Although copepods don’t present much of an issue for most peoples aquariums due to not really posing a threat to your fish, they can congregate on the aquarium glass then eating algae and spoil the view. Due to this, we constantly see people reaching out and asking for advice on what fish eat copepods.
Adding a few copepod eating fish to your aquarium is usually a much better way to manage the copepod population in your tank than trying to manually scrape them off your aquarium glass each morning. Some of the better options will eat a huge number of copepods each day and force their population into decline quickly.
Depending on the type of aquarium that you keep and the look you are going for, there are actually some great options that will happily eat the copepods in your tank while still adding to the aesthetic look of your tank. Some people will opt to choose a smaller copepod eater in their tank though so that they don’t draw attention from the other features of your aquarium.
What Eats Copepods?
There are a number of fish that will eat large amounts of copepods with clownfish usually being considered the absolute best option for a saltwater tank and betta fish being the best option for a freshwater tank. Most types of fish fry will also eat large numbers of copepods too allowing you to keep the copepod population under control if you have a breeding tank.
Other popular options for fish that will eat copepods include wrasse, guppies, and tangs too. You don’t have to go with specific fish to eat the copepod population in your tank either as cherry shrimp will feast on your copepod population and eat a huge number of them. Amphipods also tend to eat a large number of copepods too but many fish keepers will also consider amphipods pests in their tanks too.
There are also a number of other popular fish that will eat copepods but they tend not to eat anywhere near as many of them as our recommendations above. If you are specifically looking for a copepod eating fish to manage their population then you should be sticking to our recommendations above but we will go into more detail on some specific options below.
Do Clownfish Eat Copepods?
Clownfish love to eat copepods and they will happily eat the copepods right off the glass of your aquarium while also going off and hunting for them around the rest of your aquarium too. A single clownfish is able to eat a large number of copepods each day so in a smaller tank, it can usually be relied on for copepod population control.
In our opinion, clownfish are definitely the best copepod eating fish if you have a saltwater aquarium due to how many copepods they eat each day. They are actually our number one recommended copepod eater in our article on how to deal with copepods on your aquarium glass and for good reason.
Before you go off an buy a clownfish to add to your aquarium, you have to factor in the size of your tank as well as the other tank inhabitants. Clownfish usually need a minimum tank size of 20 gallons and they can also be aggressive to other clownfish as well as some other fish species too.
Do Betta Fish Eat Copepods?
Although some betta fish will eat huge numbers of copepods, a small number of them are totally indifferent to them and won’t ever eat them. This is common with betta fish when it comes to them eating copepods but the majority of bettas do love them and will actively hunt them out in your tank.
The main issue with using a betta fish as your main copepod eater in your aquarium is that male betta fish are known for their aggression toward other fish species. Female betta fish can be a nice middle-ground for a freshwater tank if you are keeping a betta sorority as they will eat huge numbers of copepods each day.
Female betta fish also tend to get along with other fish species in their tank much better too. If you already have a stocked aquarium with a number of other fish and are looking at a betta fish for copepod control then female bettas are probably the best way to go.
Do Shrimp Eat Copepods?
Most shrimp species will eat copepods in small numbers but cherry shrimp are known to eat huge numbers of copepods given the chance. Ten to twenty cherry shrimp are usually enough to keep the copepod population under control in smaller tanks and are a very popular option.
One of the best things about using cherry shrimp as your copepod eater of choice is that they will also eat large amounts of algae too. This can help to balance out the loss of the copepods in your aquarium as they tend to help keep algae film to a minimum but the cherry shrimp will also eat some algae film too.
The bright colors of cherry shrimp also make them a solid option to add to your tank if your tank can support them as they add a spark of color. They will also help to consume a large amount of discarded fish food to keep your water within your intended parameters too.
Do Amphipods Eat Copepods?
Some types of amphipods will eat copepods but we usually don’t recommend that you add amphipods to your aquarium specifically to eat copepods as many people will class amphipods as pets just like copepods. If your tank already has amphipods in it then they will be eating many types of copepods each day though.
We have seen some people turn to amphipods as a way to keep the copepod population under control in their tank but they often end up with an amphipod population problem. Then they end up looking for fish that will eat amphipods to keep their population under control essentially creating a new problem to solve an old problem.
This is why we would recommend that you try to go with clownfish, betta fish or cherry shrimp to eat your copepods depending on the type of aquarium you have. They will always be a much better option than amphipods while usually eating a larger number of copepods each day too.
That brings our article going over what eats copepods in aquariums to an end. We have covered some excellent options that you are able to use in a freshwater or saltwater tank that will be able to eat a large number of copepods in your tank to help you keep their population low. Some of the recommendations are better than others but each option does come with its own unique advantages and disadvantages that you will have to factor in.