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FAQs on Culturing Food Organisms: Culture Species Selection

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

Related FAQs: & FAQs on: Food Culture 1Food Culture 2, & FAQs on Marine Food Culture: Rationale/Use, Sources (Info., Starters, Products, ...), Tools/Materials, 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

Mmm, a bit of study re what it is you're trying to accomplish... Size, numbers, palatability, food value... to what you intend to feed, if so...

Feeding Meal worms to marine fish    7/25/15
Hi Crew,
How are you all. Hope things are good on your side.
<Thanks Mohammed>
I just have a quick question.
I have a culture of meal worms which I feed my birds and sometimes to the fresh water fish to condition for breeding.
I was wondering if they could be used to condition marine fish such as Banggai cardinals for breeding.
<Maybe the really small individuals. Am concerned that larger beetle larvae may be too tough to swallow and digest. Am sure you're familiar with screens to sort them by size.>
To fatten up the males before they go hungry while holding.
Thanks and Regards
Mohammed Makassar Husain
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Rotifer Feeding 4/27/09
Hello all again,
< Hello Gary >
my new tank setup is almost finished and I was going to be adding a phyto producing area that feed a rotifer tank to feed my corals.
< Can be beneficial if stocking filter feeding inverts and properly monitored. >
I will be producing new phyto weekly and then using a drip line dripping it into a rotifer tank at a correct drip rate to keep the culture at max efficiency.
< I would in no way directly connect the rotifer and phyto cultures. I learned from personal experience how easy it is to turn phyto cultures into rotifer cultures. If possible store the phyto above the rotifers to remove the chance of contamination. >
My main question is that most articles I have read about rotifer feeding states to use a micron net to pull out the rotifers and feed them directly to the tank.
< I would suggest the same. >
Since I am making fresh water to feed to the phyto and only feeding the phyto to the rotifers when it is fully cultured. I will then completely feeding the phyto within a few days keeping it fresh.
Why can't I use a drip line from the rotifer tank to drop straight into my main tank? I currently add phyto to my main tank at ¼ cup a day right not and does not seem to harm it. I have a 200 gal tank with plenty of live rock/sand and a massive skimmer. I don't currently have any algae problems. Do you think the water that the rotifers live in is that dirty if I am dripping it on a timer each night at a rate of refreshing the entire 5gal tank every week or so with new phyto water?
< Yes, it is that dirty. >
Are rotifers that messy?
<Yes, rotifers are extremely messy for their size. I would definitely strain them before adding them. Massive skimmer or not, I see no reason to knowingly risk water quality when there is a simple solution. >
I know they have ammonia but I can't imagine that they produce more than my fish do and that my tank cant handle it.
< Although your system may have no trouble processing the extra nutrients, I honestly see no reason to add the extra burden. >
Thank you for any advice,
< You are quite welcome. G A Jenkins >

Rotifers bob, I have often read about feeding various corals live baby brine shrimp and "rotifers". I have only had my salt water aquarium for 15 months so I am relatively new in this field. I have asked several knowledgeable people what rotifers are, and how or where can they be acquired. no one has yet been able to help me. I would appreciate any info that you could give to me. thanks, Dan >> Thanks for asking... always knew those courses in Marine Invertebrate Zoology would come in handy some day... Rotifers are "wheel animalcules"... a big mix (about 1500 species) or mainly freshwater, small (about 1mm) critters that look a lot like ciliated Protozoans... Mostly non-attached... and mostly mis-identified...  What I'm getting at, is that most people call a whole bunch of other organisms "rotifers", sort of like a catch-all name for "plankton"... You can buy cultures of these and other fun to grow and feed organisms and their culture media, vessels... from "biological supply houses"... put this name in your Search Engines... and away you go. One of my faves is Carolina Biological... Bob Fenner

