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Old 03-12-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
carsona246
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How to tell if you have enough copepods


I have been preparing to get a mandarin dragonet for quite a while. I seeded my college's 150 gallon tank with tigger pods in late october last year. I'm finally starting to notice quite a few pods in the refugium. I'm wondering how do I tell if I have enough copepods in the refugium to feed one mandarin dragonet? I feel like I should be able to keep enough pods in a 150 gallon tank full of live rock for 1 mandarin dragonet to eat properly, but I would hate to get one, and slowly watch it starve.
The tank has plenty of algae for copepods to survive, and I have a refugium in the sump for them to reproduce safely. I also seeded the adjacent 150 gallon puffer tank at the same time, which shouldn't have any predators for copepods. That tank also has copepods in the refugium, but I can't see any in the actual tank. I'm probably going to do a waterchange in the display tank this weekend, is there any way to count the number of copepods in the water to double check if there is a proper number?
I also should note I'm just now noticing these copepods. I've been checking for quite a while, but I don't think I realized that the little white dots on the refugium glass were not bubbles, so I'm not entirely sure how long they've been there.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
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take a light to the tank at night, and count how many are in a one square inch of area... (with my eyes I can only see the ones on the glass)

Last edited by Nate_Bro; 03-12-2012 at 09:23 PM..
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:18 PM   #3
carsona246
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nice idea, so just shine a flashlight on this display glass? Would it matter if there are powerheads pointed right at the glass? I've noticed there are usually very few on the display glass which is why I'm concerned about having enough. When I checked the sump it looked like there were quite a few though. I also have the same problem with seeing any other than checking the glass
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:22 PM   #4
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point the flashlight at the rocks to see how many scatter.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
Nate_Bro
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the only thing I can see on the rocks are amphipods (I got me some bad eyes), but I guess you could gauge it off of those populations also...
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
carsona246
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Thanks Guys! You know this actually makes a lot of sense now, because I checked the sump while the refugium light was typically off, and that's when I saw all the copepods. I'm gonna make a run over to my college in the next few nights and check how many I see in the display glass at night. How many is enough for a mandarin though? I'm super paranoid about starving one.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:05 AM   #7
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Super-paranoid in this case is a virtue! If you decide to get one, begin to provide supplemental food like live brine early. Cyclopeeze, reef caviar (they really like fish eggs) and small sinking pellets. even if you have a great pod population this is a failsafe to help Mandy get nutrition in case your pods decline. And you have to be committed to keeping a well-fed tank, which means more water changes etc. They are worth it, and again kudos for care and preparation.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #8
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+1 on the roe. They seam to love it.. Nutramar ova is a good fish roe or even LA reef fish roe is good.. Ia small bag will go along way. I have never seen mandarins eat so fast when I feed the roe. It like crack to them...lol
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:29 AM   #9
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the amount of pods in a system is directly related to how much food they have to eat. just adding more pods to a low nutrient system, just creates more dead pods. just adding pods to a system does not mean you will have more pods long term. only providing enough food for the pods will guarantee that, and the pod population will match regardless of whether you add more or not. they reproduce very rapidly and will match the food availability.

the problem with pods is that they feed on the stuff that feed on the same stuff that feed algae. it is very hard to keep a large enough pod population in a reef tank. we tend to want to keep the nutrient levels low enough to keep algae from growing. pods come from rubble areas. these areas collect a lot of detritus, another thing we do not want in a reef tank.

if you have your heart set on keeping a mandarin, then i suggest creating pod farms. these are small tanks external to the system in which you can feed heavily in order to produce pods that can be dumped back into the display where the mandarin is for feeding time. other than that you will always be fighting the nutrient battle between enough nutrients to support the pods, yet not enough to hinder coral growth or produce algae.

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:38 AM   #10
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I have a 5gal tank that I have only live rock in it and plan on using for pod production...this live rock has been well-established for 8 months, along with the live sand. What would be the easiest way of harvesting pods with all that live rock/sand? Scoop sand out with a net? Only easy way I can think of is going bare-bottom.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:25 AM   #11
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If you have a 'ton' of copods, you will see them on your rocks as well. And not just a few, I've had times when I could count 6-8 pods on a pothole in a rock, smaller than a postage stamp. And that's tank wide, not including the glass.

Then I stared removing my DSB and I have seen a dramatic drop in population. This has happened over the last 6 weeks.

I have a 10 & 55g tank dedicated to growing Cheato, Sea Lettuce, and Gracilara. The 10g is apart form the system, the 55 is in line and gets fed from the sump.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
carsona246
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well I finally got over there at night to check it out, and I did not see too many. I think I'm gonna be waiting a bit before I consider getting one.
I was wondering about adding nutrients to the system. I feed very little in this tank, because it's a 150 with only 2 fish, but I do have plenty of algae in there, so clearly there are enough nutrients for algae to grow. Should I start feeding more in order to grow pods, or should there be enough food for the pods if I'm having an algae problem?
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:16 AM   #13
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When I received an order of amphipods from Indopacific, they included some flaked food to feed the pods. I believe that regular SW flakes would work for feeding your pods.

Try this: Float your media...cheato, etc. to the top of your tank and shut off any pumps, airstones, whatever and prepare to shine a light. Sprinkle some fine flakes on the macro and wait a minute or two...then shine yur light and see if there is any activity with your pods. Not sure how easy it will be to see pods, but if you have any amphipods, you'll et the same 'show' as I. I use a high intensity desk lamp for this.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:15 AM   #14
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Amphipods and copepods are different. I think some people are talking amphipods because most copepods are very had to see with the eye.

Goeff is right just grow them outside in a small tank or large jar. When I was breeding fish I had several different types of copepods that I raised. They feed on phyto and I used algae paste and it takes very little.

The amount of copepods in your reef is determined by the amount of food in the tank mainly algae. You see more copepods during cycling of the tank and then they seem to die back. You can actually add phyto to your reef and this will help with populations of all pods.

Also the amount of predators makes a difference. If you have basslets, dottyback, pseudochromis or other hunters they will kill the population almost as fast as a mandrin.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:28 PM   #15
carsona246
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well I certainly have enough algae in both tanks for copepods. I attempted to cultivate copepods in a rubbermaid bin when i first seeded both tanks in october, but they didn't do well. It might have been something to do with me not being too sure how much phyto to add for them. I still have plenty left of that phytoplankton, should I start dropping a little in the sump every day? I can see plenty in the sump.
Just to clarify, I have 2 tanks that have been seeded with tigger pods, the tank for the mandarin, and a puffer tank that has a ridiculous amount of macro algae inside(I pull up handfuls a week). Both tanks have plenty of algae in them, I just feel like I should have copepods out the wazzou by now
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