A reliable copepod source is the new big thing for keeping certain marine fish such as Mandarins alive. Nathan Hill checks out this offering from Reefshotz.
These packets of copepods from UK company Reefshotz are ideal for ravenous Scooter blennies or Mandarins. They come in two sizes, 50 or 100ml, and have more than just copepods — the pouch is divided between copepods proper and a smaller phytoplankton sachet.
You can literally feed the copepods, either prior to using them, or by adding the contents of both parts of the sachet to the tank.
These are cultured copepods, not wild harvested, so are unlikely to be carrying anything nefarious. Tigriopus, the species used, is a bottom dwelling 'pod, which will bounce along the base of the tank, as well as between gaps in ricks — just where picky feeders will be looking for them.
The bags I have are brimming with life, and a few days in the fridge sees them still bouncing. By comparison, a bag left at room temperature for three days is now down to around 5-10% survival, so it’s obviously best to buy fresh and keep chilled until ready to use.
These foods are pricier than bags of brineshrimp or Mysis, but the nature of culturing them is costly. It might initially appear that you’re not getting a huge amount for your money, but think how much a typical Mandarin will cost if it starves to death and these bags are a trivial price.
Keep periodically topping up, as numbers will be depleted by scavenging fish and inverts, and reproduction rates in the marine aquarium is particularly slow.
Price: Expect to pay around £2.00 for 50ml and £3.95 for 100ml sizes.
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