Some folks have established systems that crank out enough pods
to sustain one with no competition from any other pod eating species, like wrasses. Most don't. There is an extremely high mortality rate with these beautiful fish as a result of starvation. Pods
have little nutritional value and a single mandarins can eat hundreds, maybe more, a day. Constantly. Finding a supplemental food they can be spot feed is really important in my view. Among those foods, pellets and brine shrimp would be at the end of the list. Live white worms are easy to raise and acceptable to most mandarins, as well as certain frozen fish roe, like prawn and flying fish eggs, available on line or at Chinese food stores. Both of these are loaded with proteins.