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Coral Vue Hydros

Auto pods?

holy carp

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Hi everyone,


So I'm interested in eventually getting a mandarinfish, and so was reading up on breeding copepods. Sounds like those fish have quite an appetite for the little pods (maybe as many as 500-1000 pods/day/fish?), so I conceived the following and I'd like to hear opinions on its feasibility.


My thought was to have a doser pump (the jebao dp4 seems reasonable) to do auto-water changes of about a pint a day. (I'm planning a 12g tank with a 10g sump) However, instead of doing the water change right to the sump, I was thinking it could feed a daisy-chain of replenishing phytoplankton and copepod breeding containers.


The attached diagram roughly outlines the plan.




(black outlines the containers, green the tubing, blue the water level)


The saltwater container could have additives like fertilizer/phyto-food to dose into the phyto container which will simply have an air pump supplying bubbles coming in on the bottom. When added, the additional liquid will automatically push through a siphon into the copepod container, essentially feeding the pods more plankton. That pod container could siphon or preferably be simultaneously pumped over into the sump. Then a pint of water will be pumped from the sump into a waste container. With sufficient capacity, I might only need to replenish the saltwater and dump the waste water once every couple of weeks.


I recognize that the copepods will produce some level of ammonia waste in the water, but with a regular cycle of water going through the system, I wouldn't expect the population density to get so great that it creates a problem, and if so dosing directly to the sump in addition could keep things balanced. This is just a concept at this point, so I haven't explored what appropriate container sizing would be.





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It's a cool idea, but as someone who does this manually (its very little work and only every few days for even a small tank with 100% pod eaters, including a mandarin), it doesn't seem easy to rinse the pods automatically. You need large amounts of phyto in your culture (the water is green), and you do not want the water from the culture full of phyto to transfer to the tank/sump. The pods should be strained then rinsed before being added to the sump to prevent contamination. Sounds like its easier and cleaner to just automate the phyto/pod chain then strain some pods every couple days.

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Goobafish has good points. You really will want to rinse the pods before adding to the tank. Also, you are a bit off in your calculation. Mandys eat every 10 seconds or so. So you will need 6000 per day per fish.


There are feeders that folks have made that hatch brine in tank. Search over at R-C for PaulB's Mandy feeder.

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Also, it doesn't even seem necessary to supplement pods let alone culture them just for a Mandarin in a tank that size. Small amounts of phyto dosed manually or automatically into the sump would make more than enough pods provided you aren't housing multiple dragonettes or finicky eaters.

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Interesting - so then do you think an auto-exchange system similar to the diagram, but skipping the copepod container would be effective for bolstering the pod population in the sump? Or do you think the whole thing ends up being unnecessary and that the population under natural course would suffice for one or two mandarins? At 6000 pods per day, it sounds like the population would be decimated by one mandarin in no time.


Also, is that phyto-food (or fertilizer) OK to add to your sump? Does phyto grow in there anyway? I was under the impression that it needed to be added or the amount available wouldn't cause the pod population to grow much.

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A simple phyto drip or manual phyto dosing is more than sufficient. Your tank produces a small amount of phyto, definitely not enough to encourage pod breeding at the level i'd imagine you want.


Besides that I think it is unnecessary, you are looking into numbers far too much. While you can estimate a dragonette's intake, you can't estimate your pod population or reproduction. Your only evidence is what you see and how well your dragonette is fed. The size alone unless you are doing something strange provides more than enough of a habitat to foster pods for a single dragonette. Your rubble intersects, live rock in the tank and either rubble, live rock, or macro in the sump give something for pods to hide out and reproduce.


My 20 gallon tank with a lit cheato filled fuge produced enough pods for most my tank's inhabitants, I dose phyto into the fuge and display daily and stock the fuge with a small amount of pods/rotifers from my culture every other day. I have 4 strictly pod eating fish (Mandarin, 2x Pygmy Wrasse, Spikefin Goby) as well as my clown who loves to pick them off, and I still have a large visible population on my tank walls. Your water volume is over 3x mine, so you can imagine why I would think it is unnecessary.


You definitely don't want to be fertilizing your tank, just dose phyto, do not encourage its growth within your system, algae would be a real mess.


Also, some of the phytos people generally feed their tank is inappropriate for the cultivation of the types of pods that dragonettes eat (the phyto is too large for the mouth of the tisbe pod), so you have got to make sure you are dosing the correct phyto into the sump. Nannochloropsis is generally marketed for copepod culturing, but Tisbe pods cannot fit nanno into their mouths, it is best used to culture rotifers. Your best bet is using a live plankton mixed blend, the economic option is to use concentrated plankton or you can use something like DTs.

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