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NFC: Re: Green Water / Infusoria Cultivation


Where did your article on infusoria come from?  I thought it was a good
article and would like to put it on our website at www.jurassicfish.com
Let me know if this is ok.

-----Original Message-----
From: Hemsath, Gay <GHemsath at alascom_att.com>
To: 'nfc at actwin_com' <nfc at actwin_com>
Date: Monday, September 13, 1999 1:14 AM
Subject: NFC: Green Water / Infusoria Cultivation

>Here is the article as requested on the NFC Chat tonight
>Green Water & Infusoria Cultivation
>"Infusoria" is a generic term for the microscopic and near microscopic
>life found in water.  Examples are protozoa, rotifers, vorticella,
>Euglena and unicellular algae feeders, etc.  Infusoria and the organisms
>found in green water are probably the first food taken by baby fish
>after the absorption of the egg sac.
>Whilst some of the coloring in so called green water is indeed algae
>most is caused by microscopic organisms mainly of the Euglena genus.
>While each individual is of minuscule proportions they are present in
>such  unimaginable numbers that the water appears green due to the
>chlorophyll in their bodies.  The requirements for green water are a pH
>greater than 6.0, plenty of light, temperature, organic matter and
>carbon dioxide plus of course a lack of predators that feed on the
>organisms.  Light is the most important as without it the organisms will
>be unable to produce the chlorophyll, next in importance comes the
>organic matter.  The more there are of these two factors, light and
>organic matter then the more the organisms will reproduce and the
>greener the water will be.  Spores of the organisms responsible for
>green water are present in most if not all standing bodies of water.
>The term Infusoria in its strictest sense applies only to single celled
>animals (protozoa), they are also known as Ciliate from the cilia
>(hairs) on their body which they use to propel themselves through the
>water.  However as far as we are concerned the term Infusoria applies
>not only to the protozoa but to all the other bacteria and multicelled
>organisms (rotifers and vorticella) that exist in water and damp places.
>These vary from the microscopic in size to those that can be seen with
>the naked eye such as Paramecium and even larger organisms that actually
>feed on the smaller infusorians.  There are a tremendous variety of
>these organisms (rotifers and vorticella).
>Rotifers is a phylum (class?) so there are probably thousands of
>species.  They are probably not as diverse as bacteria however.  They
>are higher level organisms than single cell organisms and feed on
>protozoa or water borne algae or any organic particles which they can
>capture.  They are easily visible under low power with a microscope and
>the largest should be visible as specks to the naked eye.
>Rotifers come in a variety of shapes but share a physical characteristic
>which is used to give them their name.  Rotifer refers to wheel like
>appendages which have cilia which seem to rotate as they sweep particles
>into their mouth orifice. Rotifers are generally classified according to
>their method of movement: free swimming, crawling, hopping or attached
>although many are not constrained to that single mode.  They are
>extremely widespread but each type of rotifer is adapted to a
>specialized environment.  A rotifer found wild in the temperate zones
>probably can not adapt to life in the tropical environment of a heated
>aquarium however a tropical rotifer, say from the Amazon might be more
>Rotifers reproduce via eggs and are capable of producing different types
>of eggs according to seasonal temperature changes similar to daphnia.
>Rotifers, especially those which prefer to stay close to plant surfaces
>and in such hiding places could survive easily in an aquarium with fish
>where the larger free swimming daphnia can not.  Rotifers can be feed on
>boiled rice, just a few grains now and then and they stay very clean and
>odorless.  Rotifers are much smaller than freshwater Hydra and they use
>cilia, not the stinging tentacles of the Hydra.
>Vorticella are somewhat smaller in general than rotifers and have a
>simpler anatomy than rotifers judging from the few pictures I looked at.
>They also have cilia which appeared primarily to be for locomotion.
>Pure cultures of various infusorians, specific species of microscopic
>animals, can be obtained from Biological Supply Houses and the culture
>instruction supplied should be followed to maintain and keep the culture
>pure.  Most aquarists will in fact want a mixed culture which will
>provide animals of different sizes to suit the mouth sizes of all the
>fry in a tank.  Such a culture is easy to set up and start.
>While it is most probable that infusorians are already present in the
>fry tank the problem is that there are so few Infusoria that they can
>not support a batch of fry.  It is better to be sure and add some water
>that is known to contain infusorians to the fry tank.  Therefore, you
>must cultivate them.  It turns out that the trick is to keep the
>Infusoria on the exponential part of the population growth curve, which
>you do by (1) keeping water clean and (2) feeding them.   What a concept
>and cultivation is simple.  Simply add some of the starter culture
>water, some organic feed and stand the culture container in a good light
>source, a window sill.  Within a few days the water will go green and be
>ready for use.  A good Infusoria culture will appear cloudy and may be
>slightly offensive in smell.  That's Infusoria growing.  Check with a
>magnifying glass for the presence of Infusoria, normally seen as small
>white moving spots.  A thriving culture can be maintained over a long
>period of time but it is advisable to set up fresh cultures at regular
>intervals by seeding from an established culture to avoid the odd
>disaster and have a source at all times.
