How To Culture Copepods

Growing Amphipods and Copepods for Your Aquarium

Copepods and amphipods are small crustaceans that play a critical role in the marine food chain’s cycle of survival. They are a naturally occurring component of the plankton food chain in the ocean’s nutrient cycle (there arefreshwater copepods, too). It is believed that they feed on phytoplankton, rotifers (microscopic aquatic creatures), and debris in some situations. They take the protein and fatty acids from these food sources and concentrate them into a very nutritious bundle that can be consumed by the marine creatures that consume them.

The majority of these fish will starve to death in an aquarium if they are not weaned onto alternative, more practical diets such as frozen mysis shrimp or brine shrimp, or another finely-chopped meaty cuisine such as krill, which are readily available.

Manysandsifting and sleeper gobies feed mostly on amphipods, which are also the primary food source for them.

Before You Begin

Microscopically small crustaceans, copepods and amphipods are an important component of the oceanic food web. They are a naturally occurring component of the plankton food chain in the ocean’s nutrient chain (there arefreshwater copepods, too). Plant plankton, rotifers (microscopic aquatic creatures), and debris are among the foods that they consume. They take the protein and fatty acids from these food sources and concentrate them into a highly nutritious package that may be consumed by marine creatures that eat them after they are harvested.

You can culture (or raise) your own amphipods to feed your aquarium fish.

Getting some fish, such as theMandarin/dragonetteandseahorses, to eat anything other than amphipods/copepods has proven to be quite challenging for most aquarists.

What You Need

Almost any acceptable container may be used to cultivate copepods/amphipods, and just a few materials are required for a copepod tank, including the following:

  • Almost any acceptable container may be used to cultivate copepods/amphipods, and just a few components are required for a copepod tank, including:

Consider Filtration

When it comes to filtering a copepod/amphipod grow tank, there are a plethora of possibilities. The natural biological filtration provided by living rock or a sand bed that includes nitrifying bacteria and/or microalgae is extremely effective at preserving water quality in natural filtration systems. The microalgae Chaetomorpha, Caulerpa, and Halimeda are probably the best, but not Ulva, which has a small surface area relative to its mass and hence is not the best. The disadvantage of Halimeda is that it is calciferous, which means that it will require calcium supplementation.

In order to keep the water circulating in the culture jar, a simple airstone with a moderate airflow should be sufficient. You should avoid employing a protein skimmer since it has a propensity to collect the free-floating copepods and amphipods and release them together with the waste foam.

Culture Surface Area

In addition to being benthic (bottom-dwelling), amphipods are both pelagic (free-swimming) and benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms, with the majority being bottom dwellers. In the evening, amphipods have a greater proclivity to ascend from the bottom of an aquarium and into the water column than during the day. If there are vast numbers of amphipods in a tank, they may readily be seen with a flashlight a few hours after dark if the tank is well-lit. Large surface areas to graze on, such as old bio balls, live rock, old filter pads, coarse sand, or broken coral substrates are ideal for amphipods in an aquarium setting.

Consider Lighting

Both benthic (bottom-dwelling) and pelagic (free-swimming) organisms, amphibians are generally bottom-dwellers. Amphipods are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Evenings are the best time of day for amphipods to emerge from the bottom of their aquarium and make their way upwards through the water column. Using a flashlight, you may readily spot amphipods in a tank if there are vast numbers of them in there a few hours after dark. Large surface areas to graze on, such as old bio balls, live rock, old filter pads, coarse sand, or broken coral substrates are ideal for amphipods in an aquarium environment.

Fine Tune the Salinity

Maintain the salinity of your copepod/amphipod system at a level equal to that of the target tank into which you will be transferring them. There is no need to be concerned if you are utilizing an in-linerefugium with your main tank because the tank water will cycle through the rearing system.

Adjust the Temperature

Maintain a constant temperature of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Amphipods and copepods are cold-blooded, therefore the warmer the water, the more active they are (eating and reproducing), but the water does not “cook” them (like it does with fish). It is possible that temperatures in excess of 85 degrees Fahrenheit are detrimental.


However, although amphipods are not inherently predators, their preferred meal is meat. They are omnivorous, with a predilection for the role of carnivore over that of herbivore by a significant margin. Feed meaty items that will decompose rather fast in the water column to your fish. In a mortar and pestle, grind together a decent blend of marine pellet and marine flake fish feeds to get the best results. Additionally, you may cultivate phytoplankton in a 2-liter plastic container to use as a food source for your copepods.

Don’t give them too much food.

Increasing the amount of food in the tank will not result in their eating more.

If your ammonia readings begin to rise, make a water change to bring the level down and reduce the amount of food you feed. It may take a little trial and error, but you should be able to identify the optimal amount of food to add to the culturing tank on a regular basis.

Maintain the Tank

If you utilize an in-line refugium, you will only have to do a minimal amount of maintenance. As long as the feeding is not excessive, a stand-alone system will only require a few water changes per month (once per month or replenishing water after harvest would sufficient). Several Amphipod species, such as the Gammarids, are remarkably adaptable to a wide range of water conditions and prefer to flourish in high-nutrient environments.

Harvest the Crustaceans

Most of the time, harvesting may be accomplished by siphoning the creatures into a fine mesh fish net. Use old filter pads as a growth medium by simply removing them from the growth tank and placing them in a bucket of tank water before pouring the water through an inverted strainer to remove the debris. Use a tiny screen on the water outflow to trap copepods and amphipods if you are using a crushed coral substrate. If you are using a gravel vacuum to clean your tank bottom, siphon the substrate the same way you would gravel vacuum your tank bottom.

