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Re: Daphnia foods



10. I don't have the room for or luck with raising green water for Daphnia. What choices are there with prepared daphnia foods? Will they work?


In a way that is a good thing that you can't keep green water going for long. You never know what undesirables might make their way into the daphnia culture via old live green water cultures. The older a green water culture is, the more likely it is to contain inedible or toxic algae, diatoms, or Cyanobacteria. I try to get daphnia strains weaned off green water as quickly as I can. I prefer to feed them prepared foods. Yeast, powdered or skim milk, clam juice, and (human) baby food 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 more often. The prepared foods below are better choices.

11. Can I use commercially available algal pastes and concentrates? 

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. Spirulina powder is not absorbed well, although if it's run through the blender with water and lecithin ( a natural wetting agent) it will be consumed better then.


12. What do you feed your Daphnia?


I like to use a variety of foods. I will use krill meal, blackpowder, and spectra vital for a feeding. Once in a while I'll use powdered or skim milk especially before feeding to herps since they need all the calcium they can get. However the staple diet of my artificially fed Daphnia is based on 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, one calcium capsule, 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 (8 oz.). I add about one cup of either 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 that contain tannic acid, such as carrot tops or the green shoulders of a carrot. 
You may have to add a few ice cubes near the end if the liquid is getting warm. Add water to make one gallon. 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 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 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.

I raise Daphnia to feed to my own fish and our turtles.  Daphnia is so good for fish and it stimulates a lot of feeding interest by many turtles, and it does improve growth and survival rates of fish fry while holding down costs. Daphnia and newly hatched baby brine shrimp are better in combination than either alone, but with the current costs of cysts, you can go heavy on the daphnia. I put good things inside the daphnia before feeding them to my fish and herps.

13. How much do you feed?


Up to two to six times a day, about one cup of pea concoction, or a half teaspoon of krill meal, powdered milk, or Marc Weiss products mentioned per 100 gallons of culture. I will reduce that amount if a culture seems not to be perking along, but if one is going very strong, I will feed more frequently once the water clears rather than feed larger amounts all at once. Never feed a culture which is cloudy until you figure out the cause. It is hard to explain exactly how much to feed because there are many variables. Look, smell, remember, are three steps to controlling or minimizing those variables. Look to see how clear the water is, look to see if any cloudiness is gray (bacterial) -- time for a water change and reduce the feeding amount --or whitish (yeast) -- water change, being sure to dislodge yeast growing on the Daphnia carapaces, and take yeast off the menu until every existing trace is gone--, or if it is simply clouds of tiny newborn daphnia, (great, a false alarm). L
ook to see how many daphnia are present in the culture; look to see if they are actively swimming all over, mostly at the surface in swirls, or concentrated in one spot closest to the light. (Move lights to prevent a crush of daphnia suffocating themselves. Change water if they are all surfacing, especially draw water from the bottom of the tank.) Smell the water to see if it smells like A. a healthy pond or like B. rotten food, or like C. a sewer. Only one of those multiple choice answers is acceptable. And then remember when you last fed the daphnia, remember what you last fed them, when you last changed their water, and everything that might be an influence on them. Check the temperature before feeding them. If in the high seventies or above, donít feed at all. Daphnia canít seem to process their food at that temperature and it just ends up rotting. Wow, sounds like a lot written down but it is really simple once you get the hang of it. Simpler than learning to drive, and th
at seems easy now, doesn't it. There probably was a time when it didn't and you may have a similar learning episode with Daphnia. Keep trying. It gets easier.


14. Are there easier ways to raise daphnia?

I knew a local discus breeder who raised a lot of Daphnia. His methods 
were close to effort-free. He put a 5 gallon plastic bucket of Daphnia under 
his messy birds' cage so seed 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. He also owned a pet shop and sold lots of live Daphnia to his customers, so it must have worked or customers would have been complaining. 




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