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FAQs about Micro-Crustaceans 1

Related FAQs: Microcrustaceans 2, Pod Identification, Pod Behavior, Pod Compatibility, Pod Selection, Pod Systems, Pod Feeding, Pod Disease, Pod Reproduction,  Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Brine ShrimpHermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpRefugiumsCrustaceans 1, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods'Pods: Delicious and Nutritious By Adelaide Rhodes, PhD, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp,

"Both types" or "dissimilar feet"... amphipod.

Diatoms and "pods" questions 5/25/07 Hi Crew!  Hope you are all gearing up for what will be a great Memorial Day weekend!   <Yep, and IMAC next week so should be fun.> Again, I want to start by thanking you for your incredible web-site.  The amount of information you provide on a free-content site is truly amazing and I spend literally hours every day reading the articles and FAQ's.  My sleep has suffered terribly, but I have learned an incredible amount.  Thank you.   <Ok, but go to bed, you're staying up too late.> Ok, 55 gallon hex, a planned FOWLR, cycling for about 4 weeks now with about 50 lbs live rock and a 2 inch substrate of aragonite and live sand. <You are kind of in a no-man's-land here.  Usually looking for less than 1 inch or more than 3.5, depending on if you want a deep sand bed or not.> Running a Fluval 305 canister filter, <clean it often> 3 power heads (between filter and power heads there is about 720 gal/hour of circulation), and a Bak Pak 2R+ protein skimmer with no bio-bale. <Ok>  I was told the biological filter between by canister filter, live rock, and live sand would be sufficient. <Yep> Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all 0.  Don't have calcium or alkalinity tests yet, but based on my readings here, plan on getting them in the near future.  No livestock in the tank yet...am trying to be patient!  <It's everything in this hobby.>   Diatoms!  I have read here that diatoms are very common in new setups. <Yes>  I have had diatom growth now for about 2-3 weeks.  After reading your FAQ's on the subject, I have learned that the biggest likely contributor was the tap water I used to initially fill my tank. <Can be, depends on your water source.>  It sat for several days before adding salt to rid itself of the chlorine, but I have since learned there could have been silicates in the water that are contributing to the current diatom outbreak. <Possible.>  I will use RO water from now on when doing water changes, but have been reluctant to do the changes yet as I have heard you shouldn't do so when cycling a tank.  <Can slow down the process some.> Also, I have some red/brown macro algae growing from my live rock, which I have read will help. <Yes, although you don't want this taking over either.> My protein skimmer, however, (based on what I have read here in FAQ's) may not be doing it's job well enough.  Granted there are no fish in the tank so there is no food being deliberately added that would be contributing to the diatom growth or for the skimmer to skim.  That being said, even with the diatoms I am only getting a small amount of waste in the collection cup, and it isn't dark like I have read it should be.  Should I be concerned? <Not yet, but once you start feeding regularly and have some fish in there if the performance is the same you need to investigate why.>  About how long can I expect the diatom outbreak to continue, and can I start with water changes (given my parameters are all good) to slow the outbreak?  <Hard to predict and yes.>  Any other suggestions?  <Not really, seems like you are on the right track.> Last thing, I promise!  :-)  I have some sort of "pods" scurrying around in the tank.  I have read your FAQ's on the subject, and I will assume they are some sort of copepod. <Or amphipods.> Impossible to take a picture of because they are so tiny, maybe 1-1.5 mm in length with long antennae.  They do not look like the rolly poly isopods I have seen in photos here, but the little critters move so quickly it is hard to tell.  I see tiny little holes or burrows in the substrate against the acrylic wall of the tank...Am I right to assume the pods bury themselves here and come out at night after lights out? <Yes.> I guess I am just looking for reassurance that they are not the dreaded isopods, as I am getting ready to add my first fish. <Doubtful.> Also, is the presence of these copepods a sign of a healthy system? <Yes.>  I suppose I am also looking for reassurance I am running the tank well.   Thanks again for reading my novel and for your response.  Have a great holiday weekend! Jamie <Enjoy the weekend.> <Chris>

Feeding FD Cyclop-eeze, Cleaner Shrimp (conspecific) deaths,   7/30/06 Hello there.  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  I am enjoying a little cooler weather here in PA (about 80 today versus the 95 it has been for a week). <Yikes, even warmer in S. California, but likely with much less humidity> Anyway,  I have some questions on separate topics I am hoping to receive some assistance with.  I recently purchased a yellow clown goby who is in qt right now, just hanging out.  Before the purchase I did much research about feeding this little cutie and, of course, subsequently developed a bit of anxiety I would have trouble getting it to eat.  I picked up some items I came across on your site that were suggested to entice eating.  He is eating frozen mysis shrimp and Sweetwater zooplankton. <Good> I also bought some Cyclop-eeze, however, herein lies the issue.  The maker is Argent.  They do not provide any info on how to administer it, and I checked their site out, and it doesn't provide anything on that either.  For some reason they do not give you any sort of insert with it, even though they say to check it out, nor does the can tell you anything...other than to read the insert or check out their site.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! <Strange... I would write them re> I did find an inquiry on WWM regarding this matter, however I continue to be feeling dumb about it.  I should mention it is the freeze dried type, and it is a fine powder. I tried to add it directly to the tank, but it floats.  I then tried mixing it with some mysis, but as soon as it put it in the tank, it separates.  The shrimp slowly sink, but the Cyclop. remains at the surface.  Any suggestions? <Try soaking overnight, adding the bits/parts/organisms that sink... sucking them up with a baster> Now, on to my other issue.  I am new to the hobby, about 8 months.  I have a 46 G bowfront FOWLR system.  Inhabitants are 2 TR Ocellaris clowns, one Royal Gramma, one Allen's damsel, some snails and hermits, plus one remaining skunk cleaner shrimp.  I initially had one cleaner, but thought maybe he'd like a friend.  My husband thinks I tend to put human emotions onto animals, <Mmm, a human trait...> but what does he know? <Would/could likely guess if he were another animal...> Anyway, I purchased a second skunk cleaner maybe 2 months after the first and they quickly became buds and were so for months.  One morning as I was checking everyone out, I saw the molted shell of one, saw one of them hanging where he usually does, but didn't see the second one right away.  Then under a piece of the live rock, I saw, what looked to be another molt being devoured by "pods."  And, I mean being devoured.  I knew then it was my other shrimp.  In the past whenever either of them molted, no amphipod went near it. <Mmm... likely consumed by its conspecific> I do not know which shrimp it was, the first or second purchased.  They were both the same size, although the second one was smaller than the first upon purchase.  I was devastated.  I decided I wanted another one, so we got one a couple weeks later, probably half the size of the existing one.  All was well now for 3 days, until this morning.  I saw a molted shell, and a few inches away, the little guy being devoured by those darn pods under a piece of live rock. <Not by them directly... they're just cleaning up the bits that were left> All I could see was his little legs sticking out.  Of course, in my mind I am picturing an organized group of pods had picked him up and carried him off.  Again, my husband says I am too dramatic.  Do you think they are killers preying on a vulnerable creature? <No... tis the other Cleaner... not able to be easily added to in such a small world> I do not know if it is a coincidence.  Maybe a bad molt?   <Not likely> I am just really sad now.  I think the cleaner shrimp are so cool.  After the first death, I read that iodine will help with the molt, <Yes> so I did purchase a bottle thinking maybe a low level led to the first demise, but actually just dosed yesterday for the first time according to the directions.  And voila, a molt already.  It has been about 2 weeks since the larger one molted though. <I see> The other inhabitants are all thriving.  Temp 78, SG 1.023, Ammonia and Nitrates 0, Nitrites may be a little high, at <20, but that practically has been the case since day one.  No matter what I do, I cannot lower it. <You will, in time> It has never fluctuated, except when my tank was cycling in the beginning.  It was very high initially, then dropped as my tank was cycling.  I do a water change of 9 gallons every 2 weeks.  Would I be better off doing smaller, more frequent ones?   <Possibly... though I would look into adding a refugium, DSB, macro-algae there> I also want to note I change the filter media as recommended.  It is a Fluval 304, plus I have a Super Skimmer, which I think is useless.  Every once in awhile a little grime will coat the neck, but never once have I collected foam.  It will collect water after a water change for some reason, but I think that is due to the use of Prime, my dechlorinator.  At this point, I feel the skimmer is a waste of swimming space, and I would love to get rid of it altogether, but I guess that is not recommended.  This is my second skimmer actually, the first was a Seaclone...USELESS!  That only collected water too.  Sorry for the tangent. Can you tell I am frustrated? <A bit> If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you for your time and expertise on these issues and for compiling such a wonderful knowledgebase.  I reference your site so often.  Have a good day. Sincerely, Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Fw: Killer Pods?????   7/30/06 Hello, <Tif> Here I go again.  Let's hope third time is a charm.  Well unfortunately since I sent this both times, my remaining skunk cleaner has passed.  This actually happened within the past hour or so.  He was fine this morning, ate, swam, etc.  Then a couple of hours ago, he was just lying on the bottom on his belly.  It looked like his legs were just twitching a bit.  My first thought was he almost looked paralyzed in a way.  The one thing I did notice was what I could normally see inside his body area now looked different.  I could always see something almost "fluttering" inside, <Mmm, yes... the "gills"> if you will, until when he was just lying there . . . then that wasn't happening.  I just now feel like such a failure and am so saddened.  Happily, all other fishes are perfect.  Water parameters are as they were Sunday. I hope this time it comes through.  Even if I am to be chastised for something, at least I will feel comforted in the fact that someone listened and can maybe steer me in the right direction. Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. This loss likely related to a water quality issue. Bob Fenner> Culturing Pods for Mandarin Dragonet   7/28/06 Hi there,    I've a question regarding Mandarin Dragonets and the  feeding of this finicky fish.  I would like to add one to my 46 gallon  bowfront tank. It is a very mature tank.  I've currently got about 75  lbs of live rock in the tank and about 3 inches of live sand.   Right now  the tank is loaded with copepods and mysis shrimp.  I see them scurrying  around constantly.  I do have a small 6 line wrasse in the thank that will soon be moved to my 29 gallon reef tank.   I'll also be adding a 29 gallon  tank as a refugium to the bowfront. <Ahh, very good> In the refugium, I'll have  livesand, rubble rock and Chaeto.       I'd also like to set up a 10 gallon tank to  culture pods in.  I've got 2 different plans for doing this.  I'd like  your advice on both please.   #1 is to line the tank with quart mason jars that each contain some livesand, a little rubble rock and some Chaeto.  The water level will be  kept a few inches above the top of each jar.  I'll then seed the entire  tank with copepods and mysis shrimp.  I'll also have a small powerhead  going in the tank. <Mmm, an air-powered sponge filter would be better/best... the splice and dice action of the powerhead will reduce the small crustacean population> My thoughts are that as the pods and shrimp grow and  reproduce, I can remove a jar and pour the water off into the refugium or main  tank. I'd then return the jar to the 10 gallon to repopulate. <Mmm, we'll see... likely the jars will be too much trouble, and unnecessary> I've  heard that I may have a problem with evaporation and a rise in salinity using  this method.  I'm not sure how that would happen faster with the jars than  without.    #2 is to just use the 10 gallon with live sand, rubble rock and  Chaeto but without the jars.   <This would be my option...> I'm just not sure how I'd go about removing  the pods to feed to the fuge or main tank though. <"Tie" the ten in with the 29 refugium somehow...> One thing that's been  suggested to me is to take 4 to 6 sponges, get them wet with the tank water,  crush some flake food into them and place them in the tank.  Then as they  populate with pods, remove a sponge and put it in the fuge or main tank for a  few days and then replace into the culturing tank for repopulation.  With 4  to 6 sponges, I'd think that I could rotate them and keep a good supply of  pods.   <Worth trying> Do either of these plans sound reasonable? <This second much more than the first>   Also, in  plan 2, can you suggest any other means of removing pods from the culture tank  for feeding? <Vacuuming, mass water changes...> My last few questions concern the refugium.  My bow tank  is not drilled so I'll have to come up with some way to move water from the  display tank to the refugium and then back to the display tank.  Any  suggestions? <Posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Do I need to section the refugium off into different  compartments or can I just add lots of Chaeto and let it grow? <Can/could> I'll  also have lighting on this tank. <... good idea: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugltgfaqs.htm> I would also like to put my skimmer into  the refugium but am I better off leaving it on the display tank? <Mmm... not necessarily... though would situate in an anterior/first water arrangement I have a  Remora Skimmer with an overflow/pre-filter box.   Any advice you're able to  give would be greatly appreciated!!  Thanks.    Michael <Bob Fenner> Marine Velvet...Copepod Invasion - 06/14/06 My tank currently has velvet and I have it under control and am letting it sit empty to cycle through. <<I assume you mean "velvet"...letting the tank sit fallow for 6-8 weeks is a good approach.  I'm guessing you have had a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm >> But now I have an issue with little bug like creatures in my tank.  I have looked in the pest control section of you site but could not find anything resembling these guys.  These little white bug-like creatures are all over the glass.  Each is about the size of the tip of a pen. <<Ahh...not pests...beneficial copepods.  Do some reading here and among the associated links:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copepodfaqs.htm >> There appears to be hundreds of them all over the glass. <<Is a good thing>> At first I didn't think much of it and brushed them off of the glass, but now there seems to be little cockroach looking creatures about the size of a pin head crawling all over the rocks now. <<Likely amphipods...another beneficial (group of) organism(s).  See here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm >> I was just wondering what these things are. <<Beneficial crustaceans>> Is it possible that after I let my tank cycle the velvet problem out the fish will eat these creatures? <<Oh yes!>> Or what do can I do? <<Study and enjoy>> Does something need to be done? <<Nope...>> Thanks, Jonathan <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

