In my opinion mandarines require mature tanks with tons of bugs for them to feed. You might be taking a chance adding one to a young tank. Depending on the size of your tank, three months is just finishing cycleling. Good luck.
Mandarins are the neatest fish, don't get one though, they really don't do well without a constant supply of the right live food to "hunt and peck". It's the worst to watch the little guys swim around your tank, looking for food and having to go hungry.
Mandarins are quite possibly one of the most beautiful fish in the world in my opinion, but given the knowledge they can release mucus due to stress into a bag and die of suffication even on the way home from a local store, I would never order one online. Just my opinion though.
The other reason to ALWAYS buy one local is so you can see if these fish, notorious for starving, have a pinched in flank. If so, they are NOT eating. My suggestion is to buy a local one, see that he looks healthy and well fed, and DEMAND to see the store feed him if they believe he will eat anything other than live pods.
If he is fat and healthy, and you SEE him eat brine, then OK, but most won't touch brine in my experience.
On a side strange side note, I have kept 6 to date, and they actually did much better when I was new to the hobby...why? Because my tanks had a ton of algae, and the algae created tons of pods, but my tank was years old, and had over 200 pounds of rock. The water sucked and had nitrates enough to give a yellow tang those red lips.... they still lived for years and ate pods day and night.
They did less well after I was in the hobby awile and had more algae free sterile tanks because the pod populations were more scarce due to lack of food (algae). Just my quick thoughts on the matter for what it's worth.
As long as you feed it live brine and worms, it should be fine. I've never seen one eat food that doesn't move.
I had one in the past that starved because I couldn't find a steady supply of live food. I couldn't keep home grown brine alive and my local fish store rarely had them in stock.
Originally posted by jc74
As long as you feed it live brine and worms, it should be fine.
ONLY if you see it eat anything other than pods BEFORE you buy it. Half of them are starved by the time they even get to the LFS because they won't eat anything. DEMAND to see a mandarin eat anything before you buy it if they claim it will. If it does eat anything other than pods, then they shouldn't have a problem showing you. That goes for any fish that is iffy on diet such as mature angels etc........see it eat FIRST. Not a single one I had would touch live brine at all in any way shape or form....nothing but pods at all.
Simply tell them..."feed it...if it eats I'll buy it". If they refuse, you are at the wrong store.