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Infusoria...Nope, Infusoria...Nope


Sapphere
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I tried to generate a infusoria culture a few times now and they have all failed.  I have used veggies with water from an established tank those 3 failed.  I tried one with yeast and tank water.  Tried both recipes with water from the 100gal tub in the back yard.  Now I am about to start a hay/dried grass recipe.  All from YouTube.  The all get cloudy but never seem to make it to that streams of food stage.  I am looking at it under a microscope as well.  Any experienced suggestions out there?

Also, has anyone tried the Paramecium from Carolina?  If so how did it work out?

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On 8/20/2021 at 9:16 AM, Sapphere said:

Also, has anyone tried the Paramecium from Carolina?  If so how did it work out?

I never had luck with infusoria either, so I went the Carolina paramecium route. 

I find it waaaaaaaaay easier to work with. Super easy to culture and very easy to start a new culture from an old culture.

Here's a batch that's a little over 2 weeks old. Some of the murkiness in there is sediment I just disturbed to take this shot, but you get the picture (pun intended). It's teaming with paramecium. 

IMG_6986.jpg.af7973fe240012e9494a819d32aa799c.jpg

Edited by tolstoy21
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On 8/20/2021 at 9:09 AM, tolstoy21 said:

I never had luck with infusoria either, so I went the Carolina paramecium route. 

I find it waaaaaaaaay easier to work with. Super easy to culture and very easy to start a new culture from an old culture.

Here's a batch that's a little over 2 weeks old. Some of the murkiness in there is sediment I just disturbed to take this shot, but you get the picture (pun intended). It's teaming with paramecium. 

IMG_6986.jpg.af7973fe240012e9494a819d32aa799c.jpg

There are a few "Paramecium" from Carolina what one did you use?  I am reading through the information on the website now.

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I purchased paramecium caudatum, item #131554.

To be honest, I just picked one, not really knowing which to get either.  I'm not sure the fish have a preference.

Just read the descriptions of the products and make sure they can be cultured with wheat berries. But maybe that's all paramecium? I'm certainly not an expert. I just know how to get them to multiply.

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On 8/20/2021 at 11:20 AM, gardenman said:

Infusoria cultures tend to boom and bust. They reproduce so quickly that they'll rapidly consume the food/oxygen available and then some will die and ammonia will spike, then more will die and then they're all dead. They're not the easiest fry food to culture successfully over the long term.

Yeah, this is a good point. Infusoria and paramecium are not like vinegar eels or microworms that you can let sit, forgotten for some months and still have a bursting culture.

For paramecium, you need to rotate your batches and always be making a new one before your oldest expires. It's kind of a use-it-or-lose-it process.

I'm guessing paramecium can last maybe a month.  I make a new culture once a week. I have three cultures total going in 2 qt bell jars and rotate through those. 

But I guess the amount you culture depends on the amount you use on a regular basis. I personally don't need a ton of them.

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I’ve got a system for culturing paramecium that works fairly consistently for me. Like others have said, to get a consistent food source, you have to make a new culture at least once a week. It’s definitely a boom and bust sort of thing.

  1. Get a wide jar, like an applesauce jar or large mason jar.
  2. Add 1-3 leaves of salad greens. I use the 50/50 spinach mix you can get from the store and try to find leaves that are already starting to go bad. Smush them with a spoon a bit.
  3. Boil some water in a kettle, like a tea kettle. Pour the hot water over the plants (about an inch). 
  4. Let the jar sit until it’s cool.
  5. Add 1-2 inches of tank water. You don’t want to make it too deep, otherwise not enough oxygen will reach the bottom.
  6. Put the jar near a window. (Doesn’t have to be super bright.)

After maybe two days, the jar will start to look cloudy and disgusting. That’s a bacterial bloom, and it’s great because the paramecium eat bacteria. It will also smell gross. Give it a swirl once a day or so.

After about a week, the jar will start to look clearer. That’s when you should check for paramecium. You should be able to see them as tiny specs floating around if you hold up the jar to the light.

This has pretty much worked for me every time. I haven’t had as much success with using other vegetables. I think they grow so much bacteria that it fouls the water beyond livable conditions. The little salad leaves provide just enough material for bacterial growth, but not too much.

The internet will claim you should have infusoria after 48 hours, but I’ve never found it to be that fast.

