Apocyclops panamensis not appropriate for reef tanks

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fryman

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I've been having trouble getting my apocyclops culture to produce, and I suspect the reason is salinity.

I culture pods at 35ppt, since my display is at 35ppt. This is fine for rotifers, tisbe, and tig pods. But it doesn't appear apocyclops reproduces at any significant rate under full salinity. A brief lit search found recommended salinity range of 20 - 25 ppt for Apocyclops panamensis culture. One study I found that actually tested at 35 ppt had more than 90% reduction in population for 35 ppt vs 20 ppt.

So...why are we buying apocyclops pods again? As a feed alone I suppose they would be fine. They do survive at 35ppt. But that's expensive food and I doubt they are any better as a feed than other pods. If they do not reproduce at 35ppt, people are wasting money trying to "seed" a display tank at 35ppt with apocyclops. They won't establish a population, at least not in any significant numbers, in a typical reef display.

Is there something I missed here? A lot of vendors are selling these and I never knew they were a low salinity species. I doubt most of my fellow reefers know either.
 
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LordofCinder

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I was able to culture apocyclops, it was no different for me than the tigger pods. I find they last longer in my tank than the tiggers do, I can always see them on my glass but rarely see tiggers.

I eventually gave up on apocyclops because they were just too small for me, I couldn't see them, and it made me feel old. But you are right, they reproduced at about half the rate of the tiggers, very slow. It might have been because of the salinity, I don't know.

Now I just cultivate the tiggers and harvest once a month to add to my tank. I agree that paying $30 for a bottle of water bugs is crazy when you think about
 
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I was able to culture apocyclops, it was no different for me than the tigger pods. I find they last longer in my tank than the tiggers do, I can always see them on my glass but rarely see tiggers.

I eventually gave up on apocyclops because they were just too small for me, I couldn't see them, and it made me feel old. But you are right, they reproduced at about half the rate of the tiggers, very slow. It might have been because of the salinity, I don't know.

Now I just cultivate the tiggers and harvest once a month to add to my tank. I agree that paying $30 for a bottle of water bugs is crazy when you think about
So my apocyclops culture does grow things, they just aren't apocyclops. Ciliates and rotifers usually take over. Eventually tig or tisbe gets in and then they can take over.

Apocyclops are larger than tisbe, tho smaller than tig. You were probably culturing something else, imho

I think tig pods are great, and tisbe are very prolific once they get going. I'm not sure why apocyclops are recommended.
 

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So my apocyclops culture does grow things, they just aren't apocyclops. Ciliates and rotifers usually take over. Eventually tig or tisbe gets in and then they can take over.

Apocyclops are larger than tisbe, tho smaller than tig. You were probably culturing something else, imho
apoclyclops are larger than tigger? You might want to google that. Tiggers grow as big as mosquitoes, its disgusting.
 
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apoclyclops are larger than tigger? You might want to google that. Tiggers grow as big as mosquitoes, its disgusting.
No I said they are larger than tisbe. Apocyclops are between tigger and tisbe in size. I was just guessing you had tisbe, since tisbe are fairly hard to see and they reproduce at full salinity.
 

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I've never tried tisbe pods, they were not available in Canada until very recently. My LFS just got some in stock, I will pick some up and try culturing them too, just for fun.
 
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I've never tried tisbe pods, they were not available in Canada until very recently. My LFS just got some in stock, I will pick some up and try culturing them too, just for fun.
I recommend tisbe, but they are hard to see without a microscope.

Another tip I found put the entire culture through a 120 micron sieve periodically and xfer the tisbe adults into a clean culture container to cut down on ciliates.

Tig pods I think are the best and don't have problems with contamination, they just eat anything and everything.
 
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I find they last longer in my tank than the tiggers do, I can always see them on my glass but rarely see tiggers.
You're right there and this is something I have also noticed, tigs do not seem to survive long in a reef tank, even tho they reproduce like rabbits in a seperate tank with basically identical parameters.

Why is that? Is it just the adults all get eaten because they are so easy to see? Why wouldn't they at least survive in the the sump, there aren't any predators down there (that I'm aware of anyways)?
 
