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FAQs on Mandarins/Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/  "Scooters" & their Relatives 3

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

Related FAQs: Mandarins , Mandarins 2Mandarin Identification, Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Compatibility, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Disease/HealthMandarin Reproduction, Microcrustaceans

Dactylopus dactylopus in Mabul, Malaysia. 

Mandarin dragonets; endogenous toxicity     9/12/18
Thank you in advance , how to Mandarin dragonets source their poison is it from their food as they seem to pick at flatworms now and again
<Mandarin fish produce their toxins in secretory cells located on their skin, one of the toxins is injected by their spines and the other is a thick mucus coating that tastes and smells awful, both are produce by the mentioned cells regardless of their feeding habits>
thanks Gus

Mandrian; induced stocking troubles in sm SW sys.     3/27/17
Hello Crew,
<Hi Barbara>
I have a 25 gal. reef tank. Yesterday I bought a large mandrian that the store showed that he was eating frozen brine shrimp.
<Mmm; needs more than this. Please read here:

and the linked Mandarin FAQs files above>
He is eating them in my tank. I have a couple of questions. How often should I feed him?
<The reading; and soon. These fishes (Callionymids) need almost constant feeding to thrive... large, uncrowded, non-competitive settings>
I work from home and sit right next to the tank. The tank is a rimless tank that has no lid.
<Fishes jump out of these...>
I had a smaller size diamond goby and this morning it is gone.

I have looked around the tank and the back where the overflow goes and nothing. I can only assume it jumped but cant find it. The LFS said the mandrian and goby would be ok together.what are your thoughts on that?
<Not a good mix in such a small volume. The reading>
At the same time I bought the mandian I bought a yellow watchman and he is still there. My livestock currently is additionally a lubbock's fairy wrasse
<... see WWM re Cirrhilabrus systems... need more room and are superb jumpers>
and a gold nugget clown/small anenome

and 2 peppermint and cleaner shrimp. I don't plan to add anything else but I did enjoy the diamond goby cleaning the sand.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin fish problem      3/21/15
My husband has a bio cube and somehow a mandarin fish has snuck it's way into the tank probably through the rocks, our suppliers don't check them very well. He keeps his tanks in pristine condition checking chemical levels every day. We were going to take the fish back because he was pretty sure it was going to starve to death even with us buying copepods, I know I spelled that wrong,
<Mmm; nope>
problem is we can't get him out because he's so skidding.
Today we noticed a clear looking thing protruding from his right gill to me it looks like a piece of plastic but I know it's not. I have looked it up and found some pictures similar to what it looks like but can't find any info on it. Any help would be appreciated.
<With? Shall I come over and help you remove the rock systematically so you can catch out this fish? Do you need help using the search tool and/or indices on WWM?
Bob Fenner>

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.
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.>>
<<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>>

Mandarin, fdg     11/15/13
HI Bob, I was just wandering if you can help me, I have a pair of mandarin dragonets, I just got another female to add to the group,
But unfortunately the poor little thing is so thin, when I got the other 2 previous they were thin but I'm sure they were not this thin. She is in a breeders net to fatten up but she isn't pecking at anything like the other
2 can you suggest anything to help her?
<Just moving to the best "target rich" area for food as you can>
I was thinking of putting her in the sump but not sure what to do? We have loads of copipods!
<Add other foods if you can. Perhaps a reading/review:
Bob Fenner>
Re: re: Mandarin... skinniness    11/17/13

Thank you, I have moved her to the sump, she seems happier, I think she is eating frozen lobster eggs soaked in a supplement.
<Ah good. Do keep offering as much foods as this fish will accept as often as you can. BobF>

Northern Dragonet   4/2/12
Hi.  My local fish store has a incredible looking dragonet they are calling a Northern Dragonet. 
<Mmm, Callionymus afilum?>
He is approximately 5 inches long from head to tip of tail.  The best research that I could find on him is that he is called a Northern
Australian Long Finned Dragonet (Diplogrammus Xenicus).  I can not find any information on him, as far as, length, reef safe, temperament, etc..  Any information would be appreciated.  Thank you.
<Well... see our coverage re the family on WWM... only a few species are kept as captives, though most all share commonalities in care, nutrition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Synchiropus splendidus - Green mandarin dragonet comments 5/10/10
Hi Crew -
Thank you for the greatest fish website on the interweb.
I just wanted to offer a couple of observations on the Green Mandarin Dragonet I have.
<Please do>
My Mandarin (adult male) pecks the glass with enough force to make an audible noise. It sounds like the glass is going to crack, like it's ticking. He does it daytime or nighttime, but not continuously or anything. It seems that he does it to get our attention actually. (I was just reading re: pistol shrimp noise and it reminded me about emailing you all about this. . .)
<Not dangerous>
He fades, to almost white. All the color goes away and he looks horrible.
We thought he was ill, or stung by something else, but later on he was back to full color. He sometimes does it during the day, but mostly at night when sleeping.
<Yes... behavioral; not a problem either>
And one comment for the casual reader - if you are thinking of buying one of these, they really can wipe out a 55gal w/fuge worth of copepods. These guys eat a lot of pods. If you have any other pod-eating critters, don't get a Mandarin. Thanks again for the knowledge -
- Saylor
Oh P.S. - my Purple Dottyback / Pseudochromis porphyreus - hates the
Mandarins guts out. Bad pairing. Anything less than a 55gal with A LOT of live rock = bad idea.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Green Mandarin Blowout! Sales and Specials from SaltWaterFish.com 2/27/10
*Dear Saltwaterfish.com:*
*Thank you for your recent email message announcing the availability of Green Mandarins.*
*Green Mandarins are incredibly beautiful fish, and *may* be kept successfully in a home aquarium ONLY if sufficient quantities of copepods are available. *
*Sadly, many of these beautiful fish starve to death, because buyers are not specifically told that this fish MUST eat live copepods in order to survive. Your review indicates that they require only moderate care and that they like to "hop and hover throughout the aquarium looking for copepods and other live food to feed on." While this is true, and they are delightful to watch as they hunt for food, this statement does not clearly explain that they ONLY eat live food.*
*To ensure that many of these beautiful fish do not needlessly die of starvation, please add that they usually ONLY eat live copepods and will likely starve without them.*
*Based on the feeding requirements, I also suggest that you indicate that these fish require EXPERT care.*
*Please see recommended care instructions here: *
*http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm *
*Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for helping to ensure the survival of these wonderful fish!*
*Mark Frizzell*
<Thanks for sending this on Mark. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin care and feeding in a 41G reef tank, reading - 02/28/09 Hi, I have a 41 gallon well established reef tank (2 yrs) with 55 lbs of live rock, 60 lbs of live sand, skimmer, lots of flow and 4 X T5HO actinic and 700+ lighting. No fish, 1 Copper banded shrimp, some soft corals, 1 LTA (quite large, about 8" diameter when opened) <May well eat a Callionymid> and numerous SPS. Everything is growing very well and my water quality is Am 0, N02 and N03 at 0, PH 8.2 and temp 79 degrees. I have a HOB DIY refugium <Neat> that I have cut down the flow on an have it loaded with about 2 lbs of established live sand, lots of Chaeto and about 1.5 lbs of LR rubble lit by a 9w 10k + 9w actinic light on a 12 hr on, 12 hr off timer. My question, if I rotate rock from my main display into my refugium every couple of weeks, will I be able to sustain a decent food supply for the mandarin, assuming I will not have anything else competing for the same food source? <Maybe. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Mike

Re: Red algae/System in general --now Mandarin Qs 11/12/08 Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. My tank has been up for a year and a half. My LFS said that after 6 months a mandarin goby would do nicely in there. I didn't receive the link to the article you were referring to either. <No link was provided, use the Google Search to search our site and you'll find a great deal of information on that subject. Oh, here it is: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm. Do be sure to also read through the linked files above.> I have done tons of research (learning a lot), but each site tells me something different or that different livestock will do well in my tank.  You referenced that what I have is "inappropriate for size and age". <The mandarin and sand sifting star for size, many of the inverts, including anemones, for the age. These need the stability of a mature system.> What would you have recommended to put into a 75 gallon? <Nothing more until the water quality is under control. After that, research...please. All the information is here, available. Just look before you leap.> The remaining fish, crabs, mushrooms, star fish and shrimp are doing well.  My main concern now is my toadstool. <Water quality, system stability and lighting are likely factors.> My last testing showed everything in the "good" range. PH was 8.4, ammonia was 0, nitrites 0. The nitrates were alarming at 60--have done 2 water changes since then and they are now down to about 15.  Sometimes trying to wade through all the information on different fishes is an overwhelming task. <It can be.> That is why I turned to you guys. You seem so knowledgeable and from what I have read on your site, I love it--it is just a huge task for a beginner such as myself. <Do just think a bit smaller. There is no need to study the entire site. Researching the needs of specific livestock before purchase goes a long way.> Thanks again

