Paul B’s Unique Perspective on Keeping Mandarins

by | Feb 4, 2017 | Feeding, Fish, Opinion, Reef | 0 comments

pregnant Mandarin dragonet

pregnant Mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus)

Hobby pioneer Paul “Paul B” Baldassano is not your grandfather’s reefkeeper (though he is old enough to be your grandfather!). Nor is his book, The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping, anything like your grandfather’s hobby literature. In fact, Paul B’s perspective on just about any aspect of the marine aquarium hobby is quite distinct from anyone else’s.

For proof that Paul has a decidedly different thought process, look no further than the following passage about mandarins and other dragonets from Chapter 7 of his book (which, by the way, would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for that slightly off-kilter hobbyist in your life):

Mandarins and Other Dragonets

Mandarinfish and all the other dragonets have the same problem—a tiny mouth and almost no stomach. Mandarins were designed to eat amphipods and copepods, or “pods” as we call them, but a mandarin will eat anything small that moves. I know many people try to “train” such a fish to eat pellets, potato chips, or frozen food, but dragonets hate you when you do that because all you are doing is slowly killing them. Because of their weird digestive tract, which is something like that of a seahorse, they don’t have the ability to store food—kind of like when people get that surgery where they put a band around the stomach so they can’t eat as much MORE

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