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Everything posted by Anita

  1. Greetings everyone! NERM week is just days away. I can't believe how fast the summer is flying by! 😲 I hope you and your aquariums are finding ways to stay cool. Just a reminder to our forum members to post your NERM Week 2021: Forum Member Articles (FMAs). @James Blackis our latest to post his article, How to Deal With an Aquarium Catastrophe [Tips & Tutorials] This is a Review Article (RA), meaning after it was reviewed, he self-posted it. I also want to encourage any writer take advantage of our editorial reviews. It's easy, painless, and helps polish up your story. For James, I just needed to streamline a few sentences and suggest some alternatives for repetitive phrases. The important thing was to make sure his story was told in his own, unique voice. Our editors will give you feedback, encouragement, explanations, and even coaching if you would like extra help. We're all very nice; so, it won't be at all like turning in an English composition assignment! 😎 #NERM week #NERM week 2021
  2. Special Bonus. Have a few stray escapees wandering around your house? Or worse, wild flies buzzing about that could contaminate your flightless stock? Build fruit fly trap in 10 minutes that will corral those pesky mavericks!
  3. Here is an example of a Self-Posted Article (SPA) to get things started. See? Easy peazy! 😎
  4. Successfully Culturing Drosophila hydei [Tips & Tutorials] (Image by Brian Gratwicke, Creative Commons BY 2.0.) Aquarium fish thrive best on live foods, such as fruit flies, brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, blackworms, and more. According to Culturing Live Foods by Mike Hellweg, nothing works better than live foods for getting fish into prime spawning condition[1]. Even if you are not breeding them, consider feeding your fish live foods for enhanced nutrition. And besides, fish love it! Drosophila hydei—the Easy Live Food Fruit flies are easily cultured without specialized or expensive equipment. In my fish room, fruit fly cultures take up less than a square foot of space. I raise Drosophila hydei, which are about 3 mm (⅛ in) as adults, small enough to fit in my mutt guppies’ mouths. I also harvest young larvae to feed smaller fish, such as Aspidoras pauciradiatus. I use a strain of Drosophila with a genetic defect that affects their wing muscles. They have wings but cannot fly. (Image by sabakuINK. Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.) Most commercial culture kits use quart-sized plastic containers filled with fly medium and excelsior fibers or coffee filter paper. I think these cultures are far too messy and difficult to harvest from. Also, a quart container produces more flies than needed to feed my small, 10-gallon aquariums. I should point out that my first job out of college was as a fly wrangler for a Drosophila genetics lab. From that experience, I knew cultures could be sustained in small milk bottles plugged with gauze-wrapped cotton or foam plugs. And that led me to devise a system that is perfect for small-to-medium scale cultures. Setting Up the Culture Here’s what I use for one culture: 12 oz glass bottle* foam plug, 45-65 mm 1/4 cup dehydrated culture medium slightly less than 1/2 cup of boiling water pinch of dry, baker’s yeast Drosophila hydei culture bottle or vial small, plastic funnel *There is always the risk of injury from a glass bottle breaking during handling. I am comfortable using glass, but you may want to use plastic. (Image by sabakuINK. Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.) And that’s it for supplies and equipment! Purchasing Drosophila cultures online is ridiculously expensive. You are better off checking local fish or pet stores—I purchased a vial of D. hydei at Petsmart for a few bucks. It took some hunting but eventually, I found the right-size foam plugs at an online homebrewing store. If you cannot find foam plugs that fit, you can use cotton balls wrapped in cheesecloth to plug the bottle. You want the plug to fit snugly enough that small larvae cannot wriggle out. To set up your culture, mix up enough culture medium to fill the bottom couple of inches of the bottle. Be sure to use boiling water, which ensures the setting agent is fully activated. If you use hot or warm water, the