Daphnia / Brine Shrimp / Copepods or Blood Worms

devsi
  • #1
I've made a couple of posts about what live food to cultivate, and got some very helpful advice, but I kept hitting a brick wall when trying to get my hands on an existing culture as my LFS's don't have what I'm looking for.

So, I've decided to do it the opposite way round this time.

I contacted my local shops and asked what live food they have/usually have, which is: Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, Copepods and Blood Worms.

I've got a 25 Lite (~6 US Gallon) tank spare, which has a heater and light, but no filter. Is this suitable for any of the aforementioned live foods? Note: I'm really only seeing if there's something I can cultivate without buying any more equipment (filter, air pump etc).

From what I understand (just to show I have done some research, and I'm not just expecting people to do it for me):

  • Daphnia would work, but they require a small amount of surface water breakage so would require a filter, thus aren't suitable.
  • Brine Shrimp require an air pump/air stone, so aren't suitable. They also have to be "hatched" outside of the tank, which doesn't sound like something I want to get into as this would be my first experience with culturing live food.
  • Copepods require an air pump/air stone and a filter and have to be kept at a specific salinity, so aren't suitable.
  • Blood Worms are probably the one thing I could cultivate, but I'd have to be very careful to ensure I harvest them before they turn into flies; again, not something I'd want to do as my first live food culture experience.
 
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RayClem
  • #2
There are some YouTube videos from a guy who lives in New York City and collects daphnia from the ponds in Central Park. However, if you want to have constant source, it is easier to propagate it yourself.

Probably the easiest live food to raise is mealworms, the larvae stage of the darkling beetle. All you need is some starter mealworms and a plastic shoebox with some oatmeal in it. However, this food is more suitable for larger fish. It is also good for birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

If you live in the USA, you can purchase a small aquarium air pump, airline tubing, and an airstone for about $10 from Amazon. You can repurpose containers such as jars, soda bottles, etc as your growing containers. Thus, the cost does not have to be excessive. These items do require space.

Those who breed fish for profit often raise their own live food as it is the best way to grow fry to maturity. However, it can be messy and time consuming That is why so many fishkeepers rely on flakes, pellets, and freeze dried brine shrimp, blood worms, and insects. I have tried growing live foods, but in the end, I decided I had better things to do with my time.
 
devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Probably the easiest live food to raise is mealworms, the larvae stage of the darkling beetle. All you need is some starter mealworms and a plastic shoebox with some oatmeal in it.

Unfortunately none of my LFS have anything other than Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, Copepods and Blood Worms. Buying off eBay isn't really an option for me, as I don't trust it.

However, this food is more suitable for larger fish. It is also good for birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

I wouldn't categorise any of my fish (perhaps with the exception of my two Angels) as large :)

If you live in the USA, you can purchase a small aquarium air pump, airline tubing, and an airstone for about $10 from Amazon. You can repurpose containers such as jars, soda bottles, etc as your growing containers. Thus, the cost does not have to be excessive. These items do require space.

In the UK, I'm looking at ~£20 for the same. It's not an excessive amount, I just don't want to spend any more as this is a last attempt at doing something with the tank before I sell it on.

Those who breed fish for profit often raise their own live food as it is the best way to grow fry to maturity. However, it can be messy and time consuming That is why so many fishkeepers rely on flakes, pellets, and freeze dried brine shrimp, blood worms, and insects. I have tried growing live foods, but in the end, I decided I had better things to do with my time.

I'm starting to realise that I'll probably end up the same :) I thought cultivating myself would be quite fun, but I simply don't have the stock around me to cultivate what I want.

Thanks RayClem :)
 
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ruud
  • #4
Copepods is not one species; but a group of species. I have copepods in all my freshwater shrimp tanks for over a decade. Every now and then I scoop some out and feed em to my fish that I keep in other tanks. I find copepods by far the easiest. You can keep a nice little shrimp tank and get copepods as a bonus; or the other way around.

Hatching brine shrimp (nauplii) does not require an air stone. A hobby dish and "artemia salt" is all you need. And eggs of course, which you can keep for a very long time in your fridge.
 
devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Hi again ruud :) Appreciate you coming and answer this thread as well (I was trying not to keep reviving old threads)!

I find copepods by far the easiest. You can keep a nice little shrimp tank and get copepods as a bonus; or the other way around.

