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Mandarinfish Rescue


jsrtist

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As most of you know, I'm particularly enamored by this marine species. I have done much research through the years in making my tanks "mandarin-friendly." Most people don't set up displays for these shy, elusive fish, but they were the reason I got into saltwater.

This tiny girl has been at the pet store for over a month, and I know she has not eaten well in that time. Even though I am strongly against keeping wild caught mandarins, I decided to bring her home. Leaving her there at the store to eventually starve and die wasn't going to make any difference.

In the time I was in the retail side of fish, I made sure ANYONE I sold mandarins to carefully understood their needs. I was the so called "mandarin guru" of the store and people would come to me for advice on keeping these little guys.

This new girl is EXTREMELY emaciated. I'll post pics of her along with my healthy, fat male. In the two days since I got her, she has begun putting on weight and I have high hopes for her surviving. :)

Here's a pic of my male, what they are supposed to look like:

mandarinnew.jpg

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My Gosh! Those fish are beautiful! I have never seen them before until I came here and then I didn't know what they were called. I think that they are some of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen! Good luck to you with your rescue! She is so lucky that you came and took her home. Any names for your fish?

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Thanks for the comments! I'm pleased to say that since bringing her home on Wednesday, Baby Mandarin, as she's come to be called, has already started filling out. She's noticeably plumper now. I'm so glad I got her when I did because she would not have made it much longer. I estimated that by the time I got her, she hadn't eaten in over a month. :(

If you guys watch Discovery Channel, be sure and catch "Pacific Abyss" the next time it's on. It chronicles some marine biologists/filmmakers/divers who go to remote locations, and there is a short segment on the mandarins. :) You have to see the way they swim. THey flutter and hover in the water, like hummingbirds as they feed.

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For anyone wishing to get one, here is a great article about some of their basic requirements: http://www.reefcentral.com/modules.php?s=&...wpage&pid=3

I have also written several posts in the marine section about properly keeping them, and you can see some pics of my old mandarin tank.

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Jen she looked just about reday to turn over and give up on life when you found her -I can see that. Talk about emaciated! I wonder if they were offering her the right foods- I suppose so, so she was just stressed and wouldn't eat?

How do you tell if a Mandarin is female? Are you sure you have one of each now..that would be awesome. Both of them look different colors and equally beautiful. Please keep us posted here how she settles in and if they are friendly with each other!

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The males have a very long dorsal spine, and the females lack one. Males are also considerably larger.

Mandarinfish rely only on live food. They constantly graze on tiny copepods and other critters that live on live rock. Therefore, in a bare holding tank in a pet store or wholesaler they tend to starve. Then, inexperienced aquarists keep them in tanks that cannot sustain enough food to keep them fed. They'll decimate the population of pods in a reef tank in no time. I have my tank especially set up to keep them, making sure that I have a thriving population of pods to keep them going.

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wow, they're gorgeous! I've always loved mandarin fish and when Im older Im going to keep some, they're pretty hard to keep happy huh? I did a little research myself about a year ago :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
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In the very first picture, it looked like one of my old neckties had fallen to the bottom of the tank.

That is quite a beautiful fish. Do they all have the same pattern and coloration?

Is paisly the correct word for their skin coloration.

Oliver

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I love the necktie description! That's perfect.

The green mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus), which is what these are, are generally this color and pattern. If you look at my first female mandarin in my signature (who is no longer with me) she was the same but was a red color morph.

THere is a similar species called the psychedelic mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) that has more of a "paisley" type pattern. They were never quite as striking for me, though.

I hardly recognize the little girl in that picture I posted at first. She has filled out completely, her color is back, and she is very bold and active. I will post some new pics of her soon. YOu will be amazed at the difference. :)

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  • 1 month later...
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Just wanted to post a couple updated shots of my little girl. I've had her for about a month and a half and she is now fat and happy! You would hardly know it's the same fish.

(That's a serpent star behind her.)

mandarinfat.jpg

mandarinfat2.jpg

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She looks fat and sassy! you did a great job with her. Is there anything more satisfying than seeing a sick little fish turn around in your care? I don't think so! :D

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  • 5 months later...
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I tried to pair mine, but they fought... had to give it up back to the store again.

Did yours fight? Or did they get along right away? She looked better and fat now :) they look great

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Thanks! No, they didn't fight, but the male did pester her for awhile. Were yours both male? If so then that is most likely the reason they were fighting. Males (like a lot of fish) are very territorial and need a very large tank to be kept together. What size tank were they in?

They are both still looking really nice and healthy. I make sure the tank keeps a constant supply of copepods in it to keep them fed. I recently found a place that sells live copepods, so that helps, too.

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