Tigger-Pods (Tigriopus californicus): addressing the cold water myth

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Time for some myth busting!


One of my top frustrations is the myth that Tigriopus californicus are a "cold water species". I hear this from store owners and hobbyists ALL the time. This copepod is eurythermal. For those of you that don’t know the term, it describes an organism able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Tigriopus californicus is both euryhaline and eurythermal, withstanding and remaining active in salinities from 4ppt (Vittor 1971) to 102ppt (Egloff 1967) and temperatures from 4C (39.2F) (Vittor 1971) to over 40C (104F) (Ranade 1957). The genus Tigriopus is represented by seven species which are abundant in splash zone pools all over the world (Bradford, 1967).

View attachment 501636

This copepod can be quite successful in places where nothing else prospers. Tigriopus californicus, as an inhabitant of supralittoral rockpools, is subject to sudden and violent fluctuations in salinity and temperature; these conditions have eliminated this niche for most marine invertebrates (Ricketts and Calvin, 1973). It has effectively colonized much of the Pacific coast of North America. The marine harpacticoid copepod, Tigriopus californicus (Baker), is a successful colonizer of supralittoral splash pools from Torch Bay, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico (L. Chalker-Scott 1995).

View attachment 501635

We (Reed Mariculture) are culturing these guys in a greenhouse in the San Jose, CA area. For those of you that have been there in the summer; it's hot. One of the main reasons we are working with this copepod is because we can culture them all year, even in the hottest months when the greenhouse temps get upwards of 38C (100F). I can assure you that we don't use chillers and don't air condition; that would cost us a fortune! If we had seasonality issues, you wouldn't see Tigger-Pods in stores in June, July, August & September, right? We have been culturing this species for 8 years now without any wild stock supplementation. They are fully adapted and domesticated to our greenhouse environment and all the seasonality issues that are associated with this kind of growing area.

View attachment 501634

Now, I can see how people could misunderstand this animal when they see it in a refrigerator in a pet store. The reason you see them held this way is because it makes more sense for a retail store; they can hold them for longer periods without heavy mortalities. The colder temperatures simply slow them down metabolically, keeping them from using up the oxygen and their energy reserves; plain and simple. Colder temperatures can also be advantageous with shipping this animal. They remain inactive at the colder temps while in shipping so that they don’t use up all the oxygen in the bottle. We use their hardiness to our advantage so that when a customer buys a bottle, the animals are alive and well.


I would like for everyone that reads this to share it and help me put this myth to rest. These animals are tougher than most people think, so let’s give them credit where it’s due!


Cheers!

Chad M. Clayton


  1. Bradford, J.M. (1967). Genus Tigriopus (Norman) (Copepoda-harpacticoida) in New Zealand with a description of a new species. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand-Zoology, 10(6), 51.
  2. Egloff DA (1967) Ecological aspects of sex ratio and reproduction in experimental and field populations of the marine copepod Tigriopus californicus. Doctoral Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
  3. Ranade (1957). Observations on the resistance of Tigriopus fulvus (Fischer) to changes in temperature and salinity.
  4. Ricketts, E.F., Calvin, J., Hedgepeth, J.W., Phillips, D.W., (1985). Between pacific tides. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
  5. Scott, L. C. (1995). Survival and sex ratios of the intertidal copepod, Tigriopus californicus, following ultraviolet-B (290–320 nm) radiation exposure. Marine Biology, 123(4), 799-804.
  6. Vittor, B. A. (1971). Effects of the Environment on Fitness-Related Life History Characters in Tigriopus californicus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene.
 
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saltyfilmfolks

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Time for some myth busting!


One of my top frustrations is the myth that Tigriopus californicus are a "cold water species". I hear this from store owners and hobbyists ALL the time. This copepod is eurythermal. For those of you that don’t know the term, it describes an organism able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Tigriopus californicus is both euryhaline and eurythermal, withstanding and remaining active in salinities from 4ppt (Vittor 1971) to 102ppt (Egloff 1967) and temperatures from 4C (39.2F) (Vittor 1971) to over 40C (104F) (Ranade 1957). The genus Tigriopus is represented by seven species which are abundant in splash zone pools all over the world (Bradford, 1967).

View attachment 501636

This copepod can be quite successful in places where nothing else prospers. Tigriopus californicus, as an inhabitant of supralittoral rockpools, is subject to sudden and violent fluctuations in salinity and temperature; these conditions have eliminated this niche for most marine invertebrates (Ricketts and Calvin, 1973). It has effectively colonized much of the Pacific coast of North America. The marine harpacticoid copepod, Tigriopus californicus (Baker), is a successful colonizer of supralittoral splash pools from Torch Bay, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico (L. Chalker-Scott 1995).

View attachment 501635

We (Reed Mariculture) are culturing these guys in a greenhouse in the San Jose, CA area. For those of you that have been there in the summer; it's hot. One of the main reasons we are working with this copepod is because we can culture them all year, even in the hottest months when the greenhouse temps get upwards of 38C (100F). I can assure you that we don't use chillers and don't air condition; that would cost us a fortune! If we had seasonality issues, you wouldn't see Tigger-Pods in stores in June, July, August & September, right? We have been culturing this species for 8 years now without any wild stock supplementation. They are fully adapted and domesticated to our greenhouse environment and all the seasonality issues that are associated with this kind of growing area.

