Glass jars with a volume of one quart to half a gallon ( 1–2 L) are
ideal for breeding Tigriopus californicus.
Below: Tiger Copepods mating. The male (behind) attaches
himself firmly to the female for up to a week.
out much effort (for example, for the regular feeding
of trophic specialists). One female can carry up to 300
young in a single egg packet. The reproductive behavior
of these little crustaceans also provides an opportunity
for interesting observations. For example, during mating
the male attaches himself firmly to the female for up to
a week, so you can frequently see “tandems” swimming
around the breeding container. And, depending on the
stage of development, with the aid of a magnifying glass
the adult females can be seen carrying around egg packets that start out blue-green and turn red as they mature.
the rearing Container
Tigriopus californicus requires only a small amount of
space and can be cultured in practically any container
with a volume of at least 100 ml (½ cup). Jars or small
aquaria with a capacity of ¼ to 2½ gallons ( 1–10 L) have
proved successful in practice. Several small containers
are preferable to one large one, as that way
the risk of loss is spread out. Many plankton
breeders use large jars to house their copepods,
and there is room for these on any windowsill,
where the occupants can benefit from daylight. Additional illumination is not necessary.
Aeration of the container is also superfluous
and might even be counterproductive.
to a monotonous diet of Artemia nauplii. They are an excellent food for rearing young seahorses and pipefishes,
which likewise do appreciably better when fed with these
copepods rather than exclusively with Artemia nauplii.
But during their first days of life newborn Syngnathids
should be fed only the screened, suitably tiny nauplius
stage of the Tiger Copepod.
Leaving aside these specialized feeders, all other small
to medium-sized coral fishes (for example, wrasses,
dwarf angelfishes, and damsels) will enjoy a feed of Tiger
temperature and salinity
As inhabitants of tidal zones, Tiger Copepods
are very robust when it comes to different and
fluctuating salinities. Although they probably
develop best at the salinity normal in the reef-aquarium hobby ( 1.020 to 1.025), they will
also tolerate extreme deviations in both directions—though this may lead to a reduced
rate of reproduction. The range of temperatures that they can survive is equally broad, extending
from just above the freezing point ( 32°F/0°C) to over
86°F ( 30°C). However, a good reproductive rate will be
achieved with moderate warmth ( 68–77°F/20–25°C).
Because of their tolerance of cooler and fluctuating temperatures, Tiger Copepods can also be cultivated outside
in the garden or on a balcony or deck during the warm
months of the year.
Culturing tiger Copepods
Tiger Copepods are very productive compared to other
copepods, so that large quantities can be produced with-
Flake Food? yes, Flake Food!
Copepods are usually fed on phytoplankton, either
home-reared (for example, Nannochloropsis salina) or in
the form of concentrate, which is convenient but not exactly inexpensive. To my mind, this makes their culture
somewhat troublesome, but Tiger Copepods are much