Rotifers, microalgae, Artemia??? (culture questions, though I'm bereft of same) Hi Robert, <Howdy> I had a couple of questions regarding Rotifers and microalgae.. <Okay> have u tried using rotifers as a feed for the Lysmata shrimps... are they too small and in sufficient in nutrient content... if so then are there any rotifers large enough and with higher nutritional value... Which microalgae feeds do u recommend for growing of brine shrimps .. for high nutritional values.. <Don't personally culture Lysmata shrimps, or their foods, but do have friends/associates in the trade that do... Please see the sites of Tropic Marine Centre, The Breeder's Registry, and Florida Aqua Farms for good (accurate, useful) information... their links on the www.WetWebMedia.com links page> also are there considerable differences in the nutritional contents of the various types of Artemia and Artemia from varying source areas.. which species maybe better? <Mmm, yes... look to the "gold" or "number one" quality rating on the shrimp cysts (or eggs...) that you're using/looking for... and feed the food accordingly. Please see the extensive e-reference section on "San Francisco Bay Brand" (link on WWM) here> Thanks and regards Avinash Singh USP. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Epitokes and rotifers You wrote: As a boy in the P.I. I was familiar with a practice of collecting certain "native" marine foods with baskets, Really? Well I grew up in Chicago and never saw a Nereis until I was nearly 30. Now I live in P.I. and have just started my first marine aquarium. In a 48 gal tank which cycled on July 3, I now have two anemones, three sabellids, a clownfish and a damsel. I'd love to have more Polychaetes but first I want to know how to feed them. <Mmm, I will assure you, most everyone who has used live rock, "real" live sand does feed Polychaete worms... almost continuously... many species are quite small, reproduce prodigiously... "come out of the sand" (esp. by nightfall) and are consumed> If you were in P.I. and knowing what you know now how would you go about cultivating/collecting food for these critters. ( brine shrimp are very expensive when available- 1000+ pesos for dried food) Is it realistic to think of cultivating rotifers? <Please take a look at the works of Frank Hoff and products available (books, cultures...) from Florida Aqua-Farms... and articles by Bob Toonen on aquarium-related culture of food-organisms (maybe a search on the Net using their names... or a look through the archives of Aquarium Frontiers (on-line)> How can I exclusively get the marine species grown? I have a microscope and can probably ID who's who. <A lot of fun and... dare I say... instructional as well> Do you have other suggestions for feeding Polychaetes? <There are so many species... and of different feeding strategies (filter of many sorts to outright predaceous) that generalizations are likely not helpful. What species? Smallish ones are likely better either mono-cultured in specific vessels for the purpose, but raising them ancillary to having a DSB and live rock in an as-large-as-you-can-fit refugium would likely get you what you're shooting for> Are there indigenous species of worms that I'd be well advised NOT  to put in my treasured new tank? <Mmm, yes... larger, predatory species.> BTW I love WWM  and most certainly appreciate the style and content of  your contributions. Thanks so much! <Thank you for your kind words and contributing here to the site. Bob Fenner> Charles Olson, D.C. Davao, Mindanao, Philippines

Need advice for my PhD thesis <somebody write the Cliff's notes to "Reef Invertebrates"> hi guys, <howdy!> I am a grad student in molecular biology at UC Berkeley and I want to develop a crustacean as a new model system for studying developmental evolution.   <kudos for your educational ambition/endeavors> A few crustaceans are already being studied (Artemia, daphnia, Parhyale hawaiiensis) but they all have certain problems which keep them from being ideal.  The first consideration when trying to come up with a new animal to study is that it will readily reproduce in captivity... this is where you guys come in.  Ideally, I am looking for animals that can be kept in large groups without killing one another, who don't need coaxing to reproduce (the more they do, the better), and whose husbandry (especially of the young) is not overwhelmingly demanding.  Finally, an animal which matures quickly to breeding age would be good.  Oh, and as a final thought, the development of smaller guys like amphipods seems to be rather atypical when compared to most other arthropods, so I'm thinking something like a Lysmata or other shrimp or maybe crab might better represent the group.   <you were right the first time... shrimp. Much better understood, studied and viable for culture. Most crabs are very challenging to culture> I realize that I'm asking for quite a lot from one animal, and any info you guys can give me here would be very much appreciated.  Also, if there is anybody else you can think of who knows about captive breeding of crustaceans, I would love to be able to contact them as well in order to get more opinions.  Thanks a lot guys; I am a big fan of the site and I'm humbled by the amount of information you have compiled here. many thanks,-Mario Vargas-Vila <the genus Lysmata is very well studied. There is even a handbook for husbandry with a very popular species in the genus. Do seek "How to train and raise Peppermint shrimp" by April Kirkendall. As I recall, David Cripe of Monterey Bay Aquarium has Teamed up with Dr Rob Toonen of HI university to do a paper on the California peppermint Lysmata. Do search the archives at Scripps if you have academic access... I suspect you will find a remarkable amount of info on this wonderful genus. Anthony>

