> What a jerk! <Careful, you're not living up to your name... ;) Glad you found your little fish. Please consider some of the other potential problems this fish might encounter in you tank. Mich>

Blenny And Mandarin Dragonet Compatibility - 10/23/07 Good evening crew! <<Good morning Sebastian!>> Hello again Eric! <<Cheers mate!>> I hope you had a great weekend and this email finds you well. << Thank you...always have good weekends... >> Thanks again for all your help and patience through this process. <<Quite welcome>> I think having this reef tank has been a lesson in humility for me. I learn so much everyday and realize you can never know enough. <<Indeed>> Well, first, I freaked out about nothing with the Copper-Safe issue, no idea why that coral banded shrimp died, but nothing else did. <<Is very probable it simply died of "old age">> All corals and snails are doing great and re-encrusting and looking very nice. <<Excellent>> I finally reintroduced my remainder fish into the main display on Saturday night. The only survivors were my beloved purple tang, the black saddle back, and the pajama cardinal. These were the fish I was very attached to and I am happy they made it through. I treated for 3 weeks with Copper-Safe and then left another week in the quarantine tank. The main display was fishless for 4 weeks. <<Another two weeks would have been better but, we'll see...>> The fish look so nice and healthy now!! <<Yay!>> The tang looks almost like velvet, very rich dark purple almost shiny. Well, I decided to give a clam a try and so far it has been in the system for a week and it's doing great. Attached to a piece of rock and I inspected very meticulously and there were no Pyramidellid snails and such. It is great and colorful. <<Very nice>> My next question, I wanted to introduce more fish so I bought a .75" black saddleback to hopefully become a mate for my older one that is about 2 1/2", 2 skunk cleaner shrimps, and a Mandarin dragonet. I have close to 100 pounds of live rock with plenty of bugs in them since I often see miniature molted exoskeletons floating around and even see little crustaceans around the rocks and such. <<Let's hope it will be enough... Do try to interest/train this fish to frozen Mysis/reef plankton (soaked in Selcon) is possible>> He looks great and healthy but I am afraid to keep him in quarantine, what will he eat?? <<Indeed...this is one of those situations/species where it is best to place the fish directly in to the display tank>> Should I introduce him into my display? <<Yes>> I am so paranoid of adding anything in there without quarantine because of my encounter with ich. What do you recommend? <<Perform a 10-15 minute (shorter if the fish appears overly stressed) freshwater dip that is aerated and has been temperature and pH adjusted to the display. And just to mention - The freshwater dips (before and after) should also be a part of your regular quarantine procedure>> Also, I saw a Salarias fasciatus blenny, <<Are pugnacious and quite territorial towards fishes occupying the same habitat (substrate dwellers) or sharing the same feeding habits (algal grazers)...maybe not such a good addition with the Dragonet...and may even go after the Tang if food/space is in short supply. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeblensart.htm >> however, I have read he could hurt corals and clam? <<I don't consider "any" Blenny species as particularly reef safe, though blennies of this genus are likely more so>> What do you think? <<I would be inclined to reconsider>> Will he compete with the Mandarin for food? <<Shouldn't...but may not like the Mandarin nosing around as it searches for food>> Should I have just the mandarin and return the blenny? <<Is the safe choice>> I just want to make sure I am going on the side of caution and rather ask before hand rather than send one of those depressing "I screwed up" emails. <<Mmm, yes...but the research should be done "before the purchase">> Right now the blenny, Mandarin, and tiny clown are on quarantine. Thanks again for the help, I will be looking forward to your reply. Sebastian Nunez <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Anemone Stings a Mandarin - No Reading 10/07/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Jessica, Brenda here> Did a quick search but really don't have much time. <I'm sorry honey! I don't exactly have much time either. I'm watching my grandfather die, (for 34 days now and sleeping in a chair) my son is also in the hospital. I get about 3 hours a day away from the hospital in a 24 hour period, including my breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Yet I still manage to answer your question. I suggest you make more time.> My green mandarin was stung by my bulb tip anemone. I moved the mandarin <Mandarin> to QT seconds after. His colors are very faded and he looks a little puffy. <Please explain his habitat before the sting.> Is there a way to treat him before I lose him? <Time will tell if he will survive the sting. My guess is that the anemone was not its only problem.> I LOVE HIM!!!! Please help! I will continue research awaiting your response. <That would be a very wise choice!> Thank you Jessica <Brenda>

Re: Anemone Stings a Mandarin - No Reading 10/08/07 Sorry to hear you are having a horrible string of luck. Things will get better, they usually do. <I hope so! Thank you!> I did not mean I didn't have time to research, I mean I didn't have much time because the fish looked awful and lethargic! <It is a powerful sting. I myself have a few scars.> All water parameters are good, ammonia, phosphate, Nitrites, and Nitrates are all 0. My Mandarin, Kermit, was fine until he hopped onto the anemone. Big mistake! He is still alive and finally eating again as of this afternoon. <This is a very good sign. What size tank was Kermit in before the sting? How much live rock? How long has the tank been set up?> He has adjusted well to frozen brine shrimp. <Brine shrimp is not an adequate diet. It has little nutritional value unless it is newly hatched (less than 24 hours).> His colors are still a bit drab though. He is still in QT. I'm a little nervous to put him back in the display, maybe in a week or two. <I can understand not wanting to put him back. There is also no guarantee he won't surf the anemone again. Provide it some hiding places while in quarantine to reduce the stress. PVC works great.> I want him to get strong again. Is there something I can give him to aid him in his recovery? <Give it a more appropriate diet. More information available here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm As far as the anemone sting, there is nothing that you can do except provide an adequate environment and wait. Brenda>

Re: Anemone Stings a Mandarin - No Reading 10/08/07 Hi Brenda, <Hello Jessica> The main tank is a 55 gallon, 8 months established, approximately 65 lbs live rock, 3 inches aragonite sand, small hang in tank refugium. <Your system is a bit small and much too young to support the pod population this fish requires. You also need more live rock and a larger refugium for pods.> I dose the brine shrimp with Selcon before I feed the tank. <This is still not adequate. More information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm> What else can I give him for his diet? <Lots of pods! http://www.reed-mariculture.com/copepod/index.asp How is your pod population in the main tank? Is there any way of adding some Chaeto behind the rocks somewhere in the main tank? Often times there are local hobbyists trimming their Chaeto and offering it to others. Many times the Chaeto is loaded with pods. If you're not already in a local reef club, I suggest joining one. If you need help finding a local club, let me know, I can possibly find you one. Work on adding a larger refugium also.> I assumed the copepods in the tank and the shrimp would be adequate. <Copepods, yes! It is unlikely that an 8 month old tank with 65lbs of live rock is producing a large enough population of pods. Frozen brine shrimp is useless in my opinion.> The QT is only 10 gallon, no live rock, sand, just some PVC, small sponge filter, no lighting. Is he better off in the main tank? <Do not return him if he is still lethargic. Add some Chaeto with pods to the quarantine tank also.> He is eating, just looking a little drab and not as lively as usual. <He may be eating, but what he is getting is not sufficient. I like candy bars, but I certainly can't make a steady diet out of them.> Thanks for your response, and precious time. <You're Welcome! Brenda>