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Reef Nutrition

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I've been culturing Apocylops panamensis for years now and have never had an issue with salinity. I've grown them just fine at 35 ppt. While we currently culture them in about 30 to save money on salt, they've done just fine at 35 ppt. I had to test that salinity for my own knowledge. They are ravenous eaters, so it might be that they are being underfed or there is something else going on (you mentioned contamination). I always found that when the population was struggling I fed more and they perked right up. We have them growing in our office reef tank which is at 35 ppt. This species is euryhaline, just like Tigriopus californicus, so they can live and reproduce in a wide range of salinities. This species is also used in aquaculture of food fish and marine ornamentals in hatcheries that run their salinities at 35 ppt. Please provide us with links to the studies so that we can have a look. I know that there are existing, natural populations of this species that live in full freshwater and brackish environments, so taking them from there and trying to breed them in full salinity could certainly be problematic. We've domesticated ours to higher salinities. If that didn't work, we wouldn't culture them.

Sounds like your issues might stem from contaminating organisms in the culture outcompeting the copepods for food. Rotifers and ciliates reproduce much faster than copepods since they can go asexual, basically cloning themselves. In fact, the rotifers that we offer into the hobby and aquaculture, which are also euryhaline, aren't even native to full salinity environments. We've domesticated them to higher salinities and they do just fine.

I'm worried that the title of this thread is going to discourage hobbyists and that's why I felt compelled to chime in here.

Best,
Chad
 
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I've been culturing Apocylops panamensis for years now and have never had an issue with salinity. I've grown them just fine at 35 ppt. While we currently culture them in about 30 to save money on salt, they've done just fine at 35 ppt. I had to test that salinity for my own knowledge. They are ravenous eaters, so it might be that they are being underfed or there is something else going on (you mentioned contamination). I always found that when the population was struggling I fed more and they perked right up. We have them growing in our office reef tank which is at 35 ppt. This species is euryhaline, just like Tigriopus californicus, so they can live and reproduce in a wide range of salinities. This species is also used in aquaculture of food fish and marine ornamentals in hatcheries that run their salinities at 35 ppt. Please provide us with links to the studies so that we can have a look. I know that there are existing, natural populations of this species that live in full freshwater and brackish environments, so taking them from there and trying to breed them in full salinity could certainly be problematic. We've domesticated ours to higher salinities. If that didn't work, we wouldn't culture them.

Sounds like your issues might stem from contaminating organisms in the culture outcompeting the copepods for food. Rotifers and ciliates reproduce much faster than copepods since they can go asexual, basically cloning themselves. In fact, the rotifers that we offer into the hobby and aquaculture, which are also euryhaline, aren't even native to full salinity environments. We've domesticated them to higher salinities and they do just fine.

I'm worried that the title of this thread is going to discourage hobbyists and that's why I felt compelled to chime in here.

Best,
Chad
Hi Chad and thanks for your input. Sorry for being negative, perhaps frustration has colored my post.

So my setup is 6x ~1 gallon tea dispensers with rigid airline. I feed live phytoplankton, initially just tetraselmis but now I have a mix of nannochloropsis, tetraselmis, and isochrysis galbana.
20210225_183523.jpg


The first copepods I bought were "tigger" pods from reef nutrition, and they reproduced like crazy from the get-go. Then I bought tisbe and apocyclops pods from another source to try them out. These seemed to be going well for awhile (phyto cleared/eaten, little moving specks visible in the culture) but I got suspicious because I could not see any adult copepods in the culture or sieve (unlike for the tig pod cultures). So I checked under a microscope and found that what I thought were tisbe & apocyclops cultures were actually over-run with ciliates (I think Euplotes?) and the occasional rotifer. See pic below. If there were copepods left they were very few.
20210519_231421.jpg


So I bought yet another starter of both tisbe and apocyclops to try again. But as soon as I got the new bottles I checked under the microscope and found that they also were mostly ciliates with just a handful of copepods. Hmmph. I'm not ever buying from no-name copepod suppliers again.