Introduce Them Into the Aquarium

Squeezing the animals into a tiny mesh fish net is typically the most effective method of harvesting. Use used filter pads as a growth medium by simply removing them from the growth tank and placing them in a bucket of tank water before pouring the water through an inverted strainer or a net. Use a tiny screen on the water outflow to trap copepods and amphipods if you are using a crushed coral substrate. If you are using a gravel substrate, siphon the substrate the same way you would gravel vacuum your tank bottom.

Preventing Problems During Culturing

Don’t be concerned if your farming does not go as well as you had anticipated. It might be difficult to pinpoint the specific origin of a problem. It may be more efficient (and save you time and energy) to just start again rather than tinker with your current cultivation arrangement. Other options include consulting with a local fish store or another specialist who may be able to assist you in examining your setup and providing advice or troubleshooting procedures. If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Breeder’s Net: A Simple How-to On Home Culture Of Copepods

Despite the fact that certain marine fish will breed and develop relatively quickly in captivity, others are more difficult to breed and grow. One of the most challenging aspects of growing these fish is ensuring that the larvae have access to adequate food. When it comes to their first feeding in nature, many marine fish rely on copepods as their primary source of nutrition, but only a few species of marine copepods have been successfully cultured on a commercial scale that is acceptable for use in home aquaculture.

  1. Procedures for keeping animals at home were developed from an introduction to their needs and a practical awareness of the resources available to the average person who keeps animals as a recreational activity at home.
  2. It is generally known that for many species of fish fry, live food is necessary during the earliest vital phases of their development, particularly during the first feedings.
  3. Copepods have most likely played a significant role in the diet of many fish throughout their history, and effective predation tactics for catching copepods as principal meals have developed as a result.
  4. There are a variety of larval fish that can accommodate the size range (100uM nauplii to 1000uM adult).

Currently, the most convenient method of supplying copepods for home aquaculture is to collect them in the wild using nets; however, because our column concentrates on home culture, we will provide a simple how-to for home culture copepods in this article.


Copepods are a subclass of creatures that belong to the wider group of animals known as theCrustacea. More than 10,000 distinct species inhabit a wide range of biological niches, making them a varied group of animals. Copepods may be found in almost all bodies of water, both marine and freshwater. Numerouscopepod species are parasitic on other animals, while others float freely as part of the plankton, and yet others are benthic (bottom living), meaning they live on or among the organisms they parasitize.

There are three major groups of free-living copepods that have been identified: the Calanoida, which are primarily free-swimming planktonic animals, the Cyclopoida, which can be planktonic or demersal, and the Harpacticoida, which are entirely benthic.

They develop from an egg as a nauplius, which is typically 100-150 microns in size.

The final stage of development is adulthood, at which time distinct sexes may be distinguished.

Life history and development

A group of creatures belonging to the broader groupCrustacea is known as a Copepods. More than 10,000 distinct species inhabit a wide range of biological niches, making them a varied collection of organisms. In most bodies of marine and freshwater, copepods can be found. Numerouscopepod species are parasitic on other creatures, while others float freely as part of the plankton, and yet others are benthic (bottom living), or they live on or near the animals they parasitize. The mature length of most free-living copepods is less than 2 mm.

The Calanoida are primarily free-swimming planktonic animals, the Cyclopoida can be plan A copepod’s life cycle is divided into several separate phases.

In a sequence of normally six copepodid stages that follow after six nauplius stages (known to as stages N1 to N6), with development between each stage, the body shape changes and the body is transformed (referred to as stages C1 to C6).

Sexes can be distinguished at the last stage of development, which is that of an adult. It is sexually reproducing organisms that exist in nature, and the nauplius larvae of the calanoid copepods are the most common metazoan creatures in some regions of the ocean.


Copepod populations are found in a variety of settings with salinities ranging from practically pure water to 35 parts per thousand (ppt). They can endure temperatures ranging from 10 to 28 degrees Celsius as well as water of questionable quality. As an illustration, G. imparipes, as individual creatures, can endure variations in salinity over a wide range of conditions. They can live in temperatures ranging from -6°C to +28°C, and they can go for long periods of time without eating. Copepods can store a significant amount of energy in enormous lipid stores and survive for long periods of time without consuming extra food.

This shows that a large number of copepod species are resilient enough to tolerate the rigors of home farming.


Although many copepods can survive in temperatures ranging from 6 to 28 degrees Celsius, the ideal temperature range for animal health and culture production is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. The development and egg production rates of the culture drop at lower temperatures, while maintaining the water quality in the culture at higher temperatures is problematic. Animals can be kept within the approved temperature range and subsequently employed at a higher temperature if they are kept in the recommended temperature range.


The movement of many calanoid copepods is divided into two distinct categories. Because of the force generated when the second antennas sweep at a high frequency, a smooth, gliding, swimming motion may be obtained. This technique accomplishes both a feeding movement and a swimming movement simultaneously. When swimming, the conventional body position is with the body held at a 45-degree angle to the horizontal. As the animals ‘row’ through the water with their five pairs of legs, they experience more rapid movement through the water, resulting in short bouts of jerky movement throughout a wide range of body lengths.

