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Culturing daphnia

LFNfan

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10 May 2022
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Picked up some daphnia at the LFS a few days ago for £1. Well past sell-by date. Thought rather than feeding them to the fish I'd try and culture instead.

Am feeding yeast.

Will see how it goes...
 

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Looking forward to see how you get on, interested in doing a small scale culture myself but have no idea where to start
 
Me too! I started by dumping a couple of bags of daphnia into a couple of water filter jugs that we haven't used for ages, and adding some powdered yeast, air and light. No extra heat, so this is garage-temperature. Highly unscientific and will probably end with mass casualties sooner or later ;)

Happy to provide an update as of Day 3 : Today I sucked out a load of empty carapaces and expired daphnia from the bottom of the water jugs with a turkey baster. Most of this is probably what was already in the bags anyway, given that I got two bags of nearly-dead daphnia at a knock-down price. Probably not the ideal starting position for this little experiment.

Today, one of the cultures is doing OK with a few big daphnia and maybe 20 - 30 tiny ones (impossible to estimate really). The other culture is doing less well with maybe 5 - 10 bigger daphnia but no tiny ones that I can see.

I am being completely unscientific in my approach to feeding. I just mixed a bit (a gram or two?) of powdered yeast into maybe an inch of water in the bottom of a plastic cup and just tipped a bit into each jug till the water was about half cloudy and poured the rest of the yeast mixture away. Gave it a bit of a swirl to mix. I am not refeeding till the water gets clear.

In terms of aeration, I'm just bubbling a few bubbles a second. I thought of doing one culture with and one without air, but I've gone all-in on the air.

In terms of lighting, I have a 10W lamp on for about 12 hours.

I think that's about it.
 
Currently waiting on some live daphnia I bought on-line with the intention of starting my own culture. So, since you are about a week ahead of me, I will be following your project with interest.

I was thinking of mixing a solution of yeast and algae wafer to feed them, is there any reason you are just using yeast on its' own?
 
Hi,
From the research I did, a few people (including @dw1305) seemed to have success with just yeast. So I thought I'd try the simplest feasible option first and troubleshoot off that baseline.

White jug is doing well, with the tiny daphnia having grown to being small. Blue jug is not doing well at all with just a few daphs remaining. I realised yesterday that Blue was not getting much light as it was shaded by White, so I moved it to get the same level of light as White.

Good luck with your culture! Interested to hear how yours goes too.
 
An old bucket, cover the bottom with old autumn leaves, fill with rain water - top up as evaporates. They'll disappear over winter but hopefully be back in spring. I'd try that as a back up to the more managed option, then you've got some to restart your culture if you need them :)
 
Hi all,
From the research I did, a few people (including @dw1305) seemed to have success with just yeast.
I always struggled with <"boom and bust"> using yeast (and gram flour and paprika), so eventually I went over to @tam 's method. <"Daphnia Culture Advice">
An old bucket, cover the bottom with old autumn leaves, fill with rain water - top up as evaporates. They'll disappear over winter but hopefully be back in spring.
It isn't anything like as productive, but you don't have the same issues, I originally got the method from <"Results from experimentation with Daphnia Cultures- Alternate Feeding">. If I wanted a lot of Daphnia ? I'd use <"green water">, but still with some dead leaves added.

cheers Darrel
 
Hi all,

I always struggled with <"boom and bust"> using yeast (and gram flour and paprika), so eventually I went over to @tam 's method. <"Daphnia Culture Advice">

It isn't anything like as productive, but you don't have the same issues, I originally got the method from <"Results from experimentation with Daphnia Cultures- Alternate Feeding">. If I wanted a lot of Daphnia ? I'd use <"green water">, but still with some dead leaves added.

cheers Darrel

+1 to this

This is my method too, I have two 80 litre tubs in the garden for culturing daphnia (and have recently added two additional 165 litre plasterers baths to increase production). Both 80 litre tubs froze solid last winter, but the daphnia came back strong this year without intervention.

img_4313-jpeg.jpg


The tubs have a layer of oak leaf mulch in the bottom, which I think helps to stabilise them (acts as a filter of sorts). I then culture green water to feed to them, which dramatically increases production rates. That is just a matter of gathering some well aged water - either leave some outside in a tub for a month or two, or use aquarium water from a water change - and add a heavy dose of ammonia based fertilizer to it. Leave it in a sunny spot, and in a week or two goes from clear to this:

img_4310-jpeg.jpg


I haven't had to do any maintenance or water changes on the tubs, so they are largely self sufficient.
 
