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Based on the guidelines i believe this is allowed. I got my vinegar eel starter looking at aquabid.com live foods then checking reviews on the sellers and picking the one that seemed like the best fit for me. Pretty accurate reviews in my experience and good experiences there many times for many non-COOP items.

Ive missed badley on the other two sites you mention. 

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I skipped the typical ordering of cultures. 

 

Try buying the Bragg Organic Raw vinegar with the Mother.

Follow the directions for culturing vinegar eels. Plan to take a while, the first culture of vinegar eels takes forever. However, they multiply exponentially, and once you have 2 to 3 cultures going, you will be set.

We had to make an emergency move about 2 decades ago, and obviously that interrupted breeding😅 We were in temp housing for 6 months, before I could set up tanks again and start over. 

Luckily, vinegar eel colonies do not seem to crash! Everything went back into production by adding fresh slices of apple.

If that's too much work, there's a company, Carolina [I can't remember the rest???] that my sister orders amphopods, vinegar eels, and walther worms for classroom exercises. They even sell bioluminescent plankton. 

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Sorry to hijack the topic but this got me googling vinegar eels. I'm planning on feeding some live food to my fish and the vinegar eels look so easy to culture and feed etc but does anyone have experience of adult fish eating them? Or are they only good for fry? My fish are all small, neon tetras and panda cories etc, wondering if vinegar eels are still be too small for the adults to eat. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 4:47 AM, KentFishFanUK said:

Sorry to hijack the topic but this got me googling vinegar eels. I'm planning on feeding some live food to my fish and the vinegar eels look so easy to culture and feed etc but does anyone have experience of adult fish eating them? Or are they only good for fry? My fish are all small, neon tetras and panda cories etc, wondering if vinegar eels are still be too small for the adults to eat. 

No worries my first time with ve i welcome all info 😁

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Depending on where you live, you might want to wait for the temps to moderate a bit before ordering. Midsummer and midwinter can be tough times to ship anything living. Also check out where your source is and their weather. I tend to order most of my live stuff (plants, fish, cultures, etc.)  in the spring or fall when temps are more moderate and less likely to freeze or roast what I'm ordering.

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@KentFishFanUK  I read your post and didn’t know the answer and have vinegar eel cultures and some very small nano fish that are currently in small QT tanks.  Quickly collected a few eels and offered them to young adult chili rasboras, very young adult Kubotai rasboras, and subadult and adult CPD’s in one tank.  No CPD’S but have adult ember tetras along with a few Kubotais and young adult chilis in another tank.

Now bear in mind that I’m old and I can just barely make out vinegar eels while wearing my reading glasses while they’re in the culture.  They flat out disappear once in the water in the 10 and 12 gallon QT tanks.  That being said, the fish did get excited and seemed to be going after *something* when I fed the eels.  I couldn’t tell if they were just excited to see me because it means they expect to be fed and were hyper alert, or if they were actually eating something.  They weren’t going after the *something* with the same enthusiasm as they go after fine flake food.

I’ll collect a larger number of eels in a hour or so and see if I can tell any better.  My just barely still subadult pea puffers are completely unimpressed with vinegar eels, but they’re used to getting white worms, blackworms, and young snails as their primary foods.  All these nano fish are able to take whiteworms and blackworms with no problems.  I just redid my microworm cultures and they aren’t yet back up to a population density that allows for easy collection for feeding.

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Thank you @Odd Duck!! Really appreciate you taking the time. 

Interesting that they appear to prefer the fine flake food, I assumed any live food (providing they take it at all) they would get more excited over than dry food.

I eagerly await attempt number 2 of the experiment! 

I was hoping that small fish would enjoy them as a treat, along with the showing the natural behaviours of going after live food. I want to find a live food that will survive in the tank until eaten and was easy to culture and harvest so vinegar eels sounded perfect, but no good if my fish aren't interested! Might have to go back to my original plan of daphnia but they don't seem quite as simple to do as vinegar eels. 

At the moment I try and vary their diet with flake food, micro pellets, sinking wafers and repashy however the first three basically have the same ingredients just in different forms and only the repashy offers something different. 

So far their favourite seems to be flake food so my next plan when I run out of the dry foods is to order a variety of flakes - krill flakes and artemia flakes and a couple others so at least there is some variety there not just fish meal as the main ingredient. 

By the sounds of it you must have quite the fish room going (I follow you on here as you always seem to be free with your helpful advice 😁) have you ever filmed a fish room tour?

