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Related Articles: Culturing Food Organisms, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, ReproductionMarine Ornamental Fish CultureMysids,

Related FAQs: Food Culture 1Food Culture 2, & FAQs on Marine Food Culture: Rationale/Use, Tools/Materials, Selection of Culture Species, Culture Techniques, Feeding Food Organisms, Culture Pests, Predators, Troubleshooting/Fixes, & Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 2, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 4, Frozen Foods, Coral FeedingBrine ShrimpAlgae as Food, VitaminsNutritional DiseaseCoral Feeding, Growing Reef Corals

http://www.aquabid.com do a search for "culture".

http://www.aquaculturestore.com/ http://www.aquaticeco.com/ http://www.essentiallivefeeds.com http://www.ipsf.com/ http://www.inlandaquatics.com/ www.mysidshrimp.com www.seafarm.com


A source for Brachionus rotundiformis for feeding pearly Jawfish larvae. - 10/06/2009
I have been searching for a source for Brachionus rotundiformis, the S- Type rotifer strain. All of the online vendors seem to only sell the L-Type strain (Brachionus plicatilis). Do you happen to know a place
I could order the S/SS strain from?
<Mmm, yes:
I am using them to feed Opistognathus aurifrons (pearly/yellowheaded Jawfish) larvae. Also, would you suggest any particular enrichment to feed the rotifers?
<Do ask the folks at Seahorsesource re... I would do a bit more looking about in the scientific literature if this is an important project>
I lost my first batch of larvae either to fact that L type rotifers are to big for them to eat, lack of nutritional value, or rotifer culture contamination/crash.
<Do keep good records... consider making your results, investigations more widely known. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin keeping- 2/27/04 Oh, thank you so very much for the quick response. I did find some copepods in the Eheim filter and took that out and tested the gunk and it was just as good as the tank, no nitrates, no nitrites, ph, salinity everything just fine. <Great> So we put that in the tank and the live copepods that seem pretty big into the "breeder tank" I got a light on it, could only find a 10 gal size but it will do. Will test water frequently for poor water and water change. <Keep the water quality high, mate> Do you think I should clean up the live rock by scrubbing some of the dead stuff off then? <Not a bad idea, then siphon it out> I am not sure if the fish can wait until the rock is cured as well as the time it takes to culture and obtain the copepods which I hear is about 6 weeks. <Gonna have to!!>  Can we buy already raised copepods on line for a quick fix until ours are growing? <Sure. Check out www.aquaculturestore.com (tell them Paul Mansur from wetwebmedia.com sent you or try www.seafarm.com> Funny how the LFS stores in town all sell these beautiful fish yet no one sells copepods or culture kits. <Well, the fish likely eat frozen foodstuffs except for the Mandarin. Some will except frozen foods though>  The one my son works for is giving us the stuff in the skimmer hoping that will contain copepods. <Stuff I the skimmer???> They have 1 mandarin in their reef tank, he is not for sale! But is apart of the permanent creatures they care for in this reef tank that has coral for sale in. <Lots of stores do this. Annoying ain't it?> We need food for the mandarin now any suggestions to help him hang on until we can get the copepods growing, I hear it takes about 6 weeks from the time you receive the kit. <Or more. No guarantees either. Try frozen foods like mysids, Cyclops-eeze, Artemia etc> The kit is for the 10 gal tank size, do you think it will matter for the 5 gallon as long as we have enough food. <Limiting but likely fine> Do copepods need to be fed phytoplankton, zooplankton and such? <Yes. Also can be found at www.seafarm.com. Let Randy know I sent you from Wetwebmedia.com> Boy, this is a ton of work, it will be worth it if the fish can come through however, anyone purchasing a mandarin is nuts. <Agreed. I am not a supporter of keeping mandarin fish in captivity> Unless they have everything it takes to grow copepods! Again, I cannot tell you how appreciative to have your response, so helpful, and so quickly. <It's what we do> Thanks so very much. <Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul> Sue and Ryan