I'll take invert. ID for one thousand Alex  5/29/06 Hi. I have a 75 gal system with about 100 lb. of live rock. I have a lot of black pod clusters (8 to 10 in a cluster of 1/4 to 1/2 inch pods). <... very large for copepods...> They have multiplied a lot lately but I have no idea what they are and am having difficulty finding an applicable reference to them in your answered questions. These pods are jet black and quite hard. There are some on almost all of the rocks in our  tank except the ones with large mushroom populations. What are they and are they detrimental to the health of my system?  Thanks Bob <... Pods? What's that line from William Goldman's "Princess Bride"? "I do not think that word means what you think it does"... Do take the long read on WWM re invertebrate ID: http://wetwebmedia.com/non-vert.htm and the many linked files above... and send along a pic and better description if you'd like. Bob Fenner>

Marine/Feeding   3/10/06 Hi crew, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. <Sure.> I have a 55 gallon tank with some live rock, macro algae, camel shrimp, hermit crabs, snails and a Yellow Watchman Goby.  The tank is soon to be the home to a pair of seahorses (I'm holding off on making the  purchase till everything is perfect).  I seem to have a large number of copepods and feel that population control might be a good thing.  I was wondering if you might be able to recommend a fish that would eat some of the copepods yet still be peaceful with the seahorses?  <A neon goby will work.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Scott OSTRACODS For Mr. Fenner: follow up regarding bugs/parasites - 03/07/2006 Hi Mr. Fenner, Just to let you know that I could finally ID the organism: they are ostracods. I found some info about them. Here is a link: http://www.gre.ac.uk/schools/nri/earth/ostracod/introduction.htm I could not find anything about them parasitizing corals so far. <Mmmm, I don't think this is likely... though there is an ever sliding scale twixt commensalism, mutualism parasitism, predation... and many intergradients> It seems they can even be a bonus for my mandarin. Although given the number of ostracods in the tank I think he may be ignoring them. I still don't get it why there is such a high concentration of ostracods on that torch coral thought... I guess I can only keep an eye on it. Please let me know if you have any idea or comments. Thanks! Dominique <Thank you for this update. I would leave these organisms be... much more likely to benign to beneficial... than harmful. Bob Fenner> Killer Pods/Jaws IV   1/26/06 Hello, <Hi Dan> I just added a refugium with Chaeto to my 75 gal reef/fish tank about 3 months ago. The first thing that I did was get a piece of rock from a friend that had Mysis shrimp in it. Within about a month and a half my fuge was loaded with them as well as amphipods and many other types of pods and microcrustaceans. The other night, when the fuge lights came on, I watched for a while and noticed no Mysis shrimp zipping around like usual, also no amphipods or others. With a closer look I saw tons of a kind I have never seen before. They are a bit smaller than the size of a grain of rice and they are flat. They walk on about 10 hair thin legs and don't swim at all. They are whitish clear with a little bit of marking on their back... maybe faint brown. Then I saw two of them fighting and saw that they actually have pinchers like a praying mantis, or scorpion that fold in. I watched them eat a piece of flake food and observed them for a while. The only time I saw them use their pinchers was for fighting. Could these new pods have killed or eaten all of my others? <Sure sounds possible.> What should I do? <Dan, whatever they are they are definitely not pods of some kind because pods have six pair of legs and do not have pincers.  To me ten legs suggests a decapod of some kind. Pretty hard to ID it without seeing it. I ran this by Dr. Adelaide Rhodes, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and she is more than willing to ID it.  If you are interested, send a specimen in a small vial preserved in 70% alcohol to: Adelaide Rhodes School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences Box 355020 University of Washington Seattle, WA  98195 <Bob may or may not have read this, if he has he may have some input here also.>   <<Nope>> Also, one more quick question, When I add Phytoplankton, does my skimmer take it out. Should I turn it off for a while after adding invert food? <Yes, it will remove some.  I'd shut it down for an hour or so.> Thanks for any help, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan

Six Line and Pod Relationship  - 01/24/06 I have a 40 gallon reef tank (2 years old). <Cool.>   I recently added a small sixline wrasse (approximately 1 1/2 inches) which is the only copepod eater in the tank.  Tankmates are: hermit crabs, corals, 1 pair of percula clowns, and three bar gobies.  I am wondering how often I need to replenish the copepod population?  I have found a couple places that I can order them online.  Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. <Six-Lines are skillful pod hunters it could easily destroy your population every few weeks. The bottled products are great to seed tanks but they are expensive for regular usage. At this rate it will be quite pricey to keep buying culture pods, so why not spawn your own? Look into a refugium, a small hang on variety such as those offered by Eco-System and CPR would be a great addition for your tank.> Thank you, Pam Vlatas <Adam Jackson.> Shrimp? - Microcrustacean ID   1/7/06 Hi, <Howdy Liz.> I know a photo is the best way to go but these little creatures are too small. I have a SW tank with some live rock. I've noticed these very small (1mm - 2mm) grayish shrimp like creatures scurrying around all different parts of the water column in what look like groups of 25 - 40. They typically are active at night with the lights off. Any idea at all what they might be? <As you've expected, I can't give a definite ID. Many choices though I'd bet you're seeing Amphipods.> Also what creatures would eat them and keep population under control? <Many choices here also.> I currently have a Camel shrimp and 4 hermit crabs in a 55 gallon tank. <Start here   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pericaridanfaqs.htm . Find out exactly what they are to help in fish selection. DON'T let someone tell you "Yeah, now you can get a Mandarin." These will wipeout such populations in days, then go on to starve to death, unless you take measures to keep a heavy population at all times. Many other choices you can make.> Thanks, Liz <You're welcome. - Josh> A Look Into the Culture of Pods and Their Kin  11/21/05 Greetings Bob n crew! <Sam> Bob…I'm really looking forward to meeting you at the February Puget Sound Aquarium Society meeting. Will be nice to be able to say thanks in person for envisioning all that WWM has become (or at least starting something that has become truly incredible :*) ) <Ah! You add to my anticipation!> Quick hardware recap…125 gallon tank, 20 gallon refugium, 29 gallon sump, Aqua-C skimmer, 180# live rock over ?-inch deep fine aragonite sand bed. Refugium packed with rock, and will be adding Chaeto in the coming month or so. I'm currently fishless, and planning on remaining so for at least 6 months to allow critters to proliferate. <Wow, good discipline> No corals yet either, and will likely remain that way for at least another month or two. There are currently about a dozen hermits and two dozen snails (total, of 6 varieties, one of which has already produced baby snails…I take this as a sign of moderately acceptable husbandry) munching on the progressing algal succession. I'm doing 10-15% water changes every 7-10 days with aged, aerated, buffered DI turned saltwater (Instant Ocean).  The goal with this tank, aside from corals (probably LPS) and a couple of other small nothing-less-peaceful-than-clownfish fishes, is to house a Mandarin, and for the system to be as self-sustaining as can be reasonably expected.  Getting to the question, I'm curious as to whether investing in a 'pod culture at this point would be a prudent move. As I see it, the benefits would include adding to the number, and possibly diversity of the pods in the tank, and adding at this point would allow the new additions several months to continue to proliferate. I'm thinking the possible ramifications could include; 1) introducing a species capable of out competing those that hitched in  2) that there is a finite number of pods that the tank can sustain, and that what I'm already doing may allow me to get somewhere in the neighborhood of that number or, adding to the population may exceed that number and cause a pod-stock die-off  3) that the current population would, in the outlined time frame, be able to grow to the point of being able to sustain a Mandarin on its own, thus making the addition unnecessary.  <I would stick with what you have... should be fine for all the reasons stated> I'm guessing I could always wait until after the Mandarin is added, and if the population dropped too severely, could add at that point. <Yes> I'm looking at a gift certificate for Ocean Pods. What say you? <I would save it> Thanks in advance, Sam <Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Buying Copepods  9/27/05 Hello again! <Howdy Mike, Adam J. with you.> Do any of you know where I could buy copepods to stock a refugium? I know inverts.com used to sell them, but I was just on their site and they don't have them anymore. <See here: http://www.essentiallivefeeds.com/ > Thanks Mike <No biggie, Adam J.>

Copepods and Amphipods 8.10.05 Hi There, <Howdy> I first want to say thank you for your website, it has been incredibly helpful in setting up my 100 gallon tank. <Fabulous to hear, thank you for saying so> I have a question about pods. After two months (one month for the cycle) I just don't see any copepods or amphipods in my tank. I even used a flashlight at night to see if that would show them, but no luck. <No worries... they are very slow to establish. Often so. They may never establish too if you stock the tank too soon with fishes, or lack a refugium> Is it a bad thing not to see these pods? Is there anything I should do to get them in my tank without buying them? Should I just be patient and wait longer? <I do encourage the employ of a refugium and seeding it with a clean culture purchased from the likes of Oceanpods.com> I keep hearing that having these are a sign of a good maturing tank. My tanks parameters are: Ammonia: Undetectable Nitrite : Undetectable Nitrate: <10 PH: 8.4 Alkalinity: 3 meq\L I have 90lbs of Tonga Deepwater Live Rock that was sent to me uncured form LiveAquaria.com which I used to cycle the tank. 25% of my live rock is now covered in coralline algae. I have a 100 gallon tank with a sump (30"x12"x14"), and an ETSS Reef Devil Deluxe Skimmer. The only livestock I have in my tank are blue-legged hermit crabs which seem to love it in there. I know I can purchase these pods to add to my tank, but I so badly wanted them to come with my live rock. <no worries... this is just the way it goes sometimes with shipping> Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thank You <Have no reservation about seeding the tank. It's good to get worms, microcrustaceans, etc from friends/other tanks to periodically (re-)seed your tank in time. Anthony>

Amiracle mud filter, using WWM 7/27/05 Hi I'm new to the site and so far it pretty informative well here's my questions. To grow various types of pods and food for my mandarins and fish what would be the best substrate type size and depth. --Sbatiste <Please keep reading... learn to use the Google search tool, the indices on WWM. Much/a great deal of "collateral" benefit/s... Bob Fenner>

