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FAQs about Micro-Crustaceans Reproduction/Culture

Related FAQs: Microcrustaceans/"Pods" 1, 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 Shrimp RefugiumsCrustaceans 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,

"Plankton Culture Manual" by Frank Hoff from Florida Aqua Farms

Re: Cycling      5/13/14
Hello Bob Fenner,
Thanks for the reply.
I have setup the aquarium as per plan, however I took about 10kg of existing live rocks from my nano tank and used a chiller (temperature is now 27-27.5 degrees C).
On the 4th day after setup, I tested the water parameters. They are as follows:
Ammonia = 0 (not detectable)
NO2 = 0 (not detectable)
NO3 = 5mg (I suppose the "borrowed" live rocks help seed the bacteria and accelerated the cycling. I also did dose BioTim and Biodigest for the Bio Pellets)
PH = 8.4
KH = 11dkh
ORP = 260 creeping up slowing until 312 (down later when I added 2nd batch of bio-pellet)
Salinity = 1.024
Although the NO3 is 5mg, I am reluctant to add any fish. I feel I should give more time for the tank to stabilize first; although not sure how long.
<Mmm, I'd place a bit of food; perhaps a small, hardy organism>
Questions if I may:)
I would really like a mandarin fish down the road. Objective is how to sustain a thriving pod population?
<There are a few approaches>
I have researched and concluded that the area per square feet of sand and rocks (rather than per pound per gallon) as a better guide to increase the opportunities for more pods to grow. At the moment I have about 30 kg (66 pounds) of live rocks (I prefer open spaces than packed corals/rocks). I believe many would say double the amount would be needed to sustain it. As such I plan to hammer away some new rocks and epoxy them into small rock rumbles and scatter them around the tank. I hope to add 10-20kg in total weight of these rock rumbles and 5-10kg in the sump.
<Mmm; I'd much rather have a sump/refugium... space there sans predators of any kind for culture>
Feeding it:
I read that copepods feed mainly on algae especially diatoms. I some concerns not sure if it is valid;
<Many smaller Copepoda species do>
diatom is a phase most aquarist go through, after which diatom though may be present isn't on a large scale. If I have not much algae in my tank (possibility nutrients strip dry from usage of pellet), would there be sufficient pods to sustain one mandarin?
<Can be done>
I have a less favored option: mini refugium either in the sump or hang-on aqua clear 110 with macro-algae present.
<This is the route I would go... with a DSB, RDP lighting and some macro-algal co-culture...>
Thanks once again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fishless tank 1/21/13
If I go fishless for around 6 months to give pods and such to multiply do you need to put any food in the system if so how much and what kind ex frozen, flake or maybe a specific type of food with algae?
<A small pinch of flake or pellets every few days is what I'd use; of any good brand/make up>
90 gallon display, 30 gallon sump, 35 gallon refugium.
Thanks Steve

Copepod help! Culture      4/4/12
Hi! First I want to say your site is AMAZING with all the knowledge  and information you provide!!  My question is concerning copepods in  my tank.  We have a 125 gallon reef tank that includes 150lbs of live  rock, 1 green Chromis, 1 skopas tang, 1 yellow eye Kole tank, 1 red  fairy wrasse, 1 psychedelic mandarin, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 4  peppermint shrimp, as well as 100+ blue legged hermit crabs
<Whoa! Why?>

 and  multiple snails.  We run a sump with 3 sections and a bubble trap, the  inlet section w/ protein skimmer, the middle section that has sand and  live rock, the bubble trap and the return section w/ the return pump.  
Sorry if I'm giving you to<o> much info but I want to give you a good  idea of our system.  As far as corals go we have a Fiji leather, pink  cabbage, green frogspawn, torch coral, 9" long tentacle anemone,  orange tube anemone,
<Mmm, dangerous>

green mushrooms, red mushrooms, blue mushrooms, 2  candy cane corals.  We have a 1.5-2" live sand bed as well.
<I'd add an inch or two>

  Ok,  finally to my question!  Our tank has been running since last October  and is very well established.  In March we noticed copepods were  taking over the glass and rock so we purchased the mandarin.  He's  doing VERY well :-) LOVE HIM!  About a week ago we purchased the red  fairy wrasse and tonight I noticed the copepod numbers have gone down  considerably.  Is it possible they've eaten most of the stock of  copepods, enough to starve my mandarin??
<Mmm, you should be able to judge this by the behavior and appearance of the Mandarin>
 Would the live rock and sand  section of my sump be suitable to breed copepods? 
I have thought  about setting up a 20L for a couple fish and mostly corals .. would  this be a better set up to breed copepods??
<Not better than a region in the refugium section of your sump>
I REALLY don't want to  lose my mandarin and until the wrasse we still had 1000s of pods! 
Please help!! Thanks in advance!!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copepod help!     4/5/12

Thanks for the fast reply!! Why do you say "dangerous" about the anemones?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tubeancompf.htm
Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AnemCompF5.htm
and generally on WWM re Cnidarian compatibility. BobF>
Re: Copepod help!     4/5/12

WOW!!!!!!!!  I had NO idea they were that dangerous!!! I will remove the tube asap!! Thanks AGAIN for your help!!!!
<Ahh, welcome. B>

Setting Up A Small In-Tank Refugium'¦ For Critter Culture -- 12/03/11
I spent this morning reading most of the refugium material here and in Anthony Calfo's book, but I have a fairly special situation and I hope that one of you fabulously kind experts can help out a beginner by answering a few specific questions.  Thanks in advance!
<<Let's see what I can do>>
I just put a small (6x8x12 inch) refugium inside my 65 gallon FOWLR tank.  I know it's small, but I only want a place to culture interesting critters, such as assorted worms, mini brittle stars, amphipods, and etcetera.
These won't survive in my tank (I assume) because I have a huge number of hermit crabs, which keep the substrate practically sterile.
<<Indeed'¦  The hermits will certainly decimate those critters they can reach in the upper level of the substrate>>
But I love hermits, so I am resorting to a refugium.
Unfortunately, my situation precludes any sort of external refugium, so I am limited to a small in-tank setup.
<<I see>>
Because my nitrate and phosphate are un-measurable and I have no significant algae problem, I do not care about denitrification or nutrient reduction.  My only goal is culturing worms, mini-stars, and amphipods for fun.
<<Should work>>
With this in mind...
1) Is my little in-tank refugium too small for what I want to do?
Will these little critters just keep dying off?
<<The 'populations' will balance to the space/availability of food.  I would suggest feeding the refugium for maximum benefit re'¦a few shrimp pellets every few days should suffice>>
If this is the case, do you have a suggestion for a fun thing I can do with this little in-tank refugium?
<<I would do just what you plan>>
2) What, if anything, should I use for a substrate?
<<Sugar fine aragonite, IMO>>
Shallow or deep sand bed?
<<2-3 inches>>
Rock rubble only?
<<Maybe a couple small pieces>>
<<As indicated>>
3)  Indo-Pacific Sea Farms sells an Ulva pod mat.  Is Ulva the best algae for my critters' refugium?
<<I prefer Chaetomorpha'¦provides an excellent matrix for many critters.  But get what you want as most any macro-alga will suffice here>>
Or should I use red Gracilaria instead, which is popular?
<<Up to you>>
Chaeto is also popular.
I know that I have to pick just one, so I want to pick intelligently and get it right the first time, if possible.
4) The refugium gets moderate light from the tank's lighting, actinic and 10K T5 bulbs.  I bought a small reef-type LED fixture to mount on the side glass of the tank facing in to the refugium, but it is shockingly bright.  Maybe I should not use it because the tank's light will be perfect?
<<Whatever macro-alga you choose will appreciate the bright lighting>>
Thank you very, very much for any guidance you can give me in this little venture.
<<Happy to share'¦  EricR>>
Re: Setting Up A Small In-Tank Refugium'¦For Critter Culture -- 12/05/11

