Live critters as only food?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Hello everyone!

I just got 10 chili rasboras for my new 6 gal planted tank yesterday. I ordered them online, and honestly expected to lose 1 or 2, but everyone seems happy and healthy so far.

Before the fish came in, I had tons of worms (at least 3 different types) plus some little spherical things/specks that were all on the glass, driftwood, and substrate. And I mean a LOT. You could easily see them without trying too hard.

The fish feasted on all of them immediately after being introduced yesterday morning, and within about 6-8 hours, the tank was looking impressively clean.

This morning they are hunting on the glass still a lot, but also on the driftwood, substrate, and even right off the surface. It's mostly the little specks left, but if I look closely I can usually spot a worm or two on the driftwood.

My question: is it possible to sustain these chili rasboras with just the living critters? I'm worried they'll just eat them all up too quickly and then be mostly hungry. If yes, how do I know they are getting enough to eat? What bahaviors or signs could indicate that they are well fed or underfed? The place I ordered from ( stated they were "wild" for whatever that's worth.

I'm trying to get this tank to be as self-sustaining as possible, so I don't want to add in food if I don't have to.

Here's a video of a medley of the critters hiding out in the substrate (and maybe also some eggs?? - I have two Malaysian trumpet snails). Gross, but hopefully good nutrition? Hopefully, none of these are harmful to the aquarium.

Here's a video of one hunting last night after the easy pickings were pretty much cleaned off the glass:

The tank has been going for just over 6 weeks. I added the 5 snowball shrimp/ and 3 snails last week. I've got java moss, hydrocotyle Japan, vallisneria, frogbit, dwarf hairgrass, bacopa caroliniana, and stream bogmoss planted. A lot of them died back after planting, so I did have a lot of dead plant matter. I trimmed them back a lot and cleaned before adding livestock so it's mostly new growth now, and I hope they fill in a lot more over time. No filter, just a heater and lights, Walstad style.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 07:20 PM
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Why do you have so many "critters" in your tank?
Ive never heard sf someone having 3 different worms in their tanks. My first guess with 2 of the species are Planaria, which can be dangerous enough, the other one? I dont know...

Her is a bit about Planaria in the aquarium:

Is the wood you have in tank a piece taken from a local waterway? Was it still waterlogged when you put it in your tank?

The small round organisms could be-water fleas, I suppose.

No, typically fish need to be fed prepared foods, live foods, frozen, etc...--- that any tank could be a self-sustaining source of organisms to feed fish would be something highly unusual. Most of the organisms that a tank has that may be a food source are due to improper tank maintenance, as in the Planaria, and are not something we want in our tank as the article outlines.

Stream bogmoss? You took from stream?

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 08:18 PM
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In a large enough tank, yes, potentially it could self sustain in terms of critters to eat. As you've seen though, with what they've eaten already you don't have a big enough tank/large enough supply of critters to sustain it long term.

If you want to feed live foods you could culture them in a separate tank for feeding.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2018, 03:38 AM
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+1. You need to feed them
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-12-2018, 08:29 PM
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Supplement with cultured live foods, it's easy to do and they'll love it. Prepared foods should be their staple though.

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