Questions Regarding Ruby Red Dragonets

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Zach72202

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I am extremely enamored by dragonets in general. I love ruby red's and mandarin's, but I understand they are hard to keep due to their need for 'copepod grazing'. Based upon my understanding of the reading I have done, it really isn't so much that you need a 75g or a 300g to keep one, but rather a seasoned tank- meaning good buildup of micro fauna. Is this true?

In addition to this, I was told that the Ruby Red is easier to get to accept frozen foods compared to the mandarin, and they also stay smaller. I have seen in several guides that Ruby Red's can be kept in 'nano' systems, even as small as 10g tanks, which I have read that they stay 2-3" full grown, seems fitting, but I realize that 'will fit' and 'will be manageable' are two totally different things. I'd rather not have a fish I have to feed 4 times a day to simply keep it alive. What are the general thoughts on this? I have read max size 3", but don't have the experience to trust this.

My reason for asking is that I would like to keep a pair of ruby red dragonets.

Currently I have a Fluval Flex Marine 32.5. I have begun setting it up as a reef tank, although very new, it has an established rock in it and it does have a group of 12 hermit crabs and 5 astria snails. The tank was used, so it is covered in algae. The previous owner took it down the day I got it, leaving me all of the sand and a bigger piece of rock. It will be a reef tank as well.

My planned stock is: (Will probably change)
My Mated Pair of Ocellaris Clowns
1 Orchid dottyback (will attempt to pair with another in time)
4 Bengai Cardinals
10~ Hermit Crabs
5~ Astria Snails
1 Blood red shrimp
The pair of Ruby Red Dragonets

I will be running an in tank skimmer, I know it is a TUNZE Comline- it came with the tank, not sure which one exactly.

As for feeding, I am quite the heavy feeder. Its really just a habit because in my freshwater tanks my main focus is breeding, so I feed a lot of food.


As for the questions:
Is it possible to keep a pair of ruby reds happily in a setup as such?
What obstacles may I run into if I choose to get them?
Will they work with the chosen fish well?
Given steady food supply and introduction of several types of copepods, how long could I potentially have to wait?
Are there any specific things I could do to increase chances of success with these fish?

As a note, I do have many tanks, so I will have a backup tank if there is aggression.

Also worth noting that I am a feed once per day person. I keep an arsenal of frozen and prepared foods at all times. Also have baby brine shrimp eggs and a hatchery on standby.

Thank you for reading! Feedback is always appreciated!
 

NexisG

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If I could I would like to suggest getting just one Bangii cardinal instead of 4 and maybe picking out one other fish you like to go in the tank. I like the royal gramma colors but any smaller fish is fine. Personally, any time I’ve tried to keep more then one Bangii cardinal, it doest end well. Also having 9 fish in a 30ish gallon tank is to much. I personally have 6 fish in a 40 gallon and I have some territorial disputes. As for the dragonets you would need a very good microfauna population and with 2 of them in that size tank they will probably need quite a few feedings. I’m sure you could keep 1 but 2 might be pushing it.
 

Paul B

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I normally have a pair of those as well as mandarins and they require the same care, which is no care if you have an older tank. If your tank is newer or you have to feed them every day. Don't get them until your tank has some age on it and some growth.



You could build one of my feeders, but then you need to hatch brine shrimp every day which would work, but they will still need to graze constantly.
In an older tank they are very easy and spawn frequently

 

JayStro81

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I have a mandarin in my 40g and a Ruby red in my 20g. It is definitely achievable in smaller tanks but certain factors do apply. You definitely need an established tank with a good population already established. You also need a safe haven for breeding as tanks this small dont have enough surface area to sustain a population large enough for the dragonets diet. Both of my tanks are AIO's and I take advantage of the rear chambers with bags of rubble and algae scrubbers where the pods can reproduce. I also breed copepods (which is incredibly easy) in a small betta fish cube so I can add additional pods to the tank every couple of weeks or so. Dosing phyto is important as well. I've achieved good results as both of my dragonets have been healthy and eating for almost a year in smaller tanks. Both tanks have wrasses in them as well, so there is competition for the food. If you're willing to do the work, I say go for it. They are beautiful fish. I'd start with one tho, 2 might be pushing it.
 