Eric - Thank you for your fast and inspiring response.
<<Quite welcome Tim>>
You guys are so valuable to us beginners!
<<We are happy to assist>>
Because Indo-Pacific sells their pod cultures on Ulva mats, I guess I'll go with Ulva as the substrate.
<<Okay'¦IPSF has some really nice stuff, but you should also check out the cultures/kits offered by Inland Aquatics (http://www.inlandaquatics.com/)>>
I do know from reading WWM that I dare not mix algae due to chemical warfare.
<<Is best not to, agreed>>
I'll put in the aragonite and a little rock rubble today and order the pod cultures in a week or so, as soon as things stabilize.  This is so exciting!
<<I think you will likely find the refugium as interesting to observe as the main display.  Eric Russell>>

Collecting Copepods'¦in Hawai'i -- 07/13/11
Aloha from Hawaii-
<<Greetings from South Carolina>>
As you probably know we are not allowed to import any copepods into Hawaii.
I have avoided getting a Mandarin for that reason.
<<There are 'captive bred' specimens now available that accept a variety of prepared foodstuffs>>
Can you please explain to me how I could successfully collect some from the ocean (which is a block away from me)?
<<The fact that you are also not able to collect live rock makes this difficult'¦though it is possible you could obtain copepods from simply collecting sea water and adding it to a refugium for culture>>
I have been told to just shake off some rocks into a bucket but am afraid that I'll get more harmful critters than beneficial.
<<Shaking/swirling gathered rock in a bucket of water (assuming even this is allowed) will certainly yield more biota than collecting water alone>>
How do I know it's copepods I'm harvesting and not parasites?
<<or'¦parasitic copepods'¦>>
Especially since they're microscopic?
<<Valid concerns'¦ But the bigger issue here is that you seem to expect that harvesting/culturing copepods will allow you to keep a Mandarin. Though copepods are certainly a primary food item, it is very unlikely that, even should you be successful in obtaining these, that you can collect/culture enough to sustain a wild-caught fish'¦especially if there is other competing life (finned or otherwise) in the system. A very large and mature system 'might' be able to do such, assuming a dearth of food competitors, but even this is not a guarantee. I strongly feel your best option here is to obtain a captive bred specimen. Aside from the usual frozen food offerings, it's reported these fish will even accept New Life Spectrum pelleted foods'¦a definite advantage! Obtaining a captive bred specimen will likely entail waiting/working with your LFS to make a special order, but they are available>>
Mahalo- Tor
<<A hu'i hou'¦ EricR >>
Re: Collecting Copepods'¦in Hawai'i -- 07/21/11

Mahalo for the quick reply and for pointing me in the right direction.
<<Quite welcome my friend>>
I am looking into the tank-raised Mandarins. Aloha
<<Good luck! EricR>>

Establishing Copepods And Arthropods In A New Tank 2/22/11
<Hello Tim>
My new tank is all set up with dark-cured live rock and aragonite, waiting for my two clowns to come out of quarantine. I hope to follow them with a pair of Banggai cardinals when chemistry permits.
I've been flitting around WWM today, and I discovered your many articles on copepods and arthropods. Fascinating. Now I'm thinking it would be good to try to establish a healthy population of them in my main tank before I put in fish. Because I dark-cured the rock, it looks totally dead. In these many articles here, I did not see (or perhaps carelessly missed) information on establishing a tank population. There is no way I can set up a refugium; my wife-approved real estate is filled with chiller, canister filter, and overkill-sized UV sterilizer.
So... Do I just buy a bottle of live copepods / arthropods and dump them in the tank? Along with some kind of food for them? Any hints? If you have an article on this that I missed, the link would be wonderful.
<Start by buying a container of live pods. There should be enough phytoplankton in the container to sustain them for a while. Then add just enough liquid phytoplankton to tint the water light green. As the copepods digest the phytoplankton, the water will clear up. You should have a new colony of pods about every two weeks. Once your tank is established (6 months) you can cut back or completely eliminate adding phytoplankton. If you suspect your copepods are not getting enough nourishment from the sources that are readily available in the tank, periodically add a bit of phytoplankton to the water.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Establishing Copepods And Arthropods In A New Tank 2/22/11- 2/23/11

James - Thank you for your answer! I really appreciate the information.
<You're welcome, Tim.>
You did say one thing that confused me (I'm very new at this, but determined to do everything right):
"You should have a new colony of pods about every two weeks."
I'm not sure what this means.
<It means what it says, a new colony of pods about every two weeks.>
I dump the bottle of pods in my tank, and add just enough liquid phytoplankton to color the tank water light green. It will slowly clear up as the pods digest it..
Does your statement mean that the clear-up will take about two weeks, and then I have to add more phytoplankton?
<No, you will only feed as necessary. The clearing up time will depend on your pod population.>
I don't know what 'new colony' means. The old colony dies off for some reason?
<New colony means new pods, the old colony doesn't necessarily die off, some will be eaten, die off from age, etc. Google "growing pods", you will get plenty of hits. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Establishing Copepods And Arthropods In A New Tank 2/22/11- 2/23/11
James - Will do. Thanks.
<You're welcome.>
I'll search again. I did Google "growing pods" and related things, but the vast majority of hits I got were for how to set up a SEPARATE tank for the purpose of growing pods to feed fish in the display tank. The rest were about maintaining pods in an established tank. My situation is that I have a totally new display tank and I want to start and maintain a population there. But since I am an adventurous guy, I just ordered a small tank, heat, aeration, and light. I am going to set up a small breeding tank in the cellar and try breeding them as well as establishing them in the display tank. Thanks for all your help!
<You're welcome.>
It's hard being a newbie who wants to do it all and do it right.
<Keep reading my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Ocean Pods/Live Food 8/16/10
<Hello Marco>
What are the three species of pods found in Ocean Pods?
<That question would be best answered by going here and contacting the company.
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Copepods... Culture/RMF    3/6/10
I read through all of the questions about copepods and I couldn't really find a specific answer for my question. I am going to be starting my new 50 gallon tank shortly and my question is. If I introduce copepods to the tank during the cycling process (using just live sand and rock) will this give them time to flourish and build colonies inside of the
tank enough to support say a mandarin.
<Might... depending on the species, should they survive the cycling processes>
I had a mandarin in last tank I had and he seemed to fine when I introduced him after the tank had been running for about a year but then he just disappeared. I am really trying to take my time with this tank and start slow so as to build the most complete reef tank I can. Any help would be great. Thanks a lot.
Mr. Kalman
<Worth trying... Do you have a refugium? I would plan on one... as large, diverse as you can. Bob Fenner>
Copepods/Mandarin/Dragonet Systems ala Salty 3/6/10
I read through all of the questions about copepods and I couldn't really find a specific answer for my question. I am going to be starting my new 50 gallon tank shortly and my question is. If I introduce copepods to the tank during the cycling process (using just live sand and rock) will this give them time to flourish and build colonies inside of the tank enough to support say a mandarin.
<I would not add the pods until after cycling is complete and no ammonia is detected. A 50 gallon tank with a good stock of pods should support one Mandarin, but I would allow a couple months for the pods to colonize before adding the Mandarin.>
I had a mandarin in last tank I had and he seemed to fine when I introduced him after the tank had been running for about a year but then he just disappeared. I am really trying to take my time with this tank and start slow so as to build the most complete reef tank I can. Any help would be great.
<OK, have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm>
Thanks a lot.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Mr. Kalman

