Rotifers - Discussion and Education

Discussion in 'Reef Nutrition' started by Reef Nutrition, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    We have no experience with this method. I say go for it if you can find the bacteria at a decent cost. If their experiment can replicated and all things remain equal, it should yield favorable results. You have definitely sparked my interest. We could easily offer this as an addition to our enrichment feeds. Thanks for sharing!

    Chad
     
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  2. gregkn73

    gregkn73 Member

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    The last two years I am culturing phyto and rotifers. I don't know what species they are, because the starter cultures were from a hobbyist, which didn't know either. Keeping my rotifers at 27-29°C and 1022 salinity, in 7-9 liters small tanks, is optimum , multiplying rapidly.they can tolerate as lowT as 20-21°C and salinity as high as 1030. i am collecting nearly half of the culture daily, puring it directly into my reef tank and replacing immediately with tank water + RO water . In this way I noticed if I don't restart rotifer culture, every 4-6 weeks, rotifers culture crash and replaced by mainly copepods, few isopods and some very tiny small worms which I don't know if it is larvae or some other organism. I conclude since it is not NH4, causing culture crash, because rotifers are replaced by other organisms, that rotifers are eaten by even the most tiny tank inhabitants, I can not find any other answer, why their culture, always crashed after just 4-6 weeks, if not restarted . So I can not imagine, how they can establish a population in our reef tanks.
     
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  3. orr2003

    orr2003 Member

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    I am rather interested myself after reading the drastic differences in growth rates and days to metamorphosis. I havent been able to find much info on why they chose that strain. Maybe because the company that produces it is an Italian company and the study was performed in Italy, ease of access possibly. Doesnt appear to be sold in the states. So far all I am coming up with is it is produced by Synbiotec out of Italy. Here is a link I found showing the freeze dried strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501. http://www.synbiotec.com/categoria-prodotto/ceppi-batterici-probiotici/
    I see other producers in the states with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG or with FOS added but not the IMC 501 strain that was used in the study.
    Sorry to hijack your rotifer discussion but if you can come up with any info it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe we should start another discussion about probiotic enrichment. Thanks Chad!

    Scott
     
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  4. Bryn

    Bryn Active Member R2R Supporter MTRCMember

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    Once again Chad you have done a great job. I will obtain Rotifers, Copepods and Phytoplankton from you, monitor the Rotifer and Copepod populations, and purchase the Phytoplankton from you as needed. Thanks for the great answers, I'm sure it took time and hopefully will help others as well.

    I look forward to your bucket culture of rotifers post.

    Once again thanks so much.
     
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  5. Leslie Tabor

    Leslie Tabor Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    So little side note, got my start up kits yesterday...super EASY to set up. I have 2 buckets going...The kits are great! And the instructions are even better! Thank you for that! Still no baby fish, just sitting here in the dark waiting...o_O
     
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  6. Bryn

    Bryn Active Member R2R Supporter MTRCMember

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    Which startup kits?
     
  7. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Thanks for the details. The problem with your system, and the main reason why your cultures fail after a certain number of weeks, is contamination from the reef tank. While many people do this, it is a very risky strategy. By adding reef tank water, you are continuously bombarding the rotifer culture with contaminants. It's likely that you are adding contaminants every day, bolstering their populations while the rotifers are competing against them for food. Some Cyclopoid copepods are notorious for consuming rotifers and other ciliates, so that is also a factor to consider. I believe that small worms and Isopods will also consume rotifers. Ciliates are also an issue and they tend to do well when the culture gets dirty with copepod molts, dead rotifers and any other organic waste in the culture. You would need a microscope to assess the culture appropriately.

    The easiest solution is to use clean saltwater that is mixed and housed in a separate container a good distance from your reef tank. Keep the culture away from the reef tank as well. Also, never do any maintenance on the culture after working on the reef tank, and never share the equipment.

    If you want a more stable and continuous culture of rotifers, you should try out my recommendations.

    With that all being said, it is worth noting that since the above mentioned animals consume rotifers and each other, the chances of 1 or more rotifers species populating the tank is not a guarantee. Like with copepods and other live feeds organism, supplementation is prudent.

    If you wish to start a new culture with our rotifers, look here for information: http://www.reedmariculture.com/product_instant_zooplankton_rotifers.php Our rotifers are grown in a biosecure facility and are contaminant free. We take great pride in offering these animals to customers and it's in our best interest that, when the customer buys the culture, it is free of nuisance species. If we sell contaminated cultures to people, they will just fail and likely give up.
    -Chad
     
  8. Leslie Tabor

    Leslie Tabor Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    They have kits you can buy, with or without 5 gal buckets (shipping is CRAZY with the buckets) it has the hooks, the rigid airline, pvc tubing, floss, etc. It is pretty convenient.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
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  9. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    The kit is the bucket method using our equipment and feeds. I am going to outline it in the next post.

