Especially, since I was interested in spawning some of the smaller egglayers. Many BAP reports describe the use of live baby brine shrimp for rearing larger fry, but few mention how to rear smaller species to a sufficient size to accept this food. Two excellent sources of information were found in an old T. The following article combines information from these sources with my own experience raising Paramecium cultures and I hope it will help others get started raising their own small fry. Figure 1: Paramecium multimicronucleatum photographed under a scanning electron microscope to show the many fine hairs cilia which cover its surface.

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Especially, since I was interested in spawning some of the smaller egglayers. Many BAP reports describe the use of live baby brine shrimp for rearing larger fry, but few mention how to rear smaller species to a sufficient size to accept this food. Two excellent sources of information were found in an old T. The following article combines information from these sources with my own experience raising Paramecium cultures and I hope it will help others get started raising their own small fry.

Figure 1: Paramecium multimicronucleatum photographed under a scanning electron microscope to show the many fine hairs cilia which cover its surface. The size bar is 10 mm.

Photograph from M. Pelczar Jr. Infusoria were first observed in by microscopic examination of water, in which hay had been previously soaked. Masters estimates that there are 2, to 3, different species of infusorian protozoa and describes the genera Paramecium, Bursaria, Blepharisma, Stylonychia, Spirostomum, Volvox, Stentor, Vorticella, and Epistylis in his book i. However, I doubt that many aquarists will ever find a need to individually identify these microorganisms unless we can persuade our BAP coordinator to give us points for raising microbes.

The importance of infusoria to the aquarium hobby is with their culture for use as fry food. Infusoria can be raised on quite a variety of foods. Originally hay was used, but almost any other source of vegetable matter, or even pablum, can be used. Basically, the food is briefly boiled to help break down the tissue , cooled, placed in a large open-mouthed jar with water, and seeded with a starter culture. Masters provides half a dozen different recipes for culturing infusoria i in his book and similar, although less thorough, information can be found in other aquarium books, such as Andrews iii , Scheurmann iv , or Ramshorst v.

Although infusoria are naturally abundant, collecting a suitable starter culture may require some work. When I first attempted my own culture, by letting a couple of lettuce leaves rot in a liter of water iii , I believed that the culture would begin from microorganisms on either the leaves or introduced from the air. Although, there were certainly enough bacteria present to decompose the leaves, microscopic examination revealed very few protozoans and what I ended up feeding the fry was mostly water.

This type of culture was very inefficient and the large amount of decaying vegetable matter was also unpleasant, and potentially harmful to the fry. It is probably much more efficient to begin an infusoria culture with a known source of material instead of relying on the chance introduction of some protozoans.

A high population density of infusorians is required, especially when feeding large numbers of fry. Figure 2: Paramecium general structure. From W. Adey and K. Masters i suggests that infusoria for starter cultures can be collected from any stagnant pond where decaying vegetable matter is present, from the debris on established aquarium filters, from water in which cut flowers have been standing, or from the partly digested plant tissue in the droppings of infusorial snails Ampullaria.

However, with the exception of aquarium filter debris, most of these sources were unavailable to me during the winter. In addition, these sources all contained a mixture of many different microorganisms, some of which might not be desirable. A better way to culture live food is to begin with a pure strain, which can be purchased from commercial biological supply houses or obtained from local biology laboratories.

One particularly common type of infusoria, Paramecium, is frequently used in teaching and research laboratories. These unicellular organisms are among the most advanced protozoans and are characterized by the presence of many surface cilia hairs which are used for swimming and collecting food.

These hairs are very fine and are only clearly seen under an electron microscope Figure 1. Paramecia also have a very distinctive slipper-like appearance and range between 60 mm to mm in length, with most around mm. Under the microscope, these organisms have a semi-transparent appearance and the interior nuclei there are two, a large macronucleus for ordinary cellular metabolism and a second micronucleus associated with reproduction and food containing vacuoles are readily seen Figure 2 as small globules.

There are also distinct front rounded and rear pointed ends. It is a really amazing sight to see these little ovals zooming around in nonstop motion as they look for food. From the Internet ii , I learned that Paramecium cultures are in widespread use as fry food in the large scale laboratory rearing of zebra danios Danio rerio and so I decided to see if our local university could supply me with a starter culture.

Culturing P. In accordance with Westerfield ii , I decided to use wheat grains and yeast tablets as the source of food for these organisms Figure 3. These tablets provided the essential vitamins while the wheat grains provided the main food source. The cost of purchasing these supplies was very minor since enough food for several years of culture was obtained. Many other food sources, including timothy hay, ground and dried lettuce powder, flour, or turnip i, iv can also be used but these are not as neat nor convenient.

Photo by R. I used empty two liter plastic ice cream buckets as culture containers, although glass finger bowls and plastic mouse cages are used under actual laboratory conditions ii. A culture was begun by placing about wheat grains into a clean ice cream bucket and 1 cm to 2 cm of tap water was added.