PODS question, culture...    2/7/10
<Hello Alvaro>
I recently added a bottle of copepods to my refugium. I started it off with regular sand and base rock and added a couple of shrimps to start the cycle. The cycle was ending before I added the pods. The first couple of days I saw them swimming around everywhere but the population began to decrease in a matter of 5 days until there was no more copepods left.
<Mmm, was there much, anything for this species of Copepod there to eat?>
I dont have anything in there that can eat them so I was thinking they probably died off due to the elevated nitrites and nitrates.
<A possibility>
Maybe they all got sucked up by the pump and ended up in the filter sock.
<This too>
Although I am leaning towards the nitrate/nitrite reason instead. Can you please shed some light on this situation? Thanks
<Mmm, not really any more than what you and I have speculated above.
Perhaps a cursory reading of what we have on WWM re Copepods, Micro-crustaceans period, starting here:
and the linked files at bottom.
Bob Fenner>

Copepods / Light  10/22/09
Howdy Crew!!!! First time for me picking your brains. I always start out looking for information on your site then find myself reading for hours on end, very addicting! HA!. I have truly benefited and learned from you and your inquirers. Thanks for all you do!!!
<Welcome Rand>
I have a simple question that I haven't found an answer to. I have a 75g reef tank w/sump. Plenty (60-70lbs) of live rock w/ a DSB of 2-3". My tank is well established and been up and running now for 4 1/2 years with literally no real major problems. Filtration is a sump w/ bio-balls and houses my Sea Urchin 2 skimmer (a purchase I recently made after reading your site, what a wonderful piece of equipment, thanks for the advice here as well). The sump probably holds around 10-15g of water. I do not have a light above the sump, it's placed in the cabinet below and always dark. Do the copepods need light to survive or reproduce??
<Mmm, no, but illuminating macro-algae, live rock et al. there would be beneficial indirectly to all>
I do see amphipods in the dark sump but no copepods. I also see other small creatures on the LR within the tank but again no copepods that I can see. I am being told the age my tank there should be sufficient live food sources for a Mandarin to survive.
I have recently purchased a small bottle of "Tigger-pods" and have been slowly adding them at night to the tank every 2-3 days. My hope is they will get established and reproduce in the main tank enough to support the recently acquired Mandarin.
<More likely to be eaten there>
The Mandarin seems to be grazing on the rock now but I cannot actually see what it is eating. The Mandarin has been in the tank now for 2 weeks and seems to be very active and doesn't show signs of starvation that I have noticed. I have tried to shine a light on the glass when the lights go off at night to see if it attracts any copepods in the tank, but I cannot see anything. I'm just trying to give the Mandarin what it needs to survive knowing the copepods are it's essential food source but not sure how to do this.
<Rubble in the sump/refugium, stocking a useful variety (or two) of algae, lighting (RDP...) is/would be best. Please read here:
and the linked files above re Algae in Refugiums>
I have the following other inhabitants other than the Mandarin.
1-Yellow Eye Tang, 1-Foxface, 2-(mated pair) Yellowstripe Maroon Clowns
w/ 2 BTA's,
<May consume the Mandarin...>
1-Yellow Watchman Goby w/ Pistol shrimp. 1-Fire Shrimp, 1-Bi-Color angel, 1-Pajama Cardinal, 1-One Spot Blenny. Corals- yellow polyps, xenia, green star polyps, green striped mushrooms, blue tip Acropora, and a crocea clam. Would any of these be feeding on the copepods???
<All the above with the exception of the Xeniids, GSPs. Do realize that "Copepods" are a huge group of crustaceans... size, life-habits,  palatability-wise>
One last question I just thought of while I have your time. My crocea clam has a green striped mushroom coral very close by. Actually when the mushroom is fully opened the flesh of the clam touches the mushroom. It doesn't seem to be bothering either. Should I remove the mushroom and relocate it???
<Not if inconvenient>
I'm not worried about the mushroom (have too many of them anyway) but didn't want any problems for the clam?
<If not registering as such...>
Always appreciate the knowledge from your staff.
Thanks Randy
San Antonio, TX
<Welcome. BobF, still in S. Cal.>

Copepod Refugium set-up   5/2/09
Hello Wet Web Media,
I'd like to set up a copepod refugium in my empty 15 gallon tank. This refugium will not be connected to the main reef, but will serve as a grow-out tank for a new copepod population (to help feed the fish and
corals in my well established reef).
<Mmm, okay>
Would it be best to include live sand and a piece or two of live rock in this refugium, or leave it bare-bottomed?
<The sand would be better... to balance water quality issues, aid in bio-filtration, allow for habitat, grow foodstuffs...>
The only life I'm looking to cultivate in this refugium are the pods themselves,
<Mmm, I'd be growing some macro-algae as well>
so I'm not sure if the sand and rock are necessary. Would you recommend adding a relatively powerful light source (I have a 50-50 power compact system for this tank) or should the tank be kept dark?
<I'd add light... for the algae, and your appreciation>
Finally, other than phytoplankton what else will these guys eat?
<... only copepodites... Please read here:
the last tray... "Pods"... and seek out the references mentioned therein.
Bob Fenner>
I have plenty of macro algae in the main tank that I could easily transfer to the new refugium.
Thanks very much for your help.

