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I've always ordered them from LiveAquaria. You'll want to get sterile cultures of tisbe pods, which no one local sells (that I know of). Mandarins will sometimes eat other pods, but the tisbe is their natural diet and what will sustain them long term.

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1 hour ago, Flashy Fins said:

I'm assuming you are setting up dedicated cultures outside your tank?

I read up on that but don't want to deal with tank.  How big do you think one would need to be? Then you have to have phytoplankton to feed them.  Don't know if I want to go thru all the trouble.

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3 minutes ago, lewisriverfisherman said:

I read up on that but don't want to deal with tank.  How big do you think one would need to be? Then you have to have phytoplankton to feed them.  Don't know if I want to go thru all the trouble.

I’ve always done it using gallon jugs, a few of them going at a time. Just slide an airline down the handle for aeration, feed phyto and crushed fish flakes, and harvest them on a rotating basis. Let me dig up a picture of an old setup...

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Super high-tech setup of tisbe pod cultures! The color of the water should be a little darker once the cultures are going, so this was probably taken as I was setting up. I used individual air pumps designed for fish bowls, because I already had them, but a single 10-gal air pump with a gang valve would work well. No need for airstones.

 

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9 minutes ago, lewisriverfisherman said:

I read up on that but don't want to deal with tank.  How big do you think one would need to be? Then you have to have phytoplankton to feed them.  Don't know if I want to go thru all the trouble.

If your not wanting to go through all that trouble, then you probably shouldn't waste your time and money on a mandarin. If you don't plan on putting the initiative to meet the species feeding demand, you will inevitably end up like all the others starving another fish to death. The Mandarin eats almost no stop throughout the day, unless you plan on buying a bottle of pods every other day, cultivating your own cultures is the only other way to provide a sufficient amount.

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Btw, I didn't culture my own phyto. Even though it's relatively easy, I didn't want to deal with it when I could buy the dead stuff in a bottle cheap enough. Tisbe pods feed on detritus in nature and can be fed many things, including crushed fish food. I fed a mix of that and phyto (sometimes live, sometimes dead; whatever I found for a good price that month).

If pods were cheap enough, I would've bought them instead of culturing, but a mandarin can take out a $20 bottle in 2 days, so nope on that!

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38 minutes ago, danlu_gt said:

I wonder if you can feed tisbe pods spirulina powder algae as phyto?  Spirulina powder is easy to come by. 

I'm sure it would be fine. I've heard of some people feeding yeast; the trick with any food is just figuring out the right amount to keep the culture growing without crashing it.

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Well I guess I have some pondering to do.  Maybe a Mandarin is not such a good choice for me.   I actually  was hoping for a tank raised one that might eat mysis? 

 

Thanks for the input peeps!!

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50 minutes ago, danlu_gt said:

I wonder if you can feed tisbe pods spirulina powder algae as phyto?  Spirulina powder is easy to come by. 

I have pod culture jug and primarily feed them spirulina works well, it's fairly messy and easy to overfeed. I've tried culturing phyto but also seem to forget about them and crash the culture. Spirulina is easier then phyto. 

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Just now, lewisriverfisherman said:

Well I guess I have some pondering to do.  Maybe a Mandarin is not such a good choice for me.   I actually  was hoping for a tank raised one that might eat mysis? 

 

Thanks for the input peeps!!

I have a blue mandarin and a target mandarin in a seahorse tank. Needless to say, the pod population isn't huge but stays at a decent level because of the little refugium. Both mandarins began eating Mysis shrimp within a maybe a week. The target mandarin was given to me by a friend, the fish was tiny and very unfed so I decided to give him a shot in my tank. 6 Months later he's about 3x the size, thanks to that mysis diet. The blue mandarin I bought from Woodys Seahorses and he was visually eating mysis in the store. 

Not sure if there's a trick to get them to eat mysis but if you can find one in the store already eating mysis there would be nothing you need to worry about. 

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1 minute ago, lewisriverfisherman said:

Well I guess I have some pondering to do.  Maybe a Mandarin is not such a good choice for me.   I actually  was hoping for a tank raised one that might eat mysis? 

Thanks for the input peeps!!

You can train nearly any mandarin to eat frozen or buy one already trained. The problem is the feeding frequency and making sure they are truly getting enough to eat when you're not standing there feeding. There are DIY feeders you can make to allow baby brine into the tank throughout the day, which is very nutritious, but it's not any less work than culturing pods. None of the possibilities are hard work, but they are added tasks that, understandably, not everyone wants to bother with.

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@Brian Tesch that's impressive!  Nice job. How big is the tank, and how often do you feed the seahorses?  I would imagine the pod population would be pretty good in a seahorse tank, considering the (presumed) frequent feedings. Maybe it doesn't appear to be flooded with them because that little fatty is eating them all up! :popcorn:

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[mention=16192]Brian Tesch[/mention] that's impressive!  Nice job. How big is the tank, and how often do you feed the seahorses?  I would imagine the pod population would be pretty good in a seahorse tank, considering the (presumed) frequent feedings. Maybe it doesn't appear to be flooded with them because that little fatty is eating them all up! :popcorn:
The tank is 60 gallons odd ball really tall. The pod population stays fairly cut back with 2 mandarins, 5 seahoreses and shrimp eating as many pods as possible. The tank gets fed mysis twice daily.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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Another option that worked well for me in the past was going down to a fish store and asking for some of their dirty filter socks. Flip them inside and put em in your tank. Just make sure you're checking the sock for unwanted hitch-hikers. Mandarins aren't really that difficult to care for since your copepod population will grow quickly if you seed it well. I really just love those little guys, so I'm an avid pusher of mandarins.

 

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Well I am atleast optimistic  about getting a Mandarin.  This was my game plan .....  I have a nuvo 20 so I was going to make a tiny refuge out of 1 of the chamber put cheato and pods in it,  as well as seeding pods in the main tank.  Let these populate and get establish  for a couple of months before I introduce a Mandarin to my tank.  Hopefully  this will give me time to train one to eat my sis.

Thank you all so much for your input and experiences !!:highfive:

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