Copepods and amphipods are an essential part of the food chain for marine life. They are tiny crustaceans that are consumed by a great number of aquatic creatures. From gobies to clownfish, most of the fish in your saltwater aquarium will love to munch on these tiny creatures! Even the pickiest of eaters will choose to eat copepods and amphipods. It is not just your fish who eat the stuff, too! A lot of corals enjoy grazing on copepods and many crustaceans join in the feeding frenzy.
The crustaceans themself feed off phytoplankton so if you have them in your tank, you must provide regular doses of phytoplankton in order to sustain the copepods and amphipods.
You have probably heard a lot of hobbyists tell you that you need copepods and amphipods in your tank to create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. But, you might be confused as to why!
Don’t worry, we are here to tell you the five reasons why copepods and amphipods are the best fish feed!
They Make Up 80% of the Animal Mass In The Oceans
Copepods and amphipods make up a huge amount of the animal mass in the ocean, the water is full of them! But why does this mean we should feed them to our fish?
Because they are of abundance in the ocean, a lot of our beloved aquarium creatures consume them in the wild. They are a natural part of the marine food chain, and therefore it will only benefit your animals by having them in your tank!
When we are starting out in developing our saltwater aquarium, the key is to try and make the ecosystem as close to nature as possible. When we do this, the marine life we keep are happier and healthier.
Feeding copepods and amphipods to your fish is creating a natural food chain in your aquarium!
Benthic Copepods Help Keep Your Aquarium Clean
Not only do they provide a tasty source of food to many fish, but benthic copepods also help in keeping your tank clean! These copepods will hand out at the bottom of your tank and eat bacteria, algae, and debris that might be floating around. These are the type of copepods that we sell.
Amphipods are also known to feed on any algae and debris that might be gathering in your aquarium.
If you don’t like cleaning up the tank, having copepods and amphipods in your saltwater aquarium means you will have a great number of helping hands to keep everything looking good!
They Don’t Create Nitrates or Phosphates
When it comes to saltwater aquariums, it is very important to keep on top of the levels of nitrates and phosphates in the water. If the level isn’t balanced, your marine life might suffer.
Phosphates are released when food breaks down or when plants decay. They can also come from fish waste. Having a high level of phosphates in your tank can lead to algae bloom which affects the oxygen levels, thus harming the fish.
Nitrates are released from the breakdown of bacteria in your filter and can create a damaging environment for your fish.
A lot of food that you can give to your fish will add to the levels of nitrates and phosphates in your tank. This leads to the danger of unhealthy fish, and also creates more work for you.
However, if you are feeding your fish copepods and amphipods, they will not add to this. They are a live feed, and therefore do not create this waste.
Furthermore, as they eat bacteria and debris, they can actually combat the levels of nitrates and phosphates in your saltwater aquarium!
They Reproduce Every 7 – 10 Days
Copepods and amphipods reproduce regularly and therefore create more feed for your fish!
If you have these in your aquarium, adding regular doses of phytoplankton into the water will keep the copepods and amphipods alive and healthy. They will reproduce in your aquarium and keep at a stable level.
Some hobbyists also choose to culture amphipods and copepods in an enclosure separate from the main aquarium. A container at 5 gallons is big enough to keep these creatures in, as long as they have a decent amount of lighting.
If you keep them fed and happy, soon the copepods and amphipods will multiply! They can then be harvested in a net and put into your main aquarium.
Copepods Are 50% Protein
Copepods are great as they are low cost and low effort, but high in protein. Protein is important for every living animal as it is a source of energy and helps us build and grow.
Protein contains amino acid which repairs muscle and bone in the body. It also is used to make hormones.
When you are wanting your marine life to thrive, they must have an abundance of protein. This creates healthy and strong fish. When you are feeding copepods to your fish, you are ensuring that they have a good source of protein in their diet. This means you are doing all you can to allow your fish to be their best!
Amphipods and copepods are crucial parts of any marine ecosystem and therefore you must introduce them into your saltwater aquarium if you haven’t already! They are an important part of the food chain and having them in your tank means your aquarium is as close to nature as you can.