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I like to have as much alive stuff in my tank as possible. Once had a salt water tank and there was tons of stuff in every sq. in. So will copepods live in fresh water? Will they bother anything else in a planted tank? Will they just die off and end up being a waste of time?

Thanks
Chris
 

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There certainly are freshwater copepods. My family's lake is full of them and I wish I'd taken a sample now as I wanted to add them to my shrimp bowls. If you're keeping fish instead of shrimp then likely the fish would clean them out pretty quickly though.
 

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There aren't very many large invertebrates that live in freshwater aside from the things people already keep. Cyclops, ostracods, daphnia, amphipods, and copepods are common (and possibly already in your tank) but they are quite small and don't like flowing water, with amphipods being the biggest and most current tolerant of the lot. If you turn off your filters/pumps and wait half an hour, you should see a multitude of tiny animals swimming around.

If it's a shrimp tank and you want more stuff in there, you can always go to a pond before it gets cold and scoop up a clump of algae. Swish it around in water and you'll basically have microinvertebrate concentrate. You will probably wind up with some pest species (snails, amphipods, ostracods, etc) though, as well as insect larvae and various worms.
 
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