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Mandarin Goby


Kagome100

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What size tank?

How much live rock?

Mandarin gobies are a tough fish because of their specialized diet. They need large mature tanks with lots of live rock so that enough pods are produced to keep them fed. Smaller tanks are possible, but require a well-functioning pod-producing refugium. Some are taking to prepared foods more and more now (because of advances in foods), but there is still no guarantee.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Mandarins are not in fact gobies but are dragonets (you can tell because they have the telltale spine behind their eyes--for this reason, NEVER attempt to net any type of dragonet as they can get tangled in fishnets).

They are my pride and joy and I'm dedicated to keeping them out of the hands of inexperienced hobbyists! (Not to say that the original poster is). Most people are lured in by their hummingbird type of swimming and their bright, beautiful colors. THey are in fact one of the most difficult fish to keep in captivity and for that reason they really should NOT be collected. As some of the previous posters mentioned, they subsist on a diet of live crustaceans. It is possible to keep this up in a smaller tank but it is very, very difficult to do.

I have successfully kept them in small tanks but I had to make the tank specifically FOR a mandarin and wasn't able to keep any other type of copepod-eating fish in there. It doesn't make for much of a display as mandarins are very secretive and stay hidden most of the time.

If you are after color, there are many, many other marine fish that fit the bill that may be more easily kept in a home aquarium. If you need suggestions or have questions please don't hesistate to come here first. It's always easier to ask beforehand than to come home with a fish that dies because you don't know how to care for it.

I will also strongly recommend that you carefully research any marine fish you would like to buy. Did you know that most fish you see at your local pet store are juveniles, and some can get over 3 feet long??

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  • 2 months later...
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mandarins are risky to keep in small tanks, like the others listed, because they feed on small invertebrates called pods. you can run a refugium, to help create a safe haven for these tiny creatures, but the dragonet will eventually deplete the pod population to the point of starvation... UNLESS you TRAIN it to eat frozen/prepared foods (more specifically a 50/50 mix of spirulina brine/mysis). i know of at least a few people whom have done this with great success, one of which has trained around 30 different mandarins with a success rate of 100%. i can provide a direct quote/link describing exactly how to go about "training", if you would like...

still, even if you wish to keep one of these fish and train it to eat frozen/prepared food, it is recommended to let your tank mature for around 6 months to let the pod population grow in case your particular fish shows and unwillingness to accept the prepared food.

just remember... plan carefully, be patient, and stability is key.

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  • 1 month later...
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If you're asking these questions then you really shouldn't get one.

Trigger Pods made by Reef Nutrition feeds mandarins if you do not have a well established tank.

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  • 1 year later...
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I know that mandarinfish are already in the beginning process of aquaculture. Who knows before you will see one at a store? Wild caught mandarins that are kept in a tank with lots of pods and a refugium tend to live 1-3 years, but it is impossible to know how old they are when they are caught from the wild.. Mandarinfish eat clownfish eggs.

Edited by Leeanna
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