I'm with you Zoid. I want mandarins. They have been successfully raised so I wouldn't be the first. I know it will be difficult but I am over my first hurdle. I have a cycled tank with copepods on the glass, on the rocks and I have a refugium for breeding more copepods/ amphipods and rotifers. I have 3 kinds of algae cultures for growing nutritious copepods, rotifers, amphipods and BBS. I also have BBS (and eggs for more). I also located a female. They can take a while to find. She is currently in quarantine (kind of) and she is eating (yeah) though she currently is still on live foods like brine shrimp and amphipods working toward frozen food. Have a male too but they are easy to find. My how to breed fish should be sitting at my house when I get home.
Now all I need is for them to finish quarantine, not get killed by something unforseen on my live rocks, not fight with each other or their tank mates (yeah I know most people set up breeder tanks but they get a 125 gal with a 45 gal refuge (which will have regular additions from my cultures). Then after they find each other and spawn that starts the whole keeping the babies alive thing......
There isn't much out there about mandarins and their breeding. Hopefully there is more info in the book. If they get cozy I will need to order some tisbe pods as the ones I have I think are larger than the newly hatched larva will be able to handle. If I get that far, I may just order some copepod napuli. You can get alot for $20 plus shipping. To get to bbs I think it would be worth it.
Food is only one piece of the puzzle. There have been a few people put the last piece into place, unfortunately I'm not one of them. In my experience they require a variety of healthy food. ORA seems to do it best.
From what I have seen they need 18"-24" to do their spawning run. My did the spawning run almost every day but only actually spawned every 3 - 4 weeks. The eggs float for about one minutes and can be gathered at that time. After that they will stick to the next object they touch. If you can gather the eggs and get them to a hatch out container within that 60 seconds you're golden. They don't seem to difficult to hatch. The point I could never get past was 5 - 7 days after hatching.
yes I tried to buy ORA mandarins. Right now they seem to only be culturing the spotted. While I like the spotted (and had one in the past) I really like the ruby red dragonets and the blue mandarins. So I decided that if I was going to all in it would be for the ones I like the most. My tank is about 20" deep and I've saved space in the corners and the front wall to have room for their dance and rise. I'll be excited if they just spawn (and you can bet I'll be there ready to transfer. If they start spawning then it is only a matter of time to making improvements on the process. What did you try feeding. I thought 4-5 days was the starvation point. So yours may not have been feeding. Did you do a necropsy?