Live Food?

Morganna

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Hi all,
I've always fed basic flakes and pellets to my fish, but I would like to up my game by getting into the live foods. Particularly live blood worms and daphnia. There's always been talk about feeding live food to our aquatic friends, but never any conversations about how to do it.
I just wanted to ask about the how to. Do I need to set up some kind of hatchery? If so, :sick: then live foods are not going to happen.
Is there a way that they just stay in a little plastic cup with a lid, and I just feed them or something? Can I just go to a chain or LFS and say, "Yes, I would like to purchase just ten little blood worms today, thank you"?
 

Colin_T

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Never use live bloodworms. They can cause problems to any fish that doesn't chew them up really well before swallowing them.

The following link tells you how to culture a number of live fish foods.
 

TwoTankAmin

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I have been spawning fish for almost 20 years. Without doubt, the best foods for this are live. However, most folks can or will not use these. For my part, it was a space, time and a lack of desire to do so. I did hatch out BBS for angel fry. But this was a short term experience. I also did feed live red wiggler worms for a number of months. But issues with these led me to stop.

So how I have I managed to breed as successfully as I have without using live foods? The answer is I have found two ways to get pretty darn close to live. I mostly feed frozen and several of the Repashy Gel foods. The Repashy is a fry powder you mix with boiling temp water and when it cools it is a solid that is soft but can easily be cut. If you are curious about what Repashy food is: https://www.store.repashy.com/by-product-type-en/fish-food-gels/

Btw I feed blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp cyclops rotifers and some BBS, but they are all frozen. I also have some commercial dry foods I make my own mixes and they contain a lot of the same things. However, I try to limit these foods to a max, of 20% of their diet or less. They are much faster to feed but nowhere near as nutritious as the frozen or Repashy.

Also, I buy most of my frozen from an outfit which specializes in fishroom supplies of all kinds. The prices are pretty good but you need to buy a decent number of pounds per order.

One reason I gave up on Angels was the fry need to be given live foods initially and that meant hatching BBS constantly as they must be fed very soon after they hatch as they rapidly lose their nutritional value. This is a great piece about feeding brine from a marine biologist for reef keeping. but almost all of it also applies to fresh water fish with the exception of the part about the need for adding HUFAs. These are not needed for FW fish.
Aquarium Invertebrates: Nutritional Value Of Live Foods For The Coral Reef Aquarium, Part 2

p.s. Back in about 15 or 17 years I exchanged a series of email with Dr. Toonen regarding the nutritional value of brine.

There used to be an interesting way to feed newly hatched BBS using an in tank method. It will not work well when one has a ton of fry like angels. It was called "Hatch n feeder brine shrimp hatchery" it goes inside a tank hooked to an air pump. You add salt and shrimp eggs. They hatch out and the BBS naturally swim out into the tank. I have two of them somewhere on a shelf. They were not nearly enough to keep a few 100 angel fry alive for a weekend.
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/hatch-n-feeder-brine-shrimp-hatchery-in-reef-tank.646345/
 
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Morganna

Morganna

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This was helpful! Thanks to both @TwoTankAmin and @Colin_T for replying to this thread. I am not looking to spawn shrimp right now, just on upgrading their quality of food, which often increases in their quality of life.
If I may, I will continue to use this thread for a little while longer in order to answer a couple questions that have now arisen since my questions about live food have been fulfilled.
What are the absolute best foods you have found for your fish, including brand and description?
When I first started out fish keeping, I use Tetras brand because it was cheap, easy to get a hold of, and the fish ate it. After looking at the ingredients however, I would like to find a food that has something other than "flour, fish meal, and dried yeast" at the top of the ingredients list.
 

Byron

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What are the absolute best foods you have found for your fish, including brand and description?
When I first started out fish keeping, I use Tetras brand because it was cheap, easy to get a hold of, and the fish ate it. After looking at the ingredients however, I would like to find a food that has something other than "flour, fish meal, and dried yeast" at the top of the ingredients list.

I only feed Omega One, Bug Bites, and New Life Spectrum. These do not have cereal meals or fish meals, they are whole fish(or bugs).
 

Colin_T

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I am not looking to spawn shrimp right now, just on upgrading their quality of food, which often increases in their quality of life.
If this is about baby brineshrimp, you don't actually breed brineshrimp. They collect eggs from the wild and sell them in containers. You hatch the eggs and feed the newly hatched brineshrimp to small or baby fish. A lot of fish will eat them including adult fish like angelfish, tetras, barbs and rainbowfish.

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If you look for dry foods that don't have flour or grains in the first 5 ingredients, you will get a better food. The better companies use a small amount of flour as a binder to hold the ingredients together. But it should be way down at the bottom of the list, and preferably no flour or grains of any kind.

Avoid fish food that has vitamins and minerals added. Most vitamins break down or go off when exposed to moisture. Fish flakes absorb moisture extremely quickly and any vitamins in the flake will probably be useless a couple of weeks after the container is opened.

