Review: Acartia tonsa Live Enriched Copepods from Reefshotz

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Before you know it, we'll all be keeping copepods instead of fish, given the rate at which so many species are currently in vogue, says Nathan Hill.

Acartia tonsa is gold dust in copepod form. A tiny inshore species of calanoid copepod, these little curs have a fine pedigree in producing exceptional fry in fish. In fact, out of a range of tiny foods used in research to rear juvenile Cod, Acartia produced not just the best growth rate but also the least deformities.

Another reason to be a fan is the ease of keeping. Out in estuaries, Acartia tonsa tolerate a huge range of temperatures from 9 to 30°C/48.2°-86°F. On top of that, they’re not even fazed by salinities that would whup a lesser species, from 17-36ppt.

As a first copepod project, you could do considerably worse, given the hardiness, or alternatively you could just hurl a load into a refugium and leave them to their own devices.

They’ll breed away down there, providing a food source for all manner of inverts and finicky gobies and dragonets, and although they’re not really up there as waste munchers in the way some calanoids are, they will have a slight, negligible impact on waste levels.

Reefshotz also produces a separate Acartia feed in liquid form that doesn’t need to

be kept in the fridge, so for an additional £6.45 + p and p you can get an entire

feeding package.

Verdict

I’m loving all of these copepods hitting the market. For too long they’ve been the domain of public aquaria and research facilities, and it’s high time they made the leap into the hobby world.

I suspect Acartia could up the prospects of successful fish breeding in a game where we have for ages relied on cultures of rotifers and Artemia and hope to raise paltry fish numbers.

Price: A. tonsa £14.95 + p and p; AT Feed £6.45 + p and p. More info from www.reefshotz.com

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