By Mike Gilbert and Bethany Watson

An ideal food for the first two weeks of a seahorses life, copepods are naturally high in waxy esthers and fats. They are not particularly difficult to culture, however the cultures are somewhat unstable and may take up to 6 weeks to get going. Due to this more than one culture is recommended.


Copepod culture

We use ten gallon aquariums for the simple fact that the cost of anything smaller is greater for some unknown reason. They seem to do the best in matured water, such as that from a water change on your main tank. No airation or filtration is needed. Specific gravity can range from 1.015 to 1.030. We feed every day alternating between flake food and algae paste. When the culture is first started, place just a few flakes on the top and let the copepods eat at this for about a week. In addition add a little Nanno paste and a bit of T-Iso paste (which can be purchased from Brine Shrimp Direct). Once the culture is going well replenish the flake food when depleted and every other day add a small amount of each of the algae pastes.


As you will discover netting copepods is frustrating at best. Swooshing a net around results in all sorts of debris from the bottom ending up mixed in with the copepods. The best way to collect them is by using a suction tube. Take a 3/16" rigid piece of tubing approximately 14" long and attach a 24" length of airline tubing. Place the rigid side into the culture tank ank suck gently on the other end to start a syphon. Using your finger to regulate the flow suck the copepods off the glass and into a small container. Once you've collected what you need, pour them through a brine shrimp net, rinse gently for a few seconds, and feed.

Most recent revision: 2003

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By Mike Gilbert, Bethany Watson &
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Seahorse fact: Many species around the world are considered to be on the edge of extinction and are highly protected.
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