When my wife was out of the kitchen, the ice cream bucket was microwaved for about three minutes to bring the contents to a boil. This served to soften up the wheat grains and killed off any other microorganisms which might become contaminants. Cold tap water was then immediately added to fill the bucket about three quarters full. The ideal incubation temperature is My fish room is kept around 25C and if I want to get a culture going a little faster, I place the pail on top of a wooden light hood where it warms up to about 28C.

As the culture reproduces, the water will gradually become cloudy and a small amount of scum will form. The biggest problem the home aquarist will have is determining how well the culture is doing. A culture should have several fully grown paramecia swimming around in the field of view and a good culture will be swarming with paramecia. There are many more organisms in a successful culture than I have ever observed with unseeded infusoria attempts, and this makes the trouble obtaining a seed culture well worth it.

Population growth can take between four to fourteen days to occur, depending upon the temperature. If a microscope is not available, then a hand held magnifying glass can also be used, but then the full-grown paramecia will be a lot harder to see and smaller ones will be undetectable. Remove only a drop or two of liquid from the culture and place it on a piece of glass. The paramecia will be visible as tiny slivers of movement around the edges.

Another problem is an unpleasant odor that may sometimes develop. However, keeping a loose aluminum foil cover over the culture greatly helps to contain the smell and after a few days most of the smell goes away. Figure 4: Live P. It is advisable to keep at least a couple of different cultures operating at the same time more if you have a lot of fish spawning or about to spawn to ensure that there is always a strong culture available for feeding.

Storage of a back-up culture in a second, cooler location also provides some insurance against failure of the primary cultures. I have been keeping Paramecium cultures for about six months now and still find it difficult to predict exactly when and for how long a culture will remain good. Feeding paramecia is a very simple operation. Once the fry have absorbed their yolk sacs and become active swimmers about two to four days after hatching, depending on the species , samples of the culture liquid can be added directly to the fry tank.

I use a glass turkey baster 30 mL capacity to remove liquid from just under the surface scum of the culture. I try to avoid the sticky slime which forms on the bottom of the bucket. Somehow, by sight or smell, the small fry are able to detect the presence of the microscopic food. One can soon see the fry making quick jerking movements as they capture the protozoans.

Masters i suggests that 30 mL is sufficient for fifty fry in a liter tank while others ii simply say to feed large quantities. I prefer to err on the surplus side and I usually add a squirt or two 30mL to 60 mL to the tank, up to four times per day.

This fact, along with the essential vitamins and nutrients contained in live food, are major benefits to using these cultures. However, this is probably only necessary when raising fry in very small, crowded, and unfiltered containers, such as mL beakers. I have never had any problems using a liter spawning tank equipped with a sponge filter. When the volume of my culture gets low, I even suck up a few of the decomposing wheat grains and other scum and add them to the fry tank.

Using this procedure, I have been able to raise leopard and zebra danio fry as well as cherry, gold, and Odessa barbs. These fry, especially the cherry barbs, are all very small and it is vital that they be given a suitable food as soon as possible.

My hatch rates have all been pretty good and with the gold and Odessa Barbs: to fry have been raised at a time. In each case, Paramecium culture was added directly to the fry tank as the sole food for the first couple of weeks and in conjunction with live brine shrimp nauplii for another week or so, until all the fry were easily consuming the nauplii.

The use of Paramecium cultures to raise fry has become widespread throughout the scientific community because of the importance of zebra danios as laboratory animals, and this culture has also proven itself to be very useful in my own fishroom. Unfortunately, like many other aspects of the aquarium hobby, accurate information about this subject is not always easy to find and I would like to point out a couple of instances which may cause unnecessary confusion.

This reference then goes on to describe a complicated method for separating the paramecia from the bacteria using a long 50 cm tube.

Certainly Paramecium can be cultured on a much wider range of materials than the turnip mentioned and I feel that the purification procedure is cumbersome, inefficient, and unnecessary.

Good fish keeping practice clean water and clean tanks, etc. Secondly, in the otherwise excellent Aquarium Atlas by Riehl and Baensch vi , there is a glaring mistake in their discussion of microscopic food. There is absolutely no stinging mechanism in these organisms and one must wonder if the authors were confusing Paramecium with Hydra or some other nasty organism.

I hope that this article will help clarify the culturing of live microscopic fry food. Someday, I might to try use infusoria from one of my filter pads as a seed culture, but for now my P. I am also willing to supply starter cultures of my paramecia to any CAS member who wants some. Masters, , Encyclopedia of Live Foods, T. Publications Inc.

A guide for the laboratory use of zebrafish , Third ed. Baensch, , Aquarium Atlas, 4th ed. Tetra Sales. Published in Feeding on and written by Richard T. Post navigation.


How to Make Infusoria for Fry (Baby Fish)

Grass Liquifry Leave your container in the sunlight for a few days, preferably 4 to 5 days to allow your culture to grow. As the culture develops in the jar, the water will start to turn green or cloudy which indicates the growth of infusoria. Now prepare to harvest your very first infusoria. Feeding the fry To feed your fry, add a small amount of water from the jar to your fry tank. For easier feeding, harvest a small amount of infusoria from the pot using an eye dropper and squirt it directly in the reservoir where the fry is growing. As simple as that.


How to Culture Your Own Infusoria at Home



Infusoria and Paramecium Cultures




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