Logo
Please visit our Sponsors

Mandarin Disease/Health FAQs

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

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

Mandarins are relatively hardy if started in good health, provided food...

Dear Bob,

For the last three years we have owned a seemingly happy and fat mandarin fish. It was housed in a 110 gal mixed reef tank which was packed with about 75kg of mature live rock. Along with picking food from the rock it would also take frozen food at feeding time, and always looked healthy and alert.

About four months ago we downsized from that aquarium to a 60 gal bow-front tank. When downsizing we got rid of the larger fish but also sold around 40kgs of live rock.

This morning I came down to aquarium and the mandarin was dead! It did not have a pinched stomach and was eating frozen food the night before.

I just wanted to ask in your opinion what could have been a possible reason for this mandarin to die? There was less live rock for it to browse on, but still more than enough to support such a small fish?

Thanks

Sam P.

Sorry to read of your loss Sam. 'Mysterious' losses are difficult to discern, but it might well be that this fish merely perished from 'old age''¦ Some mandarins are known (in captivity) to have lived a few more years than this, but like Betta splendens longevities, they're rare. I do think that some Callionymids/oids, the group that includes 'scooters' and psychedelic 'gobies', including mandarins do at times pass from eating something they shouldn't have, and this is another possibility. Additionally, I would state that in the higher plausibilities 'cumulative stress' may well have played a role here.

Lastly, I'd make the comment that folks really should replenish a bit of their olde live rock every year or so, particularly if keeping organisms that rely on forage from such like mandarins, many butterflyfishes'¦ By adding or replacing ten-twenty percent of the live rock with fresh.

Ich - Red Slime - Mandarin Acclimation (sel., fdg.... gen.)– 02/19/14
Thanks in advance for your time.
<<Hiya John…quite welcome>>
I have three questions, which I'm sure have been answered elsewhere so feel free to redirect me.
<<Indeed>>
180 gallon with live rock (no coral yet but hope to), T5HO lights right now but will switch to LED with coral addition, assortment of snails, crabs, two cleaner shrimp and a pistol shrimp, below tank sump, protein skimmer, no refugium, stocked early with about 2000 pods which I still see in the tank and on LR.  Tank was set up around October 2013
1. I had an outbreak of Ich (vacation, pet sitter) that wiped out my tank except for a purple Firefish.  Firefish has been in quarantine (bare bottom tank, sp gravity 1.016)
<<Do consider adding a length of PVC pipe for the fish to hide in
.  A ‘bare’ tank is unnerving for any fish, but especially so for shy, timid species like the Firefish.>>
and the DT has been empty of fish as well.  Adequate for breaking the cycle or at least putting the Ich into a dormant state?
<<Four to six weeks fallow should “break the cycle” as you say…but 3 months will do better towards eliminating any “dormancy” issues.>>

 Is a slow drip acclimatization okay to put Firefish back in, and if so how slow?  Slow drip acclimation is fine (though you could do the tried and true  “float the bag, add small amounts of water” acclimation as well).  One to two drips per second works for me in most cases…but do search the site re ‘drip acclimation’ for a lot more info.>>
2.  After all the fish were removed, developed an outbreak of red slime as well as green slime on LR and substrate.  Coincidence or correlation?
<<Hard to say, but may well indicate a chemical/biological imbalance that was already stressing the fish.>>
 Treatment?
<<Check bio-mineral content and get things back in balance.  Keeping Magnesium, Calcium, and Alkalinity in balance…and at the upper limits…helps significantly with controlling nuisance slime algae, in my experience.>>
Thoughts on vodka treatment?
<<I have used this method on-and-off for years (once with disastrous results, if I’m going to be honest), and do see a benefit when used judiciously.  It’s no panacea, but can be a useful adjunct…though I would recommend here that you first address the water chemistry and see if this does the job.>>
3.  Getting ready and excited to restock tank.  Thinking about starting with a pair of Blue/Green Mandarins so there won't be a hold lot of competition and harassment to give these guys a head start.  Thoughts on ORA vs. wild caught?
<<Definitely ORA…these fishes will take prepared foods ( get/use New Life Spectrum pelleted food) and have a much better chance of surviving long term.>>
With the pods not really having a predator would the population be adequate for them?
<<Not likely in the long run…thus the need for animals that will accept prepared foods.>>
Thoughts on a method or need for quarantine?
<<Mandarins/Dragonets, in my opinion, are less risky…and do much better…when acclimated right to the display.>>

Would a UV sterilizer ran every other week or so have an effect on pods?
<<Little if any…and likewise re controlling any nuisance organisms. >>
Do these have a better chance of survival as a pair or singly?
<<They can be kept either way…though if kept together do try to get a true “pair” or at the very least add the male and female to the system “together.”>>
Thanks again,
John A
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

White spot on Green Mandarin... hlth. period; starving     10/22/13
Ladies and Gentlemen,
<Peter>
You are my last hope. About six months ago my Green Mandarin developed a small white spot on his back. Since he showed no signs of any sickness and the spot was not growing I didn't think to much of it. Over time the spot got bigger (very slowly) and I started to search the internet for answers but couldn't find any. Talks to other reefers and posts in blogs also went without any result.
There is no hole in the skin of the fish and it doesn't seem to be an ulcer either. It just looks like the color is bleaching out. The fish is obviously not bothered by it. No other fish in my tank shows the same symptom or is sick. The Mandarin is not bothered by any of the other fish in the tank.
I hope you can shed some light on what is going on with my Mandarin.
Thank you very much
Peter Schleifer
<... whatever else is going on with this fish, it is starving. I would re-double your efforts to get it live foods of use (maybe move to an ongoing refugium), perhaps Mysis offered a few times daily, Cyclops... perhaps soaked in a vitamin/HUFA supplement ahead of offering. I'd be fixing this fish from the inside out... Nutritionally. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin dragonet possibly egg bound, and Epsom use f's     7/31/13
I have never asked a question on this forum before so I hope this is the right place.
<Indeed it is>
I have a spawning pair of spotted mandarins and I am worried that the female has become egg bound, is this possible?
<Yes>
The spawn regularly but recently the female has got huge and they do the rise but no eggs are released this has been going on for 2 weeks. Do you have any suggestions?
<Yes; either a bath (of several minute duration) of a teaspoon per gallon of Epsom salts added to system water (outside the tank) or these added directly to the system at the rate of a tsp. per 5 gallons system water.
Bob Fenner>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

Thank you. will Epsom salts affect coral and inverts??
<Not overtly negatively at the proscribed dosage. See WWM re MgSO4 use>
 As they are tricky to catch and it is a big tank. Also what are the symptoms of egg binding?
<As you state, a cessation in spawning/egg release, bulging...>
 She hasn't gone off her food and is very greedy!
<Mmm, well; other causes appear similar... gut blockage (same treatment), tumorous growths... BobF>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

Sorry to bother you again. Your help is greatly appreciated you said the dose is 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons in display tank is this us gallons or uk gallons
<Level teaspoons and either measure of "a gallon" is close enough. B>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

I read that they are pelagic spawners and hold eggs so the always appear more rounded is that correct??
<Callionymids do rise toward the surface (toward sunset) and are spawners... external fertilization... Females are decidedly larger, a bit less colorful, their unpaired fins not as flowing... but do not appear rounded at all times. I've seen the species used in the trade many, many times there and the wild>
 Is it just the norm Epsom salt u can buy or does it have to be specifically for the marine tank??
<Epsom is Epsom... magnesium sulfate... Household use quality/purity is fine. B>
Mandarin dragonet egg bound    8/1/13

So how many tea spoons for 120 gallon aquarium??
<... ? See prev. email...>
Mandarin    8/1/13

Also how long should I use it for?? Would you recommend 1 day??
<Search WWM... tool on every page... "Epsom salt dosage, treatment">
Epsom salt for egg bound mandarin    8/1/13

Hi, I spoke to you yesterday. I have dosed the tank with Epsom salt accordingly, I was just enquiring as to how many days I should dose?
<... the salt doesn't leave solution till you change water> 
Re: Epsom salt and mandarin egg bound     8/7/13

Good news, the mandarin had eggs tonight Thank you for your help
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13
Hi crew!  I know you have probably answered this question but I am unable to find it. Three weeks ago my mandarin dragonet was in the main tank with a flame angel and a watchman goby. The flame angel began showing signs of some disease. I wasn't sure what it was at the time, Ich or Brooklynella. Within 2 days I pulled all the fish out and put them in QTs. The mandarin went into a separate QT. Turns out it was brook.  He has shown no signs of it.
<Very common for Callionymids not to show symptoms of external parasite infestations... they're very slimy... But, the parasites ARE still there>
 I would like to move him into another QT that has already cycled and has live rock/pods but does house another fish. Is it possible this mandarin could be hosting this parasite without showing symptoms and infect the other fish?
<Ah yes>
 At what point does one consider the fish "safe/clean" to house with others?
<Well; more a matter of "degrees of likely safe"... the universe is rarely very discreet. Have I had you read through the parasitic system FAQs on WWM Jen? I would wait at least four weeks... more if the animal/s appear okay, are eating, the treatment/isolation systems not too hard to maintain.>
 Thank you, Jen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13

I have read through a ton of information but all have to do with removing (or not) a non symptomatic fish from the main.
<Ah, then this will be it (our bit of corr. here)>
This fish was removed immediately and has been in a QT by himself for 3 weeks. I agree that the QT is not hard to maintain, but I have 4 QTs going at one time along with the main. It is becoming very time consuming. 
<Yes>
I do appreciate the answer and left the little guy alone in his tank. I will wait another week or so before contemplating this move. Well I'm off to buy more copepods for him. Thank you again, Jen
<Excelsior! BobF>

My Mandarin keeps floating to the surface  3/26/13
Hi!
Your site is great! I have a question about the health of my Mandarin Dragonette. I am very nervous as I am afraid his end is near. My water parameters are all perfect with my PH at 8.3 and my salinity is at 2.3/2.4.
<I understand... but density is stated otherwise... 1.023... a bit lower than natural here. I would raise. See WWM re>
I purchased him a week ago the day he arrived to the LFS. I properly acclimated him and then released him into my tank. My tank is literally crawling with pods, they cover the glass even with the lights on but I have never seen him eat.
<Might well be species of copepods, other crustaceans here that are unpalatable to this fish/species>
 I have never even seem him peck at the rocks. Lately his is not moving, he keeps pinning himself between coral and rocks, If he doesn't he floats to the surface.
<Mmm, a bad sign... esp. w/ Callionymids... what does this portend? Some sort of injury (most Dragonettes are "harpooned" w/ a small dart... yours may have been poked inside, decomposition internally?)>
 The fish tries in vain to keep swimming to the bottom of the tank but just keeps floating back up like he is wearing a life jacket!  He looks to be in good health, good color, eyes are very active... but I know he is starving to death!!
<Mmm, the only real course of action is patience here. Nothing can be done by you... and the fish won't "spread something" to your other stock>
I don't know what is wrong or if I should remove him from the tank and maybe bring him back to the LFS to see if he will survive. I heard it could be a swim bladder issue which relates to bad water conditions/over feeding.
He hasn't eaten anything in over a week so it cant be that... The holding tank he was in at the LFS was filthy and he was sitting at the bottom covered in the gunk, could that be the cause?  What do you think?
<Am sticking w/ my best guess, above... this specimen was "needled" in capture... will hopefully recover spontaneously. Keep the faith. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Dustin

Mandarin Issues, hlth.    12/7/12
Hey crew got another question for you guys. So I've got a 40 breeder with 80 pounds of live rock and 40 pounds of sand. I also have a 6 gallon H.O.B. Refugium with a ton of Chaeto, feather Caulerpa, and grape Caulerpa I mean this thing is packed I also but pods once a month online. Now here's the problem I have a male and female target mandarin pair the females extremely fat but the males really scrawny they used to spawn daily but that was when they were both fat. Now the male has been hanging around on the bottom I was thinking the female was keeping the from eating but they still hang out a lot I was thinking of taking him to the fish store where work and putting him and putting him in a coral flat. But I was thinking was that maybe it more than that like an internal parasite. Any tips or info?
<Could be both, either of the general "causes" you mention here... I would definitely take out about half the rock to make more room, and add a good deal of branching (e.g. Acroporid, Pocilloporid...) stony coral skeleton to provide more habitat and water volume. I might also try adding a combination Anthelminthic (see WWM re) and Metronidazole to foods they accept... and add Spectrum pellets to this mix (highly nutritious, palatable).>
Thanks,
Jack
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

ORA Mandarin, hlth. questions mainly 1/22/12
Thank you for all your efforts to help keep aquarist educated (and entertained!) I have found multiple opinions on my questions, although none seem to specifically relate to a tank bred Mandarin. I purchased an ORA tank raised Mandarin and 2 Firefish online. I have had them all in my quarantine tank for 10 days. Should I keep them in my quarantine for the full 30 days or do you think they could be transferred earlier?
<I would transfer them "earlier" as in now, for three general reasons.
Likely they are parasite free coming from ORA's farm, these species typically don't harbor/vector external parasites, and there is likely no further benefit vs. harm that will come to them from further isolation>
I am really encouraged by the way the Mandarin eats Spectrum pellets so I am not concerned about his eating but I think he would be more comfortable in my 90 gallon reef tank rather than my bare bottom 10 gallon quarantine tank.
<Aye>
Same question for the Firefish who have an artificial cave to hide in but I think they would like living in my main tank's live rock better. I appreciate your thoughts since I may be trying to attribute my human feelings about what these new members to my fish family would find most "comfortable."
Thank you.
Mark Hill
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

quarantining b/f's and mandarin? 6/8/11
Good morning,
<Mike>
I will be receiving 3 B/F's and a Mandarin Fish mail-order later this week. I have a 30g quarantine tank ready to go but have a couple of questions.
Would it be best to do a PH-adjusted, freshwater dip w/Methylene Blue, on the Mandarin and place him in my established 125g FOWLER tank?
<Yes; this is what I would do; not quarantine this family (Callionymidae) and a few other fish groups, unless there was something apparently "wrong" with them>
After reading most of the FAQ's on these fish, I realize they are not as susceptible to Ich but I am quite paranoid about its (Ich's) re-introduction into my tank as I have battled it on and off for two years (luckily with me winning or more likely in a stalemate with the enemy!) with no loss of fish.
<Mmm, well... up to you>
On to the B/F's! I'm getting a Tear-Drop, Pakistan and Black-Backed. I realize these fish are quite sensitive and will most likely start eating prepared foods and re-build their resistance once placed in the main tank, but would a week or so in quarantine then a freshwater dip w/Methylene Blue or Formalin (safe for B/F's ?)
<Toxic, but if they're in "good shape", likely worth using>
be better for the fish than acclimating them, freshwater dipping them and immediately placing them in the main tank?
<I would likely quarantine these, given your system (the 30)>
I've read about every FAQ's on B/F's and added to them with some of my questions in the past but I am on the fence here on whether to quarantine or not.
<Me too/I as well>
Even though I have run my tank fallow for several 8-week periods over the last two years I know I still have some entrenched Ich. The last time I added 4-week quarantined B/F's I had an outbreak but decided to treat with Selcon soaked Spectrum flakes and Spectrum Thera-A pellets. The fish kept the cleaner shrimps very busy, but all came through and continue to thrive.
My point is, quarantining or not, with my particular tank, probably means a small outbreak of Ich once new fish are added.
Lastly, even though the HOT refugiums are small, about 3-4 gallons, would you recommend one for pod growth for the Mandarin or am I wasting my money?
<Are worthwhile. Even what appear to be small volumes of "live" sand, other substrates, macro-algae, a very considerable amount of life is produced>
Thanks in advance for all your insight and wisdom. I spend most evenings perusing your excellent site and wish you all lived closer so I could buy you a beer or two!
<Oooh! Let's hope we meet! Bob Fenner>
Mike

dragonet, hlth. 2/10/11
I'm not sure if this is were I ask questions,
<Tis>
its my first time, but have read many of your posts and it was saved my fish more then once so I thank you for that. but the reason I'm writing is because I have a 55 gallon tank that I personally tested and then had my LFS double check my tests and although I don't know the exact numbers off the top of my head the nitrate was near perfect and most everything else was satisfactory, to above average. I have a pair of fudge clown fish, 2 peppermint shrimp, a skunk shrimp, a reef safe short spine urchin, and about a week ago got a small striped mandarin dragonet, for the first 3-4 days he got fat and healthy and came out of hiding to eat the abundance of pods coming from my refugium, but in the last couple of days I have noticed he has stopped coming out and when we do see him he has started to get thinner and seems to have stopped eating, he also lost his color drastically compared to when we got him. he also has what looks like short, white hair algae hanging from his sides.
<Mmm, reads like this fish may have gotten stung (a Bristleworm, Cnidarian...) or ate something that didn't agree with it. Happens>
I'm extremely worried I got into salt water fish because I saw a mandarin about a year and a half ago and its breaking my heart to see such a beautiful fish in possible pain! I hope you can tell me what's happening and if there's is anything I can do to stop it.
<Mmm, no, unfortunately not. As you relate good water conditions, nothing peculiar re the other livestock...>
Sincerely,
Justin Devine
<Just patience here. Bob Fenner>

