Mandarins traditionally need large pod populations to survive. They rarely if ever take to prepared foods. I have seen estimates from 75 to 100 pounds of live rock are need for each Mandarin in a tank. I currently have a Green Spotted Mandarin, and he loves the little copepods in my tank, but since he has been in there the numbers are severly reduced. I set up a separate tank to breed copepods and amphipods for him, so hopefully I can grow enough food to keep him healthy and happy. This is a hardy fish if given the right food, otherwise no matter how much of the other food you give him he will starve to death.
- when buying the fish, you can tell if they are well fed by looking for a lateral line across their body, it looks almost like a horizontal rib. If you can see this, the fish is starving and will most likely not make it unless given a huge supply of pods
to eat. Godd luck they are beautiful fish.