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FAQs about Marine Zooplankton

Related Articles: Keeping Planktivores Fed by Bob Fenner, Marine Plankton, Phytoplankton, Use in  Marine Aquariums by Sara Mavinkurve, Marine BacteriaMarine Microbes, Marine Virology, Marine MycologyInvertebrates, Marine Plankton, Taxonomy & Biological Classification  Marine Invertebrates

Related FAQs: Pod Reproduction/Culture, Marine Invertebrates, Phytoplankton, Marine Microbes, Marine Virus, Marine Bacteria, Marine Funguses, Marine Protozoans, Marine PlanktonLive Rock, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction

Most all sealife is and eats plankton at one time. Tubelip Wrasse, Labrichthys unilineatus

Re: Microscopic images  9/2/13
  Thanks..I appreciate this:) These were all obtained from freshwater dips.
 Please let me know if I need to change the sizing/resolution.  I do have quite a few images so I will send them in separate emails.  Any information you can give me would be very appreciated!  Thanks again!!
<... The res. looks fine for what you're imagine here; though it would help to state the magnification per pic... The first two (84, 85)... might be just scales. 26 looks to me like a diatom, 29 is likely a rotifer, and 44, 45 look like Monogenes (flukes) to me. Bob Fenner>

Diatom Rotifer

Purchase/Enquiry. Plankton tow nets  -- 9/22/09
Dear Sales,
My name is Pastor Chris i am with the Presbyterian Church of God, let me extend my sincere apology to you if i have contacted the wrong person with regards to this message. We are interested in the following product and will like to order (Convertible Plankton Tow Net), below is the specification of my inquiry:
Convertible Plankton Tow Net. Kindly email me with a total pickup price of 13pics .I will like you to send me an email response with the picked up price for this sizes Convertible Plankton Tow Net, and if you don't have this size or type available kindly email me with the sizes you have to enable me make an inform choice.
I will like to know your forms or terms of payment accept by your company.. Kindly respond to me as soon as possible for us to proceed further with the order. Thank you.
Pastor Chris.
<Hello Chris. We don't sell such, but the fine folks at Aquatic Ecosystems do: http://www.aquaticeco.com/search/0/plankton%20tow%20nets
Bob Fenner>

Copepods And Amphipods And Brine Shrimp Oh My! -- 05/18/09
First I would like to say thank you... Thank You!
<<Umm, quite welcome'¦>>
I've found a lot of great information on your site and it is making short work of my research.
<<Ah! Excellent to know>>
I would like to say that I am new to the wonderful world of marine aquariums,
<<Many wonders/discoveries (and much reading/learning too!) ahead of you>>
but I have yet to start!
<<I see>>
I have been considering purchasing a 55 gallon tank to start with and a 10 gallon QT.
<<I suggest you go as big as you can on the display (larger volumes are easier to maintain/stock/etc.)'¦and no less than 20g on the QT (10g is just too small in most cases)>>
I am aspiring towards a reef tank with quite a few carnivores like the mandarin goby.
<<Then I definitely recommend a larger system'¦and do also read up on and plan for an in-line refugium (start reading here and among the many related links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm )
And through some light reading on your site
<<'Light' reading isn't going to cut it my friend {grin} >>
I have found that they are hungry little suckers!
<<Indeed'¦as well as often difficult to provide sufficient and appropriate foodstuffs for. Best to have sufficient real estate (a larger system w/refugium) to provide ample natural prey food items>>
So without further adieu, can you breed copepods, amphipods and brine shrimp all in the same tank?
<<Nope'¦ The Copepods and Amphipods can be provided via the afore mentioned in-line refugium, but a little more research on your part re brine shrimp and their natural habitat/method of collection/et al should make it clear that about the best you will accomplish is to set up some equipment for 'hatching' them via store-bought eggs/cysts>>
That would make life easier and keep my wallet a bit heavier (which I know we all would like!).
<<Do make sure you can provide for the creatures you wish to keep. Many budding hobbyists are frustrated early on by attempting to keep animals which cannot be successfully maintained in the environments provided. You are taking the right steps by reading/asking questions 'first'>>
Thanks in advance for your help and I'm looking forward to learning many more wonderful bits of information here.
<<A pleasure to share Kevin'¦read on my friend! EricR>>

