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Thread: Green Water

  1. #1
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    Green Water

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    Hi,
    I have been gently nudged to post how I grow my green water, generally Paramecium and Euglena species.

    Like all live foods I would recommend doubling up on everything, since cultures do crash.
    But good green water makes the difference between raising lots of fry or losing lots of fry, especially in the first few days. So hopefully this might be useful to people. Sorry if it is long and the pictures are not the best. The biggest problem people have is forgetting that these are living things, so you need to treat them pretty much like you would your fish. Anyway here is how I do it, and it seems to be working fine.

    Ok firstly I started with an old plastic tank, and followed the traditional method, that is lettuce leaves. I used water straight from the tap, and just let it sit on a shelf that gets a few hours of sunlight in the morning. About a week later I added some chicken manure, the processed pellets for plants from the supermarket. About a teaspoon.
    Occasionally in the first month or so I also added some left over daphnia, (Moina) , and the water they come in, nothing really survived at this stage though but i think it helped to innoculate the water.
    Anyway after about 6 weeks I end up with this:



    This is the little tank growing happily, the water is slightly alkaline and i threw in a couple of coral chips. I have also gotten into the habit of throwing dead plant leaves in there when i am cleaning up. The picture is not the best but it gives you an idea of the setup. One thing to remember here is that they so fine with only a couple of hours of sunlight a day, too much sunlight is just as bad as none.

    This water as is, is not very good for fish, the following picture gives an example of what it is like "straight".



    You can see all the crap in there, the next step is to filter it. I use just an old piece of cloth, so i end up with a fairly decent concentration of greenwater without all of the muck.



    or a close up:



    The next step is to dilute this - with aquarium water. Tap water will kill the protozoans we want. The water "straight" also has high nitrates so it is better to dilute it. Eventually you end up with this:



    I tried to take some pictures of the bottle to give you an idea, but they did not come out very well. But essentially if everything has gone well, then the water looks dusty. You can see lots of little particles floating around in there.



    Now I just let it sit with some light for a day or two, this helps use up any nitrates that are still around and helps to further make the water a bit safer. Paramecium will tend to be more mobile and stay suspended longer, euglena will tend to clump after a few days on the bottom. A simple test of if you have a good culture or not is simply to put it near a light. If it is good you will notice the "green" tends to move towards the light, much like BBS. Remember the idea here is not to grow single celled alge, but protozoans - microscopic animalcules in the old language.

    I use this to feed fry and also to keep some further cultures I am playing around with going, where i am attempting to futher purify things. If you want to keep this you will need to feed the culture, very weak yeast solution will do. But if you use to much you will just end up with a horrible mess.



    But this is great stuff for fry, the following photo shows a tray of S.magnificus fry. Some of it has clumped up, but the water has a nice greenish tinge (even if hard to see). One trick is to keep the light on all the time for the first week or so. This helps keep everything stable, also the protozoans will eat bacteria and things and generally help keep the water clean, even if it does not look it.



    After a week or so the water will clear up naturally as the fry eat their way through it.But if your greenwater is good, then you should be able to get about 90% success rate with your fry, there will always be belly sliders and things which cannot be helped. But too many fry really starve in the first few days.

    Some other things, once you have pure cultures, then try and keep them pure. In the average home aseptic environments are virtually impossible, so the idea is really to try and provide the right environment so that one type becomes dominant. But that will not happen if you mix things up all over the place. The biggest problem I am having is infection with Monia at the moment, although I should not complain as I have been trying to grow those beasts for 20 years.

    In most cases you dont need pure cultures, but if you like to experiment this is what Euglena, looks like when clumped on the bottom



    I hope that helps, of course everyone will do things their own way but it is always good to see how someone else does things.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  2. #2
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    Re: Green Water

    Glad to see you have 'the soup' up and going, Scott.

    My 2 cents. In that plastic tank where the green water and paramecium is being cultivated, it'd be good if you have some sort of hardy plants, like loose leaves of java fern, hornwort or floaters. This ought to keep the nitrates down to reasonable levels.

    Also, I don't see any snails! These will consume the rot and their waste products will in turn, feed the microscopic organisms. Heck, even Moina will do some good Try it on a second culture and see if that gets any better. YMMV but let me know if you need any brown ramhorns.