Another Mandarin Question 1/26/11
Hello WWM crew,
<Nick>
I have been reading through your site about Mandarin Dragonets and have not had any luck finding my particular situation; I am hoping you can help. I have a 90 gallon reef tank that has been set up for well over a year now and prior to that, a 75 gallon reef that housed a Green Mandarin (he was moved to the 90 gallon about 6 months ago). The Mandarin is VERY fat (healthy) and he has been with me for at least a year with no apparent problems. He is housed with a red fire fish,
<Social animals; live "in twos">
1 Regal Tang (aprox. 3"), 2 green Chromis, 2 blue Chromis, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Watchman Goby w/ Pistol Shrimp, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, a variety of thriving coral, a green bubble tip (aprox 2") and 1 red bubble tip anemone (aprox 5-6");
<Mmm, I should mention that anemones can/do consume Callionymoids>
both eating and healthy in appearance. My water parameters are: Calcium 490,
<Mmm, a bit high... your Alk., Mg conc.?>
PH 8.5, Salinity 1.025, Nitrates < 12ppm, Nitrites 0, Phosphates 0, <Some is necessary for chemoautotrophs>
Oxygen is fine (forget exact number), Ammonia 0. I regularly supplement Calcium, Strontium (despite a lack of concrete research), and Iodide no more than twice per week. The tank has nearly 120 pounds of live rock, 100 pounds of live sand, a 6-bulb HO T-5 (3 white and 3 actinic)
<I'd replace two of the actinics w/ more "white">
@ 324 watts. SO...back to the fish in question. The past two days, I have noticed my Dragonet has been perching the entire day in one place.
This is not typical of him, as he tends to swim the entire system pecking at the rocks, eating the abundance of Copepods. Additionally, I have noticed that his tail has been covered in slime (I know the release a slime coat when stressed, but this is constantly visible the past 2 days). The only new addition to the tank is a small (2-3") Tiger Serpent Star who naturally, bothers no one.
<Maybe>
The fish does not appear to be losing weight and I still see plenty of Copepods all over my glass. Any advice? I'm worried about him....
Thank you,
Nick
<Could be a sting of some sort, or summat he ate... these are the two most likely causes. Not much to do re either/both, other than separate. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin goby <<RMF>>, hlth. 1/19/11
Hey,
thanks for the help with the BGA in my tank but now I have a new problem.
<Welcome and uh-oh!>
I got this mandarin goby a couple of weeks ago and seemed to be doing real fine up until now.
About 30 minutes ago I noticed my goby just kind of floating around. Now its laying on the bottom not moving much and is really pale and is breathing very slow.
I don't know what the problem is I have a plethora of copepods and amphipods.
<Even if feeding were the problem it usually progresses much slower.>
I have a 55 gallon set up. I have 25lbs of LR and 25lbs of rock that I just added a couple of days ago.
<<Mmm, here's the likely problem>>
Could the new rock be the problem I also have a blue and yellow damsel and a Percula clownfish and they seem to be doing just fine I feed them frozen food.
<It is possible. Was this fresh live rock, uncured? Dry rock is no issue.>
So is my Mandarin sick should I take him down to the LFS where they can keep him in isolation until he gets better (if he's sick that is).
<There is something amiss here. Is he showing any other symptoms? I am by no means a fish disease expert, going to ask Bob to chime in if he has anything additional to offer. Even with a healthy mandarin, this is not the system for it! See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm>
sincerely,
Andrew
<Scott V.><<I do think the new rock in some fashion is at fault here...
either something on/in it that poisoned, mal-affected the Mandarin, or the
"curing" process itself. Or, maybe the BGA issue chatted up previously... Bob Fenner>>
Subject: red stuff in my tank 1/14
Hi,
<Hello.>
I got this saltwater aquarium off of craigslist a couple of weeks ago(it has been established for 2+ years prior to me getting it.) and about a week ago it started growing this red stuff on the sand. It usually almost covers up the whole bottom of the tank like a carpet with some bald spots, but I stir the sand up because I don't know whether or not if its good or bad.
<Not desirable.>
It makes little bubbles by the way if that at all helps you identify it. I have also attached a
picture of some of it.
sincerely,
Andrew
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the links at the top for more information and how to approach this stuff. Scott V.>
Re: Mandarin goby 1/20/11

Hey,
so I'll send you a pic of the tank.
The new rock I put in there is Marco(or Maco) rocks key largo rock.
<Really should not be an issue unless it somehow was contaminated.>
Also my mandarin is much better I don't know what was wrong with him (maybe a bad copepod LOL JK) but he's all better now.
<Ate a bad taco!>
I also have a dead (or dying) coral in there too.
<Will affect water quality! Scott V.>

Dead mandarins....can't find the culprit 1/15/11
Hi guys I want to start by saying thank you for all the great info and your hard work.
I have a 125G saltwater fish tank, 3 years old, it has plenty of copepods and amphipods, about 6 inches sand on the bottom and about 80 pounds or more live rock. The parameters:
Salinity 1.024
Nitrites, phosphates, ammonia 0
<Mmm, why 0.0 HPO4?>
Nitrates about 20 now but varies between 0 and 20 (we use a denitrifier)
<Of what kind? What sort of feeder stock?>
I add iodine, essential elements
<How?>
and liquid calcium once a week.
I had a pair of mandarin gobies that were big and fat eating frozen food and picking stuff of the rocks all day. They never showed signs of distress or sickness. Yesterday they were swimming and acting normal and this morning the male was dead and it seemed like his top fin and tail were damaged (probably a crab got him after he died). The female was on the opposite side of the tank breathing heavily and not swimming at all. Other than that she seemed ok, no damage on the fins or the body. I removed her from the tank and placed her in a specimen holder and she died 10 minutes later. The male seemed to have a large white spot on the side of his body but I am not sure if that was from a coral stink or something trying to eat him after he died.
The other inhabitants are:
2 Banggai cardinals (pair)
a pair of ocellaris clowns
a male and female McCosker's wrasse
1 diamond goby
a pair of lyretail Anthias
1 blue hippo tang
2 garden eels (who seem to eat anything from frozen to flakes)
<Wow!>
1 royal gramma (who seems to have some whitish discolorations
<A clue>
on her head that I noticed about 2 months ago but she eats and swims ok- could it be some bacterial infection?)
<Not likely primary>
3 skunk cleaner shrimp
1 coral banded shrimp
1 sally
2 green emeralds
about 20 Nassarius snails
bumble bee snails(6), margaritas(10), turbo(2), Trochus(5)
Corals: 1 elegance coral, 1 hammer coral, 1 frogspawn, 1 green star polyps, xenias (3), 2 toadstool leather corals, many yellow sun polyps, brown polyps, zoos, 1 candy cane and a couple of think<g>s I still have to ID.
I had a green Nephthea that did great for a while but I think he grew and became to big so it started to die off (all the little ones are still doing ok). I noticed the yellow polyps quit opening and they shriveled up so I came to the conclusion it must be the dying Nephthea that's putting some toxins in the water. I removed the Nephthea, put some activated carbon in my refugium and now 3 days later my yellow polyps are back to normal. Could it be possible that the toxins from the Nephthea affected my mandarins?
<Mmm, yes>
Or you think my elegance coral stung them?
<Both? Not likely>
(if so I think it's very weird it got both of them over night and couldn't see any signs on their skin). Should I be afraid that all my fish will have the same faith <fate>? Thanks
Alex
<Well... the two most likely categories of probable cause that occur to me are either the supplementation/chemical treatment, including chemical filtrant use, and/or an allelopathogenic effect w/ your Cnidarians as you speculate... No treatment called for... I'd review your maintenance procedures. Bob Fenner>

Clavularia strangling Zoa? 1/15/11
Hello WWM crew. My first email after many, many hours searching and soaking up the knowledge from your site. Thanks much for your team's dedication to the betterment of this hobby and its hobbyists.
<Welcome Tommy>
I'll forego the tank description this time as this is more of a general behavioral question - I have what I believe are Clavularia (daisy/star polyps), and as advertized, they are quickly multiplying and extending their dominion (so far not a nuisance, but I'm wary). They've latched onto a small Zoa colony that was in their vicinity (see attached picture), and I'm wondering if I should take action to separate them.
<Mmm, is this possible, practical?>
Neither has shown any signs of illness from the connection thus far, but will the Clavularia eventually strangle or otherwise envelop the Zoa?
<Mmm, seem to have come to some sort of agreement from your pic>
Also, if I were to separate them, what is the best way to go about doing that without injuring either creature?
<I would leave them as is... if one is going to overgrow the other...>
Actually, I'd mainly be concerned about injuring the Zoa, as it only has about 7 polyps, whereas the Clav probably wouldn't suffer from losing a few of its 40+ stalks.
Thanks again for all the valuable information. It is much appreciated.
-Tommy
San Francisco, CA, USA
<Bob Fenner, San Diego, Cozumel/QRoo>

Sick Mandarin fish? 3/21/10
Thanks for the awesome site. I am constantly checking for all of your great advice. I am concerned that my mandarin fish may be sick. It is a female target mandarin that I purchased a week ago. She was young and thin, but
very active and was only in the shop for about 3 days. I put her in my tank where she stayed in a breeder net for the first 2 days with a piece of live rock. Then I let her go, and she went on a feeding frenzy in the tank. She
has filled out a bit this past week. However, the past couple days, she has started opening and closing her mouth very quickly, with her gills flaring.
It is extremely fast. She is still moving and feeding, but not nearly as much. She is spending the majority of the time sitting on the sand in front of the reef. I have also caught her twitching on the sand substrate. It reminds of flicking due to ammonia, but there is no trace of ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite in the tank. All of the other inhabitants are
thriving:
Pair of False Percs
Peppermint Shrimp
Numerous Zoas, Shrooms, and xenia
1 large finger leather, candy coral, and a bubble coral
Reef contains red algae and a ton of Chaetomorpha
My reef is in a 55 gallon tank with an 8 gallon sump, and is over a year old. I will be attaching a 6 gallon algae refugium soon.
Here are my params:
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite - 0
pH - 8.1
KH - 180 mg/L
Thank you very much for the help.
- Jason
<Mmm, well, all this could be "normal behavior"... or this fish may have eaten something that didn't agree with it... or it might have been poisoned a bit by the Zoanthids, stung by some other animal here... Nothing really to do but stay observant, be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Mandarin fish? 3/21/10
I do have a colony of Zoanthids that are brown and about 1.5-2 inches tall.
The polyps have little hairs coming off the sides. This colony has flatworms on it. Could she be trying to eat the flatworms off of it?
<Yes>
I am willing to remove this colony. As far as an animal stinging her, are you thinking the bubble coral may have done it?
<The most likely candidate here>
I have tried 3 other mandarins in the past, dating back to about 6 months ago. They have each died after about 2 days.
I blamed the first one on a lack of food, since the tank was only 6 months old at the time. The other 2 had plenty of pods available. I can see them crawling on the rocks and in the Chaetomorpha. If this one dies, I may be out of the mandarin hobby. I always thought feeding was the tough part, but this is strange.
Thanks Again,
Jason
<And you, BobF>
Re: Sick Mandarin fish? 3/21/10
I just checked on her this morning and she was dead. There is no sign of trauma, so I don't think she was attacked. I think I'm going to cool it on the mandarins and stick to my coral and clownfish.
Thanks,
Jason
<This does sound best. Cheers, BobF>

Mandarin... hlth., poss. chewing by Isopods 2/20/2010
Hello all you fine folks at WWM.
<Salud Frank>
I have an issue with my green mandarin that I'd like to get your thoughts on. The mandarin has been my favorite fish for about 10 months now. I originally had him in my 75 but my girlfriend is moving in so in order to save a little space I downsized to a RedSea max 130d (34 gallon total volume I believe) all in one setup. I kept a few pieces of my live rock and about 2 cups of the live sand for this setup to which I added some new live rock (smaller pieces for smaller tank) and a new bag of CaribSea live sand (the black variety). All my water parameters check in at desirable levels.
PH = 8.3
Amm = 0
Nit = 0
Nitrate = 5-10
salinity = 1.025
cal = 420
Anyhow my problem is that since adding the new live rock I have noticed some little critters that resemble rolypolys only smaller.
<Mmm, could be real trouble... most (if this is what they are) Isopods are predaceous... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/isopodid.htm>
I dropped in a few shrimp pellets for the mystery wrasse and scarlet cleaner shrimp who made the move to the smaller tank along with the mandarin and as the pellets disintegrated on the bottom these little bugs were foraging thru it and presumably having a meal. I have read about the dreaded isopods on your site and made the assumption that I must have the scavenging type since I have never seen them on any of the livestock.
<Oh! Thus far...>
Well a couple of days ago I noticed my mandarin's lip looked odd and tried to get a better look at it and in doing so noticed that his tale had apparently been nibbled on as well as having a smooth looking tear in it as well as a tear in his dorsal fin. I am wondering if this is due to a parasitic isopod and curious if one has latched on inside his lower jaw causing him to look like he has a fat lower lip.
<Mmm, maybe. This or something else>
I cant get a good look and he is very shy so I couldn't get a picture for reference but he is still swimming around and hunting for food on the live rock as well as chowing down on frozen Mysis and brine shrimp as well as blood worms all soaked in Selcon. He has always been a good eater but almost seems to be eating more. The thought also crossed my mind that he could have been stung by one of my coral frags (sun coral frag, green button polyp frag, and Sarcophyton?)
<Possibly>
or a small Aiptasia or some sort of anemone that came in on the new live rock that is clear but dont look like Aiptasia. Anyhow sorry for the long read but I was wondering if you might be able to offer some advice. Any
would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot, Frank
<You've about covered the most promising possibilities. Keep your eyes open here. Bob Fenner>

Re Mandarin hlth., was fat lip, now swollen pooter 3/10/10
Hello again. I wrote to you all concerning my mandarin a few weeks ago. He appeared to have a fat lower lip at the time and I was fearing the isopod was the culprit at the time but also wondered if he might have been stung by something. Well after a couple of weeks his lip appears to be healed of whatever caused his problem but he now has another issue. Related or not remains to be seen. I noticed the other day that his anus appears to be swollen. Almost bulging as if he needs to poo but to no avail. Could this be related to his last ailment and could it be some sort of parasite/worm or bacterial infection?
<Might be something that "stung" its mouth that now it's having a hard time passing... could be parasitic (if this animal perishes, do save the body for necropsy)>
What do you recommend I try to do to help the little guy? Thanks again for your help,
Frank
<Nothing other than providing foods, good conditions. Bob Fenner>

Mandarins in a 55... Mmmm, dis. & fdg. f's 1/5/10
Hi everybody! I just had a couple questions regarding dragonettes I was hoping you could answer.
<Will try>
First my tank stats: I have a 55 gallon tank with about 65-70 lbs live rock 100 lbs sand that is 10 months old and attached 29g fuge holding Chaeto and grape Caulerpa another 15 lbs live rock and about an inch of rubble I have a canister filter as a return (no media) and about 300gph flow through the tank. Now then my first mandarin was a spotted which took frozen and was fat and active for the 8 months I had it before it grew a lump on it's side
which looked like half a peanut under it's skin. It had the lump for a couple months and acted normally before one day it had trouble staying upright then disappeared the next day. Any idea what was wrong with it?
<Mmm, perhaps a tumour of some sort... but of what etiology? Perhaps it "jumped out" (any smiling cats about?)... Perhaps was eaten, decomposed... Perhaps it's still in there>
I hope to prevent this ever happening again. I found a replacement at a lfs this time a big red splendid mandarin who was fat and healthy, after introduction to my tank he went into the rocks and wasn't seen for a week (even now it's still extremely shy). Assuming he hadn't made it I found another healthy fat red splendid mandarin half the size of the first. When acclimating the first one, to my surprise, came out to check out the new arrival in the bag. So far the little one always backs off when approached but I heard two males will inevitably fight
<This is so... if there's not enough room, habitat. The size diff. here though... these are likely not both males. The large one female>
so I fear one of two things will happen, they will grow to the same size and fight possibly killing each other or the
larger one will starve and die in my system if I can't train it to eat frozen (the smaller eats frozen). So is there any possibility of peaceful and happy coexistence?
<Yes>
Other inhabitants include 1 neon goby, 1 yellow watchman, 1 Firefish, 1 hectors goby (does not eat prepared
food but still healthy and growing after 6 months), 3 captive bred hippocampus kuda, and the 2 mandarin along with all the hermits and snails and crabs. Also I have 1 pom pom crab but wanted to add a couple more, would their spawning provide food for the mandarins and hectors goby or just help the filter feeders?
<I'd stick with the one crab>
And lastly I'm looking for more macroalgaes to help provide breeding grounds for pods, I heard amphipods like Ulva, also suggested are maidens hair and Gracilaria, your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks!
Greg
<Providing food/s from outside is likely to be more productive. Do look into simple Copepod culture. Here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/podreprofaqs.htm
for a start, jumping off point. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Goby with White (Pearl Size Growth) 12/11/09
Hello, I have an established 55 Gallon Tank that I have had running for almost 3 years now. I have had a mandarin goby for over 2 of those years.
Today I had looked in the tank and he was fine, about 6 hours later he has a pearl size growth attached to just behind his side fin. He is swimming around normally and seems to not be bothered by it at all. A little bit ago
he brushed against a piece of coral and looks like he popped a hole in the side of it.
<A likely scenario>
There aren't any other white spots on it at all, none of my other fish in the tank seem to be affected or have anything like it. I had called a LFS they told me it could be just a bacterial infection (like a human zit)
<Mmm, more like an "owee" from a contusion/bruise/sting>
and that it should essentially fix itself.
<I do agree with this>
Attached are a couple pictures. Could ya tell me what it possibly is and how to go about helping
my fish heal?
Thanks,
Mark
<"Just" good care and time going by. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Hi Folks,
<Hey Rebecca! JustinN here!>
I have been searching the net as well as your site since last night and into this morning. I am under the impression from my research that my new mandarin has GBD. I had started him out in my 20 gallon quarantine. It was not topped up and the hang on filter was dropping the water about 3 inches to the water surface. I thought nothing of it at the time as I was more concerned about the fish not feeding while in quarantine.
<A valid concern -- many bypass a quarantine altogether with this fish for this reason (though I am of the mindset that if you are going to attempt a mandarin, quarantine is the best place to attempt to wean them onto prepared foods... if it works at all.)>
Aware of their resistance to ich (I know that they are not immune), I decided to get him into the display where he could eat. He did great at first, making himself a little cubby to hang out in and eating off of the live rock. Later in the day I noticed bumps under the skin, not white. I am familiar with ich and did not think that it was ich but panicked and put him back into the quarantine system and corrected the set up flaws. Now I am wondering if he would be better off in the main display?
<Likely>
It has been set up for 2 years now with a refugium in anticipation of this particular fish and houses one yellow tang as well as some corals. 55 gallon with deep sand bed, full of live rock (forgot the actual poundage), 20 gallon sump style refugium with remora skimmer
Rebecca Bray
<A 55 gallon is not optimal for a Yellow Tang, but being that it is the only fish in the tank, it should be ok. Continued correspondence is below...>

