Live food for saltwater fish

Live food for saltwater fish DEFAULT

Types of Saltwater Tanks: Fish-Only, FOWLR and Reef Tanks

There are several different types of saltwater aquariums to choose from and each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Preparing Saltwater for your Marine Tank

Setting up and maintaining a marine tank can be a challenging experience and preparing your saltwater correctly is one of the most important tasks.

Tips for Keeping Nocturnal Fish in the Marine Aquarium

When the sun sets and the moon rises, the reef doesn't go silent - a whole new group of inhabitants comes out to play.

Setting Up A Saltwater Tank System

What to Consider before Starting.

Saltwater versus Freshwater Aquariums

Learn the arguments for choosing to set-up either a freshwater or saltwater aquarium.

Stocking a Brackish Aquarium

A brackish aquarium is an exciting challenge for the aquarium hobbyist.

What Are the Biggest Saltwater Aquarium Mistakes and How Do You Fix Them?

Cultivating a saltwater aquarium is a hobby full of exciting challenges, but sometimes those challenges can get the better of you.

Saltwater Aquariums

A brief introduction to saltwater aquariums.

Handy Aquarium Accessories and Devices

There are many accessories and handy devices which can make your life as an aquarium hobbyist easier.

How to Start a Brackish Tank

If you are looking for a new challenge as an aquarium hobbyist, try cultivating a brackish tank.

Getting The Tank Ready

Creating an ecosystem.

Why Do Fish Disappear from the Saltwater Tank?

There is nothing as heart-breaking as losing a fish but it can be even more devastating when the fish simply disappears.

How to Modify PH in a Saltwater Tank

The pH level in your saltwater tank is incredibly important for the health and vitality of your tank.

Choosing the Correct Temperature for a Marine Aquarium

One of the most important things you must to do ensure the health of your marine tank is to achieve and maintain the ideal temperature.

The Benefits of Algae in Saltwater Tanks

Many aquarium hobbyists assume that algae in the aquarium can only be bad.

Getting Rid of Aiptasia in Your Reef Aquarium

Learn about aiptasia in the reef aquarium and how to get rid of it.

Salinity Requirements in a Saltwater Aquarium

The key to maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium is to strike the right balance in the salinity of your tank water.

What You Need to Know About pH in Marine Aquariums

Maintaining proper water quality in your tank is essential but many aquarium hobbyists overlook one important aspect - pH.

How to Deal with Marine Fungus in the Saltwater Aquarium

Fungal spores are present in all aquariums but, if you are not careful, they can become a problem in the saltwater tank.

The Dangers of High Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate

Water quality is extremely important in maintaining a saltwater tank.

Dealing with Hard Water in the Saltwater Tank

When it comes to maintaining a healthy saltwater tank, water quality is extremely important.

How to Remove a Mantis Shrimp From a Saltwater Aquarium

In this article you will receive an overview of what mantis shrimp are, how they can impact your saltwater aquarium, and how to remove them properly.

Why is Water Flow So Important in a Reef Tank?

Cultivating a thriving reef tank can be a challenge with all of the requirements you must meet.

Maintenance Schedule for Reef Tanks

Maintaining a reef tank can be a challenge but as long as you keep up with your routine maintenance tasks, you should have no problem.

What NOT to do with a Saltwater Tank

Learn what "not" to do when starting out with your saltwater fish or reef tank.

Saltwater and Reef Tank Cycling

Tips on cycling your fishtank.

How to Solve Common Saltwater Tank Problems

Cultivating a thriving saltwater tank can be a challenge but it is also incredibly rewarding.

Maintaining Your Saltwater Tank

Tips for maintaining a saltwater fish tank.

Kalkwasser for the Marine Tank

Maintaining proper calcium levels is an important part of keeping your marine tank healthy.

Beginner Coral Species: Low-Light Corals

Keeping corals in a saltwater aquarium can be challenging but these low-light species are perfect for beginners.

The Top 5 Most Colorful Corals for a Saltwater Tank

With more than 2,000 different species of coral out there, how do you choose the right option for your tank?

Common Myths and Problems Regarding Nano Reef Tanks

Cultivating a nano reef tank can be an exciting challenge.

Types of Coral for Reef Tanks

Stocking a reef tank can be a challenge because there are so many different types of coral to choose from.

Tips for Using Rockwork in Saltwater and Reef Aquariums

Building a beautiful saltwater tank landscape out of rock is a challenge but with some helpful tips you can make it work.

What is a Nano Reef?

