How to Grow Copepods


Few varieties of animals display the unusual and interesting characteristics exhibited by copepods. These small creatures live in water and feed on microscopic algae. These members of the planktonic species provide a food source for larger invertebrates and fish. Copepods normally live in large communities similar to schools of fish. Grow and raise these creatures in a separate fish tank to avoid loss through predator consumption.

Step 1

Select a container for your copepods. Small fish aquariums or plastic food containers make nice environments for raising these tiny animals. Avoid deep containers. Check your container for any cracks or areas that leak.

Step 2

Set your tank in a safe location, away from areas with exposure to fluctuating temperatures. Place your tank away from windows and doors. Keep the tank out of direct sunlight.

Step 3

Purchase clean seawater from your aquarium provider or pet store. Avoid using contaminated sources of water from existing tanks or nearby beaches. Fill the container two-thirds of the way to the top.

Step 4

Set up the air line and pump. Attach an air stone to the end of the air line to provide gentle disbursement of air into the water. Submerge the air stone near the middle of the tank. Plug the pump into a nearby outlet.

Step 5

Sprinkle some phytoplankton food over the surface of the seawater. Add just enough to color the water in your container. Carefully insert your copepod culture into the seawater. Cover the tank with a board or piece of plastic to hold down evaporation and decrease the possibility of contamination.

Step 6

Watch your copepod grow and reproduce. Allow several weeks for population growth. Continue to provide just enough food to keep the water in your tank slightly colored. After several weeks, begin transferring some of the copepod to your fish tanks to provide live feed for your fish. Maintain your copepod environment by adding fresh seawater to the container every few weeks or whenever you notice a drop in the water level due to evaporation.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Seawater
  • Aquarium pump
  • Plastic air line
  • Aquarium air stone
  • Phytoplankton food
  • Copepod culture
  • Board or piece of plastic


  • Berkeley University--Copepoda: Life History
  • Mari-culture: Care & Feeding Information

Who Can Help

  • Ohio University: Copepods
Keywords: copepod, phyroplankton, fish food

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.