And they don't need a filter? I could set-up my 25L, put the copepods from my LFS in and they should start reproducing?
 
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ruud
  • #6
I recall I also had a tank with active soil and leaf litters in the basement without anything else in it, and after a long while there were still copepods in.

With a small tank and no filter you do need to take care of water conditions. I would strongly suggest adding lots of plants for that purpose. Especially if you place the tank in front of the window (a short period of direct sunlight doesn't hurt); the plants will also keep algae at bay. Simply add java fern in the tank, no need to attach it to some hardscape, just add it in.
 
Flyfisha
  • #7
Hey devsi,
I can say definitely don’t try cultivating bloodworms as your first culture. They require multiple water changes each week and still the water stinks up pretty quickly. They need a filter especially in a small tank.

Brine shrimp require the on going expense of more eggs.

I have no experience with copepods. But do use cherry shrimp as live food as that was how they started in the hobby.

I have researched Daphnia for hours. My eggs are arriving at the end of the week. It would seem they require an air supply to truely multiply into large quantities. ? As a retired gentleman I have nothing better to do an enjoy the challenge of live food cultures.

Perhaps you could consider mosquito larvae as a first culture?
It costs nothing to set up , requires almost no work and a small tank is fine.

Breaking news.
A pair of my apistogramma swam out with some fry today. The female is third generation of mine but the males is a new bloodline.
 
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devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Hey devsi,

Hey :)

I can say definitely don’t try cultivating bloodworms as your first culture. They require multiple water changes each week and still the water stinks up pretty quickly. They need a filter especially in a small tank.

Bloodworms are off the menu!

Brine shrimp require the on going expense of more eggs.

Ah, that actually answers one of the questions I had about brine shrimp, I didn't know if they laid eggs or if you had to keep buying them, so thanks :)

But do use cherry shrimp as live food as that was how they started in the hobby.

Your fish eat cherry shrimp? I have them in my tank and my fish just leave them alone haha!

I have researched Daphnia for hours.

Me too! Live food isn't easy, huh!?

My eggs are arriving at the end of the week. It would seem they require an air supply to truely multiply into large quantities. ?

Yeah - that sounds inline with what I've read. I'm unsure if I could get "enough" by putting them in a tank of water-change water and leaving them to do their thing without a air supply...

As a retired gentleman I have nothing better to do an enjoy the challenge of live food cultures.

So I just need to retire? Sounds like a good idea to me!

Perhaps you could consider mosquito larvae as a first culture?
It costs nothing to set up , requires almost no work and a small tank is fine.

I've read a little bit about mosquito larvae, but I was put off because it requires mosquitos to be around my home (which is very rare here) and I don't want to encourage them aha :)
 
TClare
  • #9
I have kept daphnia without aeration, just in a fairly large plastic container with a large surface area compared to the volume. I kept them going for several months, but they died off when we had a period of extreme temepretaure differences between night and day. I must try again soon...
 
Flyfisha
  • #10
I should add that it is possible to grow brine shrimp to adulthood and they do lay eggs / reproduce.
But,
Its a lot of work. Brine shrimp are not a good food source as adults. We are actually feeding the brine shrimp in the first 24 hours of life, At that young age it’s the egg sack that is the extremely high food source.
Brine shrimp to adulthood is another fun project I have done a couple of times. But is not a quality food source. And it’s a waste of a tank with more water changes . At 24 hours old baby brine are an extremely high protein source for small fry.

Most of my fish don’t eat all the cherry shrimp but some species ( apistogramma) will hunt down newly hatched and juveniles.
All fish will eat cherry shrimp if you drop them in like food at feeding time. They even eat juvenile fish if you are it careful how you drop them in to a tank.
 
devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I have kept daphnia without aeration, just in a fairly large plastic container with a large surface area compared to the volume. I kept them going for several months, but they died off when we had a period of extreme temepretaure differences between night and day. I must try again soon...

Oh, interesting! Could you share any tips on how you did this? I was hoping/thinking of putting some water-change water, from my main tank, into the spare 25L tank and setting up the heater so it maintains a consistent temperature.

Would I need to do much else to keep them reproducing/alive?

I should add that it is possible to grow brine shrimp to adulthood and they do lay eggs / reproduce.
But, Its a lot of work.

