These aquarium microfauna are very diverse and are the most numerous metazoans in the water community. Copepods live virtually anywhere where there is water. There are tens of thousands of species. The can be found anywhere from fresh water to hyper-saline conditions, from subterranean caves to water in leaves or leaf litter on the ground and from streams, rivers, and lakes to the sediment layer in the open ocean. The usual length of adults is 1-2 mm, but adults of some species may be as short as 0.2mm and others may be as long as 10mm. Ecologically they are important links in the food chain linking everything from microscopic algal cells to juvenile fish to whales.
Aquarium copepods eat and are eaten. Tiny copepods (the smallest look like specks of dust) live most everywhere in the ocean in numbers too vast to count. They’re a key link in ocean food webs. They eat diatoms and other phytoplankton—and are eaten in turn by larger drifters, larval fishes and filter feeders. Copepods may even be the most abundant single species of animal on Earth.
Cope is greek meaning an “oar” or “paddle;” pod is Greek for “foot.” Aquarium copepods have antennae and appendages that are used like paddles for movement. Some species swim in a jerky fashion, while others move more smoothly.
A single aquarium copepod may eat from 11,000 to 373,000 diatoms in 24 hours and so are very useful along with rotifers to control a diatom outbreak in the aquarium.
Aquarium copepods are tiny crustaceans, so they are cousins of crayfish and water fleas. You can see them with your eyes in the right conditions, but they don’t get much bigger than 2 millimeters. If the aquarium and the room it is in is dark and you shine a flashlight in it you will see them attracted towards the light like moths to a porch light.
Some live near the surface or in shallow water with lots of plants, but they also sometimes hang out on the bottom. Like their crustacean cousins, these aquarium microfauna have two main body parts: cephalothorax and abdomen. They have ten legs, which they use for swimming. The abdomen is like a rudder and helps the copepod steer.
Aquarium copepods eat other tiny plankton organisms, including: bacteria, protozoans, (amoeba, paramecium, euglena, etc.), tiny insect larvae (including mosquitoes), rotifers, and other crustaceans. They will even eat other copepods! Copepods also eat tiny bits of plant and animal matter floating in the current.
Female copepods are much larger than males. Aquarium copepods can occur in huge numbers, sometimes over 1,000 copepods have been found in one liter of water. Predators of copepods include other plankton eaters; such as fish, amphibians (tadpoles and newts), water fleas, rotifers, and aquatic insects. They are an important part of the diet of most fish fry.
There are numerous species of aquarium copepods available for the home aquarist available.
Contains Live Nutritious Tisbe biminiensis Aquarium copepods
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Live Aquarium copepods portions come loaded with a mix of Tiger Pods and Tisbe Pods. Why buy copepods of these two types mixed? This Copepod mix has the two best types of live fish food to feed Mandarin Fish, Seahorses and Fish larvae fry and many other planktonic feeding fish and corals. Add some Amphipods to your order and you have the perfect combination. Tigger Copepods and Tisbe Copepods are one of the hardiest types that have the best chance of reproducing and establishing a breeding colony in your aquarium environment if you feed them some live phytoplankton algae cells once a week. Buy some of our concentrated live phytoplankton called “PHYTOPREME” to go along with your live copepods. Tiger Pods will crawl and swim around the aquarium and become a natural live fish food source for mandarin fish food, dragonettes, gobies, blennies, and Seahorse food, etc. This species is one of the hardier copepods. It will adapt readily to differing conditions in the home aquarium and establish a breeding colony in and among your live rock and refugium. They are also one of the fastest, more prolific breeders. You receive all different stages of development. Nauplii to breeding adults. Comes with instructions for introducing to your aquarium, refugium and for short term culturing. Live phytoplankton needed. Phytopreme Live is a concentrated blend of 6 live phytoplankton micro algae types. Phytopreme Live is also a great food for and will benefit many other tank inhabitants like corals, clams, scallops, filter feeders, feather dusters, gargonians etc.. Arrive Alive Guarantee: We guarantee you will receive our live specimens alive. For this guarantee to be valid we must be notified of any issues within 2 hours of delivery time. If this condition is met we will resend the item at no cost to you.
Mix of THREE COPEPOD SPECIES: Tigriopus, Tisbe, and Apocyclops
Seed Your Aquarium with an “Aquarium Copepod Clean-Up Crew” & Feed Finicky Fish
Premium live food for Mandarin Dragonets, Seahorses, LPS, SPS & NPS Corals, Wrasses, Anthias, Pipefish, Clown Fish, Blennies, Clams, & other Finicky Fish & Inverts. Cleans your tank by consuming detritus, fish waste, and invasive algae naturally. 100% Alive On Arrival Guarantee.
Copepods form a subclass belonging to the subphylum Crustacea (crustaceans); they are divided into 10 orders. Some 13,000 species of copepods are known, and 2,800 of them live in fresh water.