Plankton supplies 11/22/03 Hi guys, does anyone know where to purchase a net for collecting wild plankton?  I'm talking about one of those long nets you tow or set in a drift.  Thanks-  D <do try Florida Aqua Farms (do a net search, or look in the bibliog. of our books)... a fine place for such supplies. Else try biological supply houses (like those used by science educators). best of luck. Anthony>

Re: plankton net 11/23/03 Thanks, didn't see it on the FAF site but you were right about the other, Carolina Bio-Supply has them.  -  D <outstanding... best of luck. Anthony>

Growing and feeding pods - 4/20/04 I wanted to start by saying that your site has saved me hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of head ache...thank you! <We appreciate your kind words and thank you for being here> I currently have a relatively new 46 gallon bow front reef setup. <How new?> Substrate = Aragonite Live Rock = 50 lbs Corals - Alveopora, Star, Button, and Yellow Polyps, a Hammer and a Favites? (Looks like a brain) All of the corals are small but I'm hoping that they will grow with the proper lighting and feeding. <Will likely> My goal is to do everything as naturally as possible. <Mine as well> In my new setup I used new Aragonite, but used the live rock from my previous aquarium that had at least marine ich and probably Brooklynellosis as well. <Hmmmmm> I want to run the new tank fallow as long as possible to rid the rock/substrate of any lingering ich. <OK> In the mean time I would like to be building up zooplankton and/or microplankton for the corals and future fish to feed on. <Will come in time without predation and a good source of live sand, live rock, and maybe even an addition or two of copepods, amphipods and the like> I have seen additives like PhytoPlex, but I can't imagine that plankton bottled on a shelf for 3 months can be alive. <A really poor food additive. I use and highly recommend any of the Reed Mariculture products, DTs, BioPlankton for live phytoplankton sources.> If hatching brine shrimp and adding them, will they eventually reproduce on their own within the tank? <Not likely. Usually need higher salinity and no predation> I know that brine shrimp are the equivalent of potato chips for fish, but that's all I've seen as far as live plankton in my LFS. <Time to look to mail order, my friend> What can I do to provide naturally reproducing plankton within the tank? <the above are good choices for phytoplankton but be sure that the corals you currently have in your aquarium (and the ones you plan to add) actually utilize the food types you plan to feed. For other plankton and zooplankton sources I highly recommend: Sach's Aquaculture www.aquaculturestore.com/index.html  <rotifers, copepods, feeder fish, live mysids, and much more> Reed Mariculture www.seafarm.com  (rotifers, live/frozen phyto, copepods, and live mysids> Cyclops-eeze, frozen baby brine, and Golden Pearls are a great form of zooplankton that most fish will take to. Give it a try as well. We use these to raise seahorses and other hard to feed small zooplankton feeders A great question and I thank you for coming to WetWebMedia with such a great question. ~Paul>

GETTING COPEPODS TO THRIVE - 4/21/04 Thanks for the great leads on the stores. I was looking to order "occope - LIVE Ocean Plankton - 500 ml.s - A mixture of ocean plankton skewed towards copepods. Organisms from 50 microns - to 1000 microns in size." from http://www.aquaculturestore.com/swinverts.html . <A great family run business. As far as copepods go though, they don't typically do well (reproduction et al) in the captive environment. I would lean more toward the amphipod and Mysid population packs he offers. They are omnivorous, prolific breeders, and generally hardy. The copepods are intended more for either feeding to certain specialized animals or for school science projects. They require regular feedings of phytoplankton, and a steady and medium current. I feel that the amount of phytoplankton required to keep copepods alive just long enough to feed to corals is expensive and overly difficult. I feel it is not worth your time, effort, or money> Live Mysis Hello, <Hi again Scott> I forgot to add on my last email but do you know of how I can collect or purchase some live mysis or copepods.  I live in Canada so most places don't deliver here.   <One place that comes to mind is http://www.inlandaquatics.com/. I know I've had a lot of success buying this type of creature from them but there are many others I am sure.  One thing you might consider. If you have a local pet store or friend who has some mysis or pods. Put a small piece of pvc in the tank where they are and the Mysis or pods will use it to hide in.  Then you can collect it in a week or so and get some pods.  Simply close off the ends and dump it into a bag. Good Luck, MacL> Scott

