CARE AND FEEDING OF YOUR LIVE COPEPODS
Once you Receive your Live Copepods
Here are some tips to keep your copepods happy upon arrival:
When they first arrive,the copeods may not be very active since they have been out of the sunlight for several days. Live Copepods love the light, so they will begin to wake up once you get them out of the box and into room temperature conditions. They may take longer to wake up when shipped with ice or stored in the fridge.
If you see what appears to be inactive copepods on the bottom, there are a few possibilities: discarded carapaces from molting, excess food, or a few expired animals (copepods live about 10 weeks).
When the copepods get to your home, open the bottle cap to provide some fresh air. Once acclimated to room temperature, introduce them into a larger container or pour them directly into your main tank, refugium and/or sump. While they can live several weeks in the bottle if fed, you will get more milage from the culture if you can place them into a larger container with some food, such as crushed up fish pellets or any live phytoplankton.
In nature, copepods feed on microalgae, fish detritus and macroalgae. In captivity, they can eat excess algae and bacteria in your tank. If you are maintaining a culture outside of your tank, remember to feed them occasionally with crushed up fish feed pellets or live phytoplankton.
Copepods can live in your main tank, your refugium, or in a separate culture system. Fish LOVE copepods, so they will be eaten and depleted in your main tank by your happy and active fish and corals. When the copepods are grown with predators, they will reproduce rapidly. Copepods reared in your refugium, sump or separate container can be harvested and fed to your main tank once or twice a week (depending on the size and density of the culture container).
Here are some directions for setting up a side culture system
Gather the following materials:
1. Culture container: mason jar, tupperware container, small unused fish tank. Do not wash the containers with soap - only use hot water and a stiff brush. Live copepods HATE soap.
2. Artificial seawater, can be dirty water from your tank system, since the copepods like slightly dirty water. Copepods like a saltwater concentration of 1.021 to 1.026.
3. Do not aerate the culture unless it is in a container of 5 gallons or more, and cover the system to prevent evaporation. Saran wrap and a rubber band are a simple solution.st and contaminants out and evaporation down.
4. Crush up some sinking pellets or other high quality fish food (except frozen), and provide a few pinches every few days.
When you are ready to harvest, collect the copepods with a fine mesh net (brine shrimp net), or turkey baster or pour a portion of your culture water into the main tank or refugium to introduce the copepods to the system.
Copepod populations will bloom after a few weeks, but eventually they will get depleted. It is possible to crash the culture by overfeeding, so it is important to use either live phytoplankton or another clean food source to prevent crashes. It is natural that the population will eventually become depleted, so it may be necessary to replenish your stock periodically until you get some practice maintaining the cultures.