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Body size

The movement of many calanoid copepods is characterized by two distinct types. Because of the force generated as the second antennas sweep at a high frequency, a smooth, gliding, swimming motion occurs. Both a feeding and swimming action are accomplished with this motion. Swimming with the body held at 45 degrees to the horizontal is the most common body position. As the animals ‘row’ through the water with their five pairs of legs, they experience more rapid movement through the water, resulting in short bouts of jerky movement throughout a wide range of body length.

Nutritional content

Copepods are not all created equal when it comes to their nutritional importance for larval fish. Larval fish require a diet that has a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) and a particularly long chain of these fatty acids to guarantee that their nervous system develops normally. These HUFAs are not formed by mammals, but rather by phytoplankton, which produces them. Copepods that have been well-fed are more likely to contain stocks of these HUFAs and, as a result, to be useful in the diet of fish.

To larval fish, these copepods are of little nutritional significance in their diet.

These phytoplankton-enriched copepod populations will be comprised of adult females with fresh algal food stored in their stomach, lipids in storage, and eggs forming in their reproductive systems, indicating a robust population of these copepods.

According to research, these enriched creatures are preferentially picked by fish that are fed on them.


A set of feeding appendages on the prosome’s upper portion are responsible for collecting food. In order for the copepod to feed, the second antennae must sweep back and forth at high speed in order to produce a stream of water that runs through combs of fine setae on the first and second maxilla. These setae are responsible for removing possible food items from water. After that, the food is conveyed to the mouth. When animals have been actively feeding, the intestines of the animal seems to be colored by the food that has been consumed.

Fecal pellets may frequently be seen in the lower stomach of animals that have been well-fed.

Copepod Culturing

There are a variety of reasons to culture copepods, and each of these reasons has its own set of parameters for determining whether or not the culture will be successful. To facilitate this conversation, we will take the example of growing copepods to supply more diversified live food for a reef aquarium as a starting point for our investigation. It should also be realized that this is simply one method of achieving the desired outcomes, and that there are many other methods of achieving success in this activity, as with most things in life.


As with any project, the first step is to put together the components that will be used in the project.

  • 1 – 10 gal tank
  • 1 – small air pump
  • 1 – 2 gang air valve
  • 1 – 36′′ 14″ rigid tube (cut in two equal pieces)
  • 1 – 12′′ section of 14″ airline
  • 1 – 24′′ section of 14″ airline
  • 1 – 36′′ section of 14″ airline
  • 1 – acrylic lid with holes for rigid tube
  • 1 – acrylic lid with holes for


The following stage entails putting the pieces together.

  1. The 12′′ section of 14″ airline should be used to connect the air pump to the gang valve. Connect each gang valve to the two remaining pieces of airline as shown in the illustration. Connect the ends of the two airline pieces together using a piece of rigid tubing. The stiff tubing should be placed in two of the holes in the acrylic cover. Place them at the far ends of the tank, facing each other. This will improve the flow of water through the tank
  2. Nevertheless,

Select a source for phytoplankton to feed the Copepods

Phytoplankton can be obtained through a variety of means, including home cultivation. Commercially accessible phytoplankton will typically be more concentrated than phytoplankton produced in the laboratory. Illustrations show live marine phytoplankton from D.T.’s, Reed Mariculture’s Plankton Live FeedDiet, and a typical 2-liter bottle of homegrown phytoplankton, all from Reed Mariculture. Whichever supplier you choose, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to avoid contamination and deterioration of your food supply.

  • However, while there may be alternatives that are as good or better,Nannochlropsisis frequently available from both commercial and homegrown sources.
  • I normally fill the tank to less than half capacity in order to avoid leakage and part of the resulting mess.
  • We must ensure that the parameters of the culture tank are within acceptable ranges.
  • Room temperature has shown to be really effective for me.
  • It refers to a space that is generally thought to be pleasant.
  • Salinity – It is advisable to match the salinity of the culture tank to the salinity of the tank that will be fed.
  • Airflow — Once the culture tank is fully stocked with phytoplankton, we can begin setting up the airflow system.

This does not have to be very powerful, but it must create some circulation. I discovered that slowing down the airflow to a rate slow enough to count the bubbles was sufficient for my purposes. Lighting — Either ambient room lighting or low-wattage fluorescent lighting can be used effectively.

Adding the Copepods

The copepods can now be added when we have successfully accomplished all of the tasks listed above. It is important to make sure that the copepods have water parameters that are similar to those of the culture tank when they are introduced. If this is the case, attempt to “acclimate” them gradually, even if they are fairly tough. The standard acclimatization methods will be satisfactory.


We have successfully cultured copepods in the tank after adding phytoplankton and copepods to the tank and appropriately setting up the airflow. So, let’s get this party started. The goal is to maintain a green tint to the water; the greener the water, the better the water will be for cultivating copepods to feed the target tank. Increase the amount of phytoplankton in the water as the color of the water clears. Upon reaching the correct density, we may begin supplying food to the target tank.

This is dependent on the tank that is being targeted.

These photographs depict a copepod tank that has been depleted of phytoplankton, resulting in the clear appearance of the culture water.

In the event that this occurs, we are left with two options:

  1. We have successfully cultured copepods in the tank after adding phytoplankton and copepods to the tank and setting up the airflow appropriately. We’ve gotten things rolling. Maintaining a green tint to the water is important because the greener the water, the better for cultivating copepods to feed the target aquarium. Continue to add phytoplankton until the water begins to clear. We can begin feeding the target tank after the necessary density has been achieved. Is there a certain density we’re aiming for before we start feeding? According to the tank in question. When copepods begin to congregate on the tank glass, you have a high density of copepods in your tank. These photographs depict a copepod tank that has been depleted of phytoplankton, resulting in the clear appearance of the culture water. Being able to see through the color of the cultural water is not always a “bad thing,” but it is something we should want to prevent. In the event that this occurs, we are left with two alternatives:

The ‘gunk’ that accumulates at the bottom of the tank is quite natural. Eventually, we will have to change the culture water and start the culture over from the beginning. This can be accomplished by following the procedures outlined in Option 2 above.


