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Thread: Help, need Microworm Starter culture!!! FAST

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    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Turns out my Bettas are going to breed. I ordered some Artemia Nauplii (Brine) and the eggs should be here tomorrow. The betta fry should hatch next week. They will eat the brine shrimp first but if anyone has a Microworm culture I'd be willing to buy a little bit of them for a starter culture. I need ASAP! Thanks!
    Odysseus
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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    When I was a kid, I had several tanks in my basement devoted to the breeding of Anabantoids (Bettas, Dwarf, Blue,Thick Lipped, Pearl Leeri,and Paradise Fish). My setup was simple, Mcgiver-like, and effective. A simple 10 gallon tank, filled to just over the heater's element, with minimal filtration / aeration - enough to circulate the water and keep the temp somewhat uniform. I took a styrofoam coffee cup and removed the bottom, and folded the reamainder into quarters. I then floated the the pieces such that the concave part was down, to allow the fish to blow bubbles and debris into the styrofoam. I would also place straw in the tank so that it would produce infusoria (tiny organisms) which would be the fry's food. Initially, for about a week or so, their yolk sacks would suffice for nourishment. Then the infusoria. After that they can eat newly hatched brine shrimp, Technically, any decent pet shop should have a kit, but if you have trouble locating one, you can improvise. Here are the materials: a gallon glass jar, brine shrimp eggs, aquarium salt, a light source, an air stone, a pump & tubing, and a shrimp net. Mix the salt, eggs, and water, according to instructions from the container of eggs. Get your aeration going. Put a light on and wait a couple days. The eggs hatch and the shrimp are attracted to the light. You then scoop them up with the net. Rinse and feed. That's basically it!

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    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Nice advice.

    But, go back to that Infusoria part. That is exactly what I am looking for. I already have the brine shrimp, and when the time is right I'll hatch them. But how exactly did your stray creating infusoria work? Was it just straw hay? The same a horse is fed? Do I do anything to it first?

    Thanks for the reply.
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I know I didn't use anything sophisticated. I just went outside and grabbed a handful of dried grass and leaves, technically not straw. I remember reading, as a kid, that to create infusoria, one can use the yolk of a boiled egg or drie peas. It appears, basically, one needs organic matter and water. When it clouds up, you can pretty much count on microscopic critters being present. Wish I could say more on the biology going on behind it - but I don't. I'm better at explaining the nitrogen cycle. Anyways, I don't know of any reason why the material used by horses, whether it be hay or straw, wouldn't work. The main thing is organic material and water. I would do a search on infusoria on your pc. It would probably lead to better explanations of the biology behind things. Good luck.

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    Question

    Hi Odysseus,

    Many Betta breeders feed their fry LIVE baby brine shrimp from the time they are free swimming and use it as a way to cull out weaker fry. The bs eggs take 24-48 hours to hatch at 75-80F so you have to time the shrimp to hatch for when the fry become horizonal free swimming -- a few days after hatching. Better to start hatching the bs once the fry first hatch and if you waste a couple of jars so be it. Set up 2 jars for hatching so you can alternate days and always have bs available.
    Infusoria is easy. You can use hay, dried grass, a few pieces of wild rice, dried lettuce leaves or my favorite which is 1 tsp of baby food sweeet potatos with a tiny bit of yeast mixed in. Put old tank water siphoned from the bottom in a container -- I like glass gallon jars, 10 gallon tanks, big rubbermaid storage containers, etc... Put the water in and stir in the sweet potato/yeast mix. Put a light over the container for 24/7 and watch. You will either get green water (euglena) or smokey looking clouds of particles in the water making weird shapes in mass (paramecium). This will take a week or 2. The water will get nasty at first and then clear or turn green. Once clear you should see the clouds. There will be other infusorias in the mix but euglena and paramecium are the easiest to spot. Betta fry need these for like 3 days but feed baby brine shrimp from day one too. Once the fry have orange bellies stop feeding the infusorias. To feed the infusoria just pour a cup of water from the culture into the fry tank each day maybe twice a day -- but make sure the smelly period of the process is over and the basic culture water is clear and not stinky. Microscopes help to "see" into the culture. You can also boil an egg and take the yoke and blend it in a quart of water. Then take an eyedropper and drop several drops into the fry tank twice a day. Store the mix in the frig. This is the same as liquid fry food you buy commercially. How much to feed depends on the number of fry so you have to watch them and experiment. With Betta use a small diameter sipgon hose to make water changes and run it into a net over a bucket to catch any sucked up fry or just dip water out. Usually you need to siphon as people over fry and dead food covers the bottom. Add a bunch of small snails once the fry or swimming horizonally and eating bs. They will clean up the dead/uneaten food.



    Bobby

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Yeah, what he said! Don't be surprised when some fry do die. there is also a time period when they develop their labyrinth system, where they can breathe atmospheric air. They need the air above the water as humid as possible. Even then, more die off because their labyrinth apparatus doesn't develop properly. But you are ways off from worrying about that. There was a time when I bred them in a 5.5 gallon tank and thought I lost all of them. I replaced the tank inhabitants with several fronds of water sprite plants and slapped an incondescent light on top of it. The water sprite went nuts and were growing out of the water! Never duplicated that experience. However, one day, several months later, I saw some movement in the tank. Turned out to be a mature, but not flowy finned, male betta. He was totally neglected for so long but managed to survive.

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    Odysseus's Avatar
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    All right! Thanks for the advce guys! I'll begin growing my infusoria as soon as possible. The Bettas still haven't begun the final stages of "courtship" yet in one of my tanks, but the other ones are presently chasing each other around and checking out the bubble nest. I expect eggs any day now.

    That gives me a week or so of time to grow infusoria for those incoming fry. And almost two weeks for the other bettas who are still getting to the point of being ready to join the tank together.

    Until my first infusoria, I do have 2 oz. of Brine shrimp eggs. How long do you think that will last? Can I hatch lots of brine with just a tablespoon of eggs? Or do I have to throw them all in at once?
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I don't know how much 2 oz. will produce. I used to have a coffee can sized container. I think it is best to try a half teaspoon for now and see what that turns out to be. Newly hatched shrimp don't last too long, unless you're a dealer. It is also a good idea to hatch them a couple few days apart to get a fresh batch out to the fry. Does the female look egg-laden, with the telltale white spot on her abdomen?

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