Fruit fly culture media nutrition
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:08 PM   #1
Taari
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Fruit fly culture media nutrition


I'm a member of a forum that focuses on dart frogs, but that community seems to be fairly set in their ways when it comes to this.

My idea is that the nutritional value of our fruit fly culture media can affect the health of our frogs. Most fruit fly culture media is made from potato flakes or powder, sugar, brewers yeast, and maybe some cinnamon and methyl paraben (a fungus inhibitor).

Maybe I'm being too concerned here, but in my mind, what we feed the flies should be as nutritious as possible so that nutrition is passed along to the frogs.

While we coat the flies with vitamin powder, the best source of vitamins are always from food. If the food the flies eat is packed with nutrition, then the flies will be packed with nutrition.

Does that make sense to anyone else?
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:04 AM   #2
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makes perfect sense to me. i used to keep barking tree frogs and noticed that if i coated the flies in chlorella powder, the frogs grew faster. at first, they didnt like the powder coating, but they cam around to it eventually. when they got big enough i would eventually move on to crickets that had been gut loaded with a thin algae wafer i made from the chlorella. when you think about it, they naturally eat things that feed on detritus or plants in the wild. its rare to find a predator that will eat only one type of prey that feeds on only one type of food(like fruit flies raised on fermenting potatoes).

i would have gut loaded the flies, but i was never sure if they were actually eating the algae...
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:30 AM   #3
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Makes sense... Do you suppose putting vitamin powder in the medium would do anything to help? I keep two little cutie dart frogs, and I want what's good for them.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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I've heard that springtails and isopods that live in the substrate of the vivarium are very important to the health of the frogs. The stomach contents of wild dart frogs has been shown to consist mostly of springtails. I think besides healthy fruit flies, it's important to give the frogs a varied diet that includes springtails and isopods. I have a springtail culture that is growing well, but isn't booming yet, so I've been hesitant to feed them to my frogs, however I did seed their vivariums with springtails (which I never see)
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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spot on, you are what you eat. my favorite ff medium recipe (not my recipe actually, but my favorite one to use) is

1 cup banana (about 2 bananas)
1 cup apple sauce
1/8 cup vinegar (or 2 tablespoons or 15 ml)
2 cups oatmeal
Put the banana and apple sauce in blender or bowl and mix until the banana
is liquefied. Heat in the microwave for approximately 2 min. or until hot
enough to kill off any wild fruit fly eggs that were in the bananas, and to
reduce mold. Add the vinegar and mix in oatmeal until it becomes firm, but
still moist. I then put the mixture into a large freezer bag and keep it in
the fridge.

When it's time to make a culture, I scoop what I need and put it in the
culture container (usually microwaving it a bit to warm it up). I then sprinkle
a few pinches of bakers yeast on top.


of course you can add whatever vit/min supplements (e.g., chlorella) you like to make it even more nutritious. I never understood the reason for adding yeast, although everyone seems to do it. someone told me that the adult FF eat it, but that seems hard to believe. i also read that it inhibits the growth of less desirable fungi.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:26 PM   #6
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Brewers yeast is inactive yeast, so it doesn't actually inhibit mold, but it provides nutrients and protein. I've heard of alot of people sprinkling a bit of live active yeast, such as you would use to bake bread at home, on top of the culture and that is supposed to prevent mold.