Feeding practices differ from one individual to the next. I’ll give a brief overview of the two feeding strategies I employ for my tanks.

  1. Each person has their own preferred manner of feeding themselves. My two feeding strategies for my tanks will be briefly described below.


With the exception of brine shrimp, I have not observed any negative consequences of cross-contamination of cultures. It appears that brine shrimp will devour nearly everything, even copepods, according to some reports. It is feasible to grow copepods and rotifers in the same culture at the same time.

Miscellaneous Notes

  1. Don’t be concerned if the water becomes clear. In a 2 liter bottle with no phytoplankton added, I’ve had several copepods for over three months and they are doing well. They may have lasted a little longer if I hadn’t introduced any phytoplankton. With the use of a piece of plexiglass, divide the 10 gallon tank into two equal parts. This enables you to maintain two copepod cultures and provides some redundancy in the event of a culture crash. Don’t be frightened to replenish the target tank’s supplies. The quantity of copepods I intentionally added to my primary tank has been substantial, and I have yet to see any detrimental consequences. Try to replace the water in the culture tank on average every 4 weeks, or as often as the water conditions need. This will assist in maintaining a greater level of quality in the culture water. When feeding from the culture tank, avoid scooping the bottom of the culture tank up with your hands. If you scoop the bottom of the tank, you will mix up a lot of waste, which may then potentially end up in the target tank. Communicate with people about your cultures and educate them on the simplicity with which living foods may be cultured

How to Culture Copepods Guide. Grow Copepods at Home.

Instructions for using a copepod are provided. Copepod cultures may be maintained with our Phytopreme Live concentrated saltwater phytoplankton solution. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE SIZE OF THESE COPEPODS IS MICROSCOPIC. The adults can be seen with the naked eye, but the adolescents and newborns will require the use of a magnifying glass or a flashlight to be seen. Make use of a magnifying glass. shine a spotlight into the water so that you can see more clearly Copepods are little specks of “sand” or “dust” hanging in the air that you may see if you look closely.

  • The water in our Copepod CULTURES has a brown tint to it, which you will notice while looking at them.
  • For the best nutritional profile, we pack our pods with five different types of live algae.
  • Every 15 minutes, begin to add 1 cup of water from your aquarium system to the tank.
  • Then place the Pods into an aquarium, sump, or refugium to continue the process.
  • As a result, their metabolism will be slowed, and they will appear to be motionless as if they were dead.
  • METHOD FOR SEEDING YOUR TANK: Turn off the lights to give copepods a chance to hide before they are eaten by fish.

It is possible that two or three additional dosages of copepods may be required to develop a strong, healthy reproductive colony.

Then you may use part of it to feed your corals and other tank dwellers on a regular basis.

Starting on the first day, increase the water volume by 25% or 14% every 24 hours, until the desired volume is reached.

Copepods do not appreciate turbulence in their environment.

In the short term, one variety of copepod will suffice, but the more types of copepods you feed, the better off your copepods will be in the long run.

Add additional algae to your water once it has become clear.

The term “detrivores” refers to creatures that devour non-living matter such as debris.

There are no complicated steps in this culture process. In the near term, say one to two months, this is simple to execute. After a while, you will begin to have problems with water quality. Salinity ranges from 1.014 to 1.022. Temperature range: 74 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit

How to Grow Copepods

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Copepods are a kind of crustacean that is quite small. These tiny organisms are significant food sources for some species of marine fish and filter feeders, as well as for other creatures in their environment. In fact, for certain fish species, they are the sole food source available! Even while growing your own copepods at home may seem scary at first, be assured that these guys are really durable. To begin, select the proper species of copepod for the requirements of your aquarium.