Dragonet Male, Female pairings   5/19/07 WWM, <Shawn>      I have had a Female Dragonet in my tank (140 gal) now for about a month. Yesterday I added  the male i <I....> purchased a few weeks ago. I do have a refugium that's been going strong for about 6 months plus i have about 130 to 140 pounds of live rock with plenty of copodes and amphipods. When i put the male in the tank the female went over to him and they started to show all there fins like they where about to fight. Then a few minutes latter they really started going at it the male was biting the female i got them apart and a few minutes latter they went at it again. It seems to me the male is going after the female but after they break up and go too different sides of the tank the female  seeks the male out i don't get it. Are they going to be ok after this or will the male continue to beat the female up ????? <No way to tell...> Should i have done something different when adding the male or could it have been that the male was under stress and hungry maybe didn't have enough food from the quarantine . I am 100 percent positive that the fish are not the same sex.          Thanks,           Shawn <I would separate these two... at least temporarily... leave the smaller specimen in place... re-try having them together, past lights out time, in about a week or two. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Compatibility - 3/28/07 HI there! <Hi, Carrie> I have a 150 gallon tank that has about 250 pounds of live rock.  100 of it is about 2 years and 100 about 4 years (came from someone's tank) and the tank has been up for 1.5 years (though I started in a 55 gallon over 2 years ago).   Anyhow, I have copepods the size of *** this, about that size, adult anyhow, but curved of course, teeming in the tank.  I purchased a male blue mandarin <Synchiropus splendidus> and he is in a  Qt/refugium that is loaded with copepods and has about 1 week to go or less.   <It sounds like he has a chance of doing well in a mature tank of that size with plenty of copepods.  If you also have a refugium to allow the 'pods to replenish themselves as he depletes them, that will also help.> Anyhoo, I wanted to get a female and then thought I would ask IF a FEMALE green SPOTTED mandarin <S. picturatus> would get along with my MALE blue mandarin!  Same genus, so I wondered if it would work.   <I would stay with the same species, and have a chance of them pairing and breeding.  The different species M/F might not fight, but also would not pair.>   If not, I will hunt down a female.   <If you see that he is not thin and there are still copepods to spare after a few months, then I would find a female S. splendidus.> Or would another male spotted work in a 150 with the blue male?   <No, they are similar enough that the territoriality of the males could be a problem.  It would be much more interesting to have a potential pair of the same species anyway.> 6'  long, btw.   Thanks!!!  Carrie :) <Welcome. Good luck! Alex>

Mandarin & anemone compatibility   2/20/07 Hi, I'm currently setting up a 75 gallon aquarium. I've just finished building my 29 gallon sump, and am going to drill my tank for the plumbing in the next week. I plan on getting about 100 pounds of live rock. I'll put like 5 or so pounds in the sump so pods can reproduce. I also have a refugium area in the sump to grow some macro. Ever since I saw a mandarin I've wanted one. They're awesome looking creatures. I think that I should have enough food for a mandarin (after waiting about a year for the pod population to go up of course). I have also always wanted a clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and anemone pair. Now, onto my questions. A bubble-tip anemone will host a clown right? Can one large anemone host two clownfish? I thought that I read on your site somewhere that you shouldn't mix an anemone and a mandarin because the mandarin can fall victim to the anemone. Is this true? If it is, can you attempt to place the anemone away from most of the rock in the tank so the mandarin is less likely to go near or sleep next to the anemone? I'm still a ways away from getting water in my tank, let alone getting fish or inverts. Planning is always a good thing though. Thanks in advance, Joe <<Joe: Most likely you heard something about not mixing carpet anemones with Mandarins.  Mandarins are slow and tend to hang out at the bottom of a tank and carpets are very sticky.  When you are ready, your best bet for a starter anemone would be a Bubble Tip Entacmaea quadricolor clone that has split in another Reefkeeper's tank.  They are pretty hardy and you won't be trying to take care of an anemone that was just pulled out of the ocean. The Bubble Tip will tend to stay high up on your rocks near the lights.  Thus, there is less of a chance that the Mandarin would bump into it. Regarding the clowns, if you can purchase captive bred ones which have been raised with anemones, your clowns will host right away.  If not, it could take months for the clowns to host, if ever.  If you have the anemone already established in the tank when you introduce the clowns, I think your hosting chances will improve.  Depending on its size, a Bubble Tip anemone can host multiple clowns.  Mine host up to 4 at a time. Best of luck, Roy>> Wrasse selection....with dragonet in tank   2/14/07 Dear WWMedia, I am very interested in adding a wrasse, but need some info and advice. I have room for a Mandarin goby and a Flasher/Fairy wrasse or two smaller wrasses. Leaning towards Mandarin w/wrasse. I have peaceful FOWLR system with shrimp. Need reef safe fish. Looking for a blue, green (or yellow) wrasse as I have plenty of oranges and reds in the tank currently. <I don't recommend the combination of a dragonet and a wrasse in this size tank...competition issues when it comes to the dragonets diet...> We love color. <Other routes to satisfy this....> I don't want to nuts as I saw the Lineatus over $250, but am willing to spend more than unusual for the right fish. We like the Scott's Fairy Wrasse, but know they come in different shades depending on origin. How do you feel about keeping one SFW and still maintaining decent color? Any assistance or info you think I need would be appreciated. <Am willing to give advice re: the wrasse but would like you to see my above comment about the mandarin/dragonet beforehand.> Thanks and have a good day. Steve <Adam J.>

Goby and Mandarin Mix! Dear Crew, <Scott F. here today!> Thanks for all the endless help!  I have read about compatibility and am having trouble deciding if the following would likely be compatible to add to my tank.  I have a Mandarin Dragonet in a 240 gallon with 'fuge and am wondering if I could add a Yellow Watchman Goby and 2 or 3 Engineer Gobies.  I am unsure if there would be too much competition for pods or if there would be aggression issues.  Thanks for any advice! Lea <Great question, Lea! I'm glad that you are including the availability of food as an important consideration. In a tank the size of yours, with lots of rockwork, I'd be fairly comfortable in postulating that aggression will not be too great of a problem. Sure, there might be an occasional squabble or two, but for the most part, I think that you'll be okay. If the Mandarin appears to be healthy and well fed, and if your refugium harbors a significant microfauna population, you will probably be okay with these fishes in the same system.  Remember, the Watchman Goby and the Engineer Gobies can eat all sorts of prepared foods with relative ease, once weaned to them. The Mandarin, of course, is more problematic, often only feeding only on live foods. Having been a big Goby fan for many years, I've had personal success with keeping many different species together in appropriately-sized systems. I say go for it! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Scarlet hermit crabs ganged up on Mandarin? 1/19/07 Hi, <Hi> I have a quick question about scarlet hermit crabs. I know they are good to have in a reef and they are supposed to be less aggressive then other hermit crabs. I saw to my dismay this morning four of my large scarlet hermits tearing apart my small twin spot mandarin!!! The mandarin has been in my tank for about a year or more and was doing very well. I hadn't seen any sign of him being sick. Could the Scarlets have grabbed a hold of him while he was resting at night or would it be more likely that for some unknown reason he died and the Scarlets were just doing there job? <The latter is much more likely unless they are very large.  They do not work together to bring down larger prey which would be necessary in this case.> At this point in time I'm inclined to take all of my larger Scarlets out and trade them in for smaller ones. I've had a few small fish die here recently and I'm not sure if it's because of the some tank condition or if these Scarlets are just more aggressive when they get big. <Would look for other causes here.> Craig <Chris>