Whether you are looking for a new challenge as a saltwater aquarium enthusiast or you are trying your hand at a reef tank for the first time, a nano reef is a great way to go.

How to Care for Marine Blue Sponges

The blue sponge makes a great addition to the marine tank.

Feeding Corals - Keeping Your Saltwater Invertebrates Healthy

If you want to keep your saltwater or reef tank healthy, you need to learn the basics of feeding corals.

Set-up Guide for a Reef Tank

If you have ever considered starting a reef tank, read this setup guide to make sure you start your reef tank off right.

Reef Aquariums

An overview of the reef aquarium along with a short history.

Reef Aquariums: Is Bigger Really Better?

Cultivating a reef tank is an exciting but challenging task - learn more about choosing the right size for your reef tank.

Bristle Worms in the Marine Tank

Dealing with pests is an inescapable part of cultivating a marine tank.

Recommended Species for Nano Tanks

Cultivating a nano tank can be an exciting challenge but unless you choose the right fish for your tank, you may be in trouble.

How to Keep Your Saltwater Aquarium from Overheating

Learn how to keep your saltwater aquarium from overheating.

Saltwater Aquarium Filtration

The type of filtration system you choose for your saltwater aquarium is incredibly important.

Foam Build-up on Saltwater Tank Surface

Foam build-up is a common problem in the saltwater tank.

Wavemakers for Saltwater Tanks

If you want to keep your saltwater tank healthy, you need to consider the ideal level of water flow.

What is an Aquarium Sump?

If you are new to the aquarium hobby you may not be familiar with the term "sump".

What is Protein Skimming?

Learn about protein skimming, why it's important, and which aquarists should use it.

Common Problems with Heating in Saltwater Tanks

Maintaining a stable water temperature in your saltwater tank is important for the health and well-being of your fish.

Reverse Osmosis for the Saltwater Tank

If you want to keep a healthy and thriving saltwater tank, you need to start with high-quality water.

Guide for Keeping Anemones in a Reef Tank

Keeping anemones in a reef tank can be a challenge if you are not fully prepared.

Sea Urchins in the Saltwater Tank

If you are looking for a unique invertebrate to add to your saltwater tank, consider the sea urchin.

Establishing up a Clean-up Crew in Your Saltwater Aquarium

Learn how to properly select and establish a clean-up crew in a saltwater or reef aquarium.

Keeping Lionfish in the Home Aquarium

The lionfish is a beautiful but deadly fish that makes a unique addition to the saltwater aquarium.

Stocking Salt Water Reef Tanks

Learn how to select the right quantity and combination of fish for your saltwater aquarium.

Hermit Crabs in Saltwater Tanks

Hermit crabs do more than just add decoration to the saltwater tank -- they can also help to keep your tank clean.

What's That? The Top 10 Strangest Looking Saltwater Fish

There are some odd=looking animals out there but these ten saltwater fish are among the strangest.

Choosing the Right Butterflyfish for Your Reef Tank

Cultivating a reef tank is a unique challenge, not only because caring for corals is tricky but because it can be difficult to find reef-safe fish.

Why Are Tangs Some of the Best Fish for Reef Tanks?

Tangs are not just some of the most brightly colored species of tropical saltwater fish - they are also great additions to the reef tank.

Marine Shrimp for the Saltwater or Reef Tank

Marine shrimp can be a useful addition to the saltwater tank - just be sure to pick the right species.

Clownfish in the Reef Aquarium

Clownfish are one of the most recognizable types of saltwater aquarium fish.

Selecting and Caring for Saltwater Angelfish

Saltwater angelfish are some of the most colorful saltwater fish available.

What Are Good Saltwater Fish For Beginners

What makes a saltwater fish a good candidate for beginners?

Keeping Moray Eels in the Marine Tank

Moray eels can be a challenge to keep in the home aquarium but they are well worth it.

Sea Cucumbers for Reef Tanks

Sea cucumbers are found throughout the ocean but they are a popular addition to saltwater reef tanks.

The Benefits of Snails in the Saltwater Tank

While snails are often viewed as a nuisance in the freshwater tank, they can serve a valuable purpose in the saltwater aquarium.

Keeping and Breeding Mandarinfish

Mandarinfish are a small, colorful species of saltwater aquarium fish.

Caring for Saltwater Gobies

The Goby family is one of the largest families of marine fishes, having over 2,000 unique species.

The Secret to Keeping Seahorses

If you are looking for a unique inhabitant to add to your saltwater tank, consider the seahorse.