Not a question - more a friendly warning 3/31/09
Good Afternoon to all that make this site such a wonderful resource!!!!!
<Good morning, Bill.>
I'm not certain that this is the correct place for this, but I feel it is my duty as a long time reader of this site to warn others of a less than desirable online vendor.
DO NOT order from www.precisionaquatech.com !!! I needed to add some copepods to my happy tank, and also needed to seed a refugium I recently set up for my larger tank. After shopping around online, I came upon this site. Looked great, very reasonable prices, and FREE shipping! Can't go wrong, right???
<Sounds good to me so far.>
The site stresses the importance of overnight shipping to ensure live arrival. I could not agree more. I went ahead and placed an order for 5000 pods. Nowhere in the checkout process did it even offer any other option than the "free" shipping. Imagine my dismay when I got a tracking # and UPS indicated it was by GROUND! I immediately emailed the website questioning this. No reply. So I emailed again. And Again. And Again. No reply to 4 emails. So I called. Twice. No return call.  My copepods arrived on the 5th day in an unrefrigerated, poorly packed box.
After following the acclimation procedure to the letter, the most optimistic estimate I could come up with is 90% DOA. In a bottle that was supposed to contain 5000 LIVE Copepods, there were so few left alive that I considered naming them.
I would NEVER order anything from this site again. I would strongly recommend that none of your readers do either!!!
<I went to their site and I did read "free UPS ground shipping on most items."  I also saw the "free shipping" on 5000 pods, but I didn't see anywhere where they stressed overnight shipping on pods.  That should have rang a bell. If I did not have the overnight option at checkout, I would have called/emailed them BEFORE I ordered, and if voicemail came up instead of a human, I would have left a message to return my call.  And if they did not return my call, I'd be back on the computer looking for another source.  But to be fair, I would think they would have contacted you with a warning that they could not guarantee live arrival with UPS ground. You are not very far from Indianapolis, and is where Premium Aquatics is located. They sell DT's Live Pods and you might want to think about them should you order again. I've dealt with these people for the last 10 years and I have nothing but good to say about them. See here.
***********END OF RANT**********
Thanks again for all that you do here. I have lost track of the number of times I have attempted to correct misinformation on other forums, only to be told how wrong I am. Without fail, after referring them to the proper link at this site, they come to the conclusion that maybe I was on the right track. Keep up the GREAT Work!!!
<Thank you, Bill and hopefully a lesson learned with your experience.
James (Salty Dog)>
Bill Smith
Columbus, Ohio

Copepods 01/12/09 G'day crew, I just set up a 20 gal refugium with live rock and sand and added a "starter" package from a dealer. (1200 tisbe sp,1/2 lb Chaetomorpha, and 16 oz of microalgae) This feeds a 72 gal FOWLR with 120 lbs LR and 90 lbs of Live sand/ Fish include a Mandarin Dragonette, Tangs, Gobies and assorted inverts. Problem: a bulkhead in the refugium broke loose and the contained area drained into the pump and got distributed to the main tank. The starter pack had been in the refugium for about 2 days. Question: Do I need to reseed the refugium or will there be sufficient residuals in the rock and Chaetomorpha to regenerate? <Yes and no. There will be enough residuals to regenerate.... eventually. Eventually, being the key word. It might take a long time for your refugium to repopulate, but it will repopulate *eventually.*> Copepods are difficult and expensive to get to Alaska due the very cold weather and the necessity of overnight shipping. Thanks for your time. Bill Laflen <If you don't have the time/patience to wait for your refugium to repopulate (which might take at least a month or two or three), then go ahead and buy another starter kit. If you do have the patience/time... then there's no need. Hope this helps, Sara M.>

Re: Another Algae email... substrate, LR change outs/additions, pod culture, comp.   12/31/09 Hi Bob, Thanks for the info. It sent me in all the right directions. I would like for you to clarify for me on your recommendation to change out some of the substrate (and LR in time), is it (in your estimation) a lack of biological activity or is it a lack of buffering/tract elements capacity? <Actually both these are primary reasons> I am thinking that I will just scoop a few cups off of the top of the LS and scrap the rest and change out all at once and re-seed the new. <Okay> I have the opportunity to do so when I drill the overflow, as the tank will be empty. Or should I have a little more patience and replace in thirds over several months. <This would be better> Can I re-use any of the current sand after rinsing. <Mmm, yes... though it will be less soluble... a "neat" experiment can be done short or longer term... the short one might involve some "new" sand and your old... of the same depth/volume and/or weight... mixed in with water, some dilute acid (perhaps just vinegar)... and having a few days go by... remeasuring both samples... Longer term, if you had two aquarium settings you could do the same sort of experiment, measuring before and after... You will find that the "older" sand dissolves more slowly> Aragonite sand is expensive and I would like about 5-6" depth. I have 2 kidneys and can sell... well, never mind :). All joking aside, I want to make the smartest decision. <Adding a bit more new live rock would be even superior... biologically> The algae on the sand bed does feel slimy. Silky may describe more accurate. Descriptions are subjective. I do wish I had a microscope. <I wish every household did... and the curiosity to use it... Costs much less than (for many folks monthly) cable TV...> Also, my bulb on the HQI 150w over the refugium-to-be is about 16 months old. It is a 10,000K... do I need to replace with a new bulb for the Chaeto? <How many hours do you run it? Do you have a PAR meter? Does it seem that the green alga is growing too little with it?> A semi-related question. I do not see any copepods in my tank. I shine a flashlight at night and see nothing. I don't think I have ever noticed these at all. Is it possible to have the population completely eradicated and not repopulate? <Yes... is very possible... Hence the "re-inoculation" suggested...> I have literally thousands of amphipods. Again, no fish in my system for 8 months or so. I have an Emerald Crab that will eat them (Copepods), but that is all. I have had shrimp and other Copepod predators before. Could the conditions in my tank have caused them to completely die out at an earlier point - my tank did over heat last summer to about 90F for an afternoon? <Mmm, more likely the former> Do Hermit Crabs dine on Copepods? <Some do, will for sure if they can catch them... Do know that the Copepoda are an enormous assemblage... size, feeding mode et al. very diverse...> I believe I have read on WWM somewhere (I think an outside link from the FAQ's... Maybe Advanced Aquaria article) that Amphipods will eat Copepods, true? <Some can/do> I am about to drill the back of my tank for an overflow and half inch return line to put the fuge into action. Keep your toes crossed for this. <Go slow...> I must give a plug for www.glass-holes.com if I may, as they are truly a top shelf business. <Ahh, thank you for this. ScottV was kind to drive down and visit this last week here from Fresno. We had a great time visiting fish stores, the Birch/SIO aquarium, chatting> Awesome service and products good prices and free shipping. Take Care and thanks in advance. Stay safe and have fun tonight (New Years Eve). Don't know if one can stay safe AND have fun at the same time. :). Scott <Mmm, a bit of a conundrum, but, yes, partly. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Collecting Copepods In The Sea 8/18/08 Hi, Bob and gang. How are you guys? <I'm fine... a bit bleary eyed in CT, but rallying, thanks> I just popped over to my friend's place and saw that he had a green spotted mandarin fish in his 50 gallon mature tank. Seems he just bought the fish a week or two ago. The mandarin is still pretty plump and according to my friend, he's been nipping at stuff on his live rock. After telling him how difficult it is to maintain a mandarin in a tank smaller than 100 gallons without supplementing with live copepods, he's been trying to look for live copepods. I've also been helping him hunt for any LFS selling live copepods but to no avail. We're both living in Malaysia and it seems the LFS here aren't that clued up about copepods. Most don't even know what we're talking about but they're still selling mandarins and also seahorses! Anyway, to cut a long story short, I suggested we try to get the live copepods from the sea. <Lots of folks do... I have> Since he lives literally 200 meters away from the sea, he can get seawater very easily. However, my question is how can we catch the copepods? Do we just scoop up 2 liters of seawater and hope that there are some live copepods in there?!? <Mmm, really need to sieve much more volume than this> I can see there is small fish fry swimming in a relatively calm part of the coast. Am I right to assume that if the fish fry can survive, there's sure to be live copepods (or something else to eat) about? <All sorts of life... during different times of day/night, tides...> I just need to know what is the best way to capture live copepods from the sea. Do they gather at the water surface, on surface of rocks or simply swim about in the water. Is there a best time to capture these live copepods? <Yes, but need to experiment a bit...> Then after capturing them, what steps should he take to ensure he doesn't introduce any contaminants from the seawater into his tank? <A tough question... best to keep all the "catch" in a separate tank (can be simple... all new water, sponge filter, air powered...) and sub-net some to feed...> I'd basically like to help him ensure there's a steady supply of live copepods for his mandarin. Thanks for your help, Bob & gang. Charles Tang <Do see the Net re... Plankton Nets... you might be able to fashion one yourself... if you can find suitable netting... need to find/borrow a boat to drag, dip it along... a jar or two... or a plastic cooler/esky... Bob Fenner>