Amphipods, Copepods, Mysis, Oh my! 7/28/05 Hi <Good evening. Mike G with you tonight.> I did some research on your site about pods but didn't really pick up the answer I was looking for. Well here's my question what kind of pods would grow in Ecosystems miracle mud with some Caulerpa <<Caulerpa>> (think it's misspelled) algae? <Well, to be quick, Amphipods and Copepods. If you want to get more in-depth, any of several hundred species of extremely similar "pods" may happen to populate a refugium seeded with the brand mud specified. Here are a few articles/FAQs related to "pods," hopefully they will assist you in getting an idea of what will soon inhabit your tank. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/Pods/pods.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pods.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copepodfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pericaridanfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mysidfaqs.htm > Thanks in advance <You're welcome. Good luck with your new tank! Mike G>

Amiracle Mud Filters Substrate 7/28/05, same idiot question/response Hi Guys. I had a few question Ive <There is no such word> been browsing this site for a while and could not find a specific answer to my questions, Well here they are 1) Would you suggest using Miracle mud to grow copepods and other foods for my aquarium? <Mmm, sure> 2) or would a different type of substrate be better if so what grain size and how much? Thanks <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/Pods/pods.htm and the linked files... at the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Pods... undesirable7/5/05 Hi WWM, Recently I'm seeing "ant-like" pods burrowing in my live rock and some of my coral. Two of my soft coral look sick and these pods are crawling in and out where the tentacles of the coral are supposed to be sticking out. Are these pods harmful, <Could be> they seem to come out of their hole just for a split second and look like small red/black ant about the size of 2mm. I freshwater dip one of my live rocks and a whole bunch of them came out swirling, struggled and die in about 15 seconds. Thanks and keep up the good work. Regards, Yik Sing <You might want to look into adding a fish predator that will eliminate a bunch of these crustaceans. There are many choices. Bob Fenner> Sea star and white bugs 6/31/05 Hi. Thanks for your reply to my starfish earlier this week. If you don't remember me, I have the 92 gallon saltwater tank, and a sandsifting sea star that won't go under the sand. He still has not went back under the sand, but is moving a few inches here or there. Well today I noticed there are thousands of white bugs crawling all over the glass in my aquarium. The live rock was quarantined and "cured" for 3 weeks in a 30 gallon trash can (don't laugh, it was much cheaper that way, and very easy). It has since been in my tank for 2 to 3 months. I just noticed these bugs, but they are EVERYWHERE on my glass. Could this be why the star is staying on top of the sand? <Yes, probably feeding on the pods.> Do they eat these bugs? <It's on their menu.> The bugs, which I have been reading on, could be copepods,<I'm sure they are pods.> but I'm not sure. They are tiny, white bugs. They crawl very quickly, have antennas, and what appears to be a tail? It is hard to tell exactly what they look like, for they are very small. Would my rock have already created these guys? <They were present in the rock.> Do I need to buy some fish to control them, like a mandarin fish? If so, by the time I quarantine him won't these bugs really be out of control?<Mandarins do enjoy the pods, and the more pods the merrier. Problem is that once the pods are gone the mandarin starves as they are difficult to acclimate to other foods.> Please help me, I have read all about copepods on your site, but don't feel satisfied that this is what is in my tank. I also checked another site trying to figure this out, and it said they may be parasitic, but I see no evidence of them on any of my fish.  Do I already have something in my tank that preys on these things? To refresh your memory I have a 7" Regal Tang, 3" yellow tang, 2" and a 1" True Perculas, 2" yellowtail Damsel, 3" bicolor Pseudochromis, 2 Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 2 sand sifting sea stars, 1 fancy red sea serpent star, lots of crabs and snails. Please help me, I was just sick at work today worrying my tank is going haywire!! It just ruins my day if I think something is wrong in there. Thanks so much for your wonderful site. I think you guys are the best out there. Sorry to be such a bother, too. Christy. <Christy, no need to worry.  They are a very good food source and they will disappear shortly as some of the inhabitants will consume them. James (Salty Dog)> Got Ostracods? Hi: <Howdy> I have been searching for a few weeks on the internet for dried Ostracods. I found one place but they are sold out until October! I am wondering if you can refer me to any individual or company who can supply thisproduct on a regular basis. Thanks, Blake <Mmm, not as dried, but I encourage you to try your hand at culturing these: http://www.aquaculturestore.com/fwinverts.html A lot of fun, and more nutritious. Bob Fenner> Pods attacking snails? 06/11/05 Dear WWM crew; Hello, and hope you are doing well.  <SUP> I really enjoy your website. <<Thank you :)>>  Two quick questions for you guys.  Today I was looking at my tank and saw two copepods possibly attacking a Cerith snail.  I could see right away that the snail was not dead, it was cruising around eating as usual.  The two copepods were running around and over the snail's shell, and then one of them stopped and lingered for a moment on the snails foot.  The snail didn't seem affected at the time, and its been about three hours since it happened and the snail is still behaving normally.  So my question is, would copepods attack a live snail, or was it not an attack at all and I am just being paranoid?   << Paranoid :)  They are probably just picking at the algae on the shell of the snail or around its base.  No worries. >> Also, how capable are Cerith snails of righting themselves if they end up on their backs somehow?  Could it be fatal, or am I just being paranoid again?   << Paranoid :)  Cerith snails definitely can upright themselves.  It is cool to watch.  The come almost completely out of their shell and grab the sand bed.  Then they spin their shell around to make them upright.  Astrea snails are the common snails you see in stores with a Chinese hat shape that cannot right themselves. So if you do not flip an Astrea snail over it will die >> Thanks in advance. Love, Adam G. Mesa, AZ << Thanks for the support.. EricS >>

Copepods I have a 29 gallon tank with a sump, 110 watts power compact lighting, 3 inches of crushed coral, and 20lbs live rock. It has been running for about a year. There were fish in it at one time but now they're in the 55 gallon tank. I want to turn it into a copepod farm so I will have food to feed my mandarin that is in the 55 gallon tank. I just purchased some live copepods from an online fish store and want to know what I need to do to get it started. Do I need to get anything else for the tank or can I just pour them in?  <Shawn, here is a link on pods. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/Pods/pods.htm  James (Salty Dog)>

'Pod Predators (3/23/05) Hello,  <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I am in the process of setting up a 29g reef tank. I saw what I thought were Aiptasia so I ran out and got 2 peppermint shrimp.  <Rash actions seldom accomplish the desired effect.>  In hindsight I think these were just hitchhiking tube worms.  <Study pictures of Aiptasia. I assure you that you will then know one when you see it. Tube worms have a hard, opaque (calcific or leathery) tube. The stalk of an Aiptasia is the same color and translucency as the rest of it.>  I don't have any fish yet, just the shrimp, 6 hermits and a turbo snail. I am going to get my corals established before I add a fish or 2. I am wondering what impact to peppermint shrimp will have on my pod population?  <They will eat them.>  I'd like to have the tank teaming with pods before the fish go in. These shrimp are constantly grazing and I wonder if the poor pods have a change to get established?  <The shrimps definitely have a negative impact on this. If I were you I'd take them back. If you really want a thriving population, you ought to look into getting a refugium.>  Thanks for all your help.  <I hope it does help.> 

Coping with Copepods Hi,  <Hello Deb, James here at 6:43a.m., wife is snoring so it means get up.> I have a few questions about Copepods. If James is there, as you know I had some trouble with my new saltwater tank. I had all my fish die due to what I was told was a bacterial infection in the tank. The tank has been fish free except for one cleaner shrimp, one fire shrimp, and 10 snails. I just noticed today that I have what looks like a million tiny white bugs all over the glass of my tank as well as swimming in the water of the tank. I think I have what has been described on this web site as Copepods. As I have been reading for hours now, these seem to be a good thing, <An excellent food source.>  and the sign of a healthy tank. The only thing that is confusing me is everyone who has posted something about this subject seems to have either live rock or corals, that if I understand correctly bring these into the tank. I have neither. The only thing I did do was bring my red knob Starfish home from my LFS as they were holding it for me until my tank was "Clean". They had it for a while so I needed to take it back. Could I have brought these copepods home on the Starfish?  <Possible, you don't need many to get a lot as they are prolific breeders.>  If not how would they come to be in my tank as I have no live rock, I have lots of rock but not live rock. Also with this many in the tank can I start to put fish in or will this many drive the fish nuts, <I'm sure you will have a fish that will quickly dispense of them.> if they crawl on their bodies. I understand not all fish eat these copepods.  <You have no worries, these critters are perfectly safe. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance for you help.  <You're welcome>

Coping with Copepods -II HI James, <Hello Deb> Thanks for your advice. I think I will go and get a few fish today, as I only have one yellow tang in there now and she was covered this morning with the copepods. I did go get a cleaner wrasse (spelling) and he is doing a good job keeping her clean. I will ask when I go the LFS if they can recommend a fish that likes to "Dine" on these little critters. <Debbie, again, keep in mind these critters do no harm whatsoever. As you add fish they will soon disappear. Don't let the LFS talk you into a mandarin. They certainly will eat the pods, but when they are gone you will have a hard time keeping it alive unless you've got plenty of live rock to sustain the pod population, and the mandarin. James (Salty Dog)> <Editor's addendum: It should be noted that we also strongly discourage the purchase of cleaner wrasses for any/all but the largest of systems with appropriate food sources - i.e. sufficient numbers of large fishes.  Please see Bob's many remarks concerning their sales/use in most home aquaria.>

Coping with Copepods - III Hi James, Thanks for your advice. That is just what happened, they recommended a mandarin, but thanks to your wonderful website, I knew better then to add this fish to my tank. I did not get anything as they did not have a great selection today, I will try again during the week and in the meantime I will continue to read and educate myself about the world of Saltwater.  <Deb, reading is the best way to get a foothold in this hobby. Not only ours, but there are several sites with tons of information. Here is a good course for you that I have attached. James (Salty Dog)>

Pods eating coral - Coral eating pods..? I was reading the Q&A forums trying to find out if pods were eating my xenia. The fish store that I shop at says that pods only eat dead or dying things. I have noticed, however that a few people seem to think the pods are eating xenia and zoanthids. I have a similar story. First I had a small finger leather, that looked like it was ripped off it rock. I came home from work to find it floating on the bottom of the tank. There was a lot of "flesh" left on the rock, as I inspected the situation, I noticed several big pods eating the flesh. I tried to replant the leather but it disappeared over the next day or so. My hours of work don't allow me to keep a close eye on things so I don't know exactly what happened to it. As the leather disappeared, a colony of xenia began wilting.  Upon inspection of the sick xenia I noticed that the pods had regrouped to the Xenia. I thought that it could be that conditions weren't right causing the xenia and leather to die and the pods were just taking full advantage. My pH was low 7.7 so I adjusted my power head to get more top water movement. However ,there is another colony of xenia 2 inches away from the one that died. There are no pods on it and it seems to be fine. If the water conditions caused the leather and the first xenia colony to die, why not the other xenia. It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that things are dying after the pods start to congregate. I thought I was just paranoid of some sort of pod conspiracy, until I started reading the Q&A. Is it just coincidence or could something be going on? Gary  <IF, they are pods, they are not going to eat live coral. Your LFS is correct is saying they eat dead material, fish poop, waste, whatever. You may have another critter in there causing the damage. James (Salty Dog)><<RMF disagrees... whatever group of crustaceans these "bugs" are part of, they may indeed consume cnidarians that are compromised... and maybe ones not so... It may be that the "other" Xeniid colony was "aware", or just "different" in its tastiness, response... to these critters>>