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@KentFishFanUK I apparently took a little nap after dinner and forgot to do the second collection.  I think the vinegar eels may be just too small to get them very excited.  The embers go crazy for whiteworms and blackworms.  I haven’t tried them with the Kubotai’s and chilis, but I’m sure the Kubotai’s and CPD’s will go crazy for them, too.  The chilis may be just small enough to be hesitant about whiteworms.  I’ll find out tomorrow and let you know.

I should have a better harvest of the vinegar eels tomorrow.  I’ll try them first and break out the magnifying glass so I can tell if they’re actually eating something or just charged up because they’re assuming they’ll get something yummy.  Then I’ll feed some microworms if I can harvest enough to make it worth fiddling with.  Those are both so tiny it would be very hard to overfeed on them.  Then I’ll try just a few white worms as long as nobody has a big belly by then.

Just a note, the vinegar eels tend to stay at the top of the water if they can (depending on the water flow/current) so might be a better choice for upper water species.  The microworms tend to sink so may be better for deeper water/bottom feeder fry.  The whiteworms and blackworms definitely sink, white worms seem a little quicker to sink and are even more wiggly than blackworms, but I haven’t actually timed it.  😆 

Blackworms will stay alive indefinitely in fresh water until eaten, I’m growing them in fresh water.  White worms live for a few days in water.  Neither needs to be kept in the refrigerator or chilled unless you don’t have AC in a warm climate (or during a crazy hot spell).  Mine are at room temp but on the lowest shelf available to keep them as cool as possible, but far from refrigerator temps, they’re just in the low to mid 70’s.

I have had zero luck with keeping active Daphnia or Moina cultures.  They last for a while, then gradually disappear whether I’m feeding from the culture or not.  I haven’t had a crash where the cultures went bad and smelly or anything, they just haven’t prospered and reproduced reliably.  I was probably trying to grow too many things in the same tank.  I hoped I would be able to grow blackworms, snails, and Daphnia all in the same tanks, but it hasn’t worked.  The snails and blackworms do OK together, but I’ve come to think the blackworms will do better separately.

My next project with the cultures is just going to be separating snails from blackworms and putting all the blackworms into 2 tanks and all the ramshorn snail cultures into 2 tanks.  I also have different colors of snails scattered in multiple tanks (ivory mysteries here, magentas there, gold up here, red ramshorns here, pink there, etc), but the main culture tanks for feeding pea puffers are in the 5G tanks.

I may try again with Daphnia in their own tank.  I grew them successfully way back as the lab assistant for my bio/zoology professor (about a hundred years ago) but haven’t had any luck with them in a mixed culture.


I appreciate the thought about a tour, but I don’t have “a fish room”, I have tanks in 4 different rooms and my house is definitely nothing special overall.  At some point I may do 4 very short “tours”, one for each room, but they need to get more organized first before I could do that.  I also don’t have any kind of editing software (and have very little patience for doing that sort of thing) and barely use my laptop.  It’s all just the phone or tablet for me.  I do plan to do more tank journaling.  That will probably be more interesting than room tours, honestly, and more my style.  In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write.  😆 

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On 7/21/2021 at 12:51 AM, Odd Duck said:

@KentFishFanUK I apparently took a little nap after dinner and forgot to do the second collection.  I think the vinegar eels may be just too small to get them very excited.  The embers go crazy for whiteworms and blackworms.  I haven’t tried them with the Kubotai’s and chilis, but I’m sure the Kubotai’s and CPD’s will go crazy for them, too.  The chilis may be just small enough to be hesitant about whiteworms.  I’ll find out tomorrow and let you know.

I should have a better harvest of the vinegar eels tomorrow.  I’ll try them first and break out the magnifying glass so I can tell if they’re actually eating something or just charged up because they’re assuming they’ll get something yummy.  Then I’ll feed some microworms if I can harvest enough to make it worth fiddling with.  Those are both so tiny it would be very hard to overfeed on them.  Then I’ll try just a few white worms as long as nobody has a big belly by then.

