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Cultivating Daphnia?

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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904
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Minnesota, USA
Hello,
I was thinking about cultivating Daphnia for live food. My LFS (not very local btw.) do not offer live food except for worms and bait fish! I live on a lake in southeast Minnesota. I would think there would be Daphnia in there, but I am not sure or if it's even advisable to use them considering the risk of dragging in parasites.
My idea would be to keep them outside in a large container filled with rain-water with an air-stone and feed them yeast and algae wafers. In the late fall/winter I would keep them in my heated garage (40F/5C). Would like to hear from anyone who's done this.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Majsa

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26 Apr 2017
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The Netherlands
I keep daphnia in a half wine barrel (around 110 liters) outside. I use the barrel to hold old tank water for the garden. I don’t feed the daphnia, I think there is enough mulm from the tank and leaf litter from outside to feed on. I don’t use an air stone either. The colony is about a year old now, I was surprised they survived even the short cold period when we were ice skating here :)
 

MichaelJ

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Minnesota, USA
I keep daphnia in a half wine barrel (around 110 liters) outside. I use the barrel to hold old tank water for the garden. I don’t feed the daphnia, I think there is enough mulm from the tank and leaf litter from outside to feed on. I don’t use an air stone either. The colony is about a year old now, I was surprised they survived even the short cold period when we were ice skating here :)
@Majsa Thanks for the info. I suppose I have to cover it up with some nylon mesh to avoid mosquito larva in there... The mosquito is the State bird of Minnesota 😀 What do you do, if anything, to avoid dragging parasites to the tank?
Cheers,
Michael
 
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Majsa

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@Majsa Thanks for the info. I suppose I have to cover it up with some nylon mesh to avoid mosquito larva in there... The mosquito is the State bird of Minnesota What do you do, if anything, to avoid dragging parasites to the tank?
Cheers,
Michael

I don’t do anything to be honest…
We’ve been lucky with mosquitos this year, last summer was worse. But the fish love the larvae, and the bloodworms which appear in there too.
 

tiger15

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14 Mar 2018
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USA
I cultivate daphnia in outdoor tub that are filled up with water change water. I harvest daphnia heavily in spring and fall, not much in hot summer when daphnia are semi dormant, and none in winter. I cover the tub with window screen and drilled drain holes about one inch below the rim to prevent topping so as to keep out mosquito. Daphnia thrive on green water in a sunny location and I never feed yeast or anything. I replace evaporated water with nutrient rich aquarium water to nourish green water that daphnia feed on. Never clean out the tub to over winter and daphnia will come back year after year.
 

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Minnesota, USA
I cultivate daphnia in outdoor tub that are filled up with water change water. I harvest daphnia heavily in spring and fall, not much in hot summer when daphnia are semi dormant, and none in winter. I cover the tub with window screen and drilled drain holes about one inch below the rim to prevent topping so as to keep out mosquito. Daphnia thrive on green water in a sunny location and I never feed yeast or anything. I replace evaporated water with nutrient rich aquarium water to nourish green water that daphnia feed on. Never clean out the tub to over winter and daphnia will come back year after year.
@tiger15 Very cool! Thanks for the details. Very helpful! How did you you get the culture started? a local lake, LFS ?... That's the part I am struggling with right now... I called a couple of fish stores around (50 mi radius) here to no avail. Our lake is pretty clean, but I am not sure I dare going down that route without firm advice from people who's been there and done that.
Cheers,
Michael
 
Last edited:

tiger15

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14 Mar 2018
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USA
@tiger15 Very cool! Thanks for the details. Very helpful! How did you you get the culture started? a local watershed, LFS ?... That's the part I am struggling with right now... I called a couple of fish stores around (50 mi radius) here to no avail. Our lake is pretty clean, but I am not sure I dare going down that route without firm advice from people who's been there and done that.
Cheers,
Michael
I got my first start from a bag of daphnia I bought from a local fish auction years ago and have been maintaining the culture ever since. You can buy starter culture on line or collect your own if you know where to look for. You won’t find daphnia from ponds with fish. Search for fishless puddles on road side or storm water detention ponds.
 

MichaelJ

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I got my first start from a bag of daphnia I bought from a local fish auction years ago and have been maintaining the culture ever since. You can buy starter culture on line or collect your own if you know where to look for. You won’t find daphnia from ponds with fish. Search for fishless puddles on road side or storm water detention ponds.
@tiger15 Excellent! It never occurred to me that I could just buy a culture online to get it started :) Thanks again!
Cheers,
Michael
 

zozo

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You actually shouldn't use an airstone with cultivating Daphnia, the bubbles it creates are much too fine, the Daphnia gets trapped in it, make them buoyant and it can kill them. If you want some water movement use an air (lift) pump with only a tube and no airstone attached, then the bubbles will be much too big to trap them.
 

MichaelJ

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You actually shouldn't use an airstone with cultivating Daphnia, the bubbles it creates are much too fine, the Daphnia gets trapped in it, make them buoyant and it can kill them. If you want some water movement use an air (lift) pump with only a tube and no airstone attached, then the bubbles will be much too big to trap them.
@zozo Thanks - that is good to know.
 

MichaelJ

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Minnesota, USA
I cultivate daphnia in outdoor tub that are filled up with water change water. I harvest daphnia heavily in spring and fall, not much in hot summer when daphnia are semi dormant, and none in winter. I cover the tub with window screen and drilled drain holes about one inch below the rim to prevent topping so as to keep out mosquito. Daphnia thrive on green water in a sunny location and I never feed yeast or anything. I replace evaporated water with nutrient rich aquarium water to nourish green water that daphnia feed on. Never clean out the tub to over winter and daphnia will come back year after year.
@Tiger, OK, I finally got my Daphnia culture started. I am using a 40 Liter container and basically followed your approach above - drilled a hole just below the top and covered with a fine mesh, fine enough to keep the mosquitos out. I am using the old tank water that I remove during WC and added some leaf litter and some almond leaves at the bottom to get it going.
Cheers,
Michael
 

tiger15

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@Tiger, OK, I finally got my Daphnia culture started. I am using a 40 Liter container and basically followed your approach above - drilled a hole just below the top and covered with a fine mesh, fine enough to keep the mosquitos out. I am using the old tank water that I remove during WC and added some leaf litter and some almond leaves at the bottom to get it going.
Cheers,
Michael
Glad you found your daphnia and hopefully it is the hardy type that are adapted to cold Minnesota winter. Inert leaf litter is fine, but don't overdo it with organic litter. Once I placed some banana peel and foul the water turning rotten egg and fearing of losing my daphnia, but fortunately they came back next year.
 
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