Avoid fish foods with herbs and spices in. Some foods have things like rosemary and thyme in. Fish can't digest this stuff and it's a sales gimmick to get health conscious people to buy that type of food thinking it has good things for people to eat, so why shouldn't it be good for fish.

Fish can't digest terrestrial plants very easily so look for foods with algae rather than land plants.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I found live foods really intimidating too, bought some packs of live food from my LFS and my fish loved it, but it's definitely expensive doing it that way. Buying a mix of frozen foods is definitely a big part of my fishes diet too, but when my cories spawned I really wanted more tiny food I could feed, and learned how to culture microworms. Fish love em, even my adult cories/guppies/platies tetra etc eat them! Microworms/banana worms/walter worms are all super easy to culture and keep a culture going. A plastic tupperware, some porridge and a bit of yeast and they're happy! You add the starter culture on top of the porridge, sprinkle with yeast and stick in a cool dark place after piercing airholes in the lid. Within 24-48 hours, worms begin climbing the sides of the tub. Simply swipe them off (with your finger if you're brave, or a cotton bud or something if not!) and dunk into the tank.

That culture will last a few weeks. If it starts to smell/less worms seem to be appearing, or it's been a few weeks, make another tupperware/porridge base and take a culture from the first tupperware by scraping some of the top layer off and adding it to the new tupperware. Sprinkle with yeast, cool dark place etc. I keep my first culture for a while just in case the replacement culture fails for some reason, but it rarely does. Only costs a few quid to buy a starter culture too. :)
 
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Morganna

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If this is about baby brineshrimp, you don't actually breed brineshrimp. They collect eggs from the wild and sell them in containers.
Oh my goodness! I'm usually really good at catching typos! Sorry, don't know how I typed "shrimp" instead of "fish". I was trying to say that I'm not trying to spawn "fish" right now. Thanks for all this advice about the food! Now I can decide on something more confidence!
 

shaurdav

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It is an organic food, and therefore more healthy, due to the proteins and nutrients.
 

GaryE

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I'm retired and have an insulated garage with tanks, so I realize my resources re better than for most of us. But when I had a room in an old rented cellar for my fish, I did more less what I do now, on a different scale.

Every day I hatch bought brine shrimp cysts and feed the fish with them.
I culture grindal worms and white worms using kitten food, and breeders get them regularly.
I am trying daphnia indoors in 20 gallon tubs under the fishracks. So far, so good. I culture greenwater in recycled jars on the garage windowsill to feed the daphnia.
Bloodworms will get into outdoor daphnia tubs, but they are not worms. To culture them, you would need to release a certain type of midge into your house, and have them lay eggs. My wife wouldn't let me do that!
I have some dried foods for really busy days - and for fry too small for artemia.

The easiest? Brine shrimp hatching and white worms.
 

AbbeysDad

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Not all fishmeal is bad! Low quality fishmeal may be the leavings from a cannery floor while high quality fishmeal may be made from whole fish...oh it's certainly mot table ready fish, but still whole fish (which is better than heads, skin, and bones!),
For an in-depth look at commercial fish foods, check out this article I wrote for a local fish club newsletter....Commercial Fish Foods.
To augment commercial dry foods there is more expensive frozen foods and culturing/collecting live foods. :)
 
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fish48

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I found live foods really intimidating too, bought some packs of live food from my LFS and my fish loved it, but it's definitely expensive doing it that way. Buying a mix of frozen foods is definitely a big part of my fishes diet too, but when my cories spawned I really wanted more tiny food I could feed, and learned how to culture microworms. Fish love em, even my adult cories/guppies/platies tetra etc eat them! Microworms/banana worms/walter worms are all super easy to culture and keep a culture going. A plastic tupperware, some porridge and a bit of yeast and they're happy! You add the starter culture on top of the porridge, sprinkle with yeast and stick in a cool dark place after piercing airholes in the lid. Within 24-48 hours, worms begin climbing the sides of the tub. Simply swipe them off (with your finger if you're brave, or a cotton bud or something if not!) and dunk into the tank.

That culture will last a few weeks. If it starts to smell/less worms seem to be appearing, or it's been a few weeks, make another tupperware/porridge base and take a culture from the first tupperware by scraping some of the top layer off and adding it to the new tupperware. Sprinkle with yeast, cool dark place etc. I keep my first culture for a while just in case the replacement culture fails for some reason, but it rarely does. Only costs a few quid to buy a starter culture too. :)
micro worms. banana worms. water worms, are best kept in a warm place /receive daylight the higher the temperature the faster the worms will multiply
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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micro worms. banana worms. water worms, are best kept in a warm place /receive daylight the higher the temperature the faster the worms will multiply
Ah, that's good to know, thanks! I've always just stuck them in my fish stand cupboard and within 24 hours they're climbing the sides.


Speaking of live foods though, @Colin_T remember I was making mosquito ice cubes recently? I just went to change my dog's water bowl and found it full of mosquito larvae. Turns out my mom wanted to cool her water for her and chucked an ice cube in there, not realising it was my fish food! Hmmff. Oh well. The dog would have loved it anyway.
 

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