Monday, May 09, 2011

Product Review: AlgaGen ReefPods Tisbe Live Aquacultured Copepods

AlgaGen ReefPods Tisbe Live Aquacultured Copepods - 8oz
Item Code: GV00005

  • Small harpacticoid copepod
  • Lives on surfaces and swims in water column
  • Life stages: Egg (1), Nauplii (6), Copepodid (5), Adult (1)
  • Reproduction: sexual
  • Eggs are deposited in an egg sac attached to female genital segment
  • 10-70 eggs per egg sac
  • Nauplii width: 55-140 m wide
  • Adult length:0.70 -1.0 mm
  • Nauplii to egg producing age: 9-12 days
  • Life span: 15-20 days
  • Stocking densities: 0.25-1.5/mL
  • Stock into refugium for tank hygiene control and for background live feeds
  • Culture preferences
    • Lite to medium aeration
    • Temp 22-30C
    • Salinity 20-35ppt
    • Feed PhycoPure™ CopePod Blend™
AlgaGen ReefPods Tisbe Strain, 8oz bottle.
Introduction:

I seeded my aquarium with a bottle of the AlgaGen ReefPods with the Tisbe copepod strain. After seeing the clear bottles in every stock photo on the internet, I was a little surprised to see the green bottle when it had arrived. Rest assured, it is simply phytoplankton, a food source for the copepods. As long as there isn't a rotten egg smell, ReefPods are safe to add to the aquarium.
At the very bottom of the bottle contained a small amount of chaeto macro-algae. With my initial observation, it was very hard to see any movement in the bottle. It was not until I held the bottle in front of a light source that I saw some movement in the chaeto.

Note:

Please keep in mind that not all the AlgaGen ReefPods products come with the chaeto or phytoplankton. I have confirmed that the AlgaGen ReefPods Tangerine copepod strain comes in a clear bottle with no chaeto. While there may only be a few copepods visible to the naked eye, the bottles are filled with eggs.

Application:

I turned off my protein skimmer, return pump, and poured the contents into my sump. I kept my protein skimmer off for several hours, but turned the return pump on 20 minutes later. When I turned my protein skimmer back on later that evening, it immediately started frothing a thick heavy green foam. By the next morning, the entire skimmer cup was filled with a dark green skimmate as it removed the phytoplankton from the water column.

Follow up:

At first I was skeptical about the Reefpods product. I have to admit, after the first few days of pouring in the AlgaGen ReefPods, I was pretty disappointed that I saw no sign of copepods in my aquarium. Since my aquarium consisted of 100% dry base rock, I only seeded my aquarium with beneficial bacteria. I did not use any live rock, and I scrubbed every single snail shell with a toothbrush before adding them into my aquarium to avoid any hitchhikers.

I have no intentions of running a refugium, but I wanted to seed the rock with healthy copepods. It was not until exactly 8 days later that all my glass panels had become filled with copepods which all happened over night. I did not clean my glass panels in hopes that I would start seeing copepods.
A small amount of Chaeto at the bottom. Copepods can be seen crawling around the chaeto when held up in front of a light source. The green fluid is simply phytoplankton, nothing to be worried about.
AlgaGen clearly lists the expiration date on the bottle. The product expires 5 weeks after the harvest date, so you know you'll be receiving the freshest product. If the product arrives on the last week of the printed expiration date, just do the sniff test before adding to the aquarium. If it still smells fresh, it is safe to use even if there are no signs of life. These bottles are filled with copepod eggs. It is safe to dump the entire contents of the bottle into the aquarium. I even shook the bottle to get all the copepods and eggs suspended before application. With a good skimmer, it will pull out the phytoplankton from the water column without any issues.
Exactly 8 days later... Thousands of copepods had hatched in my aquarium. All the panels are filled with copepods as you can see with all the white specks on my glass.
While it is hard to tell from still photos, as I focused my eyes on the white speckles in the aquarium, I can see all of them moving. My wrasse and blenny are having a blast picking at these copepods.
Final Thoughts:

While initially I thought I had wasted my money, this product actually works. Patience is key. Every inch of the aquarium is filled with Tisbe copepods. I will probably seed my aquarium with various other strains to get a good bio-diversity in the aquarium. I highly recommend this product for any hobbyists trying to seed their aquarium or refugium.

Visit the entire product line at Marine Depot here: AlgaGen ReefPods