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NFC: Recent SSA newsletter on planktons

Sometimes it's a wonder why certain plankton cultures fail.  Here are
a few comments on keeping your plankton cultures growing strong!

1.  There's a predator in the soup!

Yes, a predator of some kind, be it bug larvae, or amoeba, something
might be munching on the plankton you want to culture.  If this is the
case, and there are still enough representatives of the plankton you
want to culture, sort some out into a clean bowl, and start new!  If
the predator is a bacteria or some kind of disease, start with new
water, and clean container.

2.  Parameters are out of whack!

If water parameters are not acceptable the plankton will show you by
either dying out right, or slowly.  Signs include swimming actions
different from known actions like suddenly slowing down or speeding up
exceedingly, dropping out of the water column (unless they're supposed
to), turning an odd color like white when they're supposed to be red,
slowing down in production of new planktons or perhaps just
dissolving!  To avoid these problems water should be as close to the
water you have your culture in, or your plankton should be acclimated
to temperature and water quality over a period of time.   An hour or
more pouring small quantities of new water will help the animals get
used to new water parameters.  There are no good rules of thumb here
as far as acclimation is concerned.  Although, slowly is more
cautious, a drastic quick water change may also do the job if the
problem is something like excessive ammonia or poison.  Also, some
waters may not carry all the nutrients, or needed minerals the
plankton needs for growth, such as water lacking selenium will not
support Daphnia.  In this case if plankton production slows down
perceptibly, try adding a good multivitamin to the mix!

3.  Feed is wrong Kind or not enough!

Feed is a first consideration.  Planktons that I know of like to eat
all the time.  Knowing what feed they like, feeding them plenty will
always benefit them.  The object of water quality is the key.  Feed
planktons as much as you possibly can without causing the water
parameters to go wacky!  Use your nose unless your trying to raise
something anaerobic, if the water smells putrid, it's in desperate
need of changing!  But a healthy culture will be so saturated with
food that the little critters don't work to hard to fill their tiny
little bellies as fast as they can.  With the water parameters in good
standing, the culture may take on a deep green or color change by the
feed!  Keep the color up and your culture should thrive!  Keep water
changes up if needs be, but then the nose never fails unless you've
got a cold!  A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to your plankton
population, and increase the feed to keep the culture water saturated
with it.  If the feed saturation starts causing problems, reduce the
feed (maybe after a water change :(

These are just observations on plankton culture in general and many
more thoughts and practices are not mentioned.    Knowing what a
plankton does like makes it easier to see when things are going wrong,
so love your planktons, take a few for a walk in a glass, look at
them, coo to them.. :) while doing this, check their size, numbers, if
you can see their bellies full.......


Sachs Systems Aquaculture
1185 Thompson Bailey Road
St. Augustine FL  32084

PHONE:  (904) 824 - 6308
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