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Live food cultures

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Sort of fish related I guess. Been thinking about setting up some sort of live food I can harvest all year round to feed my fish, something simple. Just wondering if you guys do it and what do you feed?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Just wondering if you guys do it and what do you feed?
I keep <"Grindal worms">, <"Micro-worms">, <"Vinegar Eels">, <"Daphnia">, <"Asellus, Crangonyx pseudogracilis"> and <"Black-worms">. I also "ranch" Blood-worms and Mosquito larvae. I would normally have <"vestigial winged Fruit-flies"> as well, but I don't have a culture at the moment.

I was going to suggest buying a copy of Mike Hellweg's <"Culturing Live Food"> but that doesn't look to be an option, unless you win the lottery. I'm offering a discount on my copy, yours for just £400 (plus p&p) but only for friendso_O.

Vinegar Eels are good for very small fry, particularly ones that swim high in the water column. They are practically no maintenance to keep, but fiddly to feed.

I've had the same Grindal and Micro-worms cultures for ~10 years. I keep the Micro-worms in the coleslaw pots you get from supermarkets etc. I feed them on rolled oats, and I sub-culture them every 6 weeks or so. My Micro-worms may be Banana worms, but in use it doesn't matter. They eat yeast, rather than the oats themselves, but when you buy them the worms bring the yeast with them. They are good for fry, and some adult fish are keen on them. They are a favourite food item for Threadfin Rainbows and Dwarf Corydoras.

Grindal worms I keep on potting compost in one litre ice cream tubs. They also get oats, I grind rolled oats, but you can use "Instant Oat" cereal. There are a couple of problems with Grindal worms cultures, they tend to boom and bust, and it is really difficult to keep <"Cereal and House Mites out of the cultures">. I've learnt to live with Mites and I add a couple of red-worms (Lumbricus rubellus) to the culture, to act as a "Canary". I keep four cultures at any one time, this means that I haven't lost them all in a "crash".

Grindal/Micro and Vinegar eels are productive all through the year.

I don't keep specific cultures of Daphnia, Asellus or Lumbriculus any more. They have all done well outside in water butts and/or buckets, and I also get Blood-worms and Mosquito larvae from these in the summer. I keep a few Black-worms (Lumbriculus) inside during the winter (just in ice-cream containers, with some moss & floating plants) as an insurance, and there are normally a few in the filter as well.

cheers Darrel
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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I'm thinking of Grindal Worms, just been reading up on keeping them. So many different ways it would appear!
 

zozo

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I was going to suggest buying a copy of Mike Hellweg's <"Culturing Live Food"> but that doesn't look to be an option, unless you win the lottery. I'm offering a discount on my copy, yours for just £400 (plus p&p) but only for friendso_O.

JC why the heck would somebody write a book about that print it in a vatican bible quality and offer it for such a price? Produced in 2008? In this digital era he could make some real good cash offering it for 50 in a digital version.. He's shooting in his own foot making his product about unavailable to the large public. Not a smart bussinesman..
 

gregl

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JC why the heck would somebody write a book about that print it in a vatican bible quality and offer it for such a price? Produced in 2008? In this digital era he could make some real good cash offering it for 50 in a digital version.. He's shooting in his own foot making his product about unavailable to the large public. Not a smart bussinesman..

I've seen this happen with a few different non-fiction books on amazon, think it's a way for the seller to stop someone buying it. Someone one told me sellers reduce the cut amazon takes if they have a certain number of listings at once. Could be their version of vacation mode. Could be a mistake in an algorithm somewhere. Not certain of the reason but I'm fairly sure they have no intention to be selling at that price.
 

zozo

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I've seen this happen with a few different non-fiction books on amazon, think it's a way for the seller to stop someone buying it.
You mean cartel formation? So the head of the Grindal worm culturing family offered a year salary to the author to give it a absurd price?. :rolleyes:
 

alto

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This is commonly seen in out of print books - often the absurdly priced versions do not actually exist (at least any I tracked were either nonexistent or actual rare books)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
JC why the heck would somebody write a book about that print it in a vatican bible quality and offer it for such a price? Produced in 2008? In this digital era he could make some real good cash offering it for 50 in a digital version.. He's shooting in his own foot making his product about unavailable to the large public. Not a smart bussinesman..
I don't think the problem lies with the author. I bought my copy (hard-back) in 2008 for about £25.

