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My combination live culture for winter: daphnia and blackworms

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Currently well into a blackworm colony culture with daphnia which I hope to run from September to May. That covers our winter time frame up here where overnight lows are regularly to single digits and a few times over the years have hit -20 F. Not conducive to successful shipping of living anything.

The blackworm culture now in its 2nd month is in an 18x12x9 tank with non-crushed coral chunks for a base and a medium sponge filter. I siphon the bottom every time I feed them off and change 1/2 the water from the tanks above every other day. Food is a repashy block, spirulina tablets, or spirulina powder. I have yet to find the best balance of worms vs filtration and water volume. It has been a challenging and somewhat successful project so far despite that ongoing search for balance. 


The coral seems to break the worms up decently and effectively replaces the worms I feed off. 

A few weeks ago I decided to add daphnia from the outdoor pond to this culture before the daphnia freezes solid for the winter.  possibly top keep the blackworm culture cleaner by filtering the water a bit more.

I started feeding the tank my daphnia food: coop purchased extreme spirulina flake which I mortar and pestle down to powder. The green water is primarily from the spirulina powder.


At the moment i would guess 2 lbs of blackworms from 1/2 lb I started it with and around 1000  "Russian red" daphnia from.the initial net full. I Probably will swap sponpge to a box filter to clean the water a bit more but both populations seem happy enough to be reproducing and feeding the fishroom 

The outdoor daphnia pond has already formed 1/4 inch of ice overnight but is still producing enough to feed the room. I did not expect it to be producing at 40-42 degree water temperature but probably no more than 5 days from it being fully frozen until late spring. Tough food to beat once established. 

Has anyone done multiple live foods in the same container, tank, etc? What were they and would you recommend running them together?

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On 10/11/2021 at 3:39 PM, Griznatch said:

I like this idea! I need to get a daphnia culture going as well. The blackworms would be good for my cories, and having two cultures in one tank/tub would be awesome.

My theory is that daphnia might keep the worms more stable over the winter and hopefully allow me to feed both over the next 6 months of my kind of cold. up here 9100 feet closer than sea level to the sun the packages are normally frozen on arrival due to overnight lows.

In better temperatures I would rather go with the regular orders of worms but I figured I'd do the way more work route to try and feed them during the NHL season. 

My Scleromystax baianinho II C112 go crazy for the blackworms. Other fish are just not as all in as the catfish. I've see a few times when they were up to their eyes in the sand grabbing blackworms from the depths. Happy catfish every time. 

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