Re: Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Just called the LFS. The remaining mandarin that came in with mine has the same bubbles under the skin. Theirs is listing to one side.
Rebecca Bray
<Sounds like a problem from the get-go -- I would remove this fish before it becomes a major problem or causes issues for your other pet-fish.>

Re: Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Close inspection of the bubbles with a light and magnifying glass show that there are 3-4 distinct white spheres in each bubble. Snail eggs?
Is that possible?
Rebecca Bray
<Mmm, not real likely, though I don't know a specific identification for you here. I would remove/return this fish to the LFS -- since they are seeing problems on the one in their care, I would be surprised if they tried to argue against this. Good luck! -JustinN>

Re Mandarin with bubbles -- 11/23/09
I was able to get a close up of the "bubbles" early this morning.
( Notice along the edges.) His color darkened up after the light was on awhile. He is still eating and is alert and active. I could return him to the LFS but I am afraid he will just perish there.
<Rebecca, I will send this msg. on for response, but are you able to make a side view image of this fish? Bob Fenner>
Mandarin with bubbles
These are the closest I have to a side view for now. He has become apprehensive of me. let me know if you need better shots.
Rebecca Bray
<Mmm, can't make out much more... because both specimens (yours, the stores) are exhibiting the same symptom, I suspect there is some commonality in how they've been handled... is the raised area part of the
lateralis system e.g.? About all that can be done now is provide good care (water quality, nutrition mostly) and wait and hope. These (Callionymids) are tough little fishes, though they appear not to be. Bob Fenner, whose friend Rob Bray owns House of Fins in Greenwich, CT>

Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Thanks Bob. The bubbles are not directly related with the lateralis system. They are scattered about randomly. I am taking a skin scrape with me to Mystic today along with enlarged photos to see if I can
figure anything out with the Quarantine specialist. No relation to Rob Bray but I did have a former intern go to work for House of Fins.
Rebecca Bray
<Ahh... these don't appear to be resultant from gas embolism, and this family of fishes have very reduced gas bladders, so, not likely a matter of too-rapid ascent from collection (this and the other common Psychedelic Gobies are gathered in pretty shallow water... and with little "spears", not chemicals generally...). Bob Fenner>

More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Hi Bob,
<Good morrow (here) Neale!>
> For what it's worth, my guess would be a thicker-than-normal mucous layer collecting bubbles from the water and perhaps silt from the substrate. The question is why is this dragonet reacting thus, and given its behaviour has changed as well, some investigation of environmental conditions, tankmates, diet, etc. may be in order.
<Is a good guess in my estimation... as this group of fishes is remarkably
"slimy"... but having enlarged the original pix as much as I can, these "bubbles" look almost granular in detail... not like a gas at all. If they weren't so apparently transparent, my guess might be that they were "sand grains" attached with mucus.>
Have seen similar with pufferfish (which also have very small scales and thick mucous layers) after doing things like changing out all the substrate in the aquarium. Puffers recover within a day or two, but then they're hardy, adaptable fish that think with their stomachs. May be different with species only marginally tolerant of captive conditions and less inclined to eat adequately.
> Cheers, Neale
<I'll send on this corr. to Ms. Bray. Cheers! BobF>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Thanks for the input from Neale. I did a skin scrape today and took it along with my pics to Mystic. They are stumped as well. I did not get a good enough scrape to see anything under the scope (first experience). When I did the scrape however I went over the bumps on the one side and it did not affect them at all so I can't imagine they were collected from the water. (There is silt on occasion.) None of them ruptured. The other mandarin that was delivered to the LFS with mine still has the same symptoms. They came in with whatever this is. He is still alert and very active and eating away at the live brine, Arcti pods, and pods from the main display that I am importing to the quarantine.
<I can't pretend to be an expert on dragonets, so Bob'll want to comment in detail on your observations I'm sure. But if multiple specimens are showing thicker than normal mucous layers, it might be a result of shipping stress; exposure to some noxious chemical somewhere along the line; or else a contagious infection of some sort (what in freshwater fishkeeping tends to get called "Slime Disease"). This latter appears to be some type of protozoan infection (Costia) analogous to Whitespot/Ick, but different, and somehow triggers excessive mucous production that appears as slimy grey patches on the body. The last time I dealt with Slime Disease on freshwater (on a pair of newly purchased Carinotetraodon irrubesco) I performed two seawater dips a day apart on each fish, and treated the tank with a product called eSHa 2000, which treats against various external microbial infections (Finrot, Fungus, etc.) more because that's what I had to hand than anything else. Both puffers got better very quickly; indeed, the seawater dips seem to shift the excess mucous within hours of treatment.
After a few days, both puffers were completely healthy, and while an accident on my part killed the male, the female is still happily swimming about the tank now, three years later. Because freshwater puffers have an extremely high tolerance for salinity, I dipped them for 20 minutes, and this may also have helped dehydrate any external protozoan parasites. In any case, Bob may be able to say whether freshwater dips would be helpful in this case. While I don't imagine a 20 minute freshwater dip would be safe for Synchiropus, some shorter period of time may well be. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/25/09
Thanks Neale. I've been considering a freshwater dip as well although I know how dangerous they can be for mandarins. I will be interested in Bob's opinion.
<Mmm, not dangerous, but not generally useful for these sorts of complaints>
The only form of "safe" treatment that we could come up with yesterday was elevated temperature and hyposalinity.
<I wouldn't do this either... just time going by, good care... will hopefully see these apparent pinocytic cysts resolve>
I currently have the quarantine at 80 degrees F and I lowered the specific gravity to 1.017 last night. I do believe that I am seeing an improvement this morning. The most noticeable bumps are smaller. He was sloughing off a lot of slime coat this morning but is still as active as ever. I appreciate the continued support from everyone on the site. It's great to have the resource.
Rebecca Bray
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/26/09
Thanks Neale. I've been considering a freshwater dip as well although I know how dangerous they can be for mandarins. I will be interested in Bob's opinion.
<Mmm, not dangerous, but not generally useful for these sorts of complaints>
<<Thanks for this Bob. I did wonder if the saltwater dips were purely cosmetic, shifting the mucous, and the Puffers recovered under their own steam. Always difficult to know whether it's time or the treatment that
worked! Cheers, Neale.>>
<<In this case the former. BobF>>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/26/09
That sounds like good news. Can I put him back in the main display or may this be parasitic?
<Highly unlikely to be parasitic. I would place this fish in the main display. B>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/29/09
Hi Bob, Well the mandarin went into the main display on Thanksgiving and today we have a full blown ich infestation. It is most apparent on the tang it just didn't present as ich on the mandarin. Shall I quarantine the 2 and let the main go fallow?
<... all need to be moved to treatment>
I seem to have trouble keeping my ammonia under control in the quarantine. Any suggestions?
Rebecca Bray
>Reading. B<

Sudden Mandarinfish death 07/20/09
Dear WWM Crew,
As always, thank you for your great site. Over the 4 years that we have had our reef tank your help and advice has been invaluable!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I am writing you because our Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus), that had been thriving in our tank for almost 3 years, suddenly died yesterday.
I am not sure how old he was when acquired, but he never really grew any bigger during the time in our tank. This fish was eating and behaving normally yesterday morning, was missing from sight in the afternoon and showed up dead this morning. Over the years, this Mandarinfish had been a good eater. Not only constantly grazing the live rock, but also taking the brine shrimp
that was part of the regular food for the other livestock in the tank. In fact, I often feed him directly from a pipette when I was cleaning the tank. This fish did not starve to death. If anything, he was fat.
<I agree. The fish does not look starved...>
Is it normal for these fish to die with no warning signs or symptoms?
Could he have choked on something? Old age? Is there something that I'm missing here?
<I honestly couldn't tell you anything you probably haven't already thought about. Have you added any few fish to the tank, change any parameters? Did the temp drop over night? The problem with these explanations is that you'd think other fish would be affected.>
Our tank setup is as follows:
* 75 G Oceanic reef ready bow front with a 20 G Eco Systems refugium
* Water quality: 1.025 SG, 8.3 pH, 10 ppm Nitrate, 0 ppm Ammonia & Nitrite, 420 ppm Ca, 1470 ppm Mg
* 15% water change every Friday
* 3 feedings per day. Mixture of liquid, frozen & dry foods.
* Livestock: 2 Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish, 1 Zebrasoma flavescens Yellow Tang, 4 Chromis viridis Blue-Green Chromis, 3 Lysmata wurdemanni Peppermint Shrimp, 2 Lysmata amboinensis Cleaner Shrimp and 2 Lysmata debelius Fire Cleaner Shrimp, some blue legged hermit crabs and various corals.
Thanks for your thoughts!!
<I wish I could give you an explanation, but sometimes we just don't know why fish die. This fish might have had some type of illness or parasite that you just couldn't see.>
Jan
<Cheers,
Sara M.>

Quarantine tank set up/Dragonets 5/27/09
Hello Bob,
<Hey, Scott V. with you today.>
I'm planning on setting up a quarantine tank for my spotted mandarin. I've put him in a breeding net for training him onto frozen food. He's been in there for almost 2 weeks and does not seem to happy about it, not enough room I guess.
<Two weeks? Where? Why quarantine at this point?>
I've read on WWM that the typical set up for a QT is a heater, a sponge filter and a light.
<Typical, yes.>
I intend to use a fresh water tank that I'm taking down. It has a internal filter that contains some kind of sponge. Do you think I can reuse it for my QT or do I need to get a sponge filter ?
<Yes, a rinse and then use.>
My goal being to shorten the denitrification (and ammonia) cycle. If not, is there any other solution ?
<Unless you provide something with which to cycle it will not meet this goal. The reality is in a quarantine tank all of this is expendable. That is, if you need to treat the biofilter can be killed off. Just plan on water changes with any quarantine.>
Also, I know the QT should not have sand in it, but it seems like the mandarin needs it. Should I put some in or not ?
<No, I really would not quarantine these personally at all, much less after two weeks in whatever tank.>
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
PS : I hope I made myself clear enough, English is not my first language
<Oh, well, job well done, even if English was your primary language! Scott V.>

Re: Quarantine tank set up 5/28/09
Wow, that was a quick response ! Thanks a lot.
<Welcome.>
To be more precise, the mandarin fish has been kept in a breeder net hung inside the display tank.
<Okay.>
I want to quarantine it not for disease treatment but for getting him to eat frozen food in a bigger room. The breeding net is 10" by 10" and the tank I intend to use for quarantine is about 10 gals, that makes a difference !
<Makes sense!>
As you said, I can reuse the internal filter as long as I rinse the sponge. But here's my question : can I put the fish directly in the quarantine tank, considering that the sponge is already seeded with freshwater bacteria (I don't know much about freshwater and saltwater bacteria : are they the same?)
<No, the filter will need to be re-cycled. If you have some extra live rock in your system or sump I would place this in with the fish instead, so long as you are not treating in the system.>
so that the denitrification cycle is done, or do I have to start from scratch and wait for the cycle to be established ?
<Start over.>
In that case, I've read that putting the sponge in the main tank for 2 weeks is enough to seed it.
<Should be.>
I have a HOB fuge so my question is : can I put the sponge itself (only the sponge and not the whole filter running) at the water entrance of the fuge, where there is a gentle flow ?
<It will help, but again use LR if you at all can and just be prepared to do water changes if need be.>
Thank you again for your responses !
JP
<Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Problem with Mandarin 12/9/08 I noticed this spot on my mandarin first I thought it might have been a bite <Looks like a mechanical injury to me as well> but now I'm not sure so I put her into an isolation tank which I run copper in <Mmm, I would not treat Callionymids/oids with copper... Such exposure is more toxic by far than useful... Okay... what am I saying? Remove it> and now I am wondering how long I need to keep her in that tank she has been in for 24 hours now. <Put this animal back in the main display> And also would like to get some help to clarify if it is a parasite or a injury. <The latter almost for sure> It initially was white now it has become a brownish color. enclosed is a few photos she is very timid so it's hard to get a pic. <Good pix... This owee will likely heal just fine in time. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin and Comment on WWM 8/9/08 Dear Bob and Crew, <Andy> Hope you're having a good weekend. <Yes!> I am thinking of adding a Mandarin to my 110g display. It has been setup for 17 months, and has 95-100 lbs of live rock and a 1-2" course aragonite substrate. I also have about 10 lbs of live rock rubble in my sump, and a 30 gallon refugium with a 4-5" DSB, 15-20 lbs of live rock and a huge amount of Chaetomorpha. I feel I have a very healthy population of pods. I have done a lot of research on the needs of these animals and feel that my tank is a pretty good candidate. The other fish in my tank would likely not compete with a Mandarin--a Sailfin Tang (I know . . ), a Kole Tang and a Royal Gramma (my very beloved Black Sailfin Blenny is, I hope, somewhere hiding in my sump, as he was chased by the Kole Tang into my overflow, and when I tried to rescue him, he jumped over the top of my pre-filter sponge and down the overflow log flume--at least I assume, as I've thoroughly scoured the carpet and my cabinet for fish jerky and have found none). <If he is still around he could be one of many fish, this is quite a general name. One "sailfin blenny" in particular to watch out for is Exallias brevis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm.> My tank is an SPS dominant tank, with a few mushrooms, a Candy Cane and some tree corals. So, now to my question. I was researching about quarantine protocol for Mandarins on WWM, and, as one might expect, found varying answers. Many of the Crew say an abbreviated QT (2 weeks) is fine given the thick mucous coat, others say the normal QT is appropriate, and BobF says "I wouldn't quarantine Callionymids". <I don't/would not either.> So, who's right and why? Maybe there is no "one" answer, and only I can make the decision based on how it looks, where it came from, and the amount of risk I'm willing to take (I can already see Bob's "<Bingo!> being typed . . . ). <Bingo, yes, you will have to assess that the fish is healthy, otherwise do not buy it.> I realize that WWM is a collection of a bunch of people who have different ideas/practices, which is what, in part, makes WWM so great, but these differences sure do make it hard to make choices sometimes. I can't help but think, is an abbreviated QT really all that beneficial other than maybe giving yourself the chance to train the fish on frozen foods--either give it a full 4-6 week QT or don't, because anything "bad" (e.g., ich, some other parasite/disease) may not manifest itself in 2 weeks. <But if you cannot (and likely won't) train the fish, this is a period of fasting, starvation and stress for the fish.> Now for my comment. I know that things are posted over and over again on WWM, but as you guys/gals frequently state there are X thousand of posts/articles to wade through and many differing opinions within. I really believe it would helpful if responders made sure to give reasons for a response. <The huge majority of responses are based on previously archived queries or articles.> I will say that most of the time, responders do provide ample justification for posts. And, please don't take this as any slight to BobF, who has helped me tremendously over the past 17 months, but the statement "I wouldn't QT the mandarin" really just offers an opinion without a justification. <But there is: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm, particularly the disease portion.> I'll analogize the need for a justification to your constant reminder to us that you need a poster's tank parameters, because, without those, you often find it very difficult to adequately address/answer a question. Without the justification to an opinion, I find it very hard to make an informed decision. I realize you guys/gals are very busy and do this for free, and I also realize (as stated above) that if I researched long enough I could put opinions and justifications together and come up with why I think so-and-so said "I wouldn't do X". <Exactly, they are there!> Just a suggestion to make our research burden a little easier and WWM a little better. Cheers, Andy <Thank you Andy, it is not only a matter of time for us, but for the readers of WWM. If the same thing is archived many times, it is just that much to mull over to find what a person is looking for. Scott V.>

Re: Mandarin and Comment on WWM 8/10/08 Thanks, Scott. I hope you weren't yelling at me through the use of "!" :-). <Oh no way!!!> A couple thoughts. If "it's there!", then why so many different opinions by the Crew on QT of Mandarins (or of anything, really)? That was my point--yes, there are MANY answers/opinions on WWM and it is our job to read them, research, learn and make decisions. <Yes, many opinions, many ways of doing things. It is a reader's responsibility to apply the knowledge to their own specific situation. People are urged to write in if something is not clear or unanswered pertaining to them after such a search.> That can really be achieved only if we can assemble (and find) complete viewpoints.. I would argue that it doesn't take much time to write "because these animals have a thick slime coat and generally don't carry disease, and don't do well/starve in QT", and that doing so 1500 times doesn't make WWM less usable (I realize the answer isn't always this simple . . .). In fact, I would argue the opposite--that not providing reasoning makes WWM less useful because doing so makes it very hard for us to consider opinions and/or find the answer. <I understand/agree, explaining the reason is imperative. My statement was geared towards stating it time after time. This does clutter up and degrade a persons ability in the search engine provided. The first X many pages will be the same response. > As you can appreciate, all of us have to mull through many posts/articles and many of those aren't exactly on point. Thus, we must all take as much away from a post as possible for use in our situations. <Readers do learn much more than they first intended in the process, a good thing.> When we don't hit the jackpot by finding "the" answer (or even when we do), it makes it all the more important for reasons or references (I see Bob F frequently requests that the Crew provide refs). <He does, we generally try to.> I have no problem mulling through everything posted--in fact I enjoy it very much. <I do too! (Not yelling)> But, as a user of WWM and someone who considers himself somewhat intelligent/able to synthesize info, I can tell you that searching for info on WWM is sometimes frustrating. <<Heee! Try assembling, building, re-making it. RMF>> <I must disagree. I personally think WWM is very easy to navigate. It is laid out well with a very effective search engine at the bottom of each page. Using a simple control (or Apple/Command) F on an individual page will take you straight to the keywords you are looking for (with most browsers).> Again, I wasn't/am not criticizing--just trying to give an outsider's viewpoint on how maybe the site could work better. <I totally understand. The struggle is making so much information easily findable/accessible. Fact is there are many queries/articles to go through (this is what makes the site so special), but you do have to go through them and 95%+ of the time you will find what you are looking for. Scott V.> <<Thank you both for your input to this very important issue. I don't know... what avenue we might actually "take" (as in nothing is decided till it's done) here... My current direction is to urge, write more articles... that proffer more "raw" background and the "justification"/rationale for much of at least my or the other writers' positions on "giving advice". Per actual responses though, again, there is just insufficient time to pen all this each time... And an argument can/could be made that the majority of folks writing in (though not us three) simply don't want to be so informed/bothered... Unrelated: Am amazed at how dumbed-downed Americans are in particular re such... being told folks are "terrorists", so they must be murdered, our economy ruined, we're not patriotic if we protest... Sans demands for proof... but back to petfish... My real request to you (all) is to ask for such if interested, provide such if a writer. BobF>>