Feeder Shrimp Bob: <Tom> We are a commercial grower of food grade shrimp for human consumption. Our shrimp are SPF and we keep them that way.  I've seen several articles about feeder goldfish, etc., and would like to know how you feel about feeder shrimp -species L. VANNAMEI, or Pacific White Shrimp. <An excellent species... of all things, was in Guayaquil just yesterday... on a visit back from the Galapagos... a principal region for white shrimp culture.> We have just started selling this species to the wholesalers in Los Angeles for the saltwater aquariums.  We have also just started selling Live Brine Shrimp in volume to the salt and fresh-water aquarium wholesalers.  We grow the Brine Shrimp as a feed source for our own shrimp, high in Beta-carotene, HUFA, lipids, etc. Tom Hill Sunset SeaFarms,  LP tghill@sunsetseafarms.com <Outstanding. Pleased to make your acquaintance... and welcome to the ornamental aquatics part of the trade. Bob Fenner> Continuous rotifer drips    5/21/07       I am working on a continuous rotifer drip that recirculates.  I have an approximately seven gallon salt bucket at the same height as the reef aquarium, and using an Aqualifter (Tom brand) pump to pump from the reef to the bucket, which overflows about 1/3 of the culture into the reef.  I am culturing Nanochloropsis oculata in freshwater using tapwater- it's very easy to do this way for me- and I've learned that using only live algae, and waiting until the culture is completely clear before feeding again, are crucial to maintaining water quality in a continuous culture. <A good note/point> The overflow is 1 inch tubing, and I've passed airline tubing through it and connected this to a rigid tube that goes to the bottom, so the overflow essentially comes from the bottom;  the culture is self cleaning.       The problem I'm having is getting the rotifers to adapt to pH 8.5 and SG 1.025. <Mmm, won't do so if cultured in FW> I am using Brachionus rotundiformis as I think they will tolerate the higher temps and maybe are more salinity tolerant. <Yes... this one is euryhaline: http://www.lib.noaa.gov/korea/korean_aquaculture/zooplanktonic.htm But should be slowly adapted to culture water conditions before introduction if you expect for it/them to live for any period of time>   So far I have not used a UV on the intake, being happy with whatever else grows so far. <Mmmmm>       I may be successful just doing what I'm doing- and waiting for the rotifers to adapt.  But, do you have any experience with a continuous drip like this, or know of any successful long term rotifer drips? Many thanks Charles Matthews <Well... the Nanochloropsis can be cultured in FW as you state, but I would take care to raise the salt content on the Brachionus... easier to care for the latter in more saline conditions... and to use (I take it for marine aquaculture in turn) as a feed stock as such. I would take more care in keeping the cultures free of other life... Bob Fenner> Re: continuous rotifer drips    5/21/07 Hi Bob <Charles, oh Chip!>      An honor to get a reply from you, and thanks.  Regarding my post, to clarify, I meant that I was going to culture the algae in freshwater, and use this to feed the rotifers cultured at full strength seawater.  Thanks for your thoughts and will keep a watch on needing the UV Chip <Welcome... Again, I would try "mediating" the spg twixt the Nanochloropsis culture media and that of the Brachionus... Bob Fenner>

Growing live food in refugiums    4/4/08 Bob, <Mike> Another question about feeding/refugia. I am still looking about for food items to place in my refugium and have already started a green water culture (used Dt's and it's growing so I guess there really are live phytoplankton in there! :) ). <Yes... unlike some others...> Ideally, I would like critters which are well adapted to salt water and are prolific reproducers. I really would prefer to use food items that will survive/prosper in my display tank so as to avoid water quality issues. Unfortunately, the starter cultures I can find all have apparent negatives. Penaeus Vannamei (temperate species) Tigriopus Californicus (cold water species?) Mysidopsis bahia (cannibals) Palaemonetes vulgaris (brackish water?) Brachionus plicatilis (also brackish?) <Can be adapted to marine strength...> Do you have any recommendations from this list (or not on the list) ? Mike <Might I ask what your intention is... are you growing food/s for specific organisms? I would grow a general mix through the use of live rock, macro-algae... Bob Fenner>

Re: growing live food  4/5/08 Bob, <Mike> My goal is to keep some of the more difficult corals (such as Dendronephthya spp). My logic goes like this: live food - good (if it'll stay alive); dead food - bad (it rots!). I have a refugium now which is generating a variety of food for my tank and am planning to bring a larger refuge on line. I understand the Dendronephthya have been shown to capture phytoplankton as at least part of their diet but I assume they also use zooplankton as prey. <Mmm, yes... I STRONGLY encourage you to delve a bit into the non-pet-fish literature here. Nephtheids have been maintained/fed in culture... Foods should be grown outside the system IN ADDITION to maintaining a healthy refugium> I'm happy to raise food for my tank in stand-alone cultures but I'm not sure which are my best choices. <As stated, there is a body of useful information on specific unicellular algae and zooplankters of small size, their augmentation through Selco-like materials> I have seen 'white' shrimp cultures for sale as well as 'glass' shrimp. <Too large> I've ordered some 'salt water' rotifer cysts. I'm not sure about the longevity of Tigripus since they would seem to be from a fairly cold source (at least when I dove off Catalina I thought it was pretty cold :>). <Agreed. Inappropriate. Look for J. Charles Delbeek's input (U. of HI's Waikiki Aquarium)... I think in Aquarium Frontiers...> I'm splitting my phyto cultures now and I think I will have plenty of food for raising zooplankton. I've noticed that Paul Sachs has copepod and amphipod products for sale but I'm a little concerned that these were wild caught. Mike <Are you coming out to the MACNA this time around... in GA? I'd chat with Rob Toonen there re as well... for ref. input. BobF>

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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