Two Male Mandarins -What to do?

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SeahawkMom

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I ordered a Male/Female pair of Biota Mandarin's from Algae Barn, and Biota sent me two fish, a male 1/2" baby marked as male. I expected a small fish, so this was good. The other Mandarin marked as female they sent was 1.5" long. Ugh, first of all why not send me similar sized fishes if I wanted them to bond/pair? Not happy with the size difference, but oh well. . . so I acclimated the baby first and put him in my tank, then acclimated the large female. When I put the female in the tank - she promptly swam down to the sand and opened up her fins, and surprise she is a MALE! Crap! Has a gorgeous, beautiful tall spike on her dorsal fin. I've opened a ticket to Algae Barn with photos, and am waiting for a response next week. I'm so bummed, that they sent me this big butt Male fish. I wanted a cute little male/female pair - now it's all screwed up. They seem to have established their areas on opposite sides of the tank, although I did notice the little mandarin's tail is pretty much gone. He doesn't seem affected by it, and hoping it grows back ok.

What should I do now? Ask Algae barn to send me a female and have all 3, and let nature take it's course (one male will be victorious), or should I ask for a refund for the 2nd male, and hope the two males can get along and not add a female until one of the males disappears? Catching and removing is not going to happen, as I have a lot of live rock, and the last time I tore apart my tank to catch my tang, I lost my first baby mandarin, as it hid in one of the rocks I pulled out, and I don't know where it went and never saw it again. Really disappointed in this order. I just assumed when I ordered a male/female, they would know to send similar sized fish, and of course not screw up the female. I'd understand a male missing the high-fin to be mistaken for a female, but not the other way around.
 
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xxkenny90xx

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That's too bad. I think the little guy will be a goner if left alone. I would definitely want a refund or replacement. Fwiw mandarins are pretty easy to catch.
 
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SeahawkMom

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Hmmm. . . Today they were both hanging out together searching for cocopods on the sand. No fighting. Tonight both of them are swimming out and about separately eating in different areas of the tank. Seems peaceful. I'll keep a close watch. They're getting comfortable in the tank and have learned the feeding routine. (Flow goes off, then start looking for food). If I'm able to catch and rehome the bigger male, then I'll get a female for the little one. The bigger male is more cautious though, and not as bold as the little one. If I start seeing aggression, I'll catch whichever one I can first to separate them.
 

Tamberav

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They will probably fight once more mature if they are not now. Mandarins are absoltuly brutal fighters once breeding ideas set in, even with no female present.

In fact if a female rejects a male or vise versa they will also fight.

You generally want a male much larger then a female for a pair so probably good they sent you a big male. Too bad the little one wasn't female.

Here they are in the wild:

 
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SeahawkMom

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You could always wait and see, I just wouldnt want to have to ship it back because of the stress on the fish. Rather an LFS take it while Biota gives you a credit or sends a new one.
So far it seems peaceful in the tank so I’m going to wait and see. I don’t think they’d expect me to ship back the wrong fish, as they wouldn’t want to introduce an external fish into their breeding tanks. I’m expecting either a credit or a female shipped out. I think adding a female now will cause more chance for aggression between the males. So best to leave it as is. Perhaps with the two males being so different in size they co-exist peacefully? If not, oh well, circle of life I suppose. :(
 
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SeahawkMom

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They will probably fight once more mature if they are not now. Mandarins are absoltuly brutal fighters once breeding ideas set in, even with no female present.

In fact if a female rejects a male or vise versa they will also fight.

You generally want a male much larger then a female for a pair so probably good they sent you a big male. Too bad the little one wasn't female.

Here they are in the wild:

Cool video! Thanks for sharing. I could add a female and watch this all happen in my own tank. Wow!
 
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SeahawkMom

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Any update on your two mandarins??
I still have the two males in my tank they’re fat and healthy, but the larger one is starting to chase the smaller one around the tank. I place food in differrent spots in tank at feeding time so they eat separately. It’s not constant, but the big one will occasionally chase the small one. They also graze for pods and will leave each other alone for the most part. I’ve been trying to catch either one with a net to rehome but so far no luck. I almost caught the smaller one today. I did get a credit for the mistake so I’m saving it to get a female eventually, but gotta rehome one of the males first. If I can’t catch one, I’m hoping I don’t end up with my own “wild kingdom” show in my tank.
 
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