Poll: What is the minimum tank size for a Mandarin

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by dbl, Mar 13, 2018.

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  1. 10 gallon

    42 vote(s)
    6.4%
  2. 20 gallon

    49 vote(s)
    7.5%
  3. 30 gallon

    132 vote(s)
    20.2%
  4. 40 gallon

    67 vote(s)
    10.2%
  5. 50+ gallon

    364 vote(s)
    55.7%
  1. dbl

    dbl It Takes Less Energy to be Nice Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Had a member ask what the minimum tank size is to keep a Mandarin. I have never personally kept a Mandarin because for whatever reason, I can't keep my pod population plentiful enough. So assuming you can keep one fed properly, what is the minimum size tank you would be comfortable keeping a Mandarin in?
     
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  2. Crabs Mcjones

    Crabs Mcjones Millepora Maniac Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Everywhere you look one up says minimum of 30 (liveaquaria, saltwaterfish.com), so that's what I went with :)
     
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  3. Dsnakes

    Dsnakes Knight Reefer R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I was just looking into this the other day. I wanted one for my Nuvo 20. It's been fishless a while and the pods in there are ridiculous. My conclusion was that a mandarin would likely clear them out in a few weeks-month and then I would be in trouble. I vote on 50+ unless the keeper has an alternate system to grow pods and keep the tank stocked.
     
  4. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

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    My Mandarin only wanders a lot in search of pods. I think one could be kept comfortably in a 20g aquarium, maybe smaller, if it could be well fed. If you are willing to set up a 20g+ fuge or raise/purchase massive amounts of copepods it is possible.

    If you are looking at the typical in-sump fuge with a DT and not wanting to supplement pods I'm thinking 90g+ to keep long term. They may last a year or so in a 55g as they gradually reduce the pod population but I doubt you could have long term success in a tank that small.
     
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  5. 4FordFamily

    4FordFamily Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I said 50+ not for space but because a large population of healthy pods are necessary, they'll clean a 10 gallon full of pods out in short order. Probably a 50 gal, too as Brew mentioned.
     
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  6. andrewkw

    andrewkw Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    imo there are too many other factors then tank size that dictate mandarin success. Space wise a 5g is probably enough if you are buying 1000s of pods weekly. If you have a bigger fuge a smaller display is fine, if you have no food competition smaller is fine, if you have lots of competition larger is needed.

    I have kept them in the past and they have always lived at least a few years or longer but recently got a new one. After tank transfer and prazi treatment I've placed him in my 55g frag tank. This was mainly because I starved him during qt. The frag tank is fishless but it's been setup less than a year - typically 1 year or older tanks are recommended since by then your pod population is stable. However if you recently added say 3 wrasses to your 2 year old tank then tried to put a mandarin in there might not be enough food for him.

    Getting back to my guy I'm continually checking the glass to see if I can see a noticeable drop in the pod population. Long term he is going in my display tank (112 gallons) he's just in the 55 to fatten up. So far he has not wiped out the pods and has noticeably gotten fatter. If you've never kept one though it can be really hard to judge how many pods you need. For someone new it's probably more about how many places do they have to hide, and do they have refuge from predators vs your glass is full of them and he should be fine.
     
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  7. LetItReef

    LetItReef Valuable Member

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    I would start with 10g and patiently train it to eat frozen food. Given that the 10g has good amount of pods to start with and fresh brine shrimps as a back-up.
    Small tank- easy to find/reach the Mandarin to spot feed :)
     
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  8. sfin52

    sfin52 Valuable Member

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    Paul B has a great mandarin feeder. I think that would help if pod population is a concern or want more than one.
     
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  9. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

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    I know that people do this. I would like to know if anyone has kept a mandarin alive for more than 2 years by spot feeding. I just don't see how it would work unless you are spot feeding every 15 to 20 minutes through the day. I love watching my Mandarin and it is very unusual for him to go 20 seconds without eating a pod. I don't see how spot feeding can replicate that for long term results.
     
  10. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Bigger the better, more places for pods to hide, reproduce and hopefully stay ahead of the grazing. Ours in 120G can be seen all over it, constantly pecking away. The macro algae in the refugium hopefully provides enough environment for them to keep the population going. Even with the 120G and refugium I worry.
     
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  11. sfin52

    sfin52 Valuable Member

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    I was told to spot feed it because it was feeding on frozen. The problem was that by the time I realized it was starving it was too late. I also realized it had completely destroyed the pod population. A very sad sight to see Kermit dead
     
  12. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think that the refugium size needs to be taken into account, I would think the pods only in the aquarium wouldn't be able to maintain a population, they need areas away from the mandarin or they'll lose too many too fast
     
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  13. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm doing a 22 gallon fugeless for a few days and (hopefully) today am moving him over to a new tank (with old tank water, pods, etc) with 35 gallons and a 15 gallon refugium with a good sandbed and macroalgae (plus a mangrove)
     
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  14. Greybeard

    Greybeard Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    It's a small fish, sedentary by nature. It'd be fine in a smaller tank... What, 20g? IMHO, much smaller than that, and you've got an expert level challenge just keeping things stable. PROVIDED you can meet his nutritional requirements. ORA is breeding mandarins now, and they do just fine on various frozen and prepared foods. Got a friend that has one in a relatively immature 29g tank, fat, happy and healthy.
     
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  15. Reef of Fillory

    Reef of Fillory Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I had a BIOTA mandarin in my Biocube before I took it down. I had gotten it at .5-.75" and it grew to ~2.5" in my tank within 7 months. I did have a fuge [drilled biocube] in the sump though, but even with her in the tank, copepods and amphipods were everywhere. When I sold her to a friend the tanks pod population went through the roof and gave my wife and I the creeps [turn the light on when it's "night time" and they scatter/crawl everywhere]

    With that said, I'd say a 20 or 30 gallon with a refugium and good deal of live rock would be sufficient as long as you pay attention and know when populations are falling.

    Mine would occasionally eat prepared, but was generally unenthusiastic about feeding time
     
  16. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah they don't really tend to move much or far, mine likes to sit in his cave during the day and only comes out a bit at night
     
  17. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah they don't really tend to move much or far, mine likes to sit in his cave during the day and only comes out a bit at night
     
  18. S-t-r-e-t-c-h

    S-t-r-e-t-c-h Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award

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    I usually recommend 75+ gallons too, considering most people have other predatory tankmates feeding on the same pod population...
     
  19. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    How many variables are there, so far people have mentioned:
    - Tank size
    - Refugium
    - Other food
    - Tankmates
    What else influences their health? I'd like to suggest:
    - Hiding places - if a fish is constantly stressed, he'll lose his appetite
    - Water quality? (besides the obvious need for decent water from any fish)
    - Water flow?
     
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  20. Duane Clark

    Duane Clark Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    As others have mentioned its a bit of a misleading question. the issue is not space, the issue is food/pod production.
     
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