Undeterred, I started them anyways and just used a 120 micron sieve on the entire culture between feedings to filter out rotifers & ciliates. This worked great for the tisbe, but apocyclops are still a no-go.

I did some late night research one night and found a few studies that seemed to indicate to me apocyclops panamensis was a brackish water species. I was surprised and figured that's my problem, hence the post. But I looked again today and am not so sure. While it seems generally speaking apocyclops do best in lower salinities, they are indeed described as euryhaline and able to reproduce, albiet at lower rates, in full salinity (as you said).
Ref: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?...pocyclops+salinit#d=gs_qabs&u=#p=7Kip4RqDDFgJ

So. Maybe I should try again? Perhaps I will order reef nutrition this time rather than someone's hobby culture from ebay/amazon. Lesson learned.

I agree with you about ciliates and rotifers, they reproduce very quickly and can easily over-take a copepod culture. I am guessing most hobbyists do not realize and just feed more when the water gets clear. Maybe that's not a big deal? Rotifers and ciliates are food for something too...
 

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Hi Chad and thanks for your input. Sorry for being negative, perhaps frustration has colored my post.

So my setup is 6x ~1 gallon tea dispensers with rigid airline. I feed live phytoplankton, initially just tetraselmis but now I have a mix of nannochloropsis, tetraselmis, and isochrysis galbana.
20210225_183523.jpg


The first copepods I bought were "tigger" pods from reef nutrition, and they reproduced like crazy from the get-go. Then I bought tisbe and apocyclops pods from another source to try them out. These seemed to be going well for awhile (phyto cleared/eaten, little moving specks visible in the culture) but I got suspicious because I could not see any adult copepods in the culture or sieve (unlike for the tig pod cultures). So I checked under a microscope and found that what I thought were tisbe & apocyclops cultures were actually over-run with ciliates (I think Euplotes?) and the occasional rotifer. See pic below. If there were copepods left they were very few.
20210519_231421.jpg


So I bought yet another starter of both tisbe and apocyclops to try again. But as soon as I got the new bottles I checked under the microscope and found that they also were mostly ciliates with just a handful of copepods. Hmmph. I'm not ever buying from no-name copepod suppliers again.

Undeterred, I started them anyways and just used a 120 micron sieve on the entire culture between feedings to filter out rotifers & ciliates. This worked great for the tisbe, but apocyclops are still a no-go.

I did some late night research one night and found a few studies that seemed to indicate to me apocyclops panamensis was a brackish water species. I was surprised and figured that's my problem, hence the post. But I looked again today and am not so sure. While it seems generally speaking apocyclops do best in lower salinities, they are indeed described as euryhaline and able to reproduce, albiet at lower rates, in full salinity (as you said).
Ref: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1&q=apocyclops+salinity&oq=apocyclops+salinit#d=gs_qabs&u=#p=7Kip4RqDDFgJ

So. Maybe I should try again? Perhaps I will order reef nutrition this time rather than someone's hobby culture from ebay/amazon. Lesson learned.

I agree with you about ciliates and rotifers, they reproduce very quickly and can easily over-take a copepod culture. I am guessing most hobbyists do not realize and just feed more when the water gets clear. Maybe that's not a big deal? Rotifers and ciliates are food for something too...
I just saw this thread. You have probably read it.
Good Luck!
 
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I just saw this thread. You have probably read it.
Good Luck!
I've tried adding marine pure balls and ulva/red ogo macroalgae to the jars. Too many balls seemed to make the contamination problem worse, but my tig cutures have 2-4 of them each and they are fine (not sure if it helps).

The red ogo melted and made a mess. Ulva grew so long as I left a bit of fertilizer in there. But I don't see a noticeable difference between production from the jar with ulva vs the ones without. It may be better I just don't have a great way to assess.

Tig cultures have no contamination, and I've had cross-contamination where tigs get into the other cultures amd then take it over, even from ciliates. My guess is tig pods eat the ciliates?

Something to be said for just using tigger pods. But I never see tig pods establlsh a significant population in a reef tank. Yet another thing I don't understand.
 