    Another thing that caught my eye. What's this infection problem you have with Moina? How do you 'prepare' them for feeding... straight from the bag? Please elaborate.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Moina and Daphnia are deadly enemies to a good green water culture, so I usually keep some fish in any water I want for Euglena or Chlorella species. They eat the larger filter-feeders that deplete the green water. Even Rotifers and Paramecia need to be kept out for best growth. Here, I have used Owens Suckers, but feeder goldfish or some cold-water SAAs work well, too.

    Plants compete for the nitrates they need to grow, so don't have any in a green water culture. You want high nitrates to get good greening.

    I feed a complete houseplant fertilizer, like "Miracle Grow" that is high in nitrogen compounds, so the water has an unhealthy amount of urea and ammonium right after fertilizing. I wait a few days for it to mostly be converted to NO3 before using it as baby-fish food. Nitrates (below about 300 ppm) are quite harmless, but urea, ammonia, and nitrites are another matter.

    My best green-water has far higher density than that shown in the pictures. You would have difficulty seeing the shadow of a finger inserted an inch in from the wall of the container. Partial direct sun and bright shade for most of the day seems to work best for me, too.

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

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    Hi Ronnie,

    I try not to keep snails, I know it sounds strange but i don't like the things, although I have handled lots of animals I think I have some sort of aversion (phobia??) to them. Probably from standing on a few land snails and slugs barefoot as a kid. Although I don't doubt the reasons people use them.

    With the plants I have tried keeping the plants like you say, but for me it seems to always attract algae. I have another tank with some plants growing in it and some snails, don't ask me what they are though. I am completely ignorant in that department. But in that tank it has really turned more into a fur ball with lots of hair algae.

    The aquatic gardening side of things I am completely useless at. Other times I have managed to get the plant to grow but then the water clears up too well, so balancing it that way I really don't know.

    So for simplicity I have just focused on getting one type of green thing growing.

    Once I have prepared the culture like above and diluted it I then use that to seed other trays about 50/50 with aged water, depending on what i want to do. Just those throw away containers 10 for $2 or so. These then go under a desk lamp that is nearly always on, and then I just leave them until I need them. I record all the dates and where I cultured them from ( I still have some that are completely pure from the bag you gave me), so I can then rotate through them and just use a tray as I need it. Other containers are for growing and experimenting with different things.

    In my case the high nitrates are not a problem, because I further dilute it down and let it culture a bit longer. But I would not recommend using "straight" green water anyway.

    I am really playing about with trying to slowly purify the cultures, so some I have been repeatedly diluting and so on. So in a way the feeding of the fish is more secondary, as bizarre as that sounds. I get caught up in different projects that trigger something in my head.

    The interesting thing is that in some of the containers I am getting outbreaks of Moina, I tried to take a picture but it did not help, maybe I will have another go tomorrow. But they will flair up and clear the water, it is never enough to feed anything useful, but it does come in handy for a few fry.

    I might try more culturing experiments on them, since I think they are probably easy with the green water. But for me as long as I have a few around to cover me between trips to the shop I don't worry about them. But they have definitely cleared a few containers. Within a few days, an empty container with green water, will suddenly sprout a population of Moina. I assume from cysts. In that case they end up as fish food.

    And the containers where I have tried to grow Moina on a microscale, well they have nothing, even when I have tried feeding them green water, airation etc. So I am a bid fed up of Moina and Daphnia and trying to get them to grow in any sensible way.

    So for me it seems to work, and the little tank is really a resovoir I use to keep other cultures going, that are a bit more refined.

    But I have 4 separate strains going, one from yours, one from my little tank, one from my furball tank and one from a drain nearby ( got some stares collecting that) . I also have some mixtures of the above, they are the ones that seem most prone to Moina outbreaks.

    Feeding yeast seems to be very sensitive, I have messed up a few with too much. And feeding yeast to Mina seems to have gotten me no where.

    Anyway it keeps my fish happy and keeps me out of trouble. But it definitely seems to make a big difference with Simpsonichthys sap. I had a good hatch of S.suzarti but at the time did not have any decent green water, so I lost a lot in the first 2-3 days. Since then I have been using the above with SA. perpendicularis and SA. constanciae and had virtually zero loses apart from the few that hatch with problems.

    I think some fish just don't like the walter or micro worms for whatever reason and BBS are just a bit too big for a lot of day old fry. And I also think the fish prefer the water a bit murky, especially killies, since they are skittish fish anyway. I use it for all my fry, since I don't think it hurts but for smaller fry I think it makes a big difference. Normally I just siphon some in to keep them happy.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  5. #5
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    Hi Wright,

    Yeah the culture can get a lot stronger than that depending on how much I am taking from it. Sometimes it can get that soupy thickness to it. But it is just a small tank that I then top up again with old water. So the concentration varies depending on the load I put on it.