Edit I just had a look and I paid the sterling equivalent of $35 in May 2009.

I assume it was a limited print run, and it is an in demand book, although I can't see that any-one would actually pay £400 for it.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

AverageWhiteBloke

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How much would you sell me the page on Grindal worms for? ;)
 

zozo

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Hi all, I don't think the problem lies with the author. I bought my copy (hard-back) in 2008 for about £25.

Edit I just had a look and I paid the sterling equivalent of $35 in May 2009.

I assume it was a limited print run, and it is an in demand book, although I can't see that any-one would actually pay £400 for it.

cheers Darrel

Yes i saw it in that canadian webshop where it still was priced originaly, but out of stock.. :) It are indeed opportunistic prices for the desperately greedy and rich willing to pay.. Saw a $ 700 copy on ebay.. I had a laugh, i also wonder if they ever going to sell it.. About all information can be found on the internet.. Can't beleive the book contains the goose with the golden eggs. :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
How much would you sell me the page on Grindal worms for? ;)
Grindal worm culture is covered in pages 105 - 108 and the book is 240 pp. long, which works out at ........£6.66! If we assume that £400 is a reasonable price.

Mike Hellweg describes both soil and soil-less methods and he recommends the soil-less culture method. Details are in this thread (on the NANF forum) <"Grindal worms">.

cheers Darrel
 

JMorgan

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Re Vinegar eels - I have mine in a two litre pop bottle from which I pour a a little bit into one of the larger of these
Link: http://amzn.eu/4bdrhGy

Though the measurement isnt the teeniest bit important, the shape of the measure is very handy as you then pop a bit of filter floss in so it just touches the top of the vinegar solution containing the "eels". Then top up with aquarium water. The "eels" have to reach the surface to breath so the swim up into the fresh water through the filter floss. I syringe off the now eel containing fresh water and squirt back into the fry tank. This I continue to do for at least two or three squirts, but depending on frequency of feeding the vinegar eels will continue to live perfectly well for many days. When its depleted I just pour the lot back into the original culture and replace.

It's sad there isnt a giant type of vinegar eel as its incredibly easy but they're only really good for very small fry.

Ive just got my daphnia culture going outdoors - just buy some live daphnia from your LFS and bung them in a bucket. I like to aerate mine, but its probably not critical - feed with activated yeast and spirulina powder 2:1 just to make the water cloudy. Change 20% water weekly - try to use well aged water as I've heard a rumour they don't do well with water that's had conditioners added to it. This could well be nonsense, but makes some sense of my past experience of daphnia cultures failing to thrive when I thought I was doing everything right.
Hope that helps :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I have mine in a two litre pop bottle from which I pour a a little bit into one of the larger of these Link: http://amzn.eu/4bdrhGy
That is a good idea, and I have plenty of measuring cylinders available.
..... This could well be nonsense, but makes some sense of my past experience of daphnia cultures failing to thrive when I thought I was doing everything right.
I've found the Daphnia cultures are a lot less prone to crashing if they have a pond snail and some dry grass/hay in the culture bucket. I got the idea from <"Caudata.org"> and it definitely helps with boom and bust. I'm not feeding mine at all at the moment and I can still harvest every other day. I haven't restarted any of the buckets for several years.

Most of my buckets now have Asellus and Hornwort (Ceratophyllum) in them as well. I assume the Ceratophyllum hinders rather than helps Daphnia growth, but it seems to do wonders for the Lumbriculus culture, and it stops them getting Spirogyra etc. The cat will only drink from a bucket outside, and she doesn't like them if they have filamentous algae. Because of the cat I keep the buckets topped up.

All my buckets have a frog in them now, they just seem to enjoy a day times rest in the buckets. Just before I took the photo (with a flash) there were four frogs, at 90o from one another.

frogs.jpg


I assume a frog is probably quite useful, and I also assume it is the reason why the Ceratophyllum does so well.

cheers Darrel
 

JMorgan

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Speaking of cats . . . they are the only real problem with using measuring cylinders, not being the most stable of objects! I put mine inside a heavy jar to cat proof it :)

Thanks for the dry grass / hay tip - off to bung some in right now and rehome a pond snail or three :) The daphnia culture tub is right next to the pond, so I dare say frogs may visit.

