cultivating copepods for mandarin

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Neptune 555

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I want to cultivate copepods for my 180 gallon reef for 2 mandarins. The cost to keep buying pods for a 180 via algae barn seems too expensive. I have a read few threads but am not understanding how to keep a copepod culture running? I have read different opinions - after the pod population is started do you need to continue to dose phyto others say your pods can live w/ out dosing phyto? I could see dosing a small population of pods with phyto but for a 180 gallon this seems expensive b/c of the qty needed?

Also I have filter socks and a return pump... will the pods live in my cheato in my sump and move between the tank and the sump? Doesn't the return filter kill the pods?

Last question - my sump is very dirty right now - heavy with ditritus. I have looked and DON't see any pods at night in the sump with a flashlight... Should I remove the detritus from my sump before I stock with pods or leave it as pod food? When I did have pods living in my sump I did NOT clean it for fear of killing the pods.

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Miami Reef

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Step 1: you don’t need to buy copepods from algae barn. I guarantee that you have them.

Step 2: No need to have a separate culture for them. Use your tank as the culture! Dose phytoplankton. The more you add the bigger population (use bottle instructions).

Step 3: copepods don’t require detritus nor cheato in sump to survive. That’s only as a place to take refuge. You have plenty of live rocks already.

Step 4: Filter socks cannot eradicate copepods. It will only remove a tiny fraction of them. Copepods tend to stay on surface (not free swimming).
 

dhnguyen

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Step 1: you don’t need to buy copepods from algae barn. I guarantee that you have them.

Step 2: No need to have a separate culture for them. Use your tank as the culture! Dose phytoplankton. The more you add the bigger population (use bottle instructions).

Step 3: copepods don’t require detritus nor cheato in sump to survive. That’s only as a place to take refuge. You have plenty of live rocks already.

Step 4: Filter socks cannot eradicate copepods. It will only remove a tiny fraction of them. Copepods tend to stay on surface (not free swimming).


That's not entirely accurate. For one it depends on the pod species. Some are free swimming like the the tigger pods (trigiopus californicus)

Also it depends on how old this 180g is. If it's a new tank and if it's started with dry rocks then chances are the OP won't have much or any pods at all. It also depends on what other fish there are in the tank that eat pods. If the OP has wrasses for example then chances are they would wipe out the pod population in no time before the mandarins can even get to them.

For a mandarin, the best pods would be amphipods and tisbe since they live on the surface of rocks and sand and not free swimming.

I would absolutely recommend culturing pods to supplement the DT.
Culturing is very easy. You just need a container, an airstone, an air pump, and feed phyto or fish flake food.

Even easier if do it this way https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/more-pods.835488/
 

Miami Reef

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That's not entirely accurate. For one it depends on the pod species. Some are free swimming like the the tigger pods (trigiopus californicus)

Also it depends on how old this 180g is. If it's a new tank and if it's started with dry rocks then chances are the OP won't have much or any pods at all. It also depends on what other fish there are in the tank that eat pods. If the OP has wrasses for example then chances are they would wipe out the pod population in no time before the mandarins can even get to them.

For a mandarin, the best pods would be amphipods and tisbe since they live on the surface of rocks and sand and not free swimming.

I would absolutely recommend culturing pods to supplement the DT.
Culturing is very easy. You just need a container, an airstone, an air pump, and feed phyto or fish flake food.

Even easier if do it this way https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/more-pods.835488/
I still stand by my post. Survival of the fittest. If Tigger pods dwindle to low populations because of a filter sock, then either they will need to adapt, or a new species (tisbe) will take over and become abundant. We have both types in our systems and the more adaptive one becomes dominant.

it’s still unlikely for filter socks to catch all the tigger pods.

How can you even assume OP’s tank might be new? Look at the picture! You cannot grow that coralline in a new tank. Those rocks look mature and dark too!

I like to run my tanks sustainably. You don’t need to cultivate copepods to keep a mandarin. That’s preposterous! I mean, it most certainly won’t hurt…but why? Do you really want to be cultivating copepods for the next 5 years? If you do, go for it!
 

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Update: I’m not against cultivating copepods for a tank. Especially if a tank is really small.

I’m only against when we assume copepods can’t be kept unless we establish a culture for them. Our reef tanks is basically one giant culture. We culture so much bacteria and organism it’s incredible. Copepods directly consume phytoplankton.

@zoa what What is your copepod population like since you religiously dose phyto?
 
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dhnguyen

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I still stand by my post. Survival of the fittest. If Tigger pods dwindle to low populations because of a filter sock, then either they will need to adapt, or a new species (tisbe) will take over and become abundant. We have both types in our systems and the more adaptive one becomes dominant.

it’s still unlikely for filter socks to catch all the tigger pods.

How can you even assume OP’s tank might be new? Look at the picture! You cannot grow that coralline in a new tank. Those rocks look mature and dark too!

