Why should you buy live copepods?
It’s a question we hear all the time. “Why should I buy live copepods? Some reefers tell me to buy live copepods, and others tell me no. Frozen Brine Shrimp are cheaper and easier to use. It’s a no brainer, right?” On the surface it seems like frozen and dried foods are the perfect choice for any aquarium enthusiast. Why would anybody put in the time to colonize a culture of copepods when they can just add a scoop of food?
In theory, yes, frozen and dried foods are great. In reality, however, the results fall far flat of what you would expect. When you buy live copepods for your fish, you get a food that outperforms dead and frozen foods in most every way.
So, to make it easy, this list was was put together to show you every problem you avoid when you buy live copepods.
#1. Buying Food Week after Week
I hope I don’t need to tell you this, but frozen and dead foods don’t reproduce. They’re a recurring purchase that can end up adding up over time. Don’t be fooled by the cheaper prices for lower-quality food; it’ll cost you more in the long run.
Is it cheaper to buy live copepods? Yes. One bottle of copepods could hypothetically last forever. Since copepods are living creatures, they reproduce like living creatures. They breed at a phenomenal rate, too. Buying live copepods once and you should be set in about a week.
Given a nice, mature reef and a moderate amount of predation, you only need to buy live copepods once to reproduce enough to feed your entire colony indefinitely. That seems like a much better investment than dead food.
#2. Wasting Time Training Your Fish to Eat Unnatural Food
Let’s get one thing clear: Not everything in aquariums has to follow nature to a tee (Aquarium lighting, for example), but it makes decent sense to replicate a few key things, like food. When you buy live copepods for your aquarium, you get much more than just a regenerative food.
Fish, in their natural habitat, generally live to eat. They spend grotesque amounts of time rooting around and rifling in the sand for food. Their natural feeding pattern isn’t a handful of powder twice a day, it’s a steady supply all day.
When you buy live copepods for your reef, that’s the closest you can get to recreating that pattern. A steady stream of food means a couple of things. One, the fish is much less stressed out and has an easier time adapting to aquarium life.
Two, and this is probably the best part, you don’t have to waste your time waning your fish to eat an unnatural diet. Your time is important. Why spend it doing something you don’t have to? Simply buy live copepods and be done with it.
#3. Your Prized Fish going Hungry
Nobody wants to buy a rare, imported fish from the Caribbean, transport it from some remote fish store, and painstakingly condition the water for it just to have it die of hunger. For all too many people, that just so happens to be the case, especially with picky eaters like Mandarin Gobies.
When you try to feed your fish frozen or dried food, you’re taking a gamble that that might happen. Finicky fish have been known to actually turn their nose up and shy away from dead foods. You most certainly don’t want that when you’re trying to acclimate a fish to a new tank.
In fact, that’s exactly the reason so many picky fish kick the bucket from undernourishment. It’s hard enough to feed them, let alone trying to train them to eat food they aren’t used to.
When you buy live copepods for your animals, even the fussiest fish are drawn to their movement and attractive colors. Most sea creatures are adapted to eating plankton such as copepods, so a feeding pattern naturally develops.
On top of that, copepods are especially nutritious. They give your fish everything they need to grow fast, live long, and stay healthy. You can’t say the same of pelleted foods and other empty calories.
Again, it all circles back to one question: Do you want to spend your time on unnecessary training, or do you want to buy live copepods and have the rest take care of itself?
#4. Lackluster, Lazy Fish
Can you imagine an aquarium with slow, dull fish meandering among pastel, drained coral? Sounds pretty dismal, huh. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen when fish are fed a empty diet full of low-energy/nutrient foods.
Sure, your fish can survive on a poor diet of prepared foods and pea flour, but it can’t escape the effects, and it’s certainly not the same as when you buy live copepods to culture. Alive isn’t the same thing as thriving.
When you feed your fish a low-quality diet, compared to when you buy live copepods for them, you’ll notice it’s energy levels go in the toilets. Your normally energetic, darting fish can start acting suspiciously zombie-like, floating around with a glazed look in its eyes.
Usually, you’ll even start to see their scales lose that pizzazz they had. Bursts of sunset orange and ruby red can start to look a little closer to watered-down orange juice and gentle pink. It might help to imagine fish as people.
If you were to find two identical men and put one on a diet of fast food and the other on a diet of veggies and meat, we all know what would happen. The man on the low-quality, nutrient-poor diet would have low-energy, sallow skin, and dry hair, while the other man would be blessed with boundless energy and glowing skin.
Fish are the same way. If you want to see a lazy, dull fish spontaneously transform into a happy, energized fish, buy live copepods to feed to the them. The difference is shocking.
#5. Intestinal Issues, Bloating, and Upset Tummies
Let’s face it. We love our fish. We don’t want our fish to get stuck with intestinal issues and gut problems. However, many reefing enthusiasts might be causing just that. Depending on the type of fish you’re raising, their dried and ready-to-eat fish foods might be causing stomach upset.
You see, a fish’s gut is designed for a specific type of food, i.e. copepods. Their bodies expect a certain ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates, all wrapped up in a very specific package. Certain fish foods might not be right for them.
For example, some dry foods can actually stress the digestion of certain fish and lead to bloating and stomach infection. Even worse, if the carb or protein content is too high in the fish food, they can end up with bladder infection or dropsy.
Luckily, if you buy live copepods for your fish, you’ll be giving them the perfect ratio of nutrients in a package that their body knows how to work with, thusly avoiding all the common problems with processed fish food.
Copepods may not be the right food for every fish, but they’re dang good for a lot of them. Do more research to decide if you should buy live copepods. If you do, you’ll never look back.