Mysid Shrimp Hello there. I finally ordered the Conscientious Marine Aquarist today. I have no idea what took me so long. Anyway, about a year ago you guys pointed me to a website in Florida that ships live mysids and other amphipods via Priority Mail. I searched the FAQs for 2 hours and could not find the site (It isn't Aqua Farms). Do you know of the website in Florida that ships live copepods and amphipods via Priority Mail? It saves a bundle on shipping.  < Justin, try www.mysidshrimp.com James (Salty Dog)> 

Starter Cultures for Tiny Food - 11/30/05 Where can I get starter cultures for worms, etc. that Bettas and the fry eat? <I have regularly seen starter cultures on http://www.aquabid.com do a search for "culture". Best regards, John>

Microworms 10/9/05 Hello Bob. Sorry for disturbing you again. I wanted to know if there is any way to culture Microworms without using starter cultures as nobody in my area cultures them. I would be thankful if you help me. Thanking you. <Mmm, you need a culture to start with... I'd look about in your country for this... from a biological supply house, a college, perhaps a tropical fish club with a website. Bob Fenner> 

Buying Copepods  9/27/05 Hello again! <Howdy Mike, Adam J. with you.> Do any of you know where I could buy copepods to stock a refugium? I know inverts.com used to sell them, but I was just on their site and they don't have them anymore. <See here: http://www.essentiallivefeeds.com/ > Thanks Mike <No biggie, Adam J.>

Culturing of sea urchin larvae  - 02/16/2006 Hi Bob, I accidentally found your webpage and hope that you might answer some of my questions. I really would like to do some research with sea urchin larvae. <Gosh... a stock process/experiment back in college...> At my institute they have some experience in reproduction of sea urchins (Psammechinus miliaris). And I also have support from a technician who has lots of experience in culturing marine organisms. I myself worked with fish - quite different stuff indeed. Nonetheless, I really would prefer to work with larvae instead of embryos. Indeed, I was told that larvae culture is quite laborious. Do you have any experience with invertebrate larval culture???? <A bit> How elaborate is that? What equipment do you need? <Mmm, some brood stock, mechanism to bring on gametogenesis, spawning... rearing tanks (sometimes specialized) and "good" water... new/natural or recirculated/filtered> And what about the feeding? <Very important... Often the single largest "stumbling block" in invertebrate culture. A computer search here saves much trouble> I won't be able to maintain an algae culture as feed for my cute larvae. But I heard that there are commercially available microalgae.  Indeed, I read a publication that larvae don't reach the same growth rate with a commercially available diet compared to a control diet with Dunaliella. And do you know anybody who could give me more tips??? <Sea Biscuit in the Seventh... Actually, there is much written/recorded re many species, groups... time to go to "the library"... and ask specifics later> Thank you very much! And best wishes from a future sea urchin culturist! :-) Sabine <Look on the Net for the names Rob Toonen, Frank Hoff, Ron Shimek... for "pet-fish" input... otherwise... ex libris. Bob Fenner>