Mandarinfish w/gill problem 7/18/08 Hi Guys You guys are definitely the go-to guys for help. Have cruised the web looking for an answer to this poser all night to no avail. I've got a Synchiropus splendidus Mandarinfish that has a problem on it's gill. <I see in your pix...> She is eating just fine, housed in a 55 gal tank, 50 plus pounds of live rock, lots macro algae, 5 inch live sand bed ( which I add copepods to regularly ) as well as a 20 gal sump/fuge w/copepods and macro in there as well. I don't quite know what she did to her gill, it doesn't look like a burn, <Looks to be a physical trauma> I don't think it is a parasite ( I removed her to get a closer look at it ), it actually looks and feels like bone?? Is this possible? <Yes> It doesn't seem to affect/hurt her in any way. Still happy and sociable as ever. Loves getting her picture taken thank goodness so I've included pictures of the 'wound' as well. Any suggestions as to what it might be or what may have happened. <An unfortunate encounter with something hard...> She lives w/two small ( <1 inch ) clowns, 1 firefish, 3 anthias, and 1 small 1 1/2 inch pygmy angel. All get along great. There is a bubble anemone in there but she has never bothered it. <Mmm... I will mention that this arrangement, placement with Anemones very often results in loss of Dragonets...> You can see the white area on the tip of her gill. Any suggestions on how to help heal this? <Time, good care> Thanks alot <No such word> guys! You rule.
Cindy
<Happy to be a lesser-serf, BobF>

Mandarin Goby... collection damage... 6/13/08 I picked up Mandarin goby/dragonet at my local fish store. The condition didn't look good, so I wasn't going to buy it, but since I knew the owner pretty well, he gave it to me for free. Most likely the fish was going to die anyways in his store. This wasn't because the fish was starving like how they usually are, but because it was injured. There is a little nick on his dorsal and his fin is rotted or maybe bit or just shipping damage? <Mmm, no... this is likely a site-wound... Many aquarists are unaware of how the two principal species of Mandarins/Callionymids used in the trade are collected... they are actually speared through their (mainly) dorsal fins...> I'm not sure, but it was pretty bruised. I think this fish is pretty much full grown, it's about 3 to 3.5 inches long. <A female...> I put him in a QT tank with some Caulerpa and tons of copepod from my sump. The QT is in quite and dim area. I didn't put any medications or chemical. <Good. I wouldn't> It's been about three days, so I can't tell if his eating or not, since I haven't physically seen it, but the pods seem to be disappearing, I'm not sure if it's the fish or culture crash, but I do resupply the fish with pods every day. Is there anything else I can do? <Mmm, no, not really> The main tank is 55g that's been running for last two years. The tank has 4 Chromis, 2 Clownfishes, 1 clam, and 2 scarlet skunk shrimps. If the dragonet keeps on living, I'm planning to purchase some pods online to restock the pod population, although the I have enough of them at this point. I'm planning to leave the little guy in QT for another week or so and move it to my main tank. But I'm wondering if that's a smart move since he is injured. Should I keep him in the QT until he's completely healed or would he do okay in the main tank just as well? <Leave where it is till healed, apparently re-fleshed> Under proper care, how long would it take for him to fully recover? <Weeks> I never had any injured fish before, in fact, I was very lucky to never run into any sick fishes before (knock on wood). Anything would help. Thank you! Sang <You have read on WWM re? Bob Fenner> Injured Mandarin Goby I picked up Mandarin goby/dragonet at my local fish store. In fact I got this one for free, but there was a catch! This blue mandarin goby was injured. The fish store guy told me that goby came this way and he only had it for a day. I'm not sure if it was the shipping or fin rot, but this fish has tattered fins and little open wound on his back. Since the fish guy is pretty busy, the fish was most likely going to die in the tank without proper care. I think this fish is pretty much full grown, it's about 3 to 3.5 inches long. He doesn't look like his starving or anything. He told me that the fish will live with proper care, but I'm pretty skeptical, since I never nursed for a sick fish before. <What the dealer said is so> I put him in a QT tank with some Caulerpa and tons of copepod from my sump. The QT is in quite and dim area. I didn't put any medications or chemical. It's been about three days, so I can't tell if his eating or not, since I haven't physically seen it, but the pods seem to be disappearing, I'm not sure if it's the fish or culture crash, but I do resupply the fish with pods every day. The fish doesn't seem like to eat any of the roes I bought it for him. Is there anything else I can do? The main tank is 55g that's been running for last two years. The tank has 4 Chromis, 2 Clownfishes, 1 clam, and 2 scarlet skunk shrimps. If the dragonet keeps on living, I'm planning to purchase some pods online to restock the pod population, although the I have enough of them at this point. I'm planning to leave the little guy in QT for another week or so and move it to my main tank. But I'm wondering if that's a smart move since he is injured. Should I keep him in the QT until he's completely healed or would he do okay in the main tank just as well? Under proper care, how long would it take for him to fully recover? I never had any injured fish before, in fact, I was very lucky to never run into any sick fishes before although this was voluntary. Anything would help. Thank you! Sang Sanghee Joo <Same resp. BobF>

Target mandarin, hlth. 6/10/08 Hi, <Hello> I have had a target mandarin for about 8 months now. Recently it seemed to have become less active. It spent about a third of the day lying in the sandbed, and it seemed to have trouble breathing. <Was this fish eating?> This continued for almost a week until last night I noticed it had lost color in its head, it was now white with light orange spots from the gills up. His head was also kind of shriveled up, like it was slowly shrinking or something. He died last night, and when I found him this morning his body was fully in tact except for his head, which looked like it had deteriorated. What was wrong with my mandarin? Was there something I could have done for him? <Without knowing tank size, water parameters and tankmates it is difficult to say why this fish died, however about 8 months to a year is about how long it often takes for these fish to succumb to starvation is captivity so that would be my first guess.> <Chris>

Mandarin QT with clowns? 4/15/08 Hi guys, <Carolyn> I've currently got two black/white ocellaris clowns (young, about 1.5 inches long) and a green mandarin reserved at my LFS. All the fish look very healthy, have been in the shop for several weeks showing no signs of ill health, and all three have grown well (notably, the mandarin eats prepared foods happily, frozen rotifers and mysis shrimp mainly). All three animals are going into QT as soon as I get them home, the QT is set up with some ocean rock to keep pH stable and some cured live rock from my main tank. As the mandarin is eating prepared foods well at the LFS and is nicely plump and inquisitive I'm not too concerned about QT her, but am not sure if I can put all three in the QT together, or if the clowns will be a problem to the mandarin? <Should be okay... Mandarins/Callionymoids are "distasteful"... their slime protects them from much predation/bothering> Would it be better to QT the mandarin for two-three weeks alone, then add her to the main tank, before QT'ing the clowns, or will it be ok to add the three together? <I think all will be fine together... If not, I would summarily move/place the Mandarin... this family of fishes rarely has/transmits pathogenic disease... much more often has troubles with starvation in transit, waiting> Want to get this right first time, as I have no intention of getting a fish I can't keep in the best condition possible, its not enough that they just survive!! After researching them and preparing for a mandarin for a LONG time (many many months) I really want to give them the best chance possible. Any help you can give gratefully received as usual!! Many thanks, Carolyn <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: mandarin QT with clowns? 04/22/08 Dear Bob and fellow crew members, <Carolyn> I'm not worried about this being posted on the site, but just wanted to thank you for your advice and rapid response (esp. given as I'm in damp and cold England ;)).. we now have the mandarin in QT, following your advice on here we made sure we watched her feeding in the LFS (frozen mysis and freshly hatched brine shrimp). <Good> She's eating some live brine shrimp and some frozen foods in the QT, but she's not anywhere near as plump as she should be, so I'm planning on getting her into the display tank this evening (she's been in QT for 3-4 days, not really long enough but feeling that she needs to be in with a ready source of natural food).. <We are in agreement> Also wanted to thank you for your wonderful advice on my mystery clown fish deaths a month or so back - it was indeed the branching hammer coral, which has since been swapped at the LFS for a stunning sulphur toadstool, so all's well again in the reef! <Ahh!> Again, many thanks - your site has become a second passion of mine - after the reef of course ;). Carolyn <I do hope you join us in time. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Re: mandarin QT with clowns? 5-1-08Dear Bob and co ;) <Carolyn> After all your helpful advice I thought you might appreciate a bit of an update on the mandarins progress - the little guy is doing fantastically well, he's eating defrosted lobster eggs in addition to his pods and is noticeably putting weight on, although he's still got a fair way to go to get back to a comfortably plump size! <Ah, good> Once again, thank you all so much, Carolyn <Thank you for this update. BobF>

Mandarin Swim Bladder Issue 3/30/08 A friend said he had a green Mandarin fish that would not eat. <<Unfortunately, this is typical.>> I told him I had a good place for him, and would try to train him to eat fortified brine shrimp. <<Not my first choice, though it's better then him not eating at all.>> Went to get the fish, and it is floating on the surface of the water! He can fight his way to the bottom, but as soon as he stops swimming he floats strait up to the surface again! Otherwise, he looks generally healthy After searching your web site, I have learned some about swim bladder disease and it's causes. He was in good water, so his most likely cause would seem to be poor diet, or lack of food in this case. And I have learned that even if he survives, his swim bladder will probably never be the same. As for possible treatments. Medicated food seems to be out of the question, unless he starts eating, and I will try. So a hospital tank, with good, frequently changed water, and a general antibiotic, seem to be the only coarse of action. Am I on the right track? Have I missed anything? Anyone ever squeeze a bubble out of a fish's bladder without killing it? And can you recommend a general antibiotic, if that is the path I should take. << You seem to be on the right track, you've at least read some which is more than I can say for a lot of the emails we receive. As far as the antibiotic should you choose to use one…the only general recommendation I have is to not use one with any metal compounds or formalin based products, and of course any treatment should be done in a quarantine tank. Check out this article to it may be of use; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/swim_bladders/swim_bladders.htm .>> Thanks Rich <<Welcome, Adam J.>>

Re: swim bladder disease... Mela-non-fix 4/16/08 I am writing with thanks for your help with my Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus). He was placed in a ten gallon quarantine tank, stuffed with as much mature live rock as I could put in it. The tank was treated with Melafix, a general fish antibiotic. <Error... this leaf extract is not an antibiotic... not really a "medicine" at all... Is more trouble than it's worth> Each day, I changed two and a half gallons of water and added another dose of Melafix. During the daylight hours, the Mandarin would wedge himself into or under ledges of the rock to stay submerged. After dark, he would allow himself to float up and rest for the night on the surface. This went on for seven days. After seven days I stopped the antibiotic treatments, <Thank goodness> and the daily water changes, thinking his chances were slim to none. On the tenth day, I noticed that he was no longer spending the night on the surface, though his swimming was still labored. After twelve days, his swimming was near normal. And after fourteen days he was cured of his swim bladder problems! Swimming and hunting the rock normally as Mandarins do. He was then moved to a sixty gallon refugium, loaded with rock, where a small female Mandarin lived alone. She has lived alone in there for a year, and took to him instantly. She has now taught him how to eat live brine shrimp fortified with Selcon. And he appears to be on the road to full recovery! I thank you so much for your time and help, and present this success story to you. Richard <Am very glad you ceased the API exposure. This material is more toxic than helpful. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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>

Injured Mandarin Dragonet - 1/28/08 Good day crew! I hope all is going well for you the New Year! I have been a regular reader of the site for many years and sometimes find myself needing to pick your collective brains. Bob has been a big help and inspiration over the years. <Ahh!> Anyway, on to the current problem. I currently have a ~450 total gallon marine system set up. It consists of a 210 display, 50 gal sump, 100 gal refugium with DSB and Chaetomorpha, and a 100 gal "settling" tank. It has been up and running for approximately 3 years and is very stable (Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - 0, Salinity - 1.026, Alk - 10.2 dKH, Calcium - 425, and Mag - ~1300, temp 77.5 - 78* F). <Ok> I originally got into this hobby in the hopes of keeping Mandarin Dragonets and finally felt that my tank was large enough and stable enough to support one. I found a fat, bright eyed specimen (already eating mysis shrimp occasionally to boot!) and purchased him. I knew about the "spurs" on the gills and that nets should not be used for transfer from tank to tank and assumed the LFS knew too (they are really great!) but I got the "new girl" and she netted him while I was looking elsewhere. Well, he got caught in the net and she had to shake him out into the bag. I was a bit annoyed, but after a thorough inspection I didn't see anything amiss. <Good> On getting him home, I did notice a bit of a white spot on his gill but hoped it would heal. That was 2 weeks ago and he has been swimming all over the tank and eating very well. <Ditto> However, today I noticed he didn't move from the sandbed in one corner all day. His injury has gotten much worse (please see attached picture). Is there anything you can recommend for treatment? <Mmm, no pic attached> I can put him in the hospital tank for treatment but am concerned about his not eating. Any input/suggestions you care to give will be greatly appreciated. <Mysids, live if you can... or appropriately sized Copepods... and a bit of appetite stimulant added to them, the tank water... Zoecon, Selco product> As always, it is a pleasure to peruse your wonderful site and interact with you one-on-one. Also, it looks like the site reorg is moving along quite nicely. KUDOS! Picture: [IMG]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/mandyinjury.jpg[/IMG] <Oh! There it is. A bad tear... but not anything I would do re manual manipulation or treatment of the water per se...> Just in case the pic is too big to come through, here is a link: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/mandyinjury.jpg Thank you, Tom (The Tool Man) <Keep the faith Tom. Only time can/will tell here. Bob Fenner>

Dragonet Mandarin, Mandarin Care 12/19/07 Hi, <Hello> I seem to have problems keeping my mandarins alive. The dragonet is acting the same way my spotted mandarin did. He just lies in the bottom of the tank without moving. He is breathing but seems to have problems moving. He shows no sign of damage. We have a 110 gallon tank, with a yellow tank, fox face, 2 clowns, yellow goby, blue damsel. star fish, shrimp, hermit, and snails. All are doing fine. The water is perfectly balanced, calcium and all is good. <Numbers here, "perfectly balanced" means nothing to me.> we do a 10 gallon change of water every week. Do I have to buy special food for the mandarin? <Not realistic to buy what it needs to eat, needs lots of Live Rock to produce the pods that it eats.> Everyone seems to think so. <They are very difficult to feed.> We have had the mandarin for 2 weeks now and it is still quite plump. Thank you for your help Isabel <Need more information, how much live rock do you have, how long has the tank been established, water parameters. Many possibilities here.> <Chris>

Re: Dragonet Mandarin, Mandarin Care 12/20/07 Chris, <Hello> 1. The ph, alk are in the norm according to the color on the paper. (I cant give you numbers). <Ditch the dipstick style tests, they are so inaccurate they are almost worthless, get some dry reactant type tests, they are much better.> I have no nitrates. We did have phosphate but it is now under control. We took the water to a specialized store, and he checked for copper (none) we make our own water using the osmosis thing., calcium (good ). <Ok> 2. I went and bought some baby shrimp which I gave to him right where he was laying, I did it twice so far. <Did he eat this?> 3. I have 95lbs of live rock in my 110 gal tank. We had a 45 gal; for over one year. About 4 months ago we replaced it with the 110. We did keep the same water and live rock from the 45 gal. Thanks, Isa <How long did the first mandarin last? Did you buy them in the same place? Have you seen any of your other fish being aggressive towards it?> <Chris>

Re: Dragonet Mandarin, Mandarin Care 12/24/07 Chris, <Hello> 1. They are not dip sticks, I put water in a little cavity and then I check the color on the identification card that comes with it, <Ah, ok but if they do not give you number values I would switch to a different test.> 2. The little one didn't seem to eat, he just laid there...but he did change places at one point, that actually made me happy. <Not a good sign.> 3. I bought him at a store for the first time. And the other guys in the tank did not attack him. Unless they do it at night when the lights are out. The little one died, so I told my husband that we better wait for 6 months before getting another one, they are fragile. Thanks and if u have any suggestions, pls let me know for future reference Isabel <Best bet is to give the tank some time to mature, and set up a refugium to culture amphipods and copepods which are their natural food.> <Chris>