Do you find that your recipe starts to smell after a while? Does it produce lots of flies?
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taari View Post
Brewers yeast is inactive yeast, so it doesn't actually inhibit mold, but it provides nutrients and protein. I've heard of alot of people sprinkling a bit of live active yeast, such as you would use to bake bread at home, on top of the culture and that is supposed to prevent mold.
Sorry Taari, I think you received some misinformation. Baker's yeast = brewer's yeast (although there are different strains for different purposes...I make beer and bread!), and they are definitely active, not inactive. I get both in 'active dry' form that is simply rehydrated (aka proofed) before use. Nutritional yeast (aka nooch) is deactivated (aka inactive, does not 'come back to life') and used as a nutritional ingredient (I like it on salads).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taari View Post
Do you find that your recipe starts to smell after a while? Does it produce lots of flies?
I don't find it smelly; with a good start of maggots or fertile adults (and yeast) it lasts as long and produces as well as any commercial media, IME.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:07 AM   #8
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Here we go. FFs, both larvae and adults, eat yeast and development is not successful without it! http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2010.00997.x/pdf
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:59 AM   #9
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I use repashy superfly, it's full of goodies. I tried some of the small name stuff that's basically potato flakes and yeast, they worked fine, but for a similar price i can buy the repashy product and feel a whole lot more comfortable using it.

I don't make my own because I wouldn't be saving a whole lot of money, and I would be spending a whole lot more time on it. Right now I just fill my electric kettle, hit boil, and prepare 2 large cultures a week. Takes me all of 5 minutes. 2/3 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of media, handful of excelsior, lid. wait 3 hours, dump a bunch of flies in. wait 2 weeks, flies out the bunghole.

If you keep larger darts, bean beetles are just about the cheapest, easiest most prolific food i've ever had the joy of culturing. look into getting some. I don't own any darts, only madagascar reed frogs, and they love the bean beetles. I culture hydei for them, but they like the bean beetles even more.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:20 PM   #10
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Hi Mordalphus. Thanks for the input on Superfly. I hear great things about all Repashy products. The list of ingredients for Superfly is crazy awesome! (see below). Probably better than what I eat, LOL! The nixtimal made me laugh because I know how hard that is to DIY. The price isn't bad either. We just always seem to have a banana or 2 getting old, an old half-empty jar of applesauce in the fridge. I just put them in the freezer until I'm ready to make more medium. You're right though, it is more work. Back in my 'zoo days' when money was not an issue, not only didn't we make our own medium, we didn't even make our own cultures, just bought new ones as we needed them. Those Ed's Flymeat cultures (you probably know them in WA) would rage forever. Good times. I've heard people recommend the bean beetles before, but we keep so many dried beans in the house for our own use, I'm afraid the beetles would get out and take over! Wife still hasn't forgiven me for the great waxworm escape of '98...they ate books, carpet, curtains, anything and everything, LOL!

Superfly INGREDIENTS: Potato Granules, Brewers Dried Yeast, Fructose, Nixtamal, Dried Nopal, Dried Kelp, Alfalfa Leaf, Cinnamon, Dried Krill, RoseHips, Calendula Flower, Marigold Flower Extract, Phaffia Rhodozyma Yeast, Paprika Extract, Spirulina Algae, Turmeric, Salt, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Gluconate, Canthaxanthin, Malic Acid, Guar Gum, Calcium Propionate, Methylparaben and Potassium Sorbate (as mold inhibitors), Lecithin, Rosemary Extract and Mixed Tocopherols (as preservatives), Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement).
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:14 PM   #11
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Variety is just as important, I used to feed as many different FF species as possible, my larger Tincs would take tiny crickets, which helps loads as you can feed them up easily on all sorts of stuff. Been weevils, FF maggots, Springs, get as much as you can in those bellies

If I ever get darts again I'm definitely getting some P.Terribilis so I can supplement with crickets.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for the great information everyone! I've been using the fruit fly media from Josh's Frogs, and it smells fantastic (like baked apples), but I believe it is nothing more than potato powder, powdered sugar, nutritional yeast and some live yeast, and cinnamon, but no ingredients are listed, so I can't be sure (that also bugs me). I think once I finish up what I have, I will switch to the Repashy Superfly. I'm also ordering the Repashy vitamin powders, Calcium plus and vitamin A, and I might grab some superpig too. When I get tadpoles, I'll be feeding them the repashy fish foods I already have for my fish, among other things.

I'll also start working on other food cultures.
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