$20.00 – $35.00

Daphnia Pulex

Often called “Daphnia Moina” this slightly smaller Cladocera is very a very prolific breeder making it a very efficient choice for fish and Axolotl food production.

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Description

Daphnia Pulex Culture Live Fish Food

This is the other one that most folks are talking about when they say Daphnia culture or the even more confusing jumble of words “Daphnia Moina”.

In reality it’s like the little brother to Daphnia magna, the larger cousin to Moina macrocopa and the small cousin to Simocephalus vetulus.
It’s easy to grow, fast growing and nutritious, and super popular as a live fish or Axolotl food.
Gaining popularity as a subject for scientific experimentation and research, and considered to be much easier to produce and of a higher density than the larger and more commonly sold Daphnia magna.

I guess they must have been imported or hitched a ride to Australia around the same time as Daphnia magna, and I couldn’t find an official initial import date.
I know they have been in OZ for at least 20 years as like Daphnia magna we had them at school as Axolotl food and for doing experiments with water quality.
Although my memory is a bit foggy after all these years I am pretty sure we were taught they were native to Australia, where as Daphnia magna wasn’t?
Turns out they are both imports as far as I can see, so maybe it was a case of mis-identification back in the day?

Growing to around 3mm(0.12inch) they are on the small size, but you really can grow a lot of them in a tiny amount of water and I would say they are one of the more productive Daphnia species I have grown.
They only ever one pair of appendages per segment, a lack of clear separation between the thorax and abdomen, two pairs of antennae one of which is greatly enlarged for swimming.
Like Daphnia carinata if grown in stressed conditions like areas with lots of predators they can have interesting adaptions in physical form.
Things like growing a giant spear where there was once a blunt stub of a tail, and extra teeth on its neck!
The idea is that it makes it crunchy and less delicious looking.

It costs them a bit of time as they grow slower, but it does make them look less tasty, and that could be enough to make a fish choose to eat someone else instead of them.
If grown or cultured without any predators in the tank, they remain rounded smooth and inoffensive.

But if you release a heap into your fish tank a % that survives the onslaught will grow armor as a defense against predation.
This % will survive(or at least have better odds) than the rest, and they will ensure the species does not go extinct.

Cool hey, very handy adaption.
If you follow the directions below you should have no trouble growing them.

FAQ

Why do I want to buy these weird little mini-creatures?

They make great low maintenance pets, especially for kids.
Beats a snow globes or lava-lamps by a mile I reckon! They make a very nutritious foods for fish, poultry etc.
Seriously nutritious, huge amounts of omegas, very high in protein, and a much more environmentally sustainable option than commercial pellets or flakes.

No “trash fish” or “by catch” is needed for their production.
No large scale commercial netting of waterways here or overseas, and no broad-acre industrialized farming is needed to produce them.

They improve the colour of your fish, stimulate breeding behaviour, and are CHEAPER for the backyard or hobbyist to produce.

They stay alive in the main tanks until eaten, and unlike commercial pellets, flakes, freeze dried or even frozen options, they do not pollute the water, even if you feed you fish way too much.

In fact, this is exactly what I do before we go away on road trips.
I just dump in a handful of critters in the Aquaponics and community fish tanks, then walk away.
My fish eat them over the next few days-weeks as required.
As my mini-critters eat algae and bacteria they are actively cleaning up and clarifying the water, improving the conditions and health of my fish in the meantime!
Pretty good system hey!!!


I have a sludgy green pond or water feature. Can your creatures help with this?

Sure can!
Theses guys eat algae and bacteria, so if you have a soupy green or brown mess, they are the ideal natural clean up crew!

They are a live animal, not a toxic chemical, so when the algae gets eaten out their numbers drop in line with it.
If the algae blooms and builds up again(after rain or warmer weather) their numbers build up in line with it too, meaning they eat it out often BEFORE it becomes a visible problem.

I don’t care what the label says, alternative chemicals options just can’t do this.
They require repeated treatment, and cause big problems with the pH of the water, putting any life in or around it at risk.

