What is the best way to add Copepods to my tank?

What is the best way to add Copepods to my tank?

Many hobbyists are seeing the benefits of adding copepods to their aquariums. Whether it is to control algae, cleanup detritus, feed finicky fish, or all three, many hobbyists, beginner and experienced alike, want copepods in their aquariums.
If you are an experienced hobbyist, you probably know how to add copepods to your tank. Regardless, feel free to read this article to get a refresher. If you are a beginner looking to add your first batch of pods to your first tank, you literary could not be in a better place right now. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about adding copepods to an aquarium along with an in-depth, yet simple explanation of why you should add copepods to your aquarium.

Here are the steps to add copepods to your saltwater aquarium:
  1. Float the copepods in the tank for 10 minutes to acclimate them to the temperature.
  2. Wait for the lights to turn off at night. This ensures that the copepods won't get gobbled by your aquarium fish instantly. It gives the pods an opportunity to find a hiding place. If you got the pods to give your fish a treat, you can simply pour them in the tank anytime during the day.
  3. Remove your filtration sock.
  4. Turn off your power heads, return pump, protein skimmer, and UV sterilizer for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Finally, proceed to add the copepods to the aquarium.

That's the basics of how to add copepods to your tank. However, there are a few extra things you can do to give the copepods the best chance at creating a stable population in your aquarium. This is especially beneficial for those who have or want to have a Mandarin Dragonet or any other copepod demanding fish.
One thing you can do, which may seem obvious, is add a portion of the copepods to a refugium. It is completely up to you to decide how many copepods go into your refugium and how many go into the display tank. If you have a larger aquarium, it probably makes sense to put more in the display. As a general rule, add 30-50% of the copepods to the refugium and add the rest to the display. This will ensure that even if most of the copepods in the display get eaten, the refugium will be able to replenish the population.
Something else you can do is use a turkey baster to add the copepods to your display tank. Although the fish will be asleep or inactive when you add the copepods at night, you can use this method to make sure all of the copepods make it onto the rocks and sand. After adding some of the copepods to your refugium, take a turkey baster and suck up some of the copepods from the jar. Then, spray them directly onto the rocks in various parts of the aquarium. You can spray some onto the sand bed as well.

Copepod habitat

Copepods will live pretty much anywhere in your aquarium, but you can provide them with an ideal habitat to encourage a larger population. Macroalgae is a great habitat for copepods. Chaetomorpha specifically provides excellent breeding grounds. Although you can add macroalgae to your display tank, this is mostly talking about the habitat in the refugium. Because refugiums are commonly used to grow macroalgae, it makes sense to add macroalgae to your refugium (if it's not already there) to both provide a habitat for copepods and nutrient export. What's awesome about this is that copepods will also help the macroalgae stay clean by eating detritus off of it. Refugiums truly are amazing. They serve so many purposes, and maintaining a stable copepod population is one of them.
Another great way to provide a habitat for copepods along side macroalgae is MarinePure Ceramic Media. This bio-media is extremely porous, making it perfect for copepods. It also provides surface area for beneficial bacteria. This product will not only benefit your copepod population, but your tank as whole.

 Why you should add copepods

If you are reading this article, chances are you already know why you want to add copepods to your aquarium, but just in case, let's go over why adding copepods is a good idea.
Copepods appear as nothing more then little white specks. However, they are one of the most useful organisms in the hobby. Most commonly, copepods are used to feed fish. Usually, they are added to feed Mandarin Dragonets, but copepods can feed several other fish as well. Another fish that typically causes hobbyists headaches because of its feeding habits is the leopard wrasse. With enough copepods you can keep fish such as this one successfully.
Feeding finicky fish is a huge use for copepods, although they can feed corals too. Don't worry. I'm not going to tell you to pick copepods off your rocks and feed them to your corals. That would be ridiculous. Copepods will find their demise in a corals mouth all on their own! It is a great way to keep your corals naturally fed.
Another great benefit of copepods is keeping your aquarium clean. You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that copepods can keep your aquarium clean. They eat algae and detritus. No, adding copepods to your tank isn't going to magically fix your hair algae problem. Copepods, like many other cleanup-crew inverts, work more to prevent the aquarium from becoming dirty. Although one copepod certainly cannot do much on its own, tens of thousands can do a lot. They are especially great at getting into those places that nothing else can get to.
Copepods also add an overall higher level of stability to your aquarium. This is because they add biodiversity to the tank. With a larger variety of organisms, comes more stability. Just make sure those organisms are beneficial ones like copepods and not pests. While biodiversity is much more important on real reefs than in your aquarium, it is still important because it creates more stability. The more stability in an aquarium, the better.
Now you know why and how to add copepods to your aquarium. Go forth and add those pods to your tank!

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