How To Add Copepods To Tank [With Benefits]

To boost the healthy state of the aquarium the owner often wants to add Copepods into the tank. They avoid doing so just because they think it is a tough process. But once you know how to add a Copepod to the tank you will be astonished.

The process of adding Copepods is very simple. What is needed is to use a PVC pipe so that it reaches the middle of the substrate layer. Make sure that the pipe is wide enough to pour Copepods without spilling it around. It is also important that you do not put all the Copepods in a single place. Rather spread it evenly along the whole bed. 

It is wise to put Copepods in the nighttime after you have fed your fish and other aquatic animals in the aquarium. Also once you’ve put Copepods it is necessary to take care of them by providing proper nutrients and environment. To ensure the successful cultivation of Copepods it is necessary to maintain the environmental requirements. 

How to Introduce Copepods In The Tank

Introducing Copepods In The Tank

The procedure of adding Copepods to the tank is very easy. Once you collect Copepods of a convenience brand all you will need to have is a tunnel-like pipe through which you can put Copepods into the aquarium tank.

The process of adding Copepods to the tank is briefly described.

1. Precautions Before Adding Copepods

Before you add Copepods into the tank you need to ensure that the tank is at least capable of holding 5 to 10 gallons of water.

Otherwise, the existence of Copepods will have to face crowds. It is important to have Airstone in the tank. This helps in water purification. 


In the aquarium, it is necessary to have filtered water for the better survival of Copepods. In such a case, the presence of air stone shows the movement of water and keeps the filtration process running.

Try to avoid protein skimmers. Protein skimmer captures the free-floating Copepods as a form of waste and this reduces them in number. 


Also, provide sufficient light. Copepods need about 12 to 16 hours of daylight. If you live in a place where this range of D light is not possible to provide then use LED lights. There are several LED lights available in the market where you can set the time range. (Our Pick: NICREW Saltwater Aquarium Light)


Another important factor to balance before putting Copepods into the tank is to balance the salinity of the water. For this, you can add an inline refugium that will circle the water and you won’t have to worry about the salinity. The ion presence in the tank will balance itself whenever necessary.

2. Time

No matter which time you add Copepods into the tank they will do their job. But to get a better result it is wise to introduce them at night. 

First, provide food to the aquatic life in the aquarium. Once they are done feeding, then put Copepods into the tank. What aquatic animals are fed for the night they won’t come rushing to eat Copepods. Therefore Copepods will get a chance to settle down. 

In this period not only will they increase in number they will also function as a health booster for aquatic plants. They will eat the bio waste and reduce toxins from the aquarium. This also makes them healthy which ultimately turns beneficial for the aquatic animals to feed Copepods. 

3. Procedure

While introducing Copepods into the tank make sure that Copepods reach the substrate layer. For this, attach a pipe from the top of the tank to the middle of the substrate. Make sure the pipe is wide enough to pour the Copepods. 

Do not put the whole jar of Copepods into one place. Distribute the concentration over the substrate bed. You need to put Copepods into the substrate so they get a chance to reproduce and increase in number.

If you directly put them into the water of the tank then they will be eaten by the other species before the liquid spreads. 

As Copepods get the chance to increase in number you do not need to introduce them often. The larvae at the early stage are not visible to the naked eye of humans. Therefore once you introduce the Copepods wait until 1 to 2 weeks for the pods to become adults. 

While applying Copepods remember that you will need to use two bottles of 8oz for 4 feet long tanks.

How to Take Care of Copepods

Taking Care of Copepods

Once you have introduced Copepods into the tank it is time to take care of them. Taking care of the Copepods is a very vital part of adding them to the tank. 


For the survival of Copepods, it is very important to have a proper temperature. The ideal temperature range for Copepods is between 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. By nature, Copepods are cold-blooded animals. Therefore they need a warmer environment.

Remember just because they need a warmer environment you should not provide a temperature higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This will end up killing Copepods. If you stay between the range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit you see that the reproduction of Copepods has increased and they grow more potentially in size.

This means your other animals on living Copepods will have more food to survive on. You also don’t have to introduce them more often. 

Ensuring Nutrients

Another important part of taking care of Copepods is feeding them properly with proper nutrition. Even though Copepods are not Predator class animals, they prefer protein-based food. This means they prefer meaty food to survive. 

By nature, Copepods are actually omnivorous animals who can survive both on plant and meat-based diets. There are several fish flakes or ground meats available in the market that you can use as a food source for Copepods. No matter which source of food you are using, make sure it gets dissolved in the water more quickly. (Our Pick: TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes)

Also, you can culture phytoplankton for your Copepods at home. For this, you do not have to take much hassle. There are several kits available that will help you to cultivate phytoplankton without any hassle. 

It is very important that you do not overfeed Copepods. They do not eat more than required. To understand the level of food you need to provide, check the level of ammonia. 

