This product is for a mix of available copepods, it is not a pure strain of copepods like the Reef Pods product we also carry. It is better suited as an addition to a refugium, rather than for culture purposes.
Over time diversity of pods in a closed system is diminished as the species compete for limited space, one will eventually become dominant. Refreshing your pods from time to time can help you overcome the limitations of a small tank, and enjoy a greater diversity of critters that will keep you entertained and your fish happy. These pods are all benthic species of "pods", meaning they live on surfaces and structure, and are likely to reproduce in the aquarium. These pods will scavenge in your aquarium, feeding on both decaying animal and plant matter, but are not effective cleaners. Pods are not only a food source for mandarins and seahorses, they are also the natural prey of many wrasses, damsels, gobies and other popular reef fish. They have an excellent HUFA profile, and are considered a high quality food source.
You will get enough pods to seed a tank with, from there they will either reproduce or not. For best success with achieving a high population of "pods" is, an ample food source, (detritus, algae decay, plankton, micro-algae, diatoms, etc....), places to hide from predators and good water quality should be your goals. Do not attempt to keep a pod dependent fish happy right away with this product. Pods should be given time to build a consistently high population in your system before a fish is added in. Pods multiple rapidly, there is little point in buying more than one of these items, as the number of pods will grow exponentially if the right conditions are there, or never take hold if they are not.
Acclimation: Float the bag in the tank to match the temperature.
Adding pods to the tank: Pour the entire contents of the bag into the aquarium, and turn the bag inside out while submerged to dislodge any inverts attached to the plastic bag. If you have a micron sieve, or polyfilter, you can pour the conents of the bag through it, allowing the filter to catch the pods and then the filter can be placed into the tank. Use clean filter material to avoid a mess in your home, but the pods don't mind at all if it is dirty. If you used a clean filter, turkey baster blasting your rocks should send up enough detritus to get caught in the poly filter to feed those pods, and you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy pod population. There may be some small pieces of macro algae in the bag. They can either be discarded, grown out, or left as food for your new pod population.
Note: Many pod species are tiny. The most numerous pods in this product will be small and you may need a magnifying glass to see them. All bags are checked prior to shipment, none will be empty, although some may appear to be. Please check them under 25x magnification after allowing the water to settle and remain still and you will see them if you are the observant type.
All this said, there is usually no "point" in adding pods to your system. They come in one way or another over time, and make little if any appreciable impact on cleaning. Usually people just get them for curiosity purposes, or want to start a food culture for a particular fish.