Jump to content

Brine Shrimp vs Daphnia


TheChosenOne
 Share

Recommended Posts

So last year during quarantine I decided to scratch the itch I've had for feeding live food to my fish, I bought everything I needed but work and life got stressful (2020 am I right?) and I didn't start things how I intended.  I ended up with a pair of Apistogramma Cacautoides that decided their quarantine tank was good enough to breed in even with out caves or real hiding spots. I just filled it with plants.  I decided since I've never raised fry before to give it a try. It was also my first time having Apistos so I was kinda hedging my bets that If mess up with the parents maybe some of the babies will make it. That ended up being a very good decision but I digress.  Since I suddenly had fry I needed to be able to feed them. Luckily I already had the brine shrimp.   I never did get around to getting the large Ziss hatchery that I wanted as it was sold out at the time and i also wasn't sure that was something I needed for a single tank just to occasionally provide live food to my fish.  In the end I was more than tired of constantly having to hatch brine to feed the babies. I ended up looking up other alternatives and my research eventually lead me to daphnia.  In fact when I learned that daphnia can be raised in the same water parameters as my aquarium and will last in the tank until eaten I was sold.  On top of that they continuously breed so they do all the work for you. (assuming you don't suffer major crashes) they have a fairly good nutritional value as well. (not quite as high as newly hatched brine). And from the information i was able to find online, newly hatched daphnia are smaller than newly hatch baby brine shrimp. Making them just as suitable if not more-so as food for small fry. 

My only frustration was the brief learning curve and my initial two crashes.  I'm now on my third attempt which seems to be off and running.  And I've started feeding them to my community tank as well as using them to help the last of the apisto babies finish growing out before I move them to the community tank like their siblings. 

Shorter summary: For my particular use case,  supplemental live food for a single tank and/or use in a quarantine/hospital/fry tank.  Culturing daphnia seems to be easier than constantly restarting with my brine shrimp dish. ( i know it would possibly be easier with more common methods)  Not that brine shrimp is difficult at all but assuming I can keep a culture going then there is no more work to do than on my main tank. Occasional water change/occasional siphoning of the daphnia and snail mulm. I'm curious to hear from others that have tried both live foods.  Have you had success with culturing Daphnia? Do you prefer the ease and reliability of hatching bbs over the uncertain but continuous culturing of daphnia?

IMG_20210404_171032.jpgIMG_20210404_170819.jpg.dca70edfb63ac4d752f39ee3c33dc800.jpg

Edited by TheChosenOne
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice post! Yes, we’ve tried both. I hatch I liter of baby brine daily. Every Daphnia culture we’ve tried has crashed. Just a month ago, they all crashed. I’m not sure... but wonder if maybe a large colony of Malaysian trumpet snails can decimate daphnia at night? But a professional breeder in our fish club swears by daphnia, and Greg Sage told us over dinner that he kept some rare strain from Russia alive on his back porch for years and years 😂

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have gotten daphnia starter cultures on a few occasions at local club meetings and auctions and have tried to raise them, but they have ultimately ended up crashing on me. I know of a guy some what local to me that I have heard raises daphnia outside in a Rubbermaid tub and it survives the winters here in northern Ohio. I had thought to get hold of him and pick his brain and maybe set up something like what he is using for myself outdoors, and see if I can keep that alive. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/4/2021 at 6:51 PM, Fish Folk said:

Nice post! Yes, we’ve tried both. I hatch I liter of baby brine daily. Every Daphnia culture we’ve tried has crashed. Just a month ago, they all crashed. I’m not sure... but wonder if maybe a large colony of Malaysian trumpet snails can decimate daphnia at night? But a professional breeder in our fish club swears by daphnia, and Greg Sage told us over dinner that he kept some rare strain from Russia alive on his back porch for years and years 😂

My third attempt is going well so far but that isn't saying much. I only managed to keep them going and growing for a few weeks on my first 2 attempts but this third attempt in a much larger container with an airline is doing much better.  I previously tried keepign them in a jar size container as I seen was possible but didn't work for me.  Though I am keeping a backup culture in the same small container and they are thriving this time as well.   One issue I had was I hadn't devised a way to easily do water changes without sucking up all my daphnia so I was letting it go longer than I should and hoping that some fast growing stem plants would make up for it. This time around i'm not using any plants. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting topic!  I've considered doing Daphnia but never pulled the trigger to try (which is sad because one of my wife recent post-docs was doing research on them, and it he made culturing them look super easy!).  I am curious if anyone has tried culturing any of the freshwater Anostraca, or if people only use brine shrimp.  I'd think they would be similar nutritionally, but you might be able to have a colony of the freshwater ones on hand much like the Daphnia.  Actually, come to think of it, does anyone know why only salt water Anostraca eggs are available on such a large scale?  I suspect that might hold the answer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/17/2021 at 4:54 PM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