Fallow tank, ich, and a hungry Mandarin 9/1/07 Hello all, First off, let me say thank you for all that you do. I would've left the hobby long ago very frustrated were it not for you all and your efforts. <I might have too. :) > Let me quickly get to my question. My main tank came down with ich and following your advice I pulled all fish from the display and am now keeping them in QT. One of the fish in the main display was a Mandarin Dragonet. My main tank is chock full of pods for him to eat, but I'm afraid I can't say the same for his quarantine tank. I've been hatching brine shrimp for him in the meantime, but I've read that they're not very nutritious. I also started some stand alone pod cultures but it'll be a while before they really get going and that is a viable food source for him. Given how disease resistant the Mandarin can be, can he safely live in the main tank during the fallow period? By putting him back in am I basically negating all the time that I have had the tank empty? Basically, will he act as a vector to keep the parasite population alive, such that after 6 weeks when I repatriate the other fish they are still likely to get infected all over again. Thanks for your help! <Just to be safe, you should probably keep the mandarin in the quarantine tank. Baby brine may not be completely nutritious, but if he's eating them, they should keep him going until you can put them all back. Not that it should ever ever happen, but healthy fish can survive weeks without food (just like how healthy people can actually go over a month without food). Feeding the mandarin only baby brine is like feeding a person only cookies and beer for a few weeks. Granted, it's not healthy or ideal, but it shouldn't be too bad for short turn.> -Fred <Best, Sara M.>

Mandarin acting oddly 5/13/07 Hi there, <Carrie> After waiting about 1 1/2 years, I purchased a large mandarin male about 3 months ago for my 150 gallon reef/fish aquarium. I had tons of copepods (big fat ones) and a fishless refugium going, so food is not really an issue! I noticed sometime last week, he was not "hunting", but still. I foolishly thought, wow, he must be full, besides he is not thin and was fatter than when I got him! So after another day went by, I was a little concerned as it was just after lights out (timer on tank) he was in his "lightened" phase of sleep colors, but would go up and backwards (kind of like he thought someone was following him if that makes sense) and acting odd. Today, I looked over at my tank and noticed he was at the top of the tank spitting water. I took some pictures to help you out. Behind his eyes are swollen. Do you have ANY clue what this could be? <This fish appears to be "burned", stung by something... likely biological... could be from a bunch of possibilities... fireworms (come in all sizes), jellies of various sorts... a blundering into a stinging-celled animal...> I put him into the refugium, even though no one was bothering him, just so he could "chill." <Good move> Thanks!
Carrie :)
<I do hope he recovers. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin health 1/14/07 <Hey Michele, JustinN with you today.> We recently obtained a mandarin from our LFS. <Ok> We have a well established 100 gallon tank reef tank with 100 pounds of live rock and a 15 gallon fuge. The tank has assorted LPS corals, invertebrates, and a pair of sebae clowns and a yellow tang. We read everything on your site about mandarins for several months and felt we were finally ready to attempt one. <Yes, you sound like you have properly planned here.> We watched the mandarin at the fish store for several days and thought she looked healthy so we brought her home. When we got her home, she was much skinnier than we perceived she was in the store tank. She has a very prominent spine and lateral line. The really stupid thing we did, though, was not notice that her tail was missing! She has this little stub where the tail should be. We assumed it was trauma from being in the store tank with more aggressive fish (triggers, wrasses, etc.) Now, two weeks later, her tail is actually getting worse. It keeps eroding away and has almost reached the point of her body. <Is a source of concern... I assume from your descriptions, that you skipped out on a quarantine period?> I'm now worried that perhaps it is an infection instead of or secondary to the trauma. <I would tend to agree here.> We skipped quarantine (shame on us) because of her need for pods to survive and we thought her slime coat made her a fairly resistant fish. <Mmm, a shortened quarantine would have been acceptable, but you could have placed established rock from your display system in the QT system to provide food temporarily, occasionally changing out this rock with others.> Now, I'm concerned about the welfare of our other fish. <Understandably so> The mandarin is very active and hunts constantly. She appears to eat, though I have trouble telling if she actually consumes the pods. <These are good signs.> My question is how concerned should we be about the welfare of our other fish with a compromised new fish in the tank? Should we keep trying with her or is she a lost cause with the profound muscle atrophy and the tail erosion? <Tail erosion, maybe, but if the mandarin is still actively hunting and eating, muscle atrophy may not be much of an issue.> We don't want to give up on her, but I don't' want her to infect the clowns or tang either. Thanks! Michele <This is completely understandable, Michele. At this point, being that I'm not a major expert in pathogenic diseases and problems with marine fishes, all that I can postulate is that some sort of existing water condition is allowing the tail to erode away further. Typically in cases of fin deterioration, water quality is at play. My suggestion is to test your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity, calcium) and try to identify an imbalance there, as well as performing regular water changes to the tune of 25%. My opinion is that if the mandarin is still actively hunting and feeding (that you can see) there is a chance for recovery. However, do realize that if the tail erosion is past the caudal, it will likely not regrow. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Re: Mandarin health 1/14/07 Thank you for the info and reply! <Anytime, Michele. Is what I'm here for> Sorry I didn't include water parameters on the last post. <Is ok, does help us out.> Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate: 0, SG: 1.025, temperature: 80, pH: 8.1 (too low maybe?? This is a daytime reading so I'm assuming it's dropping lower at night) <pH is fine here, though you are likely right with your assumption that it drops at night.> , Ca: 500 (too high? We just put the calcium reactor in over the holidays). <Mmm, yes. Should be more in the 320-420 range. I wonder where your alkalinity is? This seems like you may be hovering awful close to a precipitous event.. You and your husband should have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm > Husband says salinity and phosphates are "normal" but I don't have numbers. We ("we" being my husband =) ) <Hehe, tank maintenance is much the same around my home, I understand completely.> do 5 to 10% water changes every 5 to 7 days. <Good> Anyway....last night the mandarin stopped her apparent hunting. She just sat in one spot on the sand and did not move even when we fished her out. Her tail had eroded even more. <I'm very sorry to hear this. I had hoped for the best, but somewhat expected the worst.> We humanely (we hope) euthanized her. <After reading further in your letter and noting your veterinary background, I'm sure you did.> I'm now torn between purchasing another mandarin and the guilt that I'm contributing to the collection of a fish that is so often not cared for properly. (I'm a veterinarian...I tend to philosophize/stress about animals and our effect on them!) <I absolutely understand your sentiment here.> So, two questions.....how worried should I be about my other fish (tank and clowns) if she had an infectious process going on with the tail? <I would not be too concerned, likely the infectious process here was secondary to the rough transit/LFS experiences.> Second, I've heard differing opinions on quarantine for a mandarin ranging from not needed to the usual 4 to 6 weeks. What is your thought? Thanks! <I feel a minimal quarantine is necessary for even the most sensitive of fish. I would agree with a shortened quarantine in the case of a mandarin, likely in the range of a week or 2, while keeping an eye on body mass of course. This would be more to harden the specimen from the rigors of shipping than as a preventative measure, and to potentially identify any threatening problems, such as you have encountered here. As you stated, there is very little concern of pathogens from mandarin dragonets due to their excessive slime coat. Two weeks would likely be completely sufficient, and if the body mass appeared to wither, this could always be expedited.> Enjoy the rest of the weekend! Michele <You enjoy the rest of yours as well, Michele! Do feel free to write back if you have any further questions! -JustinN>

Mandarin <fdg., hlth> Question 12/29/06 Thanks for such a great, informative, fascinating web site!!! I hope I am not wasting your time with info that is already in the archives, but I have read through everything on mandarins and I'm worried about mine. <Lets hear it.> I have wanted a mandarin for quite awhile so we read and starting preparing. We have a 100 gallon well established tank with 100 pounds plus of live rock and a fuge. <Sounds like a good home.> Inhabitants include 2 sebae clowns and a yellow tang, peppermint shrimp, invertebrates, and assorted corals. Parameters are ammonia/nitrate/nitrite: 0, pH: 8.1, temperature: 81, SG: 1.025. The calcium reactor and test kit were ordered for Christmas! <Nice> We thought we were ready for the mandarin and purchased her (I think her based on fin size??) three days ago. She looked ok in the store, but when we got her home we realized she is VERY skinny. At the store she was eating brine (not sure if this means she is "trained" or just starving and desperate). <Either, hopefully the former.> She is very active in our tank and appears to be hunting the pods (constantly moving around the rock and pecks at the rock although I cannot see if she actually grabs a pod when she does this). <Good sign.> I know mandarins and especially skinny ones have a poor survival rate. <Unfortunately> My question is what is the best way to try and fatten her up? Should I just leave her to the pods and fate or can I try and supplement with Mysis, bloodworms, etc. even though this is not the nutrition she needs for long term survival? <I would try a little frozen food, preferably the Mysis soaked in Selcon for a little extra boost. If she takes it so much the better.> I feel like we have an ample pod population esp. with the fuge, but I am worried since I'm starting out with an already compromised specimen. Thanks for your help! MLF <Sounds like you have planned ahead and are ready for this somewhat demanding fish. Hard to say what its chances are based on your description of its current state, but it seems that your tank has the right conditions for its survival. Good luck fattening this guy/gal up.> <Chris>

New Mandarin in quarantine - how to keep sustained until move to main tank? 11/6/06 First of, definitely would like to thank you all for a fantastic resource, and especially to Bob Fenner for his awesome book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I've had my 90 gallon reef tank with a corner overflow and 20 gallon sump set up for just over a year. The CMA was instrumental in helping me get going and continuing to maintain my tank. I'm just about to order "Reef Invertebrates vol 1" as well. <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Mean much> I picked up a healthy looking mandarin last night from my LFS. It is currently in quarantine in my 12 gallon AquaPod. He's nibbling (I think) at some algae on the glass, but it could be pods. <Yes... likely "aufwuchs"...> The AquaPod nano has live sand, a couple of small chunks of live rock and was nearly completely filled with water from my main tank over the past 2 weeks as I've done water changes (approx 10 gallons through water changes, 2 gallons of "fresh" but aged salt water). I have a ball of Chaeto in the nano that was in my sump and some dragon's tongue macro algae as well. My main tank has a ton of copepods in the sump, overflow and throughout my ~120-150 lbs of live rock. I believe the Chaeto ball had a small colony of pods in it prior to moving it into the nano. My main question is how to keep the mandarin alive/fed while in quarantine? <Mmm... actually, I'd like to make a plug/push for your expediting this quarantine... Callionymids rarely harbor parasites, problems that such isolation improves> I'm hoping I can entice it to eat pellets or something other than live pods, <Not likely> but I also don't want to move it to my main tank too soon and risk my main tank with some kind of unknown LFS infestation. I'm also thinking of adding some zooplankton/phytoplankton (dried and DTs) to the nano to help feed the pods. <Mmm, keep your eye on the apparent thinness of this specimen...> Additionally, as I do my next water change I'll take 5 gallons from my main display and add it to the nano. Also, I was thinking of splitting the Chaeto ball in half, rinsing and adding one half to my main tank for a day or two and then swapping it out with the other one, rinse and repeat every 2-3 days. <Good idea> The Wet-web Media mandarin FAQs suggested that only 2 week quarantine period was needed for the mandarin. <Yes... this or even less> Any comments, suggestions or ideas? Thanks again, Steve <I would be bold and move this animal to your main/display system if it appears to have a "low index of fitness". Bob Fenner>

Re: New Mandarin in quarantine - how to keep sustained until move to main tank? 5/8/06 Bob, honored to have your reply. <... welcome!> Unfortunately I wasn't able to put into action your recommendation to move the mandarin from quarantine to my display tank. Sometime between 10pm last night and 6:30am this morning the mandarin disappeared without a trace. <Yikes... must have "jumped out" somehow> It is very strange as the nano/quarantine she was in was tightly enclosed, there wasn't much space to hide in - just a few pieces of PVC and some small golf-ball sized live rock - and there were really no other creatures that could have disposed of the body (just a small porcelain crab also in QT). I tore the tank apart, including removing all the stuff from the chambers of the tank but there was nothing to be found. <... somewhere...> Anyway I think I'm better prepared for the next attempt. My quarantine/initial isolation checklist now includes: 1) Ensuring I have a wad of "sacrificial Chaeto" charged with a load of pods from my main tank 2) Ready access to live brine shrimp (low quality food is better than no food) 3) Adding a copepod starter if available: http://www.reed-mariculture.com/copepod/index.asp or http://oceanpods.com <Both good companies, people, with real products> 4) Ready access to blood worms - many folks reported that theirs would eat live blood worms <Yes> Alternatively to 2 & 3, am possibly thinking of having a supply of copepod culture ready. Reference copepod culturing (about half-way down) http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/feb2003/breeder2.htm or http://www.reed-mariculture.com/copepod/ Thanks again. Ps - Made my first batch of food from the basic recipe in the CMA this weekend. My tank LOVES it - I can't believe I didn't make it sooner. Regards, Steve <And what a bargain price-wise per unit unit! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Maladies...A Too Common Tale - 10/13/06 My mandarin stopped moving around today. It has been hovering in one place and did not respond to food. <<These fish often fare poorly in captivity in the long-term>> It appears to be otherwise healthy. Fat as always and good coloration, breathing seems regular, but all fins are erect at all times as if it were threatening or mating. <<Mmm...>> So I tried to feed it with a turkey baster (it supplements its diet of pods with frozen Mysis). The fish did not respond to the turkey baster so I touched it with the tip of the baster and it responded. I blew some water across his face and once again he responded. I believe that he is blind and that this happened suddenly. <<Possibly (and likely a nutritional issue), or maybe not blind but just so ill it will only respond to physical stimuli>> Do you believe that I might train it to eat food placed near by? <<Won't know till you try...but I have my doubts as to whether this fish will recover/survive from this point. You say the Mysis is used to supplement the mandarin's "natural" diet but if this fish is not in a large system (100g+) with a deep sand bed, sufficient live rock, and an in-line refugium its long-term survivability was always in question...regardless of whether or not it accepted the frozen Mysis. These fishes rarely ever thrive in captivity...usually best left in the ocean>> He is in a tank with seahorses and a Yellow Watchman. There is no real competition for food. The fish has been with us for about 1 year and has always eaten well. <<A common scenario...yet these fish still decline/die mysteriously in most cases>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>

Wrong shipment. Mandarin health, nutrition 7/18/06 Hey crew, <Eric> I just received a wrong shipment from an online supplier. I just wanted to get some snails for my 200 gallon tank. I can never seem to find the quantity that I am looking for in the area. Well the company sent me a whole bunch of fish instead. (they are going to send my original order now) I think I can care for the fish except for the Mandarin Dragonet since he is in my QT I really don't have a food source for him. <Very bad... I would consider moving, shortening the quarantine time for this fish... to move it to your main display system... for the food organisms likely there> I was wondering if I can just go down to the ocean and scoop out some pods and zooplankton and put those in the tank for him to eat? <Not really a good idea. Way too likely a chance of introducing undesirable organisms, pollution...> Is that a very good idea? I have ordered some food for him online, but I think the order is going to take a few days to get here. I don't think he is doing to well, and he wasn't very health to begin with. <Mmm, are tough animals really... If not really "very skinny" can/will hold off till the food arrives> Thanks for the help. My reef tank is coming along great thanks to you guys. Eric V <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/manddisfaqs.htm and consider foreshortening QT for this animal. Bob Fenner>