Propagatin' 'Pods! First, let me say I think it's great that you guys take your time to answer and post these questions.  I've learned a lot by reading through the FAQs.   <Glad that you've found it helpful! We really enjoy bringing WWM to you every day! Scott F. here tonight!> I could use some guidance with a specific sand cleaner question. Here's a quick overview of the latest project: It's a small display (24g NanoCube) that flows to a lighted 16"x16"x7" mud 'fuge.  That in turn flows to an unlighted 16"x18" DSB 'fuge with 5" of sand and 5" of water.  In addition to nutrient export, I'm hoping to generate plankton of varying sizes, as well as small crustaceans ('pods.. etc.). Unfortunately, there are corners that don't receive optimal water flow, and I'm trying to keep from turn the whole contraption from turning into one large unstable nutrient sink.  To that end I believe the key is to keep detritus from accumulating.  The space is pretty tight and manual stirring / vacuuming would be hard. The questions: What is the best live stock for eating detritus without damaging (too much) the population of 'pods, algae, and other beneficials? <I'd utilize the so-called "Tiger Tail" Sea Cucumbers, which do an excellent job at this, as well as some serpent stars. These creatures are efficient at consuming detritus without excessive collateral damage to other, more desirable life forms> Also, what creature would be good for stirring the DSB without harm to the beneficial critters? <As above> Finally, is there a medium I can put in the DSB 'fuge that will facilitate 'pod growth?  ..it's just open water now. <Well, depending upon what types of 'pods you're trying to grow, you could use a mixed course/fine substrate, some macroalgae, such as my favorite-Chaetomorpha, and the protection of the sump. Inoculate the 'fuge with a starter culture, sit back and you'll see an explosion of life after a few months! There is a lot of good information about amphipods and copepods (see the article in the latest issue of "Conscientious Aquarist" by Adelaide Rhodes, right here on WWM) on the net...Just do a little searching and you'll find more than you could imagine!> Thanks very much, Jon <My pleasure, John! Regards, Scott F.>

30 gal. system check James, Thanks for your input regarding my tank's water flow and filtration issues.  Should I be concerned about the apparent loss of copepods and/or Mysis shrimp LR hitchhikers running amuck on the LS? One other thing I forgot to mention is that Joe's Juice was used on a couple of occasions to get rid of some larger Aiptasia specimens. <I wouldn't be concerned about it. I think if you want to maintain large populations of the pods you would need a refugium. James (Salty Dog)>

Microcrustaceans eating Xenia? Hello Again, <Hey, Mike G here.> I'm Baaaack! (Said With the "spooky" Voice) Hope the crew is doing okay. Bob, Anthony, Marina, How are you? I'm good minus the disappearing Xenia, and a couple of critters that might be eating them. Since you guys are the experts, I'll let you tell me. <I'll do my best to help you out> Man, I am going for stupid king 2005. Over the past two three weeks, my xenia started to disappear overnight (in the QT). I did some watching, the big ones disappeared, little ones started to grow, and then all gone. <FWIW, It is somewhat common for Xenia corals to "melt" when in unfavorable conditions or after drastic changes in water parameters. From the descriptions you offer, this is what I am led to believe has occurred. Check the below link for more information on Xenia and Xenia "melting" (Note topic "Xenia Health about 3/4 down the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs3.htm > Have one cluster left, moved into its own isolation tank after shaking off these guys. Pic1 is both of the critters I found. Pic2 and Pic3 are of the bigger one- easily ? inch in length. Is that what is eating the xenias? Bunch of the buggers in the tank! Huge! Then the top guy in Pic1 and Pic4 (Color is false image for better shape ID) are the 3/16 inch guys. Any ID help would be greatly appreciated. <I am happy to inform you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about, at least from the creatures of which you have attached pictures. Pictures two and three are of Amphipods, marine crustaceans of the genus Gammarus. Picture 4 is of a Mysid Shrimp, genus Mysis. Picture 1 is of both a Mysid Shrimp and an Amphipod. Both microcrustaceans are welcome and benign inhabitants of nearly every marine aquarium. Check these two links for more information on Amphipods and Mysid Shrimp: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mysidfaqs.htm Wonderful photographs, by the way.> Thanks in Advance as always, Dan <Glad I could be of assistance. Hope your Xenia problem clears up.> P.S. I can't wait until Bob's Book Arrives - Lot's of answers I bet! He He. <<And many more questions. RMF>>

Centrifugal pumps damaging plankton? 12/29/04 Dear WWM crew, First off I would like to say that I have literally spent hours perusing your forums, enough that my wife groans when she sees me on the computer   <glad to hear the former, not the latter... do take care of family first and foremost :)> Thank you for offering a great service. I have heard from a few different places in passing (mostly magazines, and in a couple of places on the WWM pages) that our common centrifugal pumps are limiting our ability to maintain significant zoo and phyto plankton populations in our aquariums, <actually, this is archaic information/belief based on some silly research with brine shrimp that was extrapolated to be applied to marine plankton. In truth, marine plankton act nothing like (salt lake) brine shrimp and suffer very little plankton shear. The point is also ultimately moot as the plankton come out just as edible on the other side :) If you were hungry, would you refuse a hamburger because you wanted a steak instead? <G>> and thinking about it makes sense that the plankton could be damaged by colliding with the volute of the pump.   <you'd be amazed what commonly passes through... I have seen small fish make it numerous times> Since I cannot seem to find anything more than speculation on this subject I was wondering what y'alls opinion is.   <it is only speculation and bunk at that. No worries on plankton shear> Do you think there is any benefit in trying a reciprocating or perhaps rotary pump?  I am thinking that the non-uniform output of the reciprocating pump could have its advantages (more turbulent flow etc.) but more complicated design would lead to more maintenance.  I would love to hear the WWM opinion on this subject. Thanks very much for your input Chad Miltenberger <hamburger 'til it hurts, mate. Anthony> What kind of pods do I want in my refugium? Hi gang: I recently (90 days ago) purchased a refugium fauna kit from Morgan Lidster at Inland Aquatics << I love Morgan and his fauna kits. >>. . . all my stuff from him, mostly hard-to-find varieties of macroalgae has been great. I already had an up-and-going refugium with lots of pods, Gammarus, etc. . . but wanted to add Mysis shrimp to the mix. . . and this was the only way I could figure out to do it. The shrimp are thriving nicely and reproducing well. . . but I was surprised that they're MUCH smaller than the frozen Mysis I've purchased for feeding to my other fish. Probably only 20% of the bodyweight of the 'big guys' I'm used to seeing in prepared form. Does the term 'Mysis' refer to a whole family of shrimp? << Yes it does.  However, smaller Mysis is probably a better variety to have.  They are typically desired for their small size and nutritional value.  I recommend getting a big cup of sand from a friend's tank.  It will also provide a great variety of other invertebrates for your tank. >> Chuck <<  Blundell  >>

Pods/Snail Population Issues Greetings. <Hi! Ryan with you today> Thoroughly enjoy your helpful website (and the books that your "crew" have written are amongst the best in my library). <Ah! Great to hear!> Couple of questions about my system  Started in April (2004), it's 125g FOWLR.  pH is 8.2, temp 78 all tests are 0 (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate),  phosphates not readable on the test kit and I use RO/DI H2O.  I use an ETSS reef devil sump/skimmer set-up and don't pull a lot of gunk (feeding flake on an automatic feeder once a day and frozen foods every evening).  Only additives are weekly doses of Kent TechAB Occupants are a black-tipped grouper, a sail fin tang, a pink tail trigger and 3 obnoxious yellow-tail damsels.  Inverts include a blue Linckia, 2 white sand sifting stars and a black brittle star.  Many blue legged crabs and a variety of snails (Astrea, narcissus, a couple of turbots).  There's a couple of sally Lightfoots and an emerald crab hiding out in there as well.  All-in-all a fairly peaceful set-up, relationship-wise. <With this population, you certainly should be pulling a cup a day of gunk from your skimmer.  Try soaking all parts in half RO/DO, half vinegar (the type for washing fruit) and see if performance improves.> Questions are: 1)  I seem to have nearly a hundred baby snails on the glass at night...is this going to be troublesome as I go forward?  Do I need a controlling organism in the tank? <The population will stabilize once you get the nutrient issue resolved.>  2)  I used to have amazing copepod activity, now it seems limited to the refugium (CPR HOB)...although nighttime flashlight inspection does indicate some still exist;  is that an issue or are the 2 sand sifters just keeping the population in check? <Your stars are eating like pigs- And killing perhaps the best algae eater in your tank.  In fact, the amount of algae now uneaten by your pods may have left a niche for these "excess" snails.> 3)  many, many string-line "tubers" for lack of a better work stretch from the live rock, sand bed and even a patch of spaghetti algae that I have...are these worms or dusters and should I be concerned about their proliferation?; they are from 1/2" to almost 4" in length and are nocturnal...sort of look like long skinny peacock feathers; any issue with these organisms? <Wonderful filter-feeders.  Enjoy the diversity.> 4)  I have quite the crop of hair algae in a couple of sections of the tank and clinging to the back-wall, no red or brown algae, just nuisance green hair algae....my lighting is 96 x 4 PC 96 x 2 actinic on from noon to 11:00 PM and 10K white on 1:00 to 10:30 PM...might this be too much for a FOWLR?  I have been using a toothbrush attached to a magnum 350 to suck out the algae as I brush it;  might this be causing more harm than good? <No, the lighting is fine.  You need to get that skimmer to pull the nutrients out the tank before they can break down into "algae-food."  Try what I've recommended above.> As always, thanks for your patience.  This salt-water deal is quite a bit more challenging than my African Cichlids. <It won't be once you're balanced!  Good luck! Ryan> Grunfeld in Detroit

Too many Pods? - 12/8/04 Hi! <Hey, Claudia> I'm still in the hobby thanks to the great information your website has given me throughout the years. <This is why I am volunteering here at WetWebMedia. Thank you for the validation of my efforts.> But now I have another issue... <Alrighty> One fine day I just decided that I don't want any fish, only corals, soft ones just for now. <I have done the same> My tanks is 26Gal. mini reef with live rock and only soft corals, some bristle worms, sponges and TONS of copepods, which is fine by me, <Sounds awesome!> very entertaining to see them fighting over that last piece of algae, that is until they attack the zooxanthellae in my polyps <Huuh?!>(Palythoa)<Haven't heard of this from a common amphipod or copepod> so I need something which eats them and which is not a fish (fish just eat too many of them) <Well....maybe just one fish?> in other words I need something which can live off the copepods and which won't extinguish them so that I don't have to feed it after the copepods are gone. <Well. One small wrasse might do the trick but in such a small tank will likely extinguish your colony fairly quickly. (in the process become the fattest little bugger you ever seen). I personally have never seen amphipods or copepods eating algae out of my Palythoa. I have many tanks at my disposal as well as many friends in the business and industry who have never asked  or related to me such an occurrence. Strange. I would do more research. I too, will look into this a bit more. In the meantime, not sure what to tell you. Try adding some algae (Nori strips or sinking Spirulina chunks for them to munch on. ~Paul> Please help me... Cheers, Claudia

