Breeding Dapnia Tips Needed - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Breeding Dapnia Tips Needed

If anyone has any tips for raising daphnia for fish food please let me know. First time trying it here. Any tips or info are welcome.


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 06:07 AM
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Daphnia is also known as “water bugs” or “water fleas” due to their jerky motion. They live in freshwater and are really easy to cultivate at home. Daphnia can be used regularly to provide your fish with more variation, or seasonally to induce breeding. It can also be used as fry food for bigger fish. Unlike uneaten dried or frozen food, Daphnia will not foul the water – they will stay alive in the aquarium until the fish decides to eat them. Cultivating Daphnia at home is economical and will provide you with a constant source of disease-free live food.

To start your own Daphnia culture you need to buy a starter culture from your local fish store. If your LFS do not have any Daphnia, contact your nearest aquarium club, somebody will probably be willing to sell or donate a started culture to you.

Place the container that you plan to use for cultivating Daphnia in a light spot, because Daphnia are more active when it is light. Artificial light works just as well as sun light, so you can for instance place them under a lamp in your basement. Add water to a container and pour in your Daphnia culture. Add a slow bubbling air stone to keep the water from becoming stagnant and oxygen depleted. Keep the water temperature around 72-75 degrees F.

Mixing one package of dry yeast with one cup of soy flour will provide you with a great source of food for your Daphnia. Stir 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of this mixture into a cup of warm water and pour it into your Daphnia container. This will cloud the water and there is no need to feed your Daphnia again until they have filtered out and consumed all the yeast-flour (i.e. when the water has become clear again). Avoid over-feeding, since this will cause the water to go foul and kill the Daphnia.

You should ideally avoid using a filter in your Daphnia container because a filter will catch a lot of tiny life forms that the Daphnia likes to feast on. Regular water changes are a better way of keeping the water quality up. You can combine water changes with harvesting by using a siphon to suck up a part of the water and filter it through a shrimp net. The removed water can then be replaced with new, fresh water and the shrimp net will be filled with Daphnia for your fish. You will also need to remove mulm from the bottom of the container every other week.

If you keep small fish and big fish in separate aquariums, you can use fish nets to size your Daphnia accordingly. This way, you will have big Daphnia for your big fishes, small Daphnia for small fishes and tiny Daphnia for fry aquariums.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 07:06 AM
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use aged aquarium water when raising these guys. They're very sensitive to chlorine.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 09:00 AM
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K, I'll re-type this for like the umpteenth time, and I'm going to be as simple as I can, haha:

-Inflatable kiddie pool or similar container (more surface area is worth more than the depth of the container as more gas/oxygen exchange happens).

-Fill with aged aquarium water (when doing water changes, dump the old aquarium water in the pool). Do this until the kiddie-pool is 2/3rds or more full.

- Throw a couple lettuce leaves in there. Let sit for a week or more

-Top off with FRESH DECHLORED water.

-Aquire starter culture of Daphnia. Float and aclimatize the culture as you would fish (they are aquatic animals, afterall)

-Release the culture into the pool

Random blurbs/notes:

-Use brineshrimp net to culture them, or use nets with different size mesh to filter out the adults from the babies.

-Culture about 1/3rd when you can to feed to fish (extra daphnia in the aquarium will not foul water)

Do not over-feed. DO NOT. EVER. I do not suggest feeding with with yeast. Some people do, but it's sketch and it takes a while to get the hang of how much to feed them, and you can easily over feed. Just throw in the odd lettuce leaf now and again. This will creat infusoria that the daphnia feed on.

-Under harvesting can result in a population crash.

-The pool is suggest to recieve half shade/sun throught out the day.
-Infusoria requires sunlight to grow/develop from the lettuce
-Sunlight equals warmth
- Warmer water equals less oxygen
- See why the surface area is more important than depth?

It really is hard to mess up with Daphnia. All you have to do is top off the evaporating water with your old aquarium water from water changes, with the odd freshwater top off.

When putting in the water, try to be very very gentle with it. If you simply dump it into the water in the pool, you'll creat tonnes of tiny bubbles. These bubbles can get trapped under the carapace of the daphnia, causing them to be stranded at the top of the water where they can die easily.

It is HIGHLY suggested that you divide up your starter culture, or purchase two cultures and keep them seperate. If one should fail or crash for whatever reason, you will have a back up. Even if you split up one culture and it the two pools look like there are hardly anything in it. Give it a week or two and you'll have thousands of daphnia.

Daphia are very very very easy to keep as long as you don't over do it.
KISS- Keep it simple, stupid.

I pretty much feel that what I type should be added to a sticky, haha. I think I've typed the above about ten or so times!

I don't mind though, as I was scared of my daphnia the first time.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have read your post on Daphnia, but this one response that you added here was much better.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 12:01 AM
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I have just ordered daphnia eggs. How are you making out with your culture?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 03:33 AM
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what do you do in the winter with your daphnia in Canada? Do you just restart them every year?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 03:35 AM
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Oh, and Jim Langhammer cultures daphnia with aquatic worms (can't remember the name) and scuds. He has an amazing system, but he changes the water every day.

I will say, however, his fish are gorgeous and he's a wonderful breeder of some very unusual livebearers. He's got halfbeaks that would send just about any fishlover into fits of jealousy. Some seriously GORGEOUS fish.
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