How To: Culture Daphnia

  • #1
Hey guys! Victreal wanted to know how I culture my daphnia and I thought it might be useful to some others, so here goes!

Tools needed
-water holding container ( the bigger the better! But small containers work just fine )
-old aquarium water
-medicine syringe
-brine shrimp net
-air pump-tubing ( optional )
-turkey baster

Many people say that you NEED green water to culture daphnia, well, there are actually a few ways to get around that. The first thing to keep in mind is that daphnia HATE freshly dechlorinated water, so I always use old tank water to either change or start my daphnia water.

How to get started:
Find a bin or container ( or maybe even a old fish tank ) that holds water.
Find a place to put it, somewhere with full sunlight helps with the growth of daphnia ( at least what I think ) also helps grow green water.

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I have heard many people say that cultures crash easily in small containers, I haven't had any cultures crash on me yet. Fill the container all the way up with old aquarium water, then, if you would like green water, add a pinch of dirt and swirl it around. ( fish waste also work well )
After a few days in full sun, the water should start greening. Adding a air pump will prevent a film from appearing at the top of the tank, also my daphnia grow better in tanks with water movement vs those who don't.

How to obtain Daphnia:
After you get your container ready, you can go get daphnia. Daphnia can be found in almost any warmer area of water, ( I collected my first batch in a rain ditch ). If you collect yours outside, then chances are, you might get some unwanted pests such as dragonfly larvae or hydra... What I did for my first batch is, first I dropped the muk containing the daphnia in a container with chlorinated water, the daphnia and critters all died. I the. Dechlorinated the water and waited a few days, the daphnias eggs continue hatching even after death, so in about a week, I head daphnia again. Another safer way is to just sort out a few daphnia with a medicine syringe thingy ( you can get them for free at most pharmacies ). This way ensures that you only get daphnia and nothing else. A simpler way is to just order them, I've seen cultures on eBay for around 7$ for 1000 plus!

How To Feed:
Even though many people recommend green water, I do not use it. Since whatever I feed the daphnia goes as a added nutrient into my fishs' stomachs, I want to add something healthier. Here's is what I use:
Things needed:
-instant dry yeast
-spirulina powder ( can be obtained at almost any health stores, a super nutritious algae )
-old aquarium water
-mixing container
-medicine syringe

Mix yeast, spirulina, and water in a 1:1:2 ratio, you should end up with a slightly thick mixture. Suck the concoction into the syringe and pipe it into the daphnias container. I reccomend using a syringe because you NEVER want to over feed your daphnia, just make the water slightly cloudy. Overfeeding will cause your colony to crash.

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Here is a newish culture that I fed last night, you can see that it has cleared up, I would wait a day before I feed it again at this point. ( last night the water was milky green )

How To Clean Daphnia Tank:
Cleaning is essential to keeping you colony going, there are many better ways of cleaning, this is just my way.
Shine a light on top of your daphnia container, daphnia are light oriented and should swim to the top after a few minutes.

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At this point, put a tuning into the container and siphon out half the

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You can either use this water to start a new colony by putting it in a container and adding tank water, or simply run the water through a brine shrimp net to remove any daphnia that got sucked up. Refill the container with old tank water.

How to Feed:
Simply use a turkey baster to feed these daphnia to your fish

- daphnia like a steady temp, and breed better in warmer waters, my cultures outside died due to fluctuations in temperature.
- since daphnia grow better in warmer waters, I keep my containers at a steady 78 degrees, with a small heater.
- in case of a crash, remove the water by sucking water from the top and add old tank water, then wait for the daphnia babies to emerge from their moms....

Hope this helps! And if you guys have any suggestions, please list them below!

Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies
  • #2
Thanks that was very insightful and detailed
  • #3
That is a great how-to. Thank you.
  • #4

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