Are amphipods good for our aquariums?

How often do you add amphipods to your tank?

  • Frequently every 2 or 3 months

    Votes: 9 9.0%
  • Occasionally 2-3 times a year

    Votes: 23 23.0%
  • Rarely once a year or less

    Votes: 8 8.0%
  • Only once

    Votes: 13 13.0%
  • Never

    Votes: 15 15.0%
  • I refuse to

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Came as a hitch hiker

    Votes: 31 31.0%

  • Total voters
    100

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
BENEFITS OF AMPHIPODS
Amph.jpg

Are amphipods good for our aquariums?

Amphipods are a natural food source in all types of water from fresh to salt and saltwater aquariums. There is no doubt that they can play an important role in our aquariums. Amphipods create a living sustainable nutritious food source for most if not all the fish we keep in our aquariums. There is no question that live foods in the right environment provide our fish with nutritional benefits over frozen or dry foods. Although prepared foods can be augmented with nutrients, just like human food, processing and preparing depletes many of the natural elements found in the original substance. I don’t think anyone would really argue that foods with preservatives are better for us, it is by nature required to use preservatives in prepared products. So providing a sustainable living food source is in my opinion a solid approach to keeping happy and healthy fish. However due to the constraints of our aquariums where these living food sources are kept in such close proximity to their predators, it is unlikely for most aquarists to maintain amphipods or other live food sources in high enough populations to fully sustain their fish. Therefore we find a need to augment these live offerings with prepared options in order to maintain these happy healthy fish.

This brings us to another benefit of amphipods. They can play an important role in maintaining good water parameters as they reduce nutrients in our aquariums in a number of ways. Because they are alive, the introduction of amphipods or other live foods does not increase nutrients at the same rate as prepared foods. Prepared foods are immediately deteriorating adding ammonia to our systems as they decompose, especially the foods that escape our fish and get into our rockwork and sand beds. These crustaceans are excellent scavengers, dining on algae and detritus. In this way they remove the waste converting it into a food supply (themselves) for every fish in your system.

Many amphipods are omnivorous, so along with cleaning up the waste from prepared foods, they also consume algae. This makes them an invaluable addition to any tank’s CUC (Clean Up Crew). Stocking amphipods along with copepods, the combination can get down into the tiniest of cracks and crevices eating algae to the root, so that it doesn’t just grow right back as happens often with larger herbivores such as tangs and rabbitfish. Early introduction when setting up a new system or when making a major change, reset or moving a tank can greatly reduce what we refer to as the “Ugly Stage” in the hobby. And who doesn’t love an algae free tank.

Amphipods can become self-sustaining in the appropriate system, and do not require pristine conditions to do so. Not that our target isn’t pristine conditions, but due to amphipods living in the wild in less than perfect conditions, it is probable that they will reproduce in your system with little assistance from you. Although you might find information of their populations exploding, from personal experience, I have found this to only be a true concern in tanks with very little to no predation. In our 3XL 900 tank named “Heavenly” as it is our angel tank, I saw a huge explosion of life in the tank during a fallow period to eradicate ich. Since @Ocean_Queenie doesn’t feel the need to keep the glass clear in a FOWLR with no fish (I agree with her) the viewing glass became covered with algae. During this time we saw amphipods, copepods, munnid isopods. Juvenile bristle worms and a very small shrimp looking crustacean complete with two pincers literally covering the glass. This may have been helped along as I continued to ghost feed the aquarium to maintain the bio-filter during this period. Now that the tank has been restocked and the glass is kept clear, these sightings are rare now. As a side note, I am not sure if this means that they are hiding in the rocks and sand, or if I inadvertently killed them off when I cleaned the tank exposing myself and the tank to paly toxins. But I can say with certainty that they definitely thrive even under those circumstances without being preyed upon.

Are there any drawbacks to amphipods? Here I will have to say that I cannot speak definitively on this subject, but only anecdotally from personal experience and second hand from posts (some right here on R2R) that I have read. There are threads on here where people claim that amphipods are eating their corals. Of a few I read, one dealt with frags. In this thread the author stated that the amphipods were eating his frags, but not bothering the colonies. The majority of the replies were that others suspected or have had instances where they have had this occur to dying coral. In this particular thread there is a possibility that the amphipods, if actually eating the frags, may have been due to the damage they suffered being fragged, as the OP does not make it clear if these frags were quarantined before being returned to the DT. Another thread talks of LPS corals being bothered by amphipods during a fallow period where their population exploded. In this thread the OP divulges that they were fighting GHA (Green Hair Algae) at the same time. These stories may be similar to claims against emerald crabs (which I witnessed in one of our systems) where I cannot honestly tell you if the crab was irritating the coral and possibly damaging it while cleaning the GHA off of the tubes on our pipe organ coral, or whether it was truly eating the coral. I can say that the coral had grown into a beautiful colony from a medium sized frag with no issues until it took a turn for the worse (probably related to a reset I did) and then the tank struggling through a short “Ugly Phase” with quite a bit of GHA taking root. In the story of the LPS being irritated the OP discusses picking up certain colonies and swishing them in the tank dislodging a large number of amphipods from the colony. They state that the LPS then opened up more normally, but again makes mention of GHA. This story does not indicate in the thread that the amphipods were eating the corals, even stating that the amphipods were down around the skeleton working on the GHA. The OP doesn’t describe feeding them, stating that there was enough detritus for them. I would think, that without adding a food source, and the population exploding, that there is the possibility that if the amphipods were eating any coral that it may be that starvation was driving them. As for us, we have never witnessed any negative impact on any corals in our six systems including our 4 tank frag system. So I stand behind the theory that amphipods are a very beneficial addition to any saltwater aquarium.