>The water from a vase of flowers is full of Infusoria.  Infusoria are
>already in your tank, the sponge filter in your tank will also cultivate
>Infusoria.  Fry will pick at it.  Water from stagnant ponds in which
>algae or a profusion of aquatic plants are growing.  Tap water to which
>you have added a hand full of wilted lettuce and left in the sun for a
>few days.  These are all good sources for starter cultures.  The best
>medium for starting the culture is dried lettuce.  Lay the leaves in the
>sun until the leaves are dry and crisp, these are then crushed and
>stored in sealed containers for use latter.  Simply sprinkle a covering
>of crushed leaves onto the surface of the culture were they will absorb
>the water and sink.  The water should be examined under a low power
>microscope or high power hand magnifying glass when the larger Infusoria
>should be visible.
>This starter culture water along with food is then added to the culture
>containers and fed until the culture is thriving.  Many different
>materials have been used to successfully feed and raise Infusoria
>cultures such as the widely advocated banana skin, rotting lettuce
>leaves, milk, died peas, boiled hay, raw potato, a few rabbit droppings,
>and powdered cereals.  The boiling of any vegetable used as food is
>recommended as boiling breaks down the tissues of the plant and it will
>decompose faster.
>The easiest and most consistent method for culturing Green Water and
>Infusoria is as follows:
>Obtain seven one half gallon to one gallon jars to use as algae culture
>containers.  Sit these algae culture jugs on a South facing window sill
>to get the maximum amount of light.  An air pump with a manifold to
>split off seven air lines for circulation in the algae culture jugs.
>This is critical so that algae doesn't grow on the sides of the jars and
>block the sun light.  Obtain from a fish tank or tap water enough water
>to fill the algae culture containers.  Water from an established
>aquarium housing fish that would normally be discarded after a partial
>water change, provided it isn't acidic and soft is the best water.
>Alkaline water with a pH greater than 6.0 works best.  A simple formula
>for raising the pH and alkalinity of water is to add 1 level teaspoon of
>sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to 20 gallons of water in order to
>raise it 0.1 on the pH scale.  Now to the water, to be used in the algae
>culture containers add a soluble garden fertilizer (Miracle Grow) at the
>rate of one tablespoon per gallon.  This fertilized water is used in the
>algae culture jugs and this system is then seeded with green water as
>1) Seeded algae culture jug #1 with green water;
>2) Two days later seed algae culture jug #2 with green water;
>3) Two days later seed algae culture jug #3 with green water
>As so forth - you get the picture.  When algae culture jug #1has turned
>bright green, about 7 to 14 days, pour it into the Infusoria culture
>tank as food for the little guys.  Refill the jug with the water
>fertilizer mixture and seed it with some green water from algae culture
>jug #2 which should be about to turn bright green.  This is repeated
>with each of the algae culture jugs as they turn bright green.  As you
>might be able to tell,  this will provide about one half gallon to one
>gallon of fresh green water every two days.
>Now,  a few words of warning:
>1) Clean and sterilize everything after use to prevent fungus
>infection.  One part bleach to nineteen parts water makes a good
>sterilizing solution.
>2) Empty and re-start each jug as it turns bright green even if you
>don't need it as food.  This will keep the cycle going.  If you don't do
>this,  you end up with everything out of sync. and a big dark green mess
>to boot.
>Gram flour obtainable from any Indian food shop or market seems to be a
>cheap, good maintenance food.  Gram flour is made from ground Chick
>Peas, Pigeon peas or Garbanzos beans.  In India these are called Chana
>Dall (Dall means Pea).  So Chana flour is the same as Gram Flour.  Besan
>is another name for Gram flour.  It should be easy enough to buy dried
>peas and a mortar and pestle, and grind a week's worth when you need it.
>Whole wheat flour, which GRAHAM crackers are made from, is occasionally
>refereed to as GRAHAM flour.
>A Gram flour liquor made up of four tablespoons Gram flour mixed into a
>smooth paste in one half cup of water then made up to a pint ( litter)
>with water and stirred well.  A few drops of this liquor are added to
>the Infusoria culture daily with great success.  The unused portion can
>be stored and use at a later time as required.
>You can feed Infusoria cultures LiquiFry for egg layers.  Go easy at
>first, just 3 to 5 drops per quart as a start.  Then wait and see.