Mandarin Goby & Blenny 12/31/06 I truly love your site and have found many useful tips here. <Good to hear.>  My  husband & I bought our tank for each other for Christmas - well an early  Christmas,....in October. :-) <Nice> We have a 24 g nano, (we are already wanting to get a bigger tank -very  addicting and expensive) <Quite> with live rock, live sand, a clown, a damsel, a  few soft coral frags, button polyp frags, xenia frag, a flowerpot, 2 turbo  snails, 10 hermit crabs, a skunk cleaner shrimp, a curly-q anemone (small) <Not good to mix corals and anemones, plus the small tank will make it even tougher.>, a  lawnmower blenny, and our most recent mandarin Goby.  I know this is not recommended for such a small unestablished tank - but we are committed to doing what it takes to keep him alive.  <A bigger tank.><<Mmm, yes... pardon my "chiming in here" but the genus Salarias "live" in pretty strict territorial settings... of about a square meter per individual... as I've tried to emphasize in an article pretty much specifically for this purpose: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeblensart.htm]and will fight... ferociously... with most anything else that seems to consume "its" algae/space. RMF>>  We bought supplemental copepods, and also started a refugium to grow more pods for the mandarin (which we also use as our QT).  <Will still be tough to maintain adequate food.> <<Impossible... http://wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm RMF>> We have our water tested weekly at the LFS, and all levels are good, except we were low on PH today, so we added some buffer. <Better to learn to do this yourself, more accurate and a good learning experience.> I have a couple of questions.....we had 2 clowns but this morning one of our clowns was very pale....we immediately took it out and went to the LFS.   Unfortunately it died on the way....the LFS could see no reason for it to die....perhaps because our PH was low? <Or raised too quickly.>  The other clown is doing OK  and so far no signs of problems....seems a bit sad though. <Yep> This clown used to  go into the Curly Q quite a but now seems to like the flowerpot coral and I can  always find him hiding and playing in there.  He still goes in the anemone,  but mostly is in the flowerpot...is this normal? <Yes, they often will often host in corals, can be tough on the coral so keep any eye on it.> Another question I have is the Blenny seems to have become aggressive towards the mandarin.  He follows him around and will head butt him...and bite him as well.  The mandarin does not even seem to notice him and does not cower to him.  My question is:  Is the Blenny being aggressive because he does not have enough to eat? <Competition I would guess, the mandarin is invading his territory which is probably most of the tank.> He has done a fantastic job on the algae....and now eats mysis shrimp, and rotifers, and all the other food we feed the fish and corals. Do we need to supplement him with something else?  Suggestions? <Probably good to feed him some Nori to make sure he gets enough greens, but the aggression is probably more due to tank size than the availability of food.> Lysa <Congrats on the new tank and welcome to a wonderful hobby.> <Chris> <<Please see the ref.s cited/linked. RMF>>

Mandarin Goby & Blenny Part II 1/1/07 Chris - Thank you for your quick reply! <Sure> We will keep an eye on the mandarin, and if we seen signs of stress, we will take him back to the LFS.  I would not want to have this beautiful fish starve, or my blenny to bother him too much.  We read an article in Tropical Fish Hobbyist, about a guy who keeps his mandarin in a tank smaller then ours, and supplements him with Roe....so we are going to try that. Will let  you know the progress. There are 2 really good articles about Mandarins in  the Feb 07 issue.  <Have not read it yet, will take a look.> We will go out today and buy him some Nori and some other type of algae wafers or something. (More $$ :-) <Nori would be best, 100% marine algae.  Available cheaply at most Asian food markets.> I have another question if you don't mind.  My Damsel's right fin is  sticking straight out.  I do not know how he sustained an injury other then  there was a lot of activity in the tank yesterday due to the other clown dying  and us moving some rock to the QT/Refugium tank, and perhaps it stressed him  out. His color is a bit pale but nothing like the clown, and he seems to be  moving around alright, and eating as well.  I tried to catch him to move  him to QT, but the little bugger is so darn fast, and I did not want to stress  him out anymore.  Any suggestions on what we can do, or is he pretty much  on his way out.   <As long as he is eating and moving ok not much else to do, keep the water quality high and he should heal up over time.> Also, something I forgot to mention...the LFS suggested that we add a  garlic liquid concentrate to our water.  Said it makes the fish stronger  and kills parasites.  Do you agree?  <Does seem to trigger a feeding response, but does nothing to parasites.  If the fish are already eating fine I would not bother.> Thanks sooooooo much! Lysa <Chris>

Mandarin/Diamond Goby question   6/10/06 I have a question or two for you.   I have 110 Gallon tank, with about 90 lbs. of live rock.  I am planning to run the tank approximately 6 months to a year before adding any piscine buddies; I really want to let all the critters populate the rock and sand.  Question; would this amount of time provide enough live food to sustain a Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus), without a refugium? <Likely so... with an absence of competitors> Would he/she eventually eat through all the pods, or would they have enough space and numbers to sustain a healthy population indefinitely? <Likely large enough to sustain an ongoing food population here> I suppose I can make refugium area in my sump, but I don't want to light it since I tend to have heat issues and that is just one more source to worry about.  Can the pods grow fine in the dark?   <Many types, yes> Actually, it is not completely dark since it is in a fish room and receives stray light from the tank above, but definitely not enough "quality" light to grow any macro algae with.  I can put some aragonite sand and some filter floss for them to live in....would this work? <Possibly> Last question; this is regarding a Diamond Goby.  Would that be in competition for food with the mandarin goby? <Particularly when small yes. Still as a consumer of benthic, in-fauna that give rise to other organisms with age, size as well> When they filter the sand, do they specifically target pods, or are they just getting the detritus? <Sift most all "large-enough" worms, crustaceans, molluscs...> Thank you for your time, it is appreciated.  Take care. Paul <Bob Fenner>

Dragonet Dragnet, Missing Mandarin - 04/05/2006 Hey I think I had a very very weird situation go down in my tank last night. I heard a thump and saw that my Lawnmower Blenny had jumped up and hit the top cover of my tank and then kept trying to jump until I turned on the light above the tank. <Disturbing.  This "escape tactic" may be indicative of something very wrong in the water.  Please check your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity) and check for broken heaters, anything toxic that may have spilled in the tank, and so forth.  Something may be quite amiss here.> The Lawnmower Blenny was pretty messed up and slowly died within an hour or two. <Very, very disturbing that he was distressed enough to cause himself such damage.> The next morning I removed him from the tank and flushed him down. <Should have removed him immediately upon death; dead fish = high ammonia.> Then tonight I noticed that my Mandarin Dragonet had vanished. I looked through the entire tank and I am positive he is not in the tank anymore. <If the tank is large enough and appropriate for a mandarin's incredibly picky feeding habits (should be roughly 100 gallons with 100lbs of live rock), I would doubt that the animal could be found if it didn't wish it.  If the tank is not large enough and with enough live rock, then the animal would have been essentially "on his way out" sooner or later in any case.> I highly doubt the Mandarin Dragonet jumped out of the tank because there isn't much open space. <Any space will be enough, if there's something dramatically wrong with the water.> Is there any possibility that the Blenny ate the entire Mandarin <No, I think this is *highly* unlikely.> (which may have caused the Blenny to jump), and if that happened I might have ended up flushing them both down. The Blenny wasn't too big about 4 inches and I think the Mandarin was about 2 inches which seems too big for the Blenny. Please help my figure out the clue of the missing Mandarin. <I really, really doubt that the blenny ate your dragonet.  Check around the tank, perhaps even blame any resident cats if you find no remains - but the blenny?  Not a likely culprit.  If the dragonet died some few days ago, it may already have been consumed by any scavengers.> Thanks,  Weston Wicks <My sincere apologies for your loss(es), and hope the tank returns soon to normal.  All the best to you,  -Sabrina> Dragonet Anemone incomp.    4/4/06 Afternoon Crew, Bit under the weather so please forgive if maybe this has been answered and I scanned passed it. I have a psychedelic dragonet that has been in the tank for about three months now 55 gallon with about 50 pounds LR and a massive copepod residence. He has been doing fine and grown in size quite nicely since I got him. I woke up this morning to see him near my pink tipped anemone, <... trouble... will consume this fish if it touches it> the anemone was all  pulled in to itself but the dragonet's usually green lines on his body had turned white. <...> I assume he was sleeping. When I got home today he is back to normal color and doesn't seem any different swimming feeding and the such. So is this normal for them to lose color maybe while they sleep or is there a chance he may have got stung by the anemone? Thank you, homer <Could be either, both. I would not keep these two groups of organisms together. Bob Fenner> Compatibility/Mandarin Aggression   2/26/06 I requested a pair of Green Mandarins from my LFS.  They got in several and "paired" a male and female for me (they seemed to be getting along fine).  I brought them home and put them in a 20 long QT with plenty of live rock and a 30 gallon refugium that has been housing copepods for 2 years.  I've also supplemented with freshly hatched brine soaked in Selcon, which they love.  They will go to a 200 gallon tank with 65 gallon refugium in a couple of weeks (I got them 2 weeks ago). The problem is the male.  He chases the female whenever he sees her and nips at her tail.  This morning, I thought things were finally better because they were side by side a few minutes.  Then all of the sudden the "little devil" reached over and nipped her tail hard (she dashed away, of course). He is smaller, so she always gets away.  But her tail is getting more and more tears (not to the body - but enough to look really tattered now).  Should I put him in the refugium portion for a while or wait it out?  Both are eating well, but she "hides" more and more, especially if she thinks he is close by. <Should have researched before buying two.  They are aggressive toward one another especially in a 20 gallon tank.  Do separate them until your 200 is set up, and even then there will be run-ins but at lower occurrences.> Thanks for any advice!!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Mandarin Aggression  - 02/27/06 Thanks James! <You're welcome Patty.> Her tail is not as bad as it sounded... but he is in the QT refugium stuffing himself for now.  The LFS said they put them together a week before they called and that they had spawned once, so I thought they would be fine together (with plenty of rock and hiding places).  However, I don't completely trust the LFS.  He didn't really seem to be trying to hurt her beyond the tip of her tail.  The chase never lasted more than a few seconds before he would give up.  But, better safe than sorry. The 200 and 65 refugium has been setup for 2 years and is ready for them.  I plan to give them one more week so the little notches in her tail are completely healed before moving them.  Then, I guess I'll put her in the big tank first just in case she still needs any hiding places. <They will definitely enjoy the 200.> Thanks again! PS  I researched like crazy before getting these.  I don't know how I missed it if a supposedly mated male is still aggressive toward the female or if the LFS simply fibbed.  The web (even this site) can sometimes be frustrating with all the contradicting advice - some say you can always add a female with one male, if you are sure it is really a female.  This pair is definately one male and one female.  However, I really appreciate having a place to get advice and yours makes sense. <Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>