Attn: Bob - Mandarin QT... Hey, I'm not going in with that Callionymid! 7/18/06 Hi, We have received great advice from you in the past! You helped us through trying to save our female mandarin (but she was apparently too far gone to start with). Our male Green Mandarin is now very, very fat and healthy in his 230 gallon kingdom. <Ah, good> We were given 2 females after a tank tear down that have now been in QT 10 days. The QT has about 30 lbs of live rock seeded with copepods (a few months ago). The little Green female seems well rounded. The other female is a 3" spotted that they had not had very long. Her belly is slightly convex - but seems to be getting flatter. She is eating great (seems to nab a pod about every 5 seconds - although they are too small for me to see). They get along great - not even a hint of a squabble! <Good> Our plan is to switch out the male for a short period to get the females used to the big tank and to hopefully prevent the male from being completely territorial. That is, if we can catch him while he is asleep - otherwise we'll never get him out. A couple of questions: 1) Does switching them out temporarily seem like a good plan (I really hate to disturb the male, as he is so healthy and outgoing - but I fear he will not accept strangers in his territory otherwise)? <I would try just introducing both the females simultaneously "by cover of night"> 2) How long would we need to keep him in "exile?" <A week or so if you were to try this> 3) Is it okay to shorten the females' QT period? No signs at all of ich or disease so far (just the slightly sunken belly of the spotted). If so, I'd love to go ahead and do this so that everyone will be in the big tank before our vacation, which is in a week. However, we can leave them in QT if necessary. We've been monitoring to ensure they are eating consistently and have 2 copepod cultures to supplement the rock if necessary while we are home, but that close monitoring would be impossible while we are gone. <I am a believer in not long-quarantining certain groups of animals... Including dragonets. I would foreshorten QT here if all appears as you state.> Thanks as usual for your advice and time!!! - Doug <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin quarantine question 7/11/06 Hola WWM amigos, <Que tal my friend?> As many other fellow reefers have already said, the WWM site and crew is a MUST resource for new and seasoned reef tank hobbyists. My question is about treating an ich outbreak and medicating fish, including a Mandarin, in a quarantine tank. I read numerous threads in WWM dealing with Mandarin FAQs, but would like help in how to deal with this situation. What is the preferred way to deal with an ich outbreak and medicate a Mandarin along with other fish in a quarantine tank while providing food for the Mandarin? <A tough one... if the Mandarin and other fishes are in good shape otherwise, I'd try a slightly elevated temperature (to the mid 80's F.) along with a minimum physiological dose of chelated copper product (0.15-0.20 free Cupric ion)... testing at least daily...> I have a 125 gallon AGA with 30 gallon sump, 10 gallon fuge, and GEO calcium reactor which I set-up in April 2006. I know, kinda quick. Water parameters are good (nitrates, SG, temp, KH, Ca, etc.) with lots of pod production. Included is approximately 125 lbs. LR, 3" LS substrate, and a Euro-Reef protein skimmer. I have 9 fish (Firefish, Tiger Goby, Bi-color Blenny, Royal Gramma, Six Line Wrasse, Percula Clown pair, Striped Blenny, Mandarin) along with a cleaner shrimp, pistol shrimp, sea cucumber, and a few hermits and snails. Other inverts include mostly LPS corals, my favorites. I experienced an outbreak of ich and did manage to get all of the fish out of the tank into a newly set-up 20 gallon quarantine tank. <Mmm, a bit small... do keep an eye out for aggression, nitrogenous waste accumulation> I should share my technique in how I managed to do this. <Please do> I humbly admit to being stubborn about not setting-up a quarantine tank first and did learn a hard and aggravating lesson from not doing so. My attempts to treat the main tank with Stop Parasites (Chem Marin botanical product) <... bunk> did not work. In my opinion, save your money and don't bother with this rather expensive stuff. I understand the importance of keeping the main tank fishless for a period of 3-4 weeks to "starve-out" the ich life-cycle process. <Good> I witnessed some Psychedelic Mandarins eating live brine shrimp in my LFS and bought some with the hope my Mandarin could survive on this food source during his 1-month stay in the quarantine tank, <Mmm... some Artemia is better than others, but...> which is being treated with CopperSafe. I've been using a 2/3 strength solution due to the scaleless fish I have. <Good> Well, the Mandarin won't eat the BS (hmmm... guess I shouldn't use an abbreviation with brine shrimp). After being in the quarantine tank for 5 days and refusing to eat the brine shrimp, I moved him into my refuge to eat pods to build-up his strength. I know I am risking extending the ich life-cycle process by having the Mandarin in my refugium and intend to move him back to the quarantine tank after being in there for 3 days. <Will/should "re-start" the treatment and fallow time frames as of its removal> I DON'T want to go through "ich hell" again. Did I blunder by putting my Mandarin in the fuge? <Not blunder... but delay> How does one keep a Mandarin fed via fug or main tank placement without also providing a host for ich parasites? <Best, easiest through feeding cultures of small crustaceans... see IPSF.com, et al.> I did read that Mandarins are somewhat immune to ich. However, mine did show some signs of ich before being placed in the quarantine tank. Thanks! Steve <Best of fortune/success, life to you and your plans here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mandarin quarantine question 7/11/06 Gracias, senior Bob and to your gracious colleagues at WWM. I don't know how you guys have the time to respond (and so quickly) to emails such as mine. Between your website and PBS television broadcasts (commercial TV is just so much detritus), I'm a happy camper. Sincerely, Steve <Ahh... a labor of our passions... for ornamental aquatics, the living world and desire to share with our species... Wish we had the PBS/BBC... a... budget for content production! Cheers, BobF>

Green Mandarin tail Problem 6/20/06 First of all my husband and I have found your site very useful. Thanks for all of the topics and threads. <Glad you've found them... useful> I'm writing because I've had two green Mandarins back to back that have developed something with their back fin or tail. It looks like it was glued together. It would not spread at all. The mandarins could not swim and therefore could not hunt. I lost them both. My husband is part of RASOC <http://www.rasoc.org/> and while at the RASOC/C-MAC Picnic we asked around and could not get any ideas what may have caused this. We have one of Bob's books now and have searched through Wet web as well. I have not been able to get a good idea of what may be causing this. <Mmm, me neither> They are such beautiful animals and so hard to care for correctly. I don't want to purchase another one until I get down to the mystery. We have a 20 gallon refugium loaded with pods attached to our 120 gallon . I'm sorry I have no idea how much live rock we have. I believe we have more than enough.:) Also many people at the picnic are very excited to be hearing Bob speak in February of next year Columbia, S.C. <Oh yes... As stated, don't know what the root cause of this issue is actually... Other than trying your best to pick out specimens that don't exhibit this trait I'm at a loss here. Perhaps someone will "chime in" here with more. Bob Fenner>

Mandarins and External Parasites - 05/22/06 Hey everyone, <<Hello Marc>> Just a question. I read recently on a reef forum that Mandarin fish are not susceptible to white spot due to a heavy mucus layer. Is this correct?? <<Though not immune, they are indeed quite resistant to external parasite infestation...too bad they're not as "immune" to starvation in the average marine tank>> Thanks, Marc <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Treat Tank Bred Clown & Mandarin with Metronidazole? 03/07/06 Thanks for the quick reply. I believe clown's pectoral fins were short at birth because they are frayed (look torn). He is doing much better every day and now swims side by side with the other clown (a little slower still). I think that story will turn out okay. <Good to read, realize> However, something is now wrong with my female Green Mandarin. The pair has been eating happily in a QT with refugium for about 4 weeks. The female has never been as active as the male, but seemed happy - hunting and pecking (she is bigger than him and while not really fat, was well rounded). Saturday morning the light came on and she didn't get up as usual. I checked the water parameters and the PH had dropped to 7.6 - 7.8 (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all zero). I panicked and decided to move them to the big tank in case it was the PH or in case the pod supply was getting low. She let me scoop her out with no trouble (by hand). <Good... this is what I would have done as well> Both male and female are in the 180 gallon now. The male seems fine, acting like a Mandarin. The female stayed on the rock I put her on all Saturday. Late in the afternoon, she made her way down the rocks to the sandbed. She has stayed there on the sand for 2 days now - listless. Her color looks good, no visible wounds, no signs of external parasites. Her breathing is somewhat labored and she opens and closes her mouth constantly (with no food in it). Yesterday, she did move around some - going to the edge of different rocks. However, she just bumped into them (possibly by mistake) and didn't hunt. I thought maybe she was having trouble seeing, but she moved her eyes when I moved a flashlight around this morning. She won't eat and is now starting to get thin (hasn't eaten is at least 3 days - maybe 4, but I didn't watch her closely the last day before I moved her. I've tried shooting copepods and brine shrimp close to her and building a small pile of rocks from the refugium close to her. It is like she just doesn't have any energy. I could probably get her into a cup or trap with no trouble to move her back to QT. <I would not do this. I'd leave this fish where it is> I just don't know what to treat her for (and the water is of course more stable in the big tank). Any advice appreciated! <If this system has a well-established refugium (with more ambient "live food" present, I might move the female to this... otherwise... Bob Fenner>
Re: Treat Tank Bred Clown & Mandarin with Metronidazole? 03/07/06
Hi Bob, <Yo!> The QT system has an ecosystem refugium that has been stocked with copepods twice over the last few years. I don't know that it has more than the 180 with DSB and refugium, but she might have easier access in the ecosystem (if she will get interested at all in food). <Mmmm> Would it be less stressful for me to just pick her up once she is asleep (if she makes it that long)? <Am at that cross-point here. If you feel this is better/best, I'd do it> Very frustrating and sad! We waited for two years to try to make sure we could meet the needs of a pair. I didn't want to be one of the ones responsible for such a senseless death:-( <Callionymids are one of the families of marine fishes that seem to "do well or not" almost in deference to what our efforts would dictate. I do hope yours rallies. Bob Fenner> Thanks once again for replying so quickly!

Mandarin disease? 12/16/05 Attached is a picture of my mandarin goby. The tank is 7 months old and I've had the mandarin for probably half of that. He appears to be eating actively, but has developed a white patch in the dorsal area rather quickly. Any ideas? <Does appear to be (symptomatically) some sort of infectious (bacterial, fungal) disease... I would first seek to bolster this fish's immune system by soaking its foods in a vitamin et al. supplement (there are a few, covered on WWM), and the S.O.P. of checking, monitoring water quality. Actual "medicines" are generally not efficacious with Callionymids> Haven't introduced any new fish into the tank in at least a month. Thanks, Greg <Good descriptions, info., and pic... Good luck, life to you. Bob Fenner>

Shortened Quarantine? - 11/27/05 Dear Crew, <<Good morning>> I bought a scooter dragonet yesterday and put him in my quarantine tank. There isn't a pod population in my quarantine tank to keep him full. <<Agreed...>> His belly is starting to shrink. <<A bad sign.>> I'm trying to transfer some over, but I'm not getting enough for him. <<And maybe not wholly appropriate/accepted (amphipods vs. copepods).>> Any suggestions? <<Move the dragonet to the display.>> I read that some people just freshwater dip their fish and put them in their display tanks. It sounds kind of risky. Does this usually work? <<Quarantine is a good idea, but if there are some exceptions, I think this specie of fish is one that benefits from an "abbreviated" quarantine. These fish are fairly disease resistant and less of a threat in general, and considering the difficulty in meeting their dietary requirements, I feel it is better to move them to the display quickly.>> Should I try it to get him into my display tank which has plenty of pods for him? <<Yes>> Thanks for your help. I don't want him to die in my quarantine tank of starvation because I'm trying to stop possible disease. <<Agreed...is in the best interest of the fish. EricR>>

Mandarin goby 11/22/05 Hi, I am having a problem with my mandarin goby. We noticed about a week ago that he was staying on the bottom of our 150 gallon tank <Is about where they live...> and not eating. He also had a white spot on the side of his head. I moved him into a quarantine tank 4 days ago and am using Maroxy. <For what?> Do you know what could be wrong with him? Would it be alright to use Copper? <...?> It almost looks like a big white pimple. It is located between his gill and his head, behind his eye. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Cindy <I would not be concerned with this pimple, but look to getting food to this animal, discover what is going on in your main system that it is not feeding there. Is there sufficient food? Too many competitors? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm and the linked files above, particularly on systems and feeding. Bob Fenner>

Re: mandarin goby Hi Bob, Thanks for replying about my mandarin. He normally stays in the live rock and at night he stays on the bottom. When we noticed him staying on the bottom all day we took a closer look at him and noticed this big white bump on the side of his head. Since then he was staying in one place and not moving around very often. Before I moved him to the quarantine, I observed our sand sifting goby throwing sand at him and I saw him sucking at his side. He will be in quarantine for 5 days and still very still and not eating frozen blood worms or pellets which he had before. Should I move him back into the main 150 gallon tank or let him be. Thanks, Cindy <Thank you for the further information. I would move the Mandarin back... but do keep an eye on it for "getting skinny"... I would supplement food here... and soak this in a vitamin supplement as well. Bob Fenner>

Can I treat my mandarin w/ Coppersafe? Not a good idea 11/7/05 Hi! Is the mandarin ok to treat in my quarantine tank? He is showing a few spots & I am wondering If I can move him in with my Yellow Tang in quarantine? PLEASE HELP?? Bluesachet <... please read on WWM re copper use, Mandarin Disease, quarantine... all posted there. Bob Fenner>

Another Mandarin Death and More Lack of Research. 10/5/05 In my 55 gallon tank I had a mandarin who is now dead. <I'm sorry to say that this is not the least surprising. Most Mandarins are put into inappropriate confines with inappropriate tank mates. These fish require large tanks 100 gallons plus, with loads of well established liverock and large fishless refugiums. They also require the absence of other "pod" eating fish such as other dragonets, gobies and wrasses. In the future please research fish before purchase. In doing so you would have quickly known the Mandarin was an inappropriate buy. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm .> There is around 100 pounds of live rock in my tank and I would only see him once a day. He was very small, but I didn't see him being picked on at all but when I found him wedged between two rocks he had shredded fins. The other fish are 2 clowns who don't leave the top right of the tank, a bullet goby <This specimen was in direct competition for food with your Mandarin, likely a factor in its demise.> , cleaner shrimp, and a yellow tang <This fish will quickly outgrow its current tank.>. I didn't notice any aggression between him and any other fish. <Chances are there was no aggression, he simply starved.> He couldn't have been dead for more than a day because I just added a protein skimmer last night <You have a heavy bio-load and you just added a skimmer, I am guessing the water quality is below pristine? This could be another cause/factor in death.>The tang (the only one who I think might have hurt him) is scared of everything and when you walk within 5 feet of the tank he swims away. I also just added an anemone <Another poor choice in tank-mate for a Mandarin and also another sensitive animal. If you don't already know you need to identify the species so that you can provide proper care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm .> but I don't think he ever saw it being that its at the top. <In the future please research the needs and compatibility of the animals you wish to keep before purchase, Adam J.>

Mandarin Malady - Goiter? Iodine Deficiency? - 09/09/2005 I've asked this question on a couple boards and I was told to ask you guys. <Please capitalize and punctuate in the future.... it will save us time in revising prior to posting on the site.> My mandarin has this bubble thing under his mouth, about the size of a BB. <Excellent images, a picture really is worth a thousand words.> He's still eating normal. No sign of stress. He's had it about a month now. Any ideas? <A few, yes. This looks to me like a condition brought about from a deficiency in iodine, called a "goiter". It can happen in people, too. Anthony suggests that high nitrate levels can contribute, as high nitrate can inhibit a fish's ability to use iodine even if there is enough present in its environment. So, step one, test those nitrates. You'll want them as low as humanly possible.... as close to zero as you can be; preferably 5ppm or less. Next, on to treating the condition.... with the delicate nature of how Mandarins feed, this should probably be done in your main tank, with caution of course to try to find out how it will affect your other animals. Untergasser recommends a stock solution of 0.5g iodine and 5g potassium iodide dissolved in 100 ml.s water (be sure to use distilled water). Add one ml.s of this solution to every 13 gallons of water. Add to compensate for water changes, and keep at it until you see improvement. If you can, you might want to pick up a copy of Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases".... Inexpensive, informative.... Very useful, indeed - and easy to read/understand, too. Wishing your mandarin a swift recovery, -Sabrina (and Bob, and Anthony, and Eric - thanks for your input, guys!)>

Wherefore art thou Geisha/Mandarin? 8/27/05 Thank God for WWM! You guys are great...however I was hoping I'd never have to e-mail you again.... After searching around your site, I am still unsure of how to handle this. I have a 100 gallon bow front with 110 lbs of live rock, all of the levels have checked out... perfect. <?> Occupants include a Chocolate Chip Starfish, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 2 Blue-Green Chromis (used while cycling still around), a True Percula, 1 Saddleback Anemonefish, a "red bulb" Anemone (that's what the LFS said), a Yellow Tang and 2 Mandarinfish (a male, Sumo and a female, Geisha) Everything has been going great since the tank has been set up, except a brief issue with the Tang over a month ago, in which you all helped me eradicate (a freshwater dip). All was well in my "Peaceable Kingdom" UNTIL....(I guess you knew that word was going to pop up sooner or later) My female Mandarinfish disappeared. Actually I didn't realize she disappeared until this morning, however once I began putting 2 and 2 together she has probably been "out of sight" for at least 2 days now. Yesterday I noticed my male mandarin swimming up and down the side tank wall, not munching on food there, just sort of solemnly going up and down...later on , he continued his normal activities...in retrospect, Geisha, the female wasn't with him... which at the time didn't register, I was more concerned with his odd behavior, but once he settled back to grazing and what not, I didn't think any more about it. This morning I came down and turned on the "daytime" lights in the tank and he did the same thing for a couple of minutes then went on with "normal" activities. Still, I didn't think anything of Geisha. These two have been so hardy for us, even though everyone warned us, it just never dawned on me that there was an issue. After cruising around on your website, as I normally do in the morning, I was reading an FAQ about a Percula that just stayed in the top corner of the tank, only venturing out to eat...I thought, oh, my Percula does that all the time, I should read on...the answer stated that the Percula was just lonely and checking out his reflection. Bingo, suddenly it all came together....could that be the cause of Sumo's strange behavior? <Mmm, unlikely> I immediately went to the tank to look for Geisha, I didn't see her and started thinking about when I saw her last, approximately 3 days ago when I was adding a new live rock, a Squareblock Anthias, and a small brittlestar (rust & black in color with a black disk) The search for Geisha started around 10am today and still no sign of her, totally abnormal when coupled with the fact I don't recall seeing her at all for the past couple of days. My question to you, should I do a "full fledged archaeological dig" moving rocks and stuff? <I wouldn't> I hate to upset everyone and get them all stressed out, however if she has fallen ill and hiding I want to try and help her (however that would be strange for her to just get sick out of the clear blue when she has always eaten well and been very active). Also, I truly believe the anemone is innocent, <... innocent? Of consuming this fish? Is most likely it did> even though she is large she eats well 3 times a week and is closely "guarded " by the saddleback. I don't recall ever seeing the Mandarinfish in that area of the tank. Also, in defense of Emily the Anemone, she has been wide open during the day, and hasn't emitted any indigestible "goo" plus her stem is almost translucent and when she eats "spaghetti" once a week (a driftworm) I can see it in her. Surely the voluptuous Geisha would show right through. If Geisha has indeed passed on, will her rotting corpse totally screw up my levels, if I don't locate it? <Doubtful> I have about a dozen blue legged crabs and the same amount of turbo snails that are complete scavengers. Any ideas would be highly appreciated. Thanks in Advance, Amy <This fish is likely gone... died, dissolved, consumed... by what? Bob Fenner>

