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Re: South Suburban Daphnia, et al

> Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 14:36:33 -0800 (PST)
> From: Lance Tuttle <thellance at yahoo_com>
> Subject: Daphnia
> I am looking for a place to get daphnia at a decent
> price.  I Live in the Southern Burbs of Chicago and am
> not all that familiar with where to go to collect them
> as I have recently moved here.

Hi Lance!

    One suggestion would be to collect them from my fishroom. I live in Park
Forest, probably not too far from you. When things warm up a little the
containers out side will have resting eggs hatch and bloom. With this mild
winter, the ice is already gone.

    Having talked to (now elderly) aquarists who commonly collected from
rural ponds and from the forest preserves before World War II, I gather that
a lot of those habitats are gone. The passion for pesticides and the urban
sprawl in the '50s didn't help. A recent conversation with an agent of the
South Suburban Mosquito Abatement District convinced me that efforts to kill
"mossies" in temporary ponds are much more benign these days. Those
temporary ponds were the best places historically to find daphnia too.

    I have been tempted to seed some nearby road side ditches with daphnia
too. A visiting Jim Thomerson (SIU Edwardsville biologist) replied that it
might work and that since daphnia are pretty sensitive to dissolved metals
(indeed several are used in tests by the EPA) if I happened to
"accidentally" drop some in temporary pools and they survived, my fears of
feeding collected daphnia tainted with heavy metals was probably unfounded.
Heavy metals = no daphnia.

    Since then a housing development has obliterated those pools. :(

    In some of the older literature, Daphnia are criticized as vectors for
fish parasites. Most live foods are likely to carry them if they are
collected in waters with fish. Raising the live foods apart from the fish
will break that cycle. Hence raising them at home or in the back yard.

    Some communities have ordinances prohibiting open water standing
outdoors. It would be wise to check. I remember one horror story of what
happened to a guy who put a bunch of fish out in a kiddie pool. He didn't
get a ticket (as sometimes happens) but his fish did get poisoned.

    By the way, (I have been off-line for a month - missed the list!) in
another posting you asked about worms. A few pet shops carry bait worms
(Scott's in Westchester, Wolf Rd and 31st for instance). Bait shops are
worth a look. We used to pick up (pretty good sized) crickets for an anole
at a bait shop. They carried several interesting critters.

    There also used to be a worm ranch listed in the phone book for rural
Chicago Hts.. I dropped by one such worm farm with visions of "worm
roundups" dancing in my mind. Those worms were raised in a wooden
outbuilding in raised flats. If you have a basement (cooler in the summer)
you might try cultivating some of the red worm cultures there.

    I don't raise enough larger fishes to justify patronizing a place that
raises worms. If you need a lot of them, it might be worth while finding a
worm farm and making friends with the proprietor.

    As for the daphnia. contact me off list. There are a couple of local
aquarist clubs I can put in a good word for too.

    Speaking of clubs, although not South Suburban (locally that is
pronounced S'out Suburban), the Chicago Killifish Association is holding a
show April 1-2 at the Schiller Park Day's Inn on Mannheim Road just south of
the O'Hare Airport. A lot of live food enthusiasts belong to that club.
Cultures will be available probably at the Saturday AM box sales and
certainly in the Sunday auction. Their speaker is a gentleman who has
observed fish in Cameroons for 30 years, often returning year after year to
the same sites. Even if you are not interested in killies as such, his
comments might be enlightening in terms of foods and habitats. Details can
be had at

All the best!