Thisbe copepods

Thisbe copepods

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Live benthic copepods  Tisbe sp.   in bottle.

Grown in the laboratory and fed exclusively with phytoplankton.

Natural predator of dinoflagellates.


Genus: Thisbe
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Subclass: Copepoda
Order: Harpacticoida

General characteristics

These small crustaceans make up more than 70% of the components of zooplankton in all seas and are free-living organisms.
Its size ranges from 0.2-2.5mm.
They are capable of swimming but due to their small size they cannot define their own destiny and are carried away by water currents, which is why they are part of the plankton.
They feed on phytoplankton (microalgae) and serve as food for organisms of higher trophic levels, including among others, fish.
They have benthic habits, which allows them to be kept at high densities
High reproductive potential (high fecundity and short generations)
Their characteristic zigzag movement is an important visual stimulus for many fish
They have sexual reproduction (separate sexes) and go through six larval stages of nauplii and five stages of copepodites before molting into adults.

Nutritional value

Copepods are the organisms that have given the best results in feeding fish larvae of many species in aquaculture, above brine shrimp or rotifers. This is due to the high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as DHA, EPA, or arachidonic acid. The level of DHA in wild copepods can be up to ten times higher than in enriched Artemia. They do not need to be enriched like other organisms (Artemia or rotifers) to have nutrients, innately they already contain a high and optimal nutritional quality.
They have high levels of proteins (42-52%) with an adequate amino acid and fatty acid profile. It is important what they are fed to have the proper nutritional profile for the purpose we are pursuing.

Advantages of copepods as food

  • Enhances the natural coloring of fish and crustaceans.
  • Strengthens the body's immune system.
  • They are especially useful with some inhabitants of the more delicate aquarium in their diet, either because they are sick or because they do not accept inert food.
  • Copepods in marine fish larval culture have been shown to ensure normal development with improvements in growth and survival, greatly reducing disease, malformation and abnormal pigmentation.
  • As it is benthic and is therefore fixed to the substrate it encounters (rocks, glass, bottom, ...) it facilitates the feeding of slow swimming fish such as Synchiropus.

When to use copepods and for what

  • They are an excellent food source for somewhat more delicate fish: corals and other invertebrates such as anemones, fish larvae, seahorses, Mandarin fish and Anthias fish.
  • If our purpose is to create more zooplankton in our aquarium, we must add them at night so that they are not eaten immediately after casting them.
  • They are the best option to regain the appetite in fish that are sick or that do not eat, especially mandarins, pipe fish, seahorses and fish that do not accept inert food.
  • They feed on aquarium detritus, microalgae, ground food, ...
  • Always add the contents of the bag to the end opposite the water outlet of the tank.