Fish stuff... in the biz? Fish foods, systems, promotion...  - 05/20/2006 Please do not reply to this email address. <Okay> Greetings, I have been reading a lot about live foods recently and find lots of places that are willing to talk about cultures and how to harvest but few if any that sell cultures - or better yet have a way for me to create my own cultures. <There are a few... look at the back of current hobby magazines... Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Aquarium Fish Magazine... and the "Biological Supply Houses"... e.g. Carolina... offer such... or ask about at a local large college that has a biology department... Often these folks will give out such> My wife and I have a small fish farm with about a dozen different varieties of fish and have been doing fairly well in breeding and growing babies but are at a loss as to where we can get live food supplies. <! You're in the trade? Do contact Randy Reed (Reed Mariculture... .com) re help here... San Francisco Bay Brand and SaltCreek re Artemia... Argent Chemical re Cyclops... Piscine Energetics re Mysids...> We do much of what we see others do simply because what works works and we don't have to trip over our own stupidity ..... as much. <... Time to encourage you to get help with searching the literature... not hard to do... And no need for you to "re-invent the wheel"... much information of use is available...> However, it is difficult to find good food for fry, good food to feed those getting ready to breed and in general good food. <Mmm, not really... just takes a bit of searching, contacting the folks who can/will supply this> Currently we rotate through several dry foods and frozen bloodworms/brine shrimp which keep the fish pretty healthy. The problem is that dependant on species we need different types of frozen or live food and some of those are hard to come by. Any suggestions on food? Also - we run several different types of filtration and I am contemplating do a cross between individual tank filtration and everything going through a central system by simply doing it by species. <Lots of benefits...> Right now our under gravel filters work great and I have no problem with them except for the amount of power needed. Thoughts on this? <...? Posted on WWM... Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/cntfiltbiz.htm and the linked files at top...> Lastly - any ideas on the best way to increase business? <You're not joking? Please see the Business Sub-Web that's part of WWM> We have a few pet stores and a few individuals lined up as buyers but as every business owner will attest to - there aren't enough customers in the world. Any way, I ask this not for reasons of advertising, but rather trying to market towards a fish interested market (and I haven't found that small magazine ads work). <They don't in the short/er term... Best to establish local to further outlet relations, and build on these... Minimum orders, arranged shipping schedule, rates... Contacts through word of mouth, visits...> Ideas? I know what I think but always looking for a sounding board. Strive for Excellence Jerry Opp FishCo a division of Pro Enterprises <Okay... Keep reading... Bob Fenner> Amphipods For Free...Too Good To Be True?   6/23/06 Hi there, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a quick question. A while ago I had to treat my 29 gal. for saltwater ick. During the isolation there were no predators for the pods that I had and they flourished. There were hundreds of them everywhere swimming around. Because of this I had thought it a good idea to purchase a mandarin Dragonet. Unfortunately, with the reintroduction of the fish, the numbers of pods have gone down significantly. I'm now afraid that the Mandarin might starve. I was wondering, since money is a little tight, are cold water 'pods similar to warm water ones? I was thinking it would be easy to just capture some of these guys and set up a breeding tank for them. Would it be alright to feed these guys or not? From what I remember they look almost identical to the pods in my tank now. Any feed back would be appreciated. Shawn <Well, Shawn, you ask an interesting question. I'm sure that the temperate amphipods are similar in nutritional value to the tropical ones, but I have another concern: Introduction of wild-caught amphipods (tropical or otherwise) is potentially a vector for disease introduction. Personally, I'd rather seek out a captive source (such as Reed Mariculture or Ocean Pods- do an internet search), where you're assured captive-propagated, pathogen free creatures. As an alternative, 'pods collected from a fellow hobbyist, who's healthy tank has a well-established population, would be a better source. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott

Rotifers... cult.     11/29/06 Hello again, <Hey Tom, JustinN with you tonight> I have been reading on your site and other sites about what the best things to feed clownfish fry are, and one thing that keeps coming up is rotifers. I was wondering if you could give me a brief idea of what rotifers are, and how to go about culturing them. Thank you for your time. Tom <Mmm, is posted here at WWM and elsewhere on the web. Google is your friend. -JustinN> Frozen Rotifers as a Replacement for Live Cultures? - 09/09/06 Hello Ladies and Gents. <<Hey Amanda!>> Hope whoever gets this is having a fine day/night. <<So far so good <grin> >> It seems I have yet another question that I'm hoping someone there has an answer to. <<Let's find > For a bit of background.  I've been breeding my pair of black morph of Amphiprion ocellaris for about three years now.  I have had great success doing the age old green water rotifer culture then feeding the rotifers to my hatchlings. <<Okay>> Never really thought about how much time I put into maintaining these cultures, until my fiancé gave me a colt (as in a little baby horse). <<What?!  Another hobby/interest that's not aquatic related!!!  Just razzing you Amanda...  What you say is true...my wife tells me I spend way too much time with my reef, and not near enough doing chores/working around the house.  Hmm, maybe that's not quite the same...>> No don't get me wrong, I was tickled pink when he gave him to me, and I love him right to death, but I just don't seem to have enough time in my day anymore. <<I do understand>> (Just in case you wanted to know how my day goes) I get up at 5:30, walk the dogs, check on and generally potter about with all the fish tanks, shower, drive to work (this all happens before 7:30).  Work from 7:30 to 4 usually skipping lunch to try and get everything done so I can make it home to potter about with the green water/rotifer cultures. <<Hee-hee!>> Pick the fiancé up from work at 6 drive out to the property, feed brush and train my colt, get back home round about 8:30ish and pick up some nasty disgusting fast food on the way (I HATE FAST FOOD).  Walk the dogs, wolf down my now cold nasty disgusting fast food, and if I'm really lucky I make it to bed by 11:30.  This has been going like this for about 2 months now and I'm EXHAUSTED!! <<Mmm, I think I see the problem...you need to find a fiancé that can drive and cook!>> Just in case you thought I could sleep on the weekends, oh no, I can't. <<But of course not...>> My weekends are just as full.  So now that you know more then you ever wanted to know about my life I'll get to the question. <<Thank you for sharing <grin> >> It got to the point where I was going to stop my clownfish breeding.  I just couldn't find enough time in the day. <<Mmm, yes...decisions>> Then it hit me FROZEN ROTIFERS!!!!!! <<Indeed!  I feed these to my reef tank daily>> And I want to know if my plan might just work.  My clownfish larval tank is circular so there are no dead spots, <<Ah yes, and no sharp corners for larvae to be trapped in...smart>> I have a slow pump (fine filter mesh over the outflow so I don't lose my little fish) emptying the tank from the bottom going through all the filter media pumped up into a trickle filter resupplying the tank diagonally from the top so as to produce circular turbulent flow. <<I see>> Now if I rigged up a slow drip container with bubbler filled with frozen rotifers (that was surrounded by a sheath which could hold ice to keep the rotifers from going off) that dripped into this tank would the larval clownfish hit the rotifers or do they feed on a motion response. <<Mmm, a good point/question...but one I think you'll only answer with some experimentation>> And if they feed on a motion response would the circulation in the round tank keep them suspended for long enough and provide enough turbulence to give the rotifers a semblance of swimming to entice the larval clownfish to strike? <<Is possible.  You may also want to consider adding a bubble-wand along the bottom of one long side of the tank.  This would provide a "gentle" flow pulling water (and rotifers) off the bottom and pushing to the top where it "rolls" across and down the other side to be pulled back across the bottom and then back up again.  This is a method used on DIY "Kreisal" tanks>> Is it possible will they take the frozen rotifers so I won't have to maintain my green water and rotifer cultures anymore?  Or is it bye-bye to baby clownfish?? <<Hard to say...but worth a try I think.  The only real downside I see to this is the possible fowling of the larvae tank from an excess of frozen (dead) rotifers in the system due to the high rotifer-to-larvae ratio required for successfully raising the fry.  Maybe turning off all flow will allow the rotifers to be drawn to/collect on the filter screen for easier removal>> Thanks, Amanda <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>

Re: Frozen Rotifers as a Replacement for Live Cultures? - 09/11/06 Hey EricR, <<Hey Amanda!>> Hope you had a better/more relaxed weekend then I did. <<Mmm...cleaning 1800sqft of deck in preparation for staining...still...better than being at "work"...>> I hadn't even thought of a bubble wand.  It certainly would add that extra current to keep the rotifers suspended for longer. <<Indeed>> I'll have to work on getting it all set up this afternoon and give the frozen rotifers a try. <<Excellent...worth the time/experimentation>> I'll let you know how it goes if you want. <<Ah yes, please do...and of course will post for others' edification>> After this weekend the green water is gone.  Spent all weekend fighting a bush fire, didn't sleep much, all my rotifers died :( and I lost a new batch of clownfish :( <<My condolences>> And just to add in a bit of a rant.  People who purposely start bushfires SUCK!!!!  They need to be tied out with all the poor animals, wild and domestic, to get scared, scorched and possibly burned to death right along with them.  DON'T START FIRES. FIRES ARE BAD. <<Is sometimes hard to fathom what motivates people...>> Oh, and the Fiancé does drive, it's just at the moment neither my car nor my bike is working, so we're down to just his Ute.  As for cooking, he's done that once or twice, I very politely ate it, then ran to the bathroom gagging.  Cooking is not his strong point. <<Hee-hee!  Obviously he has other redeeming qualities <grin> >> Thank you Amanda <<I look forward to hearing about your results.  Eric Russell>>

