I did not qt either of my dragonets and put them directly in the tank.
It's correct that you shouldnt add on until you know you have enough pods
to keep one fed for a month or longer whike you wean them onto frozen food. I also bought an ORA mandarin which was supposed to eat pellets but when I got him home he wouldnt eat anything but pods
. So the ORA ones aren't a guarantee either. It took about a month to train each fish and I really spent alot of time doing it. Had to feed several times a day with a turkey baster to target feed and shut down the flow to the tank so they could actually hunt the food. In addition you have to have a ton of different foods to try, I started with baby brine and cyclopeeze and worked my way up with them to brine, mysis and bloodworms. I still like to shut down the flow though for them they are very delicate and slow eaters. I got really lucky I think and even more fortunate that the mandarin is now eating pellets, I think it's the luck of the fish as well as the time and attention you devote that can make the difference.
I've had both the dragonets for almost a year and they have done really well for me but thats' not always the result you get with them. The majority of them end up starving over a 2-3 month period. :-(
I would also wouldn't get a pair of them, that's just setting you up for failure in my opinion with at least one of them.
But for your other questions, yes, they are reef safe and they play well with the other fish. Even with my obnoxious clownfish that are slightly aggressive, if the mandarin gets any grief from them he just goes about his business and doesn't seem afraid even one little bit. I feel they are a hardy fish once they are acclimated to a system.
They dont bother any inverts either, mine really just minds their own business and just flutters around the tank hunting all day.
Hope that helps!