Pod culture, carbon Hello Anthony, Bob et al ! <Hi Roger>       Thanks to all of you, your assistance is Priceless.       Read a lot of FAQ's, still haven't found a sound answer.   Just finished building an 22 gal acrylic sump.  Was going to be a wet/dry but I read the section on bio-balls!  Modified it now to a 22 gal refugium. <Ahh, "a stitch in time, saves your mind!">   My Nitrates have long been 0.2 but I'd still like to incorporate a 4' sand bed and really would like to make this a pod factory.  I'll start gathering some LR rubble from the LFS but in the interim, is there anything else I can add to optimize the space? <Some macroalgae> Would lava rock work as a good habitat for the pods? <Not really>   In essence, what would constitute "prime" pod habitat ???? <Mounded LR, macrophytes... there are actually MANY organisms considered "pods" that live in diverse habitats.>       Second question.  I have access to commercial grade anthracite coal used in water purification plants.  Particle size is about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long.  Can I use this without harming the tank inhabitants (fish, corals and inverts)? <Likely yes... talk with the "folks in your lab" re this application, find out how much "free" phosphate this product is likely to leach... get their input on preparing it (likely at least soaking for a day ahead of use) and try just a few ounces (in a Dacron bag) to see what sort of effects...>   I "think" I remember reading that "activated" carbon is actually anthracite plus some process.  Could you explain the process or the difference?  What makes carbon "activated" <Not in a short space... Again, I encourage you to ask these questions of the "lab"... and the Net for that matter! Bob Fenner> Thanks a ton !   RJS   Redding, California What to do with a dirty filter?? (I have a few questions) (Sung to the tune of "What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor") Hey there oh helpful ones! <Ahoy Angela> We have a 29 gal reefish tank with mainly inverts - here's the list - Lights are 2 55w PCs -50lbs of live rock, 4-6" DSB -Pair of cleaner shrimp (that won't stop producing eggs).  Is it common for the male to carry eggs as well? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpreprofaqs.htm>   Both of ours carry the eggs and release the larvae regularly. -Tiger pistol shrimp/yellow watchman goby/firefish goby- These three all share the pistol shrimp's burrow and seem to get along. It's funny to watch the big firefish squeeze into the burrow.  I didn't think they'd all get along in that situation. -50 or so zebra and blue hermits and one little red hermit...I have tons of empty shells for them in the back of the tank so we don't have too many wars. -Various(30+ I lost count) Astraea, Nerite, Cerith snails and 3 bumble bee snails. -2 flame scallops (don't buy these folks, you'll spend all your time feeding them!!) -3 peppermint shrimp -Scooter blenny - he was my first fish in there and feeds well on various frozen foods.  He loves to hunt for pods as well. -Neon Dottyback (for amusement purposes) -Pair of true perc clowns and their anemone (An "African anemone" can't find info on them) -4 Feather dusters, an x-mas tree worm rock, plate coral, trumpet coral, green sea mat, and several reddish sponges that came on the LR that have been doing great. We also have a rock designated for those little purple and green anemones that split all the time that a lot of people consider nuisance (came with the LR).  They'll eventually travel I know. <Sounds like a very healthy, full system> OK now to my real question...I have an Emperor 400 filtering all of this and have never had a problem with this tank (knock on wood) even though it has quite a few animals in it.  I do small (5-10%)water changes 3 times a week, but I have never rinsed out the filters.  This tank is going on 5 months old, still new.  We pulled out one of the filters tonight and there were literally hundreds of those Gammarus (sp?) shrimp and other pod like creatures all throughout it.  The filters look great so I figure they're keeping it cleaned...and I don't want to kill them.  So do we need to change these filters eventually or will we be ok with all those creatures working on it? Thanks for all the help! ~Angela <I would be very careful re changing the filter, or cleaning it... If there is room, consider placing a filter pad (can buy material, cut to fit) on top of the existing "old" "dirty" one... and just periodically removing the new one to rinse, and/or replace. The old one can likely best serve as a sort of biological filter bed. Bob Fenner> Will pumps kill pods from the refugium? Thanks Adam! I'll pass on the dragonet. I still want to set up a refugium at some point though -it would be nice to have live food so I can leave the tank to take care of feeding the fish for days at a time when I go on trips.... << Yes refugia are wonderful. >> I just hadn't considered under the tank refugiums. Wouldn't the pump kill the pods first before pumping them up to the display? << No, they go right through the pump.  I'd say 90% of refugia are under tanks with pumps pushing the water back up. >> Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Lack of pods - 11/17/04 Good day crew Dave G here in good ole blighty! <Paul, back from hiatus> Quick question hope you can answer. Currently have 50USG FOWLR (will be upgrading in a 6 months or so to a 150USG with 60USG sump) but one thing that bothers me is I seem to have a lack of pods in my tank. I have around 50lbs of LR, tank has been setup for 18 months with Flameback angel, common clown, purple Dottyback, yellowtail blue damsel, 2 x fire shrimp, scarlet hermit, blue leg hermit and 6 x turbo snails, mushrooms and BTA, all are thriving and plenty of coralline algae and sponges. Substrate is crushed coral in pieces about say 1/4" diameter (new tank will be aragonite sand). Readings are 8.2ph, Nitrite 0, ammonia 0, nitrate less than 30 (can never get this any lower) <Likely due to trapped detritus in the crushed coral. This is a common issue found with crushed coral substrate>, temp 74F <If it ain't broke don't fix it but I like a tropical saltwater tank around 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just me! May not work for everyone but it definitely works for me.> I spend a lot of time reading your FAQs and use your site as a reference and solution to problems/queries and really don't know what I would do without it. <Agreed.> Back to the question, a lot of your FAQs say they have loads of pods moving over their rock and substrate, I look at mine and see JACK! Can you shed any light? <Well, likely your Dottyback and Flame are likely depleting the supply. Which means no adults to breed. Check in the dark and see if you see some. You can always supplement them. I get my "refreshers" from either Reed Mariculture ( http://www.seafarm.com/) or Sach's Aquaculture Supply ( http://www.aquaculturestore.com/) Either way, a refugium would go along way in helping you maintain a high "pod" community with little in the way of them being predated on by fish who find part of their natural diet.> Thanks for reading DG ;) <Thank you for reading and participating ~Paul> No pods! Good day crew Dave G here in good ole blighty - boy its cold! <Hi Dave, MacL here. I'm in Kentucky USA and the weather here keeps going up and down.> Quick question hope you can answer. Currently have 50USG FOWLR (will be upgrading in a 6 months or so to a 150USG with 60USG sump) but one thing that bothers me is I seem to have a lack of pods in my tank. <Okay just so you know pods can and do die out naturally but my guess is that you have fish eating them.> I have around 50lbs of LR, tank has been setup for 18 months with Flameback angel, common clown, purple Dottyback, yellowtail blue damsel, 2 x fire shrimp, scarlet hermit, blue leg hermit and 6 x turbo snails, mushrooms and BTA, all are thriving and plenty of coralline algae and sponges. Substrate is crushed coral in pieces about say 1/4" diameter (new tank will be aragonite sand). Readings are 8.2ph, Nitrite 0, ammonia 0, nitrate less than 30 (can never get this any lower), temp 74F <I'd really suggest you raise your temperature to 78 Degrees F.> I spend a lot of time reading your FAQs and use your site as a reference and solution to problems/queries and really don't know what I would do without it. <Very kind of you to say.> Back to the question a lot of your FAQs say they have loads of pods moving over there rock and substrate, I look at mine and see jack... can you shed any light? <I would suggest that you buy one of the numerous pod cultivating packages you can buy.<I know www.inverts.com has a great one. Once you have your sump it won't be a problem because you will have a separate area where they are being cultivated.> Thanks for reading DG ;)

Nitrites and little white bugs Hi Blundell!  I have some general questions: << Hi. >> 1.    I recently mixed a batch of artificial salt into purified water in a 7.7 gallon tank.  No fish, no rock, no sand, no nothing.  Just a power head. I've had it running for about a week and when I took the PH today it was at about 8.1 or so but the Nitrite level was .05!  My question is what is causing it? << I'm guessing some very small impurities in the salt.  But that is nothing to worry about.  If you were to add one teaspoon of flake food to that tank and test the water in a week that number would be much much higher. >> There's nothing in the water to produce ammonia!  Am I missing something? 2.    I have a 20 gallon container that I am using to cure live rock in.  I have an 800 gph power head circulating the water.  It's been in there for 3 days and I am using natural sea water. << You are fortunate to have that resource. >> I took the Nitrite and, as expected, it is off the charts.  I took the PH and it is at about 7.3 or so.  Do I need to take steps to raise up the PH or do I concentrate on getting the Nitrite level to 0 first. << I'd change water.  I think that will solve both areas during this cycling process. >> 3.    Is there anything I can add to lower the Nitrite level more quickly in either established tanks? << Hmmm, not really.  I think move live sand and rock always helps, and then just giving it time. >> 4.    I am seeing what looks like little white bugs is the best description I can use for these little critters in my 24 gallon marine tank.  They are on the glass.  I have some live rock in there, a Clown Trigger, a small eel, a couple of damsel fish and two small anemones.  What are these things and how can I get rid of them? << Oh don't get rid of them.  Most likely copepods which are very beneficial to your system.  You want as many odd little creatures as you can get in there. >> Thanks so much for all your help! Martin <<  Blundell  >>

Pods and Ich? Hi, I had a severe ich problem in my main tank back a few months ago and it got transferred to one of my smaller tanks. <Oh, no..> Needless to say I am a little jumpy. Anyways, I have a small reef tank that is teaming with Amphipods. I was thinking of transferring some to my refugium that is connected to the main tank. However, I was wondering if there is anyway for Ich to survive without fish in a tank for any amount of time? <Unlikely, in my opinion> Also, the salinity of the reef tank is 25 where the main tank is 22.5. Would I have to do a gradual like for fish, or could they handle the change? Thank You. Randy <My advice is to always make environmental changes very gradually. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Microcrustaceans (4/28/04) Thanks for the info on my salinity/SG. <My pleasure.>  It seems to be leveled out at the moment.  But, I have another dilemma.  I've noticed that there are tons of little what look like baby shrimp crawling all over the tank. <Lucky you!> I'm assuming they came on my live rock, since I haven't put anything in there.  Is this a bad thing? <No> If so, what should I do about it? I've read about a type of shrimp (Mantis) that are pests and was wondering if that's what these are. <NO. Mantis shrimp are big carnivores. Check for pix on WWM.> They are so little yet it's hard to tell. <They won't get much bigger. IF they crawl, these are most likely amphipods and/or copepods. If they swim, they're most likely Mysis. Great live food. Read more by searching these terms on WWM.> Any suggestions? <Don't worry. Be happy.> Thanks Jen <You're welcome. Steve Allen.>

Shrimp loss/bug appearance link? I couldn't find an answer to this question but sometimes my wife has accused me of not looking behind the orange juice. I recently lost a cleaner shrimp.. just up and died. I was not too concerned about that but I have very very small white things on the glass surface of my tank. There are many. The fish don't seem to be affected. I have a hippo and two clowns and a wrasse plus some crabs and another cleaner shrimp. No problems with any of the fish but concerned about the white bugs.  Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, David <It is extremely likely that the appearance of the "bugs" has little to do with the timing of your shrimp loss... perhaps the latter's passing contributed something nutrient-wise to the water... but the small crustaceans you are seeing are unrelated otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shrimp loss/bug appearance link? what are the small crustaceans and will they be a problem to the fish?  Thanks again. <Don't know even to the Class w/o a good micro-pic... likely an amphipod or copepod... take a look with a magnifying glass... on the Net and these names as a reference. Bob Fenner>

Pod culture 4/13/04 Anthony, Could you recommend me a book with information regarding the raising of all types of pods as additional food for my reef tank and where I could purchase it at?    <such a book does not exist. No one that describes all pod cultures. For a hobby reference, Bob and I give extensive coverage to refugiums, plankton reactors, microcrustaceans, etc (~ 100 of 400 pages) in our "Reef Invertebrates" book. Focus on the refugium chapter. For a scientific reference, do consult the "Plankton Culture Manual" by Hoff from Florida Aqua Farms> Once I move into a house, I would like to have an enormous amount of pods in a 40 gallon tank that provides constant additional food for my tank.  I was reading on seahorse.org that they breed there pods in simple 10 gallon tanks with water taking from a matured tank but no water flow or filtration?  Have you heard of this?   <yes... rather simple. Rotifers  especially> It seems a little easy? Thanks, Keith <best of luck, Anthony>

Microcrustacean ID 4/6/04  I can't find any pictures that look like this "thing." And I don't know if it's a friend or foe... It reminds me of a shrimp because it's front legs are similar to that of a shrimp (or praying mantis). It is about 1/2 - 3/4 inches long, white, with a dark strip down it's back. The picture is as close as I could get and the drawing is really bad but will give you an idea as to how many legs it has and where they are placed. Thank you for your time.  Patsy  <its tough to say here, Patsy. The pic, although not clear, is helpful because the image alone looks like a harmless detritivore. But the creature in the image looks rather odd and not necessarily safe (a hint of isopod in the blur with dark eyes). Do look up parasitic isopods on our website and beyond to see if any resemble your creature. You might also send a description/picture to Dr. Ron Shimek at reefcentral.com (he has a forum). He's very informed about such micro-organisms. Anthony>

