What Eats Copepods: 5 Sea Creatures Suited For The Job

Copepods can multiply in large numbers in a very short time. And yes, they’re great for the ecosystem.

However, it does get disturbing when there are too many of them swarming in our reef tank. 

So, are you desperately seeking to know what eats copepods?

Almost all fishes indeed eat copepods. We cannot keep all kinds of fish in our aquarium. Wrasse, mandarin, and even shrimps and corals work very well. 

These are ideal for keeping in your tank as well. But there’s a limit to how many fish you need.

Do you want to know why these marine creatures are particularly preferred? So, spare a few minutes and get enlightened on this matter!

Why Should You Get Rid Of Copepods?

Before we dive into the main discussion, let’s clear our thoughts first. 

You must have heard a lot about how these tiny creatures are good for reef tanks. You can even cultivate copepods to feed your fish.

To keep things balanced, we should add copepods methodically to maintain a healthy lifecycle in the reef tank. This would ensure that our reef tank gets the benefits of these tiny guys. 

However, they indeed multiply in large numbers in a very short time. So our tanks may get highly populated with them.

That may seem disturbing to most of us. We want our tank to look clean and nice. 

Copepods don’t impose any harm. But we should get rid of them if they overpopulate our tanks. 

Water Species Ideal For Aquariums To Eat Copepods

It’s not just limited to giving an unappealing look to our tank. Copepods are indeed a great food source for all kinds of fish.

But these little fellas also feed on algae wafers. We wouldn’t don’t want our best algae wafers to be fed by them. 

So, if we are in such a situation, what do we do? 

We add more fish to the tank. That way, the food chain gets even more balanced. The additional fishes feed on them. 

Yes, almost all fishes feed on copepods. Larval fishes, large drifters, and filter feeders- all feed on these tiny guys. 

Wrasse And Mandarin

These two fishes are a must. They will be the best to help us solve the problem at hand. 

Yes, almost all kinds of water species eat copepods. But all aquarium fishes don’t. 

Most aquarium fishes would feed on them when they are openly roaming in the water. But that is not likely the majority of the time. 

Copepods tend to hide inside the rocks or sand in the tank. And most fish would not give that much effort.

They usually don’t poke inside these rocks and sands to predate after them. 

However, mandarin and wrasse are the only kinds that do. They would look inside the rocks or sands and find these little things. These fishes can sense copepods’ presence. 

Hence, they would be the most effective ones to do the work. 

However, we need to keep in mind the age of our tank. Mandarins do not like completely new tanks. So, they would only live if our aquariums had been there for 6 months or longer. 

Cherry And Peppermint Shrimp

The next go-to pick could be peppermint or cherry shrimp. This is particularly when you are not a big fan of wrasse or mandarin. 

Yes, they might not dig down the rocks or sands to look for copepods. But shrimps poke around on rocks randomly, and they may find the copepods there. 

But once they find one, they can gobble up the whole population of copepods in one go. 

That is good enough if you are not looking for quick results. 


A pro tip before we start: It is a necessity to keep the corals pest-free. We can ensure that by getting the best coral dips.

The pests would, in turn, worsen the situation instead of getting rid of the copepods. 

Now, corals are lovely and interesting. We would want to keep some in our tank, at least for once.

They add some uniqueness to our aquarium. And an aquarium hobbyist can relate. The urge to have corals is worth the high maintenance they require. 

However, now is just the right time to get corals. They would do us the benefit of eating up the copepods. So, that benefit would go even out of the effort of having corals. 

But corals don’t go inside the rocks or sands to hunt for the little guys. 

However, copepods often get deceived into thinking of certain corals as rocks. Hence they go in groups to hang out there. But they just end up getting devoured by the corals.


As mentioned earlier, most fishes eat copepods. But some other attractive fishes worth keeping in the tank feed on them too.

We could consider gumdrops, scooter blennies, guppies, sparkling gouramis, betas, etc. They eat copepods pretty well. They also eat amphipods

However, these fishes only do so if they catch the tiny guys moving.

So what could we do to get the tiny creatures in motion? We could stir up the substrate from time to time.

That would increase their mobility. And all these bunches of fish would then help clear the tank of all those copepods!


Question: What is the lifespan of copepods?

Answer: The development of copepods can vary from less than one week to even a year. Once they develop, their lifespan tends to be between 6 months to a year.

Although their lifespan seems to be short, they reproduce a lot. They even produce thick-shelled eggs that are dormant or resting eggs.

This means these eggs will hatch to produce many of them at a much later time. 

Question: Where do copepods live?

Answer: These little guys live anywhere with a sign of water. They survive in freshwater as well as in saltwater.

They can develop in oceans and seas estuaries, from water accumulated in any corner to even reef tanks. 

Question: Will copepods breed in my tank?

Answer: Copepods and amphipods can breed in our tanks naturally. They can come in when we install rocks or sand in our aquarium.

Then they would multiply in large numbers if they got the right temperature and food. However, the right temperature for them is naturally set in the aquarium for the other fishes.

And they feed on the same algae and other relevant foods that we give to our aquarium pets. Hence, they can easily breed in our aquariums. 


Don’t stress too much if your tank is overly infested with copepods. They are not harmful, even in huge numbers. And this article must have given you an idea of what eats copepods.

It is needless to say that you have a variety of options to choose from. Getting rid of copepods will surely be a piece of cake!