Hopefully that helps! Let me know if you try this method and if you have any questions!

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I generally do a fresh culture, though sometimes I’ll pipette a little bit of the old culture into the new one. I haven’t experimented much with trying to transfer the cultures. I’m really looking for the big, dense boom of paramecium, and I think transferring cultures would result in a more dilute, steady culture. Which could be really good too depending on your needs! I’m experimenting with keeping some more dilute but more stable cultures in jars right now, using plants to keep the water clear. With my usual method, I can only afford to add a few drops (maybe 2 ml at most) of infusoria at a time, otherwise it spoils the water and the fry die. If I had cleaner cultures, I could add more volume and get the same number of infusoria in there for the fry to eat.

The other thing, though, is it only takes three weeks for my honey gourami fry to grow big enough for baby brine shrimp. I haven’t been raising fry back-to-back, so I’ve never needed the cultures to last that long.

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With the paramecium cultures obtained from Carolina, I do the following:

1) Fill a jar with dechlorinated water, swirl in a decent pinch of standard, supermarket bread yeast. 
2) Boil 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of wheat berries (how many depends on size of jar) for 10 minutes on the stove. 
3) drop the finished, cooled wheat berries into the jar.
4) Squirt in a decent sized pipette of paramecium from an active culture.
5) Cover jar with coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
6) Let it sit 2+ weeks at room temp.

That's pretty much it. It's super crazy easy and cleaner and less stinky than standard infusoria mixtures. 

In the end, it's all the same to the fish.

But I find that using the paramecium starter + wheat berries creates a cleaner, less smelly product.  

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I can't say that I need a culture.  I have been breeding Rams and I have been able to get them on brine shrimp by feeding Sara Micron and Vinegar Eels reliably.  I would like to breed CPDs someday but I want this down first.  I do like the idea of drip feeding the fry trays for the first few days instead and would like to see if I can make it work but a steady supply would be a must.  I have been making 6 cultures each time 2 on a window seal, 2 on back porch, 2 in fish room. and consistently fail.  I am using water from a 75 gallon community tank with 2 bristle nose placos.  I will just keep trying until the culture get here.

  

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On 8/20/2021 at 5:01 PM, tolstoy21 said:

With the paramecium cultures obtained from Carolina, I do the following:

1) Fill a jar with dechlorinated water, swirl in a decent pinch of standard, supermarket bread yeast. 
2) Boil 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of wheat berries (how many depends on size of jar) for 10 minutes on the stove. 
3) drop the finished, cooled wheat berries into the jar.
4) Squirt in a decent sized pipette of paramecium from an active culture.
5) Cover jar with coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
6) Let it sit 2+ weeks at room temp.

That's pretty much it. It's super crazy easy and cleaner and less stinky than standard infusoria mixtures. 

In the end, it's all the same to the fish.

But I find that using the paramecium starter + wheat berries creates a cleaner, less smelly product.  

I seen 2 similar videos on YouTube for this method.  What is Room Temp for you.  I am on the gulf coast so 80+ degrees is normal for my fish room.  I will experiment after/if I get the culture going but I would like to remove as many variables as possible to get started.  Thanks for sharing your experience.

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@Sapphere if you want, we can help you troubleshoot. Feel free to take pictures and show us the play-by-play.

One other question—what kind of microscope are you using? I know my pocket microscope does a terrible job of showing me paramecium because they’re clear and I don’t have any good stains. I usually just look for them by eye, with light coming from the side of the jar, against a dark background.

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You can go to Wally World to buy a wide mouth jar that is shaped like a cube, or close to it, if there are two sizes, buy the larger of the two.

In a pot, boil some water and add lettuce, turn off heat, and let steep until cool. Pour this into the glass jar, fill with aquarium water to just below where the jar starts curving inwards at the top, shake a couple of drops of water off the bio-filter mesh or your pre-filter into the jar, add one teaspoon of whole milk, one air stone to keep the smell down, and wait.

In a couple of days the water will clear so add another teaspoon of milk and anytime the water clears after that, you now have infusoria ready to feed to newborn Betta's, Gourami's, and Paradise fish.

To harvest, remove the air stone, allow the water to settle, you'll see what looks like the water is squirming about mid way down, use a medicine dropper to suck up some of that squirming mass, replace the air stone, and go feed your baby fish. 

