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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to start feeding live food in my community tank but have no experience with live food and none of the LFS near me sell anything beside ghost shrimp and brine shrimp. I want something that can survive in the tank until it is eaten- as in its not going to die and dirty up the tank. I keep mostly small schooling fish and shrimp and like what I have read about daphnia because of their size and ease of breeding. Are daphnia a good choice and can they be fed to shrimp and fry?
I have read that some live foods will kill fry and shrimp and also some carry diseases. Are there any downsides to daphnia or is there a better choice?

Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks
 

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I guess I should say, a healthy population of lots of scuds exist in most of my tanks.. the only bad things about having them are that massive populations are creepy looking and populations boom and bust. There was some scientific supply site that carried to s of micro critters. Carolina.com? I have the link at home...
 

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Black worms and microworms (if your fish are really small). You can raise either and both are quite healthy for your fish. Check your pet stores for a starter batch of black worms, and hit utube for instructions. Microworm starters are cheap on [Ebay Link Removed]
 

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I've been thinking about starting a culture of daphnia for my fish too. They seem like they are fairly easy to keep alive and aren't as gross in my mind as some of the worms. From what I've read, keeping a population in a tank with the fish that you're feeding is pretty difficult, as the fish will hunt them all down as soon as you put them in. It's a better idea to have them growing in separate tanks or jars. While I'd prefer to have a breeding population in my tank too, it just doesn't seem feasible. There are lots of sites out there to buy disease free starter cultures. If you have access to fishless ponds, you can supposedly catch them yourself pretty easily. The cultures aren't THAT expensive though, and I think I'd prefer to know I wasn't accidentally introducing anything bad to my tanks.
 

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I've tried to establish scuds in my community tank 2x now--each time my fish have hunted them to extinction within a few days. Ditto for daphnia in my 37g, 20g and a 3g endler planted vase.

Happily, my steadily breeding cherry shrimp, endlers and snails make for a decent alternative. Smashed snails keep the fish and shrimp happy and help control my snail population. Baby endlers and crs get tossed in the main tank for the black neons and GBR to hunt down. Any endler that gets too big to be readily eaten gets caught and tossed back into the main breeding tank, surviving shrimplets just add to the existent adult population.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions!

I was actually planning on having a culture tank for the live food but want something that can survive in the show tank until it is eaten.
So black worms are aquatic and can survive in the tank? I like the idea of the worms living in the substrate too because my Bolivian ram seems uninterested in any food unless its on the bottom.
But black worms are what I have heard horror stories about. Can't they give fish diseases and cause health problems?

Also if I go with daphnia what are the different species of it? I was planning on culturing in an unheated tank in my basement so what species is the most resilient?
 

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I've been thinking about starting a culture of daphnia for my fish too. They seem like they are fairly easy to keep alive and aren't as gross in my mind as some of the worms. From what I've read, keeping a population in a tank with the fish that you're feeding is pretty difficult, as the fish will hunt them all down as soon as you put them in. It's a better idea to have them growing in separate tanks or jars. While I'd prefer to have a breeding population in my tank too, it just doesn't seem feasible. There are lots of sites out there to buy disease free starter cultures. If you have access to fishless ponds, you can supposedly catch them yourself pretty easily. The cultures aren't THAT expensive though, and I think I'd prefer to know I wasn't accidentally introducing anything bad to my tanks.

I've come across daphnia in random containers w/ greenwater (like old trashcans full of rainwater, etc.) I don't know much about them/their lifecycle, but I'm guessing their eggs or something are easily distributed.

but, yeah, they don't seem to trigger the same repulsion reflex that so many (even harmless) worms can.
 

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for unheated tanks daphnia are probably the best daphnid. there are many different types though... the most overall useful for live food are daphnia pulex and daphnia magna. if you want a hardy species, i recommend daphnia catawba, which is pretty good at producing in colder temps. they dont like too much circulation though.

for tiny fry, daphnia ambigua are great, but dont feed them to true larval fish, as they molt quickly and will develop long apical spines in response to predator kairomones.

my overall favorite daphnid for live food is moina macrocopa. they are a good size for smaller fish, breed incredibly fast, are strong swimmers(means you can use a simple air powered filter on their culture tank), lack apical spines, and can be raised in very wide range of temperatures(50-110 degrees). the only downside is that at higher temps, their metabolism is so fast that the whole population can die out in just a day or two if the water quality starts to decline. if your good at maintaining the water though, they will reproduce faster than anything you can imagine.
i have only ever seen daphnia reach a population of about 250/L where the moina will often exceed 3000/L. big difference.
 

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I have fed many types of live food to my fish in the past but for raising and feeding most of my fish I prefer daphnia. They will live in your tank until eaten but in my experience their lifespan once placed in a tank with fish is minimal. They are easy to maintain also and reproduce readily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
my overall favorite daphnid for live food is moina macrocopa. they are a good size for smaller fish, breed incredibly fast, are strong swimmers(means you can use a simple air powered filter on their culture tank), lack apical spines, and can be raised in very wide range of temperatures(50-110 degrees). the only downside is that at higher temps, their metabolism is so fast that the whole population can die out in just a day or two if the water quality starts to decline. if your good at maintaining the water though, they will reproduce faster than anything you can imagine.
i have only ever seen daphnia reach a population of about 250/L where the moina will often exceed 3000/L. big difference.
Would these be too small to feed cherry barbs and bolivian rams? What I have found online says they are very tiny.
 

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moina macrocopa is one of the larger species of moina. in continuous culture, they reach about the same size as daphnia pulex. thats up to a few mm across. big enough to feed to your cherry barbs, but your bolivian rams may ignore them, i dont know. most fish take them though, you would just need a lot feed the ram.

i have had adult golden shiners take them before, which were over 6 inches long, so i think they would be large enough to at least be eaten.

the best approach to live foods(if you feed your fish nothing but live foods) is to culture a variety. that way there is always something to feed off in case one of your cultures crash. redundancy helps too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I have tried finding more info on cultures of live food but I have not found a direct description of how to car for daphnia and black worms. I wanted to keep a few cultures in my basement. I have enough room for 2-3 buckets but do not know what I would need yo car for them.
For daphnia would I be able to use just a plain bucket with a sponge filter?
And for blackworms a tray might work better but could I just have a tray with sand and a sponge filter for them too?

I want to keep this simple but blackworks seem to be very difficult to take care of. Do you have to wash them every day?
 

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for culturing zooplankton: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/W3732E/W3732E00.HTM

as for blackworms, i just toss them in a the same tub i grow the moinas and daphnia in. i don't do anything special for them. im not producing huge numbers of them, but they aren't dying either.
 

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There's plenty of info on youtube about how to raise/keep black worms. I know this because I intend to do it too :)

One video is of a guy doing a presentation to what appears to be a local fish club of some kind. He has some pretty good ideas. Doesn't look too hard at all. I think I'm going to try the paint roller container idea he has.
 
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