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View Full Version : starting a nano and need guidance


rawest
11-22-2010, 04:06 AM
hello i've always had fresh water tanks and now im thinking of taking the jump into salt water with building a nano tank. the idea is to house a green mandarin. upon reasearch i found out that they relish on pods eating every few minutes and require a large system unless culturing pods. it'd be nice to accomplish this but the fear is losing the system. or making costly amiture mistakes. if someone well experianced or educated in the matter i would greatly appericate advice. some questions and concerns i have is what other live stock would be ok to keep with the mandarin and not be compiton for food. crabs, stars, etc.. my plan is to either do 10 gal nano but if i have to im perpared to do 20 long with a ten gal fuge as well as cuturig pods in jars.

as i said i dont want to run into foolish problems losing fish and my system. i have the glass but desifering the mass disorganization of information about this topic to plan the next steps. do i go ten gal with store bought overflow filer unit. the subcurrent surface skimming aquarium filter recomended from my local pet store. for a fish live rock set up. i figure it'd be fine for a damsel, blenny and some crab. but how good is it to run a set up like that without a protien skimmer. the filter in which recomended is three stages fiber prefilter, activated carbon and bio balls with duals hoses that can be moved and directed as disired.

dsaundry
11-22-2010, 05:03 PM
Manderin{Dragonettes} need bigger tanks..small tanks are death sentences imo. Stick to a nice pair of clowns and a nem.

beefORchicken
11-22-2010, 07:48 PM
i have a 25g tank and a green mandarin. he's done really well but i have around 40lbs of lr plus an ac50 and ac70 fuge. i don't think one could survive in a 10g maybe a 20g. culturing pods could work but that's a lot of effort for a green mandarin. your call, make sure if you do get a mandarin that you have plenty of pods ready...before i got mine i had tons - at night they covered my sand bed. good luck with whatever you do do !

rawest
11-23-2010, 03:05 AM
yea its been done long as there is enough food to eat. theres an article i found where buddy had one sucessfully for a few years before he got asked to wirte an artical for a reef mag. my concern is with keeping other fish and crab that eat pods too. there will be compition and my pods will be demolished. there are fish that'll eat pellet flake and blood worms. but going over page after page of different care sheets and compairing each is starting to get a little rough on the eyes. it'd be great if an individual would give me directiong on tank mates.
in the artical there were referense on other articles with links on being able to wein the dragonettes onto blood worms as a supplement. and the dragonette taking on tendancies of its tank mates. plus it gave other tips like picking lr that is porus with lots of surface area and arranging a spot where pods can live and breed without fish having access to this area. buried in the back. and he was injecting pods into a ten gal every couple of days. towards the end of the article the mandarin was eating frozeen mysis as well. there will have to be a lot of thought and research and its deffinatly not happening tomorrow so i have time to gather materials to culture pods to get that started when the live sand and rock are added right now its just tanks on my floor and an idea. but i knew i was going to get people saying not to do it. maybe culturing pods on such a scale to house a mandarin could be a lot of work if its just one nano. these are things i dont really know about i have an idea but in reality its easier said then done. and it always looks better on paper and in theory.

intarsiabox
11-23-2010, 03:19 AM
Frozen eating mandarins come up for sale in stores very now and then and if you're lucky it may survive in a nano tank. Being as this is your first tank why don't you want to start off with more simple/hardier live stock to keep. A pair of clown fish, small flasher or fairy wrasse, small gobies, royal gramma, etc. All of these fish can have spectacular coloring and are entertaining to watch without any specialized care. Gobies and scooter blennies will bounce around the rocks just as mandarins do. Through some easy to keep soft corals in there, a couple of shrimp and snails and you will have an active, vibrant and easy to keep nano reef. If this turns into a hobby you really enjoy start a larger tank and get a mandarin when you feel you have the skill to keep one alive. Good Luck!