  1. 1 Obtain an aquarium or a small container for your fish. Copepods should be grown in a separate culturing container since they require special care. Copepods need big containers, so an aquarium is an excellent choice. There is no need to be concerned if you do not have enough space for another tank. You can also use a small container, such as a Rubbermaid plastic jar, to hold the mixture.
  • If you’re going to use an aquarium, a ten-gallon tank is the optimum size. Here’s an interesting trick to try: Using a piece of plexiglass, divide the tank into two parts, resulting in two distinct cultures in each half. You now have a backup culture in case one of your cultures fails.
  • 2Make sure your copepod container is kept at a comfortable temperature. Copepods are rather resilient, although they should not be exposed to high temperatures. This implies that storing your container in bright sunshine in July or in a drafty, uninsulated attic during the winter may not be the greatest decision. Choose a room in your home where you can keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Advertisement
  • s3 Change the direction of the wind. Gentle aeration will aid in the preservation of your copepods’ happiness and health. Purchase an air pump and connect it to a gang valve using rigid air tubing to complete the project. Placing one end of the tube in the water and using the gang valve to regulate the amount of air that is delivered to the tank or container Every three seconds, one bubble should be released
  • This is the recommended pace.
  • If you’re using a tiny container, make a hole in the lid to allow the tubing to flow through
  • Otherwise, use a larger container.
  • 4 Keep the salinity at the right level. Maintain the salinity of your tank between 25 and 35ppt (1.018 and 1.025+). Salt content may be determined with a variety of instruments, including refractometers, hydrometers, and conductivity probes, among other things. To get an exact measurement, follow the instructions on the container.
  • It is preferable to maintain the same salinity in your culturing container as you do in your main tank. The copepods will not go into shock if you give them to your fish or coral in this manner.
  • 5 Choose a phytoplankton to use as a food source for your copepods. Copepods consume phytoplankton, which is a microscopic sea algae. Determine which sort of phytoplankton is most appropriate for your particular species of copepod. Phytoplankton can be purchased at your local fish store or ordered on the internet.
  • When it comes to phytoplankton, Nannochloropsisis a common species that is rather easy to discover
  • 6 Fill your container with phytoplankton by adding a few drops to the top. Drop by drop, gradually increasing the amount of phytoplankton in the water until it acquires a lovely light green hue. The water will become lighter in color as the copepods consume the phytoplankton. Your objective is to maintain the water glowing green at all times.
  • You may be tempted to clean up the “gunk” that has accumulated at the bottom of your tank, but resist the temptation and wait until you have completed your monthly tank cleaning. It is perfectly normal and beneficial to copepods
  • In fact, it is beneficial.
  • Even though you may be tempted to clean away the “gunk” that has accumulated at the bottom of your tank, resist the temptation and wait until your monthly tank cleaning. The fact that copepods do this is perfectly natural and beneficial to them.
  • Don’t be too concerned about becoming acclimated. These men are tough
  • They are not to be trifled with.
  • 8 Collect the copepods you’ve collected. Whenever it’s time to feed your copepods to your fish or coral, remove a cupful of water from your culturing container and place it in the feeding container with your copepods. After that, strain the water through a 100 micron screen. This method will catch the adult copepods while allowing the juveniles to escape. Wash the copepods from the screen into a different container with some salt water before adding them to your main tank.
  • Harvests should be spaced out by one week to allow the adult population to repopulate
  • 9 Make sure to change the water on a regular basis. Using a 55 micron fine mesh screen, strain the water to collect the copepods, and then place the screen in a clean, saltwater-filled container to ensure that they do not dry out. Clean the tank with a paper towel, rinse it off with a little new water, and then fill the tank with clean, fresh seawater to fill it up. Finally, add your copepods and fresh phytoplankton to complete the composition.
  • It is recommended that you change the water in your tank every four weeks if you are using one. A small culturing container such as a jar or a big cup should have its water changed once a week.
  1. 10Always keep an eye out for any pollutants. It is possible that your copepod culture will become contaminated with other species, such as ciliates, rotifers, and brine shrimp, throughout the growing process. If this occurs, it is possible that you may need to establish a new culture. The pollutants have the ability to consume all of the copepods’ food, resulting in the extinction of the copepod population. Advertisement
  1. 1 Obtain a refugee camp. Your young copepods are in a refugium, which is a separate compartment that shares water with the main tank but is partially segregated to protect small or fragile species such as them. You should consult with an employee at your local fish store to determine which sort of refugium is best for your budget and aquarium size
  2. There are numerous different types of refugiums.
  • An in-tank refugium is the most basic and least expensive form. Basically, it’s a tiny container that enables water to flow through it while keeping larger animals, such as fish, out. A hang-on refugium is a separate container that hangs off the rear of the main tank, whereas a sump-based refugium is a second tank that is placed under your main tank
  • A sump-based refugium is a second tank that is placed under your main tank
  • 2 Create a home for the copepods in the refugium by assembling it. Include live rock, sand, and macroalgae such as ulva to provide the copepods with food supplies as well as hiding and breeding sites. The majority of these products may be found at your local saltwater fish store.
  • Overcleaning your refugium will prevent your copepods from grazing
  • Instead, leave algae and debris in place to allow them to do so. You should trim your macroalgae on a regular basis to keep them from becoming too large.
  • 3 Keep predators away from your refugee camp. You should remove a few of the animals from your refugium before starting to cultivate your copepods. If you have other creatures in your refugium, such as emerald crabs or bristle worms, they may eat your copepods.
  • It is possible to raise your copepods in another container if the task of eliminating predators proves too onerous or you just do not want to.
  • It is possible to raise your copepods in another container if the removal of predators is too difficult or time-consuming.
  • It is possible to raise your copepods in another container if the task of eliminating predators proves too onerous or you just do not wish to.
  1. 1 Conduct research to determine which copepods are best suited for your fish or filter feeders. The majority of the time, copepods are used to feed marine fish, such as mandarin dragonets and scooter blennies, or filter feeders such as coral. Do your study to ensure that you are using the correct kind of copepod
  2. For example, various creatures feed on different types of copepods.
  • Among the most frequent species of copepods, Tigriopus californicus should be used to feed adult fish, as it is one of the most nutritious. BecauseTigriopusare a big species, they should never be utilized to feed fish larvae due to their hardiness and ability to endure high population densities and variable water temperatures. TisbeandNitokraare the ideal species for feeding coral and other filter feeders since they may claw at the larvae, causing suffering and death. They breed more quickly than Tigriopus and are smaller in size, which may make them a bit more difficult to spot in the wild. They are tough, like as Tigriopus.
  • 2Buy live copepods from a reputable supplier. In certain cases, you may be able to purchase live copepods in bottles from your local fish store. Alternatively, you may get them from internet merchants such as
  • 3 Pay attention to how your fish react to the copepods. Tigriopus, for example, is a large copepod that may be too large for some fish to manage. Even when trapped in a fish intestine, Tigriopus may sometimes battle its way out with the help of its powerful mouthparts.
  • If this occurs, you will need to choose a copepod species that is smaller in size.
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Create a new question