Pod Culture Tank 4/13/08 I have had a mixed reef tank set up for about 15 months. I have tried several experiments throughout this time, including a DSB in-line fuge. I took an Eclipse 6 (basically a six gallon tank with hood and filter package) and drilled a hole in each side and put about 4 inches of aragonite substrate and a couple pieces of rubble. No need to get to far involved because there were many things I did not like so I took it out. <Okay.> When I took it out it had been running for about four months, needless to say there were all sorts of pods, worms, snails, Chitons, sponges, and starfish taking up residence. <Good.> So I figure why not another pod culturing tank experiment since there were far more amphipods in there than anything else I could see. <Sounds good.> I unhooked the small tank from the system, plugged back in the filter that it came with in the hood, (the filter is just a small 3 stage unit) and put a filter sponge in with no carbon, and no bio-wheel running. The system holds roughly 5 gallons of water 3''-4'' of aragonite substrate, not even 2 pounds of rubble, and a softball size chunk of Caulerpa racemosa (despite the dangers, it is an experiment anyways). <The dangers of Caulerpa get overblown. Many use it without issue.> I plan to light it with the small light in the hood (12'' 8W T5 20K) and a 65W grow bulb off to the side. My display is a 75 gallon, 100lbs. live rock, 6'' DSB(80lbs.) with a Toms Aquaria Rapids Pro backpack filter system. Light on the fish but many corals (SPS and LPS), and of course all the cleaners, inverts, etc.. I run heavy on the carbon, I am currently running my 18w UV at 150 GPH, a skimmer and multiple rotating powerheads located throughout with all the necessary sponges and floss pads. I do 10 gallon water change every two weeks, feed sparingly, and have many, many different types of macro (some nuisance "algae") in my tank that are all kept in check by one small Lavender Surgeon fish, so I believe my tank would not be considered a "nutrient rich" tank. <I would, something is fueling the algae.> Hopefully this is enough info on the tank, however to answer this question you may need more info as far as what type of coral, macro, filter feeders in the display tank, but here it comes. If I started doing five gallon water changes every week and put the water from my DT into the culture tank, as well as put a very small amount of live phyto and a shrimp pellet or two every other day, would that be enough to keep the pods multiplying and the macro growing? <It should, yes.> Also know that I really don't care that much about the Caulerpa, I could always just put a sponge or more rubble in there. Plus the algae in the display tank could be using up all the available nutrients in the water so it would not even make it to the culture tank where the Caulerpa is. Is this possible? <Yes, you will be far better off having this plumbed in with the display. Let the Caulerpa grow in the refugium and hopefully not in the main tank.> I realize this is a broad overview of my tank and it's parameters and may be hard to answer the main question which is will there be enough nutrient for the pods to multiply, or too much and the water will foul in between water changes. Or is this whole thing a silly idea? <No, it is not a silly idea, sounds like a fun experiment. It will just yield little if any benefit unless the tanks are plumbed together.> I know the best thing to do was to leave it plumbed to the DT, but there was just not enough room to operate and maintain everything properly, so the fuge is put on hold till after we move. <This is unfortunate.> Sorry to completely change the subject but I have a short question. I keep hearing that a reef tank should produce a lot of dark skimmate. <Relative to the tank and livestock.> Not really how much, but how thick. In a standard mixed reef (''standard''...that's funny) <Good point.> it would be safe to say that a small fish (say a 2'' Tomato Clown ) will produce more skimmate than say 3 or 4 softball size SPS corals? <Actually, no. It is surprising how much skimmate SPS corals alone can and do produce. If you have a LFS with a fishless frag tank, ask to see the skimmer sometime, you will be shocked!> Basically you could say size for size/weight for weight a fish produces much more skimmate than a coral does? <As compared to size and weight, possibly.> Considering a little give one way or another as far as different species go. Example a tang may produce more than a predatory fish that only gets feed once a day or less? <Yes, a fish that metabolizes more food/energy than another should in turn produce more waste.> I have a small Tomato Clown, DS Goby, Six-line Wrasse, and Lavender Surgeon fish, very large LTA , around 15 stony corals, and about 20 mushrooms. My tank is no Tank of the Month, but it is pretty heavily stocked as some of my corals are of pretty good size. <Sounds like a nice tank. I have seen a few so called "Tanks of the Month" in person. While I am sure there are many nice, if not spectacular, tanks that make it in, Photoshop and such programs has made many of these submissions questionable. Don't feel the need to judge your tank against these.> I have never produced more than a cup of light skimmate in a weeks time (unless something died). All of my corals are growing, have always grown. <A good sign.> Does the amount of skimmate just sound unacceptable, and no matter if the corals are growing or not? <The amount would not satisfy me on a system such as this.> Should I get a better skimmer (again the skimmer is one with the filter and it is rated to 150 gallon aquariums, even though we all know what a joke that is) or does that sound fairly normal? The skimmer works on reverse flow with an airstone and I can watch it work, so I know it is working. <A better skimmer should be in the plans in my opinion. You will find it even more valuable to you as your fish and corals grow larger, producing more waste.> Thank you for all your help. <Very welcome.> P.S. I have already had a firm talking-too about Anemones in the reef tank, so no need mentioning that. Just know that all is well. <So long as they know to behave! Best regards, Scott V.>