Most aquarium copepods have a single eye in the middle of their head, but copepods of the genus Corycaeus possess two large cuticular lenses paired to form a telescope.
Aquarium Copepods vary considerably, but can typically be 1 to 2 mm (0.04 to 0.08 in) long, with a teardrop-shaped body and large antennae. Like other crustaceans, they have an armored exoskeleton, but they are so small that in most species, this thin amour and the entire body is almost totally transparent. Some polar copepods reach 1 cm (0.39 in). Most aquarium copepods have a single median compound eye, usually bright red and in the centre of the transparent head; subterranean species may be eyeless. Like other crustaceans, aquarium copepods possess two pairs of antennae; the first pair is often long and conspicuous.
Free-living aquarium copepods of the orders Calanoida, Cyclopoida, and Harpacticoida typically have a short, cylindrical body, with a rounded or beaked head, although considerable variation exists in this pattern. The head is fused with the first one or two thoracic segments, while the remainder of the thorax has three to five segments, each with limbs. The first pair of thoracic appendages is modified to form maxillipeds, which assist in feeding. The abdomen is typically narrower than the thorax, and contains five segments without any appendages, except for some tail-like “rami” at the tip. Parasitic non aquarium copepods (the other seven orders) vary widely in morphology and no generalizations are possible.
Because of their small size, aquarium copepods have no need of any heart or circulatory system (the members of the order Calanoida have a heart, but no blood vessels), and most also lack gills. Instead, they absorb oxygen directly into their bodies. Their excretory system consists of maxillary glands.
The second pair of cephalic appendages in free-living copepods is usually the main time-averaged source of propulsion, beating like oars to pull the animal through the water. However, different groups have different modes of feeding and locomotion, ranging from almost immotile for several minutes to intermittent motion and continuous displacements with some escape reactions.
Some aquarium copepods have extremely fast escape responses when a predator is sensed, and can jump with high speed over a few millimetres. Many species have neurons surrounded by myelin (for increased conduction speed), which is very rare among invertebrates (other examples are some annelids and malacostracan crustaceans like palaemonid shrimp and penaeids). Even rarer, the myelin is highly organized, resembling the well-organized wrapping found in vertebrates (Gnathostomata). Despite their fast escape response, aquarium copepods are successfully hunted by slow-swimming seahorses, which approach their prey so gradually, it senses no turbulence, then suck the copepod into their snout too suddenly for the copepod to escape.
Finding a mate in the three-dimensional space of open water is challenging. Some aquarium copepod females solve the problem by emitting pheromones, which leave a trail in the water that the male can follow.
Most free-living aquarium copepods feed directly on phytoplankton, catching cells singly. Some of the larger species are predators of their smaller relatives. Many benthic copepods eat organic detritus or the bacteria that grow in it, and their mouth parts are adapted for scraping and biting. Herbivorous copepods, particularly those in rich, cold seas, store up energy from their food as oil droplets while they feed in the spring and summer on plankton blooms. These droplets may take up over half of the volume of their bodies in polar species. Many copepods (e.g., fish lice like the Siphonostomatoida) are parasites, and feed on their host organisms. In fact, three of the 10 known orders of copepods are wholly or largely parasitic, with the other three comprising most of the free-living species.
Planktonic copepods are important to global ecology and the carbon cycle. They are usually the dominant members of the zooplankton, and are major food organisms for small fish such as the dragonet, banded killifish, whales, seabirds, Alaska pollock, and other crustaceans such as krill in the ocean and in fresh water. Some scientists say they form the largest animal biomass on earth. Copepods compete for this title with Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). C. glacialis inhabits the edge of the Arctic icepack, especially in polynyas where light (and photosynthesis) is present, in which they alone comprise up to 80% of zooplankton biomass. They bloom as the ice recedes each spring. The ongoing large reductions in the annual minimum of recent years may force them to compete in the open ocean with the much less nourishing C. finmarchicus, which is spreading from the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea into the Barents Sea.
Because of their smaller size and relatively faster growth rates, and because they are more evenly distributed throughout more of the world’s oceans, copepods almost certainly contribute far more to the secondary productivity of the world’s oceans, and to the global ocean carbon sink than krill, and perhaps more than all other groups of organisms together. The surface layers of the oceans are currently believed to be the world’s largest carbon sink, absorbing about 2 billion tons of carbon a year, the equivalent to perhaps a third of human carbon emissions, thus reducing their impact. Many planktonic copepods feed near the surface at night, then sink (by changing oils into more dense fats) into deeper water during the day to avoid visual predators. Their moulted exoskeletons, faecal pellets, and respiration at depth all bring carbon to the deep sea.
Live aquarium copepods are used in the saltwater aquarium hobby as a food source and are generally considered beneficial in most reef tanks. They are scavengers and also may feed on algae, including coralline algae. Live aquarium copepods are popular among hobbyists who are attempting to keep particularly difficult species such as the mandarin dragonet or scooter blenny. They are also popular to hobbyists who want to breed marine species in captivity.