  • Question In what manner do copepods move between the refugium and the aquarium? cymbospondylus 846Answer from the Community Allow the copepods to settle for approximately half an hour after shutting off the pumps before turning them back on. If your main tank has not yet been formed, you will need to purchase phytoplankton and add a few drops to your refugium
  • If your main tank has already been established, you will need to purchase phytoplankton and add a few drops to your refugium
  • Question How long can you keep copepods on Tropic Marines pro-coral phyton before they die? cymbospondylus 846Answer from the Community Copepods eat this, thus it’s a good thing. If possible, provide meaty items that decompose relatively fast in the water column to your aquarium fish. Excellent results may be obtained by grinding together a decent blend of marine pellet and marine flake fish meals in a mortar and pestle. Question In a 10 gallon molded plastic tank, we wish to cultivate copepods and other watery tiny life in order to learn more about them. The temperature is maintained at 20oC by the chiller. As long as we have plant life, the grow light will function. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. cymbospondylus 846Answer from the Community If you want to cultivate marine copepods, you should put them in a 10-gallon saltwater tank by themselves. Maintain a salinity range of 25-35 parts per thousand (ppt). Add a few drops of phytoplankton to the water before adding the copepods. You may order phytoplankton online or purchase it from your local fish store. If you want the water to be a light green color, use a light green dye.

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  • Keep your copepods in a room with plenty of natural light or low-wattage fluorescent lights. When harvesting copepods, it is preferable not to scoop from the bottom of the tank, since this will result in the introduction of copepod waste into your main tank.

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Summary of the ArticleXTo cultivate copepods, place them in a 10-gallon saltwater tank by themselves. Maintain a salinity range of 25-35 parts per thousand (ppt). Prepare the water by adding a few drops of phytoplankton, which you can order online or purchase from your local fish store, before adding the copepods. Your goal is for the water to have a bright green color. Allow your copepod container to come to room temperature before pouring them into the tank to start. Every four weeks, empty the tank and refill it with fresh water.

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Copepods can be grown outside of the aquarium system in a culture vessel, then harvested to feed the aquarium. Pod culture can be tricky. Some techniques are easier than others. However, with some simple equipment and a little dedication, pod cultures are achievable.How Do You Make a Culturing Container? A clear Rubbermaid® plastic jar with a small hole drilled in the lid works great, though any type of container will suffice. Use anair pumpand rigidair tubingattached to a gang valve to adjust air flow to a gentle 1 bubble per 3 seconds. Mix fresh/clean saltwater and add that to your container, get the air going, and adjust it to the proper flow rates.What do Copepods Eat? Pelagic copepods such as the Tangerine, Acartia, and Pseudodiaptomus eat phytoplankton (free-swimming phytoplankton). As a general rule, the brown microalgae (T. Isochrysis galbana) are better than the greens (nannochloropsis).Add the algae (PhycoPure™ Copepod Blend) by the capful until your water turns a light tea color. Let it mix for a few seconds,then add the copepods. Remember, it is better to feed frequent small amounts than one large amount. If your pod population is sparse, the algae won’t clear as rapidly, but as the pod population grows,algae will clear very quickly.Harpacticoids such asTisbeeat detritus, phytoplankton, fish food, and fecal matter. While some species of harpacticoid are carnivorous and will eat other types of copepods, ReefPod™ Tisbe are not, making them perfect for the reef.What is the Ideal Salinity? Most copepods handle salinities from 25-35ppt (1.018-1.025+).What Temperature Range Do Copepods Prefer? There are warm- and cold-water copepods.Tigriopusis a cold-water copepod;Tisbeis a warm water-tropical species. The Tisbe copepod (harpacticoid) will do very well at temperatures ranging from 22-27C°.How Do I Do Water Changes? Changewater completely once a week for best results. Collect the entire culture with a 55-micron fine mesh screen and place the screen in a separate water-filled container to prevent the copepods from drying out. Clean the container by wiping it with a paper towel and rinsing with freshwater. Refill the container with new saltwater, add algae, then add your pod culture.How Do I Harvest? When you reach a density greater than 1/mL, begin harvesting. While you can keep cultures at greater densities,they will not perform as well if you do. Harvesting can be as simple as scooping the pods out of your container with a cup and adding them directly to your reef tank. Refill what you have taken out with fresh saltwater and algae/phytoplankton if necessary.Contaminants Happen! Keep an eye out for Ciliates, rotifers, and other organisms. If you find you’re growing a contaminated population, you may need to start over. Why? Because these contaminants will compete foravailable food and eventually overrun the copepods.

Culturing Tigger-Pods®

How to Grow Reef Nutrition in a Culture Tigger-Pods® are live, huge, and bright red. Tigriopuscalifornicuscopepods

Culture container

We recommend having at least two culture containers on hand in case one of them becomes faulty. The containers can be anything that contains water, such as a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium, Tupperware container, or similar container. It is not suggested to use large containers or carboys.


In our systems, we make use of BTAC salt. You should avoid using water from an existing aquarium or culture because this will contaminate your attempt to start a new culture of copepods and cause it to fail. For this type of copepod, a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 is considered optimum.


