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Mandarin Disease FAQs: Nutritional 

FAQs on Mandarin Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Social, Infectious, Parasitic (see also: Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies & Crypt,), Trauma, Treatment

Related FAQs: Mandarin Disease/Health 1, Mandarin Disease 2, Mandarin Disease 3, Mandarin Disease 4,
Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies & Crypt, Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins & their Relatives 1, Mandarins , Mandarins 3, Mandarin Identification, Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Compatibility, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Reproduction,

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

Mandarin help... fdg?         4/21/16
Please help, I recently purchased a male mandarin dragonet to go with my female mandarin I have had for over a year with 2 clowns, a lawnmower blenny, a recently purchased copperband and some inverts.
At first the male mandarin looked skinny and didn't appear to be eating (I load tank with 1-2bags of pods daily). I found out last week that he loves mysis and have been feeding live daily. He still seems skinny and a few days ago I noticed a small white ulcerish mark on his head that has started getting bigger. He is still eating (eats 2-4 mysis twice daily) but starting to look skinnier also.
<I would offer the Mysis more frequently and lace (soak) them in a HUFA/Vitamin supplement 5-10 minutes before feeding... and if the fish doesn't appear to gain weight within a week or two, add some Prazi/quantel to the food as well>
Please help.
Many thanks
Kind regards,
Marco Cifaldi
<Have you read on WWM re Mandarin health? Bob Fenner>
Re: Mandarin help        4/21/16

Hi Bob,
Many thanks for your prompt reply and help. I have indeed read through the mandarin health page.
<Ah good>
I couldn't see anything regarding ulcers
<There was just one last week.... due to a likely "poke" or run into something sharp. Look again>
(appears to be getting bigger) do you think the hufa/vitamins would help with this also?
<? Why else would I suggest it?>
I am concerned to what has caused this (possibly Bacterial?) and worried it may pass to the healthy female. Thanks again.
Kind regards,
Marco Cifaldi
<Don't write; read. BobF>

Mandarin goiter?   4/10/16
Hi crew!
I have a (hopefully) straightforward question. My mandarin has a fairly large bump next to his mouth (see photos).
<I see this>
From what I've read so far, I think it is a goiter. Am I correct?
<It may be>
It hasn't affected his behavior at all.
He even enjoys eating pellet food!
For treatment, I had started dosing iodine, as I read that an iodine deficiency leads to goiters. Should I use a more aggressive treatment?
<I'd add weekly (double or triple dose) to the water during water changes/regular maintenance... of iodide/ate... Are you using a commercial prep.?>
I had hoped the iodine would help the mandarin heal on his own, but it's been there over a month now, and it seems a little bigger than before.
<Mmm; and I might try soaking foods in the prep. ahead of offering... in an effort to get a physiological titer into the animal>
Thanks for your help. I love your site and always come here first when I have questions.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Mandarin goiter?   4/10/16
Hi Bob! Thanks for the quick response!
I'm using Kent Marine iodine; dosing every evening (with a dosing pump).
I'll up the dosage right away and start soaking the food.
<Real good. BobF>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandarin Mystery - 08/16/2005 Thanks for your advice 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

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