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Marine Ornamental Fish & Invertebrate Breeders • View topic - About harpacticoid copepods

About harpacticoid copepods

About harpacticoid copepods

Postby Luis A M » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:45 pm

Reading my previous posts,people could think that I am a fan of calanoid copepods and that I hate "harps" :) Not at all,I like harps,and enjoyed collecting them from my tanks and watching their fascinating life cycle.I designed a method for mass producing them that I will share later.
As most aquarists (and herpers)I raised many kinds of "live food"for my pets,and many times I had more fun breeding the prey animals than the predators! :D
Now that it is clear that I don´t hate harps and that I like raising them,I must be honest and say that I don´t think they are useful as larval or fish food.
This is my personal opinion and I welcome any different thoughts to be debated here.Let´s get deeper into this.
Harps are present in virtually any aquarium,especially those with rocks,gravel and plants.They can be seen crawling on all substrates and ocasionally swimming fast across the water.Here they help as micro scavengers,eating small left-over particles that otherwise would increase the burden of our skimmer and WQ treatment system.
But they are not taken as food by fish,other than by mandarins.Let me know if somebody observed any other fish definitely feeding on them.
They are hatched as nauplii that are also substrate dwellers.These look like microscopic roaches,very different to calanoid/cyclopoid nauplii in appearance and behaviour.Therefore they are not larval food.
Summarizing,harps and their naups are benthic,crawl on substrates,feed on detritus,and hide from the light.Few fish and no larva feeds on them.
Calanoids and their naups are pelagic,filter feeding on algae,swimming in open water.They are the preferred and natural food of fish and larvae,and are atracted to light.

That being said,and as nothing is absolute in biology,there are exceptions.
Among the thousands of harps species,there is one very atypical and interesting for aquaculturists:Euterpina acutifrons.
This harp is planktonic and filter feeder of algae,like calanoids.Same are their naups,which are very small.This species is raised like calanoids and said to be much more harder and productive.Though this harp is found in many areas of the world,it was only in Hawai that it was cultured and used in aquaculture(Syd K.,Waikiki Aquarium).

Some harps are said to be "partly pelagic"or that they being benthic,their nauplii are pelagic,and good larval food.Most of the times this didn´t stand true.Again with one exception;there is a scientific work that shows that the benthic Tisbe holothuriae has planktonic,atracted to light naups that could be collected and given to larvae.It would be interesting to find if these naups were accepted by our fastidious ornamental fish larvae...

Again,please submit any personal experience or serious work showing how other harps could be useful.It would be great,given that as a group,they are so prolific,hardy and easy to culture.
Luis
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Postby Luis A M » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:03 am

Harps are very hardy,easy to culture and prolific.I raised many species collected from my tanks or from the sea.I also cultured once a species offered commercialy,Nitokra lacustris.

KEEPING STOCK CULTURES
A good way to collect harps in an aquarium is to put several pieces of PVC piping in there.Harps congregate in them looking for dark places.The pipes are lifted after some time covering both ends and their content emptied in Petri dishes.
Stock cultures were also kept in Petri dishes.I kept them separated by species.If more than one were collected,I pipetted some egg carrying females of each species to start pure cultures.Food was a small amount of "Mikromin",or any grounded flake food.Changing water was done by simply empting the dishes and filling them with new water.Many harps remained in the dishes to keep the culture going.
The culture dishes could be directly observed under the microscope and the life cycle of the copepods checked.I was particularly trying to find some species that produced pelagic nauplii,which could be used as larval food.I never found any.

MASS PRODUCTION
I designed a good and simple method for mass producing harp copepods.The idea was to feed mandarin fishes kept in small breeding tanks with them,instead of having to depend on the natural production of a large full of rocks tank.The system was very successful.But then I found tha mandarins could be weaned from their copepod natural diet to artemia, later to frozen mysis and finally compound pellets.So culturing harps lost their meaning.
Cultures were kept in trays.Any tray will do,but I used old photography processing trays,as they have a convenient spout for emptying them.
The original idea was to let them under sun light until they were covered with algae.But that proved to be unnecessary;harps propagated well in clean trays.Food was Mikromin.I kept some few trays.When one was ready to harvest,I poured the water thru a 53 mic.sieve and refilled the tray with new water,as with the dishes.No aereation was provided.
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Postby chris melb » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:24 pm