Isopod? Watch those fingers/hands :) 4/6/04  These little critters started showing up in my girlfriends' new 20g Saltwater tank. I have looked at other pics on the net and they resemble some sort of iso/cope-pod.  <yes... good call: it does look like it may be an isopod. Did you happen to buy any Atlantic live rock? (sponges, macroalgae on rubble/rock, aquacultured live rock or live sand)... common sources. Be careful, if it turns out to be a parasitic isopod. They can pinch/bite you too!>  I haven't been able to find out if they are parasitic and harmful. The tank is fairly new, and would like to fix the problem if it is one soon! I have been able to collect one specimen tonight with an eye dropper, but they are very fast, and easier to view in water of course. Sorry if the pics seem a little fuzzy. Thanks in advance! Steve  <do bait for them at night with a piece of fish meat (thawed food fish) to see if we can get a better look/picture for correct ID. Kindly, Anthony>

'Pod ID?.....these are strange ones Hi Crew, <howdy> I've noticed a few little critters in the upper layer of my tank when the pumps are off... They are noticeable because they have quite a jerky swimming action, sort of like a little tiny jellyfish the best description is a white dot, with four "legs" each terminating in a white dot, but with the whole creature maybe 1-2mm (1/16 inch) in length. They swim by opening and then closing the legs/feet, to give a jerky swimming motion. Any guesses?? best regards, Bob (UK) <sounds like some sort of microcrustacean... plankters. All good :) Do reference it (without a picture we cannot) by delving into some marine science books... perhaps even utilize the line drawings in Martin Moe's wonderful old "Marine Aquarium Reference" or his "Handbook... Beginner to Breeder". Anthony Calfo>

Kacia's fish problems 3/19/04 Hi,  Can you help?? <Hi Kacia.  Adam here, help is on the way!  I'm going to go get someone right now.> I've asked several people and it seems my only option is to throw out the live rock...My fish have been dropping like flies, except the clown fish (Percs) and it seems it is because they don't sleep in the rock.  I have hundreds of tiny little bugs running around my tank at night, all over the rock and sand.  I'm told they go into the gills of the fish and suck the life right out of them. <Hmmmm...  Little vampire bugs!  While there are some predatory isopods, these are very rare and usually easily spotted attached to the fish at all times of the day.  They are usually quite large, not very numerous and hard to miss.  I think what you have is a nice  mix of harmless, regular old beneficial 'pods.> They lose color and then die within a day or 2.  I have lost 2 Tangs, 3 Domino Damsels, 1 clown and an angel fish recently.  Should I throw out the rock or bleach it and just use it as regular rock??  Kacia <I don't think we can blame this on the rock or anything that came with it.  Please don't bleach it and waste a precious natural resource.  Please do write back with details about when the tank was set up, the type of equipment, the results of any tests you perform, and your general maintenance, etc., and we will get to the bottom of your problem.  Best Regards.  Adam> Strange things going on Hi folks After my last bout of ich I am again fallowing tank this time for 2-3 mo.s maybe more. I'm in the third week and my copepod population is exploding, <Is one of the good byproducts of running a tank fallow.> all water parameters good, corals and other inverts doing well. My question regards the huge number of shrimp like creatures that appear when circulation is turned off. These are about 3-4 mm long very visible as shrimp and have a pinkish red head and I am seeing even larger molts in the tank. <Neat.> I have 1 skunk cleaner about 2 mo.s now and I had coral banded which I lost when I raised the temp to combat ich (I think I raised it too fast) could one of these have spawned? <A possibility... could also be something else. The lack of predators in the tank will make all sorts of things show up.> I also have found a turquoise colored ball looking thing on a rock that has several openings and about five anchor/tentacle looking things that appear to be holding it in place. It sort of has a lobular appearance and shrinks up when I squirt water at it. It's about 1/2 inch diameter. <Perhaps a tunicate.> And finally my orange Ricordea is splitting and has attached a foot to a piece of loose rock. Now this piece is dangling with rock in mid air. Do I wait till it falls off or cut it and super glue it down somewhere? <I'd wait, then mount it.> This Ricordea also has four mouths is that normal? <Hard to say what normal is sometimes. Captivity itself is abnormal.> thanks mark <Cheers, J -- >

Tiny Critters (shades of Don Ho) I have a 110 gallon tank I set up around New Year's day which just cycled (used live sand and only 10 pd.s of live uncured rock).  I haven't added any fish yet am in the process of setting up a quarantine tank with some of the cycled water. There are some "critters" in the tank.  Lots of very small (pin-size), white circular worm-like things on the glass and something that looked like a rolly polly (isopod?) that dug itself into the sand.  Are these harmless or should I be worried?   <You shouldn't be worried unless you see small bug-like invertebrates hanging from the sides of your fish. Most likely these bugs you saw were either Amphipods, Copepods, or Isopods. In this case, they're harmless> The aquarium store sold me uncured rock and said it would be ok for a starter tank and would help the cycling.  Now I wonder if I introduced some things that I shouldn't have. I really enjoy reading your book! <I agree, Bob's book is very informative.> Thanks!!! <No problem. Take Care, Graham.> Elaine

Amphipods, copepods, and larvae....oh my! - 2/20/04 Hi WWM crew, I'm new to the marine hobby (after ten years of planning, I finally committed to a tank for real, instead of reading and videos)<Good for you. Welcome to the marine hobby> Setup is as follows: 240 litre Juwel with inbuilt filter (also added full bed U/G with a 1200 litre per hour powerhead) Additional Fluval 204 external, so that I can rotate filter cleaning with the Juwel. (This one also has some Polyfilter) Water is R/O made with Tropic Marin to 1.021SG. Tank was cycled using Biomature (took 2 months), got a massive Nitrite spike, then settled down to zero, along with the ammonia. <Excellent and good of you to wait for a few months> Started doing water changes, to get the high Nitrates down, <A by product of nitrite> then added some LR (with a little crab stowaway, that I'm watching carefully) After a few days, added cleanup crew, in the form of 5 x red leg hermits (plus some well boiled shells for house hunting), 3 x Turbo Snails. Added 2 small ( about 2cm ) percula clowns, then waited a week ( still zero/zero Ammonia / Nitrite), before adding a Blood Shrimp. <Sounds well thought out> Observed small numbers of tiny creatures of varying sorts on LR, but was pleased to see them, and noted the crabs snacked on them occasionally. <yes> Still carried out another couple of 10% water changes, to really hammer the Nitrates (better for the shrimp?), <Better for all> and the algae which formed during the cycle has started dying off. (The crabs and snails were munching on this royally, so I was pleased again, plus it was a good green algae [supposed to be good?]) <well, yes and a natural cycle> Wash the filter media in tank water, and only clean half of the media in each filter at a time (better for the bio?) <Excellent> Anyway..... One of the hermits moved house into a new shell......great fun to watch.....<You know....funny you said that> I have been keeping saltwater aquarium keeping for over 3 years and I never get tired of watching hermits either> Fish etc (and new shrimp) feeding well on frozen brine shrimp and cockle, plus occasional dry food mixed with water to soften a bit. <Excellent. Another thing for the dry foods is to soak it in Selco Marine vitamin (lipids) supplement. Will soften the food and add more nutrients for the animals> Fish are happy, mobile, and like playing in the jet from the powerhead, scared me at first, but they seem to like going back for more... Today the shrimp had molted, and seemed happy....but.... Noticed a LOT, and I mean a LOT (hundreds), of very small white creatures, quite mobile, all over the algae on the back wall of the tank, and some on the front glass. <Excellent. These are likely various copepods and zooplankton. Could even be a larval stage for various animals in the live rock. Fear not my friend! Consider this one of the most important and useful parts of the new tank syndrome. Second only to the nitrification cycle> They don't appear to be troubling the clowns, or the other tankmates, but should I be worried?, <Fear not> or doing anything about it? <Nothing. Keep doing what you are doing. You want them to thrive> creatures are about a half millimetre, and can move about. <Likely amphipods or copepods. There are some great pictures of these beneficial animals in "Reef Invertebrates" by Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo. Pick up a copy when you can. A great guide to the known and unknown> It's almost like something has spawned them overnight! <Not overnight, but likely recently> Appreciate your guidance here...... best regards, and thanks for the great website. <Thanks to you for being part of it all. ~Paul> Bob (UK)

Small crustaceans of some sort Hi  <Hello, Kevin here> I have noticed some critters on my tank that move like worms the back end looks like it is split and they are a light brown or beige color can they be shrimp <Likely amphipods, would need a picture for a positive ID.> I did add what appeared to be a peppermint shrimp carrying eggs before I noticed these critters <Peppermint shrimp youngans will swim around, where as pods will scoot and crawl around. I hope this helps! -Kevin> thanks Manny

Propelling 'Pods Hey, <Hey there! Scott F. with you!> Right now, I have a 10 gallon reef ( all zoos) with 80 watts of pc in the coming week or 2, I am getting a 55 gallon tank with once again is going to be for zoanthids only- I'm going to use cured rock to cycle the tank quicker. <Hopefully!> I plan on getting a couple of gobies including a Green or Target Mandarin so I want to get a head start for a couple of weeks at least before adding the Mandarin. <I'd wait a longer time than that before introducing this fish. Mandarins historically fare poorly in newly established tanks with limited microfauna for them to forage> I know the question I'm going to ask has been answered and you can go ahead and refer me to another link, but I assure you no matter how much I read I am still illiterate in the topic. <Cut yourself a little slack! I'm sure that you know a lot more than you think you do> I'm going to have no room behind or on top of the 55 at all except for the AQUA C Remora I'm getting-this also means the fuge will be under the tank. <Sounds fine so far...> I plan on using my 10 gallon and the 80 watts of pc. I still don't understand how the piping goes to get the pods etc from the fuge to the main tank. Telling me to use the return pump etc means nothing. Can you please explain to me how this works in layman's? terms. <Well, in many configurations, this is exactly how it works...The pods and other planktonic life are "sucked up" (or down, if the refugium is over the display) into the return to the tank. Really pretty simple. Sure, there are other possible means to accomplish this, but this is the most common way. As a simple person myself, this is how I'd explain it!> Thanks a lot. Mike <My pleasure. Regards, Scott F.>

Crab in my reef 12/4/03 Hello Anthony! <cheers, my friend> I watched my reef and I realized (to my relief) that the creature I saw the other day in a dark hole in the life rock was not a mantis shrimp but a crab! It arrived as a hitchhiker on the life rock and has been hiding for 3 months! Anyway, I read all about crabs in your book "Reef Invertebrates" and concluded that I should trap it and take it out of my reef, as I can not identify it and there are practically no crabs that are reef-safe. <quite correct> Next question is about amphipods (or copepods, I am not sure). <the former look like arched back shrimp/prawn... the latter look like dots/fleas> There are hundreds of them on the LR and on the grass of my tank. Some are very small and some have grown bigger, as there is no fish to eat them (the clown is swimming at one corner near the surface of the tank and has not yet moved to other places of the reef). Now I am thinking of culturing the amphipods in my sump, before I buy my next fish, which might start eating them (a  Neon Goby, Gobiosoma Oceanops). What it the best way of transferring them in my sump? <just moving a little bit of dense algae or live rock will do the trick> I am thinking of moving a couple of LR that have Dictyota, Halimeda and Padina to the sump, so the amphipods on them will be transferred to the sump, too.  Is it a good idea? <yes> I have not a refugium (lack of space), so I would like to do as much as possible in my sump. <understood> Moving some LR with macroalgae on it is my first thought. Second would be a deep sand bed in the second part of the sump, which would be a problem, because: 1. There is an EHEIM return pump sitting on the glass of this part of the sump and 2. The DSB would raise the bottom by 10cm, which will make  me a slave to evaporation (will decrease my autonomy). Right now I have an evaporation of 3 liters per day and an autonomy of 7 days. If I make a DSB my autonomy will drop to 4 days. Last question for today: when I bought the Clown fish (see attached picture) I thought is was a juvenile Ocellaris, Now I am not certain any more, as it has begun to get darker close to the strip on its head and to the white spots on its back. Can you identify it please? Thanks a lot, Thanassis <clearly looks like A. ocellaris to me my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Egging Me On..? >I just did a water change and decided to change the carbon.   >>Alright. >The carbon was about 2 mos. old.  As I dumped out the old carbon I noticed many, many, many tiny dark brown eggs in the carbon and inside of the mesh bags.  I would guess there might be several tablespoons per bag.   >>Wow.. anything like caviar? >These eggs are tiny, about 1/2 the size of a pin head, very dark brown and inside of the media bag.  I do have a lot of copepods in my sump, are they related/desirable?   Mike in Hershey, Pa. >>My goodness, honestly, I wouldn't be able to give you a definitive answer to that.  Assuming they are actually eggs, and those of your "pods", then if you experienced a subsequent crash in numbers you'd have your best answer there, without microscopic examination and reference sources available.  Of course, almost all pods are going to be rather desirable, and if you do experience a crash, then you'll know for next time to find a way to preserve what you find in the bags of carbon (consider adding them to a refugium?).  Marina