Great picture - does look like Mr & Mrs Frog have just had a row and aren't speaking! :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
does look like Mr & Mrs Frog have just had a row and aren't speaking!
I assume that the smaller frog would have moved around to be 180o from the larger one pretty soon after that. When there were four frogs they were as far a part from one another as they could get.

I'll have a look tonight, but I have more buckets now, so I assume that each bucket will just have a single frog.

cheers Darrel
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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So I tried microworms using porridge oats and a starter culture off well know auction site. Seems to be successful and had my first harvest today. I knew they were going to be small but didn't realise that small. I could actually see the worms swimming right in front of ember tetras faces and they didn't appear to be too interested.
My Rams who are finicky eaters and the main reason I was trying to culture live food seemed to be pecking quite a lot in various surfaces but I would imagine they would need a hell of a lot to feel like they've had a meal. I think they would be more suited to fry and v small fish.

Looks like I'll have to try grindal worms which seem to be a bit bigger, I'll try soil substrate first as soil less seems a bit hit and miss, maybe try it once I have an established culture. When you say feed oats is that the same porridge oats I started my microworms with? If I feed dog biscuits are there any in particular, ones that avoid? I'm guessing just any dry dog biscuit right?

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Edvet

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I've been messing around with live food cultures a lot last year. Had microworms (3 spp) (on oatmeal), no problems, but didn't need them anymore so neglected (and lost) cultures. I've had vinegar eels but didn't manage to keep those longer time.
Hyalella mexicana: ( aka scuds) finaly got a culture going ( bought starterpack in Germany). They are easy now, i put them in just a small tank, but also had them in all kind of tubs. I feed them cucumber. These i collect for my big tank mainly, the scuds are a bit to big for most small fish (apisto and smaller). The non eaten ones stay alive in the tank and are eaten when they are noticed. I've tried them in large quantities in a smaller tank ( breeding, so all sizes where in it), to see how self sustaining they where, but they harassed/ tickled a pair of apisto's that much in the night they jumped out of the tank (at least i guess that happened). These can be in lower numbers and probably sustain themselves in a densly planted lightly stocked tank.
Enchytreae en grindal worms: soil based cultures tend to crash every now and then, and i have mites on them ( these could originate from feeding bread). When i started them on clay granulate (Seramis) they are much more stable. When a culture starts to smell i can just rinse it in tapwater, carefully so the worms don't wash out, and feed them again. Mites are having a far harder time on granulate, and removing them after the food is gone is 1) easier and 2 ) more effective . I am sure i can get rid of them eventually. I feed the worms with soaked dog kibble, (soak in hot water for 30-60 mins, squash them onto the surface) , refeed when it's gone. I put a plastic card on top of the food, the worms will crawl onto that an i can brush them of with a wetted brush and dip that in the tank. I have found that the worms will need a bit of air, so leave a corner open or use a non- airtight container. Due to the high quality dogfood i believe this is a good food. I've used these exclusively on fish during a long time and ketp them healthy, and not to fat.
I've tried, and failed on Moina. but i want to try those again.
Brineshrimp: i've done those, but always found them to be a bit tedious. I am trying the daphnia dish right now (by Hobby)
grindal/enchytraeen
37241208201_06383c20e2_c.jpg
20170922_120057 by Ed Prust, on Flickr

Hyalella mexicana
36986067480_b2a8172289_c.jpg
20170922_120258 by Ed Prust, on Flickr
 

zozo

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So there you were all this time.. Making Cappuccino's..
36986067480_b2a8172289_c.jpg

:lol: Good to see you back.. :thumbup:
 

Lindy

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I started a worm culture for my discus and a by product has been the appearance of white worms. They eat food waste but also fish food. The discus eat the big worms and I give the white worms to everything else as a treat. I made my worm farm out of a 25l beer brewing tub. Drilled holes in the bottom then covered the holes with filter floss. There is a vent cut in the middle of the lid. Bought the worms from I think the Yorkshire worm online shop.

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