Re: Pod Culture Tank 4/14/08 Thank you for the speedy and knowledgeable reply. <Very welcome.> I do however have another question regarding the algae issue and the amount of excess nutrients in my tank. <OK> Considering I do religious WC, maintain floss pads and filter sponges regularly, and feed sparingly (what I would consider sparingly=5ml DT's phyto every 3-5 days dosed at night when water circulation is at half without turning off the skimmer, about 1/3-1/2 cube total of many different types of frozen foods, mostly every day but sometimes every other, and 1-2 times weekly soaked in Selcon, and the occasional spectrum dry food, frozen Cyclops , and Calanus plankton. The later coral foods are given at night alternating one every other week. As far as food, that is all I put in. <If this all works for you, don't fix it!> Sub-question: does the light over my tank in one way or another/directly/indirectly play any part in the amount of organic waste produced in my tank? <Indirectly yes.> If so, I have a total of 476W (130W-10K-PC/130W420nm-PC/54W-14K-T5HO/54W-460nm-T5HO/108W-10K-T5HO). Also, does this sound like a good scheme or should I replace the other 460nmT5 with another 14KT5? <I likely would, you have plenty of actinic with the PC bulbs.> Any who, I may have been misleading when I was talking about the algae. If someone took a quick glance at the tank they would probably not see any algae at all. I was just thinking since I have Red Turf Algae and others alike that are considered "nuisance" algae, and seeing as how they have never, in the long time I have seen all these in my tank, seem them get even remotely out of control, and thus led me to the conclusion that a high amount of organic waste was not present. <A fair assumption. If there are no indication of problems then there is not a problem (in this case).> So if this is true and its not the food, what about phosphate? <Phosphate will promote growth of algae, but you will have some due merely to the regular biological processes of your livestock. No tank is devoid of algae, the nice tanks simply control it.> I do WC with RO water and Red Sea Coral Pro salt, I currently dose limewater as much as my PH will allow (and that's just a whole different conversation altogether), <Yes.> and I currently employ a filter sock filled with 250ml of Seachem Phosguard that says it removes phosphates and silicate. The bottle says it will treat well over 75gal , and it is changed out every 2 weeks. The one thing that worries me is when I change it, the media is brown, proof that it is working(?), proof of phosphate present in the tank(?) <Likely acting somewhat as a mechanical filter being in the sock, hence the color. This is probably the same color your sock becomes?> The water I use is from 5 Star bottling company (RO but not DI). Is phosphate the main reason for the added stage from RO to DI? <And nitrate, silicate. Fact of the matter is good RO water is just fine. Older membranes may produce a lower quality water.> If so would it help to hook up a PO4 reactor with said media to a tub of RO water before I do anything with it? <You could, but what you have sounds like it is working fine.> Hopefully pulling out all phosphates and silicate before it even makes it to the tank. <If there is phosphate in the water it surely pales in comparison with the phosphate that makes it into your tank with any food. Other life needs phosphate too, not just algae. You do not want to completely strip your tank of this.> MY buddy started up a reef tank about 4 months prior to me. We have done everything the same, but for the last year he has had a HORRIBLE "hair" algae problem. Best we can come up with is Bryopsis. However we do not or cannot get a microscope for definite answer, but it is a problem none the less. We have tried everything including one of the "reef safe" algae removers only with near devastating results. For the last year he has had to do manual removal of every rock at least every two weeks (with a stiff bristled brush), and just watching this makes me feel sorry for him. He feeds very sparingly, under any meaning of the word, has an inline fuge with a massive amount of Chaeto, High PH (never below 8.4), runs a PO4 reactor with SeaChem's PhosGuard, also tried multiple livestock options such as snails, crabs, urchin, and a Tomini Tang. The only small differences we do are he uses KM liquid sup., and I use Seachem powder and Kalk. Could that make a big difference? <No, there is something else going on. Although two people doing the exact same thing will usually yield different results with a reef, you can bet he is doing something different then yourself in this case.> And one final question. We both started our tanks off on tap water. We both switched to RO at the same time. His tank was 6 months old and mine was about 1-2 months old. Is it possible that some of the bad things are still in there, maybe in the sand or unexposed pieces of rock? <No, not in a capacity to create the algae issue.> The tap water around here is extremely hard and just plain $&#@^. Could that still be contributing to his problem? The only thing we are left with is to take all the sand and rockwork out and switch it with new over a period of two months or so. Will this just cover up the problem for a while and we still need to find the root cause. Will it help him to start dosing Kalk, and filter all RO water through the PO4 reactor in a tub like previously stated? <All of the above it a treatment and not a cure. All things equal, the algae will return in time. If you suspect high phosphate in your RO water, by all means test it! Otherwise look at the usual factors: water flow, water changes, anywhere detritus accumulates and sits (mechanical filtration/dead spots/coarse substrate) and most of all feeding. Sometimes it is not how or how much you feed, but what. The frozen foods tend to have a lot of juice in them that should be drained off to avoid polluting the tank. I personally use the Spectrum pellets as the main diet for my fish. Frozen foods are used occasionally. Also, be sure what is added actually get eaten. Adding what seems like a small amount of food serves no purpose of most of it goes blasting around the tank!> Thank you again. This site IS truly a necessity for people in this hobby. By the way, how much money does it take invested in a hobby before it has become a lifestyle? <You're welcome. I feel anything less than cashing your paycheck down at the LFS is just doing it half way ? ! Thank you for the kind words, a link to refer your friend to below, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm

Re: Copepod culture 04/15/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello, Andrew here>> After reading more about amphipods, I'm thinking about culturing copepods instead. At the moment, I have a 17g Rubbermaid tub that I'd like to use, but I'll try to convince my dad to let me use one of his 45g breeders. <<Ok, sounds good>> Anyways, my amphipod plan was to have a layer of sand on the bottom, along with some Chaeto and LR rubble. Lighting would be provided via window (sunlight), heating via heater, circulation via a small submersible pump, and filtration via HOB filter or canister filter. I would feed the amphipods old fish pellets/flakes as supplementation. The amphipods would be fed (hopefully at least a few times weekly) to a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, a pair of small gobies (haven't decided which ones yet), my detritivore crew, and maybe an Acropora coral. How would this plan differ from an ideal copepod culture? <<Exactly the same>> I bought a turkey baster to collect amphipods. Would this be a good tool with copepods? <<A valuable tool>> Are copepods attracted to light, and if so would this be useful for collecting them? What is the most successful way to collect them? <<Sunlight is sufficient as copepods are attracted to light>> With either a 17g or 45g, would they be able to thrive just with the microalgae growing in the container or would small doses of phytoplankton be needed or be at least extremely beneficial? <<Either would be just fine. They should thrive in the macro algae/sand/rock setup. They will enjoy a small amount of floating algae>> Would a culture of this size (17g or 45g) be able to function as a staple of my fishes' diet? <<Depends on how many copepod eaters your going to be feeding really. Start off with 2 - 3 thousand as a culture, and hopefully in a month or so, you will be shooting for around 50,000 pods>> I have an off-topic question that's bugging me, if you'd be kind enough to answer it. I'm going to buy my detritivore crew in a couple weeks, being my first livestock. The crew will consist of hermits, snails, mini stars, bristle worms, amphipods, spaghetti worms, and anything else that comes in their live sand. What could I feed them to supplement their diet? <<Most of the above will feed off the rock, sand etc etc. Adding a tiny pinch of brine, or crunched up Nori every 2 - 3 days will be fine.>> Thanks for reading this. This site has helped me many-a-time in the past, and I know that this won't be the last time I consult it. TIA, Random Aquarist <<Thanks for the questions Tia, always good to hear fro you. Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Ideal Amphipod Breeding Substrate 04/01/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a 17g tub that I plan to culture amphipods in. I've heard that Chaeto, liverock, sand, and sponges are good breeding substrates. In your experience, which of these are the best? <<Chaeto, live rock and sand>> Here are the side and top views of my current plan for the container. I intend to make sections out of eggcrate and pump water so it flows through the Chaeto (thus rolling it) and back towards the pump. <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock - 03/27/08 Hello again Crew, <<Greetings>> My cousin has lost interest in the aquarium hobby and is selling his 10g tank. I'm thinking about buying his live rock and/or live sand and using it to make an amphipod culture. <<Cool>> I have several questions. <<Okay>> 1. Can Ulva or Chaetomorpha be grown using only sunlight? <<Sure…if it gets enough>> I'm thinking about having the culture container near a window so I don't have to use lighting. <<If the tank will receive some direct lighting it should work…is worth a try for sure>> Apparently, after reading about the "copepod farm in a 5L bottle" on your site, phytoplankton can grow from sunlight alone. <<Indeed>> 2. Just to clarify, the macroalgae is the food source, right? <<No, not so much as the epiphytic matter that is on it, and the other surfaces in the tank. The dense matrix of the macroalgae (Chaetomorpha excels in this, in my opinion) will function primarily as a place for the critters to live and breed>> If so, will the pods eat all of the macro or will it grow quickly enough to stay ahead? <<I've never seen/known this to be the case…under the right conditions, the macroalgae will likely outgrow the tank and require pruning. To optimize your "pod" populations I suggest supplemental feeding. I find the inexpensive shrimp pellets from Wal-Mart, etc. to work well here and are very easy to feed>> Also, what would I feed the macroalgae? Skimmate? Plant fertilizer? <<Mmm, no…this would/will quickly pollute the system. Judicious feeding of the pods will supply nutrients for the algae as well. Have you given any thought to filtration/water circulation? Something as simple as a small air-driven internal sponge filter will probably suffice…though this "refugium" would work better if plumbed directly to the display it is intended to support>> I read that amphipods are omnivorous and that they'll eat anything. Would it be beneficial to add meat to their diet? <<As in the fore mentioned shrimp pellets, yes…or even a pinch or two of a quality flake food>> 3. How would I deal with evaporation in a smaller setup without having huge salinity fluctuations from manually topping off the water every day? <<Daily "topping-off" is likely your best/most economical solution for this small tank…and should work fine>> 4. How does live sand and live rock help amphipods anyway? <<Provides a matrix/structure for shelter, breeding>> I've heard of people successfully using playground sand for aquariums/refugiums. <<Yes>> Could I use this in my 'pod culture? <<Certainly>> 5. Let's say I culture the amphipods and whatever they eat. I'm only feeding a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, and whatever else will eat them in my tank. Will this culture be more or less expensive than buying food? I know that's hard to answer, but can you ballpark it? <<Look to this culture as a "supplement" to feeding…not as a replacement. You will still need to provide some prepared foods to your fishes/inverts>> This is assuming, of course, that I don't sell any 'pods or 'pod food to people and make some money off of it. Don't get the wrong idea. This isn't an attempt to make a profit. <<But no reason it can't…though I think it would need to be much larger>> I just want to do this for the experience, for the natural food source, and because watching things eat each other is awesome. Now to the part about boiling the rock. My cousin's rock is completely covered in Cyanobacteria and Aiptasia anemones. I'd like to kill them. Could I just boil the rock and kill everything so I can just rinse/soak it and not have to cure it? Kinda like a dead coral skeleton (which, technically, it actually is)? <<Sure…though a less smelly/messy approach may be to let the rock sit out in the sun for a couple days, then a freshwater soak overnight followed by a good rinse with the hose>> Well, that's it for now. TIA, Random Aquarist <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock - 03/28/08 Hey, thanks for the help. <<Quite welcome>> I have a few more questions for you. <<Okay>> 1. I found a bucket of dry CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted substrate that my dad had planned on using a few years ago. All of my dad's fish are dead, so could I use this? <<Dunno>> My concern is with the coarse nature of it and possibly any chemicals it could release that aren't ideal for saltwater. <<This is my concern as well…though you could contact CaribSea and get their take/advice re>> 2. I've heard that sponges are great for amphipods. Should I put in a bunch of filter sponges? <<Course filter sponges like those made for pond filters can indeed serve as "housing" for amphipods and other critters…but if you are going to use Chaetomorpha, I don't see these as necessary>> 3. I've also heard that pods like a lot of surface area with their live rock. Should I break the live rock into pieces and make a 'pod pile instead of just having a few large pieces? <<If you are adding rock then yes, "rubble" will provide more of the small cracks/crevices they prefer>> 4. And lastly, I found a lot of sealed bags of Dainichi cichlid food that my dad also planned on using back in the day. They're in sealed bags and are only a few years old. Could I feed this to my amphipods or does this freshwater food lack the nutrients needed by saltwater fish? <<See if the "pods" will eat it…it may/should be just fine>> Thanks again, Random Aquarist <<Cheers, EricR>>

Copepods in a Fallow Aquarium   9/25/07 Or in your case...a nut can find a nut...hahahaha!!! <Yep!? Gotta quick question for ya...in the QT that I had the coral beauty in I have noticed a huge population of copepods. I don't want to dump them. Can I run the tank fallow for a couple more weeks and then somehow transfer them to my main tank? Thanks Scott! Jennifer <Well, I don't see why not...particularly if the fishes in the quarantine system were "clean". Sounds like a plan! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Zooplankton vs. Phytoplankton, food, coral nutr.   - 07/18/07 Hi, I've read on you very informative website that it is preferable to feed corals zooplankton as opposed to phytoplankton like DT's brand. <Well, that's because the corals we keep don't eat phytoplankton. However, if you have a deep sand bed and/or refugium feeding phytoplankton like DT's will likely increase your tank's ability to produce it's own zooplankton.> I cannot find any zooplankton products for use in my aquarium. Can you possibly point any out for me? <Coral Frenzy is supposed to be pretty good. Cyclop-Eeze might also be considered zooplankton. Liquid life's "coral plankton" has rotifers. Zooplankton is basically just the portion of plankton that consists of tiny (microscopic or nearly so) animals and larvae rather than eggs and algae. So, urchin eggs would be plankton, but urchin larvae would be zooplankton. Copepods, rotifers, shrimp larvae and small crustacean larvae, etc. these are things that could be considered zooplankton. Newly hatched baby brine probably qualify as zooplankton. Another easy way to get zooplankton in your tank is to have some peppermint or other ornamental shrimp that regularly produce larvae in aquariums. Of course, I do wonder if the fish don't eat up all these larvae before the coral get a chance at them.> Thank you so much! <Hope this helps. Best, Sara M.>