Geisha the mandarin, discovered gone 8/28/05 Bob, Unfortunately I was correct, Geisha was found dead behind a large rock shortly after I sent you the e-mail, it was rather strange, her coloring was still amazingly bright but it looked as though she had been "filleted" do you think it's possible that my overly aggressive and large (9"from tip of antennae to tail) coral banded shrimp may be at fault? <Yes, possible> He is always waving his claws around and taking a nip at all who pass him. I think the behaviour that her mate showed after her demise is rather interesting from a fish socialization standpoint. Fortunately she was close enough to the heater that when I gave it a gentle pull it washed her body up so that I could net her without disrupting everyone. I appreciate your knowledge. Thanks, Amy <Thank you for this follow-up. If you'd like, you can read re other folks mis-adventures with at-times aggressive CBS, on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Mystery - 08/16/2005 Thanks for your advise in past. <Glad we could be of service.> I have a new dilemma. I purchased recently a mandarin goby, he is beautiful. I made sure that it eats newly hatched brine shrimp before we left the store. <This may very well not be enough nourishment.... they cannot survive on baby brine alone. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm and also the links, in blue, at the top of that page.> First days were fine. Now here is the mystery --- my two cleaner ('skunk') shrimps died 3 days after introducing mandarin. <Possibly/probably coincidence.... I doubt the introduction of the mandarin had anything directly to do with these deaths.> They were in very good condition before and breeding like crazy. My all water parameters are fine (0ammonia, 0nitrates, pH 8, <A touch low on pH, not dreadful though> tank is 4 years old with deep sand bed and live rock), <What of alkalinity? Calcium? Possibly iodine?> I didn't change salinity or anything else. Now the mandarin acting strange too --- it breathes heavily and refuses to eat, prefers to stay in one corner and is not active as before. <My first guess is malnutrition. These animals require copious amounts of live foods to forage upon.... You do not mention your tank size, or the amount of live rock in, so this is my best guess.> Besides 2 cleaners I also had 2 blue devil damsels (they get along fine and did not bother mandarin). What is going on? what I can do to save my mandarin? What happened to my shrimps? <Again, likely coincidence.... The shrimp may have died of a lack of iodine or calcium.> (are mandarins poisonous?) <To my understanding, mandarins are neither toxic nor poisonous.> Thank you. -Veronica <Do please go over that article, and those links.... Wishing you well, -Sabrina

Mandarin hiding - 7/7/05 We have a 44 gallon well established tank with a Mandarin dragonette(2 in), 2 false percs(1 in), a lawnmower blenny(2in), and a longhorn cowfish (2 in, and yes we know he's poisonous, and he will be moving to the 160 gallon when it finishes cycling). <Actually I was thinking this was a very stocked aquarium. No worries though> The mandarin eats frozen food, shrimp pellets, and the copepods, he has been a steady and healthy tank mate for 8 months. <LUCKY. These are very hard to keep in small confines. I would attribute your luck with keeping this animal to the fact that he does eat frozen and pelleted food> Recently when we did a water change we rearranged the rockwork and moved a banded goby to another tank. After the changes (none of which are new, we rearrange fish and rocks often) <Me too.>, the mandarin started spending lots of time hiding under a piece of coral, which is odd behavior for him. <Hmm> He usually is cruising around the tank hunting ignoring all the other fish (and they ignore him also). Is this new behavior something we need to be concerned about? <So very hard to say. I can tell you though, through my observations in the wild, this is not abnormal for mandarin to hide in and around a territory be it rock or coral> All chemicals are good: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 30, and pH 8.2. Any ideas? <Unfortunately, there is little I can offer here. As long as he comes out to eat, you keep water chemistry, and other inhabitants don't bother with him, then I would say he is just in an adjusting period.> Thanks for all your great advice. Casey & Lisa <~Paul>

Mandarin Death Hello, <Hi Martin> I have a 50 gallon marine tank which is 2 years old and the love of my life! I have soft corals, gorgonians and some small fish inc neon gobies, clowns, a blenny and starfish. I carry out regular water changes of 20% every 2 weeks with RO water. I test my water regularly and have no problems. Everything seems healthy, however, yesterday, I found my mandarin dead. He had no signs of injury and looked plump and well. I was shocked at his death. He has lived seemingly happy in the tank for just over a year. I am puzzled as all of my other fish and inverts seem absolutely fine. Our electric had to be off for most of the day the day before he died, which the corals didn't like a lot. Could this have caused him to die? I just think it's strange that everything else looks ok. I am very upset as he was my favourite fish, please help! Thank you, Martin. <I wouldn't think a slow drop in temperature would kill it unless it fell below 70. Possible the system ran out of goodies for him to eat. Was it acclimated to frozen food etc. Search Google on the Wet Web, keyword "mandarins". You may find someone else who has had a similar problem. James (Salty Dog)>

Mandarin Goby appearance concerns First, I just wanted to thank you guys for a great informative site. I've read so much lately, but haven't been able to find what the problem is with my mandarin goby. Although, I have quite a few copepods visible in my tank already after only a month of setting up, I've noticed that my mandarin's skin is a bit irregular. I'm not sure if I got him that way, I didn't really pay attention. But after looking at him for a week now, I noticed he has some weird spots on him and also some bubbles on his skin. The bubbles seem like bumps. I can't quite figure out if this is ich, some other disease, or maybe it's normal. I've done quite a bit of reading and it doesn't seem like ich, because I don't see white spots that look like sand, but more like his skin is being rubbed against the rocks and maybe that's what's going on since I have a small tank for a mandarin. He's swimming fine and seems quite active grazing over rocks frequently, breathing fine, and eating I assume since I have ample copepods. I have a 24G nano cube, 30 lbs live rock, 20 lbs live sand, 30 or so hermit crabs, 15 or so snails... <This is way too many hermits and snails... I would remove about two-thirds of both... trade them in?> ...1 peppermint shrimp, serpent starfish, 2 yellowtail damsels (used to cycle tank), mandarin goby, and 1 clownfish. All parameters are normal, water changes done every week. Is this something I should be concerned about? Should I take the mandarin out ASAP? The bubbles are noticeable on the top of its head, side, and bottom. Thanks so much for the help. Perry. <I would not panic... or "do" anything re this fish at this point. Likely will "fix" itself. Bob Fenner>

Sick Mandarin Fish Help. My mandarin fish (Mr. Mandarin) is ill. He was feeding fine and eating loads until this morning. I got up a bit earlier than normal to do university work and turned the lights on about 30 minutes earlier than normal (I don't have any corals so didn't think it would matter) <Does matter... better to use timers...> My tank is set up with live rock at either end with bare coral sand in the middle To give my knobby starfish some ground to move over, I also have a sailfin tang, hovercraft cowfish, two percula clowns and a tassel file fish and 1 hermit crab (hitchhiker on the live rock) I have a U.V sterilizer protein skimmer an external canister filter and two power heads to help circulate the water . The mandarin shot from one side to the other which is very abnormal for him so I had a closer look and he had a patch one his skin about the size of a 10p piece (sorry I'm from England and its the only way I can describe it) This patch is like the skins been bleached but it still has a little colour to it but mostly white you can just see his normal pattern on his skin. The patch has stringy mucus coming off it. <Mmm, these fishes (Callionymids) are quite slimy... the patch may have been nothing... but a too-early wake-up call by you> On seeing this I decided to move it. I had a small 10 gal tank set up in my tank stand which I cycle live rock through, taking it out of the tank so it can regrow before putting it back in and taking out another piece it has the same temp, ph salinity as main tank I check weekly. <Good practices> I decided I had to put him in here it's got a small internal power filter and a heater as well as a light. I regularly top this water up with weekly water change water form the main tank. <Very good> I have treated him with Myxazin as my LFS Seemed to think it was a bacterial infection of some kind. <Very rare with dragonets> He is just sitting on the bottom of the tank not even moving on to the live rock that's in there (should I leave this or take it out) <Leave it in... discontinue the Myxacin use> he always sat on the live rock in the other tank, except at night when he moves around the sand in the middle looking for food. The patch seems to be getting bigger and more strands of mucus are forming. Could the starfish have bitten( well what climbed on him and tried to digest ) him or something on the liverock, <Yes to both possibilities> I just noticed a cottonwool look growth on one piece looks like the mucus on the mandarin? what should I do? sorry if I wrote loads down just wanted you to get all the facts all though I probably left something out. Hope you can help sorry I cant give a picture oh and he doesn't seem interested in food but could that just be stress from moving him. Thanks Andy <First off... relax... nothing good will come of over-reacting here. If the animal is otherwise fine, eating... I would move it back to the main tank... far more likely to recover there... What the root cause of the spot is... who knows... but it will likely self-cure. You list some fishes that grow quite large, and as a group they are a source of prodigious wastes. I do hope you monitor water quality closely. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Mandarin Fish
Hi thanks for the reply the mandarin died about two hours after I sent you the email still not sure what did it, all the fish seem fine, I monitor water quality weekly as well as doing a water change and all the fish seem fine. Thanks for the reply anyway Andy <These "things happen"... Bob Fenner>

Mandarin fish disease I have read that mandarin fish do not catch "Ick". <Not true in my experience> Is this also true of "Velvet"? <They can catch both!> Can they carry/transmit these diseases to other fish? <Yep> Should they be quarantined? <Yes sir, as well as any living thing added to your aquarium for 4+ weeks> Thanks again! <Sure thing - M. Maddox>

Mandarin health Dear Crew, <Hello, how are you??> I have had mandarin fish (Synchiropus splendidus) for 6 months and he has been fine feeding on frozen foods until yesterday morning when he just sits motionless in the tank with fins erect with laboured gill movements but no other sign of infection. Ammonia, nitrite are 0 and other parameters are stable. Other occupants of the 125 litre tank with live rock are 2 cleaner shrimps, 2 black footed clownfish and various soft corals. All other occupants are fine. I have never known a fish to change so quickly with no apparent reason and to have erect fins as a symptom. Any ideas? Gordon <Hello, Gordon. I do have an idea. I think that the mandarin might be getting picked on by something in the tank. It doesn't have to be fish related to be picking on the mandarin. It could be that there is a crab or shrimp that are bothering the fish. The dorsal fin being erect is usually a defensive posture in most fishes. You mention that the other parameters are stable, does that include the PH? One other possibility could be that the fish could be coming down with something called marine velvet. Check for tiny "sugar like" spots covering the fish. Good Luck. MikeB.>
Re: mandarin fish
Hi Mike Thanks for that. In the end he actually seemed to get better himself and now seems to be doing what he was doing previously. As for something chasing him it could have been a mantis shrimp that I discovered in the tank a few weeks ago that could have had a go at him. I subsequently caught the shrimp yesterday (about 2 inches long and brown) and so hopefully he won't get hassled from him. Shall keep an eye on things and let you know. Cheers. Gordon <Gordon, thank you for the kind words. They bring a smile to my face and brighten my day!!! Keep me posted. MikeB>

Mandarin Sick or Starving? Hi, First of all thanks a lot for your help on Cyanobacteria. When I opened my mail and saw your reply I felt as if I had won the lottery, you really made my day! I'm sending the picture of my mandarin to check if he's starving. [Image] <A nice pic, and your animal looks healthy, full-bodied to me> and also because, as you can see in the picture, he has a white thing hanging from his first dorsal fin (FDF), and some white spots around the fins, and sometimes on his back too, you can see one of those behind his eye. [Image] <Yes... does look like the size, indication of ich/Cryptocaryon... I would NOT do anything in the way of chemical treatment here... maybe bolster the animals immune system with added vitamins... soaked on its foods... and hope whatever it is "goes away" on its own, becomes less virulent.> These two pictures were taken 3 days ago, a week after he had arrived, after seeing this, I gave him a freshwater bath with Methylene blue for about 5 minutes, the poor thing nearly died, he had 2 bowel movements and thought that was enough (I now know that freshwater baths are not a good idea for scaleless fish, but back then, I didn't -I apologize). <Yes, Mandarins do not "like" FW dips> The colorless part at the middle of his second dorsal fin also looks better now, and his side fins which were bitten by some fish at the LFS, have also improved by now. Back to my mistake, I also thought those white points were ick, they were actually sand that he sucks in and throws out through his gills something aquarists should be aware of, you always see the picture of a clean mandarin and then start wondering what those white things coming and going are). After the bath the white thing on his FDF fell off, but it has appeared again, after 2 days. Further watching him I believe that the white stuff is actually the "web-like" stuff that these snails (from the next picture) leave as they move. <This pic did not come through> These trails are filled with white little critters which I assume are their children. These shell-less snails are about 1 cm in length. [Image] These creature are all over the tank and I really hate the stuff they leave, which leads to question 2, I got these snails on some rock from the beach, I know I shouldn't take them back, so which is the "nicest" way to get rid of them? <Put them in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer... put in the trash later, near trash day> I had the same problem 2 weeks ago with nearly 80 little sea urchins which came invisible in another rock and after growing to about 1 cm in around a month ate my whole LR, since back then I didn't have the mandarin and everything was local, I didn't care to take them back to the beach. In advance, thanks a lot for your help. You're definitely some type of aquarist angels. Yours truly, Rogelio (Tampico, Mexico) <And you are a budding marine biologist! Make sure and study business as well... so you'll be both wealthy and able to enjoy your aquatic interests. Bob Fenner>

The Eye Has It...For Now? (Mandarin With Eye Disorder) Hello, I have a 150 gallon reef tank with some fish and mainly soft corals and shrimps, crabs, starfish, etc. The water quality seems fine but I noticed about a week and a half ago my mandarin had a white spot inside one of his eyes under the clear outside part I guess what would be the cornea. The outside was still perfectly in tact from what I could tell. Over the past week the white area has gotten bigger and now that eye is definitely swollen. Is this a fungus or a bacterial infection and more importantly what do I do about it. It didn't appear as if there was any injury to the eye, it seems as if it happened from the inside out. He is still fat and healthy otherwise, eating well. I haven't taken him out and QT'd him because of his special dietary needs, I also can't feed him medicated food, so I don't know what to do. All my other fish look healthy and don't seem to have any visible problems. Besides water changes, what else can I do for the mandarin? Should I take him out I have just been monitoring him to see if it would go away on its own and now I see that it doesn't look that way. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Kylee. <Well. short of removing him and administering medications, it may simply be advisable to do those water changes, and maintain excellent water changes. I, too, would wait until it became absolutely necessary before removing the fish for treatment. It is a calculated risk, but you may want to take that risk and see if this clears up by itself. Hope for the best! However, if this does not improve, or if the fish declines, then you will need to intervene medically. Regards, Scott F.>

Mandarin Quarantine Procedure? OK here's where I'm at. <Fire away> 72G+10G fuge, 0/0/10 Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate, SG 1.023. We are in our 1st week of (intended 8wk) fallow period. 4 fish (1 Ocellaris, 1 Checkered Goby, 2 Chromis) are in QT for ich. Combating ammonia/Nitrites in the QT w/aggressive water changes & HBH Ammonia removing media. I changed to this after trying Penn Plax Ammonia cartridges; if I've got this right-- Zeolite based, no good for saltwater, right? Is HBH ammonia filter media any better? I chose this over Poly Filter because Poly Filter would remove the copper (saving for after treatment). <I'd attack the water quality issue with an aggressive water change schedule, and avoid chemical filtration media until you are done with the disease treatment> Cleaner shrimp (Amboinensis), Sandsifter star & Spiny brittle star remain in tank, but for the 1st time I have really noticed, I have *swarms* of copepods & isopods. I've been seeing them in slowly increasing numbers over the last few weeks (tanks running about 9 wks now), but never in these quantities. Some of them are getting big, too-- 1-2cm (shrimp I think). <Amazing what happens when the predators are taken away, huh?> So I'm starting to wonder about how soon the tank will be ready for my primary goal fish, a Mandarin Dragonet. I realize the concerns about aquarists buying these fish & their dying of starvation, which is why I'm taking steps to make sure I have a proper environment to keep one. <An excellent concept> But here's my concerns... OK-- let's assume I've completed my isolation & fallow period for ich. How does one isolate a Mandarin before moving him to the main tank? My concerns are making sure he eats, but what's the best way in a bare QT? <Good question. Lots of thought on this issue. My personal recommendation with this fish is to provide some live rock and possibly some macroalgae in the QT, which may provide a bit of foraging for the fish.> Should I try to scoop out some of the critters floating in the main tank's currents, & introduce them to the QT? (assuming I can keep the ammonia under control, besides) <Yep- that was my next recommendation> I'm wondering now, though, perhaps I can take advantage of the other fishes' isolation, & basically quarantine a Mandarin in the main tank. If I'm understanding these fish correctly, their slime coat is protective (partially? completely?) from parasites & infection (I'm not sure where I read this, is this true?). <It is thought to provide some resistance to parasitic infections> What if I were to wait 4-5 weeks into the fallow period, after I can be semi-confident that the ich cycle is broken, & have him 3-4 wks in advance of the other fish? Is he resistant enough to ich to be considered effectively a 'non-fish'? Or would waiting about 4 wks be sufficient that it shouldn't be a concern, even if he weren't resistant to it? <I see what you're thinking about here...Good thought, under the circumstances. My only concern is that the Mandarin, although it may be resistant to ich, could bring this into the tank yet again...A real Catch 22! I'm a firm believer in quarantine of every new introduction, period. I'd opt for the specially "quipped" quarantine tank, myself!> In either case, in 4 wks time, I'm anticipating that there should be enough live food available that he might need help eating it. Let me know what you guys think... Pete Cushnie <Good thoughts, Peter- and there is no shortage of controversy on either side here...I suppose that, in the end, it's best to err on the side of caution. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Very Sick Mandarin (4/13/04) Hi, my name is Kevin, <Steve Allen here> My last letter asked if I was proceeding in a sensible direction but I didn't get an answer. <Apologies. I don't know what could have happened to your inquiry.> My psychedelic mandarin is in big trouble with ich. PLEASE help. 10 gal. quarantine 2 small fluorescents whisper filter ammonia = 0 nitrates = 0 nitrites = 0 (just added the fish April 3) ph is all over the place, it was great (8.3 Sunday) off the low end last night, added buffer and was 8.3 this morning. <Bad news. Try to find a way to control this as big fluctuations are definitely unhealthy.> 82 degrees salinity = 1.018 <Gradually lower to 1.009-1.011 to be effective against ich. Higher levels are generally not effective.> coarse gravel = 1/2 in. 1 small live rock trying to feed Cyclops with garlic and Zoe vit. supp. He was pecking at it yesterday. Not today. <This is ominous, unfortunately> My mandarin is in his own 10 gal. and was even looking for food until yesterday. This morning he is lying on the bottom covered in ich. I have dosed twice with Ich-Attack (recommended by 2 LFS) but was reluctant to add any Formalite-I. (Has a mix of Formalin, malachite green and copper sulfate.) <I have doubts about the real efficacy that make such broad claims (and do not list their ingredients) as I just read on Kordon's website. OTOH, Kordon is generally a reputable company.> I added a quarter-dose of Formalite hoping it would help yesterday but the ich is worse today. Should I use the Formalin-mix on my mandarin or is there something else more useful than the pepper-sauce they are pushing in the stores? <Copper and Formalin are excellent killers of ich. Unfortunately Mandarins are more sensitive to these than many other fishes, so the treatment may kill it. This is why my LFS keeps his Mandarins in his copper-free system. Our very own Magnus claims success with a product called "Stop Parasites." I am thinking another FW dip but need some good advice on what to use for treatment. <Mandarins also do not tolerate these very well. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. 5 minutes or so may get some of the ich off of him. I'm sorry to have to say that I doubt your Mandarin is going to make it. Drastic action is its only hope, but it has a good chance of dying from the treatment. You could go ahead with more Formalin, maybe a little less than the recommended dose.> Thank You. Kevin <Sorry to hear of your woes. Any idea how this fish contracted ich?>