@Wookii I saw this pic from Remanso - its brilliant (as is the rest of the journal) ! Might give this a go next year all being well. Not sure a gloriously green 80-litre Really Useful Box on the patio will be welcomed (or safe from the kids), unfortunately. A bucket I could definitely do though (thanks @tam ).

@dw1305 I can definitely see how my current approach will need quite a lot of husbanding (husbandry-ing??) so it might not be sustainable over time. I will be happy to achieve one boom and bust cycle for now ;)
 
.... Interested to hear how yours goes too
Well, three packs arrived this morning. They seem in good condition with lots of movement., and my fish certainly seemed to enjoy cleaning the net I used to filter them into tank water:)

I noticed in the thread that @dw1305 linked to that there was some discussion about growing them with plants, and since I have an abundance of the latter......

Currently I have:
  • Pothos cuttings I had left in a jar of aquarium water for the last five or six weeks to see if I could adapt them to growing in water
  • 7 litre tub with red root floaters on my kitchen window
  • Another 7 litre tub of water lettuce also on my kitchen window
With the addition of a large 7 litre plastic cookie jar, (also filled with aquarium water and sitting on my kitchen window,) each tub/jar received generous amounts of live daphnia. The Pothos jar gets good but dappled light, whereas the other three tubs/jar are in full daylight. In addition, I gave each container a 2ml squirt of yeast mixed with aquarium water.

I will let you know on my progress

Irvine

I just had a sudden flash of inspiration before posting: I think I will harvest a few of my frogbit and put empty the cookie jar into another tub where I will plant the harvested floater!
 
So, just a quick update.

I have 4 established cultures of daphnia and have had three or four small harvests. The harvests were large enough to make a treat for my fish, but not sufficient for regular feeding. As stated above, the cultures are in:
  • a jar of pothos cuttings
  • three tubs of floaters
The cultures in oldest (or greenest) tubs/jars are doing best, but I haven't quite yet got a workable system for harvesting. [At the moment, I have been concentrating on setting up a production line to produce small quantities of brine shrimp for my dwarf puffers :cool:]

The main problem with harvesting is that I don't want to unduly disturb the cuttings nor floaters. At the moment, I have been experimenting with using a pipette and 30 or 40cm of airline tubing to improvise a siphon. The main advantage to this would be that I can clean all the gunk [minus the snails] and harvest the daphnia at the same time.

I tried using the "Hobby Artemis Breeder" to separate out the daphnia from the gunk. This works, but the gadget is now being put to better use as a holding tank for the days' de-husked harvest of brine shrimp. Among other things, I am going to get a third cheap 'titration column' type brine shrimp hatchery. Used as a dedicated titration column, this will not only speed up the daily chore of brine shrimp production, but, after having watched the daphnia, I think that this will be a better solution to exploit the phototactic effect than the "Hobby" device.

In conclusion, I am impressed enough that I am ordering a large tiered plant shelf to fit on my kitchen table by the window. While I will undoubtedly put other light loving plants there, the main purpose of the shelf unit will be to hold the tubs of floater, and their daphnia symbiotes.

Oh, before I forget: I haven't really been feeding them. Since I started this experiment, I have only given them two small squirts of yeast. My main reason for doing so was because the tub of frogbit was new and had not really had a chance to develop algae. Now, a couple of weeks in, that is less of an issue.
 
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Thanks, appreciate your update. Could you post a pic of your setup? Sounds like algae is the way to go rather than yeast.

My experiment has been much less successful and I will probably abandon. My unproductive batch just dwindled away. My better batch got me a small amount in a small net - more than I started with - but overall I don't think my approach is setting me up for success!
 
Okay, here is a short video of the daphnia:


The basic set up is as follows:
MainSetup.jpg


You can see the "Hobby Artemis Breeder" which I using to store my daily harvest of brine shrimp in the above photo.

Below is the current brine shrimp production facility along with the 'pothos' culture of daphnia
BrineShrimp.jpg


On the left of the above picture is the plant shelf I am ordering to organise the tubs of daphnia and light loving plants.
 
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