Amphipod Culturing   6/13/07 Hi, hope all is well with yall! Thanks again for putting in so much time and effort on such an extensive and informative library of information. So, to the point. I have a Scooter Blenny who is starting to look slightly malnourished because, despite many efforts, he refuses all but live brine shrimp. <Sort of sounds like me and my pizza addiction... Needs to be weaned off such relatively hollow-nutritionally food/s... by mixing it with other material/s...> As a result, I am in the process of setting up a copepod culturing system. I am adamant on feeding him his natural diet, despite the other great benefits of these tiny critters. Allow me to describe my plans: bare bottom 10g with a small collection of live rock rubble, half filled with saltwater, green with DT's live phyto, and a slow bubbling on either side of the tank. I have read through all related articles/FAQs and can't seem to find a definitive answer. My question is this: would this setup be suitable for culturing Amphipods as well? <Yes, could be> I suppose I would need to add some Caulerpa or Chaetomorpha, correct? <Mmm, yes> Also, what other types of creatures would be able to flourish under such conditions, and could you recommend a source? <All sorts... though I would increase the sand bed depth... with fine coral sand... Do give Inland Aquatics and IPSF.com a look/see (on the Net)> I would love to have a variety as I'm very aware of the great benefits these little guys bring with them. Within days of getting this fish he single-handedly wiped out the visible population of 'pods. No surprise there I guess! Thank you in advance, -John <Mmm and a read of the articles and FAQs on live food culture here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm The tray near the bottom. Bob Fenner>

DSB's/Coral Food - 01/10/07 Hello, <<Hello Ronnie>> I have heard recently that DSB's are not suggested in SPS reef tanks?  Any thoughts or advice? <<Hmm... I have 1000 pounds of sugar-fine aragonite in a flourishing 375g SPS reef tank, along with another 300 pounds in the in-line 55g refugium, that might suggest otherwise.  Perhaps it is thought the efficient denitrification process deprives the corals of this important/required element.  I have heard of advanced hobbyists adding Potassium Nitrate to their SPS systems to boost health/color/vigor.  I myself prefer a heavy (within reason) fish load coupled with generous feedings>> I read Deep Sand Secrets and found a lot of great info on it. <<A good/interesting read, agreed>> I have always used one with good results.  In my new 75 gallon SPS only tank, I am researching different ways to set it up. <<Excellent!  I have kept myself, and have seen, many successful tanks using differing methodologies.  But I must say, my greatest success has come when utilizing the DSB methodology>> Also, any thoughts on the new food line called Reef Nutrition? <<Ah, yes...am feeding the Arcti-Pods to my system now.  My Anthiines seem to like it fine, as well as the other small planktonic feeding fishes.  Can't really say whether the corals are feeding on it, though it does appear to be "small enough" for several of my Acropora species utilize>> I have always used Cyclop-eeze and DT's oyster eggs and phytoplankton for feeding my corals? <<Good selections, but the phytoplankton is of little utility here as most all SPS corals will be carnivores...though it is beneficial for feeding many of the planktonic organisms/micro-crustaceans which "do" provide a rich food source for your corals...and many of which are cultured/generated from/within a DSB>> Thanks, you guys rock. <<Thank you...thank you very much (in my best Elvis impersonation voice)>> Ronnie <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Question: Sweetwater Zooplankton is fresh water Daphnia.   12/25/06 Any thoughts on feeding freshwater plankton to Marine creatures ? I've been using it for 4 years and my fish seem to like it. <Is useful for marine use... has a similar "laxative effect" if fed too often, exclusively... But nutritious, pathogen-free... BobF> Thank you, Chris WetWebCrew Rules !!!

Zoo- And Phytoplankton Products  11/10/06 Hello, Cam here, <Hi Cam, James with you today.> If I May ask...What is your opinion about the manufacturers Two Little Fishies? I am considering buying Two Little Fishies Zoo-and Phytoplankton products namely: ZoPlan, PhytoPlan, Marine Snow, Seaweed (red, green (Flakes) <Never used any of their products so I cannot comment here, nor have I heard anyone boast about such.> and/Or Aqua Medic's Plancto? What is the best choice liquid dead?) plankton, dried or frozen? I think ZoPlan and PhytoPlan are dried plankton, I cannot get live plankton? What other supplements should I give, I have mostly soft corals and stony corals? Thanks I appreciate it. Thanks for answering all my previous questions. <Cam, I'm not familiar with, or have used any of these products, therefore it is best for you to place this on our chat forum.  In this regard, people who have used these products can comment.  You can find the link in the lower right column on our home page.  The products I use are made by Liquid Life.  There are three, Marine Plankton with Cyclop-Eeze (smaller fish enjoy this also), Bio Plankton, which contains billions of preserved green algae, green flagellate, and golden algae, varying in sizes from 2-16 microns.  Coral Plankton, contains 3,000 rotifers and 1 billion pavlova algae per milliliter, ideal for carnivorous corals and Tridacnid Clams.  All must be keep frozen or refrigerated. I find these foods to be the least detrimental in increasing nitrate and/or phosphate levels, and the most nutritious of products I have tried. I purchase  these at my LFS, but they can be ordered through Foster & Smith or other etailers that carry them. James (Salty Dog)> Plankton Production - 03/01/06 Hi guys, <<and gals!>> long time reader, first post! I currently have a large 60 gallon refugium running inline with a lightly stocked reef tank. <<Cool!>> Do you have any specific tips or advice on what types of macro algae, and possibly supplements or foods to increase/improve the various types of plankton that can be supported? <<Lots... My preference is a vegetable refugium w/DSB.  This provides an excellent matrix to foster plankton/epiphytic matter, and my favorite macro-algae for this is Chaetomorpha linum.  But there are more choices/other opinions that work well also.  Have a look through our refugium data re:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm >> Suggestions on general parameters, feeding & supplementation that can (intensely) effect growth of such plankton? <<A pinch of flake food/a few shrimp pellets every couple of days goes a long way to increasing populations.>> Are there ways to introduce specific sought after plankton? Plankton Substitutes? <<Plankton/refugium starter kits are available from a few e-tailers.  A simple Google search re should find them easy enough.>> The system is 100% sponge less, carbonless, powerhead-less.  Temperature controlled at 78-81.  Each tank (19 inches deep) has a single 150w HQI 20k pendant.  Flow rate is approximately 700gph per tank. <<Sounds perfect for the Chaetomorpha/DSB system I mentioned.>> I run a protein skimmer a few days a month.  My water parameters has been steady for past 12 weeks at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0.2 Nitrates (1 part per 5 million). Thank you for being the best resource on the web! <<Thank you for contributing!>> George <<Regards, EricR>>

Plankton supplies 11/22/03 Hi guys, does anyone know where to purchase a net for collecting wild plankton?  I'm talking about one of those long nets you tow or set in a drift.  Thanks-  D <do try Florida Aqua Farms (do a net search, or look in the bibliog. of our books)... a fine place for such supplies. Else try biological supply houses (like those used by science educators). best of luck. Anthony>

Re: plankton net 11/23/03 Thanks, didn't see it on the FAF site but you were right about the other, Carolina Bio-Supply has them.  -  D <outstanding... best of luck. Anthony>

Ozone and its affect on plankton Greetings. <Hello there> I would like to know the affects of ozone on the planktonic stages of the reef critters in our tanks, pods, Stomatella, bristle worms.. etc.  Does the Ozone really kill them like a UV would? <Don't have specifics, but beyond a Redox reading of 400 or so I do believe O3 would become more and more toxic to larval forms of invertebrates, fishes> Do they become oxidized by the O3? Cell structure get weakened and they die?  Will the use of Ozone wipe out a tank of plankton?  Any info you can help or link me to  would be appreciated. Thomas <Like "too much of any good thing", too much ozone would be harmful. However, its utilization as an adjunct to improved water quality would be beneficial... let's say to a Redox reading of 300 or so. Bob Fenner>

Amphipods, Copepods, and  Zooplankton oh my! - 8/19/03 I have had my marine tank up and running for about 2 months now. It is a Juwel Vision 180 bow front running the standard internal filter, a BakPak 2 skimmer <Underskimmed me thinks, but I noticed your from Scotland, and you might be talking about litres in which case you are skimming nicely. =)> and filter, and a Fluval 3 that is packed with Rowaphos. There is also a Microjet in there to create flow in the lower levels of the tank. Lighting is one Marine glow and 2 PowerGlos.  Stock is very low just now, consisting of 4 Green Chromis (which have spawned!), <Awesome!> 6 turbo snails and a few lumps of live rock with lovely Coralline algae on it and some macro algae. <Very nice!> The rest of the tank is made up of live sand (not critters, but bacteria) and Ocean Rock. <Cool> I had the normal Diatom problem, and now have nice green algae growing, hence the snails. My problem is this... Last night I was looking at the tank when I realized that the "bubbles" on the front glass were not in fact bubbles, but 1-2mm round "things" with what looks like 8 feather like legs that wave about a bit. I can't find any reference to these in any books. They seem to have appeared over night and are concentrated in the heavier flow. The fish are "possibly" taking the odd one or two, but I don't know if I should be worried or not! <No worries mate. These are likely a type of juvenile copepod or amphipod. Very beneficial creatures to have. Likely breeding in your crop of green alga. Consider yourself lucky. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pods.htm and utilize your favorite search engine for copepods or amphipods for morphological ID> Any help would be greatly appreciated <Thanks for your inquiry. -Paul out!> Rob - Aberdeen, Scotland

Tiny.... critters....... in my tank: A Don Ho classic - 7/22/03 Hey guys!! Thanks for all your help in the past, you guys give very sound advice!<Well, we do our best> First off I am cycling a new 120 gallon tank 120 lbs. of live sand, aprox. 30 lbs. of Fiji live rock and 84 lbs. of Kaelini live rock. <Very cool> A Cascade 1500 canister filter, 2 Bak Pak 2 protein skimmers. 3 Maxi-jet 1200 powerheads and 1 Maxi-jet 900 powerhead. <Sweet> My nitrites read 0.5 and my Ph is appox. 8.2. My local Fish store advised me to go ahead and put in a dozen snails and 2 dozen hermit crabs. <Sure they did. Seems like an awful lot to add all at once in a cycling tank> I can account for most of the hermits however most of the snails have passed away. <As I would expect with nitrite in the water. Also, I would expect other parameters to be a bit out of skew. Snails are very delicate to water chemistry. Something to keep in mind when adding them (even when the tank is 5 years old.) A dealers tank may have different specifications than yours. Definitely acclimate your animals (quarantining is the best way)> The problem is that now I have these very, very tiny white bugs coming out of one of dead snail shells (aprox. a couple hundred). These things move about the glass as if there were no water in the tank. Is this something I should be worried about. <Highly doubtful> If so what can be done to cure the problem?? <Absolutely nothing to do here per se. These are more than likely a type of copepod or amphipod. These are great to have flourish in a tank. Pictures? Again, I would not worry about these favorable life forms. Likely they were benefiting from the death of the snail as these guys are typically opportunistic feeders. Likely cause of death here may have been water quality. Give it a week or three, then try again. Take a look on our site regarding algae control and mollusks. -Paul> Thanks for all you guys do. Jason

UV effects on plankton? 5/20/03 Good morning everyone!! <cheers> I have heard that if you have corals in your aquarium, you shouldn't use a UV sterilizer, because that would eliminate the things that the corals feed on.  Is this a fact???     <a small matter either way. Assuming your tank even produces plankton (few do adequately to feed corals).. the UV will nuke some plankters... yet the dead are still consumed by filter-feeders. Ultimately, though... I see little need for a UV on a display tank... a poor method of disease control (dubious efficacy under practical applications). Ozone would be much better for this purpose and has other benefits> If this is true, then if I were to use a UV sterilizer, and manually feed phytoplankton a couple times a week, would the corals be satisfied??    <agreed> I ask this because I have noticed that UV sterilizers help control unwanted algae. <they certainly do... and very well. Yet, the cause of the algae is excess nutrients. Control the nutrients (aggressive skimming, proper feeding/stocking and water changes, etc), and the UV is still not needed> Pat Marren <kind regards, Anthony>

Bula from Fiji Bob! <Bula my friend> Tim McLeod of Walt Smith Int. suggested I email you with a question.... <Hello to Tim and Flower> We have an 800 gal display tank with a 1000 gal reservoir tank, so we circulate 1,800 gallons of salt water through the display. We are building a 400 gal tank in to the system in which we will grow mangrove and bonsai them (see http://www.fukubonsai.com/5a9.html It can be done!!!). <Yes> In this mangrove tank we plan to create an ecosystem and feed the nutrients & organisms in to the display tank to feed the corals. <Okay> This will require us pumping from the mangrove tank to the display tank. We are concerned that using impeller pumps will "mash" the live organisms we created and make the whole exercise pointless, however, we are having trouble finding diaphragm pumps that are a) electric b) salt proof c) continuous duty and d) rated at 400 to 600 gallons per hour. Do you think an impeller pump is out and where could we find the right diaphragm pump if impellers can't be used? <Actually not much of a problem. Some studies have been done which show less than 1% of crustaceans, worms die as a consequence of passing through paddle-wheel like impellers. Those critters are tough!> Appreciate any advice Bob and please come see us when you visit Fiji!! <Will do so Phil. Bob Fenner> Vinaka Phil Felstead Kula Eco Park P.O. Box 823 Sigatoka Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 650 0505 Fax: (679) 652 0202 Email: mitman@connect.com.fj Web Site: www.fijiwild.com

Live Plankton Hi, I read a German web site saying that "Just place a little tank (2-5 gallon) next to a window, fill it up with water from your marine tank and wait for a few days. The result will be a wide range of plankton for your smaller horses and pipefish." Is this true? <No my friend> Do I need to circulate the water? Any risk of doing so?  Will it introduce parasite? <No need, chance for any culture of the sort, without introducing a starter population, specific media (chemical foods, other organisms as foods)... Please use the Internet here to pursue this idea. I encourage you to read through our coverage and the references posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pipehorsies2.htm particularly the linked sites at the bottom. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance for answering. Best regards, Manus

DIY DT's I want to make my own DT's. From what I have found, all it is saltwater in a jar that sits under light and kept warm for a week or two. The water will turn green and then you have DT's. Is this true? <Not exactly.> If so how can they sell it for $16.00? There has to be more to this. <Please take a look at the following articles: http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/r_toonen_102500.html http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-07/ds/index.htm> Thanks so much for your time! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

UV sterilization and live plankton What if any effect does UV sterilization have on the live plankton I put in my tank for my corals? <much, most or all of the plankton that passes through the unit will be killed depending on the flow through rate (and efficacy of the set-up). UV is not recommended on reef tanks. It should not be necessary for disease control with proper QT of all new animals, and it should not be needed to temper green water with adequate nutrient export mechanisms (skimming, water changes, etc). UV's are commonly mis-sold for disease control yet they fail regularly due to improper installation. They need a fine polishing mechanical prefilter on the inlet, tank water needs to have aggressive clarity control (weekly carbon or daily ozone), the contact chamber needs a very slow flow through and a monthly purge to reduce mulm and other built up organics, and the bulb needs to be changed approximately every six months. And even when all of this is done... it can only kill what flows through it. Many larval parasites settle to the substrate and can rise and attack fishes before being drawn into the UV. UV are best run on bare glass bottomed aquaria for this and other reasons. Best regards, Anthony>

Plankton in Israel Dear Bob, Looking for a source for buying master/starter cultures of rotifers type S. Can you help ??? Thanks, Zeev Lidovski <Florida Aqua Farms has the cultures, kits, equipment, foods and manuals to support this endeavor. Look here: http://www.florida-aqua-farms.com/ Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Natural zooplankton Hey guys great website! You guys make it a lot easier for the people just starting out in this hobby. <our desire and intent... thank you> I have a tank that is 125 gallons my fish are recovering from an ich breakout that started about 2 weeks ago. The breakout happened the day after I put a bunch of live rock in my tank. I tested the water and everything was normal.  <I hope you now own a quarantine tank and will put all new fish, live rock, coral, etc in it first for a proper QT period (2-4 weeks)... really critical husbandry. It saves lives and money!> The day after I put the live rock in I also noticed all these white little bugs crawling around on the front of my glass from top to bottom and lots of them.  <excellent! Copepods... a natural live plankton. Very good rock you got there> I have been asking the LFS if these little white bugs maybe came from the live rock and they told me no that these are normal for an established tank to have, I also know that these bugs are not the ich parasite because the ich parasite is a lot smaller. <all correct!> So I decided to set up two hospital tanks and divide up my fish. <you are very wise my friend> I also started using the Kent marine garlic supplement for their food. <OK... I said wise... not a genius <smile>. I stand in a large crowd of very experienced aquarists that hold such products in dubious regard.. at best a preventative, but never for treating a full blown infection> I left the bottom of the tank bare on both hospital tanks but put a couple of pieces of live rock from my main tank in them.  <very well> For four days in a row I treated the tanks with quick cure and lowered down the salinity. After I did this the fish started looking really well and behaving normally and so on. In fact I don't think I've seen my porcupine puffer look any better. <excellent and as it should be> So I have had them out of the main tank for two weeks total, 1 week treating them and the other week them looking great no white spots on them or nothing. Now here is the doozy! I woke up this morning and looked in one of the hospital tanks and both my porcupine puffers were dead and my dogface puffer was laying on the bottom with a ghost look on his face breathing hard. <a physical parameter of water quality must have strayed for such sudden deaths to occur... no parasite works that fast> Now until now I have not seen these little white bugs crawling on the front of the glass in my hospital tank and they are all over.  <they are detritivores... the population simply flared with increased organics (which also could have cause oxygen depletion or ammonia). Death over night is often oxygen depletion because tanks respire at night and already low O2 by day drops lower at night. A conspicuous symptom. Perhaps overfeeding, lack of water changes and/or lack of aeration> I transferred my dog face into my other hospital tank where everything seems to be ok and left for work hopefully when I get home today he will be ok. Now my big question here is I have asked many fish stores what the hell those white bugs are and all of them don't give me any definition of what they are they just say Oh they aren't anything to worry about every established tank gets them, but all I know is when disaster strikes these little guys always seem to show up  <exactly... they are a symptom of rich organics which is often bad (although in healthy tanks comes simply with tank maturity)> and whether they are harmless or not how do I get rid of them because It is hard to enjoy your tank when you have a whole bunch of white bugs crawling on the front of your glass.  <they are extremely beneficial and it is a mistake to eradicate them all. Still... if you must... there are many fishes that prey on them. Wrasses and pseudochromids will make short work of them> And also the only thing that I have left in my main tank is my anemones, and my long spine urchin and the white bugs are still crawling all over the front of the glass. Well anyways thanks for listening to me vent for awhile. And thanks again for the great website. Please help if you can. <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Freeze-dried microalgae Hello Mr. Fenner <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am looking to buy spray dried/freeze-dried microalgae Nanochloropsis for the culture of zooplankton. I understand that many pet suppliers do sell these, but I am looking to buy a few kilograms of these alga, not in the small quantities offered. Do you buy any chance know of anybody who sell the spray dried/freeze dried version. <have you tried Argent Labs at http://srd.yahoo.com/goo/argent+chemical/1/T=1023952668/F=45c2029d3ff1ed2996347 aec26eb0fd8/*http://www.argent-labs.com/> Right now I am using microalgae paste but it is getting too expensive to use on a long run. <indeed> Many thanks in advance Joey <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Small white things shimming in the tank HELP Hi Bob, I have a question. There are a bunch of small white "things" swimming around in my saltwater tank, What are they? I do not see them on the glass only in the middle. <Probably some sort of non-parasitic zooplankton. Take a look at Marine Hitchhiker/Critter ID page from the WWM links and see if you can make a positive ID. -Steven Pro> Thanks, Darren

Microscopic Crawly Things Hi Bob or whoever answers this question. I am setting up a new marine reef tank, it is 3 weeks into the cycle and there has been a brown covering of all the live rock and glass which is no problem. The problem I do have however, is the morning I noticed small (about 1mm and under) crawly things eating the brown algae on the glass. I looked at them with a magnifying glass and they look translucent in appearance with a touch of pink. On the larger ones they have a large white sucker on one end about 1/4 of a mm in diameter. Could you please tell me what these are and if they need to be eradicated. Many thanks, Colin <Probably harmless, but go to the links page and find Dr. Ron Shimek's page and the Marine Hitchhiker/Critter ID page for help with a conclusive ID. -Steven Pro>

Parasite? Dear Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have spent many hours reading through your book, and your website and can't seem to find anything that matches or answers my problem. So I thought I might as well ask the expert for a little advice. I have a 125 gallon tank with 135 lbs of live rock and currently only 3 fish 1 maroon clown and 2 damsels. I have approx. 1200 gal/hour flow rate on the system with a protein skimmer and U.V light as well. Recently I have been experiencing a lot of very small (pin head size) white organisms floating as well as congregating on my glass.  <yes... copepods and the like. A fine sign. Good zooplankton for many fishes to eat... came from live rock> There are so many free floating it kind of makes the water look a bit cloudy. They are very hard to describe but the best way is to say they are shaped some what like a dart (tiny point with a flared end) the pointy end clinging to the glass. All the water conditions check out great and the fish seem to be healthy. My system just doesn't appear to be normal.  <actually it is a great benefit to have these creatures... try a Pseudochromis or dragonet (like a scooter blenny) to eat them if you prefer> I added some floss to the overflow and it turned brown in less than 24 hours. I am assuming this is partially due to whatever it is in my water. Does this sound like some sort of parasite, or something that is beneficial to my tank? Any insight you may have will be greatly appreciated as I am at a loss for how to control this. Thank you, Gavin <the only flag that has been raised is your floss turning brown in 24hrs. If you are overfeeding, that would explain it and the reason for such a large population of copepods. But the 'pods in and of themselves are beneficial... great scavengers. Anthony Calfo>

Plankton on the Gold Coast Hi Again Bob, <G'day> I look forward to "Cracking a Tinnie" with you also on your soon visit to Queensland's Gold Coast. I'll fire up the barbie too !!! Anyway.... Tank doing just fine... took your advice and let it sail along for a bit with just the LR. Eventually did go and catch some local fishes from the Seaway (quite colourful considering) which of course I have no idea what they are. But that is not my problem.... Checked out the tank this morning and I have what can only be described as a "Bloom" of Plankton. Small (approx. 1mm in length), white, free-swimming, critters who occasionally stop for a rest on the glass of the tank. Most however are hovering around just on the side of the main return flow from the sump. I had noticed a few of these things originally but now there would have to be close to 100. I don't mind if these things will ultimately be food, but I am concerned that these guys might be parasites of some nature.  <Not likely... but might be a good idea to let the system go without adding more fishes for a bit> (remember.... Living so close to the Beach I am using natural seawater). The fish don't seem to be bothered by them and are all in perfect health (if this can be indicated by their frenzied feeding habits). Any thoughts you may have on these little blighters would be appreciated. All environmental indicators are fine except temperature which regularly gets up to 29 degrees C. Thanks Again, Glenn.

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