Creating a successful copepod culture is a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. This comprehensive guide will lead you through each step, ensuring that your copepod culture thrives. Here's how to get started:
1. Setting Up Your Culture Vessel
Choose Your Container: A small aquarium, a clear plastic container, or any similar vessel works well. Ensure it's clean and free from contaminants.
Fill with Seawater: Use freshly mixed, clean synthetic seawater. Fill the vessel halfway to two thirds full. For our specific strain of copepods, maintain a specific gravity of 35 ppt.
2. Aeration System
Air Pump and Tubing: Connect a small air pump to airline tubing. Avoid using an air stone as it can create excessive bubbles.
Setting Up: Submerge the end of the tubing into the culture vessel. Use a drip loop and check valve for safety to prevent water from reaching the pump or electrical outlet.
Airflow: Adjust for gentle, consistent aeration, about 1-3 bubbles per second ensuring oxygenation without strong currents that can harm the copepods.
3. Preparing the Culture Environment
Cover: Use a lid or cover to keep out dust and reduce evaporation. Ensure there's enough air exchange.
Water Quality: Regularly check the water parameters, including pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, to ensure a healthy environment.
4. Adding Copepods and Food
Introduce Copepods: Add the live copepod culture to the vessel.
Feeding: Use the recommended Reefphyto Copepod Feed. Aim for a water tint similar to Granny Smith's apple skin. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues, so monitor closely. (Tip: you should not be able to see through the culture container, the food should be enough to cloud the water)
5. Maintenance and Monitoring
Growth Observation: Initially, copepod growth may be slow but will accelerate once they establish. Regular observation is key.
Feeding Schedule: Feed as needed to maintain the green water tint, ensuring not to overfeed. (Tip: as soon as you see the water to clear, this is th etime to add more food)
Water Changes: In case of overfeeding and elevated ammonia or nitrite levels, perform a 50% water change. The muck build up on the bottom of the container can be siphoned out with a turkey baster.
6. Troubleshooting and Assistance
Culture Crash: Common issues include overfeeding or poor water quality. If your culture crashes, assess and rectify the water quality.
Equipment: Consider additional tools like copepod sieves/nets for harvesting or cleaning your culture.
7. Additional Tips
Record Keeping: Keep a log of feeding amounts, water changes, and observations. This will help in troubleshooting and improving your culturing technique.
Community Support: Engage with online forums or local aquarium communities for tips and shared experiences.
We're here to support your copepod culturing journey. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to get in touch Happy culturing!