Culturing Live Food, 7/9/08 I am looking for guidance on culturing live food. Doing such is driven by interest rather than a hard requirement from my tank's inhabitants. I have a 24 gallon nano-cube (which I wish I had never gotten since it provides no flexibility whatsoever. A little bit bigger system with a sump/refugium would have definitely been the way to go. but I digressed). <I think many people find this to be true once they get their tanks going.> The tank has been running for 2.5 years, and it houses 2 Percula Clown fish, 1 small Pipe Organ coral, 1 small colony polyp, and a couple of dwarf crabs and snails. The clown fish readily accept flake foods and seem happily fed. On rare occasion I have fed them newly hatched baby brine shrimp which they loved. Also, the tank does have copepods that came in from the live rock. The clown fish hunt the copepods, but the copepods mostly hide in the live rock and substrate. The copepods are also very small, being barely visible to the naked eye. Usually it requires a 30x eye piece to get a good look at them. <Eye strain for sure.> There seems to be a couple of choices of easily cultured live foods: brine shrimp, copepods (larger Tiger pods and smaller Harpacticoids pods), rotifer's, and Mysid shrimp. The live food(s) would be cultured in a dedicated vessel. My questions are as follows: 1) Is anyone of the cultured foods listed above more useful than the others given my tank's inhabitants? <The pods and Mysid by far.> 2) Would introducing any of cultured foods 'live' be harmful for the current tank's population of copepods? It is my understanding the Mysid shrimp are voracious and would likely not only consume the current tank's population of copepods but also would likely consume each other. I want to feed the tank, not establish a new biological order. <More likely it would strike some sort of balance eventually, but how many Mysid could survive long term is hard to say.> 3) Culturing brine shrimp to adulthood would require that they be enriched before feeding them to the tank. would this be worth the effort? <Not in my opinion, easier to just feed the fish the food directly, the brine itself adds almost nothing.> 4) Should brine shrimp eggs be de-capsulated before hatching them? Asked another way, can adult fish eat them with the shells still attached or is this just a concern for fish fry? <Mostly a concern for smaller fish.> 5) Would the soft corals benefit from the addition of any of the listed cultured live foods? <Probably marginally.> Thank you much for your guidance. <I highly suggest checking out the works of Dr. Adelaide Rhodes, she gave a great presentation at this year's IMAC, and is an expert on what you are trying to do. http://www.essentiallivefeeds.com> <Chris>

Pod Culture Tank 4/13/08 I have had a mixed reef tank set up for about 15 months. I have tried several experiments throughout this time, including a DSB in-line fuge. I took an Eclipse 6 (basically a six gallon tank with hood and filter package) and drilled a hole in each side and put about 4 inches of aragonite substrate and a couple pieces of rubble. No need to get to far involved because there were many things I did not like so I took it out. <Okay.> When I took it out it had been running for about four months, needless to say there were all sorts of pods, worms, snails, Chitons, sponges, and starfish taking up residence. <Good.> So I figure why not another pod culturing tank experiment since there were far more amphipods in there than anything else I could see. <Sounds good.> I unhooked the small tank from the system, plugged back in the filter that it came with in the hood, (the filter is just a small 3 stage unit) and put a filter sponge in with no carbon, and no bio-wheel running. The system holds roughly 5 gallons of water 3''-4'' of aragonite substrate, not even 2 pounds of rubble, and a softball size chunk of Caulerpa racemosa (despite the dangers, it is an experiment anyways). <The dangers of Caulerpa get overblown. Many use it without issue.> I plan to light it with the small light in the hood (12'' 8W T5 20K) and a 65W grow bulb off to the side. My display is a 75 gallon, 100lbs. live rock, 6'' DSB(80lbs.) with a Toms Aquaria Rapids Pro backpack filter system. Light on the fish but many corals (SPS and LPS), and of course all the cleaners, inverts, etc.. I run heavy on the carbon, I am currently running my 18w UV at 150 GPH, a skimmer and multiple rotating powerheads located throughout with all the necessary sponges and floss pads. I do 10 gallon water change every two weeks, feed sparingly, and have many, many different types of macro (some nuisance "algae") in my tank that are all kept in check by one small Lavender Surgeon fish, so I believe my tank would not be considered a "nutrient rich" tank. <I would, something is fueling the algae.> Hopefully this is enough info on the tank, however to answer this question you may need more info as far as what type of coral, macro, filter feeders in the display tank, but here it comes. If I started doing five gallon water changes every week and put the water from my DT into the culture tank, as well as put a very small amount of live phyto and a shrimp pellet or two every other day, would that be enough to keep the pods multiplying and the macro growing? <It should, yes.> Also know that I really don't care that much about the Caulerpa, I could always just put a sponge or more rubble in there. Plus the algae in the display tank could be using up all the available nutrients in the water so it would not even make it to the culture tank where the Caulerpa is. Is this possible? <Yes, you will be far better off having this plumbed in with the display. Let the Caulerpa grow in the refugium and hopefully not in the main tank.> I realize this is a broad overview of my tank and it's parameters and may be hard to answer the main question which is will there be enough nutrient for the pods to multiply, or too much and the water will foul in between water changes. Or is this whole thing a silly idea? <No, it is not a silly idea, sounds like a fun experiment. It will just yield little if any benefit unless the tanks are plumbed together.> I know the best thing to do was to leave it plumbed to the DT, but there was just not enough room to operate and maintain everything properly, so the fuge is put on hold till after we move. <This is unfortunate.> Sorry to completely change the subject but I have a short question. I keep hearing that a reef tank should produce a lot of dark skimmate. <Relative to the tank and livestock.> Not really how much, but how thick. In a standard mixed reef (''standard''...that's funny) <Good point.> it would be safe to say that a small fish (say a 2'' Tomato Clown ) will produce more skimmate than say 3 or 4 softball size SPS corals? <Actually, no. It is surprising how much skimmate SPS corals alone can and do produce. If you have a LFS with a fishless frag tank, ask to see the skimmer sometime, you will be shocked!> Basically you could say size for size/weight for weight a fish produces much more skimmate than a coral does? <As compared to size and weight, possibly.> Considering a little give one way or another as far as different species go. Example a tang may produce more than a predatory fish that only gets feed once a day or less? <Yes, a fish that metabolizes more food/energy than another should in turn produce more waste.> I have a small Tomato Clown, DS Goby, Six-line Wrasse, and Lavender Surgeon fish, very large LTA , around 15 stony corals, and about 20 mushrooms. My tank is no Tank of the Month, but it is pretty heavily stocked as some of my corals are of pretty good size. <Sounds like a nice tank. I have seen a few so called 'Tanks of the Month' in person. While I am sure there are many nice, if not spectacular, tanks that make it in, Photoshop and such programs has made many of these submissions questionable. Don't feel the need to judge your tank against these.> I have never produced more than a cup of light skimmate in a weeks time (unless something died). All of my corals are growing, have always grown. <A good sign.> Does the amount of skimmate just sound unacceptable, and no matter if the corals are growing or not? <The amount would not satisfy me on a system such as this.> Should I get a better skimmer (again the skimmer is one with the filter and it is rated to 150 gallon aquariums, even though we all know what a joke that is) or does that sound fairly normal? The skimmer works on reverse flow with an airstone and I can watch it work, so I know it is working. <A better skimmer should be in the plans in my opinion. You will find it even more valuable to you as your fish and corals grow larger, producing more waste.> Thank you for all your help. <Very welcome.> P.S. I have already had a firm talking-too about Anemones in the reef tank, so no need mentioning that. Just know that all is well. <So long as they know to behave! Best regards, Scott V.>