Plus its a big continuous, never ending expense, that just doesn’t do as good a job as a well balanced ecosystem.


Are Daphnia, Moina, Triops and Fairy Shrimps edible?

I strongly believe they are, but for legal reason I can’t and don’t sell them as a potential human food.
They are sold as pets, pet food and animal models for scientific studies only.

I also can’t offer any advice and won’t answer any questions regarding this.
Just wouldn’t be sensible for me to do so, hope you understand.

That said, it is a fact that in parts of Asian Triops and Fairy Shrimps are used as a food, usually battered and fried like mini prawns.
These are not the Australian species, but they are very similar.

Brine shrimps, which are close relatives of our Australian fairy shrimps were eaten by Native American as a staple seasonal food, and although I have never found any documentation, I would find it very hard to believe that Australian Aborigines did not take advantage of Triops as an easy to catch and nutritious seasonal food too.

Daphnia and Moina species is/was used to bulk up protein levels in some Eastern European and Russian MRE (Meal, ready to eat. Army ration packs) and protein or health bars.

I myself have also personally eaten hamburger patties made from Daphnia magna.
It tasted like a prawn/fish patty but much more crunchy.
I also used to eat a lot of them salted and sun dried like Ikan Bilis back in the day too.
Very tasty.
I love crunchy salty dried fish so they were a perfect snack for me.

As I really liked them, I saw huge potential as a more ecologically sound food than traditional farming of red and white meats.
Even processed into fish sticks or hot-dogs they would be a be a pretty good option I figured at the time.

It was a major focus of mine as where with yabbies and trout in my small dam I could only produce 500grams of meat a day maximum (with an additional ~200gram pellet feed requirement).
In the same amount of water and using Daphnia magna instead I could produce 1-3kilos a day with NO inputs at all.
An additional 100grams of lucerne dust or 500grams of lawn clippings bumped that up even higher to 2-5kilos, every single day!

Daphnia + Water + Sunlight = Algae + Daphnia = FREE, 100% SUSTAINABLE PROTEIN.
Amazing potential, well worth throwing a big chunk of government money at in my opinion.

BUT, please keep in mind it is not something I can personally do, or recommend to you.
The costs are way out of my league.
This is because of the “unknown” aspect.

Here in Australia there has been no major studies done into human consumption of any of these species as a food source.
At least not that I can find? (If you find something of interest I would love to hear about it!)

It is also an insurance thing due to the major potential risk posed by eating any crustaceans, especially these little guys.
They all eat detritus (decomposing plant and animal matter).
It’s what crustaceans eat and one of the reasons some cultures and religions ban the consumption of things like prawns, lobster, and crab altogether.

Detritus is high in various bacteria, most of which are no risk to us humans at all.

The thing is, some are, and without expensive testing there is no way of knowing exactly what you are growing in your particular culture.
Some bacteria can kill you, seriously.
It is not a good idea to eat any of these fellas for this reason.

I can not, and will not, sell any of these creatures to you, if your reason for purchase is for use as a human food.
I can sell pets, pet food and animal models for scientific studies ONLY.

If you tell me your plan is to eat them, then you buy, I will have to cancel and refund your order, blocking your email address from all future purchases.

I do not do this to be a prick, it is a legal obligation.
I will say that one more time in caps so that I am sure you actually read it and understand….

IF YOU TELL ME YOU ARE GOING TO EAT THEM, THEN YOU BUY FROM ME, I WILL CANCEL AND REFUND YOUR ORDER, BLOCKING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FROM ALL FUTURE PURCHASES. (I do not do this to be a prick, it is a legal obligation.)


Do you guarantee the eggs will hatch for me. I have no experience and do not want to waste my money?

I 100% guarantee that you will have the same success I do, if you follow my directions exactly.
I say this with confidence as I test sample and hatch each and every batch of eggs I sell.
I do not sell them if I do not get an excellent hatch rate within 2-4weeks, and I do not keep the eggs more than 12months, no exceptions.


How long will the eggs last unhatched in the packet for?