Interesting topic!  I've considered doing Daphnia but never pulled the trigger to try (which is sad because one of my wife recent post-docs was doing research on them, and it he made culturing them look super easy!).  I am curious if anyone has tried culturing any of the freshwater Anostraca, or if people only use brine shrimp.  I'd think they would be similar nutritionally, but you might be able to have a colony of the freshwater ones on hand much like the Daphnia.  Actually, come to think of it, does anyone know why only salt water Anostraca eggs are available on such a large scale?  I suspect that might hold the answer.

I had to do a little research as I'm completely unfamiliar with freshwater Anostraca. Their lifespan would make them a good culture if you can keep them going.  Not sure how quickly they reproduce tho.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Little update,  definitely had a crash in both of my cultures.  But I'm not confused about it this time around and was able to quickly adjust and both cultures have started bouncing back already.  I've been using test strips to keep a close eye on the water quality.  My larger main culture stayed stable for longer but my 2nd/backup culture which is basically just a jar with no aeration drops in water quality as quickly as you would think.  In the next week or so I'm going to look into adding addition surface area to support more beneficial bacteria to help with ammonia spikes. 

And despite having seen some say not to keep live plants with daphnia that just doesn't make much sense as they are found in creeks and other such areas with plenty of plant growth. My idea is to either use some of my water wisteria (very fast growing) to potentially help keep nitrate levels in check long term.   Or to get ahold of something like frogbit which by design pulls directly from the water. 

 

The experiment continues. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TheChosenOne said:

I had to do a little research as I'm completely unfamiliar with freshwater Anostraca. Their lifespan would make them a good culture if you can keep them going.  Not sure how quickly they reproduce tho.

This is what I love about this forum!  It's not just about immediate responses.  People will go off and think about stuff.  I did too!  I found your original post quite thought provoking and I've learned a lot from the rabbit hole it took me down.

Your post caused me to think about what might be out there on fairy shrimp culture already.  There are a few articles on culturing them, but I think the one I liked best was this one on semi-automated culturing of fairy shrimp.  I don't have the bandwidth for yet another project right now, but when I do I might give this technique a go.  Sorry I can't post the full pdf here. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

My culture has bounced back. I've been staying on top of the water quality and making sure not to overfeed. I believe my water had a crash which caused the daphnia to begin to crash.  My test strips were showing small amounts of nitrite and high nitrates.  I added media from my aquarium and that has handled the crash.  I'm also going to go back to attempting a mix of dry baker's yeast and spirulina.  Thus far I've just been using spirulina. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/4/2021 at 5:27 PM, TheChosenOne said:

So last year during quarantine I decided to scratch the itch I've had for feeding live food to my fish, I bought everything I needed but work and life got stressful (2020 am I right?) and I didn't start things how I intended.  I ended up with a pair of Apistogramma Cacautoides that decided their quarantine tank was good enough to breed in even with out caves or real hiding spots. I just filled it with plants.  I decided since I've never raised fry before to give it a try. It was also my first time having Apistos so I was kinda hedging my bets that If mess up with the parents maybe some of the babies will make it. That ended up being a very good decision but I digress.  Since I suddenly had fry I needed to be able to feed them. Luckily I already had the brine shrimp.   I never did get around to getting the large Ziss hatchery that I wanted as it was sold out at the time and i also wasn't sure that was something I needed for a single tank just to occasionally provide live food to my fish.  In the end I was more than tired of constantly having to hatch brine to feed the babies. I ended up looking up other alternatives and my research eventually lead me to daphnia.  In fact when I learned that daphnia can be raised in the same water parameters as my aquarium and will last in the tank until eaten I was sold.  On top of that they continuously breed so they do all the work for you. (assuming you don't suffer major crashes) they have a fairly good nutritional value as well. (not quite as high as newly hatched brine). And from the information i was able to find online, newly hatched daphnia are smaller than newly hatch baby brine shrimp. Making them just as suitable if not more-so as food for small fry. 