    Chad
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  10. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Culturing Rotifers: The Bucket Method using The Compact Culture System

    For this segment, I am going to outline how our Compact Culture System (CCS) works and why we designed it. You can see a lot of this information here: http://apbreed.com/product_compact_culture_system.php.

    Before the CCS existed, we were constantly bombarded by people that had problems with rotifer culture. The most common issue was fouling, resulting in a culture "crash". Since we sell live rotifer starters and the microalgae feed/enrichment to many of these people, it was always a challenge to figure out how they were doing things because we didn't know what their day to day materials and methods were. So, we finally decided to come up with a simple bucket system that incorporated a filter mechanism (T-Fitting) that also doubles as the aerator.

    Below you can see a cross-section of the bucket with the "T-Fitting" exposed. The arrows illustrate the direction of water flow.
    prod_rnd_compact_culture_system.png
    The below image illustrates how the air bubbles rising through the column create a vacuum, pulling water through the floss.
    ccs_detail.jpg

    So the key component in this system is the floss. This material was found to be very effective at trapping waste while allowing the rotifers to pass through it. The dirtier the floss gets, the better it works. This fitting with the floss firmly attached is the waste export mechanism. You simply remove the fitting every day and rinse off the waste. By removing the waste everyday, you are keeping the culture clean. The same thing applies to our reef tanks, right?

    Now we can get into the guts of the system. We designed a very nice, illustrated manual to guide you though the set up process.

    Assembly
    CCS Steps Assembly.PNG
    Setup
    CCS Steps 1-4.PNG
    So, in the set up section above, you can see that a live rotifer starter culture is required to complete step #3. Most people inoculate with 1 million rotifers. We sell both of our types in 1 million and 5 million quantities. Look here for information: http://www.reedmariculture.com/product_instant_zooplankton_rotifers.php. Our typical customer buys the L-Type rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis, while breeders working with small larval fish are using the S-Type rotifer, Brachionus rotundiformis. The L-Type is most applicable to a reef tank and is the same animal in our popular Roti-Feast.

    Please note that I have attached our official PDF on the unit.

    In the next segment, I am going to discuss what you need to do when you receive a shipment of rotifers. This will help us complete Step 3 in the Setup process. Then, we will move on to daily harvest, feeding and maintenance.

    -Chad

    CCS Steps 5-8.PNG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  11. Bryn

    Bryn Active Member R2R Supporter MTRCMember

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    Thank you, thank you thank you...... Cannot wait to start feeding my corals rotifers.
     
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  12. Bryn

    Bryn Active Member R2R Supporter MTRCMember

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    Ok, a thinking out loud problem, with approximate math.

    I order some Rotifers from you, and receive 1Million. I plan on harvesting 100K/day, and feed them with RGcomplete, and cultivate them using your CCS (Compact Culture System). From the instructions on the CCS it says to use 11mL of RGcompleet per 1Million harvested Rotifers. So I guess I will need to use 1mL for my 100K rotifer harvest. Good so far?

    Harvesting is the removal of 20-30% of the volume of the 5 gallon bucket or the CCS, which would be 1 gallon for 20%. I'm thinking of buying a sieve to pour this water through to catch the rotifers, and return the water back to the 5 gallon bucket, rather than adding the 1 gallon and rotifers to my tank. At what point do you think the ammonia will have built up, that will require a water change in the CCS? This last question I know is a little difficult to give an answer to, and might be better left to an ammonia test. Also do you have any thoughts on returning the harvested water back to the CCS?

    Last question, how much will 100K rotifers feed? Maybe I don't need to harvest that many just for corals?


    Thanks as always.
     
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  13. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    I would suggest starting off at 1ml, twice daily. This will be good for keeping a decent population. Since you are feeding such small amounts, I would suggest a 20% harvest daily.

    As far as ammonia goes, you will need to test this yourself. You should not have any issues returning the water at first, but it will catch up to you, so to speak. Since you are running them at such a low density, you could almost get away with harvesting every other day.

    Chad
     
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  14. Bryn

    Bryn Active Member R2R Supporter MTRCMember

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    I'm all set, and thanks so much for all your time and answers. I tried to ask questions that others might want answered, making this a more complete how to thread, also I now have this as a reference. Be looking out for my order in the new year.