Psychedelic Goby (A Dragonet) - 02/24/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have been searching the site for several hours before attempting to contact you guys.  I have a psychedelic mandarin goby in a 60 gallon tank who has plenty to eat (100+ lbs live rock and many copepods) and am going to move him into my refugium after it is set up and copepods are cultured for it. <<I don't recommend this.  The Dragonet (not a true "goby") will quickly decimate the food supply in the refugium (defeating the purpose of the refugium by the way) and subsequently starve.  If it is to have any hope of long-term survival it needs to stay in the display tank with the live rock, and have its food supply supplemented/refreshed from the refugium.>> I saw articles where people were saying they have Psy Gobies and anemones together and you guys did not say whether they are good together or not. <<They are not.>> Can I safely add an anemone with my little goby?  I have Aiptasia and he didn't seem bothered by it. <<These fish can easily fall prey to anemones...I don't recommend it.  EricR>> Lawnmower blenny/mandarin  - 1/30/2006 Good afternoon, <Good morning.> I know that generally the lawnmower blenny and the mandarin are compatible. I have a mandarin currently and would like to get an LM blenny. The problem is that the LM blenny that I am considering buying is 10x larger than the mandarin. Do you think the much larger LM blenny would harm the mandarin? The other fish in the tank are quite passive and pay little attention to the mandarin, so the new blenny is my only real concern. <The blenny has a peaceful temperament but may be aggressive toward fish with a similar body shape such as the mandarin. You may want to read the FAQ's here from aquarists with similar questions.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blencompfaqs.htm Thank you in advance. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kelli Duncan Mandarin dragonet attacked by yellow tang?  Please help  12/12/05 Hi everyone, <Hello Julia> I seek your assistance because you consistently know what you are talking about (unlike the local folks who either don't know or don't care).  And I thank you in advance for the same. <You're welcome> I recently purchased a male Mandarin Dragonet (yes, I have researched it and planned on it for a number of years). <Very good!> I have a 90 gallon reef tank with about 150lbs of live rock that has been established for over a year and everyone (fish and coral alike) is healthy and happy (thank goodness).<Excellent>  My CPR Aquafuge is on the way (should be here next week) and even though I have pods in my tank, I am thinking about mail ordering a starter culture (or, in my case, a booster culture). <Excellent idea> I think I have read all I need to know (for now) about feeding and general maintenance of these beautiful fish, but my problem is bright yellow and aggressive.  Yes, the yellow tang keeps whipping the dragonet with his tail (the tang is about 3.5 inches).  I noticed that it "throws out" the little white spikes at the mandarin, and I do not know if the spikes are sharp or even poisonous or what (they stay folded against the tang's body the rest of the time).<The scalpels are very sharp and can inflict a nice gash.>  The mandarin has been there for two weeks and I believe the tang still beats him up whenever the mandarin is near. <Unusual for the tang to do this to a mandarin.> How harmful is this tail whipping to the mandarin and how likely is it to stop? <As stated above, the slapping can inflict a wound.  Whether it stops or not, can't answer, time will tell.> I know the mandarin avoids the tang, but I do not want it to stay hidden or stressed out, otherwise there was no point in getting him. Should I take the tang out and if so, what is the best way to catch him without taking apart the whole tank? <I'd probably wait awhile and see if the tangs behavior improves.  If not, there is no easy best way to catch the tang outside of removing some/most of the rock.> He does not come up for food like the other fish do (I only have a pair of Percs and a small 3 stripe damsel aside from the aforementioned fish).  In fact, the tang hides in the crevices as soon as a person approaches.  I believe he will not go into a trap because the clowns and the damsel will go in there first and eat all the food. <Agreed> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <None to offer other than the above.> The second question I have is about macroalgae.   I have 260 watts of power compacts (half daylight, half actinic) plus 80 watts NO tubes.  The temp of the tank is about 74 degrees at the bottom and just slightly higher at the top.   I have the branchy Caulerpa (sorry, I do not know what it is called, it is just the most common in the local LFS, it has slightly wavy edges on its branches) and it is growing throughout the tank, looking nice and healthy.  I tried putting apparently healthy feather Caulerpa in the tank (I bought a clump at a LFS) but it did not make it even a week.  Does the branchy stuff outcompete the feather stuff? <Most Caulerpa doesn't ship well and think it didn't make it in that regard.  Shouldn't be much competition between Caulerpa as to cause one species to die off.> How hard would it be to grow a different type of algae in the refugium, or convert the tank to a different macroalgae?  (I have no huge need for it, I just find the feather Caulerpa to be very pretty). <When you get your refugium, then try putting a piece of he feather Caulerpa in there.  If it continues to grow, then you could take some out and place it in the main display.> I am sorry about such a lengthy email, I know you get lots of them and I do not mean to add extra work to your guys' and gals' schedules, I just can't seem to find the answers elsewhere.  Once again I thank you in advance for your reply.  Your web site has been exceptionally helpful and fun to read. <Do search (if you haven't) the Wet Web Media, keyword, Caulerpa, for more information.  James (Salty Dog)> Cheers,  Julia <And to you, Happy Holidays.> Mandarin and Flame Angel Compatibility  8/30/05 Hello, <Howdy> I have read all of your info on Mandarin fish, but I haven't seen anything on some specific fish compatibility.  I have a Flame Angel, Yellow Tang, Cleaner Shrimp and Sebae. <Anemone? A Heteractis crispa? Or the Clown of the same common name?> Are any of these going to try to eat a Mandarin for lunch? Thanks, Melissa Wells <Maybe the anemone. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandcompfaqs.htm and search re the Anemone in question. Bob Fenner> Mandarin Companions? 8/9/05 I have a 90 FOWLR that I am looking to tear down and rebuild as a reef.  I would really like to keep a Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) in this tank. I understand the general requirements for keeping a Mandarin, but its the individual tankmates that bring up questions for me. <Understood...Good planning!> I am drafting a potential fish list for the Mandarin's tankmates: Black Cap  (Gramma melacara), Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons), Bicolor (Ecsenius bicolor) or Algae Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica), Bluejaw Tilefish (Hoplolatilus starcki), Heniochus (Heniochus acuminatus), and a clown/anemone pairing. <Each interesting in their own right...> I wouldn't go with all these fish.  But I would like to know if there are any compatibility issues with the Mandarin and the fish above.  Would there be any issues concerning competition for food, territory, etc? <I would be concerned about the Tilefish, and possibly the Jawfish. The Tilefish from a standpoint of providing food sources for the fish, and the Jawfish because it may intimidate a Mandarin with its activities on the sandbed.> Thank you for your insight. <My pleasure. The other fishes sound okay, with the exception of the Heniochus, which may need more physical "space" than your system can afford. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Mandarins with LPS 7/26/05 Dear Crew, <Angela> I've read on WWM that you don't recommend keeping Mandarinfish with LPS. I've searched for any clarifications or specifics on this, but haven't found any in your FAQs beyond a concern that they might become a tasty snack. <This is basically it> The advice about anemones and Elephant Ear mushrooms makes sense; they have big mouths and will eat anything that ventures too near. Mandarins, being slow and...umm...not always 'the brightest'... could easily fall into range.  My question is what makes LPS a danger and is it all LPS or certain ones (LPS being a fairly broad category of corals)?  The reason I ask is that I have 2 Spotted Mandarins (a pair) in my 125 with a boatload of Euphyllia.  For whatever reason, I have a magic with Euphyllia. <A fab genus, family...> So the mandarins don't seem to be under attack, but if the branching hammers, torch, frogspawn, etc are posing a danger then I need to find them a new home.  Unfortunately, I don't want to keep the harder SPS so that's going to really limit the corals I can have if I can't have LPS.  I suppose I could keep softies (rics, polyps, xenia) in the tank (?).  I'm also trying to move towards a more specific coral tank, rather than a garden style. <I see, and agree.> What about corals such as Pavona or Galaxea?  They don't have big mouths to 'eat' fish, but do have the strong sting. <A danger to a smaller degree> I'm just trying to understand the logic behind the warning and keep my mandarins safe. And, yes, they are well fed.  I have a Fuge and an offline Pod Farm and I've gotten them on frozen bloodworms as a treat.  My ultimate hope is that they'll spawn and I can try to raise the fry down the road. Thank you! AngelSil PS. See (some of) you at MACNA! <Ah, yes! Well, I'd say only a few percent of Mandarins are consumed, in trouble when placed with LPS corals in general, and there is always a question (at least to me) of "chicken or egg" in terms of real source/s of mortality... that is, did the coral "kill" the mandarin, or did it/they become fodder post mortem... If yours are living la vida loca as is, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