Just a note, the vinegar eels tend to stay at the top of the water if they can (depending on the water flow/current) so might be a better choice for upper water species.  The microworms tend to sink so may be better for deeper water/bottom feeder fry.  The whiteworms and blackworms definitely sink, white worms seem a little quicker to sink and are even more wiggly than blackworms, but I haven’t actually timed it.  😆 

Blackworms will stay alive indefinitely in fresh water until eaten, I’m growing them in fresh water.  White worms live for a few days in water.  Neither needs to be kept in the refrigerator or chilled unless you don’t have AC in a warm climate (or during a crazy hot spell).  Mine are at room temp but on the lowest shelf available to keep them as cool as possible, but far from refrigerator temps, they’re just in the low to mid 70’s.

I have had zero luck with keeping active Daphnia or Moina cultures.  They last for a while, then gradually disappear whether I’m feeding from the culture or not.  I haven’t had a crash where the cultures went bad and smelly or anything, they just haven’t prospered and reproduced reliably.  I was probably trying to grow too many things in the same tank.  I hoped I would be able to grow blackworms, snails, and Daphnia all in the same tanks, but it hasn’t worked.  The snails and blackworms do OK together, but I’ve come to think the blackworms will do better separately.

My next project with the cultures is just going to be separating snails from blackworms and putting all the blackworms into 2 tanks and all the ramshorn snail cultures into 2 tanks.  I also have different colors of snails scattered in multiple tanks (ivory mysteries here, magentas there, gold up here, red ramshorns here, pink there, etc), but the main culture tanks for feeding pea puffers are in the 5G tanks.

I may try again with Daphnia in their own tank.  I grew them successfully way back as the lab assistant for my bio/zoology professor (about a hundred years ago) but haven’t had any luck with them in a mixed culture.


I appreciate the thought about a tour, but I don’t have “a fish room”, I have tanks in 4 different rooms and my house is definitely nothing special overall.  At some point I may do 4 very short “tours”, one for each room, but they need to get more organized first before I could do that.  I also don’t have any kind of editing software (and have very little patience for doing that sort of thing) and barely use my laptop.  It’s all just the phone or tablet for me.  I do plan to do more tank journaling.  That will probably be more interesting than room tours, honestly, and more my style.  In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write.  😆 

Thank you for the wonderful information.  Im culturing them for my CPD, guppy fry, panda Cory and pygmy cory. I was wondering what else i have might eat them. I guess we will find out 😁

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On 7/21/2021 at 5:51 AM, Odd Duck said:

@KentFishFanUK I apparently took a little nap after dinner and forgot to do the second collection.  I think the vinegar eels may be just too small to get them very excited.  The embers go crazy for whiteworms and blackworms.  I haven’t tried them with the Kubotai’s and chilis, but I’m sure the Kubotai’s and CPD’s will go crazy for them, too.  The chilis may be just small enough to be hesitant about whiteworms.  I’ll find out tomorrow and let you know.

I should have a better harvest of the vinegar eels tomorrow.  I’ll try them first and break out the magnifying glass so I can tell if they’re actually eating something or just charged up because they’re assuming they’ll get something yummy.  Then I’ll feed some microworms if I can harvest enough to make it worth fiddling with.  Those are both so tiny it would be very hard to overfeed on them.  Then I’ll try just a few white worms as long as nobody has a big belly by then.

Just a note, the vinegar eels tend to stay at the top of the water if they can (depending on the water flow/current) so might be a better choice for upper water species.  The microworms tend to sink so may be better for deeper water/bottom feeder fry.  The whiteworms and blackworms definitely sink, white worms seem a little quicker to sink and are even more wiggly than blackworms, but I haven’t actually timed it.  😆 

Blackworms will stay alive indefinitely in fresh water until eaten, I’m growing them in fresh water.  White worms live for a few days in water.  Neither needs to be kept in the refrigerator or chilled unless you don’t have AC in a warm climate (or during a crazy hot spell).  Mine are at room temp but on the lowest shelf available to keep them as cool as possible, but far from refrigerator temps, they’re just in the low to mid 70’s.

I have had zero luck with keeping active Daphnia or Moina cultures.  They last for a while, then gradually disappear whether I’m feeding from the culture or not.  I haven’t had a crash where the cultures went bad and smelly or anything, they just haven’t prospered and reproduced reliably.  I was probably trying to grow too many things in the same tank.  I hoped I would be able to grow blackworms, snails, and Daphnia all in the same tanks, but it hasn’t worked.  The snails and blackworms do OK together, but I’ve come to think the blackworms will do better separately.

