This hard to find live food starter culture will provide the all important first few meals for bettas and killifish fry. Some egg layer fry often do not feed unless provided with tiny live food as the feeding response is not triggered unless there is movement. Once fry have grown for a week on vinegar eels they can be weaned onto larger food.
Requirements for a single Vinegar Eels culture:
(1) Vinegar Eels starter culture,
(2) Organic unpasteurised apple cider vinegar
(3) wide mouth jar with lid (one for each vinegar eels culture, perhaps start with two jars)
(4) 1/8 of an apple (5) Aged tap water
(5) (optional) sand paper or sharp knife
(1) Mix the organic unpasteurised apple cider vinegar and aged tap water in a 1:1 ratio or a higher ratio (7:3 of vinegar:water) if you have very hard tap water. Create enough of the vinegar-water solution for your cultures
(2) Peel the skin off the 1/8 apple and cut into 1cm cubes. Add the cubes into the jar.
(3) Add the vinegar-water solution into the jars
(4) use the sand paper or sharp knife to roughen up the inside glass at a few points of the jar at the waterline.
(5) Add the vinegar eels to the jars. You could wash them out the of filter floss they came in using the vinegar-water solution and add this solution into the jars. This will avoid having the filter floss enter into the jars.
(6) Lightly cover the jar with a lid. Make sure it’s not airtight but also not completely exposed to the elements to prevent insects entering the solution and the vinegar fumes escaping. Place in a dark/gloomy area at room temperature
(7) Maintenance: Open the lid of the jars every day for a second to make sure the air is fresh. If the apples have been eaten (should take months) replace with new apple cubes. If there is a large sediment build up at the base of the jars(again should take months), start a new culture with the existing vinegar-water while leaving the sediment base in the old jar.
The good news - vinegar eels probably need the lowest maintenance of any live food used in the hobby and are much more stable compared to other live food cultures. The little bit of bad news – vinegar eels reproduce slowly (it might take up to a month for the starter culture to be ready for harvesting). This shouldn’t be too much of a problem once established as vinegar eels are only used during the all important first couple of days of tiny egg layer fry. They are part of a feeding regimen for egg layer fry. Constantly keep vinegar eel cultures running, ready for when your egg laying fish breed.
Harvesting!!! There are many different approaches to harvesting vinegar eels. Most of these are quite complex, forcing the worms to exit the vinegar-water mix into a pure water solution because of oxygen deprivation or straining the vinegar-water mix using coffee strainers. However, if you setup the cultures as instructed you should see the vinegar eels climb a few millimetres up the glass at areas you sandpapered. Use a clean paintbrush or fingertip to wipe the vinegar eels off the glass (avoiding the vinegar-water mix) and gently dip the vinegar eels into your breeding tank/container containing the egg layer fry. If you have a strong magnifying glass or loupe you should be able to see your fish fry eat the vinegar eels. Good luck!
Town: St Albans
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