re they die. Care and Raising Feeding the culture - Like Artemia, Daphnia feed on various groups of bacteria, yeast, microalgae, detritus, and dissolved organic matter. Bacteria and fungal cells are high in food value, but all foods rank second to microalgae. A good algae culture is vital to growing these guys, so if you set out to do everything you can to growing a flourishing algae culture you will be ensured success. A barrel or tank outside that gets plenty of sun virtually guarantees explosive algae growth. Moina is one of the few Zooplanktons that can utilize the bluegreen algae, but other algae must be present also for best growth. Organic fertilizers are preferred over the mineral varieties because they promote bacterial, fungal cells, detritus, and other nutrients that the Daphnia feed on. Fresh organic fertilizers are preferred over old or aged sources because they are richer in microbes and organic matter. This especially applies to manure, which is usually dried before use. Some farm animals are fed antibiotics and other additives that may inhibit Daphnia growth and should be avoided. Drying or other processing of these manures lessens the potency of these drugs. The cow manure sold at garden supply houses can be used with success if fresh manure is not available. Possibly the best fertilizer there is, is dried, processed sewage sludge, which is an excellent and consistent nutrient source. The fertilizer can be added to your culture in several ways. One is to soak the dry material for several hours, then distribute the wet material over the bottom, allowing it to slowly deteriorate. Another is to place the dry material (5-6 oz.) in a mesh bag (panty hose or cheese cloth) and suspend the bag inside the tank near an air supply for circulation and slow leaching, change every five days. The third is to soak the material for weeks until it decomposes into a nutrient slurry, then drip the liquid into the tank at a rate of 16 fl. oz. every five to eight days. Of the three, the last two are the cleanest methods tank wise. with the third method being the best. If you are doing this inside the house, or lucky you, you have a basement, you may have a problem with other family members complaining of the smell from your fermenting sewage factory. Luckily, you will not have to visit judge Wapner, or divorce court, because there is another way to feed these guys without the rank smell. Like Artemia, Daphnia will feed on Yeast (Brewers is best), bran, wheat flour, and dried blood. With the exception of activated yeast, care must be taken not to over feed with these foods as they will foul the water in short order. If you should decide to use these feeds, your culture will be healthier if you toss in some nice green algae water, obtained from a remote source, every week or so. If you feed yeast to a ten gallon culture, feed 0.3-0.5 oz. of yeast every five days. Harvesting - A partial harvest every day is required to keep the culture healthy and productivity high. The harvest should not be more than 1/4 of the population daily, but the harvest may vary according to the quality of the population. The Daphnia can be harvested by simply netting them out of the container, or siphoning them into a net. When you stop the aeration, and let the tank settle, the Daphnia will concentrate on the surface where their easy to harvest. An alternative is to drain 1/4 of the tank into a net, and replace the water with new fertilized water. This benefits you in two ways, first is it takes care of the feeding, and second it keeps the tank clean. Harvested Daphnia can be kept alive for several days in the refrigerator in clean water. They will resume normal activity when the water warms up. The nutritional quality will not be as good because they have been starving for several days, so a supplemental feeding is required for best effect. Daphnia can be stored for long periods by freezing them in a low salinity water (7ppt, 1.0046 density). Of course this kills the Daphnia, so adequate circulation is required to keep them in suspension during feeding. They also will not be as nutritious as the nutrients rapidly leach out in the aquarium. Nearly all the enzyme activity is lost in ten minutes, and in an hour all free amino acids, and most bound amino acids are lost. Fish will not feed on frozen Daphnia as readily either. Trouble Shooting Culture failed completely - Toxic materials in the water. Daphnia are extremely sensitive to pesticides, metals, detergents, and bleaches. Over fertilization with a mineral based fertilizer can also be toxic to the culture. Slow Reproduction - Temperature is outside optimum range, insufficient dissolved oxygen because of dense colony. Heavy aeration, or fine bubbles can strip Daphnia from the