An Introduction to the Mandarin Garden

Now that my Website has been refurbished and is up and running again, it is high time to start introducing the many aquarium setups I maintain. So what better to start with than my Mandarin Dragonet’s home.

Tank Details:
– 43 Liter standard glass aquarium.
– 50w AquaEl glass heater
– Hydor Koralia Nano 900 stream pump
– Tunze Comline DOC 9004 Protein Skimmer
– Hagen-Glo 2x39w T5HO fixture shared with a neighboring 10 gallon tank.
– Sylvania Aquastar 10000k
– Hagen Marine-Glo Actinic

– Green Mandarin Dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus)
– Unidentified elusive green hitchhiker pistol shrimp.
– Hermit crab
– Asterina Starfish
– Star Polyps
– Yellow Montipora Digita frag
– Pink Mushroom Corals

This is a 10 gallon tank that has been up and running since December 2011. Originally it was home to my mantis shrimp that sadly passed away in the spring of 2013 from a failed molt. It is a very high nutrient tank with a few hardy corals and is dominated by algae, both desirable ones such as small Udotea, some Halimeda and fairly recently introduced Caulerpa Prolifera, as well as ones commonly considered pests such as two species of bubble algae and red and green turf algae. As such it boasts a very strong amphipod and copepod population (hereafter referred to collectively as “pods”) that is surprisingly able to keep up with the demands of a little female dragonet. It is also a very suitable habitat to a small species of turbosnail I maintain and breed and am now on the fourth or fifth generation.

My Mandarin was a scrawny thing when I got her, she was the very last one in the shop. For about a year I had been doing a lot of research on Mandarin Dragonets and was was ready to take the proverbial plunge, terribly undernourished she certainly was not the ideal candidate I was looking for, but seeing her and knowing what becomes of many Mandarins I just could not abandon her to her fate, so I bought her. In the beginning she rejected my efforts to train her to accept prepared foods, but despite that she actually started to gain a modest amount of weight, and without wiping out the pod population in the tank. And more than half a year later they are still going strong.

Things really changed for her when I introduced her to frozen prawn/lobster eggs. They were an Instant success which she quickly gulped down with very little hesitation, and now I supplement her natural diet of infauna with one feeding every other day of frozen lobster eggs, and she now has the appearance of a well nourished and healthy animal.

I hope this brief introduction has piqued your interest, and that you will check back often to see whats new and happening in “The Mandarin Garden”. 🙂

If you have any questions about the system and its inhabitants, feel free to post them in the comments below.