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Cat food and grindle & White Worms - Synthetic culture test results
I'm sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled flaming but:
I have recently had 2 large RAC hatches. This added a few hundred hungry
mouths to the family. I harvested my synthetic worm cultures just about
daily and certainly could not afford the down time to properly clean them.
So one after another I burned them out. The temperature also went down which
did not help. Most of the fish thankfully grew large enough to take
supplemental frozen brine shrimp and blood worms and I brought a daphnia
culture on line to help. But without worms Nothos just don't do well. I do
not like to buy worms or other live foods to prevent unwanted things from
coming in to my setup. I even went so far as to experiment with various dry
I read all of the posts on cat food so I went out and bought some ALPO
shrimp flavor food, The first ingredient on the list was cornmeal. It looked
like a good idea at the time as I really needed the worm cultures back fast.
I also did a few head to head comparisons between the finely ground oatmeal
and cat food ground to the same consistency. Both were run through a coffee
At first the cat food did work well, it appeared to be slightly less likely
to fungus. It was eaten at roughly the same rate as the oatmeal. White
worms did better than grindle worms on cat food. Worm growth and
reproduction was about 10 to 20% faster than the oatmeal at first. Then it
leveled off. And then it lost ground apparently without reason. After about
a month and a half, my last two producing cultures started failing and the
recovering cultures stopped, actually losing ground. Worms were being
carefully rationed. After close examination of the media pads I discovered
that a brown paste was very rapidly building up in the media. I have
concluded that it was partially digested waste product from the worms.
In a synthetic culture this means rinsing out your media under a high
pressure water source. This will unfortunately usually take the culture off
line far at least a week until the worm population can recover. But in a
dirt culture I can't think of a way to get the waste material out of the
soil. It is somewhat water soluble, if that helps. This would explain why
some people had their cat food fed cultures crash.
In any event I finally have 4 of the burned out cultures back on line and I
have been able to tear down one of two cultures which kept me going the last
six weeks. If things go well I will be able to clean the last culture and
look forward to having all 11 cultures back on line producing by month end.
This will allow me to harvest less frequently and do my tear-down cleanups
in a more timely fashion. And if all goes well I will even have enough worms
left over to start more cultures! That will mean that I can add more tanks
By the way I currently feed a mix of oatmeal and cat food. I will just be
rinsing my cultures more often until I find something better or I use up all
of the cat food.
By the way folks, thanks for your info on setting up permanent daphnia
cultures. My first 10 gal culture has been producing small daily harvests
for about 3 weeks now. It was a lifesaver.
Has anyone ever notices that your food cultures always crash when you most
critically need them?
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