In our systems, we employ BTAC salt. Water from an existing aquarium or culture should not be used, since this will contaminate your effort to establish a new culture of copepods. For this type of copepod, a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 is optimal.

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There is no need for a heater. This species has a high level of hardiness. Try not to let the culture temperature get beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal temperature range is 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Our recommendation is for a modest, direct lighting source such as a basic dome or shop lamp: 12 hours on and 12 hours off is a good compromise.


Phyto-Feast® is a phytoplankton blend consisting of six different types of phytoplankton. We feed our cultures with the same algae that we use to feed our cultures.


In our civilizations, we don’t utilize substrate, although other people choose to use crushed gravel or sand, along with some reef rock, in their systems. We urge that any substrate used in the culture be sterile and devoid of life in order to avoid the introduction of competing organisms.


To fill your container halfway to two-thirds full with clean seawater, follow these steps: Add the air source to the culture and set the temperature to a very low setting (2-3 bubbles per second is ideal). Make certain that you utilize a drip loop and a check valve to prevent water from getting into your pump and electrical outlet during the installation. Phyto-Feast (1-2 mL) should be added to some culture water and mixed until completely homogeneous (see recipe below). Then slowly pour in the diluted algae until you can notice a faint green tint to the water in the culture tank.

As soon as your copepods have been adjusted to the temperature, simply pour them in and you’re done!


Copepods will multiply in the following several weeks, so keep an eye out for them. If they reach a specific population level, you will see a “explosion” of copepods in your culture tank, despite the fact that they may not appear to be reproducing as quickly as you would want. Feed modest doses of phyto-nutrients on a daily or every other day basis. Required to maintain the water mildly colored while also monitoring the water’s overall quality. Crashing can occur as a result of overfeeding, which results in elevated ammonia and nitrite levels.

  • When harvesting, it is possible to execute water adjustments (see below).
  • The mulm is made up of bacteria, organic debris, copepod molts, and copepod nauplii, among other things (babies).
  • It is OK to return a portion of the mulm to the tank.
  • As evaporation occurs, replace the water in the culture with reverse-osmosis or distilled water.


The use of a plankton collector/strainer of some form is quite beneficial while harvesting copepods. A 90 micron sieve will catch all sizes, whereas a 300 micron sieve will aid in the separation of juveniles and adults from the larval stages of the organism. The collector allows you to siphon your copepods through it, ensuring that when you feed them to your aquarium, you are only introducing copepods and not culture water to the tank. Remove the culture water from the culture and replace it with fresh, clean seawater to restore the culture to its original level.

Keep in mind that you should not dip your strainer into the copepod culture, then into your aquarium, and then back into your culture vessel without first thoroughly cleaning it.

Despite the fact that you can always purchase another batch ofTigger-Pods if your culture fails, you may prevent the aggravation of sharing equipment between multiple systems by not doing so.

You may also scoop theTigger-Pods using a brine shrimp net, but keep in mind that when trash builds in the system, you will need to do a water change on the system. Scooping can also cause garbage to rise to the surface from the bottom, so proceed with caution.

Copepod Culturing

Cultivation of Copepods This is a very simple technique of sustaining a live copepod colony in your own home environment. Once the fundamentals have been learned, more complicated approaches can be implemented to get the desired results. Copepods are simple to cultivate at home, but they have earned a negative name in the past due to the efforts of some who have attempted to raise copepods using live algae or synthetic feeds. Live algae require too much water turnover and can only generate modest densities due to the tiny volume of algae in the water, and artificial feeds will rapidly foul the culture.

  • To get rid of both of these issues, use a concentrated microalga solution.
  • It is named Nannochloropsis and it is a little green non-motile (non-swimming) cell that is abundant in protein, carbs, and lipids.
  • Copepods have an extremely high metabolic rate and hence require frequent feedings.
  • Microalgae concentrates, such as NutriSpring Liquid 60, can be added to the water once or many times per day in order to maintain a healthy culture of copepods in the aquarium.
  • In order to ensure that the tank maintains a bright green color after each feeding, make sure to use the recommended amount.
  • The most common practice is to feed the copepods twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon.
  • Copepod culture in real time Algae (microalgae) (NutriSpring Liquid 60 or Lyophilized powder are best) The following are the most important strategies: Maintain a sufficient amount of microalgae in the system to ensure that the copepods have food at all times.

It is necessary to set up your copepod culture system in a separate tank because they cannot be raised in a reef tank or in a co-culture with other organisms.

Starting your culture from the ground up: Acclimatize the copepod starting culture in the bucket of sterilised seawater by placing it in the water for a few minutes.

Add just enough Liquid 60 to keep the color of the water bright green between feedings.

After day 3, harvest at least 20% of your culture each day until it is completely depleted.

This will guarantee that any algae fragments and debris fall to the bottom of the tank.

Siphon some of the algaedetritus from the bottom after you’ve taken what you need; this will help maintain the culture clean and operating for many months after you’ve finished with it. The copepod will not be harmed in any way by this.

  • Take 20-30 percent of your copepod cultivation for harvesting. This is best accomplished by siphoning the water into a separate bucket and passing it through a plankton mesh of approximately 50 microns. It is not recommended to use the siphoned culture water in your aquarium since it may contain excessive levels of ammonia. Turn off your skimmer, but keep your pumps running to conserve energy. Copepods should be placed straight into your reef aquarium. Drain water from your reef tank through the plankton mesh (50 microns) and into your copepod tank to restore the water level.