rawest
11-23-2010, 01:52 PM
well as i said this isn't happening over night and the mandarin is not going to be my frist fish in the tank. this will happen in a couple years time. i plan on runing live rock and sand for a good six months to establish the system then add animals as need. algee crabs or something. just taking my time with it. i wanted a mandarin for a long long time. i love its colours patterns. my goal is to keep it happy. right now i need help with getting the set up started whats the best way to keep water clean and healthly. should i run a skimmer or will a fliter and water changes do. with macro in the tank. thoughts?

gobytron
11-23-2010, 04:05 PM
I kept my pair of Mandys in a 12 gallon aquapod for over a year, never fed this tank even once.

The key?

the tank was already established for 2 year and the left most rear chamber was jam packed with LR rubble in the bottom 2/3 and chaeto in the top 1/3.
This chamber creates a microfauna paradise that the predatory fish cannot access and deplete the reproductive potential.

At lights on, the sand literally looke alive due to all the micro fauna this system produced.

If you're serious about doing a mandarin in a nano, the aquapod or biocube is a fantastic way to go.

you will not be adding any fish to it for at least 6 months though.

toytech
11-23-2010, 06:03 PM
intarsia a scooter blenny is a scooter dragonet , same as a mandarin . There easyer to train to eat frozen or flake thats all ,there are lots of people training mandarins to eat frozen food , just do some reaserch and you will see its posible . Im going to do the same thing with a 15 gal long and my lfs has 5 madarins that all eat only frozen for sale when my setup is ready for them .

ScubaSteve
11-23-2010, 09:04 PM
I think everyone has covered it here but it's doable to do what you are aiming for.

For keeping the mandarin:
-Live rock rubble pile that you feed everyday
-Use old rock from an existing system. Helps seed the tank with pods faster.
-Let the tank mature (I was able to get a mandarin after 7 months)
-Feed rotifers, nannochloropsis, coral freny, etc to help keep the pod population up
-You can probably ween the mandarin onto frozen in time. I've never had to do this. The mandarin is nice and fat and I've never seen him do anything other than pick at the rocks
-You can use a pod production system like they do in non-photosynthetic tanks but that's probably a little extreme for just a mandarin. You could to a miniature half-assed version though.
-You can keep almost anything with a mandarin as everything else just seems to ignore them. Watch out for crabs, lobsters, etc that will go for slow moving fish though. Hermits and shrimp are fine with mandarins

As for a set-up:
-Go for a 20g. Trust me. You will want to upgrade within 3 months if you have a 10g.
-Plan on some corals. It will happen.
-Use a sump if you can. IMO they're cheaper and more effective than the hobby filters with more flexibility in what you can do with them. You can make it into a sump/refugium and crank out pods from there as well.
-On a tank this size you can get away without a skimmer if you are good about your water changes. I ran a very packed 20g with just water changes (10 to 25%) and a aquaclear HOB filter for a good 8 months very successfully before upgrading to a very packed 40g with a skimmer.
-Don't get a maroon goldstrip clownfish. They're a$$holes.

Over all, it is possible to keep a mandarin in a smaller tank; you just need to go about it smartly and be prepared that you might have some "hiccups" along the way. When looking for information on how to do things in reef aquariums you will find that you can ask two different reefers on how to do something and you'll get three different opinions. Do your homework, make your own informed decisions and come up with a plan to achieve what you want. I do (or have done) a lot of things that people say don't work or I can't do but I have done them with success.

rawest
11-23-2010, 11:27 PM
I think everyone has covered it here but it's doable to do what you are aiming for.

