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Thread: Daphnia Culturing

  1. #1
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    Daphnia Culturing

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    Dear all,
    Most of you will know that I'm very into culturing of live foods and ironically, daphnia cultures gives me the most variable results and often crashes before it gets a chance to be prolific.

    I'm presently experimenting with multiple cultures in square takeaway containers.
    (clickable image)

    Have tried other methods and feeds, but I want more options/opinions. What has worked successfully for you? Any insight would be most appreciated. Thanks!
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ron, from what I've learnt so far on daphnia culturing, the main requirements are as follows.

    1) Alkaline water, pH slightly around 7.5
    2) Source of calcium, coral chips would suffice.
    3) Green water, or some solution of dissolved powdered foods. (some people use Roti-Rich)
    4) Aeration with larger bubbles to prevent trapping of air under the carapace.
    5) A source of bacteria would be good. Rotting cabbage would produce enough bacteria to allow the daphnia to explode in numbers.
    6) Some people jump start a culture using pieces of rotting meat or even manure. Bacteria seems to be the best food for these critters.

    All information taken/remembered from what I've read on the live-foods mailing list.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Quote Originally Posted by stormhawk
    All information taken/remembered from what I've read on the live-foods mailing list.
    Is the live-foods mailing list still active ? I have looked through the archive at http://fins.actwin.com/live-foods/ and it seems to have been a very good informative list, but the archive ends in Dec 2002, do you know where it is now ?
    Thanks,
    Malcolm.

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    Re: Daphnia Culturing

    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    but I want more options/opinions. What has worked successfully for you? Any insight would be most appreciated. Thanks!
    Ron, are your options limited to indoors only ? or ,,, >
    I have not had much luck with small containers indoors, low yields for a lot of fuss, shelf space better devoted to fish tanks and worm cultures I think :-!) I have tried feeding yeast and also drops of fish flake food as a slurry but it is difficult to determine enough but not too much. However, out in the garden I have various size containers from small buckets and 'planters' up to water butts and an ex-domestic bath. The bath is a great success and produces copious quantities of daphnia during the spring, summer and autumn. Even during our cold ( but not often freezing ) winters it still provides enough for small snacks&treats !
    The containers in partial shade do better than those in full sun. ( The sun in England being weaker than your sun ! )

    I endorse what Jianyang has written about bacteria and meat. Once-upon-a-time a squirrel managed to commit suicide in the bath. I had not noticed until a huge increase of daphnia yield and a dreadfull stench alerted me to something odd ! A stirr around with a long stick produced the half-disintegrated body ! ugh. For some time later, even after the stench subsided, the yield continued to be much greater than prior to the hapless death.( the yield had previously been good and enough for my needs, but I was surprised at the great increase caused by the rotting meat )

    Malcolm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stormhawk
    All information taken/remembered from what I've read on the live-foods mailing list.
    Jian Yang,
    The Live-Foods Mailing List (LFML), ran by Jim Eller (IIRC) was a great resource in it's better days and still is, when I bother to dig into it's archives. The microworms that's being circulated around locally, came originally from one of the list members, in a 'plant for worm' swap.

    On different occasions, have tried feeding the cultures with;
    Slurries based on yeast, oatmeal, expired fish flakes/tablets and bread.
    Bacteria cultured from fruits & vegetables; mostly banana peels and cabbage.
    Bacteria cultured from dairy products; powdered milk, cheese and yogurt (no meats, manure, dead fish, cats or/and squirrels! ).

    It isn't starting the culture, but sustaining it, that bugs me.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    good morning Ron
    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    Live-Foods Mailing List (LFML), ran by Jim Eller (IIRC),,, and still is, when I bother to dig into it's archives.
    Where ? Is(was) that the same one as the actwin list in my post above?
    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    (no meats, manure, dead fish, cats or/and squirrels! ).
    Perhaps that is the problem, perhaps you should try meat/manure type bacteria ?
    I dunno why it would be any better at sustaining a culture ( daphnia will start in just about anything watery !) but it seems like you have tried all else. Also, the traditional (English) places to find daphnia were in farm-yard and village ponds that ofcourse received lots of animal and bird 'byproducts'
    Sadly, England is now so tidy and manicured and maintained that such pools are now few and far between :-(
    Worth a try isnt it ? Well perhaps not a squirrel, something smaller eh? :wink:
    PS my outdoors containers also get the odd adventurous snail from time to time, so that would support the calcium (1) and (2) points as well.

    ---PS, Edit, added later -->
    I've just visited your clickable larger image and it looks to me like all the containers have lids ?? Daphnia need lots of oxygen ! Open containers with shallow water (ie. lots of surface area to volume ratio) is a must.
    I notice that with my water butts, about 60cm dia and 1m tall, are not as productive as my wider shallower bath.

