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The Care Of The Mandarin Marine Fish In The Home Aquarium

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By: Craig Robinson

Everyone loves mandarins and scooter blennies but there natural diet can be hard to replicate in small aquariums.

Mandarins and other dragonets eat copepods and other small prey from the live rock.
If kept in a small fish tank there may not be enough live food to support the fish and it is common for them to get slimmer and slimmer before dying.

One option is to buy live rotifers and copepods to keep the pod population healthy.

A better option is to get the mandarin eating frozen food.

The technique I use works pretty much every time.

First select a fat healthy specimen.

Instead of adding the fish to the main tank I add the fish to a small breeding net. The type that hang or stick to the inside of the tank used for breeding freshwater livebearers.

First day feed live brineshrimp into the net. The mandarin should eat live brineshrimp but it is not very nutritional.

On the second day add live brine shrimp along with some defrosted frozen brine shrimp.
Continue this for a few days until the fish eats both the frozen artemia as well as the live stuff.
The net helps in this respect as the dead shrimp waft about on the net with the live stuff and the mandarin will soon see them both as food.

Once the fish is eating dead brine you can then phase in defrosted mysis shrimp with the brine shrimp.
Mysis is a much more nutritional food and can sustain mandarins long term.

Release the fish from the trap when it is eating dead mysis without any other food being added.

That's it. It should take 3 or 4 days but well worth it in the long run.

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