A Simple Guide to Home Culture System (HCS)

If you’ve discovered the importance of Copepods, Amphipods and Rotifers in your aquarium, you’re certainly moving in the right direction. As mentioned in our previous post – What are Copepods and why are they essential for marine life? these tiny species, along with Amphipods and Rotifers can be a key factor in the survival of your marine life. For Mandarin Fish & Seahorses, Copepods can be the only food they can eat and therefore can starve to death without them! 

So what are home culture systems and what do they have to do with your aquatic life? Are they worth investing in? And what is the best way to use them? Here are the questions we receive from customers who simply want their aquatic life to be healthy and develop over time. We have to admit, this can all be a little overwhelming for a newcomer, so we are here to simplify the process by answering these questions for you.

Why do we need Home Culture System?

Home culture systems are used to grow Copepods, Amphipods and Rotifers. They also increase the amount of Copepods, Amphipods and Rotifers from one batch and therefore, can be a great investment if you’re needing these species for a longer period of time. Since the only way to obtain Copepods, Amphipods and Rotifers is by them from suppliers or via netting in the wild, many individuals decide to take it upon themselves to home culture Copepods.

What is a Home Culture System?

For the purpose of this article, we are going to use Copepods as an example as it is the most popular species for cultivating. This may be due to the fact that some fish fry are too diminutive to eat Amphipods and Rotifers as a first food and therefore, their only option is Copepods. Like any species, Copepods have a specific set of environmental factors in order to survive. These factors include water quality, temperature and overall habitat. The good news is that adult copepods can store energy in large lipid reserves and persist without additional food. This indicates that many copepod species are hardy enough to withstand the rigours of home cultivation.

How to use your Home Culture System

The Aquatic Live Food HCS Kit has many elements including; a Food Grade Bucket, Air Pump, AirLine, Heater, 2x Clips & Fittings, Floss Filter Tube, T-Fitting, 2x Arms, Floss, Ridged Airline, Airstone, Floss Retainer, Starter Culture (Copepods 125ml), Algae Paste & a Sieve for harvesting.

Before starting the HCS Kit, you have to select a source of Phytoplankton to feed the Copepods! You can use either Mixed or Concentrated Paste. Alternatively, you can opt to use Live Nannochlorposis Oculata Starter Culture.

Once you have the phytoplankton, its time to complete the following steps:

  1. Add Phytoplankton – Simply fill the bucket with phytoplankton. To prevent spillage, fill the tank less than half full. The concentration should be enough to give the water a green tinge you should still be able to see the bottom of the bucket.
  2. Check temperature – Make sure the room temperature is between 20c – 25c, otherwise, you may have to use a cooler or heater to get the temperature within this range.
  3. Check salinity – It is best to match the culture tank to the tank to be fed. This helps eliminate the possibility of salinity shock for the copepods.
  4. Check airflow – With the culture tank filled with phytoplankton, we can set up the airflow. This does not need to be forceful but does have to provide some circulation.
  5. Check lighting – Simply make sure the lighting in the room is ambient or low-wattage fluorescent lighting.
  6. Add Copepods – Once this is done it’s time to add the Copepods! When adding the copepods try to ensure they are near the same water parameters as that of the culture tank. If not, try to “acclimate” them slowly.

We hope this article has been helpful for you to understand what Home Culture Systems (HSC) are and how you can set your own up. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at sales@aquaticlivefood.com.au or to BUY your Home Culture System Kit today click here -> Aquatic Live Food HCS Kit