Some studies say 10-100years with no major drop in hatch rates.
Studies also show they can withstand high temperatures and even freezing during that time with very minimal impact on their viability and later hatch rates.

With my production and packaging methods I guarantee they will remain viable for at least 2years, provided the package is kept in a cool dark place during that time, and you follow my recommendations.
Just in a cupboard or drawer is ideal.


How long does processing orders take?

I post on Monday mornings.
If Monday is a public holiday or there is a weather event preventing me getting to town where I am at 4671 Queensland Australia, then I post Tuesday morning and failing that Wednesday at which point I will email you to let you know what is causing the delay.

I print and pack the orders on the weekends, and Friday is the weekly cut off day so if you are in a hurry then a week day is the best time to buy.
An order that comes in on Saturday or Sunday will normally go out the following week, meaning a processing time of 7 to 9 days.
Actually delivery times are on top of this.


How long does delivery to QLD, NSW, VIC, ACT, SA, VIC, take?

I send everything within Australia “Express Post” via the Australia post, rural service.
For Australian delivery from where I am here that means 1-4days delivery time as we are in a “Rural” not “Metro” area and have a slightly longer delivery time.
We are not in a “Next day guaranteed” service area according to Australia post.


How long does international shipping outside of Australia take?

I send everything internationally “Standard International Untracked” via the Australia post, rural service.
As this is an untracked service, there is no tracking number.
International delivery takes 2-5weeks for delivery, if all goes well and there are no delays with your customs service on arrival.
Please wait 6weeks and double check your delivery address and ask over the counter at you local post office before contacting me, just in case there are delays by your customs service on arrival or other unexpected dramas.


I live in WA, TAS or NT Australia, and I want to buy your products?

Sorry, can’t/won’t do it, even if you ask really really nicely.
If you “accidentally” send me money anyway, despite me asking you nicely not to, I will consider it a donation to help cover the costs involved in my continued research.

Thanks in advance, every dollar appreciated, and every 100% non-refundable cent of your donation will be be put to good use.
🙂

P.S.
If you are not sure why I can’t send (particularly the species native to your state that pose no threat at all) please ask your states quarantine department.

I have tried, and after hours on the phone, endless bloody emails, too many to even count, and more than four bloody MONTHS of stuffing around, I have no idea how to comply with the regulations and make your quarantine departments happy.
I also no longer care…

I encourage you to take it up with them yourself if you are super keen.


I live outside Australia and I want to buy live cultures from you?

Sorry, can’t/won’t do it.
Just buy the eggs like everyone else please.
🙂

Why not?
Unlike the dormant eggs, live cultures may not survive the long slow journey overseas, and/or are very likely to cause dramas with your countries quarantine on arrival.

If you are certain they are 100% legal to import and you are happy to accept all risks associated, I may consider it, but do NOT in any way recommend it.

If confiscated by your state or countries quarantine service, you must pay all costs involved.
You must accept that I will not be held in any way responsible in the event of theft, loss, damage, duties, taxes, fees, fines, DOA (Dead on Arrival), or non-delivery for any reason.
If you are determined, you have a good understanding of your countries importation requirements, and you are happy to accept all risks involved then CONTACT ME and we can have a very quick chat about it.

I say again though, it is NOT something I recommend, and YOU are responsible if YOU decide to go down that road.

NO REFUNDS or DRAMAS and keep in mind I don’t like stuffing around with paperwork or government departments.
If that sort of stuff is needed, then the answer will be a polite “no thanks”.

No offense intended, I’m just a lazy dude that likes the quiet life.


Can you send via EMS or Courier instead of Australia post?

No.
There is no depot here so it would mean an hour drive each way just to lodge them, much higher costs, and more importantly, I just don’t want to..

Sorry, really busy already so it isn’t something I will consider doing.

If we ever get a local depot or prices get more competitive of course that may change, but definitely don’t bother asking me in the meantime.


Can I just come over to your place and pick up in person?

No.
Not a social dude, Mrs isn’t either.
“Anti-social” would be a much better descriptor..