For keeping the mandarin:
-Live rock rubble pile that you feed everyday
-Use old rock from an existing system. Helps seed the tank with pods faster.
-Let the tank mature (I was able to get a mandarin after 7 months)
-Feed rotifers, nannochloropsis, coral freny, etc to help keep the pod population up
-You can probably ween the mandarin onto frozen in time. I've never had to do this. The mandarin is nice and fat and I've never seen him do anything other than pick at the rocks
-You can use a pod production system like they do in non-photosynthetic tanks but that's probably a little extreme for just a mandarin. You could to a miniature half-assed version though.
-You can keep almost anything with a mandarin as everything else just seems to ignore them. Watch out for crabs, lobsters, etc that will go for slow moving fish though. Hermits and shrimp are fine with mandarins

As for a set-up:
-Go for a 20g. Trust me. You will want to upgrade within 3 months if you have a 10g.
-Plan on some corals. It will happen.
-Use a sump if you can. IMO they're cheaper and more effective than the hobby filters with more flexibility in what you can do with them. You can make it into a sump/refugium and crank out pods from there as well.
-On a tank this size you can get away without a skimmer if you are good about your water changes. I ran a very packed 20g with just water changes (10 to 25%) and a aquaclear HOB filter for a good 8 months very successfully before upgrading to a very packed 40g with a skimmer.
-Don't get a maroon goldstrip clownfish. They're a$$holes.

Over all, it is possible to keep a mandarin in a smaller tank; you just need to go about it smartly and be prepared that you might have some "hiccups" along the way. When looking for information on how to do things in reef aquariums you will find that you can ask two different reefers on how to do something and you'll get three different opinions. Do your homework, make your own informed decisions and come up with a plan to achieve what you want. I do (or have done) a lot of things that people say don't work or I can't do but I have done them with success.


yea everything is a possibility ive been thinking about using the 10 gal as a sump refuge i just think its small for both. if im going to have a fuge id like it to be display as well. maybe a hemit or two somthing like that. if ou could any other tips on eliminating some of these hiccupps.

Rbacchiega
11-24-2010, 12:35 AM
there are some fantastic HOB fuges that would easily double as a second display...just hang them on the side of the tank if you can rather than the back....just an idea.

rawest
11-24-2010, 02:31 AM
yea i think i'll turn my ten into a sump/refuge. i took out the tape measure and i think i can lose 6" three on either side for filter and return. i'll run the filter and bubble traps down the 3 x 9.5. leaving 14 x 9.5 inches for a fuge. from there i'll have a 20 or 23 long main tank. if i have to i can throw on a over hang aqua clear as a second refuge for pod prduction fill it full of sand and crumbles of live rock if needed. i just need to figure out the piping. i know a few ball valves will be a must but pipe size and return pump power. do they make return pumps with adjustable flow? or do i just wire one in on the circuit.

Rbacchiega
11-24-2010, 03:33 AM
just put a ball valve on the output of the return pump and dial it back that way...actually a bit of backpressure on a pump sometimes helps it be more quiet

intarsiabox
11-24-2010, 04:37 AM
intarsia a scooter blenny is a scooter dragonet , same as a mandarin . There easyer to train to eat frozen or flake thats all ,there are lots of people training mandarins to eat frozen food , just do some reaserch and you will see its posible . Im going to do the same thing with a 15 gal long and my lfs has 5 madarins that all eat only frozen for sale when my setup is ready for them .

Never said it wasn't a dragonet but in my experience the common scooter blennys I have had have eaten what ever I put in the tank right away, are cheap, easy to get and may be a good candidate to try out in the dragonet family. I found them really easy to keep but maybe I have just been lucky? The red scooter blenny may be a different story but I'm not sure. Actually the fish that is giving me trouble right now is my watchman goby, he has been residing in my overflow chamber for 3 months now and I just can't get him out and actually he seems quite content to stay where he is.

intarsiabox
11-24-2010, 04:41 AM
just put a ball valve on the output of the return pump and dial it back that way...actually a bit of backpressure on a pump sometimes helps it be more quiet

+1 There are variable speed pumps available but are very expensive and not needed. As suggested, a ball valve on the discharge side of the return pump is the best way to go. Just don't restrict the intake side of the pump.