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Hi Chad and thanks for your input. Sorry for being negative, perhaps frustration has colored my post.

So my setup is 6x ~1 gallon tea dispensers with rigid airline. I feed live phytoplankton, initially just tetraselmis but now I have a mix of nannochloropsis, tetraselmis, and isochrysis galbana.
20210225_183523.jpg


The first copepods I bought were "tigger" pods from reef nutrition, and they reproduced like crazy from the get-go. Then I bought tisbe and apocyclops pods from another source to try them out. These seemed to be going well for awhile (phyto cleared/eaten, little moving specks visible in the culture) but I got suspicious because I could not see any adult copepods in the culture or sieve (unlike for the tig pod cultures). So I checked under a microscope and found that what I thought were tisbe & apocyclops cultures were actually over-run with ciliates (I think Euplotes?) and the occasional rotifer. See pic below. If there were copepods left they were very few.
20210519_231421.jpg


So I bought yet another starter of both tisbe and apocyclops to try again. But as soon as I got the new bottles I checked under the microscope and found that they also were mostly ciliates with just a handful of copepods. Hmmph. I'm not ever buying from no-name copepod suppliers again.

Undeterred, I started them anyways and just used a 120 micron sieve on the entire culture between feedings to filter out rotifers & ciliates. This worked great for the tisbe, but apocyclops are still a no-go.

I did some late night research one night and found a few studies that seemed to indicate to me apocyclops panamensis was a brackish water species. I was surprised and figured that's my problem, hence the post. But I looked again today and am not so sure. While it seems generally speaking apocyclops do best in lower salinities, they are indeed described as euryhaline and able to reproduce, albiet at lower rates, in full salinity (as you said).
Ref: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1&q=apocyclops+salinity&oq=apocyclops+salinit#d=gs_qabs&u=#p=7Kip4RqDDFgJ

So. Maybe I should try again? Perhaps I will order reef nutrition this time rather than someone's hobby culture from ebay/amazon. Lesson learned.

I agree with you about ciliates and rotifers, they reproduce very quickly and can easily over-take a copepod culture. I am guessing most hobbyists do not realize and just feed more when the water gets clear. Maybe that's not a big deal? Rotifers and ciliates are food for something too...
I would recommend starting off with a single species culture of any copepod or live feed organism. It also helps if the cultures aren't super contaminated. That image you shared is a common ciliated protozoan with the genus Euplotes. I've seen them throughout my career. They tend to do poorly in clean systems and Apocylcops are known to eat them. I've never seen them in my cultures, which is shocking.

It is very good that you are feeding other species of phytoplankton besides just Tetraselmis. That species of phyto is quite large and is sometimes problematic for copepod nauplii to catch and consume. Tisochrysis and Nannochloropsis are great additions to their diet.

Despite being common contaminants in copepod and phytoplankton cultures, rotifers and ciliates are indeed great food for larval fish and many types of corals! :)

From what I can gather, it sounds like you just didn't get a good starter culture from the vendor. That can happen, especially with phytoplankton. You also have to be careful who you buy from because you can potentially get fish pathogens. We are a fish-free facility.

I appreciate the discussion!

Chad
 
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Jay'sReefBugs

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Agree with Reef Nutrition on this one it seems to be a contamination issue . I culture several spices of copepods and Phyto and my lesson learned is to just keep rotifers out of my culture room all together. No matter how careful I was it always seemed my pod cultures got contaminated. Fast forward 3 month's and I'm at %100 pure copepods Tisbe/Tigriopus/Cyclops/Pseudo/Euterpina/ Parvo.
And yes it's hard to find a quality Copepod source! The thing is a lot and when I mean alot I'll venture to %75 of vendor's purposely add rotifers to copepod bottles to make them seem more dense. Most people don't really know the difference they just think they are all copepods which isn't the case at all ! Don't get me Wrong rotifers are a great food source it's just they can devastate copepod cultures in a matter of days once they take hold . That's why I no longer culture rotifers.
Just start with a clean slate for the cyclops and I think you will be perfectly fine
 
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