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Re: Ciliates

>Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002 19:33:04 +1100
>From: "Dr Leon Loftus" <lloftus at westbusiness_com.au>
>Subject: Ciliates.
>I am assessing different ways of culturing ciliates.
>Is anyone currently culturing these?
>They often appear as intruders in marine rotifer production systems.
>All advice gratefully received.
Paramecium is relatively easy to culture.  Go to a pond and get mud 
and organic matter and put it in a jar, such as a jelly jar that has 
a relatively small surface area. You should have mostly mud with 
maybe a half an inch of water above it. After a few days, Paramecium 
should be found near the surface.  Paramecium like lots of bacteria 
in the water and a somewhat lowered oxygen content. They don't seem 
to do very well in a shallow vessel with a lot of surface area. 
Prepare a larger container that should be at least 4 inches deep Put 
in dried green leaves or pieces of dried dog food to keep the 
bacterial population high.  There should be enough decomposition so 
that the water is cloudy, but not so much that there is a bad odor. 
Transfer some of the Paramecium from the initial pond water culture 
to this new culture.  They should multiply rapidly and collect in the 
top quarter inch of water.  They can be collected with a turkey 

I once did a Paramecium culture in a plastic dish pan filled nearly 
to the brim.  It was around five inches deep and had somewhere 
between one and two square feet of surface area.  I fed the 
Paramecium to a hatch of Bettas and then microworms after the babies 
got larger.  I got around 800 of them to full size, which was more 
than I had bargained for.   That was the first and last time I bred 
bettas.  It took me a year to get find homes for all of them. 
Luckily, it turned out that they really could be kept together, and 
not in individual containers.  The males worked out a peck order, and 
lived together without damaging fights. They ate Gordon's formula by 
the pound.

There is a protozoan predator of Paramecium called Didinium.  If that 
happens to get in your Paramecium culture, it can wipe them out.  It 
does not seem to be common, and during the four or five times I have 
cultured paramecium, I have not had any problems.
Paul Krombholz in chilly central Mississippi