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How To Seed Your Tank Live Food


Do you want to improve the health of your tank and its inhabitants by seeding your reef with live copepods and rotifers but are unsure how it works?

Zooplankton: both copepods and rotifers; can be fed to your corals and fish in small, regular doses like any other fish food. The disadvantage to this approach is that the mass of food is inadequate for feeding constantly grazing fish, and not dense enough to promote reproduction. When you start with a smaller amount of zooplankton they need to travel much further to find each other and breed, making them easy but short lived prey for fish. 

If instead you seed your tank with a large initial population of copepods and rotifers at once it will allow many of the zooplankton to find shelter before your livestock gets to them. This will ensure that your initial population is big enough to easily find one another, allowing the pods and rotifers to reproduce through the tank over time. If you are looking for long term reproduction in your tank in spite of the predators, you are best to add a lot of them initially to allow them to establish and breed before your fish-stock starts munching.


Seeding with a large initial population of zooplankton can make your nano-reef self-sustaining, without feeding processed foods. This technique provides a steady supply of live feed for your fish and corals, while allowing excess copepods and rotifers, who are detritivores, to clean your tank naturally. 


Seeding tanks containing livestock that mainly eat copepods and rotifers creates a wonderful low-maintenance ecosystem. All fish will eat live food, but not all fish will eat prepared foods, so a large population of zooplankton gives you a better chance at keeping new fish healthy, especially small finicky ones like gobies and wrasses. The major benefit of seeding however is its effect on maintenance and tank health: putting less dead material into your tank will lower your nitrates and phosphates and subsequently hinder excess algae growth. It also massively reduces the detritus that accumulates, making tank maintenance extremely easy.

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