    ---PPS, Edit, added even later ! -->
    Are you using locally collected daphnia or ephipia (sp?) sent to you from overseas?

    time for bed (2:15am local time) g'night
    Malcolm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stormhawk
    Ron, from what I've learnt so far on daphnia culturing, the main requirements are as follows.

    1) Alkaline water, pH slightly around 7.5
    2) Source of calcium, coral chips would suffice.
    3) Green water, or some solution of dissolved powdered foods. (some people use Roti-Rich)
    4) Aeration with larger bubbles to prevent trapping of air under the carapace.
    5) A source of bacteria would be good. Rotting cabbage would produce enough bacteria to allow the daphnia to explode in numbers.
    6) Some people jump start a culture using pieces of rotting meat or even manure. Bacteria seems to be the best food for these critters.

    All information taken/remembered from what I've read on the live-foods mailing list.
    Our memory is similar, but tha Ca is over-rated I suspect. They aren't snails and actually need no Ca for the chitin in their carapace. Tap water, that's not dead soft, should work OK.

    Mach Fukada of HI is the champ at all kinds of Daphnia and Moina. He does them outdoors in bright sun to rapidly grow the green water he uses.

    As I recall, he gets huge yields by harvesting half a tub every single day, and replacing that water with green water from a tub above. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I think he fertilizes the green water with garden fertilizer. The green water used is replaced with fresh.

    The trick is the daily harvest, as they can double their population daily when going good. Failure to harvest can lead to a crash, as I recall his descriptions. Some of this should be in either the killietalk archives or the Live Foods Digest archives. Look for Mach Fukada.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarmigan
    Where ? Is(was) that the same one as the actwin list in my post above?
    Hi Malcolm,
    Yes, the archive is the same as provided in your earlier link. The list was never really hyper-active, even during it's best months but it was a chest of practical information. There were many killie follks in the list, including Wright, Scott Davis and Dr Cooper. As more and more culturing discussions returned to KillieTalk, LFML went into deep hibernation.

    As for bacteria, and judging from the dead squirrels and raccoons that fed daphnia cultures, I'm very tempted to drop in a tiny piece of minced beef and see if the daphnia go 'moooooo...' But I'm somewhat skeptical about "daphnia will start in just about anything watery!"... it can't be that easy!

    Worth a try isnt it ? Well perhaps not a squirrel, something smaller eh? :wink:
    I'm almost afraid to ask what you have in mind!

    and it looks to me like all the containers have lids ??
    Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be able to stack 'em up high. There are breathing holes at each corner, just so the snails and culture don't suffocate. I suppose I could lower the water level to increase the water-to-air ratio.

    Water should be alkaline since there's coral chips and a weekly (tiny) pinch of dolomite lime for the ramhorn snails.

    Are you using locally collected daphnia or ephipia (sp?) sent to you from overseas?
    These are what's available locally but I think they're cultured in Malaysia, where land and ponds are aplenty. I'm not versed in daphnia/monia species, so I don't know which these are.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by whuntley
    The trick is the daily harvest, as they can double their population daily when going good. Failure to harvest can lead to a crash, as I recall his descriptions. Some of this should be in either the killietalk archives or the Live Foods Digest archives. Look for Mach Fukada.
    Wright, there's never quite enough for daily harvest but twice a week I get to turkey-baster some to fry containers.

    What really bothers me tho, is the increasing number of tiny worms gathering at the waterline of the container. There's thousands of them and I don't know what these are, or where they come from. Think it's time I re-sub half of my existing cultures!

    BTW, some will say it's foolhardy of me to culture daphnia when it's available at the LFS, but that's just me (I do it to satisfy my curiousity and to feed my fry).
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ronnie,

    I visited a Betta breeder once and he had a Daphnia culture growing very well in a Horlicks' bottle. He had in the bottle used filter wool, taken from his external cannister filter. He said he has to harvest the Daphnia everyday or the culture will crash.

    Edward Yow who has visited many fish farms told me once that the farmers here use chicken poo to culture Daphnia in large drums. You already have lots of chicken poo so I will see if I can bring a dead rat to your house when I visit again

    Loh K L

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    Hi Ron,
    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    I'm very tempted to drop in a tiny piece of minced beef and see if the daphnia go 'moooooo...'
    Dont use British beef, else all your daphnials will be mad But seriously folks, yes give it a try, or, alternatively, a bit of mince in its own container ( well away from the domestic authority !) and then transfer drops from there to your various cultures from time to time ?
    and it looks to me like all the containers have lids ??
    Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be able to stack 'em up high. There are breathing holes at each corner,
    How about instead of the lid just two flat sticks of wood or whatever (chopsticks?) laid across the top and the next layer stood on those ?
    Yes, fair enough, I am no expert on exactly how much air or air movement they need, I was kind of clutching at straws, you had a problem and I was scratching round trying to think of possible explanations ( however outlandish !! you can forget the squirrels now :-) )

    best wishes,
    Malcolm.