Understanding the Coloration of Saltwater Fish

Have you ever been dazzled by the bright colors and bold patterns of a school of saltwater fish?

The Benefits of Purchasing Saltwater Fish Online

If you are thinking about buying some new fish for your saltwater tank, think about purchasing them online!

Commonly Available Reef-Safe Fish & Invertebrates

Learn about commonly available reef-safe fish and invertebrates that are good candidates for your reef aquarium.

Tank-Raised Fish for Saltwater Aquariums

Stocking the saltwater aquarium can be an exciting challenge, especially when you have so many options to choose from.

Tips for Caring for Tangs Properly

Tangs are a group of fish that make excellent additions to the saltwater tank.

Top Recommendations for Tank-Raised Saltwater Fish

When purchasing saltwater aquarium fish, you need to think about whether the fish are tank-raised or captive-bred.

Saltwater Fish Article Database

Articles on dozens of saltwater fish and appropriate care.


Live Foods

Live foods are commonly used to help saltwater fish adapt to prepared foods. Common fish like mandarins and butterflyfish tend to do well with live copepods for the first few months and then can be slowly transitioned to dried rotifers or other freeze-dried small particle foods. Live foods like copepods and phytoplankton work really well for coral nutrition as well and can be used for target feeding corals directly or broadcast feed the entire tank. When it comes to feeding live foods, there are a few different methods and some reefers like to keep a separate tank just for the food to live in, where others will populate their refugium with the creatures and rely on the cycling of water, or manually export and transition the foods into a display tank. In many cases, copepods will reproduce in your aquarium giving you a never-ending supply, but depending on the type of fish you are keeping it is possible for them to consume the entire population faster than they can reproduce.

All live foods are currently shipped direct from the vendor to ensure they do not spend unnecessary time in transit. Please see shipping information on the product page for more info.

AlgaeBarn Copepods

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Saltwater Aquarium Blog

5 Nutrient packed live foods for the reef aquarium

For convenience and cost reasons, many of us depend on prepared foods to feed our reef tanks. Pellets, flakes and freeze-dried products are piled up underneath my aquarium stand.

My favorite flake product is the Spirulina flake make by Zoomed. I also like the Marine S pellets from Hikari, because the particle size seems perfect for all of the fish in my aquarium. My fish absolutely destroy frozen mysid shrimp and brine shrimp products, but nothing gets my fish and corals going quite like live foods. Here are a few of my favorite live foods, and how I use them.

  • Phytoplankton
  • Rotifers
  • Copepods
  • Brine shrimp
  • Black Worms


Phytoplankton drift along in the sea, absorb the sun’s energy, breathe in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and convert it into sugar. Phytoplankton are primary producers, meaning they make their own food and are at the very base of the food chain, serving as food for the tiniest ocean predators.


It seems only natural that supplementing our reef tanks with this natural food source should boost the natural biodiversity in our own tanks, in the same way, that adding organic carbon increases the beneficial bacteria in our tanks.

In the past, I have written about culturing your own phytoplankton and dosing phytoplankton.


Rotifers are microscopic (or nearly microscopic) multi-cellular zooplankton that feed on phytoplankton and are the next step up in the food chain. Rotifers have very little nutritional value, on their own, but if the rotifers were feeding on nutritious food, like phytoplankton, the undigested phytoplankton in their gut actually provides nutritional value to the animals in your tank that eats them. I have raised larval clownfish and neon gobies on rotifers, gut fed with nannochloropsis phytoplankton. It is highly unlikely that you have larval fish swimming around in your reef, but target feeding rotifers to anything with polyps or mouths of an appropriate size is likely to help boost growth.

By Frank Fox ( [CC BY-SA 3.0 de , via Wikimedia Commons



By Otto Larink (Plankton Net) [CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Fish and corals will go cuckoo for copepods. I love saying that. Brings me back to simpler times. But they really do. Copepods are a natural ocean food for fish and they love them. There are a few different species of copepods available commercially. The key things that differentiate between the species are the:
  • Size of the copepods
  • The temperature of the water they are used to
  • Type of food they eat
  • Whether they prefer to float in the water column or crawl on the substrate

Tiger copepods

Made ubiquitous by Reef Nutrition, you may see bottles of these pods on the counter at your favorite local fish store. These pods are larger than your garden-variety reef aquarium pods, but fish and corals love them. Add them to your refugium, sump, or even directly feed them to your corals and fish for a healthy, nutritious food.

