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Culturing live foods?

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by TWA, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. TWA

    TWA New Member 5 Year Member

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    I assume most everyone here does it, but what all is everyone raising? I've had typical brine shrimp, and some black worms, but I was looking to branch out.

    Any ideas on what to raise/where to buy the cultures would be much appreciated.
  2. themountain

    themountain Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Grindal , enchytraen, fruitflies..mostly for free :)
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  3. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Gammarus shrimp are easy to raise. Adults are generally to large for most apistos, but the juveniles are great food.
  4. TWA

    TWA New Member 5 Year Member

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    Appreciate both of the answers. I had never thought of scuds, but I'm
    Getting grindal worms this weekend. Appreciate the input.
  5. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I haven't had much success with UK native Gammarus, they have too high an oxygen requirement in the summer, and Hyalella azteca doesn't do well in soft water.

    If you can find a source, <"Crangonyx pseudogracilis"> is a good option as both live food and tank janitor.

    cheers Darrel
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  6. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Ceriodaphnia and Moina - grow them the same was as Daphnia, indoors or out. (Outside is easier, for me).
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  7. boofeng

    boofeng Member

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    I find grindal worms the easiest to culture. They are easy to care for and always recover even after neglect.

    I like microworms for when I can't/won't hatch baby brine shrimp for fry. Very easy to culture too.

    I also culture daphnia indoors (and greenwater for them, outdoors.) This is mostly for fun, and isn't really worth the time. It's also because of how rare Daphnia sp. are in Singapore, as there have been decades-long efforts to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases, and they share similar habitats. We do have regular supplies of Moina sp. at our LFSs though, imported from poultry farms in Malaysia. So far I've found the daphnia easier to culture than our local moina, which keeps crashing for me.

    I'm also thinking of collecting a local shrimp - Caridina malayensis - but I'm in two minds, as they're endangered in my country, and found in only one small stream system. They're perfect candidates for high temperature blackwater setups though - their water system is stained brown, slow flowing, fluctuates around pH 5, has very low electrical conductivity, and temperatures here are high all year round. I'll probably talk to the local conservation people and see how it goes - just sitting on it until I can spare the tanks to properly culture them.

    I would love to collect other local invertebrates like scuds too, but I'm not sure how to begin. If anyone has tips, or can recommend a source in Singapore/Malaysia, I'd be most grateful!
  8. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Hi,

    When can you start harvesting from a grindal culture and how often?
  9. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    When they look like this:

    [​IMG]

    I take a small scrape every day, and I keep four cultures (one litre ice cream cartons), because the cultures are a bit prone to crashing and invasion by mites.

    I keep some Red worms (Lumbricus rubellus) in the culture, and if they are on top of the compost, or the culture seems really productive, I sub-culture.

    cheers Darrel
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  10. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Hi,

    Has anyone used these worms as food. Fish go absolutely crazy over them!
    Are they safe to give several times a week? Should they be rinsed before serving?
    I got my Cacatuoides on breeding mode by giving these 4 days in a row.

    Have to chop them up because tetras and apistos canĀ“t eat them whole. Only my Megalechis thoracata can.

    They are used here for icefishing.
    https://www.tuontitukku.fi/tuote/ka...iset-pilkkitoukat-ja-onkimadot/8877960003257/
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  11. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    They are the larvae of the fly <"Calliphora vomitoria">.

    They are bred commercially as fishing bait ("maggots and caster"), and fed on rotten meat. I would avoid them, because of their production method.

    cheers Darrel
  12. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Boofeng -- does your local Caridina species need brackish or marine water during its larval stage (like C. japonica), or does your species develop entirely in freshwater?

    Darrell -- What do find is the most reliable growing media for Grindalworms? Soil, peat, coconut fiber, and plastic foam are some of the media used in USA. So far i have had only limited success with any of these.
  13. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I use ordinary potting compost, but I add some limestone to it.

    I think having some Red Worms in the compost, as your "Canary", makes management easier.

    cheers Darrel
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  14. boofeng

    boofeng Member

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    There are quite a few local Caridina species.