Pod culture   6/21/07 Hello, crew. <Hi Dan, Mich here this morning.> No question today, just some feedback. <Always appreciated.> We have a psychedelic mandarin in too-small an aquarium (three-year-old 46-gal with perhaps 50 lb live rock). It was fine for a while, but has slowly gotten skinnier (over the course of months). We investigated buying "pod cultures" online, but they are pricey. Then I ran across this gem on WWM: "Can I encourage you all to start a marine "pod farm". It is very easy. I have a 5 litre mineral water bottle with 4 litres of my tank water in. I bought two inoculums from www.reefworks.co.uk and stand the whole thing on my south-facing windowsill in my workshop. 3 weeks later I had a mass of pods all zipping around like mad. They are very un-demanding, I give then a level teaspoon of plain flour each week to supplement their diet of algae and detritus. Put an airline in and let nature take it's course. Now, each week I give the bottle a gentle shake and pour two litres of the mix into my tank and replace it with two litres of pristine indo-pacific from the tank. A week later the pods have made up their missing numbers. I do this at night so the pods can get established without the Chromis getting in on the act - they love them too." I have done this using an EBay pod culture as a "seed". The explosion in their numbers is astounding (my two-liter bottle has many thousands of pods after a few weeks). We are going to upgrade to a larger "culture container", and I am confident that we will be able to fatten up our mandarin and provide it all the food it could possibly want. <I am very happy to hear/read this. Your Mandarin thanks you, and we, WWM, thank you for being conscientious.> FYI -- we keep the "pod farm" in our stand, next to the sump. The temperature is "stable enough", and they certainly don't seem to mind the low light under there. Just a pump with air, and changing half the water every week. Easy as 3.14. <Heehee! I love the math geek reference!> Dan <Dan, thank you for sharing your experience here. Others will benefit from this. Life to you and your Mandarin! Mich>

Re: DSB move? Mysid culture   10/22/07 Hello again, <Chad> I need to clarify my DSB move question. I want to move this DSB into another tank. What is the best way of doing this? <Mmm, just to "do it"> Also on the Mysid shrimp question, which way would be better to boost my chances of hatching these shrimp in other tanks or increasing the current population? Should I buy freeze dried or frozen (possibly gamma radiated) Mysid shrimp to feed my fish/coral. <Likely frozen are more nutritious, cost-effective> I have bought both in the past and I'm not sure what product type would have a better chance of having viable fertilized eggs after being processed. Thanks, Chad <Mmm, neither... I'd order, raise some from live... they are available. Bob Fenner> Breeding saltwater feeder shrimp -- 5/3/08 WWM Crew Member, I have searched all over the internet to find info on breeding the Saltwater Feeder Shrimp, Penaeus sp after reading this on a seller's website: If kept in sufficient numbers and fed well (a mix of flake food, frozen Brine, and Spirulina should do fine), they may begin to breed. Females carrying eggs should be transferred to a different aquarium (or a partitioned section.) Basic fry food may be fed to the newborn shrimp. These tank-bred shrimp are USDA certified to be free from potential diseases and pathogens. Unfortunately, I can't find any more info than that or have found anyone that has tried or been successful with it. <Mmm, has been done many times, places... and the family (Panaeidae) are a HUGE fishery/aquacultured world-wide...> This is what I've been considering so far: 10 gal tank with air bubbler critter keeper or enclosed area for shrimp with eggs (not sure how to enclose area so water moves through, but fry do not) <See the site of Aquatic Ecosystems... for fabrication ideas or purchase of such...> I'm not sure about algae to keep with them or food for the fry. Would crushed flake, phytoplankton, rotifers, or Cyclopeeze work? <... likely so> I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. Thanks! Cher <Look for Frank Hoff's books, the new (fish aquaculture) one by Matt Wittenrich/Microcosm-TFH... There is much written on the topic of use... but, you can also employ trial and error... Bob Fenner>