My next project with the cultures is just going to be separating snails from blackworms and putting all the blackworms into 2 tanks and all the ramshorn snail cultures into 2 tanks.  I also have different colors of snails scattered in multiple tanks (ivory mysteries here, magentas there, gold up here, red ramshorns here, pink there, etc), but the main culture tanks for feeding pea puffers are in the 5G tanks.

I may try again with Daphnia in their own tank.  I grew them successfully way back as the lab assistant for my bio/zoology professor (about a hundred years ago) but haven’t had any luck with them in a mixed culture.


I appreciate the thought about a tour, but I don’t have “a fish room”, I have tanks in 4 different rooms and my house is definitely nothing special overall.  At some point I may do 4 very short “tours”, one for each room, but they need to get more organized first before I could do that.  I also don’t have any kind of editing software (and have very little patience for doing that sort of thing) and barely use my laptop.  It’s all just the phone or tablet for me.  I do plan to do more tank journaling.  That will probably be more interesting than room tours, honestly, and more my style.  In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write.  😆 

No worries, yeah you are probably right they are probably just too small for adults. Will have to look into white worms and black worms etc! 

I think I read somewhere that you have to he careful the black worms don't establish themselves and infest your substrate too much, have you had any issues at all?

My Endlers and Neon Tetras seem to be just fine eating off the bottom alongside my cories so probably won't matter where in the tank their food goes! 

And yes I've noticed your writing is fantastic, if you do some journalling especially with pictures as well I will definitely be reading! 

Thanks for your replies. 

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I've used them from select aquatics, good stuff.  Just be aware that feeding vinegar eels can cause a ph crash if you're not careful and don't have much buffer.  The vinegar can be pretty acidic, even with rinsing them in a coffee filter.  That's actually why I stopped using them for rainbow fry.  The small dishes that I had the fry in tended to go from my normal pH of almost 9 with basically liquid rock water down to 7.5 or so and the change was killing fry

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In case this helps someone: I had tiny detritus worms ride in on plants, and have been careful to keep them alive in my tanks. I'm guessing that's similar to having vinegar eels to feed the fish, but without having to do the culturing work. You just make sure a little fish food falls to the tank floor, and you're good. They're constant fresh tiny worms for the fish to eat - definitely small enough for fry. So easy.

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So, my little mini feeding trial had some interesting and surprising results today.  Just to recap so no one has to scroll back through to figure out who’s on first and what’s on second:  I have 2 quarantine tanks going right now.  I bought a few otos and Kubotais locally, then bought some chilis to start my school, and embers from my lfs to go with embers that I already had in my 100 gallon.  Then I ordered some CPD’s and Kubotais from Aqua Huna (came in beautiful, BTW).  Then I found a local guy selling a handful of CPD’s, and a good bunch of chilis.

So the first local seller and lfs groups went into a QT together (lfs groups a few days after the local seller group, restarted the countdown for QT).  Then the Aqua Huna’s and second local seller fish went in together in the second tank.  Very small study groups and I may repeat this once I finally get all these fish out of QT and into the 100 gallon, just to see if there’s a difference once each species is at a more appropriate school/shoal size.  Somebody please remind me in about 3-4 weeks.

Tank 1 is a 12 gallon with 4 Kubotais, 5 otos (local seller), 10 embers, and 15 chilis (LFS).

Tank 2 is a 10 gallon with a handful of geriatric celestial pearl danios (CPD’s), 15 chilis rasboras (local seller), 8 subadult CPD’s, and 8 subadult Kubotai rasboras (Aqua Huna).

So with each tank a mix of purchases from local sellers and commercial sellers, similar but not identical mix of species, that all went into QT within a few days of each other, tank 2 all went in at the same time since I literally got the notification from the post office that they were holding my shipment of fish *while* I was driving to meet the second local seller to pick up his fish.

My theorem was that all fish would be interested and probably eat the vinegar eels (since all are pretty small, the adult CPD’s being the largest (except for the otos).  I also suppositioned that all the fish would be more interested in the white worms and would go after them more eagerly than the vinegar eels.  Past experience with pea puffers plays into my theory since even very small juveniles were flat out bored by vinegar eels and microworms.

Vinegar eels are so small that it is difficult for me to see individual worms in the tank.  I can readily see them (with my reading glasses, of course) as frenzied movement in the vinegar culture and after collecting into fresh water.  Once diluted into the tank, I can sometimes spot individuals, but I can’t actually track them as they disperse, they are just too small for me to keep an eye on an individual worm.