    For fry trays I try and keep it not too strong, since then if something goes wrong it won't upset the water too much. Just a nice green tint seems to work for me. Although I have seen people raise fry in tanks where it is almost soup like.

    But growing green water, is a bit like boiling an egg properly, sometimes what should be simple turns out to be all sorts of problems. Everyone will do it their own way and pick bits from everyone else's way of doing it.
    Anyway I hope it might give those having trouble some ideas on how to do it themselves. Since it will make raising fry much easier.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  6. #6
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    Jianyang,

    Don't nail me for the Genus names above, I was not paying attention to the spell checker - S became SA.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_sg
    Jianyang,

    Don't nail me for the Genus names above, I was not paying attention to the spell checker - S became SA.

    Scott.
    Scott, how'd you guess I was going to read this thread? You jumped the gun but then again, I'm not always a stickler for genus or species name.. hahah!!

    Simp. suzarti fry are actually tough little critters, but they die when stocked too densely. I keep all of my fry in small plastic tanks with a sponge filter, plus a single ramshorn snail. The method has worked very well with me so far.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Jianyang,

    I think Scott's post deserves to be archived somewhere in this forum where it can be easily retrieved for future reference.

    Great post, Scott. It would have been perfect though, if the pictures were clearer.

    Loh K L

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    Hi Scott,

    If I leave a container of water in the open like that, I will only get fat mossie babies and a love letter from Mossie Control Squad .

    Scott if you don't have fishes in it, do you need to put a cover or some fine netting over it? Is there any aeration?

    ----------------------------------
    Selena

  10. #10
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    Selena, I normally put some plastic wrap across the top, but it looked too ugly for the pic but in general not much else would grow in there since I think it was a bit rich for most things. A couple of platies or goldfish or some other tough fish that would survive and help keep any insects away would be probably be good though.

    Gan I have had Canon for years now and already have quite a bit of kit for that, but a digital body and macro lens is a bit beyond me at the moment, so I will get something to keep me happy in the mean time. And I would definitely agree that you would never go wrong with Canon or Nikon. I generally think Nikon's optics are better, but for me the extra cost for not much gain if any, and at the time the much better after sales and support in Australia, always meant I had Canon. I am not really up with these things anymore - but definitely it is time for me to move into the digital age.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  11. #11
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    Hi some more experiments

    The pic below is quite awful but it is not easy taking photos of this stuff so I hope you can get the idea. Anyway it is a side view of two containers, the top has an almost pure culture of Paramecia, the bottom is a mixture of what was Euglena and now lots of moina!

    For scale the water depth in each container is about an inch.



    This is all done in a sealed plastic food container, and there is a real swarm of them. But I am puzzled, since I was always told told that you need lots of oxygenated water before you can even consider getting useable amounts. Admittedly it is not a huge amount but considering the size of the container it will definitely keep a few fish happy. I had not even opened the container in about 2 weeks so I am bit puzzled what is going on.

    All that was in there was some green water with some yeast added originally and about 2 weeks ago I noticed a couple of Moina, and now there are lots. I have been amusing myself making them swim across the container following a light.

    So there seems to be some hope for growing them in small containers. But I will keep playing around. I will see how I go culturing these beasts and see if I can get some rotation going, since I have a few containers swarming with them.

    Interestingly the containers where I "followed the rules" slightly alkaline water, some calcium and gentle bubbling from a hose - gives me nothing. Well some cyclops, so I will try culturing them for fun.

    The upper container is a culture of almost pure Paramecia, the cultures for these creatures take on an almost milky appearance when pure. But I will keep working with them and see where it ends up.

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  12. #12
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    Do you guys get any smell from your greenwater cultures esp. after adding whatever food? I've had one started accidentally going for maybe a year or so and after "feeding" it has a pretty strong smell to it if you put your nose a few inches from it. However, fish manage to live in it just fine and Jordanella floridae even grew faster than the ones pampered inside so perhaps it isn't that much of an issue.

    I recently tried to start up some in a white 5 gallon bucket but it has not been working as well. Maybe not enough light or time. Right now all it is doing is growing bacteria(cloudy)...maybe a slight green tinge.
    ~Joseph

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