Re: Pod Culture Tank 4/14/08 Thank you for the speedy and knowledgeable reply. <Very welcome.> I do however have another question regarding the algae issue and the amount of excess nutrients in my tank. <OK> Considering I do religious WC, maintain floss pads and filter sponges regularly, and feed sparingly (what I would consider sparingly=5ml DT's phyto every 3-5 days dosed at night when water circulation is at half without turning off the skimmer, about 1/3-1/2 cube total of many different types of frozen foods, mostly every day but sometimes every other, and 1-2 times weekly soaked in Selcon, and the occasional spectrum dry food, frozen Cyclops , and Calanus plankton. The later coral foods are given at night alternating one every other week. As far as food, that is all I put in. <If this all works for you, don't fix it!> Sub-question: does the light over my tank in one way or another/directly/indirectly play any part in the amount of organic waste produced in my tank? <Indirectly yes.> If so, I have a total of 476W (130W-10K-PC/130W420nm-PC/54W-14K-T5HO/54W-460nm-T5HO/108W-10K-T5HO). Also, does this sound like a good scheme or should I replace the other 460nmT5 with another 14KT5? <I likely would, you have plenty of actinic with the PC bulbs.> Any who, I may have been misleading when I was talking about the algae. If someone took a quick glance at the tank they would probably not see any algae at all. I was just thinking since I have Red Turf Algae and others alike that are considered "nuisance" algae, and seeing as how they have never, in the long time I have seen all these in my tank, seem them get even remotely out of control, and thus led me to the conclusion that a high amount of organic waste was not present. <A fair assumption. If there are no indication of problems then there is not a problem (in this case).> So if this is true and its not the food, what about phosphate? <Phosphate will promote growth of algae, but you will have some due merely to the regular biological processes of your livestock. No tank is devoid of algae, the nice tanks simply control it.> I do WC with RO water and Red Sea Coral Pro salt, I currently dose limewater as much as my PH will allow (and that's just a whole different conversation altogether), <Yes.> and I currently employ a filter sock filled with 250ml of Seachem Phosguard that says it removes phosphates and silicate. The bottle says it will treat well over 75gal , and it is changed out every 2 weeks. The one thing that worries me is when I change it, the media is brown, proof that it is working(?), proof of phosphate present in the tank(?) <Likely acting somewhat as a mechanical filter being in the sock, hence the color. This is probably the same color your sock becomes?> The water I use is from 5 Star bottling company (RO but not DI). Is phosphate the main reason for the added stage from RO to DI? <And nitrate, silicate. Fact of the matter is good RO water is just fine. Older membranes may produce a lower quality water.> If so would it help to hook up a PO4 reactor with said media to a tub of RO water before I do anything with it? <You could, but what you have sounds like it is working fine.> Hopefully pulling out all phosphates and silicate before it even makes it to the tank. <If there is phosphate in the water it surely pales in comparison with the phosphate that makes it into your tank with any food. Other life needs phosphate too, not just algae. You do not want to completely strip your tank of this.> MY buddy started up a reef tank about 4 months prior to me. We have done everything the same, but for the last year he has had a HORRIBLE "hair" algae problem. Best we can come up with is Bryopsis. However we do not or cannot get a microscope for definite answer, but it is a problem none the less. We have tried everything including one of the "reef safe" algae removers only with near devastating results. For the last year he has had to do manual removal of every rock at least every two weeks (with a stiff bristled brush), and just watching this makes me feel sorry for him. He feeds very sparingly, under any meaning of the word, has an inline fuge with a massive amount of Chaeto, High PH (never below 8.4), runs a PO4 reactor with SeaChem's PhosGuard, also tried multiple livestock options such as snails, crabs, urchin, and a Tomini Tang. The only small differences we do are he uses KM liquid sup., and I use Seachem powder and Kalk. Could that make a big difference? <No, there is something else going on. Although two people doing the exact same thing will usually yield different results with a reef, you can bet he is doing something different then yourself in this case.> And one final question. We both started our tanks off on tap water. We both switched to RO at the same time. His tank was 6 months old and mine was about 1-2 months old. Is it possible that some of the bad things are still in there, maybe in the sand or unexposed pieces of rock? <No, not in a capacity to create the algae issue.> The tap water around here is extremely hard and just plain $&#@^. Could that still be contributing to his problem? The only thing we are left with is to take all the sand and rockwork out and switch it with new over a period of two months or so. Will this just cover up the problem for a while and we still need to find the root cause. Will it help him to start dosing Kalk, and filter all RO water through the PO4 reactor in a tub like previously stated? <All of the above it a treatment and not a cure. All things equal, the algae will return in time. If you suspect high phosphate in your RO water, by all means test it! Otherwise look at the usual factors: water flow, water changes, anywhere detritus accumulates and sits (mechanical filtration/dead spots/coarse substrate) and most of all feeding. Sometimes it is not how or how much you feed, but what. The frozen foods tend to have a lot of juice in them that should be drained off to avoid polluting the tank. I personally use the Spectrum pellets as the main diet for my fish. Frozen foods are used occasionally. Also, be sure what is added actually get eaten. Adding what seems like a small amount of food serves no purpose of most of it goes blasting around the tank!> Thank you again. This site IS truly a necessity for people in this hobby. By the way, how much money does it take invested in a hobby before it has become a lifestyle? <You're welcome. I feel anything less than cashing your paycheck down at the LFS is just doing it half way ? ! Thank you for the kind words, a link to refer your friend to below, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm

Re: Copepod culture 04/15/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello, Andrew here>> After reading more about amphipods, I'm thinking about culturing copepods instead. At the moment, I have a 17g Rubbermaid tub that I'd like to use, but I'll try to convince my dad to let me use one of his 45g breeders. <<Ok, sounds good>> Anyways, my amphipod plan was to have a layer of sand on the bottom, along with some Chaeto and LR rubble. Lighting would be provided via window (sunlight), heating via heater, circulation via a small submersible pump, and filtration via HOB filter or canister filter. I would feed the amphipods old fish pellets/flakes as supplementation. The amphipods would be fed (hopefully at least a few times weekly) to a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, a pair of small gobies (haven't decided which ones yet), my detritivore crew, and maybe an Acropora coral. How would this plan differ from an ideal copepod culture? <<Exactly the same>> I bought a turkey baster to collect amphipods. Would this be a good tool with copepods? <<A valuable tool>> Are copepods attracted to light, and if so would this be useful for collecting them? What is the most successful way to collect them? <<Sunlight is sufficient as copepods are attracted to light>> With either a 17g or 45g, would they be able to thrive just with the microalgae growing in the container or would small doses of phytoplankton be needed or be at least extremely beneficial? <<Either would be just fine. They should thrive in the macro algae/sand/rock setup. They will enjoy a small amount of floating algae>> Would a culture of this size (17g or 45g) be able to function as a staple of my fishes' diet? <<Depends on how many copepod eaters your going to be feeding really. Start off with 2 - 3 thousand as a culture, and hopefully in a month or so, you will be shooting for around 50,000 pods>> I have an off-topic question that's bugging me, if you'd be kind enough to answer it. I'm going to buy my detritivore crew in a couple weeks, being my first livestock. The crew will consist of hermits, snails, mini stars, bristle worms, amphipods, spaghetti worms, and anything else that comes in their live sand. What could I feed them to supplement their diet? <<Most of the above will feed off the rock, sand etc etc. Adding a tiny pinch of brine, or crunched up Nori every 2 - 3 days will be fine.>> Thanks for reading this. This site has helped me many-a-time in the past, and I know that this won't be the last time I consult it. TIA, Random Aquarist <<Thanks for the questions Tia, always good to hear fro you. Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: copepod culture 04/17/2008 Hello again, <<Hello again>> Just a few more questions. <<Sure>> 1. I was thinking of using the canister filter for the amphipods because amphipods supposedly love living in them. Is there any need for filtration in the copepod culture at all as long as I do water changes? <<no, it should be fine filtering itself et cetra>> 2. I'm guessing that Chaeto would be the best macro to use, considering that it can be easily removed/ swished around in the display to feed copepods. However, I'm also considering using Ulva. Which is better, or would a combination of the two be best? <<Yes, Chaeto is a great macro to use for the culture. Between the two, i really like them both. Prefer Chaeto for ease of cropping>> 3. What would be the best sand bed depth for copepods? <<Depends on the size of the filter really. A good depth of 4 inches would be great>> Well, thanks for your help. BTW, when I say "TIA", I'm saying "thanks in advance", not "Tia". I'm actually a guy known only as Random Aquarist as far as online aquarium-related activities go, but thanks for the very friendly/ heartwarming comment. I just wanted to remove any misconceptions. <<Ahhhh...thanks for the clarity>> Again, thanks for the help. I can always rely on The Crew. Thanks In Advance, Random Aquarist <<Hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Re: copepod culture 04/23/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello again>> Again, I have a few more questions about copepod culturing. <<Ok>> 1. All I find are "Tigger Pods", which come from California and the West Coast. Because I'm setting up a biotope and I don't want foreign "Tigger Pods" in my tank, I'd rather have a species that does come from the Indo-Pacific. Do you have any ideas for where I could get such pods? If so, what would be the ideal net hole size to collect adults (1/64", 1/16", etc.)? <<Here is a few links for you to peruse http://www.oceanpods.com/ http://www.livecopepods.com/ http://www.inlandaquatics.com/ http://www.ipsf.com/ <---------your best bet i think for your type of pod required.>> 2. I really like The Breeder's Net's culture style of just having an empty tank filled with phytoplankton and copepods. It seems a lot more clean and productive. Is it really more productive, having no sand or breeding substrate, or is the sand/rock/Chaeto plan more productive? <<I personally feel the sand/rock/Chaeto is one of the best ways to culture pods, always been very successful>> 3. The Breeder's Net plan utilizes an air pump for circulation. Is this as good or better than using a small, submersible water pump? <<I don't really see that much difference in using either>> 4. This is another unrelated question, but I'm trying to find an e-tailer that sells turtle grass and/or oar grass. Do you know of any such dealers? <<Off the top of my head, i don't know of suppliers for these. Maybe the use Google or your preferred net search tools would be good.>> Well, that's it for now. <<Thanks for the message, hope this helps. A Nixon>> Thanks in Advance, Random Aquarist