culture. Overfeeding and fouling of the water. pH is too high due to algae bloom and the resulting increase in unionized ammonia. Insufficient food or fertilizer. Bill, get a hold of "Plankton Culture Manual" by Florida Aqua Farms, Inc. Phone 904-567-8540. It's more than enough info on culturing rotifers, daphnia, brine shrimp, phytoplankton, etc. I got a rotifer culture kit from them, but they do not stock daphnia starters. I'm still looking for that, myself. You can get a daphnia starter culture from L.F.S Cultures, P.O. Box 607, University, MS 38677. $4.50 for one culture, $9.00 for a large culture. I never have tried their daphnia but have ordered wingless fruitflies from them. I have D. magna, a big blundering species, and D. pulex, a smaller species that produces overwintering eggs, ephippia?, sometimes. I use pulex to keep the water clear in most of my tanks and jars. pulex is sensitive to high temperatures and dies in the low 90's. magna seems to be more tolerant of high temperatures. I also have a very small species whose name I do not know. There is also another species of Daphnia that one can find in any pond that hangs on the side of the tank or on plants with its antennae, rather than hopping about in the open water. I have used it to keep tanks clear in the past, but don't have any of them now. What is D. miona like? Protein content of the dry tissue in Moina is exceeding 70%. Of course they consist of 95% water, 4% protein, 0.54%fat, 0.6 7% carbohydrates and 0.15% ash. The fatty acid composition of food is important to the survival and growth of fish fry. Omega-3 highly saturated acids are essential for many species of fish. Moina on bakers yeast are very high in monoenoic fatty acids................. Moina will survive for a few days in the refrigerator although the protein levels drop substantially during that period. Franc Gorenc franc-at-golden.net Kitchener, Ontario http://www.golden.net/~franc Canada CALCIUM is the magic ingredient. You should perhaps put a nylon filter bag full of crushed coral or similar in the culture vessel. It increases and buffers the pH, but more importantly it will supply the daphnia with calcium for their shells. Without adequate levels, they will reproduce sexually instead of asexually, and hence produce resting eggs (ephippia) instead of many live young. You can get various species of Daphnia in any small pond, but care has to be taken to separate them from other invertebrate nasties and unwanted hair algae. This can be done with small dishes, a magnifying glass and an eyedropper. Only a few individuals have to be separated, because they multiply rapidly if given green water. The species that swim in open water will come up near the surface in the evening after sunset and can be netted. There is another very common species that does not swim in open water, but hangs by its antennae on plants or debris in shallow water. It can swim if disturbed, but generally is motionless. Filling a quart jar in a shallow, weedy area usually pulls in 5 or 10 of these. I recommend culturing Daphnia in a gallon jar or small aquarium by feeding them portions of green water. Keep some ramshorn or pond snails in with them, and transfer some of the Daphnia to any aquarium you want to clear up after you have removed all the fish. After they have cleared up the green water, I would not return the fish immediately, but would try to encourage the plants to grow for a few months until they are well established and numerous. With thicker plant growth, green water is not as likely to return. Keep several cultures of Daphnia in jars or tanks without any fish so that you will always have them available. BTW, my 5 gal pail with 1 cup of chicken manure has an incredible amount of daphnia in it now. The top is covered with a green frothy scum so I haven't collected any yet but as soon as I clean that off it should be no problem. I suggest putting the manure into a cloth bag before dumping it in. That keeps things a lot cleaner. I vaguelly remember that you described before how you raise daphnia. Could you perhaps briefly repeat it again? I had been using green water out of my aquarium but that supply has ended since I finally got rid of the algae bloom. Green water works moderately well but will be used up in a few days (depending on how many daphnia you have). You need to have strong light (like sunlight) and nutrients to sustain the algae growth but eventually the daphnia win. The manure is a better approach since it grows bacteria so well; faster than the daphnia can eat it up and I have a large population of daphnia now. At first I thought I might have put too much manure and turned the water anoxic but they survived and in the last week or so (I was away) there was a pulse (population explosion) of daphnia. In particular, is this pail indoors or outdoors? How much manure do you use? What do you feed the daphnia? I used about a cup of manure in a 5 gal pail of green water and a 50 watt halogen bulb shining directly into it. I also added a handful of dolomite lime and a drop of chelated Fe and a little K & Mg. The daphnia eat the bacteria that grow from the manure and whatever green algae can survive their voracious appetites. I got a green foamy scum on the surface which I haven't figured out how to deal with (I don't want to put it into my fish tanks) since it seems to have cyanobacteria in it. Next time I would put the manure into a cloth bag to prevent making a mess since when you stir a net in there, everything goes into a cloud and you can get bits of manure in with the daphnia (not good). This is all indoors and the room temp is about 75F with the water running about 68F or so. I also have a larger container outdoors but its too cold yet. I suspect I added too much yeast and the daphnia were not able to eat it quickly enough. Moreover, what really puzzles me, I got something what I think were cyclops in this container after I added yeast. I'm sure my culture was clean before though. Those _cyclops_ are smaller and faster than daphnia. I think the cyclops came from my fish tanks along with the green water but they could come from soil or manure too I suppose. ..... A kid in a fish store told me to put a potato in a bucket of water and in a few days I'd have daphnia. Is this true? No, its not. While on rare occasion daphnia can somehow get into standing water that didn't have daphnia before in my experience this is very rare. The best way to get daphnia started is to find a source of daphnia and then grow them. While you might find them in a fishless pond (in a pond with fish the fish will find them before you), the best choices are from members of local clubs or local hobbiests who also keep them. Years ago I found them in a few fish stores. As a last alternative there are individuals who will sell and send to you live "cultures". Daphnia grow in fresh water. If you plan to grow then set up some containers now so that they age somewhat before you introduce the critters. I've used everything from the foam boxes fish are shipped in to buckets to 30 gallon trash cans and even one small "kiddie pool". I also had a small but very productive culture indoors once in 20 gallon tank with high airation (no gravel, no plats, and certainly no fish). The daphnia need food, I know of two good sources: They eat algae (the kind that floats suspended in green water), a nice container of green water will grow lots and soon no longer be green. You can also take advantage of this to clear a tank that has gone green; remove the fish, turn off any external filter, and inroduce some daphnia. In a few days the tank will be clear (lenght of time dependent on amount of daphnia) and the fish will have a treat waiting when they are re-introduced. Since you likely will quickly run out of green water, you can also feed the yeast. I've used both cake yeast and dry bakers yeast. Cake yeast worked good when I had only a small culture, a small chunk could be taken off the cake and disolved in some water, then fed to the culture. When I got into outdoor cultivation cake yeast was harder to find and seemed way too expensive; I get a bulk pack of yeast and keep it in a closed container in the refrig. Every other day or so I put a very small amount of sugar in some warm water and add some yeast; when the water has cooled to near room temperature it's time to feed the culture. I should caution you that while I've done this for a number of years it's far from an exact science. Care must be tken to avoid the sudden death of the entir culture. The best thing I know to do is to keep several containers going, even small backup containers. Avoiding using too much sugar when waking up the dry yeast, as this will quickly foul the water. And once you have the culture going real good, I believe it is extremely important to both feed and harvest it. Don't feed it and then neglect to harvest it within 18-30 hours, you could produce so much daphnia that the entire culture would dir of overcrowding. Also, an important warning when trying to start your culture. Daphnia can be hard to get started in a new container but once they catch they will grow well. If you get daphnia don't just dump your entire source into a bucket of water and hope for the best. This can be a good way to end up with a bucket of dead daphnia. Introduce a few daphnia to as many containers of what seems to be suitable water from as many different sources as you can. Once you get them started you'll have little or no problems, but several people