More about 'Pods - 11/26/03 Crew: I noticed the question and Paul's reply regarding buying copepods. <Oh yeah!!!> I wanted to put in a good word for Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, IN. <Yeah, that was my second choice, but having not bought from them before I was unsure of their abilities. Now I know! (and so will everyone)> They sell a wide variety of aquacultured products, including amphipods, copepods, Gammarus and Mysis. <I do like their site and their mission statement>  I have bought his fauna kit before & was very satisfied. <Great!!> It helps to call rather than e-mail if you're desperate for something. <Unfortunately, Gerald doesn't make that very easy with IPSF. His policy is email only in my experience> I called yesterday at 11 AM MST and received 4 bags of excellent algae at 9 AM this morning. <From IPSF??> BTW, I have found that it is easy to get these creatures to grow in a refugium. I suction-cupped a few of those plastic dish scrubbers to the wall of my refugium as suggested by Anthony. I then added the fauna kit. I soon had hundreds of 'pods & shrimps in the refugium. When I wanted to transfer some 'pods to my new 25" CPR AquaFuge on another tank, I tried to catch some and could not. Instead, I removed one of the pads & shook it in a bowl of saltwater. I was amazed to find at least a couple of hundred 'pods & shrimps in there. Now the AquaFuge is full of them too, This is a great product. I put a 65 watt PC (10K/actinic combo) over it and threw in a wad of ISPF's Tang Heaven Red (red Gracilaria). A month later, I've gotten at least 500% growth. I have tried other means to grow Gracilaria, but this is the first time I have succeeded. <Great information. Similar to how I do it as well. Good on ya, mate. Be chatting ~Paul> Steve Allen

Plankton supplies 11/22/03 Hi guys, does anyone know where to purchase a net for collecting wild plankton?  I'm talking about one of those long nets you tow or set in a drift.  Thanks-  D <do try Florida Aqua Farms (do a net search, or look in the bibliog. of our books)... a fine place for such supplies. Else try biological supply houses (like those used by science educators). best of luck. Anthony>

Re: plankton net 11/23/03 Thanks, didn't see it on the FAF site but you were right about the other, Carolina Bio-Supply has them.  -  D <outstanding... best of luck. Anthony>

Promoting Pod Growth - 11/20/03 Thanks for all the help in the past and your continued dedication to hobbyist. <always welcome.> I recently set up a new reef tank and want to get all the beneficial critters really thriving in it b/f I add anything that will prey on them. <a good notion... and even better to do this I a refugium. Either way do provide a dense matrix for them to grow in like Chaetomorpha spaghetti algae> Do I need to be adding something for the pods to eat, or will they find enough to eat/reproduce in the Fiji live rock. <small amounts of foods/organics will sustain them... rotting and live algae and a bit of prepared fish foods will accelerate all> There will not be anything in there to produce extra detritus and there are only a few very small pieces of visible macro algae on the rocks. Also, the rock was curing in another tank for approx 3 weeks after import so not expecting any cycling, might also help to mention that I am running a ASM G2 skimmer with little to no skimmate production at this point, and have a 15gal refugium plumed into the system as well that I put a couple of smaller less attractive pieces of rock and some rubble in, it's pretty empty at this point. Thanks for your help, Ryan <an effective skimmer/brand... just needs tweaked/tuned. Do seek others on the message boards that own this same model and get perspective on how to adjust it. Best of luck, Anthony>

Refugium, Mysidopsis bahia 10/14/03 Dear Anthony, Thanks to your guidance, my second refugium continues to thrive. <to your success/husbandry above all> Even after re-reading several specific chapters in Reef Invertebrates, I still have a couple more questions: Can Mysidopsis bahia be mixed with the smaller copepods and amphipods or will the bigger guys just eat the smaller ones. (about 30 gallons, net of sand and rock) <hmmm... not a matter of predation so much as competition for space/resources... fewer groups will ultimately survive in the end. Best to focus on providing a specific matrix to encourage your target group rather than trying to "go for all" and failing> I find that these shrimp are bred worldwide and are very available as they are used in environmental testing. <correct> I found that the addition of 6 large Mexican Turbo snails has pretty much eliminated all sign of Cyanobacteria. Will these animals affect my "pod" production? <not much or at all, assuming the copepods find adequate algae to eat (they will)> I am feeding the refugium crushed freeze dried krill, soaked so that is sinks. Thanks again, <this will be better for the meat eating amphipods... but not for your vegetarian copepods/rotis. Do consider a phyto drip for the latter unless the macroalgae is sufficiently buck-wild.> Howard in Wisconsin <Anthony in his chair>

Parasites As Houseguests? Good Morning, <Hello! Scott F. with you today> I have an unusual situation which involves an unknown parasite...  At first I thought they were pods, but not too sure now...This past weekend I purchased an additional 10lbs of cured rock for my 2 month old tank.  Yesterday, I came home and found a swarm of pinhead size parasites swimming at the top of the tank... what's unusual about this is they disappear when I turn off the lights.  They are quite small but appear to be white/opaque and/or reddish in color (in fact I noticed a red one attached to my Chromis) not sure if the lights in the tank are playing tricks on me.  Anyway, my Yellow Tang appears to have white spots on his fins now (not sure if the ich is related to the parasites I just described), and unusually, my cleaner shrimp has been spending his whole time on the new live rock.  I tested the water, and everything seems normal... water temp at 78degress...  any thoughts what this might be? Andy Volkoff <Hmm.. Interesting situation, Andy. It's hard to say what the "pinhead-sized" creatures were...Maybe not parasites, but possibly some sort of small crustacean or worm? Possibly harmless, but hard to say from here. A picture would be very helpful...I think that the Ich on the tang may be coincidental. or not. If the rock came from a healthy, fish-less system, it seems unlikely, though not impossible for the Cryptocaryon parasite to be present...I'd keep a close eye on the tank for a while to see if any of the other fishes become ill... I'm glad that the cleaner shrimp seems "interested" in whatever is on that rock...You may need to resort to more drastic actions (such as letting the tank run "fallow", while treating the affected fishes elsewhere) if a widespread ich outbreak occurs. Otherwise, careful observation is your best ally right now...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Amphipods on live rock - 9/05/03 Hello, Great website, I wish I would have found it sooner (have made lot's of mistakes).   I just received about 30# of Florida Aquacultured Live Rock tonight.  I put it my 75 gallon tank, where I plan to cure it (no fish). <fine>  After about an hour of placing the rock in the tank I noticed tiny whitish, bug like creatures crawling on the rock. <likely amphipods> They look like little elongated aphids, or something.  Are these mantis shrimp? <Not likely. More like natural lower food chain animals more inline with zooplankton. Check this out: http://www.nova.edu/ocean/jthomas/apod.html or http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/crust/amphigal.html>  Will they overtake my tank? <they could...... and this is a great problem to have. They will eat detritus, algae, and leftover foodstuffs.> One more, unrelated question (sorry).  I added couple of inches of crushed coral for my substrate.  Was this a mistake if I plan on this eventually being a reef tank, should I take it all out and replace it with sand? <Well, sand is natural and ideal. I have a 3 inch crushed coral substrate bed myself. I have had it for three years with a low occurrence of nitrate spiking. What ever looks good to you.> Thanks in advance for your expertise, <Our pleasure to serve you. -Paul>

Copepods - 8/27/03 Thank you for all your past and future help. <That is why we do what we do> I have a 2 part question. 1). I have what a LFS said was "awesome copepods"  During the recent blackout I shined a flashlight into my tank. I was very surprised to see hundreds of these copepods running all over my sand, rocks, snails etc. Is this alright <Wow. Sounds like saltwater heaven. There are a great many aquarists that would love to have this as a "problem"> and what fish/inverts can control this? <Quite a few, but I wouldn't worry much about this at all. They are not doing any damage. If you have corals they will likely chow on the various larval stages of these copepods, and there are a great many fish that will find these as a tasty snack between meals. You could do what I do though, and let them flourish> 2). I also have small white specks growing on my glass, overflow sump etc. What is this and how do I control this? <Well, "white specks" is quite an ambiguous statement at best. Outright vague. Could be great many things. If we are talking about living white specks, well then these are likely offspring of the copepods or amphipods. Also could be the start of calcareous dwellings of tube worms (just starting out) but could be a great many things. I believe the existence of these little guys (either way) says that your tank is much along the lines of a veritable refugium. What a wonderful dilemma! Delight in the life. -Paul> Thanks again

Amphipods, copepods, and worms... OH MY! - 8/27/03 Morning Mr. Fenner, <Mornin' Bri>     Yesterday I installed a Custom Sealife moon-lite on the canopy of my reef aquarium. <Cool. I utilize these lights as well> Shortly after the lights in my tank went off I saw these little creatures swimming from the rock to the surface of the water. <Sounds like amphipods and/or copepods Do a search in google for more information. Use amphipods and copepods as your search words (one at a time of course)> Some of them would then swirl around on the surface and secrete a liquid that looked like soda fizz. <Mating reproduction methods> These creatures were the shape of a rice grain but much smaller and were tan in color. <Definitely some sort of copepod or amphipod> Should I start scooping them out or are the natural? <No way. You should thank the tank Gods for such luck.> Also lifting up a small rock yesterday I saw two black centipede looking worms about an inch long. <Sounds like a type of bristle worm. You should try and get an ID> I took one out and lost the other inside the tank. Should I worry about this also? <I wouldn't worry much. I would gain a positive ID then decide what to do from there. Check this out: http://wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm Search in Google for marine worms and see what you find as well.> Thank you in advance for any help you can lend. Sincerely, Brian S. <No worries, mate. -Paul out>

Breeding bugs in my refugium 08/06/03 I have a large system, 450 gal fowlr in house, draining into a 500 gal predator tank and a 300 gal refugium in the garage, they in turn drain to the sump, then back to 450 to complete circuit. I feed both the fowler and predator tanks heavily and the system has been running as set up for 6 months and is working to perfection. No water or algae problems. Refugium has deep sand bed,8 inches, live rock. It's only resident is a small Fimbriated moray that I removed from predator tank and put in the refugium as I was concerned he would be eaten by the 3 foot tessellated moray that lives there. After about 6 months as set up, I was hoping to see a huge population of bugs in the refugium by now, but even with a flashlight, I only see a few. I am assuming that with the fowlr with heavy bioload draining directly into the refugium and the messy little Fimbriated moray, that there should be ample food to sustain a huge population of bugs. Lots of rubble on bottom. oyster shells etc. along with the live rock. Was thinking of sinking a plastic milk crate stuffed with filter pads in the refugium to see if this home may be more to their liking, plus giving me a way to harvest the little buggers, and maybe asses their population better. Any ideas? Refugium has NO residents other than the small eel. Thanks in advance. <Well, actually, your idea sounds really good. Have you thought about lighting the refugium and adding macroalgae (I'm very partial to Chaetomorpha myself)? I'd say try both, and see what you get. You may also want to try direct feeding the refugium too, something finely ground. Hope that helps, PF>

