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Live food cultures

I have acquired quite a few different cultures gradually, and some work well for me and some don't.  These are the ones I have kept going, some better than others.  My favorites are the BBS, microworms, and grindals, because these are easiest for me, and I feed them to my fish daily.   In order of size, smallest to largest, they are:

Vinegar Eels
Microworms and Walterworms
Baby Brine Shrimp
Grindal worms
Grindal worms on green scrub pads

Daphnia vs Moina
White Worms
Confused flour beetles
Livebearer fry
Red Wigglers

I discuss my experiences with each on these pages, and I've included some more web resources here.   I also have some notes from fellow MASI and SLAKA member Jack Heller, a master breeder of killifish, on how he does some of his live food cultures, including paramecia, white worms, and fruit flies, here.  And I continue to envy Charles Harrison's cool basement that allows him to keep thriving cultures of white worms year round--see his setup for those here.

For truly in depth information on culturing these and many other live foods, there is now a terrific, up-to-date resource by my friend Mike Hellweg, a master fish breeder and fish keeper who has just written a book on the subject.  You can reach him here to find out how to get a copy of his Culturing Live Foods.  I've learned a bunch from my copy already, and am going to change some of my formulas to reflect this new information.  He discusses all of the foods I have here in more depth, plus many smaller, larger, and some just plain finickier than I have been able to keep going.  This book is also a primer on spawning fish--just because the discussion is framed as culturing them as feeders for other fish doesn't mean the tips and strategies mentioned are any less applicable to breeding a wide variety of desireable fish.  That's a lot of great info for one book.

More Web Resources

Some good web resources for more information on culturing live foods:

In case you missed the first link, this is where you can get Mike Hellweg's book Culturing Live Foods

The Bug Farm website discusses which foods for which fish as well as culture techniques

The American Killifish Association Beginner's guide has a good section on live foods

The Krib discusses an extensive variety of live foods

The Live-Foods list
is not very active but seems to be pretty good

The Killietalk archives include many good threads on live foods

Notes from Jack Heller on live food cultures, including paramecia.

Some images of Charles' Harrison's live food cultures

Magic Worm Bedding is available by telephone or mail order directly from the company, but not yet available directly online.

And, of course, your local fish club is usually a great source of starter cultures and helpful people who know enough to generate excess cultures to give you a start.

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