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    Locally what we have are actually none of the Daphnia sp. but more of Moina sp. I came across this bit of information in one of the local sites, not sure which one that was but it was stated that what could be found locally are actually Moina spp. In any case these are much smaller than the regular Daphnia spp. so they're used pretty extensively in the local betta scene for fry raising.

    Ron, I don't think adding the piece of meat would make the buggers go "MooOo...!!". It might just have the incentive of causing a population boom. Use small slice though to reduce the stink factor. :wink:

    KL, I don't think you'd actually bring a dead rat over would u? Most dead mammals practically dry up from the loss of moisture in the blood, much like my dead hamsters when I still had a hamster colony at home. Not a nice sight indeed - shrunken stiff hairy bodies.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Hi all,
    I resubbed half of my cultures today and was game to try... (and curious to know);
    minced Aussie beef (now I wonder if my cultures will go 'under' :wink: ).
    minced chicken (for different bacteria, maybe??)
    raw chicken poop (really!... and 'fresh' too! )

    ... and urm Kwek Leong, I'll pass on the rat

    In addition to coral chips, I've crushed some freshly-broken egg shells and hoping that decomposition of the membrane will also feed the culture.

    Malcolm, the volume of water is reduced so I can better the 'surface area to volume ratio'. Let's see if this contribute to prolific reproduction.

    Jian Yang, if you can pinpoint the link regarding local Moina culturing, I'd like to read up on that. I recall a NUS article on daphnia/moina farming somewhere too...

    FWIW, I should be able to provide some feedback by mid-week.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    I love googling! Jian Yang, are you referring to this article on 'Moina Culture' at http://www.dbs.nus.edu.sg/research/f...ood/moina.html
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Let me figure out the food chain...

    Chicken Poos -> Green Water -> Daphnia -> Fishes

    Is it correct to say Fishes are eating Chicken Poos? Sorry, taking nutrients from Chicken Poos?

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    Oooo... you're close, but not quite right Freddy :wink:

    How about... Chicken Poop -> Bacteria* -> Daphnia -> Fishes
    * How is it that I can't get green water when I want it??

    I should know by this weekend which is better... the chicken poop, minced chicken/beef or decomposed cabbage with yeast! (BTW, Freddy, wanna stay for dinner? )
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ronnie,

    I think it works this way:
    Fishes -> Chicken Poo -> Bacteria*(???) -> Daphnia

    Let me explain. You see a food chain is a cycle, if there ain't gonna be a cycle, it will not start in the first place.

    So, very simple, you have got to first ask your Fishes whether they like Chicken Poo. Do not start the food chain if they do not, it will not work .

    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    BTW, Freddy, wanna stay for dinner?
    I see if I can get off with those dirty thoughts (poos).

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    Hi everyone!

    Iīve been visiting this forum for a while (by the way, very nice page)and now I finally decided to sign in (Iīm a bit lazy, you know...)

    Anyway, I thought Iīd share my experience with Daphnia and Ceriodaphnia. I havenīt really found a way to get the cultures to bloom yet:

    If I use yeast I always manage to crash the culture before it starts producing. Then I decided to use green water. I had good results till the algae started to pruduce clumps of cells which sink to the bottom and then the daphnia can no longer feed on them....but it still produces a little for my fry tanks.
    Finally last week I decided to try the bacteria method and I threw some potato slices in the daphnia tank. The water has turned white but so far I havenīt noticed any considerable increase in population, I guess I just have to wait a while longer and see what happens...

    Guilherme

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    Welcome to the forum Guilherme,

    Always good to have people from the land where my favourite Simpsonichthys come from.

    I'm going to try a daphnia culture myself. Got a big plastic tank with lots of rotting plants and some baby tadpoles. May remove the tadpoles and replace with some daphnias/moinas. Not sure if that will work but no harm trying. Besides, I can always try the greenwater method. :wink:
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
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    Hi Guilherme, welcome to the forum and I hope we'll be able to exchange thoughts and ideas. Locally, with the easy availability of live foods, culturing them is more of a hassle than it is worth.

    Slices of potatoes will work but it's better if you can boil or microwave it first. The heat will cause the fibres to break down and allow the slice to decompose faster. Banana peels have the same result but it seems that bacteria feeding on animal protein result in higher daphnia production.

    I've tried dog/cat biscuits with microworm and grindal cultures but not with daphnia. Perhaps we can both try it and compare notes.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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