View attachment 501634

Now, I can see how people could misunderstand this animal when they see it in a refrigerator in a pet store. The reason you see them held this way is because it makes more sense for a retail store; they can hold them for longer periods without heavy mortalities. The colder temperatures simply slow them down metabolically, keeping them from using up the oxygen and their energy reserves; plain and simple. Colder temperatures can also be advantageous with shipping this animal. They remain inactive at the colder temps while in shipping so that they don’t use up all the oxygen in the bottle. We use their hardiness to our advantage so that when a customer buys a bottle, the animals are alive and well.


I would like for everyone that reads this to share it and help me put this myth to rest. These animals are tougher than most people think, so let’s give them credit where it’s due!


Cheers!

Chad M. Clayton


  1. Bradford, J.M. (1967). Genus Tigriopus (Norman) (Copepoda-harpacticoida) in New Zealand with a description of a new species. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand-Zoology, 10(6), 51.
  2. Egloff DA (1967) Ecological aspects of sex ratio and reproduction in experimental and field populations of the marine copepod Tigriopus californicus. Doctoral Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
  3. Ranade (1957). Observations on the resistance of Tigriopus fulvus (Fischer) to changes in temperature and salinity.
  4. Ricketts, E.F., Calvin, J., Hedgepeth, J.W., Phillips, D.W., (1985). Between pacific tides. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
  5. Scott, L. C. (1995). Survival and sex ratios of the intertidal copepod, Tigriopus californicus, following ultraviolet-B (290–320 nm) radiation exposure. Marine Biology, 123(4), 799-804.
  6. Vittor, B. A. (1971). Effects of the Environment on Fitness-Related Life History Characters in Tigriopus californicus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene.
COOL!
Thanks Chad ! So much great info in this.
 
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Check this out! Joe Faszl with Seascape Studio cycles tanks with Tigger-Pods. Here is what he says about the copepods in the video below, "This was a 120 gallon system. Started with one near expired bottle of Tigger-Pods and fed Phyto-Feast and Oyster-Feast every night a couple of hours after lights out. Makes for a robust start to a reef. Funny though. Add a fish and they disappear within minutes into the rocks and sand. We have been cycling this way for 3 plus years." He calls this the "bug bomb method".

Joe also tells us that his systems run in the 78F to 80F range. More proof that Tigger-Pods can tolerate our tropical reef systems, and they do quite well on our Phyto-Feast and Oyster-Feast.

 

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Awesome info! Thanks for sharing!
 

Brew12

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Great info... I never knew that Tigger pods would only breed if kept over 100F! :p

Kidding... kidding... and thanks for the clarification! I kept seeing this myth come up to the point I was wondering if it was something different in my tank!
 
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Great info... I never knew that Tigger pods would only breed if kept over 100F! :p

Kidding... kidding... and thanks for the clarification! I kept seeing this myth come up to the point I was wondering if it was something different in my tank!
You are sooooo funny! LOL

I'm so glad that I can provide you with direct evidence and research that backs up my statements. This myth started about 12 years ago; it's time to put it to bed once and for all!

Chad
 

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Should I let them reach room temp before adding them tonight? So the temperature difference doesn't shock them as much while adding them?
Also picked up some phyto feast. When and how often should I feed them?
I don't have any fish and the only inverts are an emerald crab and pistol shrimp. Have a bunch of corals and a nem, though.

I have a HOB fuge. Should I add them all to that or a little bit on both?
 
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Should I let them reach room temp before adding them tonight? So the temperature difference doesn't shock them as much while adding them?
Also picked up some phyto feast. When and how often should I feed them?
I don't have any fish and the only inverts are an emerald crab and pistol shrimp. Have a bunch of corals and a nem, though.

I have a HOB fuge. Should I add them all to that or a little bit on both?
Allow the bottle to warm up to room temperature before dumping them in. Since you have no fish, you can add them when the lights are on. Add some to the refugium and some to the main tank. You can feed the Phyto-Feast daily using the minimum recommended dose. Add the dose to the refugium and the algae will make it's way into the main tank. Always mix the dose of algae in a little tank water before dispersing; the algae is quite dense. As usual, monitor water quality at all times and increase the dose slowly over time. Let me know how everything goes and thanks for trying us out!

-Chad
 

gcarroll

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Knowing the industry, the myth was most likely started by a small competitor trying to gain market share. I have always loved tigger pods. I used to go to frag shows with a 5 gallon bucket to take home the tigger pods from Reef Nutrition's show display from back in the day.
 

ChronicRage

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Allow the bottle to warm up to room temperature before dumping them in. Since you have no fish, you can add them when the lights are on. Add some to the refugium and some to the main tank. You can feed the Phyto-Feast daily using the minimum recommended dose. Add the dose to the refugium and the algae will make it's way into the main tank. Always mix the dose of algae in a little tank water before dispersing; the algae is quite dense. As usual, monitor water quality at all times and increase the dose slowly over time. Let me know how everything goes and thanks for trying us out!

-Chad

Should I still turn my pumps off? The main reason I read for turning them off is to give them a better chance of finding shelter before the fish get a chance at them. Since I have no fish, should I still turn them off?
 
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Should I still turn my pumps off? The main reason I read for turning them off is to give them a better chance of finding shelter before the fish get a chance at them. Since I have no fish, should I still turn them off?
You don't have to turn off the pumps. But please do it this time, and watch how they behave in the water column under the lights. They are really fun to watch.

Chad
 

ChronicRage

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You don't have to turn off the pumps. But please do it this time, and watch how they behave in the water column under the lights. They are really fun to watch.

Chad
You're the man, Chad. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and answering my questions.

I actually bought these guys after reading this post. I didn't before because of that myth! I'm excited to try them out. :)
 

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