How to Culture Vinegar Eels for Fish Fry
Are you getting into fish breeding but need a way to feed teeny-tiny fry that are too small to eat regular fry food? Vinegar eels are a great option! This live food is very easy to culture and is perfect for raising babies until they’re big enough to eat baby brine shrimp.
What are Vinegar Eels and How Do They Work?
Vinegar eels are harmless, white roundworms or nematodes that feed on the microorganisms commonly found in vinegar and fermented liquids. They are small and easy to grow, measuring in at 50 microns in size and 1 to 2mm in length. Breeders commonly feed them to newborn betta fish, killifish, rainbowfish, and other fry that require miniscule foods even smaller than baby brine shrimp (which hatch out at 450 microns in size).
Vinegar eels are great for feeding fish fry. They can survive several days in freshwater unlike micro worms like banana worms. Because they swim in the water column rather than sinking straight to bottom, their wiggling motions encourage babies to eat faster and eat more. Vinegar eels aren’t necessarily as nutritious as baby brine shrimp (which are born with rich yolk sacs), but they’re an excellent food to feed until the fry have grown large enough to eat baby brine shrimp.
How can you start a vinegar eel culture?
1. Gather the following materials:
– Starter culture for vinegar eels (from local auctions or online sources, like aquabid.com). -1 container with a long neck (like an wine bottle) 1 backup container (like 1-gallon bottles or 1-gallon containers) 1 apple – Dechlorinated tapped water 1 Filter floss or Polyester fiber fill (stuffing to pillows and stuffed animal pillows) 1 paper towel 1 rubber bands Pipette 1 funnel
1. The apple should be cut into small slices so it can pass through the container’s openings.
1. Divide the starter culture of vinegar eel into each container. 2. Fill the rest of the containers with 50% vinegar and 50% dechlorinated tap water, such that the total liquid amount reaches the base of the bottle’s neck. (Leave a little space at the top of the containers for air.)
1. Cover the container openings with a sheet of paper towel, fastened with a rubber band. This allows vinegar eels to breath while keeping pests out. The containers should be kept at room temperature on a shelf or in a cabinet that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
The wine bottle is your primary culture that can be used for easy harvesting of vinegar eels. If the wine bottles are damaged or destroyed, the backup culture is in a larger container. Backup cultures can be left alone for a year or two without any additional feedings. The population may decline a little, but you should still have enough vinegar eels to start a new culture if needed.
How do I harvest vinegar eels to feed my fish?
1. Allow the wine to sit for at least two to four more weeks before you start feeding the fry. 2. When you are ready for harvesting, insert a wad if filter floss into the neck. The floss should be soaked in vinegar.
1. Gently pour some dechlorinated water into the bottle’s neck.
1. Wait between 8 and 24 hours, and the vinegar-eels will pass through the filter floss to the fresh water.
1. You can remove some vinegar eels with a pipette and then feed them to your fish fry.
This method can be used to feed your fish babies for several days, or even a week. However, eventually, the culture will begin to decline. You can make several vinegar eel culture bottles if you have many fish baby. Give each bottle four to five days to let the culture repopulate.
How Do I Maintain the Vinegar Eel Culture?
At six months, the apple pieces start to break down and the nutrients run out. This can lead to a cloudy culture. This is the time to start a fresh culture. You can use the old culture to fill a new container. Fill the rest of the new container with apple slices and a fresh mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% dechlorinated water. Within two to four week, your new culture will be ready for harvesting.
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