I like to run my tanks sustainably. You don’t need to cultivate copepods to keep a mandarin. That’s preposterous! I mean, it most certainly won’t hurt…but why? Do you really want to be cultivating copepods for the next 5 years? If you do, go for it!
You must have better vision than I do since I can't make out much from that tiny photo of the OP's tank. Certainly not enough to guess the age of it.

And I think you underestimate the ability of a mandarin to hunt for pods let a lone 2. These fish spend all day hunting and eating pods. It would not take long for a mandarin to annihilate a tank's pod population.

Actually I would suggest to the OP to consider training your mandarins to take prepared food (frozen and pellets). It can be done and I have done it many times. You just need a healthy pod population in the tank while you're training them so that they don't starve. The key is to get the male to eat prepared food, the female will copy him do the same in no time at all.
 

Jay'sReefBugs

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Step 1: you don’t need to buy copepods from algae barn. I guarantee that you have them.

Step 2: No need to have a separate culture for them. Use your tank as the culture! Dose phytoplankton. The more you add the bigger population (use bottle instructions).

Step 3: copepods don’t require detritus nor cheato in sump to survive. That’s only as a place to take refuge. You have plenty of live rocks already.

Step 4: Filter socks cannot eradicate copepods. It will only remove a tiny fraction of them. Copepods tend to stay on surface (not free swimming).
Boom drop the mic you hit on every point I was going to make lol
 

Jay'sReefBugs

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That's not entirely accurate. For one it depends on the pod species. Some are free swimming like the the tigger pods (trigiopus californicus)

Also it depends on how old this 180g is. If it's a new tank and if it's started with dry rocks then chances are the OP won't have much or any pods at all. It also depends on what other fish there are in the tank that eat pods. If the OP has wrasses for example then chances are they would wipe out the pod population in no time before the mandarins can even get to them.

For a mandarin, the best pods would be amphipods and tisbe since they live on the surface of rocks and sand and not free swimming.

I would absolutely recommend culturing pods to supplement the DT.
Culturing is very easy. You just need a container, an airstone, an air pump, and feed phyto or fish flake food.

Even easier if do it this way https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/more-pods.835488/
Not entirely true I have wrasse and mandarins and my tank is loaded with copepods. The key is daily dosing of phyto I haven't added copepods to my system in almost a year .Also I wouldn't recommend amthipods as a true food source for mandarins. Yes they can eat the babies but the adults are far to big for mandarins to consume and to fast for the mandarins to keep up . Also Yes Tig pods are " pelagic " but that doesn't mean they won't go into substrate and breed most of my tig cultures they are in some form of substrate ( rock , sand, filters ) vs being pelagic . I still consider Tigs as a food source and not a seeding source just based on size and color they normally are the 1st group to be picked off . Proper seeding of the system with proper substrate in the sump and display along with daily phyto dosing and he should be perfectly fine . Unless he just want's a stand alone food source then I would agree a Tig culture would be best for that case .
 
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Neptune 555

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Not entirely true I have wrasse and mandarins and my tank is loaded with copepods. The key is daily dosing of phyto I haven't added copepods to my system in almost a year .Also I wouldn't recommend amthipods as a true food source for mandarins. Yes they can eat the babies but the adults are far to big for mandarins to consume and to fast for the mandarins to keep up . Also Yes Tig pods are " pelagic " but that doesn't mean they won't go into substrate and breed most of my tig cultures they are in some form of substrate ( rock , sand, filters ) vs being pelagic . I still consider Tigs as a food source and not a seeding source just based on size and color they normally are the 1st group to be picked off . Proper seeding of the system with proper substrate in the sump and display along with daily phyto dosing and he should be perfectly fine . Unless he just want's a stand alone food source then I would agree a Tig culture would be best for that case .
Do you keep buying phyto? or do you make it? I don't mind paying to seed my tank... but to continue dosing in the amount algae barn says for phyto will be expensive in my DT 180 gallons? I was thinking that I would seed my 180 dose with phyto for a week or two so they start breeding and then stop. I am also going to set up my 10 gallon tank as a refugium and continue dosing phyto in the 10 gallon and just continually move LR back and forth to ensure DT has pods. thoughts? Suggestions?

Also what does dosing phyto do to your nirates? Mine are already high so wondering if that will help the pod population anyway?

thanks!
 

Miami Reef

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Do you keep buying phyto? or do you make it? I don't mind paying to seed my tank... but to continue dosing in the amount algae barn says for phyto will be expensive in my DT 180 gallons? I was thinking that I would seed my 180 dose with phyto for a week or two so they start breeding and then stop. I am also going to set up my 10 gallon tank as a refugium and continue dosing phyto in the 10 gallon and just continually move LR back and forth to ensure DT has pods. thoughts? Suggestions?

Also what does dosing phyto do to your nirates? Mine are already high so wondering if that will help the pod population anyway?

thanks!
I personally purchased seachem phytoplankton. It’s non living, shelf stable, multiple strains (Nannochloropsis the best one is also included). It’s cheaper too!

Anyone who tells you that you have to buy living phyto is almost out of their mind! Phyto is basically liquid detritus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s living or not! Copepods eat literal garbage (see banana peel thread above).