Mandarin Goby 10/30/08 Hi. <Hello> I am writing to get assistance for my mandarin goby. I got her approximately 2 1/2 - 3 weeks ago. I have a 29 gallon tank with about 20 pounds live rock and 3 inches of sand/shell substrate. <Extremely too small to maintain this fish long term> She was doing great until a few days ago. She has had labored breathing for several days now and last night and today is laying around listlessly (she did eat a bit last night, not eating today). She is eating frozen brine shrimp and I have bought bottles of copepods to add to my tank for her. This past weekend I did a water change of about 25-30 %, vacuumed up a bit of the substrate as everything was turning brown/orange-ish. My ammonia level is zero; nitrites zero; nitrates between 0-5 (can't distinguish between the colors); ph is 8.2-8.4; temp 78. I called my lfs and was yelled at for changing my water (why would I do that if my levels were perfect) <You should always do water changes regardless of your "levels". One of the benefits of water changes is to replenish trace minerals that have depleted, not just for water quality purposes><<I might also add that test results for typical water parameters such as nitrites, nitrates, etc. is not always or truly a test of actual overall water quality.  They're simply a way of warning you as to if something is really, really wrong. -Sara M.>> and was told NEVER do anything to the bottom of the tank (don't vacuum it up). <I don't think that you need to worry too much, but yes as a general rule disturbing the sand bed can release some nasty stuff into your water> I am very confused, I really have to do weekly water changes? <YES!> I am completely devastated that I am going to lose her, especially if it is my fault. The only thing I am noticing is she has a black spot on her fin. I don't know what I have done wrong. It is probably too late to help her; maybe you can advise me if there is anything that I can do or what I should not have done. <While I can not be certain what is causing her health issues, I can say that a 29 gallon tank is ill advised for a mandarin goby. How long has your tank been up? It sounds like you might be have a newer tank due to the diatoms on the sand. Its possible stirring up the sand caused an ammonia spike, or she may not be getting enough food and slowly starving. Mandarins are best reserved for mature tanks in excess of 100 gallons and more experienced reefers as they can decimate a pod population in even a mature tank in days.> Thank you.
<Regards, Jessy>

mandarin dragonet. Reading   9/18/08 Hello i have a mandarin dragonet, he is the only fish in this system. The water quality is great, and i have a protein skimmer installed. Also plenty of live rock and Caulerpa. <... see WWM re...> He eats frozen vitamin enriched brine shrimp also the garlic version and mysis shrimp (although he' s not to keen on it) He also has plenty of copepods and amphipods running around the tank which i order from the internet. <Ah, good> About four months ago he had marks on his mouth (it looked liked he had been bitten and a little chunk of his lip had gone) He also had a white shrimp like creature attached to his fin which i managed to remove (without too much stress to him). I only have one blue legged hermit crab in my system, but i have noticed other types of small brown crab. I have been told that the crabs wouldn't hurt him. <Mmm, not so> Up until about three weeks ago he's been fine but he developed what looked like a white lump on his head which looked like a spot. which burst, it looks like its trying to heal but there are little holes on his head to, im hoping this isn't hole in the head disease, which i believe there's no cure for. <... please read on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm and the linked files above> i was also told the bristleworms can bite and cause this sort of damage to a fish (i have caught a few large ones in the tank) can you help? <With? See WWM re trapping, removing these> He is still eating well, is there any other foods i can try with him? many thanks Jason roe <And see WWM re Mandarin Feeding...: http://wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm and... Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Page Revisions   8/12/08 Crew, Implicit in Bob's responses to my recent comments about Mandarins was a request for submitting improvements to WWM pages when appropriate. Accordingly, I've taken it upon myself to help out with some suggestions to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm. My suggested revisions are in brackets. Selection: The principal selection criteria for picking out healthy dragonets are their fullness of body and activity level. Suitable specimens should not be skinny, and should be out and about, investigating their environment. For sure you want to see the specimen/s eat. [If the specimen/s is not actively hunting for food and/or is skinny, do not buy it.] Disease: Dragonets are notably slimy fishes that are not as susceptible to external parasite infestations as other fishes. [For this reason, and because the typical quarantine setup lacks the live food necessary to sustain these animals, the quarantine of visibly healthy specimens is best skipped altogether in favor of an extended pH adjusted freshwater dip/bath.] However, they are not immune to disease/infection, and are overly sensitive to copper compounds, other metal-based and formalin containing medications. They are best treated through environmental manipulation (hyposalinity, elevated temperature) should they show signs of such afflictions. Andy <Outstanding. Thank you Andy. Will post, with credit to you. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Keeping…A Small Fish With Big Requirements - 06/06/08 Hello Crew, >>Greetings Julian>> Since reading accounts of mandarins being kept in nanos and fed with daily doses of aquacultured pods, <<Mmm, I wonder what kind of "accounts" you refer to… Someone stating they have kept a mandarin in a small tank for 6-months means nothing…look for those who have done so for 6-"years"…and even then, one or two success in thousands of attempts, well, I think you get what I mean here…>> I have been considering keeping a mandarin in my 52 gallon system. My system includes a 40 gallon tank, 12 gallon refugium, PhosBan reactor, fluidized bed reactor, calcium reactor, skimmer, and 250 watt HM lighting, all DIY. <<Although not really a "nano" system, this is still quite small for this animal…in my opinion. As a general rule, these fish need a relatively large amount of rock/substrate to culture and harbor the food organisms they prey upon. The refugium you have will help…finding a fish that will accept prepared foods (frozen mysis/glass worms/etc.) will help…but none of these are as effective as a system display tank large enough to culture/harbor a ready supply of food organisms on its own…and of course, stocked with a dearth of prey food competitors. I'm not saying you can't be successful with this fish, in this system, if you are dedicated to providing for its needs…but I want to convey here that simply adding a refugium/culturing "pods" is no panacea. To be successful with this fish for the long term you will need to "dedicate" this smallish system to the Mandarin…meaning everything you do, including stocking of both invertebrate and vertebrate organisms, will need to be done with forethought to the Mandarin. So think about it…is this a commitment you are willing to make?>> My system has been stable for 8 months with extremely high water quality and all my coral are very happy. I am prepared to dedicate two sunlit ten gallon tanks to aqua culturing pods to keep up my tanks supply. Will this be adequate? <<Dunno…but should help>> Also, what is the mortality rate of mandarins for non food related reasons? <<In my experience these fish are fairly disease resistant and are usually ignored by their piscine tankmates (Pseudochromis/Dottybacks/Basslets can be problematic in small systems), but do seem to easily fall prey to large cnidarians. Starvation/lack of adequate nutritional requirement (even when they take prepared foods) is arguably the leading cause of this animal's poor survival record in captivity… I don't have any hard numbers, but this fish's survival rate in captivity does appear to be dismal…much due I think to folks wrongly believing such a "small" fish should surely be fine in a "small" system with no additional thought to its' care>> What would be the minimum size tank for a mandarin with a constant pod supply? <<In my opinion…100-gallons>> Thanks, Julian <<Is a pleasure to share, Julian. Do yourself and this fish a service by making sure you are able and willing to provide for its needs. It will require much more than reading a few anecdotal accounts of success. EricR>>

Mandarin  - 1/18/07 Hey everyone and as always thanks for all the help. <You're quite welcome.> I am just interested in some guidance on adding a Mandarin to my 120 gallon tank. I have around 80kg (~160-180 lbs) of live rock and the tank has been established for about 12 months and has a refugium with taxifolia. <Excellent, about the most preparation one can do for this beautiful species.> How long should I quarantine the fish prior to adding it to my main tank and what can I do to improve the survivability of the fish during quarantine. I do not want to purchase an animal I cannot properly look after. <I commend you for this, Marc. I wish more folk had this mindset with pet-fish (or life in general, for that matter!). My recommendation for quarantine would be 2 weeks, while keeping an eye on overall body index. You can add some established pieces of live rock into the tank, and cycle them in and out with fresh pieces every few days to ensure the mandarin is receiving enough tasty morsels. If the overall body index seems to decline greatly in the first week, this period can be cut short as there is very little concern of tank contamination from these fishes.> Also can I add a Six Line Wrasse to the same main tank or will it out compete the Mandarin for food. As the tank is well established I assume that there will be enough for both fish but as always I would rather be certain than risk killing the Mandarin. <All should be fine here, in my personal opinion.> Thanks in expectation of the right answer. <Ooh, pressure! But that just begs the question, who is 'right' and who determines 'righteousness'? I love to wax philosophical! *grin* Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Pairing Mandarins   6/1/06 Hi,   We have a 230 gallon DSB reef with a 50 gallon refugium and an extremely fat male green mandarin.  We also have a copepod culture.        We had a bad experience buying a male and female at the same time.  The female's tummy was sunken (we didn't realize it when we bought her) and she was never able to gain weight even though she seemed to eat copepods throughout the day. <Not uncommon> The male did scare her occasionally, but she would go back to hunting after a few minutes.  Anyway, she unfortunately disappeared a few weeks back (I am sure it was lack of nutrition - we even supplemented copepods which she ate readily, but nothing seemed to help her gain).  I don't want to make another mistake.  If we try to get him another mate, I will make sure she is very fat to start with.      On that note, we have a few questions:   1)  We've read that you should get more than one female if you have a male and they are not paired.  I am sure the tank can support 2 more - but don't completely understand the logic.  Please let us know if it is safer to get more than one and any details you can share.    <Can support more than two... on the basis of size of the system, refugium... this species is not "paired" in the wild... males, females reproduce opportunistically... "meet up" in Staghorn (Acropora) thickets toward evening...>   2)  Also read in a couple of places to get a female that is smaller than the male (or at least not larger).  Any light you can shed on this would also be appreciated.    <Size not important IME>   And of course - any other words of wisdom always welcome!   Thanks!   Doug <Enjoy the process, animals. Bob Fenner>