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Zach72202

Zach72202

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If I could I would like to suggest getting just one Bangii cardinal instead of 4 and maybe picking out one other fish you like to go in the tank. I like the royal gramma colors but any smaller fish is fine. Personally, any time I’ve tried to keep more then one Bangii cardinal, it doest end well. Also having 9 fish in a 30ish gallon tank is to much. I personally have 6 fish in a 40 gallon and I have some territorial disputes. As for the dragonets you would need a very good microfauna population and with 2 of them in that size tank they will probably need quite a few feedings. I’m sure you could keep 1 but 2 might be pushing it.

True, 9 fish in a tank like that. I suppose I didn't add that up in my head. I probably should have elaborated upon what my plans were. I would like to use it as a glorified breeding tank. I want to keep at least 1 pair of cardinals, and when I see them holding eggs I would harvest them to raise the fry in another tank. Bringing it down to 2 would be very easy, but I would like to start with 4 to ensure a M/F pair, then the remaining 2 I could rehome or move to another tank. As for dottbacks, I would like to throw in a larger breeder type box up top on one side and have another orchid dotty live there and one in the tank. If it proves successful I would relocate them into another tank as a breeding pair. A lot of 'if's' here lol. Sorry I left out quite a few details here, but I was trying to multitask doing calculus :( . Very good food for thought though.

I normally have a pair of those as well as mandarins and they require the same care, which is no care if you have an older tank. If your tank is newer or you have to feed them every day. Don't get them until your tank has some age on it and some growth.

You could build one of my feeders, but then you need to hatch brine shrimp every day which would work, but they will still need to graze constantly.
In an older tank they are very easy and spawn frequently


I am thinking a few months to a year to put them in, and I would definitly wait for signs of a lot of life in the tank prior to addition. I really don't mind hatching brine as supplement too, I have tons of other fish that would benefit from it as well.
 
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Zach72202

Zach72202

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I have a mandarin in my 40g and a Ruby red in my 20g. It is definitely achievable in smaller tanks but certain factors do apply. You definitely need an established tank with a good population already established. You also need a safe haven for breeding as tanks this small dont have enough surface area to sustain a population large enough for the dragonets diet. Both of my tanks are AIO's and I take advantage of the rear chambers with bags of rubble and algae scrubbers where the pods can reproduce. I also breed copepods (which is incredibly easy) in a small betta fish cube so I can add additional pods to the tank every couple of weeks or so. Dosing phyto is important as well. I've achieved good results as both of my dragonets have been healthy and eating for almost a year in smaller tanks. Both tanks have wrasses in them as well, so there is competition for the food. If you're willing to do the work, I say go for it. They are beautiful fish. I'd start with one tho, 2 might be pushing it.
This tank is also an all in one, but it does have two chambers for media in the back. I could remove one and fill it with coarse media for copepod breeding. I have access to matala mat for dirt cheap at my work, and I could just cut that to fit into there like a coarse media. I'll do some more research on phytoplankton as well. This is definitely a long term goal here. I don't plan on having a wrasse in there yet, but if I do it will be a pygmy wrasse.
 

