The key to keeping your aquarium fish happy and healthy is to provide them with a high-quality diet of various foods. Just as you would get tired of eating the same thing every day, so do your fish. In this article you will learn how to cultivate several different types of live food to ensure that your fish have plenty of dietary variety.
Also known as water fleas, daphnia are the ideal food for newly hatched fry because they are very small. You can find daphnia in most ponds, typically gathered near the coastline in swarms of tiny specks. To cultivate daphnia at home, gather a sample from a nearby pond in a 1-quart container. Next, set up a 15-gallon tub of pond water or aquarium water in an area that gets direct sunlight and add the daphnia. Add a half teaspoon of yeast and pieces of lettuce to feed the daphnia and perform 25% water changes once a week. Harvest the daphnia using a turkey baster and add them directly to your aquarium. To ensure a healthy daphnia culture, consider adding a bag of EcoBio-Pebbles to the tub. EcoBio-Pebbles are infused with beneficial bacteria that will help to keep the water clean so your daphnia can thrive and multiply quickly, leaving you with an endless supply of live food for your fish.
These worms are very small, about 1/10 of an inch in length, which makes them ideal for young fry that have outgrown daphnia or infusoria. To cultivate microworms, combine ¼ cup wheat germ and 1/8 teaspoon baker’s yeast with enough water to form a thick paste. Place the paste in a glass bowl then add your microworm culture along with 3 bioballs positioned in a triangle shape, topped with a 4th bioball. Cover the bowl tightly and within a week, the top bioball should be packed with microworms – you can then just place the ball in your tank to feed your fish.
These creatures make a healthy meal for fish of any age and size – they are also very easy to cultivate. To create your own brine shrimp hatchery, you will need to fill a 2-liter plastic bottle with saltwater and hook up an airstone to provide aeration and water movement. Use an aquarium heater or a lamp to provide heat to keep the water warm. Add the brine shrimp eggs to the water and maintain a water temperature around 85°F to ensure hatching. Once the brine shrimp hatch, you can simply scoop them out of the hatchery and add them directly to your tank.
Mosquito Larvae (Bloodworms)
Cultivating this type of food is incredibly easy because all you need to do is create a stagnant water source and mosquitos will find it. Set a 1-quart rectangular container of water out in a shaded area and wait for it to become dirty and stagnant – it shouldn’t take long before mosquitos find it and begin laying eggs. Wait for the eggs to hatch then harvest the tiny worm-like larvae from the surface of the water. Make sure you wash the larvae before feeding them to your fish.
Because pond snails reproduce so readily, they are a very easy form of live food to cultivate. Pond snails are ideal for carnivorous species of fish, especially if you crush them before offering them to your fish. To cultivate pond snails, simply collect some pond snails from a nearby pond (or ask your local pet store for a few) and add them to a container of water. Feed the snails lettuce and other forms of vegetation and wait for them to reproduce. Be careful when adding pond snails to your tank as food because they can quickly reproduce and leave your tank overrun with these pests.