The ammonia level is high, indicating a need to reduce the amount of feeding. Adjusting the feeding quantity can be somewhat challenging.

Therefore the best idea is to provide food and measure the level of ammonia and keep a note as you are performing an experiment. This way you understand how much food you need to provide. 

Water Change

To balance the pH level, purity of water, and increase the fertility of Copepods it is necessary to change the water at least once a month. Especially if you are overfeeding, change the water more frequently so that you can keep appropriate track of food amount. 

Sometimes to balance the pH and the temperature you might need to change the water. This also helps to ensure the other fertilizers balance in the water.


If you find out that the cultivation of Copepods is not going as per plan, it is wise to start from the beginning. As Copepods are microscopic animals it is difficult to determine the exact reason for the failure of the cultivation. 

Also, you can get help from experts and professionals if the process is failing repeatedly. They can guide you specifically on what you need and what you don’t.

Why Add Copepods To Aquarium

Full of Nutrients

The fishes in the aquarium get proper nutrition from the Copepods. Copepods are one of the reasons which create beneficial fish oils in the body of fish. 

Copepods services on microalgae and bacteria. Once they consume these microorganisms they turn them into high protein. These proteins are enriched with fatty acids.

Therefore whenever fish consume Copepods, they develop Omega 3 and other proteins in them. Along with fishes, any animals in the aquarium that feed on Copepods receive a similar benefit from Copepods. 

Balancing Food Chain

The aquatic food chain is very important for the survival of any living being in the aquarium. Even though Copepods lie at the bottom of the food chain it plays a significant role in the balance of nutrition and survival. 

When we talk about the food chain in a larger aquatic environment like Ocean or sea there are lots of levels from primary to tertiary.

For each level of the food chain, there are several options available. But when we speak about small aquatic environments like aquariums, the options for each level are not many. 

In such a situation Copepods work at the primary level. The absence of Copepods is a great restriction in building a good food chain system in your aquarium. Small-sized fishes service Copepods on and pass on the nutrients to other aquatic life.

Keeps The Tank Clean

The presence of phytoplankton and bacteria doesn’t create much food source for the aquatic life in your aquarium. But Copepods feed on these microscopic organisms. Therefore in the presence of Copepods, your aquarium doesn’t have any phytoplankton or bacteria builders.

Even if there is a buildup of phytoplankton and bacteria they are used as a source of protein for the fish through Copepods. 

Cost Effective

The best thing about Copepods is it is a good source of protein for your aquatic animal in the aquarium and you can cultivate it in your home. The cultivation process is surprisingly easy and this saves a lot of money by buying them frequently. 

Also if you have introduced Copepods in the tank at least one thing that you do not need to worry about is doing target feeding of protein.

Also once the food chain is established in the aquarium you won’t have to worry about the supply of other nutrients as well. 

The presence of Copepods also increases the fertility of the substrate. They also indirectly affect the nutrient supplies of the aquatic plants in the aquarium. 


How Long Does It Take For Copepods To Establish?

It requires a month and a half for the pods to create descendants that grow up to the moment that they should be visible to the naked eye. It could require two or three months or longer before they start developing and the populace becomes sufficiently thick to pour out into straightforwardly lit bottoms of the tank looking for new food sources.

How Do I Know If I Have Enough Copepods?

A fast method for telling on the off chance that you have live copepods in your aquarium is to shut down your siphon and lights around evening time briefly. Take a spotlight and sparkle it into the aquarium and on the off chance that you have live copepods, you ought to start to see them swimming toward the light quickly.

How Big Can Copepods Get?

Copepods might be free-living, advantageous, or inward or outer parasites on pretty much every significant metazoan phylum. Grown-ups regularly have a body length in the 1-2 mm range, however, grown-ups of free-living species might be basically as short as 0.2 mm or up to 17 mm.

Can You Grow Copepods Without Refugium?

I would suggest a refugium for cases and another microfauna to securely duplicate yet isn’t required 100 percent. I kept a Mandarin cheerful and sound in 45 without a refugium. Just reseeded the tank at regular intervals through the green growth outbuilding.

Do Copepods Need To Be Refrigerated?

They needn’t bother to be refrigerated. Since they can endure low temperatures, we use them for our potential benefit. You can save them for longer in a cooler in light of the fact that the low temps dial them back metabolically, holding them back from spending their energy stores and all the oxygen in the container.

Final Words

Once you determine how to add Copepods to the tank you also need to know what are the requirements for Copepods to survive. In general, Copepods play an important role in the nutrient management of your aquarium. They work as protein suppliers for the aquarium.

Remember that being a cold-blooded animal Copepods need a moderate temperature to perform reproduction and grow in size. The temperature should not be so high that it ends up cooking them. Frequently check the level of ammonia to determine if the amount of food you’re providing for Copepods is enough for access. Otherwise, Copepods are very low maintenance. 

Howard Parker

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