Please don’t ask me just in case, as it always gets weird, even when I try really hard to be polite about it.
Especially don’t be offended if you already did, and I said no and told you to check out the FAQS page.
I say no to literally EVERYONE, even local folks I like and have known for many years.
Just how we roll.

Happy to answer your email questions and sell via the website though!
Even happier to swap or barter cool new species for my collection via the mail or visit your place (time permitting) on my next big road trip north or south!!!


I don't have rainwater, can I just use something else?

You can use any freshwater source you have access too, but I only recommend and guarantee successful hatching and live culture survival if you use rainwater, as that is all I have experience doing.

You may want to do an experiment using aged or treated town, tap, river, distilled, or even bottled spring water.

Unfortunately I can not guarantee your results if you do.
See more at this link about RAINWATER.


What sort of container should I use to start a culture?

You can use anything that holds more than 10litres (~2.7 gallons), but I only recommend food grade plastic, glass, perspex or stainless steel fish tanks.
I use 55litre (~14.5 gallons) plastic roller boxes as they are ideal size, cheap and comes with a lid.
Larger containers have more stable temperatures, and harder to over feed, but they are also much harder to judge feeding rates when populations are small in the beginning.
Keep that in mind.


The eggs did not hatch. What should I do?

Please reread the item description and instructions slowly, and making sure you did everything that I recommend, and that you have waited at least a month.
If it is colder or hotter than 15-30celcius (60-85 farenheit), even just for a few hours during that time, the hatch rate will be lower or they may not hatch at all.

Extreme temperatures stress them, and increase their dormancy.
Doesn’t mean they are dead, just they won’t hatch right now.

In that case they need to be dried out completely, rested for a month or so, then start all over again.
This makes them think it has been another full year/season and its time to stop being stressed and get ready to hatch again.
In extreme cases it may take several flood and dry periods before they eventually do hatch.
Stable temperatures avoid this issue so you may want to consider a water heater.

If none of the above applies, please make sure that the creatures you bought are not too small for you to see easily.
You may like to pour or carefully siphon all the water from your container through a fine piece of handkerchief or micron sieve.
They may just be tiny and sitting on the bottom, and I have though I failed heaps of times only to find millions of the little buggers hiding in the bottom of the tank.

If you have waited at least a month, used rainwater, a food safe container of at least 10liters, kept it are a nice cozy warm temperature the whole time, and you have sieved and drained the water to make make sure they are just not hiding, then CONTACT ME.
I will send you a FREE replacement as I 100% guarantee success!


The live culture arrived OK, but a month later the water looks gross and/or they have all disappeared?

If you overfeed them the water gets polluted and if it is just too much to handle for the amount of life in the water, it may even kill them.
If you are using a small container of water this is much more likely, especially if it is getting too much light or the temperature has big swings.

As they are tiny and soft, their body breaks down to sludge in a day, completely disappearing within the week.
It is nearly always just the larger visible the adults that die as they don’t handle stress as well as the young.

If you just give it another month (and continue stirring the water every 3days) your will see them all start to reappear again.

I always make sure to send some adults with resting eggs or ephippia with each culture.
I do this just in case the journey was too rough, or the conditions of your water is too different for the adults to handle.
Adults suffer from stress much more than juveniles.
Eggs can handle just about anything.

So, when the adults I sent molted or even died, some of them were carrying eggs and in good conditions they will begin hatching in 2-4weeks.

If it has been a month and try carefully sieving the water through a fine handkerchief or micron sieve and looking closely at the little lump of sludge that collects. They may have just be hiding in the bottom or too hard to see with your naked eye.

If even after waiting a month, and sieving the water, you still don’t see any, then maybe your water is just too different to handle a live culture initially?

In that case hatching dormant eggs may be a better option?
Try drying out the sediment in the sun for a couple weeks, and breaking up any clumps so its a nice fine even mixture.
Once it has been bone dry for at at least 1month you can start over and begin the hatching process again.


The eggs hatched and I had heaps for a while. Now a month after hatching the water looks gross and/or they have disappeared?

