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Culturing copepods


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#1 Joshaeus

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 03:54 PM

'ello all! I am considering setting up a freshwater copepod culture, and am wondering about how to do so. From what I have heard, conditions that promote daphnia also promote copepods...thus, I was planning on keeping them in a shallow animal watering trough and feeding them with sticks, hay, and/or guinea pig feed pellets (none of which would be eaten directly but, rather, would produce protozoans that I hope they would eat). Just a few question:

 

1 - If the trough had only a few inches of water in it, would the copepods need aeration?

2 - Do copepods need light like Daphnia do?

3 - Would such a culture need water changes? If so, would that be the best time to harvest them?

 

Thank you for any responses!


Edited by Joshaeus, 02 January 2016 - 03:54 PM.


#2 gerald

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 11:37 AM

1) no but production might be more reliable with aeration

2) no light needed (and daphnia dont need it either if you're culturing greenwater algae in a separate vessel).

3) yes, you'll get more reliable production with water changes, although low numbers of Cyclops will survive for years in old water with mulm/leaf litter.  Copepods are faster swimmers and more difficult to harvest than Daphnia, Moina, cladocerans.  Cyclops are mainly benthic; Diaptomus are more open-water swimmers. 


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#3 gzeiger

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 07:24 PM

Keep in mind that feeding sticks makes harvest more difficult. Works well though for daphnia.



#4 Joshaeus

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 08:02 PM

...I thought Daphnia needed light even ignoring the algae? Something about a failure to provide light triggering epipha production and the die off of the colony



#5 Joshaeus

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 08:02 PM

If they don't I would be quite happy to use algae



#6 Joshaeus

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 08:03 PM

...daphnia, ahem :)



#7 FirstChAoS

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 08:16 PM

The thing about culturing copepods is you can read them classic literature, take them to shakespearian plays, have them watch opera, and they still won't get any culture. :)



#8 Joshaeus

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 04:21 PM

...so they're a pain to culture?



#9 gerald

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 08:34 PM

Sorry, Yes, you may be right about that ... i was just thinking about their food, and not thinking about the importance of photoperiod in controlling sexual versus non-sexual reproduction modes.   For continuous production you want to keep them breeding in non-sexual mode with a long photoperiod.

...I thought Daphnia needed light even ignoring the algae? Something about a failure to provide light triggering epipha production and the die off of the colony


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#10 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 03:53 PM

I never had much daphnia production indoors. The light may explain that. Was able to over winter them indoors and get a boom when I moved them outdoors. Guess I missed that reading about them or it went over my head.


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#11 Auban

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 11:40 PM

freshwater copepods are one of the few critters that i have never been able to culture with any real luck.  

 

 i did find some interesting marine copepods in california in tiny little pools of water on the tops of boulders at the beach.  the water they were in was sometimes nearly completely fresh because of rain.  they actually did just fine and swam around constantly like brine shrimp.  i really should have made more effort to keep the culture alive...  

 

they were bright red and very large.  if anyone is ever in the monterey bay area, stop by the beach and look for tiny pools of water on the rocks.  you may find them.  


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#12 Kanus

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 12:47 PM

freshwater copepods are one of the few critters that i have never been able to culture with any real luck.  

 

 i did find some interesting marine copepods in california in tiny little pools of water on the tops of boulders at the beach.  the water they were in was sometimes nearly completely fresh because of rain.  they actually did just fine and swam around constantly like brine shrimp.  i really should have made more effort to keep the culture alive...  

 

they were bright red and very large.  if anyone is ever in the monterey bay area, stop by the beach and look for tiny pools of water on the rocks.  you may find them.  

 

I know the exact ones you refer to. I did not, however, consider that they probably can survive in fresh or nearly fresh water considering they are often found 10 ft above the high tide line. Now, I too am kicking myself for not trying to harvest some while I was there! I bet they would be absolutely fantastic food, and quite possibly reasonably easy to culture!

 

I seem to accidentally grow copepods anywhere there is water, but I have never had any kind of production I would call useful. And quite the contrary, within a few days of seeing them contaminate a daphnia tub, I quickly find that the daphnia all disappear.


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#13 dac343

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 05:01 PM

For what its worth I always noticed copepod explosions in tanks with spongefilters in systems fed with pellets.  When we wrung out the filters to check for mussel larvae the petri dishes would be full of fw copepods.  Might be worth having a few in the system to see if it makes harvesting easier for you.


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#14 Joshaeus

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 09:05 AM

So...now I am thinking of a culture setup in a 5 gallon with 4 (or maybe more?) sponge filters and fed daily with 2-3 guinea pig pellets. Every 2-3 days I would harvest the copepods from a sponge filter by squeezing the contents into a container and pouring the water into a fish tank. The culture would also receive 25% weekly water changes.

 

On a side note...are copepods found in most tank filters even if you don't introduce them, or are they all eaten by the fish in such conditions?



#15 gerald

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 02:19 PM

I dont ever remember NOT seeing Copepods (Cyclops) in virtually every tank.  They stay hidden if fish are present, but when fish are removed you see them hopping along the bottom and surfaces.  Whenever I try to set up a Cyclops-free infusoria/rotifer culture, Cyclops always get into it eventually.  They are not airborne, but it sure seems like they must be.


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#16 Betta132

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 06:23 PM

If anything from another tank ever gets into a new tank, you get copepods. It's pretty much impossible to not get copepods. They're like the aquarium version of glitter. 

Leaf litter is probably your best bet for growing them. I don't think you can culture them reliably, but they grow at a decent rate in planted tanks- sometimes enough to feed a bug-picker (badis and the like) or two. I suspect they also eat other bugs, worms and such, but copepods are definitely helpful.






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