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Re: Daphnia foods
Yes, Daphnia can be fed artificial foods. Yeast, powdered or skim milk, clam juice, will all work, but you have to check about two hours after feeding, and do a 20% water change if the water is not beginning to clear, or a 50 to total water change if the water is getting cloudier or smelling off. The nose is a critical tool when feeding the above items. You should have more backup cultures when using any of the above foods, since crashes happen quickly.
The algal pastes and marine green waters commercially available will work. I have used them. Some of those may add a little salt, but that does no harm to my strain. I have heard of strains that can't tolerate the least bit of salt so be cautious. The Marc Weiss products, Spectra Vital and Blackpowder, both work. Blackpowder increases the red color of the Daphnia. Krill meal is also a good Daphnia food. Spirulena powder is not absorbed well, although if it's run through the blender with water and lecithin it will be consumed better then.
However the staple diet of artificially fed Daphnia should be frozen green peas or green beans. It produces superior growth and color even compared to green water once you have developed the technique to properly estimate the feeding amount. I put a small amount of very red paprika and two Theragran+ vitamin pills in a 2 horsepower blender with a pint of water. After liquifying these ingredients I then add half a bag of frozen peas or frozen green beans. I add about one cup of raw beet root, carrot, raw sweet potato, or about twice that much fresh leaf spinach or fresh beet top, add water to cover and liquify. Do not use fruits or vegetables than contain tannic acid, such as carrot tops or the green shoulders of a carrot. You may have to add a few icecubes near the end if the liquid is getting warm. Store covered in the refrigerator. Adding a tablespoon of Instant Ocean salt mix will prolong the shelf life of the recipe. You can omit it if your strain does not tolerate salt or if you have a lot of Daphnia to feed. Use the cleanliness you would use for your own food in preparing, storing, and using this recipe.
I knew a local discus breeder who raised a lot of Daphnia. His methods were interesting. He put a 5 gallon plastic bucket of Daphnia under his messy birds' cage so hulls, parakeet poop, and feathers would fall in. He used blood meal and dried cow manure, products he bought at a garden store, to feed larger cultures of Daphnia. I would be nervous about introducing pathogens or waste products to my fish tanks if I used his method, but I never heard any negatives from him.
I feel that Daphnia fed my concoction may be a bit more nutritious because of their diet than anything else you can feed them. I may be wrong, but I base that on the health and growth of my fish.
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