I had a lot more vinegar eels to feed this AM than last PM, so this was easier to tell where they were in the tank as a cloud of tiny worms.  I was able to see that pretty much everybody was indeed showing distinct feeding behavior after each squirt of eels.  Largest fish I fed them to are the geriatric CPD’s I got from a local seller (I don’t think he realized just how geriatric they are).  The Kubotais in both tanks were very excited by them, the embers in one tank were also excited, the chilis also appeared to be enthusiastic in their chill, chili way, and the younger CPD’s were also reservedly interested and everybody appeared to be eating *and* tummies plumped up by the end of this mini “feeding trial” (somewhat by the end of the vinegar eels but clearly at least a tiny bit for everybody by the end of the microworms).

Next I fed some microworms.  I didn’t have as many since I just restarted those cultures and don’t yet have the population density to feed many.  But everyone was still interested and showed clear feeding behavior in both groups, all species.  Maybe a tad more excitement from the chilis, but very hard to tell.  They just don’t show that same, extreme darting type maneuvers that embers and Kubotais show.  CPD’s were somewhere in between in their behavior compared to the chilis and the embers/Kubotais.  The otos show such different behavior that I removed from the study group (😉) since they showed no visible response except moving from one spot to another but not toward any of the worms.

Now, the white worms is where it actually got more interesting and where I got a bit of a surprise.  All the bigger fish went frenzied over the white worms.  Kubotais and embers flashing around, fighting over worms like an unromantic Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment.  CPD’s even showed more excitement than about the microworms (except the geriatrics, it’s like they didn’t really know what live foods were).

Everyone was in their own version of a feeding frenzy except the tiny chilis.  They were extremely interested, but didn’t seem to know how to tackle such large prey items.  They did some picking and eventually managed to eat some bits of worm and a couple smaller white worms, but the white worms were just a little too big for them (most of the white worms were longer than the chilis, after all).

So, part of my theory was correct based on last night’s behavior when feeding the vinegar worms.  It was nice to confirm that very small adult nano fish will eat them readily.  It was surprising to me to find that the tiny chilis had so much trouble with them.  Partially, I think, because I’ve seen some very small juvenile pea puffers go after very large white worms with such gusto.  I haven’t had chilis before about 8 days ago, and they have been eager to eat fine flake (acting like the tiny predators they are) so it never crossed my mind that they would be so slow to tackle white worms.

I have a list of live foods I pasted below that are appropriate for fry of various species and also for all sorts of nano fish.  I started this months ago when I first looked into getting pea puffers and worked on it more last night.  Sorry about the font size, I don’t know how to change it on this forum.

So now I need to get Grindal worms.  I’ve been considering it, their culture is supposed to be virtually identical to white worms and that’s easy enough.  The big difference is temperature.  They overlap a little at the high end of what white worms want and the low end of what Grindal worms want.  So I’ll keep my white worms near the floor for cool and my Grindal worms on a top shelf for warmth.

Live Fish Food Sizes (length x width, cross referenced with multiple sources when available)

Worms:

Vinegar eels - 1-2 mm x 0.005 mm (Turbatrix aceti)

Banana worms - 1.5 mm x 0.004 mm (Pangrellus nepenthicola)

Walter worms - 1-3 mm x 0.005-0.01 mm (Panagrellus silusioides)

Microworms - 2-3 mm x 0.005-0.007 mm (2 sp. - Pangrellus redivivus and Anguillula silusiae)

Grindal worms - 10 mm x 0.5 mm (Enchytraeus buchholzi)

Whiteworms - 2-4 cm x 1 mm (Enchytraeus albidus)

Blackworms - 2.5-4 cm (up to 10 cm) x 1.5 mm (Lumbriculus variegatus)

 

Other Live Foods:

Infusoria - 0.005-0.5 mm (multiple different organisms)

Baby brine shrimp - 0.4-0.5 mm x 0.15 mm (Artemis sp. - in US is A. franciscana)

Adult brine shrimp - 8-20 mm x 4 mm (Artemis sp)

Fairy shrimp - 6-25 mm (multiple species - like a freshwater brine shrimp)

Daphnia - 0.2-5 mm (multiple species)

Moina 0.7-1.4 mm (multiple species)

Fruit flies 1.5-3 mm (multiple species and strains)

Mosquito larvae - 3-12 mm (multiple species)

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On 7/21/2021 at 7:51 PM, Odd Duck said:

So, my little mini feeding trial had some interesting and surprising results today.  Just to recap so no one has to scroll back through to figure out who’s on first and what’s on second:  I have 2 quarantine tanks going right now.  I bought a few otos and Kubotais locally, then bought some chilis to start my school, and embers from my lfs to go with embers that I already had in my 100 gallon.  Then I ordered some CPD’s and Kubotais from Aqua Huna (came in beautiful, BTW).  Then I found a local guy selling a handful of CPD’s, and a good bunch of chilis.