Tisbe copepods

Tisbe copepods are another great food option for picky fish or to target feed to corals with large prey-capturing polyps. Some aquarists report better results having these pods ‘take’ to aquarium conditions a little better than the tiger pods. These copepods are detritivores, which means they eat the gunk, muck and leftover food in your tank, helping to keep your tank clean. If they grow and reproduce in your tank, you will be creating a natural and hopefully sustained food source for your fish.

Calanus copepods

These pods, scientific name Parvocalanus crassirostris, are often used by fish breeders because the nauplii (babies) of these copepods are the perfect size for larval fish to eat. Just a few years ago, it seemed like these copepods were only available at academic marine laboratories and commercial breeders–but now you can buy them online.

Brine shrimp

Brine shrimp, also known as artemia, if you want to impress your friends, are a small invertebrate that grows in saltwater.

brine shrimp

© Hans Hillewaert / , via Wikimedia Commons

You can often buy a bag of live brine shrimp from your local fish store, or you can hatch and growth them on your own from brine shrimp cysts. Feed the tiny, newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii directly to the corals and shrimp in your tank, or try your hand at growing them out in a separate tank to grow them to adult-size and feed your reef. Since brine shrimp naturally live in brackish or saltwater environments, they will actually survive in your aquarium long enough to be discovered…and devoured. It’s fun to watch how enthusiastically your fish will chase down and eat these tiny brine shrimp morsels.

Black Worms

Black worms are a freshwater invertebrate but are a high-calorie food that your fish will love. They can grow pretty large, by saltwater aquarium food standards, but your fish will greedily eat them up. Not every fish store carries them, but if a fish store in your area does, pick up a container and treat your fish. They’ll love it. Black Worms are too large to eat (and are also a bit messy) for SPS corals, but you could probably spot feed them to your LPS–that is–as long as the fish in your tank doesn’t see it–or they’ll steal it.

If you’re interested in culturing your own black worms, I found a helpful video:

Where to buy

Depending on where you live, phytoplankton, rotifers, and copepods may be most easily purchased online. Some local fish stores carry these products, but due to the relatively high cost and short shelf life, they can be challenging. These three products are often used to support the aquaculture of fish (including seahorses) and can sometimes be purchased from these businesses. For example, the last batch I received came from a seahorse breeder in Florida called AP Aquaculture. One of the more common commercial brands is Reed Mariculture.

You can get brine shrimp eggs at most local fish stores, or buy online from Amazon. You can get just the eggs or invest in a kit.

Blackworms are a bit more hit-or-miss. I’m fortunate to have a local fish store that carries them. A company named AquaticFoods has an interesting promotion. On their website, they have a certificate for a free supply of black worms that you can take to your local fish store. If the fish store order worms from the supplier, they’ll reimburse for the free supply. That’s a pretty cool way to generate some word-of-mouth demand for their product.

5 Easy Live Foods to Feed your Fish - Live Food Cultures You Can Keep at Home

Live Saltwater Feeder Fish for Your Marine Animals

When in nature most marine animals eat some source of live food. Whether it be small shrimp and crustaceans or fish, feeding your fish an occasional live food meal is beneficial for their diets. Take a look at some of the live food sources you can use.

Brine Shrimp

Brine shrimp are one of the most common live foods that you can use. They are something you can culture and grow yourself. To culture them you buy the eggs (cysts) in dried form.

The directions can typically be found on the container for hatching the eggs, but here are abbreviated instructions. You can use any clear plastic or glass container. Because most hobbyists do not need a large volume of brine shrimp, a two- to five-gallon size container will work well. If the container has a wide-open top, you will want to design a cover with a small hole in the center to fit your air hose through. This cover will help prevent overspray. Fill it 3/4 full with saltwater, add an airstone for movement of the water, add a few eggs (one or two teaspoons), keep the temperature at about 75-80 degrees and add some light (preferably sunlight). Depending on the quality of the eggs, hatching will occur in 24-48 hours.

To remove the brine shrimp for feeding, shine a light onto the bottom of the container as the shrimp will be drawn towards the light. You can siphon off the shrimp by using a tube inserted into the container and empty the shrimp into a cup. You may end up adding a small weight onto the hose to keep it on the bottom. You can use a dropper to remove the brine shrimp. A good place to find one is in the children's medicine section of the local pharmacy, or a turkey baster works well. With this method, you can use the dropper to directly squirt the brine shrimp in the exact location you want them to go, for example when feeding anemones and corals. Or you can also use a fine mesh net to scoop and remove them.