Culturing Live Food, 7/9/08 I am looking for guidance on culturing live food. Doing such is driven by interest rather than a hard requirement from my tank's inhabitants. I have a 24 gallon nano-cube (which I wish I had never gotten since it provides no flexibility whatsoever. A little bit bigger system with a sump/refugium would have definitely been the way to go. but I digressed). <I think many people find this to be true once they get their tanks going.> The tank has been running for 2.5 years, and it houses 2 Percula Clown fish, 1 small Pipe Organ coral, 1 small colony polyp, and a couple of dwarf crabs and snails. The clown fish readily accept flake foods and seem happily fed. On rare occasion I have fed them newly hatched baby brine shrimp which they loved. Also, the tank does have copepods that came in from the live rock. The clown fish hunt the copepods, but the copepods mostly hide in the live rock and substrate. The copepods are also very small, being barely visible to the naked eye. Usually it requires a 30x eye piece to get a good look at them. <Eye strain for sure.> There seems to be a couple of choices of easily cultured live foods: brine shrimp, copepods (larger Tiger pods and smaller Harpacticoids pods), rotifer's, and Mysid shrimp. The live food(s) would be cultured in a dedicated vessel. My questions are as follows: 1) Is anyone of the cultured foods listed above more useful than the others given my tank's inhabitants? <The pods and Mysid by far.> 2) Would introducing any of cultured foods 'live' be harmful for the current tank's population of copepods? It is my understanding the Mysid shrimp are voracious and would likely not only consume the current tank's population of copepods but also would likely consume each other. I want to feed the tank, not establish a new biological order. <More likely it would strike some sort of balance eventually, but how many Mysid could survive long term is hard to say.> 3) Culturing brine shrimp to adulthood would require that they be enriched before feeding them to the tank. would this be worth the effort? <Not in my opinion, easier to just feed the fish the food directly, the brine itself adds almost nothing.> 4) Should brine shrimp eggs be de-capsulated before hatching them? Asked another way, can adult fish eat them with the shells still attached or is this just a concern for fish fry? <Mostly a concern for smaller fish.> 5) Would the soft corals benefit from the addition of any of the listed cultured live foods? <Probably marginally.> Thank you much for your guidance. <I highly suggest checking out the works of Dr. Adelaide Rhodes, she gave a great presentation at this year's IMAC, and is an expert on what you are trying to do. http://www.essentiallivefeeds.com> <Chris>

Live Foods, Feeder Fish... guppies... SW... 6/9/08 Hey Bob and crew again thanks for all the help you've given amateur aquarists like me, I've always appreciated the fact that I can get advice from you guys instead of the on-line dealers that are probably just trying to make a buck. <Welcome> Ok I was wondering if fish like royal grammas and Firefish would benefit from foods such as small feeder guppies, you know bite sized ones. <Not really, better off just using a quality prepared or frozen food.> I'm using a 10 gallon aquarium as a breeding tank for feeder guppies. <I doubt the Firefish will go after the fry too much, the Gramma may but I would not use this as a staple food.> Also would crushed baby freshwater snails be a nutritious snack? <Its best to stick with foods that are of a marine origin for marine fish, their digestive tract is just not able to deal with terrestrial and to a large extent freshwater foods.> I have snails in the guppy tank and it seems it would be a good way to keep their numbers in check. <I would try to find another way, perhaps find someone with a freshwater puffer who would appreciate these as food.> <Chris>

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