Ah, ok. Brine Shrimp also taken off the list :)

Most of my fish don’t eat all the cherry shrimp but some species ( apistogramma) will hunt down newly hatched and juveniles.

Oh I see! I honestly don't know if my cherry shrimp juveniles are being eaten; I know I've had some pregnant shrimps, but they could all be hiding or eaten...

All fish will eat cherry shrimp if you drop them in like food at feeding time. They even eat juvenile fish if you are it careful how you drop them in to a tank.

(Disclaimer: I won't do this, it's purely out of interest) - So, if I added a female Guppy to my tank with the current 7 Males, they would breed - would the fry then just get eaten and produce a constant food supply?


Edit: Abbreviation of Brine Shrimp was censored, so I expanded it.
 
TClare
  • #12
Oh, interesting! Could you share any tips on how you did this? I was hoping/thinking of putting some water-change water, from my main tank, into the spare 25L tank and setting up the heater so it maintains a consistent temperature.

Would I need to do much else to keep them reproducing/alive?
The container I used was quite a bit bigger than that, but I think it would work OK in the small tank, and yes a heater would be good, I would keep it at around 18C. I fed mine with yeast, mix some dry yeast with water in a bottle and keep it in the fridge for several days, just pour in a little each day, or when the water becomes clear again. You can also use Spirulina, but it is very expensive, at least here. Leave some water outside in the sun until it goes green with algae, and give them some of that as well. Change some of the water once a week, and keep harvesting the daphnia or they will quickly overpopulate and die off.
 
Flyfisha
  • #13
I can’t say for sure what would happen with guppies and the fry they produce as I have not done it myself. The impression I get is a few fry will survive eventually . Just one or two surviving from each month will be enough to overpopulate any tank.

While it is said the ratio of more females than males is necessary I can say from personal experience having accidentally added a juvenile female endler ( guppies cousins ) to the male only tank that this one female with dozens of males survived long enough to drop enough fry to mess up the male only tank. Given the juveniles breed at 3 or 4 months the whole tank had to be sorted through to remove the young.

Talking to a 90 year old local club member that kept guppies it’s likely some will always survive even when you don’t feed the adults often.
 
devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
The container I used was quite a bit bigger than that, but I think it would work OK in the small tank, and yes a heater would be good, I would keep it at around 18C.

Awesome, ok! I'll give Daphnia a go! Thank you for the advise! I don't need a lot as it won't feed it to my fish on a daily basis.

I fed mine with yeast, mix some dry yeast with water in a bottle and keep it in the fridge for several days, just pour in a little each day, or when the water becomes clear again.

Excellent, thank you :)

Leave some water outside in the sun until it goes green with algae, and give them some of that as well. Change some of the water once a week, and keep harvesting the daphnia or they will quickly overpopulate and die off.

Will do! Thanks for all the help TClare !

I can’t say for sure what would happen with guppies and the fry they produce as I have not done it myself. The impression I get is a few fry will survive eventually . Just one or two surviving from each month will be enough to overpopulate any tank.

haha - wow. Good job I stuck with just males then! I wouldn't have the heart to cull them and I certainly don't know anyone that I could give them to!

While it is said the ratio of more females than males is necessary I can say from personal experience having accidentally added a juvenile female endler ( guppies cousins ) to the male only tank that this one female with dozens of males survived long enough to drop enough fry to mess up the male only tank.

They truly are the rabbits of the fish world! Thanks for all the help Flyfisha !
 
RayClem
  • #15
Mealworms are not very popular as a food source for fish, but they are very popular as a food source of reptiles and amphibians. If your LFS does not carry them, look for a pet store that sells snakes, lizards, frogs, etc. They are likely to carry them.
 
devsi
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Thanks RayClem :) I'm going to give Daphnia a go, and then go from there.
 
Flyfisha
  • #17
My plan is to only use the smallest amount of daphnia eggs and save the rest for after our hot summer when it’s likely the culture will crash?
 
LowConductivity
  • #18
My plan is to only use the smallest amount of daphnia eggs and save the rest for after our hot summer when it’s likely the culture will crash?
One week of 46* (118*f) crashed my 5 year old cultures. I was quite a bit more sad than I expected it to be. Washed out the tubs. Moved them to a more shaded location. Filled them back up with water and started to look for another culture of daphnia. Much to my surprise, a month later both tubs had daphnia in them again.
 

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