Mandarin With Ich 2 (4/14/04) Hi, thank you for your help, this is Kevin again. <Steve Allen again tonight> Yes, I added him and a coral beauty that turned up with ich. Long story short, I did not have, but now have, 2 QT's. A 10 g. and a 20 g. (reproachful comments here>____;) I placed all the LR in a freshwater tub for a few min. and dipped all the fish, as all were infested. Display is now fallow for 2 weeks 4-17. Coral beauty (in the 20 g.) died 4-12, I believe from the treatment and being weak already. We "dipped" the whole 10 g. with two quick water changes, ph/temp adjusted FW, then the same SW. The ich is still there but under control? I hope that low doses over the next week or 2 will work. (plus lots of Cyclops) <I hope he eats this.> I will try another low dose. <As I said before, you are smart to be careful with Formalin and Copper in Mandarins. I hope yours makes it through this illness. Keep us posted.> Thank You. <You're welcome>

- Ich, Quarantine, and a Mandarin Dragonette - Hi, I just found out about this website, thank you for the hope you offer my fish! I have a complicated question, and don't want to overload your system, but I tried to include as much background as I thought might be relevant. And probably forgot to include some too. I have myself and my fish in a corner by simply reacting and not studying up. I thought my fish would be covered with ich and die in 3 days if I didn't get some meds in the tank right away. I went down to the LFS and was given a choice of 3 medications and no idea what they would do. I started the treatment that night with Kick-Ich. The next day I started searching and found your site. On your advice a 20 gal tank for quarantine is set up and running now. (not on your advice) I also bought a 15 w UV sterilizer. When I installed the UV I noticed my skin burning from the display tank water. (Kick-Ich?) After reading your opinion on this I stopped after 2 treatments. Also the snails become unconscious??? in the display lying fully exposed on the sand so I moved them to the QT. <Would expect the snails to react negatively to the Kick-Ich. Would just remove them period... certainly not to quarantine where you might need to treat the tank with something that might just outright kill the snails.> I have a 5 year old 60gal. tank, not sure but 50 or so pounds live rock, 3" sand/gravel bed wet/dry filter and sump (have photos if you want) 2-tube 40 watt light fixture Salinity 1.020; ammonia 0; PH 8.3; Nitrates under 10 (the kit is only in increments of 10) I have an AquaC skimmer but have not used it since the (Grrr) Rio pump quit. The tank has been pretty stable for a year or so. I have a Percula Clown, Yellow Tang, 2 green Chromis Damsels, some snails and BL hermits. A couple of weeks ago I added a coral beauty and a mandarin dragonet (who has been eating well from day one though I am watching him carefully) The coral beauty was not so lucky, she was stressed out from the move and hid for 3 days. When I finally chased her out I could see she was in trouble, one eye cloudy and a clamped fin complete with white spot starting where the black spot was. In addition I could see the white specks on her. The previous inhabitants had some spots for a few days but not now, but both the mandarin and the coral beauty have spots and ALL fish are twitching and chafing. The white patch on the angel is turning black again and the eye is better, but the spots are there the same from the day I first noticed them, more in the morning, less in the evening. I hope the preceding was not too much, but now I need a course to follow. I plan to freshwater dip the fish, mandarin last, and place most in the QT. Mandarin goes to the new 10 gal I will set up for him. I have Formalite 2 to treat the QT, but not the mandarin? I will do a large water change, (aerating a.k.a.) on the display. I think I need a separate QT for the mandarin and have read your answers to this dilemma, or should I leave him in the main tank? <I would quarantine the Mandarin.> I would like to go a month with no fish in the display but I refuse to sacrifice this little guy to starvation. <That may happen no matter what - your tank is too small to support one of these fish long term, even if it were the only fish in the tank.> (working on a refugium solution). Am I on the right track? <Sort of, but I wouldn't let your whole world hinge around a fish that was a poor selection in the first place. I'd go ahead and try isolating all these fish and continue to attempt to keep all the fish eating, including the Mandarin. Go ahead with the pH/temperature-adjusted freshwater dips for all and keep under observation.> Thank you for your time. Kevin. <Cheers, J -- >

Mandarin Dragonette and color loss Bob and Crew, <Hello Deborah> Regarding this phenomenon: "Ok, so the problem...Yesterday after changing the usual 10 gallons of water and cleaning the algae off the sides of the tank that I do every week for the last year, using Instant Ocean synthetic sea salt, I looked at my tank after about an hour. The other tank inhabitants seemed fine. The Mandarin was loosing color and lying at the bottom of the tank. Its beautiful colors were changing to kind of bleached light peachy splotches with some areas of regular color. It also did not move. It seemed to deteriorate for a couple hours, continuing to loose color, breathing looked different, and didn't move much. Then after a while it was hunting, and eating, all color back and now looks fine. I do not want to go through that again. What on earth happened? Is that common? <My guess/bet is on a chemical and/or physical challenge that arose from your polyps (or mushrooms) consequent to the water change... Do you pre-mix, store your new water ahead of use? Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm> and have you read over the Mandarin FAQs materials archived on WWM? I would: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm> Find them linked, at top, in blue> Thanks, Flo <Bob Fenner>" as published at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/manddisfaqs.htm < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/manddisfaqs.htm> . I am writing to tell you that we experienced exactly the same thing this morning. We have had an ill seahorse who was treated and then returned to the tank yesterday. Sometime during the night she died. This morning we woke up to this bleached-out mandarin. An hour later, he was his normal self, swimming around just fine and quite colorful. We have had this mandarin for 2 months and he has always seemed healthy and fat. Our tank usually has plenty of 'pods, although I've noticed their numbers down over the past few days. Our parameters were all perfect when we measured them and no new fish have been added to the tank. We age our water before changes. There are only 2 corals in the tank (1 leather and 1 clove polyp) both doing well. I'd be interested to find out if other people have experienced similar incidents with mandarins to try to learn if any commonalities might emerge. <Me too. Will post your data, comments in hopes others will come forward. You might also send this note to reefs.org, reefcentral.com for a broader input> regards and thanks for providing an excellent web site and information repository! <Thank you. Bob Fenner> Deborah Lafky
Follow-up on Mandarin Dragonette color loss
A while back I wrote you about our experience with color loss in a mandarin dragonette http://www.wetwebmedia.com/manddisfaqs.htm < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/manddisfaqs.htm> . Since then, we had not observed another similar episode despite having moved him from one tank to another and then back again. <When you have a healthy/well fed dragonette, the fish are very "sturdy" meaning they can take being moved to new tanks without fear. I know a couple people that has a mandarin that moves back and forth between tanks every so many months so to allow the copepods a chance to repopulate. Now that isn't suggested, but it shows that the fish is rater hardy.> He is presently back in the seahorse tank where he loves to snap up copepods. Anyway, this morning he had another early-morning color loss episode and again, it was at the same time as a seahorse fell sick (Vibrio). Is it possible that the mandarin is sensitive to biochemicals emitted from the sick seahorse? <Not likely, I've never heard of fish becoming sick from emissions from seahorses. My guess is that there is some aspect of the tank that is not right which is effecting the seahorse and the dragonette. I would check your water parameters ASAP! Ammonia/nitrite need to be at zero, your nitrate as close to zero as possible. Also, check you Alkalinity of your tank, if it's to high it can really effect fish, especially a sensitive seahorse which would show sickness long before a Mandarin.> The mandarin colored up again and went about his business shortly after we found him still and pale. <Many fish have a "Resting Color", when they are sleeping/resting at the bottom. Some puffers will darken/lighten their colors when the rest so they aren't as easily spotted in a weakened state. Some fish will have a color fade after lights are out, you can see this if you check you tank out late at night with flashlight. So, the loss of color might simply have been your dragonette in it's resting coloration. I still would check your parameters and make sure that there isn't something that is the culprit.> Strange!! Deborah Lafky <Good luck with the fish, and hope everything turns out well. -Magnus>
Follow-up on Mandarin Dragonette color loss
Thanks very much Magnus. We check the parameters on the seahorse tank frequently. It is extremely stable due to its deep sand bed and that we allow plenty of plant growth to encourage 'pods. I think it must be a resting phase coloration as you suggest. One of these nights I'll sneak upon him with the flashlight and see! Deborah <Keep an eye on the fish, he might be sick, but as always it's hard to diagnose via email. Just keep an eye on the little fella just to make sure. You might want to set up a Quarantine tank, so you have one ready and cycled just in case you need one. You will be totally surprised what you were missing when you take a flashlight to the tank. It was suggested to me a few years back, and now I keep a flashlight near my tank at all times. It's amazing to see all the night time crew that you never knew was in your tank!!! good luck.-Magnus.>

Scooters Not Scooting! Dear WWM crew, <Scott F. with you today!> My scooter blennies have stopped moving, although they are still breathing and eating food given to them by pipette, they aren't swimming around. They don't seem able to move their tails to move around, but can use their fins. My blue cheek goby was like this 2 days ago, but seems to have fully recovered and is sifting again. I have a180litre (48 U.S gal) tank with a UV, skimmer, LR, and 15x turnover. I have checked my parameters and the water is fine. At the weekend I added a pom-pom crab, making sure not to put any bag water in, and using Myxazin whilst acclimatizing. What could this be? Will my blennies recover like the goby? Could this be a 24hr bug? Thanks in advance, James <Well, James, it's tough to say what it might be. The fact that the fishes are eating is a very good sign, IMO. I'd run some basic water parameter tests, and make sure that there has not been any sudden shift or decline in water quality. These fishes do not take well to rapid environmental changes, so investigate this possibility. It is a bit unusual for these rather active fishes to stop moving around, but I have witnessed this same phenomenon before, and the fishes seemed to "perk up" after a few days and recovered without any complications. I'd keep observing the fishes carefully, make sure that they eat, and monitor water conditions carefully. It may not be a 24 hour "bug", but it could just be a reaction to some minor change in environment....If some sort of symptoms do manifest, take required action. Other than that- just wait it out for a bit and see how they do...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

QT a Mandarin Hello Crew, I got a ? for ya pros....I would like to QT a mandarin, but I know these guys have a very very special diet. How would I feed in a QT tank if he's only feeding on pods? Of course this would be my last fish added to my main tank!!!<I would quarantine a mandarin in a refugium, (Don't treat the refugium!!! since this fish has special eating habits and are not very hardy I would setup a refugium for him to be qt in, with lots of pods for him to eat-to get him healthy/acclimated), in a refugium by himself he won't be able to pass on disease to other fish because there aren't any)...if he were to get sick I would remove him and place him in a bare bottom aquarium and take the proper procedures for the problem, disease...etc> THANKS, so much for your time!<good luck, IanB>

Treating Ick On A Touchy Fish Hi Bob and Crew, <Scott F. checking in tonight> I am writing to you because I have a Mandarin dragonette that seems to have fallen victim to a case of Ick that has already claimed the life of a Kole tang in my 72 Gallon Reef tank. I fear that the Ick is preventing "Manny" from foraging for food and he is starting to really feel the effects of this parasitic disease. I am not sure if I should treat him as I would another fish of take exception to the fact that he is extremely delicate and only feeds on a diet of copepods and amphipods. What steps would you take in order to rid him of the Ick parasite? Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated in this matter. I am thinking of treating him with Methyl-Blue in a small quarantine tank. Is this the best course of action or would this do more harm than good? <Well, Methylene Blue is really better as an anti-bacterial, and would probably have little effect on a parasitic disease such as ick. However, if you're leery (and rightfully so!) about subjecting an otherwise touchy fish to aggressive medications, then you might want to utilize hyposalinity in the treatment tank. I am not a big fan of this technique, but I have utilized it with delicate fishes with some degree of success. Do read up on this technique on the WWM site> I got him as a rescue out of a barren 10 gallon tank from a friend at my LFS. I would do anything I can to save him, as he is a really beautiful fish. Any help is appreciated - thanks. Jason <Well, Jason- I think that you can save him, but it will take pretty quick action on your part...Get that hospital tank up and running, and start treatment ASAP...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mandarin Goby and Loss of Color Greetings, <Saludos> I hope you can answer this. I've tried finding info on the net about this but haven't been able to. I have a 75 Gallon Tank that is over 1 year old that I set up after reading directions from Bob Fenner's book and much other reading material. All of the water parameters are fine and always have been for the last year and the tank is kept at 80 degrees. I change 10 gallons of water once a week. I have 200 watts florescent and Power Compact lighting, Skimmer (not a super skimmer but works), Filter, Heater. About 90 lbs Live Rock w/much coralline and green algae and plant growth on it. Tank has various lower light mushroom corals, rapidly growing toadstool leather, feather dusters, sea mat, yellow and brown polyps, 2 Chitons, a limpet, a few different kinds of snails which grew on the live rock, 1 Camel Back Shrimp, Hermit Crabs, 1 Yellow Tang (very aggressive but likes all current tank inhabitants), 2 green Chromis, and the Mandarin Goby. I have had fairly good luck with everything and have not added anything new for a few months and all are usually healthy except yesterday with the Mandarin. I got the Mandarin Goby of unknown age from a fish store that was trying to feed it flake food (obviously to no avail) 9 months ago and had researched these for about a month before buying this one- wasn't sure I wanted to buy this one but another at the store was dead and I didn't want this one to end up like that. I slightly overfeed my tank and have many copepods and worms and it hunts constantly. It does not look thin, and I see many food items for it so I assume it eats enough. Ok, so the problem...Yesterday after changing the usual 10 gallons of water and cleaning the algae off the sides of the tank that I do every week for the last year, using Instant Ocean synthetic sea salt, I looked at my tank after about an hour. The other tank inhabitants seemed fine. The Mandarin was loosing color and lying at the bottom of the tank. Its beautiful colors were changing to kind of bleached light peachy splotches with some areas of regular color. It also did not move. It seemed to deteriorate for a couple hours, continuing to loose color, breathing looked different, and didn't move much. Then after a while it was hunting, and eating, all color back and now looks fine. I do not want to go through that again. What on earth happened? Is that common? <My guess/bet is on a chemical and/or physical challenge that arose from your polyps (or mushrooms) consequent to the water change... Do you pre-mix, store your new water ahead of use? Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and have you read over the Mandarin FAQs materials archived on WWM? I would: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm Find them linked, at top, in blue> Thanks, Flo <Bob Fenner>

Quarantining Mandarinfish Hi, Really enjoy this website! I have one question? How do I quarantine a Mandarinfish? <Merely QT as usual. Your only problem will be providing a source of live food in your bare-bottom QT tank. You can harvest pods from your refugium and attempt a variety of frozen foods.> If I had to do the hyposalinity on them I'd have to do it for 3 weeks, right? <I think you are confusing terms here. Quarantine is merely holding an animal away from your others in an attempt to ensure it is healthy and does not infect your main display. Treatment is something all together else; like hyposalinity. You would do this in the event that your Mandarin was suffering from a parasitic infestation. Although, Mandarins being a scaleless fish, hyposalinity may not be your best option. I would go the daily water change route.> And then a couple weeks to raise the salinity back up, right? <Generally, yes.> Thank you so much, Lynn <Best of luck. -Steven Pro>

What the heck? When arriving home tonight with my new mandarin goby, <study hard to care for that mandarin> I noticed that my yellow tang had a red splinter looking thing hanging off his nose!!! With this I have two questions What should I do about this (parasite??) thing? <unlikely a parasite> And after giving a perfectly healthy goby a hypo saline bath <a scaleless fish...not the best idea> with dip away I noticed white spots on the goby!! Could this be ich or just stress from the move? <if appeared suddenly, bubbles to particles stuck to the excess mucous of an ill-advised hypo saline/freshwater dip (for the record, I love Freshwater dips with tolerant species)> I don't have a Q-tank (slap on the wrist). <with a ruler> But I do have multiple cleaners <cannot effect a cure on full-on infections in captive systems unassisted...just stimulating> (peppermint shrimp, fire shrimp and cleaner wrasse (been alive in tank for 13 months). <put up the peacock feathers when it is five years old. In the meantime, fire whoever has been giving you fish selection advice... some of your choices are a tree-huggers nightmare...hehe> I also run UV on the tank. How long, if it is ich, till my other fish show symptoms. Thank you for your time!!! Jeremy <eh, don't count your tomites before they are hatched...ha! What an opportunity for pathogenic them humor. Unfortunately, it isn't that funny <smile>. Not clear if it is even Ich yet. Maintain stable temperature... feed medicated food (full 7-11 days) and let's go slow...no need to knee-jerk or overmedicate unless it is symptomatically warranted. And look on the bright side...if some fish die because of a lack of quarantine, you will have a hard lesson to learn from ?!? Kind regards, Anthony>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: