How can I grow copepods for my mandarin fish?

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Hello, newbie here. I have a 2-year old 300 liter tank, with live sand and 6-8 large pieces of live rock with a few soft corals, clownfish, a pyjama fish, a blue tang and I bought a magnificent mandarin fish two days a go. I fell in love with him at the shop and thought he would be eating flakes like the others. The seller told me he would only eat frozen artemia. Doing some research online, I found out that most mandarins really only eat criters living on live rock and in the sand substrate....but I don't know if I have enough -or any- such creatures in my tank. I ordered 200 ml of copepods for him, planning to put them in the tank so they will hopefully breed and provide him with his should I do that? I read somewhere that I should use a pipe to channel them into the sand before the fish eat them...would that do the job? Also, the mandarin is looking quite happy, spending his day churning the sand around with his fins...but I cannot tell if he eats anything and he does not seem to like the frozen artemia.Please help, I have really fallen in love with him...her actually


Well-Known Member
At 2 yrs old your tank has pods. All mandys do is eat tho so it will take a toll on your pod population. What filtration are you using? You can add some macro alagae to a sump and its a pod breeding ground. You can add it to the tank aswell but the tang may eat it.
As far as frozen options, the best is nutramar prawn roe. Mandys love it


Staff member
I think if you get some Chaeto morpha macro algae your tang will leave it a lone and the pods will be very happy.
make sure you aren’t using any filter socks or other means of mechanical filtration. This will filter out the pods, especially filter socks. No UV steralizer, it will kill them.

I’d get a ball of chaeto then add pods every week or so but add them directly to the chaeto so they have a safe place. After a month or two their population should be stable Enough that you can stop adding them.
Thank you so very much for answering. I have no sump, no filter. I only use a deltec MCE400 skimmer and have carbon and phosphate minus in the media chamber and a piece of foam that a I change regularly just to catch large pieces of detritus. I rely on the live rock and sand for filtration since I have set up the tank. Thanks for the chaeto idea.Could I just add that to the tank? It will not take over the tank? I just bought 200 ml of copepods today and added them directly to the sand through a pvc pipe...hope they don't get all eaten or filtered out by the skimmer. I can see small spider like creatures on the aquarium glass and a few days ago I noticed a new host. This worm with the aureola kind of feathery cap, can't remember its name.Does this mean I have a healthy population of creatures growing unseen in my tank that could make my mandarin happy?


Staff member
Chaeto will grow but you can cut it back. It tends to stay in a ball. You can probably put it in a When I trim it I take a big chunk out then shake it in the water to get the pods out of it.

you could do something like this on the cheap, net breeder keeps fish away from macro and allows pods to multiply.