Guide - How to grow your own Daphnia

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Daphnia – Water Fleas

Daphnia are filter feeders and vary in size.
Daphnia Pulex stay rather small in relation to Daphnia Magna, one of the largest species.

Daphnia - Water Flea
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Daphnia - Water Flea

You will need:

1x 200ml bag Daphnia
1x 50ml Hobby LiquiZell
1x 7g Allison's Baker’s Yeast
1x Plastic Tank or Bucket, 10L
 1x tall 1 - 2L container to introduce the daphnia to your water chemistry.

  •  White aquarium or bird sand to fill your daphnia tub (1kg)
  • The sand is necessary if you want to put Tubifex in with the Daphnia
  •  Some algae eating snails/ Tubifex or both
  •  Flake Fish Food to feed Tubifex/ Snails
Daphnia Set Up:
  • Fill the Daphnia into a 1 - 2L container, not the 10L container, yet
  • Daphnia can go into shock very quickly, if the water conditions change or too much water is added/ changed
  • So only fill around 100ml of aged tab water into the container
  • Adding a cap of Bio Starter may help your daphnia along this process and keep them alive. The bacteria act as food.
  • Mix a few crumbs of yeast with 100ml water or at 2 drops of Hobby LiquiZell to feed your daphnia
Main Culture Set Up:
  • Place the sand into the Tub, up to 2 cm high (if you want to put Tubifex in)
  • Fill with 5L aged tab water so that you have plenty of space to put your daphnia in. We don't recommend tank water. It can introduce unwanted organisms.
  • Leave it to stand for 1 day
  • Put the snails/ Tubifex or both in
  • Wait another day until starting to feed the Tubifex/ Snails with Flake Fish Food
  • Wait for 1 or 2 weeks for the snails/ Tubifex to do their bit and to condition your daphnia tank
  • Adding another  cap of Bio Starter Filter Bacteria will speed this process up
  • When your daphnia have adjusted to the water conditions, you can fill them over in to the 10L container.
Feeding only Hobby LiquiZell or Yeast is not always going to sustain daphnia. Feed only so much, that the water looks slightly milky or green.
You will need 5 to 10 drops, once your culture grows larger.
It has always been best to feed Hobby LiquiZell and yeast in rotation.
You may need to re-purchase yeast from your local Grocer.
Only feed when the water turns clear again.
Placing the culture in front of a window will ensure that some Phytoplankton will develop to help feed the daphnia.
Try not to overfeed. The oxygen shortage, that can occur, can kill the daphnia.
Water changes:
Water can be changed/siphoned off at the same time as harvesting your daphnia. Just have some aged tab water prepared.
Sludge can build up over time. This needs to be siphoned off regularly, too.
Once the daphnia are used to your water, water changes will become easier.
Hints and tips:
You will always loose some daphnia.
In some cases the daphnia need up to 2 months to establish themselves and to start properly reproducing.
Daphnia can be sensitive to water changes, so don't add/ change to much water until the daphnia are fully used to your water or you may lose them all!
Always use aged tap water.
Harvest some of the daphnia with a net or syphon them off.
The phytoplankton will just grow in front of the window, if some exta food is needed. This can take some time to develop and may grow on the tank.
By Monique Parker
Moniques Live Fish Foods

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