i will try to answer your question. Pods are organisms that live in and on your rock/sand/gravel etc. If you press you nose up to your glass really close you can see little tiny specs cruising around the glass. These are a type of pod, one of which the scooter eats.
Having a scooter eat pods is not a bad thing.......the trouble arrises when the scooter runs out of pods to eat....the a single scooter or mandarin or similar fish, can completely wipe out a pod population in a medium sized tank. As a result the scooter will be introduced, and appear to be getting nice and fat....then as time goes on, it will start to loose weight, as it has decimated the population, and none are left to procreate. eventually the poor little guys start to dwindle away until the eventually starve.
Many people have had success with scooters and even mandarins in very large tanks, or in medium sized tanks, that have a good sized refugium attached. The refugium allows these little pods to keep breeding and keeps a steady suppy to the main tank, without a fear of the population being consumed.
Some have also reported getting a scooter to eat prepared foods that are very finely chopped.
I don't own either myself so all of the above information is based on my reading. Do search in the forums and you will find alot of this information in more detail from more knowledgable persons.
The problem also arise when the tank hasn't had time to mature and the pod population isn't given the chance to proliferate. I think your tank is around 3 mos. old. Too soon IMO to go with a scooter, especially since your LR was undeveloped (dead) when you got it. Pods help with breaking down organics in your DSB. So over time not only will the fish die of starvation, but w/o allowing for tank maturation, and pod develpoment then you will begin to have bouts with cyano. My suggestion is to not put a scooter or mandarin in a tank that's established less than 1 year., and has less than 100 lbs of liverock. The LFS should have known this and not sold you the fish.
Jim It was POD purchase for food, live pods. I assume you should be able to keep them alive in a refugium and they should multiply on their own. I'm at work now but when I get home I'll provide the link. I marked it because it's semthing I;m interested in trying.
I wiped out my pods and I wanted to replace them but I'm limited in the ways I can do it. Replacing all the live rock seems like a major pain.
One thing about "Pods". I had a mandarin for over 2 years in a 40 gal mini reef. I fed him a mix of zooplankton(prepared), enriched brine shrimp, enriched rotifiers, guppy fry (yes they eat them), One time he gorged on a flatworm infected piece of live rock.
Sorry hit enter by mistake.
Anyways, you can train a mandarin or blenny to eat more than just pods, however they are grazing type of eaters. In other words, they don't come up to the top of the tank during feeding times like the other fish. Also they don't tend to like non living foods. However, I used guppy fry and live brine shrimp and used frozen brine, mysis, prepared zooplankton, etc to thinken it up. Then got the mandarin on frozen foods. But once or twice a week I kept adding live foods. Now keep in mind, I had a 5 gal refuguim that was chock full of critters and macroalgaes and sometimes I would catch Man-Fish just waiting on the overflow into my tank for pods to come to him.
I had lots of pods, so i bought a scooter dragonet (dragonet is actually the correct term, as blenny is a misnomer), and he ate them all and started to get skinny. I asked my lfs to keep him for me (in their pod-filled tank) until I could get a refugium up and running. I now have him in a larger tank and he has started to eat frozen brine in addition to the pods, but you will definitely want to have a refugium set up so he wont starve. check out the area just behind his large pectoral fins and underside of his body...if thats sunken in, then he's hurting for food! good luck.