The seachem stuff is very concentrated. A weekly dose is all you’ll need.
 
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Do you keep buying phyto? or do you make it? I don't mind paying to seed my tank... but to continue dosing in the amount algae barn says for phyto will be expensive in my DT 180 gallons? I was thinking that I would seed my 180 dose with phyto for a week or two so they start breeding and then stop. I am also going to set up my 10 gallon tank as a refugium and continue dosing phyto in the 10 gallon and just continually move LR back and forth to ensure DT has pods. thoughts? Suggestions?

Also what does dosing phyto do to your nirates? Mine are already high so wondering if that will help the pod population anyway?

thanks!
Yes, phyto will raise nitrates and phosphates. As previously mentioned, it’s essentially liquid detritus. I would say to test both of those parameters, dose according to bottle (or a little less if you’d rather be safe), then test again after a few hours to get an idea of how it can affect the parameters. This will at least give you an estimate on how much to dose without causing too quick/big of swings!
 

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I bought a small ball of cheato months ago and that small ball seeded my 130 gallon tank with pods. I supplemented with tiggers that I cultured but they are not the dominant pod in my tank, they either die quickly or get eaten quickly.
I dose 50ml of phyto daily and that helps sustain the pod population in the tank.
I have had my mandarin for 5 months and it is fat and happy.
I do culture my own phyto. I found it to be easy an a liter last me roughly a month. I currently have about 10 liters in my fish fridge in the basement.
As long as you sterilize all your gear culturing phyto is easy.
Hope this helps
 
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Neptune 555

Neptune 555

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Miami Reef,

I still stand by my post. Survival of the fittest. If Tigger pods dwindle to low populations because of a filter sock, then either they will need to adapt, or a new species (tisbe) will take over and become abundant. We have both types in our systems and the more adaptive one becomes dominant.

it’s still unlikely for filter socks to catch all the tigger pods.

How can you even assume OP’s tank might be new? Look at the picture! You cannot grow that coralline in a new tank. Those rocks look mature and dark too!

I like to run my tanks sustainably. You don’t need to cultivate copepods to keep a mandarin. That’s preposterous! I mean, it most certainly won’t hurt…but why? Do you really want to be cultivating copepods for the next 5 years? If you do, go for it!
Yes thanks for noticing... My LR is 20+ years old. This 180 gallon is 2 years old but was made from 2 separate tanks merged into one bigger tank. I did add some new LR in the merge. I have had mandarins in the past live 5+ years... but in this new tank my mandarin didn't make it. I want to try again so am going to build up my pod population and will happily have a separate pod factory aka hospital tank ready. The odd thing is that I don't see pods in my tank? I used to see them in my sump at night and on my sand in the DT. I have one wrasse but in a 180 am also surprised I don't have more?

I have trained my mandarins to eat black worms but no matter what I did they never could consume enough the tangs are just pigs.
 

Miami Reef

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Miami Reef,


Yes thanks for noticing... My LR is 20+ years old. This 180 gallon is 2 years old but was made from 2 separate tanks merged into one bigger tank. I did add some new LR in the merge. I have had mandarins in the past live 5+ years... but in this new tank my mandarin didn't make it. I want to try again so am going to build up my pod population and will happily have a separate pod factory aka hospital tank ready. The odd thing is that I don't see pods in my tank? I used to see them in my sump at night and on my sand in the DT. I have one wrasse but in a 180 am also surprised I don't have more?

I have trained my mandarins to eat black worms but no matter what I did they never could consume enough the tangs are just pigs.
Let’s put it this way: it’s impossible for you to have absolutely 0 copepods. They are there but evolved to hide because of predators.

Please try weekly phytoplankton dosing. You’d be surprised by the explosion of copepods you’ll get.

If you really want to try culturing pods, there’s no harm whatsoever. But note that the mandarin will depend on you for feeding. I’d still recommend phyto dosing if you think your tank is on shortage of copepods.
 

Jay'sReefBugs

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Do you keep buying phyto? or do you make it? I don't mind paying to seed my tank... but to continue dosing in the amount algae barn says for phyto will be expensive in my DT 180 gallons? I was thinking that I would seed my 180 dose with phyto for a week or two so they start breeding and then stop. I am also going to set up my 10 gallon tank as a refugium and continue dosing phyto in the 10 gallon and just continually move LR back and forth to ensure DT has pods. thoughts? Suggestions?

Also what does dosing phyto do to your nirates? Mine are already high so wondering if that will help the pod population anyway?

thanks!
Grow your own bud . Nannochloropsis is pretty simple to culture and you dont need much to do it . More advanced phytos are difficult but Nanno should suit your purpose perfectly. Nitrates it will raise it a tick but not much if you have a established system I wouldn't worry about that at all .
 
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Neptune 555

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So I started growing my pods.... I was feeding phyto but my nitrate went up from 40 already high and now is at 80? With a tank this aged/dirtly do I actually need to feed phyto to get my pods to grow? My softies look great and my fish are happy but this way to much nitrate!?
 

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