Feeding Fry

Feeding Fry

Fry food


Infusorians is a suitable food for very small fish fry. You can easily grow your own Infusoria cultures at home. This way you will always have cheap and nutritious food ready for your fry. Infusorians are minuscule single cell organisms that live in water. To cultivate your own Infusoria you will only need tap water, some bruised vegetables and a few clean containers such as jars or similar.

Boil the tap water and let it cool down to room temperature. Fill the jars with the water and add some bruised vegetables to each jar. Bruised lettuce leaves or banana skins are recommended, since they are known to produce a lot of Infusoria. One banana skin or 3-4 lettuce leaves is a good amount for each jar. Do not put any lids on the jars. Place your jars in a warm place where they will receive moderate light.

The water in the jars will soon turn cloudy and begin to smell a bit. As the Infusorians develop, the smell will become increasingly sweet and the water will clear up. It will usually take 3-4 days for Infusoria to develop. When the water looks clear, you can start feeding your fry with the Infusoria. Use a siphon or a spoon to remove the Infusoria from the top of the jar and place it in your fry aquarium. Make sure not to bring any plant material from the Infusoria jars over to the fry rearing tank, since this can pollute the water. Start developing new Infusoria culture every 3-4 day to make sure you always have enough food for your fry until they are big enough to eat larger food.

Brineshrimps (Artemia salina)

Most fish fry is large enough to eat brine shrimp as their first food, especially if you give them newly hatched brine shrimp. Very small fry should instead be fed Infusoria, and brine shrimp can be introduced as a second food. If you feed your brine shrimp suitable food, they will grow large enough to be used as food for adult fish as well. Growing large brine shrimps is an inexpensive way of providing your fish with much appreciated live food, and is especially recommended when you wish to induce spawning.

Just like Infusoria, brine shrimp is easy to cultivate at home. You can buy a brine shrimp hatchery from your fish store or fix one yourself. Brine shrimp will even hatch in bottles! Some brine shrimp hatcheries will require and air stone connected to an air operated pump. Other brine shrimp hatcheries can be attached to the inside or outside of the aquarium.

If you want to fix your own brine shrimp hatchery in a bottle you can use a clean milk bottle or similar. Boil some water, three-quarters of a pint is enough, and let it cool down before you use it to fill the bottle. Add one teaspoon of aquarium salt to the water and put the bottle in a warm room. It is possible to use ordinary cooking salt instead of aquarium salt, but the result will usually not be as good as with aquarium salt. Insert an air stone in the bottle to provide oxygen. Place a pinch of brine shrimp eggs in the water and wait for them to hatch. The water temperature must never go below 15 degrees Celsius, but this is usually not a problem in a temperate room. Brine shrimp eggs will typically hatch after 48 hours or even earlier. By setting up new bottles you can make sure that you always have suitable size brine shrimp for your fry.

Brine shrimp eggs can be bought in most pet shops and fish stores. If you use eggs with shells you must turn off the air stone in the hatchery to make the shells sink to the bottom. The hatched brine shrimp will stay a few inches above the bottom and can be easily removed. It is important to separate the brine shrimp from the shells, since shells might get stuck inside the fish fry if they consume them. You can also buy shell-free brine shrimp eggs.

Water Fleas (Daphnia)

Water fleas can be hard to disinfect properly, so if you want to feed your fry daphnia you must obtain the daphnia from a source that you can trust and that you know have no sanitary problems. The same is true if you plan to raise your own daphnia for the fry; you must make sure that you begin with a disease free starter culture.

Once your have obtained a proper starter culture of daphnia, the rest is easy. Fill a plastic container with 5 gallons of tap water and let the water stand for roughly 48 hours in room temperature. Obtain a handful of manure from a stable. You will also need a nylon bag. You can produce one yourself from a pair of nylon stay-ups or use the type of nylon bag that comes with washing machine tablets. Place the manure in the nylon bag and submerge the nylon bag in the water. After roughly 7-10 days the water will have turned cloudy, which means that the water is now filled with micro organisms for the daphnia to feed on. Add the daphnia to the water and wait. The culture will take care of itself for the few weeks needed for the daphnia to grow large and abundant enough to be suitable as fish food. The easiest way of removing daphnia is to use a fine meshed net.


Whiteworms are a much appreciated fry food that can be cultured at home. You will need to obtain some moist and nutritious garden soil for the whiteworms to grow in. Fill 75% of a shallow box with garden soil. If necessary, water the soil until it is quite damp. It is important that the soil never is allowed to dry out, but waterlogged soil is just as bad. Add the whiteworm culture to the soil together with a few small pieces of moist white bread. Cover the box with a lid. The box or the lid must have some air holes to allow for ventilation. Put the box in a dark place where the temperature is around 16-18 degrees Celsius. Bring new bread to the box every 3-4 day and make sure that the soil is constantly moist. If you find any uneaten food you should remove it before it turns bad.

When its time for your to collect whiteworms for your fish, you just spoon out some soil from underneath the bread. You will naturally find the largest congregations of whiteworm right beneath the food pieces. Pour the soil with the whiteworms into a bowl or dish filled with water. When the worms have become separated from the soil you can easily collect them and drop them into the aquarium.

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