>These buggers are visible to the eye so it's easy to check if they
>reproduce.  Water clearing?  Add a couple of drops of LiquiFry for egg
>When you feed the Infusoria culture with a couple of drops of milk
>you'll see a clouding of Infusoria at the surface within hours.  I don't
>mean the milk clouding but the Infusoria reproducing; i.e. rotifers can
>be seen as tiny dots in the water.
>One method of culturing Infusoria uses a one gallon clear plastic
>bottle; two teaspoons of sugar, one fourth to one third of a quarter
>ounce (7gram) packet of Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast; enough chopped
>up lettuce to cover the surface (add more lettuce as it decomposes).
>Cover container and set in the sun.  Keep outside or plan to be single,
>if you're married.  It stays white, but is more opaque than just yeast
>and sugar in water.  It smells foul, but the liquor is rich in yeast,
>Infusoria, and other critters.  Filter some of the mess through a coffee
>filter and feed a couple of ounces, just enough to begin to cloud the
>water.  Use a bubble wand to keep water moving.  Just add more water and
>a little lettuce from time to time to the one gallon plastic bottle to
>keep it going.
>The main problem that occurs is the presence of too much organic matter
>causing pollution and the offensive odor.  A thriving culture should be
>fairly clear and odor free.  If the culture goes bad it'll be dirty and
>start smelling.  Let your nose be the judge as well as the color of the
>culture as while the best cultures will be high on carbon dioxide
>content it is very easy to tip the balance from thriving culture to a
>jar of smelly polluted muck.  The Gram flour liquor feed is the most
>successful in avoiding this problem.
>The addition of a few snails will help break down the organic matter and
>assist in keeping the Infusoria cultures going as well as provide a
>rough guide as to water quality.  The large Ampullaria snail is also
>know as the Infusoria Snail as it consumes large quantities of plant
>matter which is only partly digested and the snails droppings contain
>organic matter which is available to the Infusoria.  All aquatic snails
>perform this function but several smaller snails will be required to
>perform the function of one large Ampullaria.  Simply feed the snails
>flake foods or boiled spinach or dandelion leaves.  If all the snails
>start to leave the water then the bacteria are not converting the
>ammonia to nitrites and then nitrate quickly enough.  If this occurs the
>best method is to pour off two thirds of the culture and top up with
>aquarium water.  Sometimes adding strong aeration will also aid the
>bacteria in their conversion process and prevent fouling.
>Infusoria is not of great importance to the live bearer enthusiast as
>Mother Nature has ensured that live bearer fry can eat larger foods than
>Infusoria from birth.  It can be used for the fry of the very small
>species to supplement the various other foods they can take to good
>effect and should not therefore be disregarded.  Egg layer fry do need
>Infusoria and some of the species have such small mouths that only the
>smallest Infusoria can be eaten, if this is not provided the fry
>literally starve to death which probably accounts for the loss of more
>fry than any other cause.  Even those aquarists feeding Infusoria make
>the common mistake of only adding water containing Infusoria two or
>three times a day.  Infusoria should be present at all times and the
>simplest way of doing this is as follows.
>From the culture container siphon out a pint or quart of the greenest
>Infusoria culture for use and top up the original culture with water
>form the tap or from an aquarium.  Place or suspend the pint or quart
>jar above the fry tank.  Take a length of air line tubing  and place one
>end in the pint container and start it as a siphon.  Using an air line
>clamp restrict the flow of the siphon to about one drop every minute or
>two.  Direct this output into the fry tank.  In this way a constant
>supply of Infusoria will be supplied to the fry who will soon identify
>were the Infusoria are entering the tank and will feed as they require.
>By observing the container you will soon be able to judge how long a
>container will last.  Also the bellies of the fry should be full all the
>time and if they are not then increase the flow of Infusoria.  Larger
>containers can be used to regulate the period between each feeding set
>up.  One other point to bear in mind is that although Infusoria do
>better in alkaline water some fry are raised in soft acid water and the
>addition of hard alkaline water to the fry tank can be harmful.  While
>twice daily partial water changes with the correct water can alleviate
>this it is probably simpler to set up a few cultures in water the same
>as the fry will be raised in.
>For out door cultivation set up a kiddie wading pool.  Simply pour some
>old tank water in, top up with tap water and add some organic matter
>such as a few rabbit droppings, dried or wilted lettuce leafs, a few
>wheat grains or throw in a few tablespoons of dry dog food.  Wait a
>month.  Result:  All the green water you can use.  A few tablespoons of
>dry dog food, a couple of rabbit droppings or a dried lettuce leaf
>should be added once a week
>Hydra - Get "Clout" and follow directions -- it won't hurt the plants or
>>Easiest aquarium plant to grow Algae
>>The easiest houseplant to grow Mold
>The difference between Genius and Stupidity
>Genius has limits