How to culture your own Daphnia
Culturing your own daphnia is a very cheap and sustainable way to provide a valuable source of nutrition for your fish. Daphnia provide a good source of Vitamin A, B, C and D. They are ideal for raising fry and for conditioning fish for breeding. I found that they have a major advantage over brine shrimp in that any that are not eaten will not die and foul the water.
Culturing daphnia is simple. All you need is a container ( 1 gallon plastic bottles and buckets work well) a food source, and of course some daphnia.
To collect daphnia, you need only look for the nearest pond or still body of water. If you go there with a flashlight at night, within minutes they will be attracted to the light. Scoop up as many as you can. These will most likely be Daphnia pulex. After you have collected your initial breeders, check to make sure you have not also picked up unwanted organisms like dragonfly nymphs. . When adding your daphnia to their culturing containers be careful when handling them and do not pour them through the air as this will cause air bubbles to be trapped under their exoskeletons. They do not recover from this.
Daphnia do best in aged water or old tank water. They should be kept in neutral to slightly hard water. In order to keep the ph in the proper range you can add some crushed coral to the container. They need this source of calcium in order to create their exoskeletons. The water should be ideally between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Lighting is not necessary but I have better results when the containers are placed near a window. The water should be aerated with an airstone. Place it close to the surface if the water becomes too turbulent. I add some java moss to the tank for filtration.
Feeding your daphnia is simple. A few buckets placed outside to create green water is the easiest source of food. They feed on the suspended euglena as well as any infusoria in the water. If the green water is not available or you run out, an instant yeast solution is a good option. Feed until the water becomes slightly hazy but not cloudy. It is important not to overfeed when using yeast. Powdered milk can also be used. Some people perform water changes on their cultures but I have not and my population has not crashed. I keep some snails in the tank to consume any settled matter.
I advise keeping a few cultures going at once in case of crashes. Feel free to ask any questions, and enjoy culturing a nutritious and easy food source for your fish.
Last edited by Aeonflame; 03-22-2013 at 03:58 PM.
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"There is no right way to do the wrong thing." - KingFisher "Only bad things happen fast in this hobby" - Cliff Boo train boo train boo train boo train woohoo
This sounds very simple, and I happen to have an empty 10g, I may have to give this a try. Thanks for the information!
When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
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I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
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Good one. Two additions:
1. in some countries daphnia are also sold as live food. This is also a way to get started.
2. When you go to a pond dump your collection in a white plastic container first and inspect closely. Anything bigger than the daphnia is best returned to tthe water it came from.