My ORA mandarin didn't eat frozen or pellets when i got him. He ate every single pod during a months time and finally came around to frozen after being target fed approximately 12 different frozen foods to find stuff he would eat. he started with cyclops, then baby brine, then brine and finally bloodworms. About 6 months or so after he ate frozen he started eating pellets. Now he will mainly eat the pellets and nibble on the bloodworms. Alot of people will say you can't get an active feeding response from a mandarin, but when I go over to the tank with the NLS jar he immediately stops what he is doing and waits for me to drop in the pellets. LOL
Luckily I had enough pods
in my biocube which had a fuge to sustain him for the month it took him to eat prepared. I have no doubt he would have died like so many others do.
I think the ORA raising helped but it's no guarantee. I paid like $50 for mine and a wild one is $20 or less now, so guess what people will buy 99% of the time? Yep, the cheaper one which half the time OR MORE is a death sentence for the fish.
Not sure I would take such a risk again, but a couple years later and my Mandy is happy, kinda fat and beautiful!