culture medium will not set up properly. You want the culture medium to be fairly stiff. The consistency should resemble sticky bread dough before kneading. You may need to use a spoon or spatula to push the medium into the bottom of the bottle. Fit the foam plug in the bottle opening and let the culture cool to room temperature. Do not leave the bottle open or you risk contamination by insects, mold, or bacteria. When the culture is completely cooled, remove the plug and sprinkle a small pinch of dry yeast on the surface of the culture medium. This is the secret ingredient that stimulates the flies to lay more eggs. Even if your culture medium contains yeast, sprinkling a bit more on top will increase your yield. Make sure the culture medium is completely cooled before adding flies! If you add the flies too soon, while the culture medium is still warm, they may get stuck on the condensed moisture coating the inside of the bottle. (Image by sabakuINK. Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.) Here’s the best part of this system. No more shaking flies all over your counter or watching them jump frantically out of the quart container. Fold a towel into a pad about one inch (or more) thick. Place the culture bottle on this pad and remove the plug. Place the plastic funnel in the opening of the culture bottle. Tap the side of the Drosophila bottle to knock the adult flies to the bottom. Quickly invert the Drosophila bottle into the funnel. Hold the top bottle tight against the funnel so the flies cannot escape. Grasp the bottom bottle with your other hand. Holding everything together, raise the bottle-funnel-bottle configuration and gently pound it on the pad to knock the adult flies from the top bottle and into the bottom bottle. When the top bottle is empty, lift it and the funnel up. Plug the bottom bottle, which now contains your transferred flies. Growing, Harvesting, and Feeding D. hydei take roughly 21 days to complete their life cycle at 21°C (70°F)[2]. This cycle is shorter at warmer temperatures. One way to maximize yields and create a continuous supply of young larvae is to transfer the adult flies to a new bottle every few days. I usually can get about three bottles out of one set of adult flies. (Image by sabakuINK. Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.) Harvesting larvae is easy. Just use a spoon to scrape larvae off the inside of the bottle and drop them into the tank. Harvesting adults is nearly as easy. I use an empty jar at the bottom of the bottle-funnel-bottle configuration. Then I put the jar filled with flies into the freezer. I freeze extra larvae and adults for later. The freezing, by the way, bursts the flies’ exoskeleton, which softens them up and helps them sink. I also mix frozen larvae and adults into Repashy gel food. The pupae are the least desirable for feeding because of their hard shells. My mutt guppies will only try eating them if nothing else is available. Often, I end up scooping up a bunch of floating pupae and throwing them into the yard. Nutritional Value Drosophila are packed with nutrients. According to Reptiles.com, the nutritional profile of D. melanogaster ranks up near the top of feeder insects[3]. I propose that the nutritional profile of D. hydei is very similar. Drosophila have more protein than black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, superworms, crickets, nightcrawlers, snails, waxworms, or silkworms. D. melanogaster Nutrition Profile Moisture: 70% Protein: 21% Fat: 5% Fiber: 5% Ash: 2% References Hellweg, Mike. Culturing Live Foods. Neptune City, NJ: TFH Publications, Inc. 2008. Brinks, A. “Which fruit fly is right for me?” Josh’s Frogs blog. January 22, 2012 Healey, Mariah. “Feeder Insect Nutrition Facts for Reptile Keepers.” Posted November 18, 2017. Updated November 5, 2020.
  5. @ARMYVET Yes! We are looking for a variety of articles and all levels of writer are welcome. This post will help you get started...
  6. OMG Is that Georgian Red? 🍽️
  7. No worries, @James Black. We had some recent additions!
  8. Attention NERMs! We are now accepting Forum Member Articles:
  9. Wow, this schedule looks great! Thank you @Hobbit for putting everything together. 😎 Stay tuned. We will be posting the official Forum Member Article (FMA) thread very soon...
  10. Anita

    snail ID?

