No food- Help with Mandarin fish

Nate McFin

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For those haven't read about my sister new tank, she recently got handed a 700 gln. set up for free. It has alot of live rock and sand. It was very poorly maintained when she got it. They finally got it moved and now have the fish in a QT while the tank gets set up and running.
Info on the tank and story can be seen here
https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/general-discussion/45180-luckiest-fishkeeper-ever.html

So the question. One of the 7 fish that was in the tank when she got it is a Mandarin. I am a freshwater guy but from what I have read is they eat only live food...mainly Copepods. So the fish is in a hospital tank and she has no food to feed the poor thing. The local fish stores dont know anything about salties and have nothing to offer. Any idea what she might do to get this thing to eat frozen food? Should she put it in the larger tank hoping it finds something to eat on the live rock? She will be adding 250 lbs more of live sand in a few days and was hoping he might be ok till then, but he has been in the QT for a few days already and is refusing to eat.
ANY advice is appreciated!
Thanks,
Nate
 

Iron waffle

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Apparently, mandarin fish are very picky eaters. some will take high quality frozen foods, but most will only eat live food. you can try putting bits of shrimp into rocks to establish a copepod population, see if this helps:

I also read that mandarin fish should only be put in the most established of tanks, in the meantime, maybe try feeding it some shrimp.

good luck
 

cerianthus

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For those haven't read about my sister new tank, she recently got handed a 700 gln. set up for free. It has alot of live rock and sand. It was very poorly maintained when she got it. They finally got it moved and now have the fish in a QT while the tank gets set up and running.
Info on the tank and story can be seen here
https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/general-discussion/45180-luckiest-fishkeeper-ever.html

So the question. One of the 7 fish that was in the tank when she got it is a Mandarin. I am a freshwater guy but from what I have read is they eat only live food...mainly Copepods. So the fish is in a hospital tank and she has no food to feed the poor thing. The local fish stores dont know anything about salties and have nothing to offer. Any idea what she might do to get this thing to eat frozen food? Should she put it in the larger tank hoping it finds something to eat on the live rock? She will be adding 250 lbs more of live sand in a few days and was hoping he might be ok till then, but he has been in the QT for a few days already and is refusing to eat.
ANY advice is appreciated!
Thanks,
Nate

Hi1, Nate, A freebie. Cant get better than that. LOL!

If Mandarin was one of fish kept by previous owner, find out what was fed and/or how long they had Mandarin.
If such info are not avail, try Fz Zooplankton (Chopped upa bit if possible), Fz Mysis Shrimp or Live Brine just to initiate intake of food. Only possibilities that I could think of is that
1. stress of being moved
2. water condition issue since samll Q/T can foul up pretty fast.

If water is OK, give it few more days. You can even take the few small LR out of main tank (that is if these rocks are from previous tank owner)
which may make fish feel more comfortable/less stressful and will assist in keeping Q/T bio-active.. Keep the light dim.
Hope all goes well. Keep on top of testing Q/T water.
 
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Nate McFin

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Thanks for the replies. She did move the live rock to the QT but yes it is crowded. She has been keeping a close eye on the params and she will be ready to move the fish to the main tank Thursday morning when my wife takes over 250# of live sand to them.
The fish hasn't shown any signs of sickness so hopefully it will be ok until she can get him in the main tank.
I believe he was eating off of colonies on the live rock when they got him. THere hs been alot of water changed though. Do you think the copepod that were on the live rock before will manage to survive the move or are they fragile?
I let her know about the plankton and shrimp.
I didn't even know what a Mandarin was until I looked it up....WOW
What a beautiful fish.
Thanks again for the tips as always!
Nate
 

cerianthus

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I am always amazed at how/what nature can sustain its bio-activities. Unless rock was either completely dried out or given full f/w bath, most of seen/unseen tiny inverts should repopulate with time.
If memory serves, Mandarin do produce very thick slime thus never have them in small volume of water (I mean small small container) for long time where it can choke to death.
I only know of Blue Mandarin and Green Psychedelic ( hope i spelled it correctly) Mandarin. They are beautiful, arent they?
On few occassions, grew them to as thick as Big Cuban Cigar but bit shorter. Well! maybe lot shorter. we always seemed exaggerate the size of fish we catch, lol!

Only drawback with them and its relative (Scooter Blenny, etc) is that when kept with with fast moving fish, very difficult to feed them properly. Only set up which I know that they did well is in Reef where ther are lots of narrow/small crevices that they can roam to hunt for natural food w/o competing.

250 lbs of Ive Sand. That's a lots of sand for common 75G. Anyway, I would wait at least one day before adding fish. Just to ensure LS does/did its job, not needing more time to settle/reestablish in the tank. It all depends on what kind of LS and condition of LS, IMO.
Definitely check water before and day later to ensure all went OK before adding fish to main tank, not to mention close monitoring of water conditions thereafter for awhile.

Hope all goes well with your sister's tank!
 
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Nate McFin

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I believe the one they have is the pyschedelic.
I am glad to hear the rock may have a chance. The only unknown is that the conditions of the tank were very poor when they got it. The person who maintained it was not there anymore and who knows what they did to keep it going for the short time they were doing it. The water was pretty green when they emptied it for the move.
The sand is actually for the 700 gln and not the 75 gln. The 700 didn't have nearly enough sand and they are basically adding to the sand that is already there to create a better bed.
My wife is going over their way today and I will have her take pics of the new set up and I should be able to post some pics in the other thread. I was hoping they would take some during the mov but it was just too busy for them to get any.
Thanks again Cerianthus, your advice is always greatly appreciated!
 

hkirchen

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Mandarin fish are beautiful, but often die of starvation with no other signs of distress. So, if you think he is acting fine one day, he could be dead the next without any symptoms. I highly suggest that your sister set up a refugium so as to culture the copepods that this wonderful fish needs to survive. I have never heard anyone say they have been successful in keeping a mandarin alive on frozen or dried food. Most of the time, they just won't eat.

I have done a lot of research on this fish as it is my future target fish for the saltwater tank that I will start. You can see one on my avatar. I am not planning on adding this fish for at least a year to my saltwater tank with a refugium setup, and even then, I will have to supplement the population.

This website should give some info on how to get foods that he will eat. It will be expensive to maintain which is why I suggest the refugium that will cultivate them continuously. There are other ones, but this one should get her started.

Hope that helps, and keep us posted!
 
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