My experience with Mandarins and a particularly picky new addition


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Well as some of you know I have 3 mandarins and a scooter Blenny. While I'm certainly no expert on them I do have quite a few and I spend embarrassingly long periods of time watching my tank. So I figured maybe finding this interesting feeding with my new mandarin I'd share anything first hand experience I've come up with.

These are all my observations as with all things aquaria the only rule is..there are few hard fast rules.

Mandarin compatability:
Spotted and Green/blue/red mandarins ignore each other completely. It is my experience you can safely keep a spotted and a psycodelic mandarin with out fighting conflicts. My spotted and green mandarin have ignored each other 100% from the get go and could be contained in the smallest of acceptable habitats together provided adequate food supply.

Male and Female Mandarin: I've been told your looking at 50/50 shot. I added a female in with an established male. He showed aggression. she just stood still and did nothing. After two hours everything was ok and they get along 100%. I'm going to go with the consensus on this and say its a 50/50 shot. In the process of exerting domanace I could see one of the fish getting killed.

Male vs Male- I failed on this one. The new addition was killed in less than 24hrs. I'm going to go with concensus and say its not a good option to try. However I've seen many male mandarins get along as juveniles at the LFS so there may be a way to do this yet if they are added at the same time and are small..however they it remains to be seen if they would get agressive as they grow older.

Scooter blenny vs mandarin: No issues

Green vs red vs blue variations: Unknown Suspect same as if they were 100% identicle

I'll merely represent my experiences on a per fish basis and from what I know from the LFS my fiancee works at.

My Male spotted(fatboy): Eats absolutlely anything. He looks like a sumo wrestler. He pecks all day at the rocks like usual but eats any frozen food that comes his way.His favorite is blood worms.

Female Green(little girl): She only eats copepods. Occasionally I've seen her pick out an amphiod but 50% of the time she spits it out. she eats NO prepared food. She pecks all day at the rocks.

Female Spotted: This is odd one. She browses around the rocks all day. But rarely ever pecks at the rocks. She was soo skinny when I got her. She apparently doesn't actually care much for copepods or isopods for sure. She'll pass them up all day. Not sure about amphioods but I suspect no. She will occasionally pick up a piece of mysis but spits it out 50% of the time and only ate pieces with eyes. After trying lots of stuff I broke down and dropped in frozen brine shrimp. Bingo! After eating brine shrimp for a week she also now eat blood worms.

I've read that spotted more readily accept frozen food. I'd have to agree with this. all of the spotted at the LFS they all..with experimentation..will eat one type of frozen food or another.

My scooter blenny eats absolutly anything I throw in there. This is my only experience with scooter blenny.

I've been told formula 1 pellets and orange flying fish suishi roe are good ones to try tho I've not gotten any pellets of fed my fish caviar yet:)

When feeding a picky mandarin prepared food. The food has to be dead still..Mandarins...while sometimes will..usually don't care to chase after food that is tumbling ..even slowly across the sand bed.

Mandarins are by observation are like humming birds. They have a fast metabolism and hunt all day long. I have to recommend if your relying on prepared food that you feed them a MINIMUM of once per day. I'd recommend 2-3 times per day. If they have a good appetite then it might be ok to feed them 1 time per day if the food will remain on the bottom of the tank for a few hours with out getting eaten up by something else.

Is my Mandarin too skinny? If you can see the bone on each side that runs the length of your fish. Its too skinny. If you can see a sunken triangle on the underside..too skinny and you should work quickly to find out what and how to feed it. When they are this skinny however when you do find a feeding method that works it takes a matter of days to notice that the fish is filling in by the pectoral fins and belly region.

Make sure you watch the fish eat. Just because it sucks it up..doesn't mean it ate it. make sure it doesn't spit it back out half of the time.

This is all the info I've gathered and observed about mandarins. I hope it is of some use to any present or potential mandarin owners. It should go with out saying its not wise to get a mandarin in an unmature tank with out plenty of pods to eat. If you don't have many pods you and have one eating prepared food feeding multiple times a day will make your mandarin more apt to live.
However I've seen many male mandarins get along as juveniles at the LFS so there may be a way to do this yet if they are added at the same time and are small.

The reason that as juveniles their not as aggressive towards each other is because they haven't reached sexual maturity yet. Once they hit that stage nature takes over and they get aggressive so they can be the Alpha and procreate.
That statement can be used to describe just about any male fish that won't get along with another male fish.
Thats a great write up.And I agree with Wonton.It needs to be in the users articles.
But we'll wait for you to give the OK before moving it.
how can i tell if my psychadelic mandrin is male or female? I've thought about getting a second one, and if i can i'd like to have one of each....
Sexing mandarinfish isn't too difficult, because males usually have an elongated, pointed dorsal fin and females do not.
Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Green Mandarin

Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Red Mandarin

Male spotted
Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Spotted Mandarin

The dorsal spike isn't always as pronounced as in the 2nd link. On average most of the mandarins in the stores are male but not all, you just have to keep looking.

I've also been thinking about adding a male psychadelic mandarin. I'm not so worried about food supply as I have serious pod mojo in my tank due to design. I would just need a small juevenile male to make me feel safe about him not killing my female. She's is a very healthy girl but if she acts anything like the female spotted I added she may just sit there and take the abuse and possibly not survive.
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I've been told formula 1 pellets and orange flying fish suishi roe are good ones to try tho I've not gotten any pellets of fed my fish caviar yet:)


I have had 2 MDs now and both gobble up these foods. When they are first put in my tank I turn the flow off and drop too much food right in front of them. After a month or so they learn to come for it even with the flow on.
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This is encouraging! I really LOVE madarins but have been afraid to try them due to their history of being difficult.