Mandarins are a heart breaking fish and here's why. They are remarkably beautiful and sophisticated in appearance. They are affordable. They are small and charming. But they like to eat pods
...and that's the problem friend. Every time I see one, I am reminded of my own learning curve 10 years ago and pass.
Coolest home "tank" I've ever seen one in that was most appropriate for his needs was a baby pool sump with hundreds of pounds of developed live rock. He was fat, happy, and well taken care of by doing little more than looking at him in the baby pool sump. They watch you watch them which is soooo cool.
If I could pick one fish that would be undiscovered in the hobby and left out of the LFS
offerings, this would be it. I'd take a moorish idol or a parrot fish with vacation blocks before I'd take home a Manadarin.