If you overfeed them the water gets polluted and oxygen levels drop.
If it gets to be too low for the amount of life in the water, it may even kill them.
If you are using a small container of water this is more likely, especially if it is getting too much light.
As they are tiny and soft, their body breaks down to sludge in a day, completely disappearing within the week.
It is nearly always just the larger visible the adults that die as they don’t handle stress as well as the young.
If you just give it a month (and continue stirring the water every 3days) your will see them all start to reappear again.

If you have not seen them for a month, try carefully sieving the water through a fine handkerchief or micron sieve, then look very closely at the little lump of sludge that collects.
They may just be hiding on the bottom or too hard to see with your naked eye.

If even after waiting a month, and sieving the water, you still don’t see any, then cross your fingers.
Before they died, they may have produced resting eggs or ephippia!

Even more likely a small % of the thousand of eggs you bought from me, did not hatch and are still sitting dormant in the substrate.

Sieve the water, and dry the sand and sediment out in the sun for a couple weeks.
Break up any clumps so its a nice fine even mixture.

Once it has been bone dry for at at least 1month you can start over and begin the hatching process again.


Can you send to me overseas unlabeled or undeclared, in clear breach of both the export and import legislation of every country in the world?

NO!
Please don’t waste your and my time by asking me to send anonymously, or unlabeled, or undeclared, or hidden in a god damn teddy bear!!!

Ain’t gonna happen, not a bloody criminal, and I don’t have time to stuff around individually replying to nonsense.
Not a fan of dramas, especially the legal kind.

Example of typical packaging
Example of typical packaging

I can not afford the huge fines and besides all of that, asking me to break the law via email, or online message, when Australia has some of the strictest data retention laws in the world, is just bloody stupid…

Too busy for stupid, nothing personal, hope you understand.

Here is an example of the packaging I use.
If this is not acceptable to you, please don’t buy my products.
Easy as.

If you buy I will pack and send the way I always pack and send, just like all the others, no exceptions.


I didn't get my order AND I have read the above information about processing and delivery times. I waited a few days-week longer just in case there was a delay along the journey, public holidays, customs issue, or delay I was not aware of?

Bummer, that’s no good.
Please do these 3 things, then tell me you have done them.

1. Check the delivery address on your invoice is 100% correct.
2. Physically ask over the counter at your local post office in case the item is waiting collection or was damaged on the journey.
This happens all the time with the new system and I am not just saying this to stuff you around. It really is normally just sitting there waiting for you and the postal workers have not left a collection notification like the should have!
3. Give me your invoice number, email address and user name.

I will then sort it out straight away!


I own a store, website or market stall. Can I stock your products?

YES! (well maybe..)

CONTACT ME, telling me about your idea, give me a list of products you are interested in and why, your estimated sales, some examples of the products you normally sell and let’s discuss it.


I have a product or species that I want you to sell or buy from me?

Cool, give me all the details and I will have a think about it.
If it’s interesting to me then I will get back to you straight away.

No response from me within a couple weeks is a pretty good determinator of my level of interest.
Please don’t take it personal or get offended.
I’m just a busy/lazy dude and every minute wasted on the computer answering endless emails and spammy nonsense, is time taken away from doing something that really I do enjoy doing.

Feel free to repackage your sales pitch and try again in a month or so if you think I missed your initial message by mistake.
Still no response, then it was not a mistake, and you have your answer.

Eggs Instructions

Daphnia Culture growing out from eggs.

Daphnia Culture Eggs
1 – Buy Resting Eggs

This is pretty basic stuff and IF you do everything I suggest below, I personally guarantee success.

Select a clean container of at least 10liters (~2.7gallons) made from food grade plastic, glass, perspex or 316 marine grade stainless steel fish tank.
All of these I recommend.
I personally use 10-55litre plastic tubs or roller boxes.
Cheap, comes with a lid, and is the ideal size.

You may later have success using old 44gallon drums, bath tubs, cattle troughs, even soft drink bottles, ice cream containers and yogurt tubs, but due to the variables in material, chemical, mineral and metal leakage risks, I can not recommend them in this initial delicate establishment stage.