I've given large cultures to have lost them all by not heeding this and putting everything in one bucket. There certainly are other approaches, I hope others with experience will post them. I've tried feeding small amounts of milk, but this seems to foul the brew too fast. I read of suggestions including straw, never tried this myself. The potato might even make a good source of food, I may try that some time. By the way, although I've kept several strains of daphnia going for several years, I'm currently without any and interested in getting started in Killie fish again. Does anyone near Raleigh N.C. have any daphnia that they could help me out with? One of the nice things about Daphnia, once you have a culture going, you can feed the daphnia paprika (and other things) and thereby enhance the color of fish. And if you use greenwater for the daphnia, you also can get 'green' into the fish as well. Additionally, when you have new, or difficult fish, having a continuous, in their tank, food source available helps fhis eat, and perhaps prosper than if you are only putting bbs or mosquito larvae in once or twice a day--and larval transitions are not fun if you feed and >they don't all get eaten. . As for the recipe, 8 ounces of frozen peas, 2 tablets of Theragran or any other multivitamin, 3 ounces of carrots or beats, and some paprika. Blend everything and then pour it in a fine net and squeeze as much juice as you can. Combine with enough water to make 1 gallon. I double the recipe to make 2 gallons of food. I checked with Florida Aqua Farms "Plankton Culture Manual" and found that I mis-stated some facts. oleg-at-veritas.com (Oleg Kiselev) writes: >Water: >Typical aquarium water for all of them. Daphnia do not tolerate phosphates >and will rapidly die if phosphates go above 2 ppm. Best keep it under .5 ppm. >Daphnia are tolerant of nitrogen: they do just fine in 20 ppm of NH3 and ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CORRECTION: they will TOLERATE high concentration of unionized NH3 (the deadly stuff) but 20 ppm is LC100 (i.e. lethat concentration with 100% mortality). Also, Daphnia magna will tolerate high phosphate levels. Also, daphnia are very sensitive to copper. What can I say? I always manage to keep some daphnia alive and breeding in a small culture indoor, but have never managed to sustain an indoor daphnia culture that was long-term (i.e. 3+ months) and high-yield (i.e. enough to feed all my fish a couple of times a week). I have little problem getting the daphnia going outdoors in 5 gal buckets or 32 gal trashcans. But indoors the larger cultures inevitably get destroyed by the infestations of hydra or cyclops, or because I have overfed the culture, or because the culture had starved. I had ONCE in the last 5 years managed to keep a 30 gal tank of daphnia going for 3 or so months with a yield sufficient to feed the fish I had at that time every other day (I had less than a dozen tanks at that time). That culture collapsed when I somehow had contaminated it with Hydra. I had tried using OSI's APR, live bakers yeast and deactivated brewers yeast as substitutes for the green water, but I inevitably wind up overfeeding the culture and turning it into a jar of stinky mess. I know that Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco successfully cultures daphnia to feed some of their fish. They use a few 50 gal drums lit with bright fluorescent lights. They may or may not use yeast to supplement the daphnia's diet. So, try it. What do you have to lose? Make sure you do not contaminate the culture with Cyclops or Hydra! Use a specially designated net and hoses to work with your daphnia cultures because it takes a single female Cyclops or a single Hydra polyp to start the infestation that will destroy the culture in a matter of weeks. -- Get a clean culture to start with -- bio supply houses and mail order vendors will normally sell pure cultures. Using a series of sieves to screen out the adult Daphnia to become the culture "seed" is another method of getting a pure culture. Hydra and Cyclops occur naturally in the same environment as Daphnia. Hydra live on plants and other solid surfaces, Cyclops mostly tend to swim near the same. In your tank the Cyclops and hydra can come with new plants and live foods like black and tubifex worms.
I recently got some info about a easy source
of algae for daphnia. Thought
you might post this on The Krib (or not).
Brine Shrimp Direct sells an algae "cryopaste"
which is a certrifuged algae
culture packged in propylene glycol, so freezing does not harm the culture. It
is a little expensive, but a little of this should last a LONG time.
The url is www.brineshrimpdirect.com (imagine that).
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