What To Avoid With A Mandarin - 07/23/05 Long time listener, first time caller. <<I'm here for ya <G>.>> I've got a new (3 months old) 110 gallon tank, no sump, a hang on skimmer, with 160lbs of live rock and about a 4 inch DSB. <<<<Yowza, that's a lot of rock!  Where ya gonna fit the livestock?>> After much indecision, I've decided the fish I really want to keep is a green mandarin and I'm doing all I can to insure I can keep him healthy. <<Mmm...do some more research...odds are not on your side my friend.  Most die within weeks to months...usually from starvation.>> After research, I know I need to keep my pod population high so I'm buying a hang on back refugium (no room for a sump). <<Not likely this will be large enough to supply the necessary copepods, newly hatched Mysis, etc., required to keep these fish well fed.  Go for the largest you can...maybe even two?>> I plan on letting the tank run for another 8-9 months to make a full year of total maturity before adding the mandarin - this might be overkill with a fuge and so much rock but I'm a patient guy. <<The longer the better before attempting this fish...your refugium needs to mature a minimum of a year as well...>> My question is - are there any specific fish/inverts or family of fish that I should specifically avoid while building my pod population? <<Anything that preys on them, with wrasses quickly coming to mind. Your best chance for success is to keep the entire system totally fishless for the first 6 months.>> Obviously 6-line and scooter blenny are out.  Right now, I have a yellow watchman goby, 1 yellow tang, 2 perc clowns for fish.  I have a flame angel and a royal Gramma on my fish list and I'd like to get a wrasse of some kind but I'm pretty sure they all dig the pods. <<Pretty much, yes.>> I also have TONS of crabs, snails, hermits, sea stars, sea squirts, 5 urchins, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 4 pistol shrimp, and a few tube worms on my rock. Is there anything that I have that I should remove or anything that I should avoid in the future to insure the mandarin's survival? Or will it not even be an issue with the amount of rock that I have and the fuge I'm ordering? I'm finding it hard to find a simple list of things to avoid to keep my pod population from dropping. <<Few, if any, aspects of this hobby are as simple as just finding a list.  These fish are best kept by experienced aquarist in specie specific systems. The toughest aspect is supplying a continuous supply of suitable foods (of which you do seem to be aware).  These fish are very slow, deliberate feeders and will be out-competed by any other fish that prey on the same foods.  In addition, many hobbyist underestimate the amount of food required by this little fish...and overestimate their ability to provide it.  Do continue reading/researching...please have a look here and among the related links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandsysfaqs.htm >> Thanks. - Steve <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Scooter Blenny Hi Bob. Yes its me once again. :) Quick question for you. I would REALLY like to get a little scooter blenny (Neosynchiropus ocellatus). I tried to find some information on them, but reliable specific information on them is scarce. But what I could find said they are peaceful. How do you think one or two would fair with the snowflake eel (and eventually with a porcupine puffer)? Thank you once again for your advice. Steve Weatherly ps. just FYI your advice about the cleaner shrimp was right on. they LOVE my eel (and vice versa) They have taken up residence in his live rock cave. (something the damsels aren't allowed anywhere near.) Its really funny to see the big bad eel resting with potential food right in front of him. Hey Steve, the species of Scooter you mention is very peaceful, you can have one or a bunch and they'll get along... but unfortunately there is a good possibility that the snowflake (Echidna nebulosa) and puffer (Diodon sp.) will munch those scooters, like so many pies (couldn't help myself). Oh, and glad to hear of your shrimp/eel success. Bob Fenner

Mandarin tidbits 1/29/05 What eats Mandarin fish <some fishes and cnidarians, numerous arthropods and other reef invertebrates, although quite a few are dissuaded by the toxic flesh of this dragonet> and what is their defense mechanism, <the aforementioned toxicity> are they endangered <nope> and do we use them for any kind of product? <not other than ornamental (aquarium) use> thank you, Ashley <best regards, Anthony>

Tank Mix Hello , <Hi Mike, MacL here with you tonight.> hope things are well for all, my wife brought home a surprise for my b-day, a small female mandarin. She really likes these fish so I added it to my tank.<They are lovely fish.> Tank is 180g with 200+ lbs of live rock and a 55g downstream refugium that has a 4+" sand bed and over 70lbs of live rock along with macros (also have live rock in separate sump). In the fuge there are lots of bugs (amphipods, copepods, Mysis and some others I am not sure of). The tank is almost 3 yrs old and doing fine. My question is about the competition, I already have a six line wrasse and a orchid Dottyback in the tank (12 fish total including the mandarin) both eat like pigs when I feed. I see lots of pods and Mysis in the display when the lights go out and never noticed any decline in the pod population but am concerned now that the mandarin is in the mix. <These lil guys can chow down like maniacs on pods but sounds like you have a continual reproduction in your refugium. Just watch it closely>  In your opinion does it sound like this tank can support all. Other fish include yellow tang, flame angel, three reef Chromis, bicolor blenny, two Oc. clowns.  <Honestly I think your tank will be fine.> Once again thanks for taking time to answer my questions. Mike Winston

Six-Line and Micro Diversity I bought a JBL nano reef for my office and cycled it with live rock and live sand from my display tank. The rock was teeming with 'pods, bristle and other worms, and Mysis shrimp. The cycling is over and I have survived the cycle and the diatoms stage so it is time for stocking. Other than the above, the tank has some red mushrooms, assorted snails, and a peppermint shrimp. I purchased a tiny Percula and six-line for the tank and they have finished their 5 week quarantine. I just moved the Percula into the nano tank but am having second thoughts about moving the six-line. My question is simple will he/she wreak havoc on my micro-diversity or can some of it survive with him/her in the nano. The Percula and the six-line got along well with each other in the quarantine tank so I am pretty sure that they will get along in the nano but I am concerned about a loss of micro-diversity. My other option is to putting him/her into my display tank. What do the WetWebMedia sages recommend??? Thanks. Mark ***Hello Mark, The short answer to your question is yes, a sixline can and will wreak havoc on the creatures you mention. In a larger tank this is not always the case, however in such cramped surroundings it's a given. This fish is a micropredator! Secondly, I wouldn't put a six line wrasse in such a small tank due to space reasons. It may be a small fish, but it needs swimming room. Mine uses every inch of his 48x24x24 tank. 12 gallons is a bit to cramped for this fish, especially as an adult. Cheers Jim*** I would like some advice about the impact of a six-line wrasse on the worms, 'pods and Mysis shrimp in my nano reef.

