How to Acclimate Copepods and other Live Foods

Are you new to harvesting copepods or other live foods? If you are about to include these species into your home aquarium, you might wonder how exactly to transition them from the bottle into your tank.


Well, although copepods and most other live foods are known to be resilient, it’s important to keep in mind how much they rely on their environment and how a disruption to that could affect their health. In saying that, the process of ‘acclimation’ allows a smooth transition for your live foods to go from the bottle they arrived in into your tank.


So…What is Acclimation?

Acclimation is the process of transitioning the copepods or other plankton from one environment to another. The variables to consider in the process of acclimation include; temperature, pH levels and light. The process of acclimation can be used with a drip system or done manually by slowly adding in the live food.


The Acclimation Process of Copepods and Other Live Foods

  1. Check the contents of the package to ensure the plankton is alive. If they are dead, they will produce a substance called ammonia which is toxic and will be harmful to your fish if added into your tank.
  2. Open the package and gently pour contents into a spacious container (not your tank but a small bucket or plastic container)
  3. Allow culture to aerate for 5 to 10 minutes (they have not received any oxygen in the process of shipping)
  4. Add tank water into the container by either using a drip acclimator system OR by adding small amounts of tank water if doing this manually. Add a quarter of a cup every 5 minutes or so until the shipping volume has been multiplied by 4 (e.g. if you received copepods in a 250ml container, add a quarter of a cup or 71ml every 5 mins until the container has reached 1L
  5. You’re ready to go! You can gently pour the contents of the bucket into the refugium or sump


TIP: To reduce the fish consuming your copepods or other live foods right away, add them in at night. Fish are less active and less likely to eat at this time and they will also find it hard to see the copepods without much light. When first seeding a tank, if you add them in at night, you’ll be giving the plankton enough time to stabilise overnight.


Thanks for reading about how to acclimate copepods and other live foods into your home aquarium. We hope you learnt something from this. If you have any further questions, please contact us anytime via our website or social media pages.


You can purchase copepods on our website here.