So the first local seller and lfs groups went into a QT together (lfs groups a few days after the local seller group, restarted the countdown for QT).  Then the Aqua Huna’s and second local seller fish went in together in the second tank.  Very small study groups and I may repeat this once I finally get all these fish out of QT and into the 100 gallon, just to see if there’s a difference once each species is at a more appropriate school/shoal size.  Somebody please remind me in about 3-4 weeks.

Tank 1 is a 12 gallon with 4 Kubotais, 5 otos (local seller), 10 embers, and 15 chilis (LFS).

Tank 2 is a 10 gallon with a handful of geriatric celestial pearl danios (CPD’s), 15 chilis rasboras (local seller), 8 subadult CPD’s, and 8 subadult Kubotai rasboras (Aqua Huna).

So with each tank a mix of purchases from local sellers and commercial sellers, similar but not identical mix of species, that all went into QT within a few days of each other, tank 2 all went in at the same time since I literally got the notification from the post office that they were holding my shipment of fish *while* I was driving to meet the second local seller to pick up his fish.

My theorem was that all fish would be interested and probably eat the vinegar eels (since all are pretty small, the adult CPD’s being the largest (except for the otos).  I also suppositioned that all the fish would be more interested in the white worms and would go after them more eagerly than the vinegar eels.  Past experience with pea puffers plays into my theory since even very small juveniles were flat out bored by vinegar eels and microworms.

Vinegar eels are so small that it is difficult for me to see individual worms in the tank.  I can readily see them (with my reading glasses, of course) as frenzied movement in the vinegar culture and after collecting into fresh water.  Once diluted into the tank, I can sometimes spot individuals, but I can’t actually track them as they disperse, they are just too small for me to keep an eye on an individual worm.

I had a lot more vinegar eels to feed this AM than last PM, so this was easier to tell where they were in the tank as a cloud of tiny worms.  I was able to see that pretty much everybody was indeed showing distinct feeding behavior after each squirt of eels.  Largest fish I fed them to are the geriatric CPD’s I got from a local seller (I don’t think he realized just how geriatric they are).  The Kubotais in both tanks were very excited by them, the embers in one tank were also excited, the chilis also appeared to be enthusiastic in their chill, chili way, and the younger CPD’s were also reservedly interested and everybody appeared to be eating *and* tummies plumped up by the end of this mini “feeding trial” (somewhat by the end of the vinegar eels but clearly at least a tiny bit for everybody by the end of the microworms).

Next I fed some microworms.  I didn’t have as many since I just restarted those cultures and don’t yet have the population density to feed many.  But everyone was still interested and showed clear feeding behavior in both groups, all species.  Maybe a tad more excitement from the chilis, but very hard to tell.  They just don’t show that same, extreme darting type maneuvers that embers and Kubotais show.  CPD’s were somewhere in between in their behavior compared to the chilis and the embers/Kubotais.  The otos show such different behavior that I removed from the study group (😉) since they showed no visible response except moving from one spot to another but not toward any of the worms.

Now, the white worms is where it actually got more interesting and where I got a bit of a surprise.  All the bigger fish went frenzied over the white worms.  Kubotais and embers flashing around, fighting over worms like an unromantic Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment.  CPD’s even showed more excitement than about the microworms (except the geriatrics, it’s like they didn’t really know what live foods were).

Everyone was in their own version of a feeding frenzy except the tiny chilis.  They were extremely interested, but didn’t seem to know how to tackle such large prey items.  They did some picking and eventually managed to eat some bits of worm and a couple smaller white worms, but the white worms were just a little too big for them (most of the white worms were longer than the chilis, after all).

So, part of my theory was correct based on last night’s behavior when feeding the vinegar worms.  It was nice to confirm that very small adult nano fish will eat them readily.  It was surprising to me to find that the tiny chilis had so much trouble with them.  Partially, I think, because I’ve seen some very small juvenile pea puffers go after very large white worms with such gusto.  I haven’t had chilis before about 8 days ago, and they have been eager to eat fine flake (acting like the tiny predators they are) so it never crossed my mind that they would be so slow to tackle white worms.

