I have my second now and it's going great! I have one in my 125, a good 18 months and still very healthy. Also added one a month ago in my wife's 29g bio and it seems very happy and healthy!
I have always hand fed mine vitamin soaked live brine and I also dose pods
regularly for variety. I feed both through a large syringe. Both mandarins have there spots in the tank were they now wait for food as soon as the syringe enters thank. They also both pick through the rocks throughout the day in search of pods
Also I have actually heard of people here locally to me in FL having luck getting mandarins to ear pellets.
I would have to agree with some of the others on the thought that Mandarins aren't hard to keep just most tend to starve.
Hope everything works out better for you in this attempt Gregcoyote!
Anyone else trying live brine?