Missing Mandarin Fish I recently purchased a small green mandarin fish for my tank... the mandarin fish was small, just slightly less than an inch in length. << Risky buy. >> I purchased it on a Friday, and following Monday the mandarin fish was fine. I went away to a friends house until Thursday, during which time my dad was looking after my fish. When I got back, I found that the mandarin fish was totally missing... I pulled every single rock out of the tank looking for him, but to no avail, he was effectively 'vanished'. << I would not remove rock.  Personally I think this does a lot of harm by stressing the other tank inhabitants. >> Now, I told my dad that the fish had gone missing, and he seems to think that my Bubble Tipped Anemone seems to have something to do with it. The BTA was sitting at the front of the tank, its tentacles flared wide, and its mouth open extremely wide... The BTA is about 4 inches in diameter when it is fully extended. Is it possible that the BTA could have eaten the Mandarin fish?? << I would not guess that the BTA was the problem.  Mandarin fish are very difficult to keep, and should be left for the advanced hobbyists.  I believe the mandarinfish was doomed to begin with in this situation.  They require much live rock, with many small food items like copepods and Mysis shrimp.  If you tell me more about your tank that may help, but I'll guess it is just too new and needs more time to establish the life needed to keep a mandarin fish. >> Thanks heaps, you all rock... Laney <<  Blundell  >>

Suitable tankmates for mandarinfish? 8/2/04 Hi Guys!  Your website is awesome and inspiring!   <thanks kindly... please do tell a friend> I am in the learning stage only but will set up for the future health of mandarinfish (hopefully a male/female pair)  as a retirement hobby. <yes... a magnificent fish.. and its the fish that got me into the hobby> I don't have enough time yet as I'm working full time as a drafter and part-time where our horses are  kept at a leased pasture board facility!  I will have a 125-150G tank with a 40G refugium up and running for a year before the dragonets are added.   <very good to hear. The refugium will be necessary (perhaps bigger too) as to many folks surprise,  these dragonets principally eat copepods (not amphipods) which are very tough to culture for some people.  So... most mandarins starve to death slowly in 1-2 years in aquaria> It seems as though most corals sting and would not be good tankmates.   <quite correct... and anemones are wholly unnatural and have numerous captive mandarins> (are there exceptions I've overlooked?) I know NO anemones!   <heehee...> Would sponges that are NOT toxic be ok (which would be good choices?)  Which soft corals  don't release harmful chemicals?  Are Feather dusters (worms) ok?   <feathers are quite safe although a bit tricky to keep. Most all sponges are toxic, but no worries...  little harm to the fishes unless they wipe out in the tank en masse/qty. There indeed enough corals and polyps  that you can keep with mandarins... just opt for the smaller polyped species  (avoid LPS varieties as they are aggressive like anemones towards fishes)> I was planning on buying the starter kits for refugiums with critters included, but it seems  I'll need to know which ones are potentially dangerous---for example please see website http://saltaquarium.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=saltaquarium&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ipsf.com%2F%23anchor148721 and let me know if any of these "kits" inhabitants would be harmful!!!   <hmmm... none are really harmful, per se. Its really just a matter of identifying what you want to give "refuge"  to in your refugium. Frankly, you don't need to buy any starter kits. For a copepod refugium... keep deep fine sand  or muddy sand with some live rock and a small but steady supply of phytoplankton and then wait/watch  for the copepods to grow in time (live rock and live sand alone will seed this)> And if I eliminate the fishes that eat the same stuff, it seems to leave Anglers/frogfishes, Batfishes,  Dottybacks (Pseudochromis), Hamlets, Rabbitfishes, Snappers, Surgeonfish+Tangs and Tilefish on a "potential list".   <actually... the dotty backs will compete fiercely, the snappers and anglers are predatory on mandarins...  the batfishes will out compete them... and only some of the tangs are peaceful enough to mix.  That leaves those wonderful (safe) Rabbitfishes> Are any of these also incompatible?   <all but the rabbits> And the shrimps---I know mandarinfish eat certain ones, and are capable of being eaten by others.   Which shrimp is in which category?   <stick with Lysmata species only to be safe> Do I need to worry about the snails too or are they pretty safe? <depends on the snail. If I may say so... your thirst for knowledge (glad to see!) may indulge a shameless plug for our book "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner. It covers refugiums, live rock, love sand and all of those reef critters like snails, stars, hermits, sponges, worms, feathers, clams and so much more. Do check out its reviews on Amazon if you like> There are so many posts of failures, I'd like to bypass by setting up for success!!!!   Thank you so much for providing such an informative and accessible site for people like me to be able to ask these questions---so many websites you just get flamed for asking for help!   Lisa Steinberger <please do not hesitate to keep asking questions my dear :) with kind regards, Anthony> A Decade in the Planning...pt.2 Thanks Ryan, for the encouraging words and suggestions. <Surely! Ryan back with you today> With regards to Synchiropus, I'm content to have its demands be my 'limiting factors' so-to-speak.  Assuming a pair of clowns, a flame and possibly an A. japonicus (or another interesting, not-overly-common, more appropriate tang [suggestions?]<I like the japonicus, it's a good choice among Tangs.> ) as tankmates for the mandarin, is there some other sort of small interestingly behavioral swimming fish that you could recommend that would not out-compete the mandarin for food? <I'm a big fan of Apogon leptacanthus, another fish of this intensity level.> The firefish and pseudochromids can wait until the next tank, I'm just thinking that one more interesting critter might round out the swimming fish population nicely.  Yeah, I've got a little bit of 'just-one-more' syndrome - still working on that. <Good luck! Ryan> Thanks in advance, Sam