I have a list of live foods I pasted below that are appropriate for fry of various species and also for all sorts of nano fish.  I started this months ago when I first looked into getting pea puffers and worked on it more last night.  Sorry about the font size, I don’t know how to change it on this forum.

So now I need to get Grindal worms.  I’ve been considering it, their culture is supposed to be virtually identical to white worms and that’s easy enough.  The big difference is temperature.  They overlap a little at the high end of what white worms want and the low end of what Grindal worms want.  So I’ll keep my white worms near the floor for cool and my Grindal worms on a top shelf for warmth.

Live Fish Food Sizes (length x width, cross referenced with multiple sources when available)

Worms:

Vinegar eels - 1-2 mm x 0.005 mm (Turbatrix aceti)

Banana worms - 1.5 mm x 0.004 mm (Pangrellus nepenthicola)

Walter worms - 1-3 mm x 0.005-0.01 mm (Panagrellus silusioides)

Microworms - 2-3 mm x 0.005-0.007 mm (2 sp. - Pangrellus redivivus and Anguillula silusiae)

Grindal worms - 10 mm x 0.5 mm (Enchytraeus buchholzi)

Whiteworms - 2-4 cm x 1 mm (Enchytraeus albidus)

Blackworms - 2.5-4 cm (up to 10 cm) x 1.5 mm (Lumbriculus variegatus)

 

Other Live Foods:

Infusoria - 0.005-0.5 mm (multiple different organisms)

Baby brine shrimp - 0.4-0.5 mm x 0.15 mm (Artemis sp. - in US is A. franciscana)

Adult brine shrimp - 8-20 mm x 4 mm (Artemis sp)

Fairy shrimp - 6-25 mm (multiple species - like a freshwater brine shrimp)

Daphnia - 0.2-5 mm (multiple species)

Moina 0.7-1.4 mm (multiple species)

Fruit flies 1.5-3 mm (multiple species and strains)

Mosquito larvae - 3-12 mm (multiple species)

Brilliant information and useful feeding trials! Thank you for posting it will definitely save it for future reference. Kind of feel your experiments and write ups deserve their own topic - and maybe we should put you to work trialling more stuff haha. I really appreciate it though it's just what a fish club needs. 

So anyway it sounds like though maybe not the best live food option for adults it might be worth me giving vinegar eels a go instead of writing them off completely. Will still try to give daphnia/moina a go sometime and probably try the other worms at some point in the future too. I guess if they like white worms so much they deserve a treat now and then! 

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@KentFishFanUK to add to @Odd Duck 's thorough testing, I can add it's not as much the size of the fish, as it is the size of the mouth.

Regarding the pH issue with vinegar worms, if you do the clear wine bottle or clear beer bottle, with floss in the base of the neck and fresh water on top of the floss, and only collect from above the floss, there's no vinegar residue to rinse off *and* no pH changes. 

A lot of people discount detritus worms, because... well... detritus. However, if you intentionally feed them high quality foods (nutrient dense, like carrots, shelled peas, high quality flake foods, quality shrimp food) you can establish a healthy colony on minimal substrate, and all they need is a sponge filter, good food that gets replaced every 12 hours (so you don't foul the water), and top off with clean water. I feed with a piece of airline tubing attached to the end of an infant oral medicine syringe, so I can target where they go.

Another overlooked food is amphopods (scuds, or seed shrimp in Australia). While they are not a great addition to any tank with shrimp, they are prolific breeders and their offspring are tiny, like bbs. They can easily be cultivated in growout tanks, and fry will eat them voraciously. 

 

If you use a glass bottom grow out tank, you can easily monitor the feeding habits of your fry, and determine when they are ready for larger supplement foods.

 

Neither amphopods nor detritus worms should be a sole food. Really, fish and fish fry need a wide variety of food options to reduce potential nutritional deficiencies. 

I like the Co-Op fry food, Bug Bites flake foods (they crumble to a powder small enough for 5 day old dwarf zebra danio fry to eat), pulverized, freeze dried blood worms,  bio film, and a variety of worms for the first 6 weeks of fry raising. 

Infusoria, green water, and daphnia definitely make the first few weeks easier, as long as the cultures perform 😅

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