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On 8/21/2021 at 1:02 AM, Hobbit said:

One other question—what kind of microscope are you using? I know my pocket microscope does a terrible job of showing me paramecium because they’re clear and I don’t have any good stains. I usually just look for them by eye, with light coming from the side of the jar, against a dark background.

No microscope. That's a pic of them with my iphone I put in this post. They are visible 'naked eye' as like tiny white specs fluttering around.

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On 8/21/2021 at 12:02 AM, Hobbit said:

@Sapphere if you want, we can help you troubleshoot. Feel free to take pictures and show us the play-by-play.

One other question—what kind of microscope are you using? I know my pocket microscope does a terrible job of showing me paramecium because they’re clear and I don’t have any good stains. I usually just look for them by eye, with light coming from the side of the jar, against a dark background.

I use the one I got for my kid.  We can see the cell structure in onion skin.  It goes to x800.  It is not high quality by no means but it works.

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That’s probably good, then. Do make sure you play around with the lighting angle. I also found that it was really hard to find paramecium if I used a slide with a cover plate because it spread them out really far and they are just SO clear it’s hard to find them. I had the best luck using a low magnification to look at a drop.

794B7B05-A9AF-465D-8AF9-7865896F80C8.jpeg.7160cda2a920d80732d34470f66c1d95.jpeg

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On 9/4/2021 at 7:29 PM, Sapphere said:

I have a few more questions. 

How often do you start new cultures at a minimum?  Do you start one every week, every 2 weeks, ect?

How long do they generally last?

What is the ideal time to feed (Max Yield)? 

Is there anything else I need to know that I have not asked?

I make one per week, but one every two weeks or so might work as well.

I've found them to last at least a month. I dump them when they start to look too cloudy.

I've never test how long I could kept a culture alive, nor how dense I could get it. I've found that in the 3-week range they are sufficiently full enough to feed out of.

Usually the one I'm feeding out of is about 3 weeks old.

I make them in medium-sized ball jars as I don't have a ton of fish that require paramecium. I guess they are maybe quart sized jars? And, next time I do something like Odessa Barbs, I'll just ramp up production in advance of spawning.

I find I dump a lot more paramecium than I feed, but that's because I don't always have fish that require them and want to keep the culture going and readily available. 

I've honestly only been culturing paramecium about 8 months, so I'm def not an expert and have more to learn, if there is more to be learned. 

I started making them because, like you, I've failed over and over at infusoria, and when tried, and put the infusoria cultures the only sunny window in the house, my family is like "What's that gross puke jar sitting in the window for?"

Paramecium, like vinegars eels, are easy to stash away in the basement, or, during the winter, in the the aquarium stand, under my main display tank.

I hesitated on making paramecium at first because I assumed they were hard to keep. After hearing Greg Sage at Select Aquatics say they were easier to culture than he had anticipated, and that they kept the water quality higher in the initial phases of growing out very young, and small, Odessa fry, I figured I'd give a try for the same reason.

I've also given up on micro-worms, because I can't successfully keep the batches from going moldy or attracting flies.  However, I found micro-worms very easy to reproduce. (I do vinegar eels now instead of micro-worms).

 

 

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On 9/5/2021 at 7:05 AM, tolstoy21 said:

I've also given up on micro-worms, because I can't successfully keep the batches from going moldy or attracting flies.  However, I found micro-worms very easy to reproduce. (I do vinegar eels now instead of micro-worms).

I grow my microworms in containers intended for fruit fly cultures.  These have cloth covered, vented lids so it keeps the flies out completely.  The mold is more problematic and I had issues with that when I fed some soaked, stale bread.  I haven’t really had any issues since I bought the fruit fly culture stuff from a dart frog website.  My pea puffers turned their tiny noses up at the wingless fruit flies so I finally disposed of those cultures.  But the media I got for the flies works great for microworms and I might as well use it up.  I mix it with about 4 times as much water than the instructions for the flies.

I bought the smallest bag they had and it will still last me at least another 6 months unless I sell a several more microworm cultures.  Plus if you use cooked oatmeal as your food, it didn’t mold either.  It wasn’t until I tried to feed the cultures some stale bread that I had the mold issues.

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