Re: Attn:  Bob  - Mandarin QT    8/13/06 Just wanted to say THANKS to Bob!  I added the 2 females at night and it worked out great!!!  No scuffles, the male has been a model citizen.  The little female follows him and the 3 of them often eat side by side! <Ahh! Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Mandarin - making a small difference -Thank you  - 04/10/2006 I recently changed LFS b/c they sold me a mandarin who was very skinny...(at the time I did not know what to look for).  <Not uncommon> I wrote you previously under my home email address about the caring for my mandarin who, at the time, had a white spot which heeled using your advise... I went back to this store  yesterday for supplies and noticed several mandarins, all of which were FAT, I mean really FAT (and healthy) <Probably won't stay that was at LFS either>, so I guess a little bit of complaining  goes a long way (actually I complained to every fish guy in the place)...they say that they are also alerting people as to their continued care which I couldn't confirm (but can hope). The new LFS I use now has fat/healthy mandarins and I did test them about the care and they got it right   So two down, thousands more to go.  I don't plan to buy another one, but plan to continue to lobby the cause to my LFSs.  I just wanted to alert you guys that word is spreading. No reply is necessary.  <I'll reply anyway.  It's always outstanding to be able to make a difference, and major kudos to you for making it happen.  However, this isn't a trend you're likely to see.  Because these little guys require such an established reef system to supply their food source many times they starve at the LFS (or soon after someone purchases them) but its great to see a good start, right?  Great job, Jen S.> Colleen Boyle

Pricey Mandarin Care and Feeding Routine 12/2/2005 To the excellent staff: <Now that's the way to start off an email….umm, I mean Hello.> We have a 55-gallon marine aquarium with approximately 70 lbs of live rock, one skimmer, a 1-inch crushed coral substrate, and a small CPR hang-on refugium (with a 3-inch sand bed). We have Chaetomorpha in the refugium and main tank that have been up and running for about one year. <Sounds good.> Approximately four months ago (and one month before I found your web site), we purchased a Mandarin Dragonet to complete our community tank of one royal Gramma, four Chromis, one dwarf angel, two peppermint shrimp, one neon goby, and some assorted snails and hermit crabs. <Mmm…as I see you have learned it was not the best choice for this tank.> A book I referenced indicated this was a peaceful community fish and easy to keep. <Really, possibly an outdated book?> Unfortunately, it did not indicate its diet was almost exclusively copepods and amphipods, and will likely refuse all other forms of food. <This is true.> Since learning of this fish's diet, we've been adding 1.5 bottles/month of copepods (the $25 variety purchased from www.oceanpods.com, as advertised on your website) to our tank, dumping the other half in the CPR refugium. Is this enough for the Mandarin, or should we add more? <Sounds okay though I surmise this is/will be "mucho" pricey over time.> Would it be better for the Mandarin to add the live ocean plankton, amphipods, and Mysid shrimp from Sachs System Aquaculture www.aquaculturestore.com? <Variety is good in any fishes diet. So yes, I would change it up here and there as these foods are also acceptable.> Do water changes effect copepod populations? <Possibly in a very limited manor.> I usually stick the siphon into the crushed coral or around the live rocks. Should I take the water (about 10%/week) from the top of the tank? <No continue with your current practice of siphoning detritus.> I don't see a lot of white specs in the water when I shine a flashlight in there at night, though my beam may be too wide. I also find about one-half dozen amphipods when I clean the filter. <The latter is a sign of a good population.> As an aside, I often read (now that my wife found your site) that one should "soak" the fish's food in a vitamin supplement. This may seem silly, but what is the proper method of soaking fish food? <Well I'm sure everybody has their own individual method but this is what I do: 1.) Take frozen food out of freezer. 2.) Place food in cup. 3.) Fill cup with RODI or tank water for food to defrost in. 4.) Add nutritional supplement such as Selcon to the water to allow the frozen to soak it in as it defrosts. Usually let it sit for fifteen minutes though honestly I think it would be a lot better if I allowed the food to soak overnight in the refrigerator. 5.) Poor off most of the "defrosting water" or rinse food in brine shrimp net with RODI water (I prefer the latter) 6.) Put food back in cup with clean RODI water 7.) Use turkey baster to administer food in waves to fish> We do not soak the flakes, used for the nightly feeding. In the morning, we take the frozen food (a different type for each day of the week), <Good variety is important.> some small, sinking pellets, and place them in 2 - 4 ounces of water from the aquarium. We add the vitamin supplement, let it stand for about 15-20 minutes, and slowly pour the resultant mix in the tank as the fish swim to the meal. <This is a fine method as well.> Thank you for all your help. You have a great website and staff, and I want to plug the Amazon honor system option http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/pay/T3P5J4CVWEJER0/058-5312859-0878016. <<That url doesn't look right, will have to check later.  Marina>> <Thank you very much.> Sincerely yours, Steve <Adam J.> 

Planning tank...input, mandarin dragonet  12/2/05 Hi all, <Hello Rod, James here today>  I appreciate your website! I have been doing research and planning on a new tank for next year....my 20L reef is getting a  little small for me. So any input would be appreciated, as well as answers to a few questions at the end.... Planned setup is as follows: a 60x15x15 "main" reef tank (58 gallons), lit by 4x65 watt PC's (2x dual daylight 2x dual actinic).  Overflow from this tank splits into two. One out current leads to a 20L, then to the 30 gallon sump. The other flows directly to the 30 gallon sump. The flow path in the sump is first a 125 gallon rated needlewheel skimmer before a weir, then a live rock/Caulerpa refugium (as large as I can make) and finally, heaters and a return pump to the main tank.  <Sounds good> I plan to stock as follows: mostly soft corals and LPS, maybe a few SPS near the surface. A clam or two, <With your lighting you will have to go with derasa clams, others require a higher light output.>  a fire shrimp (2?) cleaner shrimp (1 only), 2-3 small featherdusters, a Bispiralis, and a sea cucumber (my reef tank vice) (plus a hermit and snail clean up crew, of course). There will be plenty of live rock in the main and 20L tanks (as many pounds as I can fit and still make it look not really really full), and a 3-4 inch sand bed. The fish in the tanks are planned as follows: for the "main", a clown pair (Yellowstripe maroons or percula), a six line wrasse, a yellow headed jawfish, a  citrinus clown goby, a firefish, a clown goby or red headed goby, a royal Gramma and if possible, a mandarin dragonet. An angler will reside in the 20L. My main concern is with the mandarin. I think he will have enough room and rocks, and 108 gallons of stability. Once the tank is established, and hopefully copepod- full, will there be enough pods left by my other life for a mandarin? Will that amount of live rock (I realize the amount is vague) sustain enough pods?  <I suggest you seed the tank with pods available from online shops. Once that is accomplished, I'd wait a month to insure a healthy supply of pods.> I read conflicting results about whether copepod nauplii will make it through a pump (it'll be a Magdrive, if that makes a difference); will they survive the that rigorous, demanding passage to the giant promised tank on the upper level?  <You may lose some, most cling to the rocks.>  What do you think about my fish selection  <I'd eliminate the jawfish, too many other fish with aggressive eating habits.>  (I do tend to get caught up in the moment, hence I have learned to plan far in advance to not give in to impulse)? Will the  clams filter out the nauplii?  <Not enough to matter, clams produce most of their own food.>  I am pretty open to advice. I would like to recycle the 20L reef as a mini reef for the angler, but I know he may be demanding and poopy,  <I'd eliminate the angler also>  <<Eliminating anger is the first step towards tranquility.  Marina>> so that tank may be swapped out, a home for another sessile predator, a clam tank if it doesn't eat all my copepod nauplii, or just a mini reef like it is now. But if there was a small adjustment I am overlooking for a mandarin, it  would be nice to know in advance. Same for if it wouldn't thrive there at all.  <With a healthy pod population the mandarin will survive. Do not suggest more than one.> Thanks for everything, I really enjoy the site.  <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)> 

