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Caring for springtails as live food

  • Author User1
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Springtails, or tropical white springtails, are tiny little bug that will eat practically anything breaking down in a damp environment. They serve as a great and stupidly easy surface feeder bug for many fish. I am no fish or springtail guru, but here is my guide to tropical white springtails as live food. I don't see a lot of people who culture springtails as live foods and there isn't an article already on fishlore so I thought I'd share my personal care guide.

General setup and needed euipment (most of these things you might already have in your house):
-A clear plastic container with a tight fitting lid
-A container over 3ish inches deep and wider than 7 inches will be good
-No open holes or ventilation (this can allow pests and gnats into the culture), all you have to do is open your culture every couple of days
-A bag of no chemical, lumpwood charcoal
-Crush charcoal into 1/4-2 inch pieces (a hammer works) and rinse well
-2-4 inch layer of charcoal (leave an inch or so of space to the lid)
-1/2-1 inch layer of distilled water in the bottom
-A colony of at least 20-30 adult springtails
-Keep the culture at 65-80, or household temp. They don't need a whole lot of light

Food to use?
Springtails eat mold and decaying matter, so a powder mix of aquarium flakes and yeast will do the job. Use raw grains of rice to induce mold.

Where to buy:
All you're really looking for a charcoal colony with lots of healthy springtails. You can buy online or at pet stores, if you buy online look for the cheapest with the best reviews.

Now that you have a colony set up there is very little maintenance required.
-Pop open the lid and every 1-3 days to check on progress and to feed, this allows air in too
-Feeding is easy, sprinkle a pinch of yeast or a couple grains of rice when you see everything is eaten (I use a tic tac bottle)
-Change out the water reserve every couple months to keep it from getting dirty

How to feed to fish:
The springtails will float on water, and in the culture too. You can scoop the them off the surface of the water with a spoon, suck them off with a syringe, pour some culture water directly into the aquarium, or use a pair of tweezers to shake them off a piece of charcoal.
They will float on the water for at least a couple hours, and will keep jumping and wiggling about too.

That's it! You can have a sustainable live food culture for around 20 dollars :). I'll attach some photos too
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