    I agree with @Guppysnail @CorydorasEthan on the ID. And that they are pretty tough. They've lived and multiplied in outdoor tubs for me. 😎
  11. Oh good! I wasn't sure I understood the initial comparison between the two species. So, my OCD self thought I should attempt to clarify. Haha, the perils of forum conversations. Thanks for being flexible! 😎
  12. My apologies for the l-a-t-e reply! I stashed this away and then, forgot about it! I am very behind on my journaling, so I need to get caught up. At any rate, I originally had 3 Brotia Pagodula Pagoda Snails. Then through separate events, I am down to one. The first loss I chronicled in my journal. The second loss occurred after a disastrous air supply failure, which also took the lives of a few fish. 😢 I believe I have learned something from these failures, which I will post in my journal. Skipping to the end, I am beginning to think that oxygenation and water temperature (which impacts O2 saturation) is the key to keeping Pagodas happy, more than water flow. The other critical factor is/are a mysterious water parameter(s) I have yet to identify. In the same tank, I keep an assortment of Stenomelania spp snails. They are thriving and growing. I am sorry to tell you that I have no experience with Mieniplotia scabra (syn. Thiara scabra) BTW, I think it is important to consider that despite the common name of Pagoda Tiara, Thiara Pagoda snails are pretty distantly related to Brotia Pagoda snails on the phylogenetic tree. For that matter, Thiara Pagoda snails are not closely related to Melanoides tuberculata (Malaysian Trumpet Snails) either. FWIW, in my experience, how closely related animals are on a phylogenetic tree does not correlate well to close similarity of environmental preferences, aka care requirements. At any rate, I will soon be updating my journal. I just wanted to chime in before I forgot, again! 🙄 Apologies for the long silence!
  13. We will have multiple options for posting articles, including self-posting and posted by an administrator. The option an author chooses will depend on a few factors, all of which will be explained in the writer guidelines. To avoid creating confusion, I do not want to discuss details that may change before the official announcement. 😁 I believe when you see the writer guidelines you will find the answers to many of your questions. 🧐
  14. For the upcoming anniversary event, we will be posting forum member articles (FMA) to the forum. One challenge of using a blog is it puts one person in charge of all uploading and monitoring. That is way too much work to ask of any one volunteer for a few weeks, much less forever. And it bottlenecks our ability to easily share and allocate responsibilities within the team. At any rate, when we launch the FMA thread, we will include posting guidelines, writing suggestions, and editorial standards. There have been some questions about whether posting articles in the forum could result in high comment clutter and low article searchability. In the posting guidelines, I have added controls that I hope will address these challenges. And the only way to know if these proposals will work is by trying them! It is worth mentioning that our editorial goals for the FMA project include: 1) making article contributions inclusive to as many members as possible, 2) dividing and streamlining the workload for our all-volunteer team, 3) providing editorial assistance to anyone who asks for it. I realize we may not achieve a sparkling 2.00 GAA in these ambitious goals (🥅 Goalie pun, haha!), however, as managing editor of the project, I believe they are standards worth pursuing. I would like to run the poll a bit longer before making any official announcements. Until then, I will do my best to reply any questions here in the forum. To make sure I see your question or comment, please be sure to tag me! 😎
  15. Sweet, thank you! Oh yes, we certainly could use your expertise translating science-speak into plain English! Please send me a private DM with your email, preferably a gmail account, and I will add you to our team! 🤩
  16. Yes, I agree we could get some really interesting articles. 😎 The goal of this project is to 1) have fun and 2) invite as many members as possible—from newbie writers to seasoned pros. So, we will be welcoming all authors, regardless of writing experience! Hold onto those inspirational ideas of yours and look for a new thread dedicated to forum member articles (FMA). The FMA thread will also have writers' guidelines to help get people started, as well as enhance the quality of the articles that get posted. For now, I am watching the poll results. In the meantime, could you help spread the word and direct people to the poll? FMAs have been mentioned in multiple, unrelated threads, so unless people are following the poll or me, they may not know where to look for more information. Thanks!
  17. You can view the categories in the poll. And please be sure to vote! 😎
  18. Hi everyone! I just posted a poll for our Forum Member Articles (FMA) Anniversary project, Please give us your vote!
  19. As part of our upcoming 2021 C.A.R.E. Forum Anniversary Celebration, aka NERM Day, we will be featuring forum member-authored articles! Yours truly is managing this project. The rest of our volunteer editors/coordinators are @Daniel @KaitieG @CorydorasEthan. Help us figure out what articles to post by answering a couple of questions in this poll. And get the word out! The more responses we get, the better we can feature the articles you want to see. Thank you! 😎
  20. Thank goodness you didn't have to break a window! 😅
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