Aquarium Tank Brine Shrimp Hatchery from the Fishline site uses an old aquarium. 1/4 of the aquarium is without light to hatch to eggs and then the other 3/4's of the tank is lit. Unhatched eggs stay on the dark side, and the hatched brine shrimp migrate to the lighted side of the tank for easy harvesting.

Baby brine shrimp have a dense, oily yolk sac. It is believed that "abnormal fat deposits in organs such as the kidney or liver can interfere with the normal structure and function of these organs. Fish with such conditions tend to be prone to disease." Use caution not to overfeed young fish too many brine shrimp as this might contribute to an excess fatty build up in their bodies causing degeneration of the liver and kidney.

Live Feeder Fish

Marine animals like Lion Fish, Groupers, most Eels, Hawk Fish, Snappers, Anglers, and the like, are predatory animals. Their life on the reef consists of hunting and eating other small fish. By giving these animals small live fish to eat it is not only good for their diets, but it stimulates their activity and can be a large part of their overall fish health. It is a part of their natural characteristic to hunt. Besides, if you give them a good steady diet of their own, they will have less tendency to try and eat your other fish inhabitants.

Using freshwater feeder fish like goldfish, guppies, and mollies are the best. They are less expensive and do not carry marine diseases that can be introduced into your aquarium. If you do happen to buy brackish or saltwater feeder fishes, be sure to give them a two- to three-minute freshwater bath and remove any visible external parasites before putting them into your tank.

Small Shrimp and Crustaceans

Reef tanks will often develop a population of amphipods, shrimp, crabs, and small shrimps after a period when live rock or sand have been added. These are natural sources of live food for your marine fish and other inhabitants in your aquarium. Of course, bristle worms are undesirable and should be removed and eradicated from the tank immediately if found. Triggers and most Wrasses in particular love to eat crabs and shrimp. Providing them with these foods in their diets immensely aids the health of the fish. If you are going to feed your fish small crabs or shrimp, it is good to give them a two- to three-minute bath before placing them in the tank. It not only helps to avoid the transfer of possible marine diseases, but it stuns them to allow the fish to snatch them up before they can run for cover and get away. Triggers and Wrasses also like to eat urchins. The Triggers strong jaw and teeth allow them to pick the spines off to get to them, but with Wrasses, you can crack the urchin open and place it in the tank exposed. Other fish will dine on this meal too.

Live Plants

For Tangs/Surgeon Fish, in particular, most of these fish are algae eaters. You can provide them with live cultured Caulerpa's or limu (a form of seaweed). Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii offer Certified Farm Cultured items like their Limu Plate and Tang Heaven-Natural Red Macro Algae Diet. Visit our Inverts & Plants Livestock Suppliers NetLinks to locate other live plant sources on the Web.

Tubifex Worms

This form of food has always been popular with freshwater aquarists but can apply to marine fish feeding too. You can form a small pressed ball and stuff it firmly into a crack or a coral head. Sometimes difficult to feed Butterflyfish are attracted to the movement of the worms and will start to pick and feed. Be careful when using this live food as it will foul a tank quickly if you overfeed, and any loose, dead or uneaten worms should be removed from the tank. Tubifex worms should not be the main diet source but used as an occasional treat.


Fish live saltwater food for

Shipping Information

Our Guarantee

We take the worry out of buying Live Copepods, Phytoplankton, Macroalgae, Inverts, and Captive bred Fish online by going above and beyond to take care of our customers. That's why we guarantee every order we ship to be 100% Alive on Arrivalor we will credit your account with podpoints or replace it free of charge (when the damaged item value is above $20). Hooray! When the damaged item value is above $20, we'll even cover the shipping on the replacement no matter which service you chose. Double Hooray!

About Our Policy

When your order arrives, be sure and inspect the contents to ensure everything is looking alive and well before you add them to your tank. Do not put our live copepods in the fridge. We'll give you 12 hours after deliveryto let us know if there is a problem. This should give you plenty of time to inspect the product and make sure you are completely satisfied.

"We will take care of you and make it right!"

If, for any reason, you decide that something isn't quite ultra grade, simply snap a photo of the unopened item(s) that you would like replaced. Be sure to get the barcode label on the product in the photo. After that, visit and submit the form. We'll review the photo and have a replacement out to you faster than a six-line wrasse at feeding time. Once your replacement order is processed, we'll send you a brand new tracking number automatically. That's it! Pretty simple, right?

Give your tank the love it deserves and order with confidence - AlgaeBarn has your back!

How \u0026 What to FEED YOUR FISH - Beginner Saltwater Budget Aquarium


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