I went into detail in a past article how to to train a mandarin to eat pellets or frozen food. This time I tried a different method and was able to get a mandarin to eat pellets in around 1 month. Here are the steps I took to get my newest mandarin, Sheila, to eat pellets.
- I kept her in a separate small aquarium where she is the only inhabitant. This is not her permanent home, which is why I was ok with it being so small.
- Once I got her in the aquarium, I started by feeding her live brine shrimp. She was very skittish at first and hid as soon as she saw me.
- I had her tank at my desk where I work so she would have the chance to get used to me and not be so nervous every time she saw me.
- When I feed her the live brine shrimp I would feed them out of an eye dropper. After a week or two, she became used to the eye dropper and recognized it as where food came from.
- I got her to regularly eat live brine shrimp directly out of the eye dropper. This took a lot of patience and you have to slowly squeeze the water out of the eye dropper to make it so the brine shrimp come out slowly. This allows the mandarin to catch them right away. Once she started pecking at the eye dropper I knew I could try switching the food.
- Now that she would readily pecking at the eye dropper trying to get the brine shrimp before I even squirted them out, I tried other foods. She didn’t like frozen brine shrimp, but she did eat blood worms right out of the eye dropper. I decided to try pellets, but the problem was they kept falling out of the eye dropper when I would put them in the tank before she had a chance to peck at them.
- So I took an eye dropper and cut a small slit into it wide enough to fit a pellet and hold it in place underwater. I went close to Sheila with the eye dropper and BAM! she ate the pellet right off the eye dropper. I since improved the eye dropper by cutting more of it off and melting it to bend the tip into a 90ish degree angle. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it works. This made it more of an eye dropper scoop than a normal eye dropper.
Now here’s a video of Sheila in action:
I don’t know if this will necessarily work for every mandarin; however I think this could be a solution for someone who is struggling with getting their mandarin to eat anything other than pods. The other thing to note, is that sadly some mandarins come into the fish stores already super skinny and would be difficult to revive. Some of the reasons are the way they were caught from the wild, or the length of time they were in transport. I would recommend making sure it’s a healthy looking mandarin before bringing it home.