Lost Mandarin Hello, <Hi Rob, MacL here tonight> I noticed about a week ago that I was missing my Mandarin fish. I looked all over the tank (72 gal), with no luck. (2) things struck me as odd- I was missing the Mandarin, and secondly, my softball size bubble tip anemone was acting strange. Putting 2 and 2 together, I think my anemone gobbled up the Mandarin. <Very possible, as I understand it mandarins don't know what anemone's are and therefore are prone to getting eaten by them.> The anemone which is almost always fully extended, just hid under the rock in which his base is attached. He was like this for about a week- just wouldn't come out. Only a day or so ago, he started coming out a little, but not much. <Probably digesting, full tummy> I tried offering a piece of food to him, but he pulled away, obviously not interested. I have nothing else in the tank that would have eaten or killed the Mandarin. What do you think? I have a strong feeling the anemone received an expensive meal, but also read that a mandarinfish doesn't make for a great meal. I suppose the anemone could care less of what it tasted like, possibly not until it was too late. Will my anemone be OK? <The anemone should be fine> Thanks for any help. Dragonet Compatibility, Tankmates and Competition for Food 4/30/04 Hi crew, <Hi Greg, Leslie here this evening> I have spent MANY hours reading wetwebmedia.com and every time I intend to search for one answer, I end-up being sidetracked by the tremendous wealth of information you provide and I learn even more than I intended. <Amazing isn't it. The same thing happens to me.> I know I have said this many times previously but I just have to state again what a tremendous service you are providing to the hobby! <Thank you for the kind words, appreciations are most welcome!> Ok, now for my question...  After researching the strict needs of mandarins / dragonets, I have been preparing for several months to add a Pterosynchiropus splendidus or/and a Synchiropus picturatus to my 180g aquarium. <Ah, these are 2 of my favorite fish, Pterosynchiropus splendidus the Green Mandarin Dragonet and Synchiropus picturatus the Psychedelic or Spotted Mandarinfish.> I have removed my sand sifting starfish and my horseshoe crabs.  I also added a 20g refugium with live rock, Chaetomorpha and 1,000s of mysids, amphipods and copepods.  I still have a 7" diamond goby that keeps my sand well-stirred (not shaken ;-) and (s)he eats pellet food with the other fish (tangs).  Will I be able to keep mandarins with the diamond goby or will the goby out-compete the mandarins for food? <I think that would be fine, especially with the goby accepting other foods.  If you are only feeding pellets to your other fish you should seriously consider the benefits of feeding a variety of frozen or fresh meaty seafood and Mysis to the other carnivorous fish and greens of the marine variety for you herbivores. If you have not already read Nutrition Foods and Feeding for the Marine Aquarist  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm  please do have a look.> I would also like to keep a pair of mandarins.  Would this be possible in my tank and, if so, would two mandarins have enough food with a diamond goby in the same tank?  To push things a bit further, I would like to keep one Pterosynchiropus splendidus and one Synchiropus picturatus.  Would this combination work together? <You have me a bit confused here. I assume you are interested in keeping 2 dragonets one of each of the 2 species you listed. If so, that would be fine. You will need to look for a male and a female. Conspecific males will fight and let me tell you they are some very ugly fights with poor outcomes.> I assume there is no chance of this combination mating but would they likely tolerate each other in a 180g tank? <Hmmm, that is a very interesting question I would like to know the answer to that myself. I am not really sure if they would form a pair and attempt to mate. It seems to me like it would be a possibility, being that they are from the same genus.  I will ask one of the other crew members for their input on this. As long as you obtain a male and a female they should be just fine. > Lastly, for this size tank, if I add 1-2 mandarins should I not add 1-2 Nemateleotris magnifica or Nemateleotris decora? < The Purple Firefish Nemateleotris decora  is another one of my favorite fish. I am getting jealous. You have lost me here. I am thinking your should, is supposed to be a could. There is nothing I have ever read or heard that would indicate you need to keep either of these Firefish with the Dragonets. You certainly could add a Firefish as long as the other tankmates are not of the pugnacious type.  Again you will need to keep this fish singly or find a pair because 2 males will harass each other with the less dominant one hiding and most likely starving to death.  I would go for a pair, if you can find one.  I had a pair of the Purple Firefish that were quite beautiful and fun to watch interacting. I find paired creatures quite interesting and entertaining to observe. > I realize the diets of these fishes can be found on your site and on fishbase.org but I sometimes encounter differences in dietary requirements between sites and I really need to know if the amphipod / copepod population that could be sustained in a 180g aquarium + 20g refugium could support this combination of fishes. < It should be fine. Most of the literature recommends at least 50 to 75g per Mandarinfish.  The Firefish and Diamond goby's diets can be supplemented with frozen and/or fresh finely chopped seafood. The Mandarins will be dependent on the pods. So, it seems to me that there should be plenty for that combination of fish.  Although the exception to the rule, there are some folks with persistence that have trained these fish to accept frozen prepared food, to supplement their staple diet of pods. I had a small very rotund and adorable Spotted Dragonet that loved PE Mysis, she could not get enough of the stuff.  Have a look here for more info on this excellent source of frozen Mysis http://www.mysis.com> Thank you for your guidance! Greg <You are most welcome!> Leslie

Dragonet Compatibility, Tankmates and Competition for Food (Follow up) 5/4//04 Leslie (or whomever is tending emails today), <Hi Greg, Leslie here this morning tending the home fires.> Thank you for the advice regarding keeping dragonets!  I see my typo caused some confusion and you are correct - I intended to ask if I could keep purple Firefish with the dragonets (not *should* keep Firefish with dragonets). <You're welcome and no problem re the confusion. I thought it may have been a typo. > I had read that Firefish also eat 'pods so, with a pair of dragonets and a diamond goby I was concerned that there might not be enough 'pods to go around. < A valid concern. According to the literature Firefish mainly eat copepods in the wild but in the aquarium they readily accept all kinds of meaty seafood. Keep they satiated with these other foods and they should not have to much of an impact on your pod population. > I have noticed my yellow tail damsels and my royal Gramma also love 'pods when one happens to be pumped through my pump return. <I bet they do.....but they are not dependent upon these for their main staple as the dragonets are.> I hope the dragonets are naturally better at foraging for 'pods in the live rock so they will have an ample supply. <They are pretty good little foragers if the pods are available for the foraging.  Keep the other fish well fed. The size of the aquarium and refugium you have planned is what makes this workable.  You can also supplement the pod population with cultures purchased online,  additional live rock and macro algae packages which usually are full of pods.> If you have not seen the following articles and FAQs  on the dragonets you may find them helpful..... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm. In addition there is an excellent survey here.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pericaridanfaqs.htm      Regarding locating a male and female Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a Synchiropus picturatus, I am not sure how I can do this.  I had hoped a 180g tank would be big enough to prevent fights.  The only place I have found mated pairs of these fish is on Aquacon.com but, based upon feedback in several WWM posts, I have been reluctant to place an order with them.  Even if I were to order a mated pair of mandarins from Aquacon.com, they only sell pairs of the same type fish.  I have had terrific success with Saltwaterfish.com but they do not sell pairs of these fish.  My LFS is also unable to determine the sex of dragonets.  Do you have suggestions for locating a male Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a female Synchiropus picturatus (or vice-versa)?   <Typically when fish are sold as pairs they are same species pairs so that is why you are having trouble finding a interspecies pair. Your best bet would be to request a male of one species and a female of the other.  Jim at www.marinedepotlive.com or The Marine Center http://home.flash.net/~rarefish/ may be able to help you.  These fish are sexually dimorphic. Identifying a male and female should not be very difficult. The males are typically bigger and more colorful with a noticeably longer anterior dorsal fin. Now the problem is that most often the fish collected and sold are males because they are bigger and more colorful. If you decide to try sexing them yourself, you are going to have to get comfy at the LFS and just watch them for a while. Hopefully they will display for you and the anterior dorsal fin which is usually collapsed and laying across the back, will be displayed. > Also, please let me know what you find out regarding the possibility of a Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a Synchiropus picturatus mating (or even surviving together). <You may have to report back to us to let us know if they pair up but should be otherwise fine together.> If they will not mate could this also be an indication that they are different enough from each other that I might not need to worry about one being female and the other being male (to prevent fighting)? < A male and female of the 2 different species should be just fine together, however, the males of these species will fight with con specifics, so keeping 2 males together of any of the similar species is pretty much a recipe for trouble.>      Regarding the Firefish, I had read that they prefer to be kept in pairs but I did not realize they would fight if they are not a mated pair.  Does this apply only to the Nemateleotris decora or to the Nemateleotris magnifica as well?  I have the same questions regarding the Firefish: Do I need to be concerned about having a male / female pair if I have one Nemateleotris decora and one Nemateleotris magnifica? < You may very well have a problem the H.  decora.  It is the most aggressive of the Firefish and recommended only one male per tank. The H. magnifica is reported to be less aggressive, but still needs to be kept one male to a tank unless the aquarium is large. There is more information available on these fish here .......http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm > If so, is there a possibility that these two fish would mate?   < I'm sorry again, I am unsure about interspecies mating,  I will see what I can find out for you in the mean time try http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/  or perhaps Frank Marini who can be reached via www.reefcentral.com in the Fish Breeding Forum http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=86 > If this (mixed breeding) works, I could have some very unique looking fish! <No doubt, however the larvae are quite difficult to raise and your set up not conducive to rearing. If you intend to try and breed these fish you will need a different set up Thank you again for the help. Greg <You are most welcome> Leslie Compatibility Hi Bob,<Cody here today.> Just a quick question about these 2 types of fish getting along. would a mandarin and a lawnmower blenny get along in the same tank? If it matters the tank is a 46g bow front.<This definitely matters.  I would only place a mandarin in a tank of at least 150 plus gallons.  These guys need large quarters with lots of live rock because their main diet is copepods.  Cody> Thanks Tim