Ideal Amphipod Breeding Substrate 04/01/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a 17g tub that I plan to culture amphipods in. I've heard that Chaeto, liverock, sand, and sponges are good breeding substrates. In your experience, which of these are the best? <<Chaeto, live rock and sand>> Here are the side and top views of my current plan for the container. I intend to make sections out of eggcrate and pump water so it flows through the Chaeto (thus rolling it) and back towards the pump. <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock -- 03/27/08 Hello again Crew, <<Greetings>> My cousin has lost interest in the aquarium hobby and is selling his 10g tank. I'm thinking about buying his live rock and/or live sand and using it to make an amphipod culture. <<Cool>> I have several questions. <<Okay>> 1. Can Ulva or Chaetomorpha be grown using only sunlight? <<Sure'¦if it gets enough>> I'm thinking about having the culture container near a window so I don't have to use lighting. <<If the tank will receive some direct lighting it should work'¦is worth a try for sure>> Apparently, after reading about the "copepod farm in a 5L bottle" on your site, phytoplankton can grow from sunlight alone. <<Indeed>> 2. Just to clarify, the macroalgae is the food source, right? <<No, not so much as the epiphytic matter that is on it, and the other surfaces in the tank. The dense matrix of the macroalgae (Chaetomorpha excels in this, in my opinion) will function primarily as a place for the critters to live and breed>> If so, will the pods eat all of the macro or will it grow quickly enough to stay ahead? <<I've never seen/known this to be the case'¦under the right conditions, the macroalgae will likely outgrow the tank and require pruning. To optimize your 'pod' populations I suggest supplemental feeding. I find the inexpensive shrimp pellets from Wal-Mart, etc. to work well here and are very easy to feed>> Also, what would I feed the macroalgae? Skimmate? Plant fertilizer? <<Mmm, no'¦this would/will quickly pollute the system. Judicious feeding of the pods will supply nutrients for the algae as well. Have you given any thought to filtration/water circulation? Something as simple as a small air-driven internal sponge filter will probably suffice'¦though this 'refugium' would work better if plumbed directly to the display it is intended to support>> I read that amphipods are omnivorous and that they'll eat anything. Would it be beneficial to add meat to their diet? <<As in the fore mentioned shrimp pellets, yes'¦or even a pinch or two of a quality flake food>> 3. How would I deal with evaporation in a smaller setup without having huge salinity fluctuations from manually topping off the water every day? <<Daily 'topping-off' is likely your best/most economical solution for this small tank'¦and should work fine>> 4. How does live sand and live rock help amphipods anyway? <<Provides a matrix/structure for shelter, breeding>> I've heard of people successfully using playground sand for aquariums/refugiums. <<Yes>> Could I use this in my 'pod culture? <<Certainly>> 5. Let's say I culture the amphipods and whatever they eat. I'm only feeding a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, and whatever else will eat them in my tank. Will this culture be more or less expensive than buying food? I know that's hard to answer, but can you ballpark it? <<Look to this culture as a 'supplement' to feeding'¦not as a replacement. You will still need to provide some prepared foods to your fishes/inverts>> This is assuming, of course, that I don't sell any 'pods or 'pod food to people and make some money off of it. Don't get the wrong idea. This isn't an attempt to make a profit. <<But no reason it can't'¦though I think it would need to be much larger>> I just want to do this for the experience, for the natural food source, and because watching things eat each other is awesome. Now to the part about boiling the rock. My cousin's rock is completely covered in Cyanobacteria and Aiptasia anemones. I'd like to kill them. Could I just boil the rock and kill everything so I can just rinse/soak it and not have to cure it? Kinda like a dead coral skeleton (which, technically, it actually is)? <<Sure'¦though a less smelly/messy approach may be to let the rock sit out in the sun for a couple days, then a freshwater soak overnight followed by a good rinse with the hose>> Well, that's it for now. TIA, Random Aquarist <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock -- 03/28/08 Hey, thanks for the help. <<Quite welcome>> I have a few more questions for you. <<Okay>> 1. I found a bucket of dry CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted substrate that my dad had planned on using a few years ago. All of my dad's fish are dead, so could I use this? <<Dunno>> My concern is with the coarse nature of it and possibly any chemicals it could release that aren't ideal for saltwater. <<This is my concern as well'¦though you could contact CaribSea and get their take/advice re>> 2. I've heard that sponges are great for amphipods. Should I put in a bunch of filter sponges? <<Course filter sponges like those made for pond filters can indeed serve as 'housing' for amphipods and other critters'¦but if you are going to use Chaetomorpha, I don't see these as necessary>> 3. I've also heard that pods like a lot of surface area with their live rock. Should I break the live rock into pieces and make a 'pod pile instead of just having a few large pieces? <<If you are adding rock then yes, 'rubble' will provide more of the small cracks/crevices they prefer>> 4. And lastly, I found a lot of sealed bags of Dainichi cichlid food that my dad also planned on using back in the day. They're in sealed bags and are only a few years old. Could I feed this to my amphipods or does this freshwater food lack the nutrients needed by saltwater fish? <<See if the 'pods' will eat it'¦it may/should be just fine>> Thanks again, Random Aquarist <<Cheers, EricR>>

Quick Question on Copepods, culture/sys., & Mandarin sys.   1/17/08 Hello. <Hello Pam.> My first tank has been set up for 8 months now. It's a 53 gallon tank with a 7 gallon sump. I have 55 lbs of live rock, and a shallow sand bed. I've never noticed a copepod population, and have only seen a couple amphipods over the months (I've even looked with a magnifying glass). I would like to get a population of copepods going for my Pygmy Possum Wrasse and Red Scooter Blenny. <I'm sorry to say your tank is too small to support the Scooter Blenny, especially with any completion for food come from the wrasse.> I have a small section in the sump (about 4" x 4" x 6") that I tried to use for pods. I placed a ball of Chaeto in there and a 6400K spiral compact fluorescent bulb with reflector to light it (12 hour reverse lighting schedule) , and added a bottle of Tiggerpods, but never saw a population build in the display or in that section of the sump after I initially put them in there. I also took some of the Tiggerpods in a syringe, and put them in a small pile of rubble I put in the display, where I thought they might hide and multiply. The Chaeto ended up dying off in a few weeks, so that spot is empty again in the sump. That's the second time I've tried Chaeto, and both times it died off. My LFS is having a group buy on Copepods. To get started, do I need a large amount like the bag of 2000 copepods they will have, or a small bottle or two of 100-200 copepods? <Neither really. If your tank is setup to support copepod population growth, then it will grow. If not, adding them will only create a temporary spike in population.> I don't seem to be having luck with Chaeto, should I just put rubble down in that area of the sump, and put the pods in there or in the display or what? <You may as well start them in the refugium area, but they will find their way throughout the tank on their own.> The area of the sump isn't really large enough to have a Deep Sand bed. One interesting thing....I can't keep Chaeto, but I have one mound of beautiful red macro algae in the display that grows like crazy and I have to prune it weekly to keep it from growing too big. The last time I tried Chaeto, it only lasted for a few weeks, then almost disintegrated. The first time, I think it lasted for maybe 2 months. Maybe the flow is too slow through that section of the sump or the section is too small?? The Chaeto doesn't roll at all. Thank you!! Pam Parameters: Salinity 1.026 PH: 8.3 Alk: 8 dKH Nitrites, Nitrates and Ammonia all zero. Phosphates: between 0 and .1 Calcium 390 Magnesium 1170 Temp 80f Flow: 25x display size Display lighting 150w 10k Metal Halide and 4 24w T5s <There is something going on in your setup that is allowing the red macro to outcompete the Chaetomorpha in the sump/refugium. You mention a spiral compact bulb, but what is the wattage? Many setups you read about online have very small wattage bulbs on the refugium, making the light the limiting factor. This is one factor you can control, give it plenty of light. I have two 65 watt 6500K compact fluorescent bulbs lighting my Chaeto. This makes the nutrients I am trying to export the limiting factor. The Chaeto has better growing conditions than any algae in the tank, hence it grows and algae in the tank doesn't! As far as pod population/production, you probably won't see much with fish in a tank this size that can wipe out the population fairly easily. Included link regarding these fish below. Welcome, best of luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm

- 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 -- >

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.

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>

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>

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>

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>

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

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>

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.>

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>

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  >>

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 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> 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)>

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.>

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)>

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 ½-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> 

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>

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>

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