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

It’s true that almost all fishes eat copepods. We cannot keep all kinds of fishes in our aquarium. Wrasse, mandarin, and even shrimps and corals work very well.  These are ideal to keep 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 You Should Get Rid Of Copepods?

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

You must have heard a lot about how these tiny creatures are really good for the 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, it is true that they 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 obviously 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. It’s true that copepods are 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 fishes 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 who do. They would look inside the rocks or sands and find these little things out. 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 have 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 tend to randomly poke around on rocks and they may find the copepods there. 

But once they find one, they can gobble up the whole population of copepods at 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 make the situation worse instead of getting rid of the copepods. 

Now, corals are lovely and interesting. We would definitely want to keep some in our tank at least for once. They add some uniqueness to our aquarium. And an aquarium hobbyist can totally relate. The urge of having corals is totally 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 even out the effort of having corals. 

But, corals obviously 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 that are worth keeping in the tank feed on them too.

We could consider gumdrop, 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 fishes 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 to estuaries, to 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 sands in our aquarium. Then they would multiply in large numbers if they get 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. 

Wrapping Up

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! 

Let us know from your experience if you agree too!

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