Re: Fwd: planning tank...input, mandarin dragonet  12/2/05 Ok I just found the mandarincompfaqs which I hadn't seen in the previous two weeks for some reason.....it answered about half my questions. Of course I find it AFTER I send the email. I would still appreciate any advice though. Thanks, sorry for the confusion!!! Rod  <No problem. James (Salty Dog)> 

Another Sad Mandarin Story… 10/7/05 Hi! I need quick help. <Ok, I'll do my best.> I have a 30 gallon nano cube with approx. 15 lbs. of live rock, live sand, many snails and hermits, emerald crab, 2 clowns and a fire fish.... And then my poor goby.  <Uh-oh, I see where this is going.>  We have had our tank for about 6 months. After about 3 months we had a huge outbreak of copepods. They were almost completely covering the glass. After mentioning this to my LFS he suggested a mandarin goby.  <Ack, horrible advice.> (Our clowns just were not able to control the amount of copepods).  This is where my obvious problem begins.  <Yes.>  The goby wiped out the copepods to the point where we do not notice them at all anymore (only the larger pods can be seen at night in the sand). Goby has lost a severe amount of weight and you can see the line across his back. It has been this way for quite some time now.  <Sorry to say I'm not surprised.>  After realizing that he really is starving and after reading your sight I am panicking. I now know that I should not have ever purchased goby as our tank is just too small.  <Yes.>  I just purchased a 2-liter amount of copepods online to try and save him.  <He'll be done with these within a week or two.> My question is this: Do I even have a chance at saving him?  <Not if you leave him in his current tank.>  I have read that I can start "growing" copepods in a small tank and this seems fairly easy and I am willing to do it but I don't know if this will give him a fair chance.  <Yes do look into refugiums, but these take months to get established. Unfortunately due to the size of your tank, this refugium would have to be very large and its unlikely it would be ready in time. Mandarins should only be placed into tanks that have hundreds of pounds of live rock that have been allowed to mature for at least one year. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandfaqs.htm .>  What would you suggest?  <Well now you know your tank won't be able to support a Mandarin. The only thing you can do is find another Aquarist with an appropriate set-up, I understand this may be difficult to impossible as the needs of this fish are specific. Sad to say the only other option is humanely euthanize through freezing or clove oil.>   Thanks so much.  <Sorry I could not deliver better news.>  I have learned my lesson in buying a fish without researching it and learned not to believe everything the LFS says.  <Yes in the future research livestock before purchase, Adam J.> 

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

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

Website pics of Mandarins, Disturbing Trends Hi Bob - <Adelaide> I wrote an article a few months back about pods, thank you for the opportunity. <Thank you> I have noticed an alarming trend among my customers - it seems that many are purchasing mandarins and then finding that they are starving to death after the fact because they did not have enough live rock or live food for them. <What's that line from the Talking Heads lifted from the I Ching? "Same as it ever was"> Since I would like to be more pro-active about this problem, I have decided to start an educational website about mandarins specifically, it will be called mandarinkeeper.com  <Outstanding> The site will discuss mandarins - where do they come from, what types are there, what do they eat, etc, etc. <Good> There will be a small forum for newbies to post questions on their care and feeding, I'm hoping to get some volunteer moderators for that part since I don't actually keep them myself. <I see> I am working with Jerry Irving from SCMAS on website design, and I am trying to get the best information possible. <He knows website design well> Jerry suggested that I touch base with you about pictures of the various types of mandarins, and fish often mistaken for mandarins. <There is indeed a bunch... mainly Callionymids, but quite a few gobiids at times> I saw in your book that you don't recommend keeping these fish without the right size tank, etc., and I agree. However, I have seen this as an increasing trend and recently heard that Dr.'s F&S are carrying them for $16 and recommending that they only need a 30g tank.  <Dismal> This is my small effort to combat the trend, or at least mitigate the damage. Some people may get discouraged and leave the hobby if their first experience is of a starving fish. I feel that the more information provided, the better, and having a candid forum will help that. <I salute you for your efforts> I also hope to have an adopt-a-fish forum for those people finding themselves in deep water and who are reluctant to take them back to the fish store.  So, if you could please direct me to some appropriate photos from your collection, or let me know about how to license their use, I would appreciate it. <You are welcome to use any/all of my content in this interest. Please see what is posted in my name (or actually lack of it) on WWM and WetWebFotos.com> I would gladly trade free advertising on the website for wetwebmedia.com as a supporter of this effort in exchange for use of some of the photos.  I am going to be very selective on the sponsors - they will mainly be used to cover the cost of website management.  <As are ours> Thanks for your input, and I would love to hear any suggestions you have for making this website an effective tool to assist newbies and pros alike. Regards, Adelaide Rhodes <I say... you go (woman)... Am glad to help in what ways I can/may.  Livestock conservation and appreciation is a resounding, central theme in all I/we do. Bob Fenner> 

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

Synchiropus splendidus 3/8/05 Hi: First I would like to say your website is my bible for fish keeping, glad I found it.  <Glad to hear!> I'm relatively new with the saltwater stuff... I have a quick question, I was thinking of acquiring a Synchiropus splendidus Mandarinfish. My current set up is a 55 gallon FOWLR, running now for about five months and with some initial stress the water seems to be holding at normal parameter.  My current fishies are: 1 coral Beauty, 2 clown Percs. I have been thinking of adding a Synchiropus splendidus (the pretty one, multicoloured), now my questions are: 1) Will my current setup handle the addition of this fish?  <From a bioload standpoint, yes. However, it is doubtful that your tank will provide enough food, read on...> 2) How hard are they to feed? I believe they do well in "well established aquariums", feeding off small critters, but where my tank is relatively new will they survive? Thanks for any input you can provide. Matt  <Mandarins require a large supply of live crustacean prey to thrive. Even those that accept non-live foods are likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Even the most well established 55 gallon tank would be marginal to support a mandarin. If you really have your heart set on a mandarin, adding a fishless refugium will help, but will take time to establish. Best Regards. AdamC.>

My little green mandarin hey guys, <Hello Alan> I have a green mandarin doing spectacular, and he seems to have some white dots on him, doesn't look like ich though cause some of it falls off... Is he just getting sand and other particles over himself or is it just a matter of color. <Might, could be either, or both... or neither. Take a look on fishbase.org, use Google Images... do their pix look like your specimen?> His fin also seems to be missing a chunk, probably the angel, or Dottyback, wrasse.. Will it grow back and in how long..? <Weeks to a few months> He also doesn't seem to care about brine shrimp, any way to encourage him to eat some...? Best Regards:) <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm and on WWM re fish foods/feeding/nutrition. Bob Fenner> Missing Mandarin Fish I recently purchased a small green mandarin fish for my tank... the mandarin fish was small, just slightly less than an inch in length. << Risky buy. >> I purchased it on a Friday, and following Monday the mandarin fish was fine. I went away to a friends house until Thursday, during which time my dad was looking after my fish. When I got back, I found that the mandarin fish was totally missing... I pulled every single rock out of the tank looking for him, but to no avail, he was effectively 'vanished'. << I would not remove rock.  Personally I think this does a lot of harm by stressing the other tank inhabitants. >> Now, I told my dad that the fish had gone missing, and he seems to think that my Bubble Tipped Anemone seems to have something to do with it. The BTA was sitting at the front of the tank, its tentacles flared wide, and its mouth open extremely wide... The BTA is about 4 inches in diameter when it is fully extended. Is it possible that the BTA could have eaten the Mandarin fish?? << I would not guess that the BTA was the problem.  Mandarin fish are very difficult to keep, and should be left for the advanced hobbyists.  I believe the mandarinfish was doomed to begin with in this situation.  They require much live rock, with many small food items like copepods and Mysis shrimp.  If you tell me more about your tank that may help, but I'll guess it is just too new and needs more time to establish the life needed to keep a mandarin fish. >> Thanks heaps, you all rock... Laney <<  Blundell  >>

-Mandarin longevity- What is the normal life span of a Blue Mandarin Goby ? <No idea specifically, but we have had our resident blue mandarin in the show tank at the shop for darn close to 8 years. They're not a hard fish to keep if you have the correct system, the problem is when they are not supplied w/ enough food.> I have 1 that i have had for over 3 years now {very close to 4}. It's in a 33 Gal tank with no other fish and about 40 lbs of rock. The tank was setup about 2 years before the goby. Note: he is living completely off what food is in the tank i have added no other food to the tank. he or she is fat, happy and about 4 inches long. from what i have heard from some, this is a long time to keep 1 alive .... <I find that very surprising that it is so large and still surviving off the critters in the tank, usually in small tanks like this they'll wipe out the breeding population in short order. Congrats on your success! -Kevin>