Amphipods, Copepods, or Worms, oh my! - 7/31/03 Hello to everybody there, <Hello to you Travis>     I have had my tank set up for a little less than a year. It's a pretty good system. The reason I'm writing is because today I noticed little pink colored bug or worm things. <Hmmm> They move real fast along the glass there is hundreds of them. <Fast is relative my friend. Sounds like some sort of copepod or amphipod, but maybe even some sort of Planaria or bristleworm. The possibilities are endless.> I didn't see them the other day. <Hmmm. Not unheard of but....probably there the whole time> They seem to be mating, with every match, one being a rose color and the other a real light pink? <Maybe sexual dimorphism. Interesting> Please try and search for me, I have a have come to the conclusion from one of your links dr. Smet (something) <Not familiar> that they are isopods and to remove everyone of these little creatures almost microscopic). <Nothing drastic here. No need to panic. Let's get a positive ID here first.> Please help me. I know there are thousands of species of small tank critters and most are good <Agreed> but some are blood suckers that will kill my fish. <Also agreed> I would send a picture but I would need a microscope attached to a camera. <That small, eh>                        Thanks, T P.S. if you really want a picture let me know and I will reply to your reply with an attachment. Till then I can Figure out a way to take a picture. <Please try to send a picture. Also, observe them. Really look at the behavior of the specimen. Are any attached to your fish? When are they most active? Do they seem to inhabit a particular area of your tank? Your best physical description and a picture as tight and focused on the subject as one can get. -Paul>

'Pods in all their splendor. <Hello, PF with you tonight> I have many questions and you have already answered many in the past. Thanks for all your help. I have a 90 gal tank with 90 lbs Kaelini rock and 2-3" fine sand bed setup on 1/10/03. (will be upgrading to 4+" with fine aragonite sand. I will be adding this directly to existing sand base with current inhabitants which is 1 coral beauty and asst. of Turbos, scarlet and red tip crabs. Is this ok to do and do I have to qt the sand?) About 1.5 months ago we noticed small white worms on the glass that at first looked like microbubbles but they definitely move on their own. We determined that they are beneficial we hope. About 2 weeks ago in my CPR 1800 gph overflow box I noticed what appeared to be 1 tiny Mysis shrimp that I feed the fish/inverts in there. I thought it was dead but it was definitely alive. Today when cleaning the sponge in my overflow there must have been 6 or 7 that I removed. They look like tiny white shrimp. I do not see them in the tank or sump. Are these creatures a problem? and this may sound crazy but can they or any other parasites be transmitted to humans? Thanks <These are amphipods and/or copepods. Handy dandy cleaners and a cheap source of fish food, nothing to worry about. As for parasites, the odds of catching parasites from a SW organism are much lower than FW. But, and it's a big one, watch out for infections from siphoning water (don't drink the water!) or from cuts on your hand. Wash your hands with a non-perfumed soap (and skip the anti-bacterial, all soap by it's very nature is anti-bacterial) before and after working in your tank. Use a clean towel to dry with, preferably one that you don't wash in soap and is strictly for the aquarium. I buy a pack of those cheapie clean up towels at Costco every year or so (my wife runs off with mine, hence the replacements). That way I'm sure I'm not introducing any detergents or softeners to the tank. Well that went a little far afield, but I think it answered your questions. Have a good night, PF>

Micro-crustaceans- good 4/27/03 Hi I just bought a long tentacle anemone a couple of weeks ago for my 55 gallon tank. He seemed fine at first, but I had a problem with ick and had to quarantine all my fish. Here is the problem. My tank is now over run with tiny shrimp and I am not sure if they are bothering my anemone. <no bother... they are natural food/plankton> When I feed him he is overrun by shrimp and they have been stealing his food. <little to worry about... he eats them at night <G>> Is this something I should be worried about? <not really... a future fish added to the tank will knock the shrimp population down> On one hand the seem to keep him very clean but on the other hand the shrimp really seem to irritate him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Keith <no worries... do an Internet search for "amphipods" and enjoy. Kind regards, Anthony> Bugs...  3/28/03 Hi,<Hey there!> I have a fairly new, 4 month tank.  Percula clowns have died in the tank about a month ago.  I have waited for any parasites to clear, but still kept the snails and hermit crabs.  I have just introduced 2 new, 3" percula clowns and some live rock, yesterday.  Today, I see one of the clowns breathing very heavily and had white bubble like spots on his body, and even on his eye.  I will give him a freshwater dip today and hope it helps.<FW dips are a good start.  But I would like to see some quarantine tank holding first.> The weirdest thing, though, is that I noticed that the sides of the glass had little specs of dust on them.  They weren't there before, but I got a little curious so I took a magnifying glass and saw that they were not dust!  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of these bugs attached to the inside of the tank!  They look like roaches with short curled antennae on one side and long straight antennae on the other side.  Are these parasites?  How do I get rid of them, or are they normal?  Is this what caused my first set of fish/anemone to die? or did it likely come yesterday from the live rock?<Most likely a form of pod.  Have you tried looking through WWM's Google search feature?  It should help you!> Please help.<Hope this helps and good luck!> Sammy<Phil>

'Pod Power! Just a couple quick questions about some things in my tank. <Sure...> I have bugs, a lot of them all over the sand.  I just purchased a sand sifting star and wanted to see if it had moved since the lights went off. I turned on my bedroom light and looked at the star and noticed a ton of little gray bugs crawling all over. I had seen a few of them before but never this amount. I mean a lot of bugs! Seeing all of them gave me that weird feeling and gave me goose bumps, gross! <Think of them as "Mandarin food", and they won't seem so ugly...Amphipods (that's what these are) are a valuable food source for many fishes...Very good news, really!> I read a few things about bugs on your website but you say they are good, but this many? <I'd consider them quite good, really. The fact that they are proliferating so well means that you have optimal conditions for them. Many hobbyists would love to have this "problem"!> What would be the best way to lessen the amount of them? <Acquire fishes that like to eat them, or consider removing them and offering them to your fellow hobbyists (perhaps as trade for other stuff?). I'll bet a lot of people will be interested!> I have noticed in the day time a few what seems to be shedding from the bugs floating around in the water. Second question: I have no idea what this thing is. It was a hitchhiker on a piece of LR that I bought. It lives in a little hole about an inch of the sand. During the day it slowly pushes sand out of the hole that it has collected during the night. I saw it last night for the first time. It was in the hole but had a "straw" like thing sucking up sand. It is probably on an inch long. It is white in color and I could see the sand moving up the "straw". After sucking up some sand it just went back into the hole. But all day long bit by bit it brings the sand to the edge of the hole were it builds up and forms a little mound on the bottom up to the hole. Do you guys have any idea what this could be? It has not caused any harm seems to be cleaning small amounts of sand. <Sounds like a Terebellid "spaghetti" worm, or a Spionid worm. These are harmless detritivores- all part of the diversity of a helpful organism in the aquarium- enjoy them!> Okay, Last question: I have a little crustacean in that same piece of live rock. I was reading and found a question someone asked about a clicking sound in their tank. My little crustacean does this all the time. Is it a mantis shrimp or a pistol shrimp? It has tentacle like things that it uses to get its food. If I put my feeding stick right next to its hole it will come out and "click" every time tries to pinch it. <Could very well be a pistol shrimp or mantis "shrimp". Neither is something most of us like in our aquariums (if we have fishes, of course), so you may just want to take out this rock and place it in another tank, preferably just for the shrimp. They are fascinating creatures in their own right, and are neat to watch...just not in your reef or FOWLR tank, in my opinion!> I am sorry for all the question but I can not ask my LFS because they are pretty much worthless when asking for advice. <We are always here for you! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Microcrustaceans 3/6/03 I have little white wormlike bugs crawling on the inside of my tank glass they just appeared today. All I have in the tank is a Huma Huma trigger and an orange clown I have had both for a few months.13 pounds of live rock and that's it. There is an attached picture I hope you can tell me what they are. <they are beneficial microcrustaceans like amphipods and copepods. They were imported with live rock or live sand most likely and are very helpful micro-scavengers and food for fishes and invertebrates. DO enjoy :) Anthony>

Cuckoo For Copepods? (Sorry, Anthony!> Scott, thanks for your prompt response. <My pleasure!> Regarding establishing amphipods and copepods, you do say I am on the right track with the Live Rock, Crushed Coral, and 260W Coralife Power Compacts (actinic and Daylight bulbs).  Silly question, but where I have the MAGNUM 350 Canister with the filter sleeve installed, will this filter out and kill the early development of small copepods and amphipods? <Well, good question. It is possible that some will be "sucked in" and trapped among the filter sleeve. However, I have seen many wet-dry style filters and mechanical filters that contained hundreds of amphipods and copepods of various sizes, and at various stages of development...I wouldn't worry too much> Is it worth my while because of this to remove the filter sleeve and not put any media in the canister (e.g. just let it cycle water with no filtration and just leave in place for the water circulation until I see signs of copepods and amphipods?  Or is this immaterial and I should just leave the sleeve in the filter and it's a matter of time before I get these bugs - while some on your site are working to eliminate them I am looking forward to seeing them!   Thanks again for your help - David. <Actually, David- I think that you can leave the sleeve in place...Just make sure that you clean this, and any mechanical filtration media, for that matter- on a regular basis. This is a great way to increase water quality. Ultimately, you could get rid of the sleeve, but if it's properly maintained, I don't see any real drawbacks to its continued use. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Micro-Refugium - 02/26/03 Hi: <Hi Chris, Don tonight> I have a 55gal (48") FOWLR setup with 5" DSB, 25lbs. LR, Bak Pak 2R Skimmer, 800gph circulation.  I am interested in a refugium, but I am currently out of cash.  I was wondering if I can use an in-tank acrylic breeder that I have laying around and put some crushed coral (again, laying around) in it and get some sort of copepod, amphipod thing going?  I read in the daily's recently that CC is a good substrate for their proliferation.  Maybe stick a piece of algae in there too?   <How big is the breeder? A gallon or two? You could set this up if you wanted, but won't have a real big affect. You really want at least 10G and 15G would be better. Now you could setup the breeder with the intent of using it to seed a larger refuge later? Hope this helps, Don> Thanks, Chris.

White insects (pods) This is probably a stupid question , but I have to ask! <No problem, Don here> I have white little things all over the back of my reef tank (they look like small maggots). any ideal what they are and do I need to worry ? <A natural progression of a healthy tank. What are they? Food! Your fish will love them. You can scrape them off if they are on a viewing pane, if not sing to them every morning so they will be happy and get big, fat and juicy! Mmmmm>                   thanks Alex

Micro-crustaceans Thanks for getting back to me so soon.  I've been really worried about what these things were.   <no worries... they are very desirable copepods, amphipods and other desirable zooplankton> I did get a picture, decent I hope.  I've attached the full size picture and the zoomed in picture.  Hope these are OK.  On the zoomed picture, I think I can see some antennae on the bigger one in the middle.  Also, could these things come from the bag of  "living" aragonite I added to aid in the cycling of the tank?   <not at all... I'm embarrassed that some folks in the industry sell such products as "live". Your got your "bugs" from live rock, live sand, fish water, algae or plants added, etc> I hope they're not disastrous. Thanks again. <so much to learn :) Do enjoy the journey. Anthony>

- Mandarin Dragonette - Wow...that hurt! <My apologies, that was not my aim. I do seek to be realistic though, and hopefully it helps in the long run.> Thanks for the information. You made me change my mind about the "tang tank". <Ah good.> I have one problem though....I already ordered the mandarin goby. With the 29G DSB sump/refugium that I have, will I be able to "promote" the copepod and amphipod propagation to support this guy? <Perhaps, but likely not quickly enough. They tend to eat and nibble all day, but you may be able to promote other frozen items like Mysis shrimp.> The sump/refugium is below the tank. I also have several 10G tanks at my disposal, but they are not used yet. Will 1 tang and the clowns compete with the mandarin fish for the copepods/amphipods that are available? <The tang will not, the clowns might, but you can probably distract them with other food.> Do you have any suggestions on how I can further promote the copepods and amphipods to multiply? <Perhaps with a couple of the live sand starter kits.> Thanks for the help! Jeff McHenry
<Cheers, J -- >

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