Thanks for providing this Luis, ive been reading a bit about Harps, your fod source "Mikromin" what is that exactly? (i tried to google it - came up as hair loss treatment), are there any other suitable feeds? phyto? they are known as detrivore consumers am i right? youve mentioned ground flake is that still ok for mass culture? ive also read from seahorse forum that flax seed oil can also be used basically for enrichment. Although it sounds that Harps may not be all that beneficial for larvae i still think play an important role as a clean up crew in systems.
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Postby Luis A M » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:19 pm

Mikromin is a fry food from Tetra,powdered Tetramin.Any grounded flake food is fine.Microalgae only becomes food when it sinks to the bottom and form part of detritus.Fish flake food is taken right away and is nutritionally convenient.
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Postby aomont » Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:32 am

Luis,
The trays were inoculated only once and then kept until harvest ? You harvested everything and started new again ? No water changes/top off ?
How long from seed to harvest ?
Thanks,
Anderson.
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Postby Luis A M » Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:12 pm

I gently poured all the water into a 53 mic sieve.Then refilled.Enough harps remained attached to the tray to keep the culture going.Two days or more between harvests.
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Postby chris melb » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:08 pm

Hi Luis are your setup seems so simple yet im still having problems getting my harps to increase in population, i have them in small A4 paper size clear trays, holds about 6 litres in total,

i have three trays in total with no areation and are kept in the dark

Tray 1:crushed pellet food by sera
Tray 2: live T-iso
Tray 3: live TET

From what i have read and you have posted they are detrivores, so the live algae may not be best i understand but wont it form as detritius and then become a good food source? I mean dont people notice a bloom in pods when they dose there tanks with DTs

The crushed pellets are mashed and crumble to a very fine powder in my hand is this small enough? or does it have to be like a liquid form? Would V8 veggie juice be more suitable or does it have to be a crushed flake food I have CE flake, maybe i could try that.

all my cultures are still alive but im not seeing the numbers increase nor am i seeing any mini harps (i use a magnifying glass to look for them) im assuming looking for mini harps is a good indication of how the population is doing.
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Postby Luis A M » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:31 pm

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Postby aantreklik_jared » Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:35 am

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Postby KMB » Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:06 am

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Postby aantreklik_jared » Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:09 am

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Postby mrblue » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:41 am

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Postby mrblue » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:19 pm

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Postby Luis A M » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:35 pm

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Postby mrblue » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:55 pm

I have read your threads Luis, this is why I am commenting. As I said above I believe my larvae might be eating my harps, I often see them pecking at the sides or the bottom of their tanks. I am certainly adding a reasonable number every time I feed rots and the fact is some larvae clean the tank of them. I keep very clean rot cultures so I also suspect this pod might also be a filter feeder, can a decent population be maintained off very limited detritus? From the samples I collected I might also suspect these harps are not as constrained to a benthic environment as they should be. Just thought it would be something interesting to fiddle with. I thought I could try and seperate them and then start a decent culture, then see how larvae react to them, check stomach contents etc. You said there may be exceptions to the general rule that harps at not suitable as a larval feed, maybe I have one.

So what's going on with my rots sticking to things? I know it sounds crazy, I just assumed they were pods, unless I am seeing things.

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Postby Luis A M » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:22 pm

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Re:

Postby mrblue » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:41 pm

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Postby KMB » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:51 pm

Mrblue, I've never heard much about rotifers attaching to the substrate either but it happens all the time in my tanks. They get quite dense on the glass and the clown fish larvae are all face up against the glass eating them, then on other runs the clowns don't feed that way at all. I've noticed that when I have less phyto in the tank there seem to be more rots on the glass but that's just a casual observation.

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Postby mrblue » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:01 am

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Postby KathyL » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:06 am

I have also noticed rots attaching to the glass of the tanks and to the petrie dish under the microscope. They seem to have a sticky tail.
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Postby mrblue » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:27 am

Interesting. What do people think, should this be a cause for concern, or could it be a good thing in relation to feeding harps?
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Postby chris melb » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:26 pm

IME i have seen rots cling to the glass/surface when they become shocked or under stress i.e a sudden drop in temp, salinity, etc.
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Postby mrblue » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:49 pm

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Postby clayton smith » Tue May 06, 2008 8:03 am

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Postby Luis A M » Tue May 06, 2008 1:24 pm

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