My only frustration was the brief learning curve and my initial two crashes.  I'm now on my third attempt which seems to be off and running.  And I've started feeding them to my community tank as well as using them to help the last of the apisto babies finish growing out before I move them to the community tank like their siblings. 

Shorter summary: For my particular use case,  supplemental live food for a single tank and/or use in a quarantine/hospital/fry tank.  Culturing daphnia seems to be easier than constantly restarting with my brine shrimp dish. ( i know it would possibly be easier with more common methods)  Not that brine shrimp is difficult at all but assuming I can keep a culture going then there is no more work to do than on my main tank. Occasional water change/occasional siphoning of the daphnia and snail mulm. I'm curious to hear from others that have tried both live foods.  Have you had success with culturing Daphnia? Do you prefer the ease and reliability of hatching bbs over the uncertain but continuous culturing of daphnia?

IMG_20210404_171032.jpgIMG_20210404_170819.jpg.dca70edfb63ac4d752f39ee3c33dc800.jpg

Disclaimer-I’m still working out the specifics on this one...

This might not be exactly what your looking for, but have you considered hatching out the bbs with the intention of maintaining a bs culture. Once you grow them out you can harvest the adults as well for your parent fish. When you net the adults with a regular fish net you miss the young ones and they have the chance to grow out.

I’ve had a 10 gallon tank going with brine and it’s been a fun experiment. It can be tricky to keep them going, as they can boom and bust like the daphnia cultures. For me a big plus was the ease/cost of restarting the culture if you over harvest or the population crashes-you just prep another batch of bbs. If you can keep the adults going they will reproduce on their own.

My rams love chasing down the full size live brine shrimp, but to be honest the whole exercise in reality might be a fun project for me rather than a realistic live food option. I’m sure your adult apistos would love the occasional treat if your up for it.

Worst case scenario you have to hatch out more and more bbs to get it right-half of each hatch can go straight to the fry. If it works you can use a shrimp net to pull out the small and large brine shrimp, and everyone’s happy.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've started an inside daphnia culture a few months ago. I've had some crashes (great smell in the house..), all after a big feed, so I think I tend to overfeed. I feed spirulina powder mostly, but also some yeast. I'm going to play with careful water changes to see if I can get a more stable culture going. I have a fine sponge filter for filtration and aeration.

Outside I have 1 60L (15G?) tub with a daphnia culture, feeding on whatever the tub itself produces. I fertilise the water from time to time to promote algae growth. This will stop producing when it gets cold, but in the spring it comes back to life. I can only consider feeding daphnia as a treat, since with small tubs I can't keep up, even with my few fish tanks.

I've only really hatched BBS with one of those disc-hatcheries. They work, but the yield is quite low. I'm looking into a Ziss 'blender', but a 2L hatchery seems way too big for my use. The smaller ones from other brands are at least just as expensive, so that isn't very economical either. I can't find nice smooth bottles here for a DIY project that fit on my 'caps' (I got some DIY CO2 caps from aliexpress), only the ribbed ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Diving Aquarist said:

 

I've only really hatched BBS with one of those disc-hatcheries. They work, but the yield is quite low. I'm looking into a Ziss 'blender', but a 2L hatchery seems way too big for my use. The smaller ones from other brands are at least just as expensive, so that isn't very economical either. I can't find nice smooth bottles here for a DIY project that fit on my 'caps' (I got some DIY CO2 caps from aliexpress), only the ribbed ones.

With the Ziss hatcher, you dont have to fill the water all the way up with 2L. If you wanted you can only use 1L and add fewer eggs. I run mine with 2L of water all the time, but sometimes will put in 2 teaspoons of eggs, others only one. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/4/2021 at 6:51 PM, Fish Folk said:

Nice post! Yes, we’ve tried both. I hatch I liter of baby brine daily. Every Daphnia culture we’ve tried has crashed. Just a month ago, they all crashed. I’m not sure... but wonder if maybe a large colony of Malaysian trumpet snails can decimate daphnia at night? But a professional breeder in our fish club swears by daphnia, and Greg Sage told us over dinner that he kept some rare strain from Russia alive on his back porch for years and years 😂

Dinner with Greg sage!A dream dinner for sure!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maintaining a live daphnia culture is quite a delicate balancing act. You have the same nitrogen cycle issues you have in an aquarium, with the added headache of a wildly reproducing critter (every 3-4 days they can spawn and those babies can then reproduce in 5-10 days) that you're always on the verge of either starving them or fouling the water. Green water is a good food source for daphnia but maintaining enough green water to feed the daphnia can be a challenge. Those of us who keep livebearers always have to monitor the population so we don't end up with too many fish in a tank, but our livebearers tend to only spawn every 28 days or so and then the babies need a few months before they're able to spawn. The daphnia life cycle is vastly quicker.

