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Live Food Cultures and Feeding Live Foods. Please advise...
September 4, 2012
10:19 pm
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ShadowMac
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March 6, 2012
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Hello everyone,

 

I have recently begun keeping some finicky eaters namely Dario dario. I enjoy the fish and have started some live food cultures in order to feed them properly. I currently have a daphnia culture and a vinegar eel culture. My main reason for choosing these is the ease of culture and the fact they will stay alive within the aquarium for a significant amount of time ensuring they are eaten. I have a range of questions for those of you who keep and feed live foods. 

 

1) Should I keep a wider variety? Things like grindal worms and microworms aren't anymore difficult.

 

2)Can you please double check my culture plans for the daphnia? I would like to avoid a culture crash. I have one main culture used for harvesting. This culture is fed daily and a small portion of water is changed. It is aerated by an airline hose pushed through the lid of the 2 gallon container. I feed the culture crumbled fish food and activated yeast. In order to ensure some bacteria within the new culture I drained some filter water into the container initially. I have read about feeding a bacteria culture, essentially using a high protien food like beef bullion cubes within a container filled with aquarium water to culture a range of bacteria and infusoria. Then you feed some water from this container. I know many use green water, however, many resources I have read (nothing objectively scientific) mention green water is not essential and can lead to crashes. I have a secondary culture that is my "back up". It is fed sparingly as the goal is to maintain a low population in case the harvesting culture crashes. I change water with aged tap water daily when I harvest. I plan to harvest and feed my tanks live food every night. Hows the plan sound? Am I missing anything?

3) Can feeding live foods make some fish more aggressive towards inverts? I have noticed after beginning the live food regiment my cardinal tetras have literally picked apart a couple amano shrimp. I know they have not died of natural causes considering every leg and antennae was picked off the poor critter and it was still alive when I found it. This was not something they did usually. Should I increase my feedings to get them to leave shrimp alone? I usually feed at noon and in the evening, dry food in the morning, live and some dry in the evening (the dry is meant to distract the more aggressive eaters so some of the live can enter the thick vegetation where it is hopefully eaten by the darios who patrol it). Should I feed in the morning first thing? I'm hoping good feeding habits will get the fish to leave my poor shrimp alone. I've chosen darios over cichlids because they are much kinder to adult shrimp and would like to keep some amanos as they are fantastic cleaners.

 

4) Any advice on keeping and feeding live foods? Please share your experiences so I can learn. This is a new phase of the hobby for me. I feed the vinegar eels by running the culture media through a coffee filter then rinse the filter into some fresh water and feed via a dropper to my tanks. Seems to work very well. I love the increased vigor of all my fish with the inclusion of live foods. Their behavior is much more natural and interesting.

 

Thanks in advance for any comments!Laugh

September 5, 2012
8:11 pm
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ShadowMac
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*Bump*

 

I would appreciate advice and comments from those out there who have kept and fed live foods before. Even a "your plan sounds good" would be nice :)

September 5, 2012
9:39 pm
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oaken
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I think vinegar eels won't be eaten by the adult fish but they are good for the fry. Daphnia is a pretty good food but if I were you I would culture grindal worms as well, and on top of that hatch some brine shrimp (which is not something you culture really, but still, it's a live food). Grindal worms, brine shrimp naupli and daphnia is a pretty good menu for your fish.

I have way of culturing daphnia and moina that has been pretty fool proof for me so far. I have 3 small plastic aquariums that can contain about 3 litres of water. These sit on top of some of my tanks directly under a 30 W fluorescent light tube. Some people say that light isn't necessary but I have had much better success with it than without. After a while the water usually turns green which helps to feed the culture as well. The main food source for my daphnia/moina cultures is dry bakers yeast though. I just mix some up in a plastic cup with some warm water and then feed. I do a 50% water change in the culture tanks every day (this is also when I harvest, I simply let the water run through a net). The important thing to note here is that you can't use water straight from the tap. The water has to be "aged" in a bucket for at least 4-6 hours before I can use it. I don't actually know why this makes such a big difference as my tap water is not supposed to contain any chlorine or chloramines, but it really does make a huge difference.

 

Regarding the aggression towards inverts that's not something that I've noticed, but I don't have many shrimp either.

September 5, 2012
10:26 pm
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ShadowMac
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Thank you, I will add Grindal worms to the list. When I purchased the vinegar eels I had no idea how small they are. Interestingly though, the porkchop rasboras gobbled them up. I will also give the brine shrimp a go. I plan to set up a shelf in my garage for keeping live food cultures. Daily feeding and maintenance shouldn't be too difficult of a routine. I have been aging my tap water. I've been a little concern that changing out 50% of water and harvesting so many to feed will tap out the culture. Any concerns about feeding too many?

September 5, 2012
10:44 pm
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oaken
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That's interesting to hear that your rasboras actually ate the vinegar eels. I haven't had any problems with the cultures tapping out or slowing down when I harvest that much. Although before the cultures are mature I don't harvest as much, but after a week or so I can do 50% water changes every day without a problem. Heavy water changes is the only way I have been able mass produce daphnia. Again, this is what works for me. People have different methods but if you want big amounts of daphnia I believe this method really works. Regarding feeding I guess it depends on what fish you are keeping, some fish can actually eat until they pretty much burst but generally I think you have to feed A LOT to overfeed.

September 6, 2012
9:04 pm
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oaken
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One thing I forgot to say is that snails are an important key for good cultures as well. I prefer ramshorn snails but I think other types work as well.

September 6, 2012
10:45 pm
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ShadowMac
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Thanks for mentioning the snails, that is one thing I had heard and forgot to mention. I can pull some snails as I have them running around my tanks somewhere. 

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