Keeping A Mandarin Happy In His New Home I have a 140 gal well established reef w/ Ecosystem Reefugium, (5 yrs old but moved 16 months ago so not totally stable for 5 years) with 3 Ocellaris Clowns, Cleaner Wrasse, Yellow Tang, 6 inch Watchman Goby, 2 large Engineer Gobies, Bicolor Blenny, Lawnmower  Blenny, various small Clown Gobies.  I have just bought a little bitty Mandarin and assumed my system would be able to sustain him, but I may not have accounted well enough for the competition factor....  the Lawnmower blenny has grown from 1" to 5" in 3 years and I plan to remove him the day I introduce the mandarin (Friday, it'll be a flail I'm sure), because he chases everyone and my LFS has agreed to put him in one of their large displays. <Good move. These guys are great fish, but can be a bit "ornery" at times, and can certainly interfere with a Mandarin> Does anyone else need to move out?  (If you say everyone else, the mandarin may have to go back to the store.) <Well, the Engineer Gobies might be a direct competitor with the Mandarin, in terms of feeding, so keep an eye on them.> Also, I have planned for a 1 week quarantine for the Mandarin, there are 2 large pieces of LR in his QT tank.  Is he going to get debilitated like that/ do I need to get him some live food for the next few days? <This could work, but you do want to get him some live food, if possible. Maybe some "pods" from your Eco System sump? And, I'd try a full three week quarantine. I know that some folks advocate a shorter period with a fish like this, but getting him to eat well is the most important step, and this may require a longer period of time than one week.> Also, just to complicate matters, I want to change my substrate from the current very powdery sand I detest (constant unmanageable mess all over my reef) to new live aragonite (CaribSea) and planned to add some GARF grunge (just some gunk out of well established reefs) to help liven it up.  Would that be a mistake right now? <Could be. I'd hold off on that until the Mandarin is well established, eating prepared foods regularly> Would it be a worse mistake to wait until this mandarin is big?  Should I just live with the mess? (The constant dust coating everything seems to impair coralline algae growth on rocks, the walls & equipment are thick deep purple and the rocks are not, ugly.) <Well, you could make gradual changes on one side of the tank, allowing the new substrate to "seed" and become inhabited with benthic creatures> I can periodically order some live amphipods from Florida Aqua Farms if that would help me keep the mandarin successfully. (Found that address in FAQ's, looks manageable.) <A good source, and not a bad idea. I'm sure that your EcoSystem sump is propagating 'em by the thousand, as well!> Thanks as always Tracy Creek & ever-evolving lovely reef <My pleasure, Tracy! Your intuition is serving you well here. Proceed slowly, and enjoy this beautiful fish! Regards, Scott F>

Mandarin keeping- 2/27/04 Oh, thank you so very much for the quick response. I did find some copepods in the Eheim filter and took that out and tested the gunk and it was just as good as the tank, no nitrates, no nitrites, ph, salinity everything just fine. <Great> So we put that in the tank and the live copepods that seem pretty big into the "breeder tank" I got a light on it, could only find a 10 gal size but it will do. Will test water frequently for poor water and water change. <Keep the water quality high, mate> Do you think I should clean up the live rock by scrubbing some of the dead stuff off then? <Not a bad idea, then siphon it out> I am not sure if the fish can wait until the rock is cured as well as the time it takes to culture and obtain the copepods which I hear is about 6 weeks. <Gonna have to!!>  Can we buy already raised copepods on line for a quick fix until ours are growing? <Sure. Check out www.aquaculturestore.com (tell them Paul Mansur from wetwebmedia.com sent you or try www.seafarm.com> Funny how the LFS stores in town all sell these beautiful fish yet no one sells copepods or culture kits. <Well, the fish likely eat frozen foodstuffs except for the Mandarin. Some will except frozen foods though>  The one my son works for is giving us the stuff in the skimmer hoping that will contain copepods. <Stuff i the skimmer???> They have 1 mandarin in their reef tank, he is not for sale! But is apart of the permanent creatures they care for in this reef tank that has coral for sale in. <Lots of stores do this. Annoying ain't it?> We need food for the mandarin now any suggestions to help him hang on until we can get the copepods growing, I hear it takes about 6 weeks from the time you receive the kit. <Or more. No guarantees either. Try frozen foods like mysids, Cyclops-eeze, Artemia etc> The kit is for the 10 gal tank size, do you think it will matter for the 5 gallon as long as we have enough food. <Limiting but likely fine> Do copepods need to be fed phytoplankton, zooplankton and such? <Yes. Also can be found at www.seafarm.com. Let Randy know I sent you from Wetwebmedia.com> Boy, this is a ton of work, it will be worth it if the fish can come through however, anyone purchasing a mandarin is nuts. <Agreed. I am not a supporter of keeping mandarin fish in captivity> Unless they have everything it takes to grow copepods! Again, I cannot tell you how appreciative to have your response, so helpful, and so quickly. <It's what we do> Thanks so very much. <Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul> Sue and Ryan

Mandarinfish I have a 335g reef tank with two refugiums, one of 40g and the other 125g.  The 125 gravity feeds the main tank.  Both refugiums have been stock with assorted "bugs" from Inland Aquatics and IPSF.  The main tank has at least 425 lbs of live rock that is crawling with critters.  My question is who is a good source for an adult pair of  Synchiropus splendidus?  I love your site.  John <In the U.S., Quality Marine or Sea Dwelling Creatures, in Europe, Tropical Marine Centre in the U.K. Have your dealer contact them re. Bob Fenner>

Psychedelic Mandarin fish Color Variation (1/8/03) HI Bob, <Steve Allen filling in tonight> I hope you can help my situation. I've been looking for a psychedelic mandarin that looks like the link below on the TOTM but I cant seem to find one like it. They do not have the blue yellows and oranges like this one. Is there any way to find one of these guys or is it all luck at the LFS. <The fish in the picture is clearly a Synchiropus picturatus. As with virtually all animals, there is individual genetic variation in coloration. Also, coloration is affected by diet as well. Bob wrote an interesting article about fish coloration in TFH last year (9/03). I think you'll just have to patiently wait for one to come in with a color pattern you particularly like. BTW, have you studied these fish? Do you have a tank that will support one. The vast majority slowly starve to death in most tanks.> Peace <To you as well.>   http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/totm/images/BW-MAND1.htm

Getting a Mandarin Through Quarantine..? >I have worked for the last year to get my aquarium ready to support a Mandarin Goby.   >>It is great to read of someone who would work so diligently BEFORE making a purchase.  How can I help you? >Could you please tell me how to quarantine a Mandarin without starving them?   >>Offer plenty of live Mysis shrimps, use a bit of well-populated live rock in the q/t (this is one situation where I will advocate the use of live rock in quarantine), and Zooplex seems to be taken well.  Soak everything in Selcon, and I assume that you have a refugium - use the water from water changes taken OUT of the 'fuge (maybe even with a bit of stirring of substrate and siphoning through macros) in the q/t.  It will always help to be sure the mandarin is feeding foods offered, too. >Also, would snails, crabs, brittle stars be competition for the same food types that Mandarins eat?   >>That really depends on what specific animals you're referring to.  I would wager we could find a direct competitor for foodstuffs from each of these groups you've mentioned.  However, consider also Archaster typicus instead of the usual Ophiuroids as a detritus eater, plus, being such we know it wouldn't compete with the mandarin. >Are there other inverts or fish that you would not recommend keeping with a Mandarin because of food competition?   >>I would say that if you've got that sufficiently large system with the large amount of good quality live rock, a very few of the small fishes that might take some of the same foods as the mandarin shouldn't hurt.  Most of the fish I'm thinking of - neon and clown gobies, fairy/flasher wrasses, grammas and Dottybacks - are SO willing to feed on prepared foods that I wouldn't think it to be too much of a problem. >Would a Six Line Wrasse work?   >>I think so, yes. >Thank you for your dedication to this hobby-obsession! >>You're welcome, and I want to go specifically to this site: http://www.reefs.org and find yourself one Minh Nguyen.  This man knows his STUFF - when it comes to reef, but especially mandarins (and quite notably as well, clams).  Ask him these questions as well.  Marina

