I'm playing devils advocate here kinda.lol. I reared both my mandarin and scooter in a small 29g biocube with a small fuge in back. I did not of course attempt the mandarin until many many months later after I had an obscene amount of pods
. It took the mandarin and the scooter each a month to eat all the pods
that were in the tank. By that point I had gotten them each weened onto frozen foods, which was fortunate cause I was out of pods
. I added the scooter about a year before the mandarin and it took that long to get another healthy colony of pods
in time for the mandarin. I also purchased an ORA mandarin, cost me $50 but in the end I think it was easier to get him eating prepared due to his upbringing at ORA. NOTE** The ORA mandarin did not eat pellets or any prepared foods after he hit my tank. This is very common but I would still urge you to consider the ORA one if you must add one. I think it m made the difference.
As a side note, I ended up moving the dragonettes to a 60g rimless where they eat pellets mostly and are fat and healthy. The small tank approach worked for me and can work if enough dedication is given.