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Hatching Eggs

Can we use Catappa leaves/extract instead of methylene blue to prevent fungus?

  • YES, I use Catappa leaves (aka "Indian Almond leaves") often to help prevent fungus. I actually prefer using this method over using the methylene blue.

  • CAUTION: I've found that using too many leaves makes it much harder for the fry to break free of their shells. I use just enough to keep the water a light tan color. 

  • NOTE: I've never used an extract. Only just the leaves that I have pre-soaked for a few days.

After Hatching

Where do you put the fry after they hatch?

  • When using the Cattappa leaves method I hatch them in most often the following sizes. 

    • 2.5 gallon. 12 x 6 x 8 in.  (9,5L / 30 x 15 x 20 cm) +/-

    • 5 gallon. 16 x 8 x 10 in. (18,5L / 40 x 20 x 25 cm) +/-

    • 10 gallon. 20 x 10 x 12 in. (37,5L / 51 x 25 x 30 cm)  +/-

  • If hatching in a tank, I keep it free of snails and shrimp. And add plants to help keep the water clean. I've not had issues in the past with shrimp eating the eggs, but they do compete for the same food for the first 4-6 weeks. Snails eat the eggs pretty quickly.

  • I use small air-powered sponge filters in the fry tanks that use sponges that are fine enough not to suck in the fry. The air is kept low. 

  • Water Changes: I only change a small amount of water when carefully removing waste from the bottom of the tank with a pipette. 

  • At 4 to 6 weeks I'll move the fry into a seasoned Neocaridinia davidi aquarium(s). From then on I feed live baby brine shrimp 2-3x daily until they are large enough to eat daphnia. Then I feed daphnia to them 2-3x daily. Until they start eating the snails that are in the tank with them. 


I feed paramecium and rotifers. This is a topic that I love talking with people about after they have researched it online and have tried two or three different methods. I've found that trying to teach someone with "zero" experience with culturing is painfully frustrating for me and them and is often fruitless. Here are some videos to get you thinking and experimenting. 

Harvesting Paramecium: I harvest the cultures using, in order,  120 micron, 73 micron, 55 micron, and feed what's collected in the 25 micron. I then return the 75% of water to the culture along with the items trapped in the other filters. Then top the culture off with RODI water. I then either start another culture with the remaining 25% culture water or water some plants. I made my own filters using PVC pipe and Teeshirt Printing Screens. 

Note: An easy way to start a culture is to clean out a sponge filter into a container and let the detritus sit for a few days or a week near some light or a window. When you see lots of little paramecium in there, take a pipette and transfer a few to your culture containers. 

Snails & Daphnia

Keeping snail and daphnia cultures at high and reliable levels. There is no fast way to culture snails or daphnia. This is one of the questions I'm asked most. But keeping their numbers high is very easy.​

Snails: Regardless of the species.

  • Keep the water clean. You can do this with Plants or Water Changes. In our Non-Plant Eating Snail Cultures, we use... plants to keep the water clean and stable. In our Will eat Anything Green Snail Cultures, we keep the water clean by changing out 100% of the water and cleaning the filters every day if possible. 

  • Keep the calcium levels high and stable. Use Lots of crushed coral or other additives to keep your calcium levels high. Replace it after 1 year or if you are able to easily crush a snail with your fingers. 

  • Never run out of food. Always make sure you have food in the tank. Finding the right amount can take some time. It's a matter of keeping notes on what you add and remove from the culture. How much are you feeding? How much is left when you next feed? How are the snails behaving? Do you see eggs? How long are they taking to hatch in your culture? (KEEP NOTES) How many adults do you see? How does the water smell? How much are you harvesting? How often? Is your population raising or shrinking? If it's raising you can harvest more or feed less. If it's shrinking feed more or change more water. 

  • Use an airstone. 

Daphnia magna:

  • Keep the water clean. You can do this with Plants and/or Water Changes. When using plants only use fast-growing broadleaf species to help avoid the daphnia becoming trapped and dying. I do not personally do water changes on my cultures unless I see signs of a "Crash".

  • A light should be provided 14-24 hours a day. I keep light on 24 hours for cultures outside of my fishroom. For those in my fishroom, they are limited to the time of the first light to come on and the last light to come on. 

  • Airflow can be zero in small cultures or backup cultures to very high in large volume cultures. You want to find a balance where the daphnia have plenty of swimming space directly under your light source without being swept away. This is easily done by having the air on the opposite side of the light. 

  • Keep the calcium levels high and stable. Use Lots of crushed coral or other additives to keep your calcium levels high. 

  • Don’t overfeed.

  • Don’t feed yeast.

  • Feed them live algae or an algae powder mixed with water. Add just enough that the water has been cleaned by the next feeding. I feed every 12 hours. Others feed every 4 hours. It's all about finding your balance. 

  • Once the culture is established harvest 20% of the daphnia every day, even if you don’t need to feed them to anything. Over populating leads to a Crash. 

  • Watch for the "Blackspot of Death". This is a sign that your culture is in stress and will soon die-off. Now you just have to find the cause. have you been underfeeding, overfeeding, or under harvesting? This is your chance to find and fix the problem. Or this is your chance to harvest and reset the culture. (That's what I do, but only after I think I have figured out what was causing the stress. I just like to be safe.  

  • Don't use an airstone on your airline. 

All Cultures:

Never have only one culture! The more the better. I never have had every culture running at 100% at the same time. Every culture will go through a cycle of growth and decline. What you want to learn is how to avoid the "Crash". The mass die-offs that leave you at zero. You'll learn this by keeping notes, watching the culture (taking photos and videos, and by experiencing the "Crash".  Outside of a LAB there is no "Checklist" that you can follow to the letter that will change the cycle because no one's setup or water is the same. Failure is the only way that you'll find success. 

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