- Mandarin Dragonette - I just came across your site...what a fantastic resource!! <I'm glad you enjoy.> I am not a new aquarist but an intermediate one. I have a ten-gallon QT which has saved me a lot of money and frustration. For the last two years, I have been building up a 50 gallon reef tank (about 10 soft corals, some of which have generated spontaneously, and a couple of hard corals), and I am now very confident that it is healthy (with about a dozen small fish) and able to support a mandarin dragonet which I bought today. <I'm sorry to say I don't share this opinion... if you've read our article on the site, then you know we recommend at least 100 gallons. The Mandarin would deplete it's food source in a tank of this size.> The problem I foresee is in keeping the mandarin quarantined long enough to safely introduce it to the main tank while dealing with its finicky nature.  My quarantine procedures have tended to change based on the fish's propensity to disease and parasites (as well as how long the shop had it, and whether or not I can trust the store from which I bought it), but I am not sure how safe that would be for the dragonet. The shop I bought it in is one of those Hong Kong chop shops with lots of fish and very unsafe practices (although I have a friend who successfully purchased two sea horses from them, so maybe they're not so bad), so I think quarantine time makes sense. <Quarantine rarely does not make sense.> The QT, however, is very slim and not likely to have any meaningful nutrients to sustain the dragonet for a long period of time.  I can and will try brine shrimp, but don't have too many expectations that they will take to them. <Nor do I.> Because of the temperamental nature of the mandarin, I am pretty sure that it will die within a week or two if it does not get into a richer environment, but of course, I do not want to risk infecting my other fish. <Then give it a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip and take your chances.> Can you please tell me how susceptible this dragonet is to transmittable disease and parasites, and how I might best handle these two apparently conflicting needs. <The fish is as susceptible to parasitic infection as any other, on average.> Many thanks in advance for any guidance and much more thanks for such a fantastic resource. Chris Biscoe <Cheers, J -- >

Malnourished Mandarin? I recently bought a small Mandarin Goby (Female) for my 48 gallon tank setup. The tank is a Live sand substrate/Live rock decorated tank and has been established for about a year now. I figured that with all the live sand and live rock that the Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus variety) would have plenty to eat, as there should be a nice copepod population in the tank. But I am unsure as to whether or not the goby is eating properly. The area directly behind its pectoral fins (on its belly) seems sharply depressed, but the fish doesn't seem to be anorexic.   I'm not sure if it's eating right, or at all as a matter of fact, any way I can tell how it's doing? <Well, if it looks a bit "pinched in", it can be a sign of malnourishment. One of the best ways is to observe the fish from above. If the fish does not have a nice rounded appearance, that's another clue. Also, when viewing the fish from the side, you can see an obvious sunken in stomach in a malnourished fish> Any warning signs I should watch for? I read that they can be supplemented with freshly hatched live brine, so I hatched some and poured it all into the tank. Not sure if she ate any of it, saw her pecking at the Plexiglas so I would assume so. <Well, if she ate the brine shrimp, that's a start...However, you really would want to feed the brine shrimp a supplement, such as Selcon or Vita Chem to enrich them. Also, if your refugium is producing live Mysis, you might want to do it the hard way and actually net some out to feed...> You see, she likes to sit vertical on the back tank wall where there are some dense patches of hair algae, that's where she was when I observed this behavior. <Well, hair algae tends to harbor some of the amphipods and other fauna that these fishes eat. It was a good area for him to forage in...> Noticed something weird she does too, she seems to like flashlight light and has a habit of floating when she sleeps, she sleeps at the water surface, just barely submerged. My LFS owner tells me that his hide in the Live rock when they sleep, so should this worry me? <Well, the "floating" could be indicative of weakness, or loss of hydrostatic control, brought about by starvation...OR, it could simply be a behavior that the fish is comfortable engaging in...I'd observe the fish very carefully> Here are my tank stats: 48gallon Plexiglas (L x W x H) 36"x15"x15". Yellow tang, Decorator Crab, Sharpnosed puffer, Bleeding-Heart Wrasse. No tank mates bother her. <That's a good thing> From the information I have given, the three questions I have are: 1.) Are her sleeping habits weird? A sign of some problem? <As above...> 2.) How can I tell if she's eating right and if she's getting enough to eat, etc.?  I checked out the picture yo u linked someone else to, yo u know the health comparison one between the two psychedelic gobies, and I couldn't tell what were the key points that defined one as healthy and the other un healthy. <As outlined above- look for general "fullness" about the body, and vigor that is obvious in a healthy specimen> 3.) Should a healthy mandarin's stomach area be full looking like a puffer's after a meal, or will it not reveal any change should their eating habits be well/poor? <No- it should be full and well rounded> I know I've said a mouthful, but if you could answer these for me I'd really appreciate it, this website seems to be the only place where anyone could possibly answer my questions, thanks :) <Our pleasure. Hope this helps. Just keep trying to tempt the fish with a variety of foods...I like Mysis. Also, you could cultivate amphipods in a separate tank for feeding. Check out the offerings of Indo Pacific Sea Farms, which offers a great "starter kit" of amphipods. Also, Florida Aqua Farms and Inland Aquatics...Good luck with your Mandarin! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Quandary? Good evening Scott, <Hi there!> I need some good advice, I would like to have a Blue Mandarin. I know these guys have a very very special diet, so I was thinking or growing some amphipods for him on my own before buying such a beautiful fish. Should I QT him in my main tank with the amphipods together and with the CITR  in tank refugium by CPR.... its 7 by 4 by 7 1/2 or do you think its to small for both of them? <Well, I really think that to be considered a true "quarantine", you need to separate new fishes from the display by every means possible. I'd use a separate tank, with water from the display, and a simple sponge filter that has been "colonized" by beneficial bacteria. You will have to "harvest" amphipods from your refugium to feed these guys during their quarantine period> They are only going to be there together for 2 to 3 weeks. <Make it 3 weeks> Then if all is well let them lose into my main tank!!! Or should I grow the amphipods in the CITR in my main tank and put the fish in my 10 gallon QT and feed him when needed? How would you do it???  do you have a better plan??? <Sheesh! I should read the whole email before answering! Yep- you saw my answer already! LOL> Sorry for e-mailing you  so much Scott but you give the best advice!!! THANX FOR ALL YOU DO!!!!! have a good night <Everyone at WWM has a great love for this hobby, and we do our best to help however we can! Feel free to contact us any time! 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> THANX, so much for your time!<good luck, IanB>

- On Mandarinfish and red planarians - <Good morning, JasonC here...> First, thanks for maintaining this excellent site. Its a truly great resource. <I'm glad you find it useful.> I've read most of the Mandarinfish Faq's and just have one question left that I can't seem to find an answer to.... I have a tank that should be able to sustain a Mandarin.(75Gallon, 115lbs liverock, 4" 1mm aragonite deep sand bed, 30gallon fishless miracle-mud Chaetomorpha refugium with another 20lbs liverock upstream, 20 gallon 4"deep sugar sand aragonite raceway full of Halimeda algae plumbed upstream as well) Both the refugium and the raceway are overflowing with amphipods. My problem is that I have a decent population (not really a plague) of red planarians. (the population is small, sparsely covering only a foot or so of tank during the periodic blooms, then they die back.) I have read that Mandarins eat some types of worms as well as amphipods. Would a Mandarin eat them, and if so is that a bad thing for him? <If I were a mandarin dragonet and given my choice between flatworms and amphipods, I'd eat the amphipods first. That being said, there's just no way to guarantee the fish will do one or the other.> I have read that the planarians are toxic, and wouldn't want the Mandarin to poison himself. <Hard to say for certain... there are many, many types of flatworms that are also red.> Getting rid of the planarians would take only one extra pump, I think, but it would be mounted in an awkward place, so I'd like to leave them alone if I can. -mat <Cheers, J -- >