I have also read the claim that amphipods eat copepods. Again I cannot say with certainty that they do not, what I can say from my experience with all the life forms on the glass of Heavenly, they most certainly can coexist.

We offer amphipods individually or within our combo offerings at www.reefbysteele.com. And they are in stock and available.

Wishing you success and HAPPY REEFING

Kent and Sherry
 
OP
OP
Reef By Steele

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Do they eat copepods?
I have seen claims to this, but we have them in all of our tanks, and we have copepods as well. On the post I talk about a fallow tank where copepods, Munnid isopods, and amphipods were all eating the Algea aide by side.

So I cannot say they don’t. But I can say that they don’t decimate populations in my experience.
 
OP
OP
Reef By Steele

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Do you guys offer mysid shrimp? I’ve seen some mature tanks also have them living in the tank especially the sump
Sorry, not currently. Looking into that next. Working on a culture tank design as they will eat their young so have to have a method to keep the adults separated.
 

biophilia

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
581
Reaction score
1,279
Location
CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Another positive of our friend the amphipod:

I maintain a large number of heavily fed non-photosynthetic coral tanks and intentionally introduced thousands of amphipods to them roughly 10 months ago. All of the tanks were overrun with micro-brittle stars for years due to the heavy feeding (literally hundreds of thousands of them waving their arms out of every nook and cranny in the rocks and creating quite an eyesore.

Since introducing the amphipods, the brittle stars have almost completely disappeared. I’ve also noticed a marked reduction in the amount of detritus in the rock and see fish hunting the amphipods on a regular basis.
 

twentyleagues

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 27, 2023
Messages
2,711
Reaction score
2,934
Location
Flint
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Another positive of our friend the amphipod:

I maintain a large number of heavily fed non-photosynthetic coral tanks and intentionally introduced thousands of amphipods to them roughly 10 months ago. All of the tanks were overrun with micro-brittle stars for years due to the heavy feeding (literally hundreds of thousands of them waving their arms out of every nook and cranny in the rocks and creating quite an eyesore.

Since introducing the amphipods, the brittle stars have almost completely disappeared. I’ve also noticed a marked reduction in the amount of detritus in the rock and see fish hunting the amphipods on a regular basis.
I wonder if they outcompeted them for resources or actually ate them?
 

biophilia

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
581
Reaction score
1,279
Location
CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I wonder if they outcompeted them for resources or actually ate them?
I haven’t seen any directly go after them. I think they are mostly just filling the physical space in the rock pores that used to be occupied by brittle stars and eating whatever detritus the brittle stars ate.
 

Nano_Man

Anemone L
View Badges
Joined
Jan 7, 2023
Messages
5,670
Reaction score
24,344
Location
Usa
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Well I use them because I am close to the sea and there is a unlimited supply
IMG_3857.jpeg
Thanks for the information great read Thanks
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Reef By Steele

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Haha I read the whole thing not realizing until the end this was a vendor’s ad.
I do seed my 180g with 2000 amphipods every few months but from a cheaper source on ebay. Link here: Amphipod ebay link

Edit: Actually this the package I buy: 2200 pods with free shipping
That is where I bought before I got into the business. Be sure you sort and clean to removed the isopods.
 

GlassMunky

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
3,208
Reaction score
4,231
Location
NJ-Philly Burbs
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Sorry, not currently. Looking into that next. Working on a culture tank design as they will eat their young so have to have a method to keep the adults separated.
really??
i Have live Mysids all over my tank, in the display, in the sump, in the fuge, everywhere. Most places in the fuge or sump that i see them hanging out in i also see big groups of TINY little specs moving around like crazy.... i always thought that those were the babies and they were hanging out there cause they laid them......
maybe they are eating them???

But i guess for culturing them it would be different than just getting a population to survive and multiply in a tank.....


Curious indeed!
 
OP
OP
Reef By Steele

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Cheaper doesnt always mean better.
That is for sure. I purchased pods from this same vendor and they were not what they were presented to be. Supposedly three species individually packaged. All three were the same, and they were not clean. I believe they were wild caught even though they told me they were cultured. I ended up with some very interesting life in those cultures including barnacles.

Cheap can just mean cheap. Quality products at low prices equals value. Inferior products or contaminated cultures are not a value regardless of the price.
 
OP
OP
Reef By Steele

Reef By Steele

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
5,290
Reaction score
2,685
Location
Kearney
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
really??
i Have live Mysids all over my tank, in the display, in the sump, in the fuge, everywhere. Most places in the fuge or sump that i see them hanging out in i also see big groups of TINY little specs moving around like crazy.... i always thought that those were the babies and they were hanging out there cause they laid them......
maybe they are eating them???

But i guess for culturing them it would be different than just getting a population to survive and multiply in a tank.....


Curious indeed!
Yes, I think being in a system where they have places to hide in the rocks etc, and probably a larger area. I wanted to get some started even before we started our business as I wanted as much live feeds as possible. This is just what I found when I researched how to culture them. May be true, may be just one opinion. I plan to DIY a separated tank to overcome this, but it all takes time.

I have a good population in one of my DT’s but they came as hitchhikers as I haven’t ever purchased any.
 

DOES TIME EQUAL PROFICIENCY IN REEFING? (TELL US WHY OR WHY NOT IN THE COMMENTS!)

  • Yes. The longer you are in reefing, the more proficient you become.

    Votes: 48 48.5%
  • No, time does not equal proficiency in reefing.

    Votes: 44 44.4%
  • Other (please explain!).

    Votes: 7 7.1%
Back
Top