Re: Red Coris versus Pistol Shrimp  Well!! Today I found the blenny dead. A black spiky critter looming up from the sandbed. I thought - wow - the Coris was quick to get that Shrimp, but when I pulled him out it was the blenny. Not mangled, or beaten up, no chunks out of him that I could see. But he had changed colour and had stiffened into a neat 'S' shape.... like frozen in time. Anyway... if the Red Coris was the culprit... wouldn't he have made the blenny dinner? If that's not the case and you think the Coris did it... do I return the Coris while the LFS is willing to take him back?  <Very likely the dead fish would be consumed, at least chewed by the Coris if it was the cause of its death>  Also... funny how these things happen together. ... today I was offered a Mandarin Dragnet. I said I'd never try to keep one BUT this guy is eating frozen and has been kept happily by a friend for 18 months ( she's closing up her tanks, silly girl thinks traveling the world will be more fun) so this seems a good deal. BUT what's the chances of it surviving with a Red Coris in the tank?  <Not good. Too busy company, too much competition for food. I would not mix these two>  I also have a seahorse tank with a diamond watchman goby and a shrimp goby (minus the shrimp). Should I keep the Mandarin with them?  <Much more likely chance of success here>  Thanks Crew! I had no-one else to ask!! W  <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Sex of scooter blennies Hello, I have two scooter blennies one red and one brown. I just read that one should not keep these in pairs unless male and female...so now I am wondering what are they? The one that I have had longer when I first put them together seems to ruffle the other one like nudge him. Now it seems that he literally drives him up the wall, or in this case the side of the tank...Pease help if you can. <Most "scooter blennies" are the dragonette (family Callionymidae) Synchiropus ocellatus. These can be sexed by size (males are larger) length and attenuation of the unpaired fins (particularly the dorsal is longer, more pointed in males) and if they're in good shape by color (the males are more so). I would separate these two. Bob Fenner> Thanks --Catie

Fish Suitability Hi Bob, just recently bought a 90gallon salt water system and have been using many internet pieces as a resource.  I find your site one of the most useful in that other people can share their experiences and you always seem to have some knowledgeable feedback. <Thank you David, the crew puts in many hours..> I have 90lbs of live rock, live sand, 2 clowns, 3 Auriga (?) Butterflies, a coral banded shrimp, a pistol shrimp, 1 emerald crab, a yellow spotted box fish,  a "pretty pink" goby, about 15 snails, and 35 (well 34 now) hermit crabs.  Everyone seems to get along great. First question.  I was at Big Al's this weekend  wanting to get a few more creatures for my 'community tank'.  I spotted a Mandarin Goby (dragonette?) and thought that would be a great fit for my tank. <Poor choice, needs 150 gallons mature tank with plenty of LR and pod production, most die sadly.> While the girl was bagging my fish I spotted another interesting small fish (2.5" long) that I learned was a Dragon Wrasse.  She said that it was also a good fit for my community tank.  I double checked while she was bagging my dragon wrasse and asked her again in front of another staff member if both were community compatible and also mentioned what I had in the tank already.  Both agreed that these would be good fish to have.   <Shall we kill them now or wait for the BBQ?> I introduced my fish properly to the tank, yet my Dragon Wrasse sunk to the bottom on its side without moving.   <Properly would be into a QT tank perhaps after a FW dip. No quarantine? Please read more on WWM!!!> I thought it had died instantly... then all of a sudden it scampered around the tank twice and disappeared for 24hrs.  I understand this is typical?   <It surprised you didn't it? In the wild it might have worked to escape being dinner!> Anyhow, my dragon wrasse surfaced from the sand this morning while I was having breakfast... looks like he was hungry too.  He would swim very tightly against my live rock as if he was hunting.  He'd then spot a hermit crab and pick at its legs.  I think he may have bitten off a leg of one of my hermit crabs but he seems to leave all the fish alone.  From what I have read on your site as well as other internet material... I would be better off catching my Dragon and exchanging him for something else?  Your comments? <Yep, he will eat your coral banded shrimp too when he's big enough.> I don't know why they would've suggested a Dragon Wrasse for a community tank.   <Money?> Should I keep him and see how he adapts to the rest of the tank?  If I keep him properly fed do you think he'll leave my crabs/snails alone?  Or should I take him back?  Your opinion? <I would take him back.> Second Question. I have never been able to find information on my so called "pretty pink" goby - that's what Big Al's called him.  One of the more knowledgeable guys at the store (his name is Bob too) told me that this goby will pair up with my pistol shrimp, yet after two weeks they still hide in their own separate hiding places. <These symbiotic relationships sometimes happen, sometimes not. Two weeks isn't a lot of time.> I have read that a 'goby shrimp' will pair up with a goby... yet they included pistol shrimp in the description within the article.  As well, is their such a thing as a "pretty pink" goby??  Or did they name it wrong.  It has a dark purplish underbelly with orangey or light pink spots.  It doesn't dig, but hides under a rock.  Will these two pair up? Or do I have the wrong creatures for that kind of relationship to happen? <Possibly. To find out what you have going on, check this out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm> Last Question.  My Coral Banded Shrimp seems to be cleaning my butterfly fish.  Is this odd???   <Normal cleaning behavior with large enough fish....> I also noticed that last night it appeared as though he was hunting my Mandarin Goby.  The dragonette (are these names synonymous?) was sleeping on a rock and the Coral Banded snuck up on him. It looked as though he speared my goby in the side, but the goby was able to swim away and looks to be alright.  Is this common?  I thought Coral Banded Shrimp feed on algae and other micro-organisms in liverock? <No, they are quite carnivorous and will hunt small fish and other shrimp.> One last comment.  Looks as though my pistol shrimp has dug himself quite the tunnel under about a 40lbs stack of my live rock.  It looks as though he collapsed my nicely assorted stack of rock, does that surprise you?? <Not at all. Best to secure your rock with burrowers> In my community tank, are any carnivorous fish gonna be ok?  Or is that a dumb question?   <Not unless you don't like your other fish....or inhabitants.> Big Fan! Dave <Thanks for being a fan Dave!  Craig>

Mandarin Gobies We have a spotted mandarin that we have had for a few months. He will even eat the flake food we feed the other fish. My question is whether he would get along with another goby? We have a 90 gallon reef tank with 80 lbs of rock. <Likely so... unless the other "real" goby is a species that is very territorial, large. Please read over the following sections of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/gobioidmars.htm and beyond for an idea of how large this question, groups are. Bob Fenner> Thank you

Mandarin Fish Mr. Fenner- Unfortunately, I have done all the wrong things to my mandarin. I had the best of intentions. I researched his compatibility with tank mates. I asked my fish store about compatibility, and I asked about my tank size. They said he would be fine with a dwarf angel, he lost his dorsal fin. They said 29 gallon tank was fine as long as I had "some" live rock, I had 3 or 4 pieces. I asked about feeding, and they sold me Mysis shrimp, which I don't always see him eat. In short I have severely shortchanged this creature. Now, he is divided from his tankmates with a screen, and he is starving. What is the most humane thing to do?  <Trade this fish, give it to someone who has a large enough, well-established enough reef system with a paucity of competing fish life to house it... and quick> I have had him since 2/15. Unfortunately, I did not find your website until after this purchase. I will definitely rely on it in the future to prevent any further disasters. Thank you for any information you can give me. Jennifer Schababerle <So heartwarming to hear of your revelations and tribulations with this fish... you will do well in future. Bob Fenner>

D Quick question. Ffexpress compatibility thing says blennies+dragonets=compatible. I was considering adding a couple of scooter blennies love to watch them), but I have a long established male and female mandarin dragonet pair. If I'm not mistaken, scooter blennies are really dragonets misnamed, and two male dragonets usually=trouble. Recommendation? Gary L. Henkel D.D.S. << Hear you, but don't worry, the stated "rule of thumb" applies to members of the same species for the most part... do place the Scooters that are dragonets. Bob Fenner>>  

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