A Mandarin By Any Other Name... Hello again, sorry to bother you.  <Never a bother! Scott F. with you here tonight>  I have a 30 gal. saltwater aquarium that was basically "grafted" from a larger 135 gal set-up.  Here's the breakdown: 60 lbs. live aragonite 60 lbs. live rock (bristling w/ various pods and small shrimp) Skilter 400 (air stone powered for better venturi) Penguin 550 power head (145 gph) for circulation 2 65w 50/50 compact fluorescents 100 Watt heater 13 Turbos 10 various small (1" or less) hermit crabs 1 banded coral shrimp I think that's it.  :-)  Anyways, I am very interested in getting a Synchiropus stellatus.  Will this size aquarium support one of these?  <Well, in my opinion, it's not just a matter of tank size, rather- it's a matter of whether or not the tank is producing foods (such as amphipods and copepods) in sufficient quantity to sustain the fish. If your tank supports a large quantity of these creatures, then you will have a much greater chance for success> I've already figured out that there's basically no way I could have any luck with my first choice, a Pterosynchiropus splendidus (unfortunate, as they are very beautiful). So a Synchiropus stellatus is my 2nd choice. OTOH, I don't want to doom this fish to a short life of slow starvation either. <Just to clarify- both of the species you're considering have similar dietary requirements and feeding habits. What works for one will work for the other, in my experience. If you design your tank around the unique requirements of these fishes, then you will be able to achieve much greater success with them.> Also do you have any information on their dietary requirements (assuming they eat more than pods and such)? Thank you for your valuable time. Jeff Skaggs <Well, Jeff, the majority of the diet of these little fishes is amphipods, and they can best be kept if these foods are supplied regularly. Other suitable foods include enriched brine shrimp or frozen Mysis, if you can wean your fish to frozen foods. Study the needs of this fish carefully, and you'll be able to provide them with the best possible care! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mandarin madness! Hi guys, I've been reading your FAQ's and it's been immeasurably helpful in getting my first nano-reef attempt up and running smoothly- Thanks!  I am thinking about trying to set up a mandarin specific tank essentially for intensive culture of copepods etc to keep it happy.  Right now I have a 10gal (before anyone has a heart attack I'm planning to redo this set up with a larger tank unless advised that I'm not crazy; exactly how large I should go is one of my questions!)  Okay so I have a 10 gal with 12 pounds of transshipped (aquacultured) live rock, 4" 1-2mm aragonite bed with plenum, about 7 kinds of nice macroalgae that are growing well that just hitchhiked in on the live rock as well as some bubble algae and a bit of red slime now and then- the only inhabitants now besides a lot of things on the rock (phoronids, sessile polychaetes, brown tube corals and a couple of other types of coral, Terebellids, encrusting sponges, a lot of tiny things I haven't had time to id that are sessile filter feeders, a couple of tiny keyhole limpets, and a big (2") mussel or clam that's anchored to the rock and opens away from me toward the back of the tank so I haven't ID'd it either, some zoanthids and tiny (so far) errant polychaetes that snuck in with the live sand), about 7 blue legged hermits, around 10 total Astrea / peppermint / Nassarius snails, and one peppermint shrimp that I am happy to say scoured the Aiptasia off of my rock as advertised, once he got hungry enough.  The tank is heavily fed (1ml Phytoplex every weekday, reef plus about 2.5ml every third day or so, and a bit of pellet food or something once in a while for the peppermint shrimp now that he's wiped out the Aiptasia) and the hermits and peppermint shrimp all have molted more than once- the macroalgae is all growing vigorously and there are enough copepods and isopods that I can see a lot of them on the glass even in the daytime as well as all over the live rock- I found a 1gal "aquarium" with a tiny undergravel filter; I pump into it through its tiny u/g plate and 2" of aragonite like reverse flow u/g with a rio50 turned down low, and it siphons back into the main 10gal with a powerhead intake screen as a return size-exclusion filter - I have 72W PC combo 10000K / actinic on the main tank and 13W of the same crammed into the hood of the tiny 1gal- nitrites and ammonia are zero, pH 8.2, sg 1.023, 79C.  I'm ordering Mysis, Gammarus, and copepod starter cultures as well as Ulva lactuca, Chaetomorpha, and a couple of other macroalgae that I don't see in there already to add to both the main tank and the "refugium of the refugium", as well as some Selcon and frozen freshwater Mysis- also my LFS has live adult brine shrimp available frequently and cheap that I could Selcon as well, and I was originally hoping that with all of this I might be able to sustain a Mandarin- so here are my questions- (1) Am I, as I am beginning to suspect, crazy? <In what aspect? To keep a mandarin in a 10 gallon tank? If you've read the FAQs, then you know the answer.> (1a) If so can you suggest a less demanding grazer that I might add to this 10gal set up instead? <Grazer? A mandarin isn't a grazer, it's a carnivore... just about any fish will take advantage of, and exhaust this food source.> (2) If I want to set up a dedicated Mandarin tank with no food competition and lots of critters and maybe some other supplemental food if possible as a prototype with any luck of how a Mandarin might be reproducibly kept well, if people are going to keep buying them, (2a) am I on the right track generally, <Again... I thought you had read the FAQs. All the answers are there...> and (2b) what's the minimum size I should think of doing this with in terms of both main tank and refugium? <For one mandarin, and a self-sustaining tank you would need about 75-100 gallons, and a system that's been running for at least a year.> (3) Would the peppermint shrimp be competing for the Mandarin's food? <Possibly.> Would zoanthids or star polyps or other soft corals that could handle this tank environment (high nitrate for one) eat the mandarin's food? <Also possible.> Would tiny stirrers like Ophiostigma isocanthum eat its food? <Possibly.> (4) Is it possible to get captive bred Mandarins anywhere? <Not currently.> (5) Are the husbandry requirements significantly different between Pterosynchiropus splendidus and Pterosynchiropus picturatus? <Not significantly.> Okay that's a lot of questions but you see where I'm going here. <I do - don't put the mandarin in the 10 gallon tank.> Thanks!  If I ever have any luck with a Mandarin set-up I'll report back to you - my plan is if I have one that comes in healthy and lasts a couple of months but then doesn't make it, I'll throw in the towel and not just go along killing one after another or anything - so I want to try to come up with a successful formula for the first go at it! <Please... get a larger tank. I've seen the end of this movie, and it's not a happy one.>   Thanks again very much for your help and advice. Mark <Cheers, J -- >

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>

Mandarin fish in a 55 gallon - 4/1/03 Hello guys! <Hello, Paul here fightin' a friggin' cold> I have read all the your FAQs on mandarins. <Very good> I know I don't have the optimum conditions for this fish (meaning a large tank) but it seems that some people are having success in smaller tanks, so of course I am wondering if I could do it. <Is possible>  This is what I have:  8 month old 55 gallon with 80 lbs. of live rock,  3-4 inches of crushed coral substrate, also using an Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer.  I do have lots of amphipods and copepods.  I have 6 tiny hermits, 3 turbo snails, 1 dwarf feather duster,1 reddish-brown brittle star, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 green Chromis, 2 neon gobies, and a purple tang. <All sound fine in my opinion> Would any of these animals be competitors for food with a mandarin? <Not really sure. I don't believe so. I have been fortunate enough to see these guys (Mandarins) in action in the lagoons of Palau quite a few times. I never once saw a purple tang (tongue in cheek) nor any neon gobies or green Chromis anywhere in the vicinity. (because they are from different areas on the reef as well as different regions continentally speaking) Have seen schools of Chromis in the upper reef and mid reef area on a few dive in Palau as well but never in the lagoons with the Mandarin. Check around the forums to be sure. I don't think it will be a problem though> I am planning to use an extra tank I have to grow populations of the copepods maybe seeded by a "starter kit".  Do you think I could try a mandarin or just give up the hope until I get a larger tank?  <It is possible with your setup. I do have one suggestion though, I would get the extra tank that will house copepod/amphipod populations going strong before placing a Mandarin fish. Also, I recommend a supplier that can offer you live mysids and copepod/amphipods before purchasing the fish as well.....and even if your tank is fulfilling the Mandarins feeding requirements. (for that "just in case" situation> Also I couldn't find any information on quarantining this fish.  My concern is that my quarantine tank wouldn't  have any copepods to sustain this fish and that it might starve in QT in 2 weeks.  Would I just order some copepods from somewhere to feed while in QT? <Exactly>  Does this fish need to be QT'd, is it susceptible to parasites, would a freshwater dip do without QT? <Nope. All additions should be quarantined. No matter what it is> What are your recommendations on quarantining a mandarin? <the basics but be sure to feed the guy> Also my brittle star ate 2 feather dusters, would it be a menace to a mandarin? <doubtful, but depends on which kind of brittle we are talkin here. Is it the green terror, Ophiarachna Radiata? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm> Of course like many others I think this is such a beautiful fish and would love to have one, but if you say no, I won't do it. <We appreciate that. You know, you are doing right by your animals by doing research before purchasing. You are one of the reasons why I am proud to be associated with this website. Your persistence in your quest for knowledge is rewarding to me as well as your animals. Thank you for doing so. You are on your way to becoming a Conscientious Marine Aquarist!> I definitely wouldn't want to see one die. <Very well. I feel that you may have a chance here. Since you have been able to hold off this long then I would recommend that you hold off a little longer and get the copepod/amphipod tank going for at least 3-6 months before purchasing. Also, it will let your main tank grow a few more copepods and amphipods as well. Also, see this article http://ozreef.org/reference/mandarin_survey.html Be sure to read through all our FAQs if you have not already. Paul> Thanks, Kylee Peterson  

