Live Food Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nutrition' started by leahfiish, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    @Paul B , what is your routine/setup for hatching brine shrimp?



    @WesleyC , what is your routine/setup for culturing the copepods? It look like you have a ton of them in there.[/QUOTE]

    I put the eggs in salt water (used tank water) in the right side with aeration. Salt water on the other side. After 24 hours I slide open the door (which covers a 3/8" hole between the two sides) and put a light over the left side. Cover the right side with the eggs. In 15 minutes all the shrimp swim into the left side. Slide closed the door and open the valve so all the shrimp come out. The eggs stay on the right side.
    I strain them out of the water and add them to my feeder.

    All my pipefish, mandarins, ruby red dragonettes, cardinals and clown gobies are spawning and have been for decades.

    [​IMG]

    It takes longer than 24 hours for the eggs to hatch so I start a new batch in a small container the day before, then dump them in the hatchery every day.
    This all takes less than five minutes and costs pennies a day.
     
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  2. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    That's an awesome design!
     
  3. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Thank you. After you collect the shrimp in about a tablespoon of water, you put them in the funnel at the top of the water and they go into this feeder. That's how you keep dragonettes and pipefish spawning. Forget pods as they cost a fortune and you will need millions. These shrimp cost about $5.00 a month.

    Video
     
  4. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    That's a nice setup.

    My pods are free, after the initial setup. My pod tank is kinda like people's refugium display tank. A side tank/project next to the fish/reef tank. :)
     
  5. Myka

    Myka Well-Known Member

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    I used to operate an aquaculture business that was doing pretty good, but it was so much work that I slowly switched to doing aquarium servicing instead. However, during the aquaculture time, I spent a good deal of time researching nutrition. I developed what I believe is the perfect homemade frozen mash with nearly 100% human grade foods. I used the mash in aquaculture for several years, and my fish and inverts produced MASSIVE spawns with near perfect hatch rates. The larvae were strong and developed quickly. I don't think there is any better judge for good nutrition than this. I supplemented the fish with live blackworms which they would get everyday for about a month, then a few weeks no worms, then another month everyday. I found the blackworms really helped invigorate spawning in pairs that were already spawning, and helped trigger spawning in pairs that had not yet spawned. The on and off approached seemed to work best. As PaulB does, I always purchase the worms as I also found they reproduce too slowly to be viable (you'd need relatively large vats).

    I did culture rotifers and Tigriopus copepods for the larval fish and invertebrates, and I had so much I'd often take some home and pour it in the reef tank too. I didn't really find it made a difference. Haha. I had rotifers coming out my ears - I only used two 6L buckets and had enough rotifers to sustain thousands of fish larvae. I didn't use brine shrimp for fish fry at all. Early on in aquaculture I also cultured phytoplankton (Tetraselmis), and found it very easy to grow way more than I ever needed, however I found it was much simpler and probably more cost effective (once time was factored in) to use the various phytoplankton-based diets that Reef Nutrition offers (RotiGrow Plus, RotiGreen, RGcomplete, etc). I did find that adding live phytoplankton to the aquarium significantly increased the number of copepods and amphipods in the tank, and is something that I have been considering doing lately. I've messed around with adding dry foods to the reef like Reef Chili and Reef Roids and find they just cause a Vermetid Worm population explosion - the corals didn't change at all (I have mainly Acros).
     
  6. Myka

    Myka Well-Known Member

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    @Paul B , have you ever tried decapsulating brine shrimp eggs? They hatch out slightly smaller and with more nutrition. Plus you don't have to deal with egg cases all over. You can store them in the fridge decapsulated for about a month in salt-saturated water. That's a great hatch box you have!

    I used a specific type of Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer along with Kent Essential Elements. This worked much better than Guillard's F/2. I couldn't keep Tetraselmis alive with F/2.
     
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  7. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Myka, I know about decapsulates shrimp but I never used them. My hatchery separates the eggs 100% so I just dump out the egg shells. I have been using this method since the 70s.
     
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  8. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    Hi Paul, I'm going to try to make a feeder like yours to try it out, even though I don't have any fish. lol. When you pour the newly hatched brine shrimp into the feeder, do they get stuck at the tube or get rush out from the feeder?
     
  9. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    The tube that goes to the surface needs to be about 3/8" in diameter, no larger. You put a small funnel at the top just above the water surface. Add the shrimp in a tiny amount of water. Then add another tiny bit of water and you will see all the shrimp go down into the feeder. Just add enough water until you see all the shrimp go into the feeder, if you add too much water, the shrimp will be forced through the mesh and be lost.
     
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  10. mucky1957

    mucky1957 Active Member

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    I have a set up in the basement and I culture my own phyto in 2lt bottles and use it to feed the tank and my copepods. Problem with the pods is once winter sets in they seem to die off and the boss will not have the set up in the house. The fish and especially the mandarins love the pods.
     
  11. leahfiish

    leahfiish Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Have you tried putting the 2l bottles inside a tank with a heater 5o keep the temp up?
     
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  12. mucky1957

    mucky1957 Active Member

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    tbh I try to keep the costs down. If the pods survive then I will keep using them or re start a culture in the spring.
     
  13. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    I looked around and can't find a flat plastic container like in your youtube video. I also thought and thought about the implementation of it in the reef tank, and I like to have the tube removable and leave the feeder on the sand bed and let the fish keep picking on it. So I drew this up. It is a 4 piece modular design, and I'll 3D print it.

    A small connector that always connected to the long plastic tube for pouring the shimps in. It can then twist onto the base feeder that is sitting on the sand bed. The feeder could have an optional even bigger sandbed base that go under the sand so the feeder won't get blown around by the water current. There will be a cap for the feeder. Either just direct 3D print with tiny holes, or an open cap to allow using a normal mesh. Gonna be a fun drawing it up in the 3D design software now. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    The problem with your design is that you need to remove the feeder occasionally and bleach it as the screen will develop algae, coralline and other crud that will make the holes smaller and the shrimp will not be able to get out.
    They also somehow fill up with bristle worms.

    Trust me I have been using this for 25 years and developed a few models. For the flat container I use a plastic container that electrical tape sometimes comes in. Home Depot has them.
     
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  15. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    I thought about it. That's why the modular design. The feeder is still removable from the bigger under-sand base. Just a small twist with the feeding tube and you can lift the feeder out and soak it in bleach.
     
  16. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    OK, as long as you can remove it. I need to clean it about every two weeks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. It's gonna be fun. :)
     
  18. WesleyC

    WesleyC Active Member

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    Doing some small prints for sizing fit test. The rigid tube fits really nice and snug.

    [​IMG]

    Almost done.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. leahfiish

    leahfiish Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    My phyto won't grow. Im not sure if it's my starting culture (oceanmagik) or if maybe I don't have enough flow in the bottles but I will have to buy more phyto and find out.
    20170921_135835.jpg
     
  20. leahfiish

    leahfiish Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    There's a really good article in the most recent issue of reef hobbyist magazine on culturing copepods. Third quarter 2017, volume 11. And they also have an article on training mandarins to eat frozen food. For their feeding station it looks like they used a solo cup with netting rubber banded onto it.... Super simple and cheap.

    20170921_230521.jpg
     
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