Will copepods work as holiday food? 

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Are copepods enough to keep fish going for a week whilst on holiday? A reader asks… 

Q: I have a nano tank holding just over 80 l after displacement with rockwork. It holds polyps, mushrooms and LPS corals, along with a small Pyjama wrasse, a Yellow coral goby, two reef hermits, a Turbo snail and eco-friendly live rock. The tank has been set up for just over four months. There’s a nano skimmer and everything is doing well. 

I feed tiny amounts twice a day. The crabs will eat small pellet foods but the fish will only accept frozen. 

I’m going away for a week in November and I’m concerned about feeding. I don’t trust anyone to feed them in my absence with this being such a small tank with just a couple of fish and crabs. If I buy some of the live copepods my marine retailer sells, would that keep them going for a week – or will they just eat the lot in one go?  

ELIZABETH WADE, VIA EMAIL 

A: Jeremy says: Adding live copepods is a good idea. You could add as many as seven bags of pods (minus the water), on the day before you go and that will be enough to sustain your wrasse and coral goby throughout your holiday. Being live foods, copepods won’t pollute the tank and if you add them at night, and leave the recirculating pump off for half an hour, they should get into the rock and sand and hide away, from where they can be hunted down and consumed by the fish at a later date. They’re good for cleaning the tank too. The hermits and snails won’t need additional feeding and will take to grazing and scavenging, also helping to keep the tank clean while you’re away. 

Pyjama wrasse and Yellow gobies can be trained to take dry food, so start feeding a small pellet a few months before you go away next time, and then fit an automatic feeder and set it to drop in small, measured amounts twice a day just as you currently do now with frozen.