    The most common one is quite large and females always have a distinctly creamy skunk stripe - in the local scene they are sold as "Malaya shrimp". They have very small eggs which develop into very tiny nauplii instead of fully formed shrimplets - some local hobbyists report that the nauplii do develop into shrimplets in just freshwater. A personal friend of mine has tried and obtained lots of nauplii, but none have successfully developed into shrimplets so far.

    Recently, however, some of the local hobbyists are noticing a smaller shrimp sold under the same name. These shrimp have golden instead of dark brown eyes, and have more spotting instead of solid colours on the body. They also carry fewer and much larger eggs. Nobody has reported seeing shrimplets yet, but nobody really observes them - they're usually bought as algae clean-up crew. Based on the size of the eggs, however, the young are probably fully formed shrimplets at hatching. We're speculating these are either Caridina temasek or Caridina malayensis, based on these traits.

    Cai Yixiong is a prominent shrimp taxonomist from Singapore. His photos of local shrimp (including C. temasek and C. malayensis) are here and look similar to what we're seeing at local shops: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tiomanese/sets/72157631075183818/

    Other resources:
    https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg/Special-Pages/animal-detail.aspx?id=386
    https://www.researchgate.net/public...aridea_from_Peninsular_Malaysia_and_Singapore
    https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/images/pdfs/lkcnhm_ebooks/FreshwaterFauna_NSSF.pdf (This should come in handy if anyone's doing a Southeast Asia jungle stream biotope!)

    My new place is coming along smoothly and the fishroom will hopefully be up by April. Once I have the capacity I'll definitely try working with these local shrimp, to see if they'll do well in blackwater. If it works out, we can even look into shipping these guys over to you - I'm sure one of our exporters can link up with one of your local importers.

    In the meantime, I've found some local Gammarus - they contaminate Bucephalandra shipments from Indonesia apparently, and are the bane of buceps enthusiasts! So far, they don't seem to reproduce fast, but are very hardy.

    *****

    Re: grindal worms, I find that they need twice daily feedings to really do well at our tropical temperatures - they do a mass exodus once food/oxygen runs out - and if I don't happen to catch them in the act, they die en masse and the culture needs to be reset. Peat is more resistant, and scrub pads more prone, to this kind of die-off, but scrub pads are easier to harvest from, sterilize and reset.

    Grindal worm scouring pad.jpeg
    I cut holes on the top pad and cover with a piece of clear acrylic - the worms climb onto the acrylic plate and can easily be rinsed off for feeding without any food attached. (The photograph shows my old plastic grids - I've since found that acrylic plates work better).
  15. Happyfins

    Happyfins Member

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    @boofeng. Just bought the plastic grid 2 days ago. Was hard enough to find. Could you elaborate where you get the acrylic plate from or upload a picture?
  16. boofeng

    boofeng Member

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    They're just little squares/rectangles of acrylic, maybe about 3 x 5 cm. I just, ahem ahem, help myself to the samples stack when I'm at the workshop ordering acrylic tank covers or dividers for myself or friends. Transparent ones are best for checking on the worms - but I just take them in a variety of colours and textures to look legit. :D
  17. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Cut-up lids of plastic food containers or other stiff plastic packaging will also work.
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  18. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Go to a sewing goods store and look for plastic needle point canvass. Many sizes and colors - and very inexpensive. I use it to replace brittle partitions, too.
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  19. Happyfins

    Happyfins Member

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    Thanks, everyone! Sure was a dumb question!
    Now for another one: With the soilless culture an amber fluid accumulates at bottom of container, I'll call it "worm juice". I find the worms like to be sprayed with some water and like this fluid to be drained off. The worm farm people always go on about "earthworm juice" being a good fertiliser. Has anyone tried this a) at all, b) for aquatic plants or c) gone so far as to analyse this. I love the idea of recycling but not at the cost of murdering fish but if found safe could imagine using it sparingly for plant fertilising.
  20. Happyfins

    Happyfins Member

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    boofeng, those holes in the pads really make things a lot easier and less messy. After initial concerns with the cultureI am now harvesting twice daily with the plastic grid. I find draining excess fluid and pouring a little aquarium water on top of the sponge to rinse twice daily has really accelerated my culture. I've started a second in case the first crashes and will have plenty of grindals.
    However, how safe are they for regular feeding? If not daily, how often? Any concerns?
    Regards, Chris