Daphnia magna can lay over 100 eggs at a time. If you start out with one in a culture tank and they have 100 babies, you're suddenly at 101. In three days another 100 get added so you're up to 201. In three more days another hundred so you're up to 301. In another three days another hundred get added so you're up to 401. Then the first batch are now old enough to spawn and they each (all 100 of them) lay a hundred eggs. That's another 10,000. Yikes!  And every three days they have another 10,000 and then the next one in line adds another 10,000. In a very short period of time there are more daphnia than people in the world and you're desperately trying to balance their food and the nitrogen cycle. 

They aren't the easiest critters to culture and it's no wonder cultures crash easily. Populations can explode rapidly overwhelming even the most efficient biofiltration and eating every scrap of food you can provide. They can be a very challenging food source to culture. They're great when they work and the culture doesn't crash, but the odds of the culture never crashing are very, very slim. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, JakeH said:

Disclaimer-I’m still working out the specifics on this one...

This might not be exactly what your looking for, but have you considered hatching out the bbs with the intention of maintaining a bs culture. Once you grow them out you can harvest the adults as well for your parent fish. When you net the adults with a regular fish net you miss the young ones and they have the chance to grow out.

I’ve had a 10 gallon tank going with brine and it’s been a fun experiment. It can be tricky to keep them going, as they can boom and bust like the daphnia cultures. For me a big plus was the ease/cost of restarting the culture if you over harvest or the population crashes-you just prep another batch of bbs. If you can keep the adults going they will reproduce on their own.

My rams love chasing down the full size live brine shrimp, but to be honest the whole exercise in reality might be a fun project for me rather than a realistic live food option. I’m sure your adult apistos would love the occasional treat if your up for it.

Worst case scenario you have to hatch out more and more bbs to get it right-half of each hatch can go straight to the fry. If it works you can use a shrimp net to pull out the small and large brine shrimp, and everyone’s happy.

After first trying brine shrimp it didn't take long for me to wonder about culturing them and raising them up for the fish to enjoy chasing down. But I don't think I ever got the salinity just right. I'm sure I could manage it now but I don't have the space. My little setup is restricted to a dresser top.  I've got a 2.5 gallon bowl/tank for my daphnia, a 29 gallon community tank and a 10 gallon quarantine/growout tank.   Perhaps a future project when I move some day. 

 

13 hours ago, Diving Aquarist said:

I've started an inside daphnia culture a few months ago. I've had some crashes (great smell in the house..), all after a big feed, so I think I tend to overfeed. I feed spirulina powder mostly, but also some yeast. I'm going to play with careful water changes to see if I can get a more stable culture going. I have a fine sponge filter for filtration and aeration.

Outside I have 1 60L (15G?) tub with a daphnia culture, feeding on whatever the tub itself produces. I fertilise the water from time to time to promote algae growth. This will stop producing when it gets cold, but in the spring it comes back to life. I can only consider feeding daphnia as a treat, since with small tubs I can't keep up, even with my few fish tanks.

I've only really hatched BBS with one of those disc-hatcheries. They work, but the yield is quite low. I'm looking into a Ziss 'blender', but a 2L hatchery seems way too big for my use. The smaller ones from other brands are at least just as expensive, so that isn't very economical either. I can't find nice smooth bottles here for a DIY project that fit on my 'caps' (I got some DIY CO2 caps from aliexpress), only the ribbed ones.

I'm kinda interested in outdoor culturing just because I could setup a much large culture and the water parameters would be way more stable than my current 2.5 gallon.  Do you ever have issues with things getting into the culture? Animals/ insects? 