Harvesting your Rotifers to provide food for fish larvae is as follows:

  • Turn off your air stone for 5-10 minutes and then turn it back on. This will give the trash a chance to settle. Harvest as many copepods as you require using the same procedure as described before
  • The culture water should be replenished using the same procedure as described previously. If you do not have a reef tank, you will need to clean your culture tank on a regular basis to keep the detritus levels from rising and producing ammonia spikes
  • If you do not have a reef tank, you will need to clean your culture tank every few months.
  • Copepods do not require much light and will do their best when left alone. Do not allow the copepods to get hungry at any point. It will take a few days for the eggs to hatch and increase in quantity to the point where you may begin gathering them again. Because it is difficult to determine copepod densities without a microscope, it may take up to two weeks to achieve an equilibrium in your system about how much algae to feed and how many litters of rotifers to remove each day without impacting your culture densities.

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Copepod Cultures On A Budget

Copepods (also known as amphipods) are an important component of the ecology in your aquarium. In addition, because these small crustaceans graze on microalgae, they become rich in fatty acids as a result of their feeding habits. Copepods are a reliable supply of vital fatty acids for corals, invertebrates, and fish, among other animals. They are extremely necessary if you plan on keeping a mandarin goby or other types of Dragonets, as the famed finicky eaters survive solely on a diet of Copepods and Amphipods, which are found in abundance in the tropics.

How do I add Copepods into my fish tank?

Simple. You are responsible for including them. There is a good probability that, if you started with live rock, you already have a few pieces in your tank. If you dip your corals, they will be harmed by the chemicals used in the dipping procedure. They can also come in on coral fragments. The handful that do manage to hitchhike their way into your tank are not nearly enough to keep your tank running smoothly and efficiently. Your fishcorals will eat some of them, but the bulk of them will be devoured by your fish.

  • Copepods may be purchased in packets to be added to your aquarium. Copepods are available for purchase at a cost of around £1.50 per packet and are ready to be placed directly into your tank. Simply wait for the lights to go out before turning off the water and pouring them in. In my 180 gallon show tank, I was consuming around 3 packets every week
  • Consider adding a refugium to your aquarium. This will serve as a “safe-haven” for your Copepods, allowing them to thrive and reproduce. They’ll float through your sump and into your return pump, which will then feed your tank
  • Others will settle in your tank. Design and construct your own Copepod culturing station.

Building a simple Copepod harvesting station on a budget

What you’ll need is the following:

  • An air pump
  • An air line (about 2 metres)
  • Three non-return valves
  • Three air stones
  • Three air line adjusters
  • Three big plastic jars or containers Splitters for air lines (if your air pump does not have multiple spare outlets)
  • Splitters for air lines (if your air pump does not have multiple spare outlets)
  • Phytoplankton starter culture
  • Copepod starter culture
  • F2 fertilizer

If you search about, you will find that there are fantastic prices to be acquired on all of these products. I purchased my air pump, air line, non-return valves, and airstones from All Pond Solutions in a package at £17.99, which included everything I needed (Jan 2020). Because the air pump has four outputs, I can easily add another culture at a later time if necessary. All Pond Solutions offers an air pump “data-image-caption=”Air Pump from All Pond Solutions” data-image-caption=”Air Pump from All Pond Solutions” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Air Pump from All Pond Solutions” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Air Pump from All Pond Solutions” “> The following is an example of a formalized formalized formalized All Pond Solutions offers an air pump.

My beginning cultures consisted of two packages of £1.50 copepods (for a total cost of £3.00) and 250ml of Phytoplankton, which came to a total cost of £4.99.

The Phyto, the F2, and the Copepods were all purchased on eBay.

Setting up a Copepod culturing station

Drill one hole in the top of each of your plastic jars, starting with the largest jar. The hole should be just a smidgeon larger in diameter than your air line. Step two – Arrange your pumpjars in the location where you intend to keep them. Keep your Copepods out of direct sunlight if at all possible. This is because direct sunlight can produce temperature changes, which can be harmful to your Copepods. However, I personally like to put mine in a window since I do not want to have to supplement the Phytoplankton culture with additional lighting.

I’ve also given them with a plethora of hiding places, which allows them to be active throughout the day while yet feeling comfortable in the knowledge that they may retreat if necessary.

This does not need to be extremely precise; simply cut them long enough to allow you to place the control valve at the top of the jar, outside of the jar, and to guarantee that the air stone will reach the bottom of the jar, without cutting them too short.

Feed the other end of the airline through the lid and connect it to an air regulator to complete the circuit.

The next step is to cut three tiny lengths of air line (about 10cm in length) and install a non-return valve to each of them.

You should be able to blow air through the short length of tube; if you are unable to do so, you have the tube in the improper position.

If you have an air line splitter, you should run a small portion of air line from your pump to the splitter to complete the installation.

Try to leave enough air space between the lines so that they don’t become too tight.

Step seven – Fill two of the jars with aquarium water that has been used previously.



When the phytoculture has turned a deep green (which usually occurs after a couple of weeks), you can increase the water amount by a factor of two.

To complete step nine, turn on the airpump.

Phyto must be rotated often, so make sure that as much air as possible is passing through it at all times.

Simply add a small amount of phyto to your copepod cultures to keep the water a slightly green tint, and begin harvesting once you have a healthy population of copepods.

Every three days, I remove a glass-full of water from my culture and replace it with new tank water from the tank. I’ve also begun to include Phyto into the tank; the corals and filter feeders seem to enjoy it.

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