QT and Mandarinfish 3/25/03 Hello everybody ! <cheers, from America> You helped me many times in the past and I would like to thank you once again for all your valuable help. <always welcome :) > I would  like to ask you the following. I keep a quarantine tank. I add all the new arrivals and keep them there for a couple of weeks just observing them. <FWIW... do keep only one specimen per tank for a full 4 weeks to have an assured safe screening process for pests predators and disease. Mixing fishes or short isolation periods increase risk> Of course I try QT to be same like the normal Tank. I spoke to the LFS and he said that since I'm not adding any medication that it's useless. <that's not correct, my friend. QT is not about drugging animals unnecessarily... and no drugs could "sterilize" a fish at any rate and guarantee disease free. What QT is really for is screening. If a clear problem exists... it can be treated... if it does not and the fish stays in QT for a full month, then you are fairly assured that most pathogens will have died or waned without a viable host. Its not foolproof... but it is very effective> I believe that QT is more to observe if the fish has something. If sick then I treat, if not why should I subject the fish to unnecessary treatment ?????? If sick then I move it  to a smaller (hospital) tank. <exactly correct... I am sorry to hear the LFS dispense such inaccurate advice> I've done a lot of reading. Most of your site, Mr. Fenner's book, Mr. Tullock's, Mr. Calfo's (very good!!), Mr. Sprung's etc..... Unfortunately to follow all rules is almost impossible. (at least for me). <understood... there are many different paths to success> Simplest reason, I live on a remote island as you might remember, and to check on the fish or the coral before purchase is impossible. (most are not imported and must take flight!!!!! to Athens to the LFS). Anyway I'm saying all these because although I knew that my reef would be very limited my LFS suddenly called and said that he has just received a shipment that's even he never got before. From a mandarin fish to hard corals (those are really rare here even a sun coral!!!! ( Do I have to feed every "polyp" and how often ?) <yes... every single polyps is an individual and must be fed several times weekly... if not a small amount daily. Hardy if fed well... dies slowly if not> Now question is that my tank is 4 months old. It's 150 gallons with plenty of circulation, lots of currents, metal halides, UV's calcium reactor I mean the works. I have a deep aragonite sand bed (Guess why I mention that? Mandarin Of  ! (Hope population is enough ? I also cultivate brine shrimp.) <the tank is probably too young still for a mandarin. If you have or will add a fishless refugium to the display to generate enough copepods (most only all they will eat/survive on)... then you will have better success in time> My readings are Temp steady at 26 C, PH 8,35-8,40 but drops to 8,20 during night, and ORP 500 steady ( falls to 430 when water change (5-10% every week) but rises to 480-500 again after hours. Since My tank is new, but these species don't come easily should I attempt to get them ? <my advice would be to avoid it... most starve in a year or less in captivity. Very challenging> Already in tank are some polyps, mushrooms and three Sarcophyton that are doing very well. Polyps have covered the entire rock they came with as well as mushrooms. Sarcophytons two are doing well but the third closed up and hasn't opened yet. I noticed that I have two maroon clowns and the small one has taken up residence at night in the sarc. that looks likes an mushroom anemone. Probably gets angry and that's why it stays retracted ? <correct... but it causes little harm, I must admit> Also I'm going through a green algae (although I don't feed very much.) Salinity is at 1,023-1,025, and only added some iodine some days ago. Take care Kostas <best regards, Anthony>

No Mandarins Please!  3/3/03 How about the mandarin? <I don't suggest Mandarin Gobies to any aquarist!  Most die within 6 months.  If you really want to see this amazing creature, please see it in the wild.  Plus when you dive you get to see hundreds of other fine aquatic animals!  In the nearly 3 years I've been in this hobby I've only seen 1 tank that has kept a Mandarin for more than a year!  Sorry to bring the bad news,  get the "Orangespotted Goby" instead!  Phil>

Answer #2 - 2/8/03 HI guys I am looking for some advise on a certain fish. My 72 gallon aquarium has had an outbreak of 10 legged whitish crustaceans of some sort. The glass is covered with them these being extremely tiny and scattered here and there are some larger ones maybe the parents. What would you recommend eats these small critter , I have a large substrate bed and about 60 lbs of live rock. Mandarin fish or maybe a six line wrasse Thank you S.   <Just another follow from me, Paul. Check this link out. A very important read regarding the Mandarin fish plight. Good to be a conscientious marine aquarist. Strive for it at all times. http://ozreef.org/reference/mandarin_survey.html Good luck! Let me know if I can be of any more help.>

- Mandarin Dragonette - Wow...that hurt! <My apologies, that was not my aim. I do seek to be realistic though, and hopefully it helps in the long run.> Thanks for the information. You made me change my mind about the "tang tank". <Ah good.> I have one problem though....I already ordered the mandarin goby. With the 29G DSB sump/refugium that I have, will I be able to "promote" the copepod and amphipod propagation to support this guy? <Perhaps, but likely not quickly enough. They tend to eat and nibble all day, but you may be able to promote other frozen items like Mysis shrimp.> The sump/refugium is below the tank. I also have several 10G tanks at my disposal, but they are not used yet. Will 1 tang and the clowns compete with the mandarin fish for the copepods/amphipods that are available? <The tang will not, the clowns might, but you can probably distract them with other food.> Do you have any suggestions on how I can further promote the copepods and amphipods to multiply? <Perhaps with a couple of the live sand starter kits.> Thanks for the help! Jeff McHenry <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Sexing Scooter Dragonets Leslie, Lorenzo here responding - dunno if you ever got a response to this query? The rest of the gang is off at MACNA. The pic you attached looks to me like a female. The males of these fish usually have an OBVIOUS trailer on the anterior dorsal fin. But your frustrated attempts at creating a pair are not that unusual, the likelihood that you accidentally got two males together is about as high as the possibility that the fish just "don't like" your attempted matchmaking 'selections'. What if I randomly chose a husband for you, out of the grand selection of TWO currently available at the Local Husband Store? Good luck, Zo

Sexing Scooter Dragonets Hi Guys, Bob, Anthony, Steve......I never know who will respond so thus the "Guys". <Mmm, neither do we> I have what I think is a female S. stellatus.....Red Scooter Blenny. She is petite and vibrantly marked with red splotches of color. She loves frozen Mysis. I would like to get her a mate. I had an adorable pair once. They are very entertaining and their courting ritual is a joy to behold. Unfortunately lost to one of my disastrous tank crashes. Now, I know that the males have an impressively larger, more colorful anterior dorsal fin and I have successfully chosen pairs in the past. I am having trouble lately. This little "gal" has an anterior dorsal fin that is perhaps 1cm and brightly colored with black edges. ....looks a lot like the photo in Scott's book. Is there a much of a size difference in the anterior dorsal fin of the male S. ocellatus and the male S. stellatus. <In general yes... more pronounced in larger individuals> I have had a couple of these scooters......always reddish, some more vibrant than others. Some have had a very large anterior dorsal fin, maybe 2 to 3 times the height of the fish and posterior dorsal fin......about an inch tall when erect. I have placed a similar looking red scooter, assumed to be a female together with one of these males with the extra tall anterior dorsal fin, only to have the male viciously attack the "female", grabbing her and shaking her like my dobies shake their tug toys......scary! I am now wondering if I may have had a male of each species. The anterior dorsal fin of the presumed female was quite colorful and just a tad taller than the posterior dorsal fin, but much much shorter than that of the true male.....maybe about 1 cm. <These fishes do interact with fury between and even within species at times... best to keep lightly populated, lots of spaces to hide...> In both Scott Michael's Marine Fishes 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species and Baensch Marine Atlas the photos of both these species look reddish, one species appearing darker and the other brighter.  <There is a very large variability regionally, environmentally, nutritionally...> EEKS maybe I am color blind? Baensch shows photos of the 2 distinct species that look much like the reddish scooters commonly seen for sale. Although in his description he refers to one as having "brown star like spots" and the other as "nothing spectacular about their coloration". So, are S. stellatus always red and the S. ocellatus always brown? <Not always... but in general yes. Look at the images on fishbase.org and google (which you can find by clicking on the image on fishbase) for Synchiropus spp.> Is that anterior dorsal fin of the male typically smaller in younger males and grows as the fish grows? <Always> I would really like to avoid torturing another poor fish with the gruesome fight that ensues almost immediately, only to have to rescue another presumed female, returning "her" to the LFS, as hate fighting fish, it stresses me as well as them, and I never get full credit only 1/3rd the price I paid and then only if the fish survives and sells in 30 days or less. Not to mention what my tank and the poor little guy have to go thru before I can retrieve him. The dominant males are like little aquatic Pit Bulls. I have attached a photo of my fish I hope it helps. Thanks so much as always for your help, Leslie <Have been recently (last week) in N. Sulawesi and seen spawning behavior (at night) in splendidus... seems to live in "pairs" in the wild... perhaps a partition, separating the combatants initially, would serve to lessen overt aggression? Bob Fenner>

Re: Sexing Scooter Dragonets Bob, So do you think I actually may have a female from the photo I sent in the previous email. <Looks more like an immature male to me... might be a female though> If so I will try another male. Maybe if I introduce him second they will have a better chance. <Yes... but would be better to introduce a group of small individuals and let "grow up" with each other in a substantial size system.> Thanks again, Leslie
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Sexing Scooter Dragonets Hi again Bob, What would you consider a substantial size system. I was planning on a pair in a 30g. <I'd rather make this a forty...> What would be the smallest volume or footprint I could place a group of small individuals into. This one is small just barely an inch long.  <A square foot of bottom space per individual would be nice... but they could be more concentrated in larger quarters... like six to a sixty, twelve in a hundred... with lots of rock, rubble... A large, vibrant with life refugium will/would be a giant plus here> They had several others reasonably priced at the store. <Worth trying in a group> Thanks, Leslie <Bob Fenner>

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