The disc hatchery is what I use as well. Not a large yield but I only have one main tank and an occasional quarantine tank. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, BIG GREEN said:

Arizona Fairy Shrimp, Clam Shrimp, Triops, Water Flea Information

This is a great source for sure!  I will say that I added some of the eggs, and the junk they come with, to a tank directly once which contained CPO.  I got low hatching of the species I wanted, and all the CPO died within 6 days.  It absolutely looked like I introduced a crustacean disease of some sort.  I get that most people are smart enough not to do what I did.  But just in case, I'd recommend folks start a culture of what they want to grow in a separate container, and be cautious about introducing it to a tank with other crustacean species. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, OnlyGenusCaps said:

This is a great source for sure!  I will say that I added some of the eggs, and the junk they come with, to a tank directly once which contained CPO.  I got low hatching of the species I wanted, and all the CPO died within 6 days.  It absolutely looked like I introduced a crustacean disease of some sort.  I get that most people are smart enough not to do what I did.  But just in case, I'd recommend folks start a culture of what they want to grow in a separate container, and be cautious about introducing it to a tank with other crustacean species. 

Yeah, I'm going to give this daphnia cultra a run. I got the eggs hatched by following the direction they gave and I have now moved them to a 10 gallon tank that I raise ram horn snails in with a sponge filter turned down low.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great discussion!

I have found my daphnia started succeeding when I moved it outdoors into a very large surface vessel (18' diameter clay cachepot). I do nothing to it except top the water when it does not rain enough. Also, I throw all the excess hornwort in that dish as well. It has been going for almost a year. There are bladder snails and amphipods living in there as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/7/2021 at 6:41 PM, TheChosenOne said:

My third attempt is going well so far but that isn't saying much. I only managed to keep them going and growing for a few weeks on my first 2 attempts but this third attempt in a much larger container with an airline is doing much better.  I previously tried keepign them in a jar size container as I seen was possible but didn't work for me.  Though I am keeping a backup culture in the same small container and they are thriving this time as well.   One issue I had was I hadn't devised a way to easily do water changes without sucking up all my daphnia so I was letting it go longer than I should and hoping that some fast growing stem plants would make up for it. This time around i'm not using any plants. 

I wonder if some kind of pvc contraption to siphon off the daphnia and make your water change would help. PVC, the fish keepers duct tape 😆 I’m picturing a hook and a valve to hold a siphon.

Frequent harvesting and water changes would help mitigate the crashes.

Anyone have any diy ideas to make an indoor culture more manageable?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/13/2021 at 11:57 PM, gardenman said:

Maintaining a live daphnia culture is quite a delicate balancing act. You have the same nitrogen cycle issues you have in an aquarium, with the added headache of a wildly reproducing critter (every 3-4 days they can spawn and those babies can then reproduce in 5-10 days) that you're always on the verge of either starving them or fouling the water. Green water is a good food source for daphnia but maintaining enough green water to feed the daphnia can be a challenge. Those of us who keep livebearers always have to monitor the population so we don't end up with too many fish in a tank, but our livebearers tend to only spawn every 28 days or so and then the babies need a few months before they're able to spawn. The daphnia life cycle is vastly quicker.

Daphnia magna can lay over 100 eggs at a time. If you start out with one in a culture tank and they have 100 babies, you're suddenly at 101. In three days another 100 get added so you're up to 201. In three more days another hundred so you're up to 301. In another three days another hundred get added so you're up to 401. Then the first batch are now old enough to spawn and they each (all 100 of them) lay a hundred eggs. That's another 10,000. Yikes!  And every three days they have another 10,000 and then the next one in line adds another 10,000. In a very short period of time there are more daphnia than people in the world and you're desperately trying to balance their food and the nitrogen cycle. 

They aren't the easiest critters to culture and it's no wonder cultures crash easily. Populations can explode rapidly overwhelming even the most efficient biofiltration and eating every scrap of food you can provide. They can be a very challenging food source to culture. They're great when they work and the culture doesn't crash, but the odds of the culture never crashing are very, very slim. 

This is such amazing information!

I have absolutely loved reading this thread, so cool to hear about your daphnia culture.

Im just about to head into my mid year holidays after a pretty intense semester at uni and one of my holiday goals is to establish few cultures. My thinking is that a few different cultures (micro worms, black worms and now ill try daphnia) could be a good way to diversify and provide my fishies with some nutrition and differences in their diet. 

Has anyone else got any cultures on the go? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Have suffered another crash and die off in the colony. Luckily I kept a much smaller colony going.  Not sure what went wrong at this point but I'll be doing another water test today.  I'm betting nitrates got too high.  I was looking to experimenting with frogbit or red root floaters to help with this very issue. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...