Dash

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I have a pair of mandarins in my main tank, and a ruby red in a 25 gal (haven’t found a male for her yet). I feed a home-made seafood mix that includes fish roe, and was surprised to see the ruby red get extremely excited by the roe. She tries to catch it in the water column but it’s hard for her as they are weaker swimmers than mandarins (they kinda hop or scoot). Sometimes she even hops up onto a higher rock to try catching it. Anyway, it might just be a coincidence but at least she does eat frozen whereas my mandarins eat only pods
 

Scott Ulrich

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If I could I would like to suggest getting just one Bangii cardinal instead of 4 and maybe picking out one other fish you like to go in the tank. I like the royal gramma colors but any smaller fish is fine. Personally, any time I’ve tried to keep more then one Bangii cardinal, it doest end well. Also having 9 fish in a 30ish gallon tank is to much. I personally have 6 fish in a 40 gallon and I have some territorial disputes. As for the dragonets you would need a very good microfauna population and with 2 of them in that size tank they will probably need quite a few feedings. I’m sure you could keep 1 but 2 might be pushing it.

This is good advice. I have had 2 banggai cardinals for over a year now and they swim together - I've always heard they are best in pairs.

I had an orchid dottyback in a 40 gallon and while beautiful, he would always fly out spike my hermits when they walked by his den. The clowns and cards should be okay with him, but I would be concerned for the rubys as they are on substrate, they are likely to get killed by the dottyback. So I'd pick one or the other. And I'd probably lean toward the dottyback as they are more hardy. My ruby red was very skiittish and not a great eater - impulse buy mistake imo.

2 x clowns
2 x banggai cards
1 x dottyback

I think that would be a good stocking level imo for your tank size. Lots of color and beautiful fish. Add the dottyback last.
 

GSnake

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I have one now doing well. Noticable growth and always grazing. I do however have a sump refugium with chaeto which I've seeded with various types of pods.. tigger..apex .. tisbe... I removed the filter foam between the refugium and my pump back up to the main display so the pods can freely roam between the two.

I would highly recommend using a chaeto refugium, even a hang on back diy one as I've had before will do the trick.. having no safe place for the pods risks depletion. And buying bottles every month is not in my budget. I am not sure of the breeding side to ruby dragonets, but I do have an orchid dotty back that minds his own business. They really are the most peaceful dottybacks
 

Scott Ulrich

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And buying bottles every month is not in my budget.

I bought a few bottles and always dumped then in, straight from refrigerated to the 78 degrees water... not very smart, should probably drip acclimate then to your water like any fish.

, but I do have an orchid dotty back that minds his own business. They really are the most peaceful dottybacks
Mine was a little ******* but he was so pretty. It's what made me want to get a saltwater tank.
 
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Zach72202

Zach72202

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Wow thanks for the replies everybody! I think I will get a dottyback for now while the tank is maturing try to pair it with another. I think it will go well with my clowns and when I get cardinals.

If I can get a successful pair, then I will move the pair of dottys to another tank dedicated solely to them as a breeding setup.

If this plans out as I hope, I will then proceed with one dragonet and see how it goes. I can probably turn one chamber into a refugium for macroalgae growth, use the other chamber as bio/mechanical media, and the center I can throw some matala in for copepod breeding. Talk about hot-rodn' a flex. I plan on adding a skimmer to it as well. With this too I will be dosing phytoplankton.

If all goes south, I have a 40B saltwater tank I could relocate to (referring to dottyback). There is a green spotted puffer in there, but he is so neurotic he sees his own shadow he's running, so I am not worried about tankmates.
 

Paul B

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I just came home with another pair of them an hour ago. Pretty little fish. :cool:
 
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Zach72202

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I just came home with another pair of them an hour ago. Pretty little fish. :cool:
Just curious, what size tank are they going in? I am thinking that down the line I want to move up to a 75g reef tank when I am able to upgrade some of the fish I have currently.
 

Paul B

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The "pair" I got is 2 females. The tank glass in the store I got them at was so dirty I couldn't tell males from females and I picked wrong. But two females get along just fine so I will go back next week and get a male. If I can't find a male, I may get a couple more females just because I love these fish and they look like jewels. Unlike most mandarins, they stay in the front and hunt all day.
I normally just have one pair of them, but my last pair jumped out about a week apart. Unfortunately spawning fish are in great condition and so happy, they think they can fly. And they can. But not very far. :(

Ruby Red.jpeg
 
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