What are these white “bugs” in my aquarium?

What are these white “bugs” in my aquarium? We noticed tiny white “bugs” crawling on the glass in our aquarium recently, and found out they are Copepods.

What are these white "bugs" in my aquarium?

Copepods are¬†tiny crustaceans that feed on algae, detritus, and other decaying matter and are found almost everywhere in the world, both in freshwater and saltwater. In a reef tank, they are part of a healthy ecosystem and are a good sign that things are going well. They are also a great food source and many aquarists buy these “pods” as food for certain types of fish, such as the Mandarin fish.

But how did they get in our tank if we did not put them there? They are yet another hitchhiker from the live rock, although beneficial, and not a pest like some hitchhikers. We have been feeding our reef with a product called Phyto Feast, which is made of microalgae, which is what Copepods eat. This probably explains why we have seen so many lately.

And in case you needed to know, Sheldon J. Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants is a Copepod!

What are these white "bugs" in my aquarium?

image courtesy of wikipedia


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7 Responses to What are these white “bugs” in my aquarium?

  1. Ashley says:

    Im not sure if these are the same bugs in my fishtank. The bugs that are in my 55 gal. fishtank are so small I cannot take a picture. They dont seem to be bothering the fish, all they do is move around on the glass, but there everywhere… Im not sure what to do, if there good or bad. Please help me! Ive been looking none stop and cant seem to find anything!!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi there! How long have you had your saltwater tank? These Copepods showed up in our tank only after a month or so. They are part of a normal ecosystem and often seen in tank start-ups. Another option is Hydroids, also seen as tiny white “bugs”, but are part of the jelly-fish family. Hydroids found on the glass are pretty harmless and if your tank is in the cycling stage this is common and not something to worry about for now.
      I would see if you can get a good look at what you have (maybe with a magnifying glass) and compare to pictures online of hydroids and copepods for a positive ID. Good Luck!

  2. Michael says:

    I also have very small copepods or bugs in my 190 gal.
    with a mag. glass they look like the underside of a flying squirrel,
    light brown color,with small bright orange spots towards the tail end.
    At first i thought it was some form of alge, untill i saw a few moving when a snail moved through. They’re on the glass live rock and subtreat, just guessing around
    five thousand of them, they seem to just be sitting around filtering the water.
    If anyone knows what they are, please post a comment, thanks

  3. harpreet says:

    Yes they are copepods and is good thing you can now keep a Mandarinfish in your tank. As the fish only eats copepods. . . .

  4. Pingback: Bug ID please

  5. Katie says:

    Hi I have a fish tank that is a 20 gallon freshwater tank I just now recently got these white bugs in my tank and all my decorations and my Sand has been in there for years I just recently put two bottom feeders in this tank for quarantine and now there is white bugs on the side of the glass

  6. Katie b says:

    Is there a way to get rid of these white bugs out of my tank

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