Does anyone know if the Vivipores live food of the month is down for the winter? Maybe they need some one to make submissions. JeremyTitle: Fruit flies
I have had several enquiries about obtaining starter cultures for the various live foods. To assist aquarists I have added some details to the end of this article on obtaining livefood cultures.
Many fish in the wild live almost totally on aquatic insect larvae and insects that fall onto the water surface. For those of us living in the worlds temperate zones this abundance is only available to us during the summer but exist it does and is there free for the collecting. And perhaps most important of all are free of aquatic pests and diseases.
The most obvious source of supply is from the garden. Providing you use no chemicals then the green and black aphids that infest many plants, roses being the most common in English gardens, are avidly taken by most fish. Simply collect in a wide mouth container or large sheet of paper by gently removing the aphids from the stems using a soft paintbrush. Just shake the aphids onto the surface of the water were the fish soon find them. The other common inhabitant of the garden is the ant. These to are eagerly accepted by many aquarium fish the only problem being able to harvest them. One simple method is to place a piece of fermenting fruit in a jar laying on its side near a known colony. When a large quantity of ants are in the jar feeding on the fruit then lift the jar upright and seal. As ants are excellent climbers the best way to feed them to the fish is to pour a quantity of water into the jar and thoroughly wet the ants. Remove the fruit with tweezers, rinsing of any ants while doing so, and pouring the ants into the tank. A special treat for most fish are the large sort bodied flying ants that emerge from ant colonies once or twice a year. They appear in large quantities and are not particularly active when they first emerge and are easily collected by scooping up in a clean dustpan or similar method. Disturb any ants nest and you will normally uncover a large cluster of white ants eggs. These to are an excellent food (unlike the dried ants eggs once sold as goldfish food) and may be feed directly to the fish. Most other insects found commonly in the garden such as earwigs, beetles, wood lice and such are generally to tough skinned to be of any interest to most fish but are taken by large chichlids and other large fish. However when turning over stones looking for such insects you often find a cluster of insect eggs laid on the underside of the stone and these will be eaten by most fish.
The other method of collecting a variety of small insect to feed to your fish is known as meadow sweepings. This is simply sweeping a large fine meshed net through the long grass in an uncut meadow. The professional nets used for this purpose are somewhat similar to a windsock with a collecting jar attached at the narrow end, for our purposes one of the larger fine meshed nets should do. Each sweep will collect a variety of small insects in the net which can be transferred to a collecting receptacle until sufficient insects have been collected. Examine the catch and remove any overlarge hard skinned insects (such as adult grasshoppers) unless you are feeding to large fish. You should have small flies, bugs and spiders all of which are accepted by most fish. One good idea I have seen is to attach a fine meshed net to your car in a position were it will run in the wind (out of the window is ideal) and collect the bugs that miss the windscreen.
Obtaining starter cultures.
In most articles I will give directions for obtaining starter cultures, so far the articles have covered the various worms, white, grindal, mico and vinegar eels and fruit flies. Starter cultures of these can all be obtained from aquarists maintaining them. Most killie keepers and a growing number of livebearer keepers maintain livefood cultures as do aquarists who do a lot of breeding, also some avid showmen are realising the benefits of culturing their own livefood. A good place to enquire first is at your local aquarist society were one or more of the members may be able to help you. Small ads in the back of the various aquatic publications are often placed by people specialising in the supply of live food cultures and if all else fails then look in your yellow pages for Biological supply houses who may be able to supply you with what you want or point you in the right direction.
American readers Daleco`s web site is back up (see links page) Cultural instructions for several live foods will be found on this site and live food cultures ordered from them so check out their web pages.
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