    Best Regards,

    Bryn
     
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  15. b4tn

    b4tn Active Member

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    This is a good thread and I am following. I want to start feeding rotifiers to my reef and was looking around yesterday. I found the system mentioned above and it seems the easiest to set up and maintain but I have some questions.

    - Will skimmers remove the rotifiers?
    - How do you know how much to feed your reef and can you over feed?
    - Is a microscope a must when culturing? If so does it need to be something fancy?
    - When feeding the rotifiers to the reef are they filtered from the culture first or is the water from the culture added to the reef as well?
    - Do most turn of all circulation, spot feed, then let everything suspend for some time or is it best to feed with circulation turned on?

    I am also curious about the results of them surviving in the reef environment once introduced.
     
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  16. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    A skimmer will likely remove rotifers as they get trapped in the foam. If the rotifers colonize the reef rock, this won't matter.

    It could depend on the size of you system. Probably 200,000 per 100 gallons per day would suffice; maybe more; tough to say. You simply need to take it slow and see how your system reacts. Keep notes and let us know!

    If you want to be able to quantify accurately and you want to observe them, you will need a scope with at least 40X magnification. Some people buy microscopes sold to youngsters at stores.

    You always want to filter out the rotifers with a 53 micron screen or smaller. Adding culture water to your tank may cause problems because of the organics in the culture. It's best to just avoid it.

    Many people employ various methods. I would recommend turning off all circulation, spot feeding and then allow the rotifers to swim around the tank giving them time to potentially attach to surfaces before you turn everything back (30 minutes or so). Also, others just broadcast feed them and don't turn off any circulation.

    The only way to know if they are colonizing the rock is to take samples from inside the rock and then look at them under the microscope.

    I hope this help!

    Chad
     
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  17. CastAway

    CastAway Prone to wander, never lost. R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Do rotifers only consume living organisms, or, could rotifers be loaded with something like astaxanthin?

    Love this thread btw!!
     
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  18. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Rotifer don't need to be fed live feeds. Rotifers will consume non-viable, dead phytoplankton all day long. Our cultures have been running for over 10 years with only our concentrates; they have never been fed live phytoplankton. They don't give a darn if it's alive or not. They will also consume bacteria and organic waste in the appropriate size range. They are even inclined to attach to surfaces, consuming algae around them. You can absolutely feed them astaxanthin as long as the cells aren't in clumps.

    Chad
     
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  19. Reef Nutrition

    Reef Nutrition Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    What to do when you want to buy rotifers

    Since the majority of you aren't breeding fish, we will ignore the S-Type rotifer, Brachionus rotundiformis, and just talk about L-Type rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis).


    How to buy
    The image below is a screen grab from our website page for rotifer orders: http://reedmariculture.com/product_instant_zooplankton_rotifers.php#l-type. Most of you will just chose the 1 million quantity since we are describing the bucket method in this thread.
    upload_2017-12-28_8-45-10.png

    Shelf life of the rotifers during transit and refrigeration
    Rotifers shipped from Reed Mariculture will be packaged in "breathable bags" at 6 C. They will be shipped in insulated boxes and contain gel ice packs to maintain that temperature. Upon arrival the rotifers should either be used immediately or put into a refrigerator at 4-8 C. The effective shelf life of rotifers is:
    1-4 days 95%
    4-7 days 85%
    10 days 50%
    14 days 30-40%

    Receiving your Rotifers and setting up your Rotifer Culture
    Once you receive your shipment of rotifers use the following protocols to make sure you get the best survival rate.
    1. Open the box and store the bags of rotifers in a refrigerator (39-46 °F, 4-8 °C) until you are ready to put them in the rotifer tank.
    2. The rotifers will arrive at a salinity of about 30 ppt (1.023). Your water does NOT need to be adjusted to this salinity - they will adjust into water from 5 to 40 ppt (1.004 to 1.030), although a gradual transition to a much higher or lower salinity is less stressful.
    3. Take the bag of rotifers from the refrigerator and put it in the rotifer tank for 10-15 minutes to allow it to gradually warm up. Then cut the bag open and release the rotifers into the tank.
    4. Add enough rotifer feed (RGcomplete) to the water to establish a green background. About 2 to 3 mls is adequate
    5. Check the rotifer tank in a few hours to confirm that the rotifers are feeding actively and thus clearing the water.


    The next post will detail the process of feeding and maintenance.

    Chad
     
  20. leahfiish

    leahfiish Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    What are the differences between S-type and L-type?
     
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