Establish the culture first, keep it happy and healthy for a couple months, then later as numbers build you can split it and do experiments using other containers.
All the while keeping a back-up safe and happy, just in case.

2 Add resting eggs to rainwater and aerate.

Add Daphnia Eggs to Rainwater
2 – Add Eggs to Rainwater

Add Rainwater and eggs to your chosen culture vessel.
You can apply the easy peel sticker to the culture vessel too, so you don’t loose track of which species you are growing. Makes it much easier to tell your friends where you got them from too…

An airline without an air stone will increase hatch % and speed things up quite a bit. Stir vigorously every 3 days really scrubbing the tank walls and stirring the sediment around. This is VITAL for high hatch rates and you must continue to do this.

A clean piece of wood or long bamboo chopstick is ideal. This allows algae and sediment to be within reach of the tiny larvae, and it prevents the water fouling. It also allows the sediment to be mixed around letting every egg in the packet to get wet and makes sure no critters get trapped underneath. Do this in a rough swirling motion so any floating eggs get washed away from the sides of the tank and into middle where they sink. This stops them getting trapped high and dry.

3 Patiently wait two weeks to a month.

Patiently wait 2 weeks to a month
3 – Patiently wait 2weeks to a month

In good conditions about 2-4weeks later the critters will begin to hatch. If you live in an area with cold night time temperatures then using an aquarium heater set at 15-30celcius (60-85farenheit) will increase your hatch rate and speed things up.
Lower or higher temperatures, even for a couple hours, in just one day out of the whole month may prevent hatching altogether. Keep this in mind.

Once you see several hundred creatures you can begin feeding them. They will eat algae, flour, or even just mashed frozen vegies, but the very best foods for them are kept here. Daphnia Moina food.

4 Remember to stir

Stir every three days
4 – Stir every three days

Keep stirring the water and sediment every three days so the water stays nice and clear. This mixture of sediment and algae that you stir up is their main food and it important that they can get at it in the water column. They have a lot of pride and don’t like to pick up their food off the ground!

Do not overfeed!
Cloudy water = too much food = DEATH!!!

Remember that although there may be hundreds or even thousands of creatures visible, they eat algae and bacteria all day long, and this food is already produced naturally in their tank. It is too small to see, so just trust me on this.

5 Successful hatching of eggs!

Hatching Daphnia eggs
5 – Hatching Daphnia eggs!

If the water is cloudy I do not feed at all. Very hard to do, but “tough love” is better than “killed with kindness”. They have not eaten their dinner, so they don’t get desert until they do!

You do not have to add food at all if you only want them as pets. No added food added to the ecosystem means numbers will stay small, and your tank will stay much cleaner.

If your plan is to harvest for fish food, or you just want a lot of pets then feeding, aeration and large tanks will produce large numbers that can handle regular harvesting.

How do I get really high densities?
Aeration WITHOUT air stones in large containers. Air stones make super small bubbles that get stuck under the shells of mature adults. This makes them float on the surface where they can not feed and eventually die. Air stones are also made from rocky sandy minerals that are glued together and shaped around a connection. This glue and metallic mineral mixture is normally 100% harmless to fish, BUT, it is often very toxic to Cladocera and other mini-critters.
DO NOT use air stones. If you do, you will nearly always have more “crashes” where they all die unexpectedly, or the reproduction rate will be lower in general.

I use the slightly more expensive 316 marine grade 1/4inch stainless steel Hex nuts. Do not use normal steel or zinc coated nuts, as that will often kill them via metal leaching. They fit standard 4mm air hose snuggly, not interfering with the airflow or falling off. The SAE 316 stainless steel does not rust, corrode or give off nasty chemicals, and it has no effect on growth rates in my trials. In all honesty, after trialing heaps of different things, these are bloody PERFECT!

Cosy warm temperatures. If you live in an area with cold night time temperatures then using an aquarium heater set at 15-30celcius(60-85farenheit) will increase your reproduction rates and densities. ~20% water changes using clean aged rainwater every week or so can really help if your plan is continual culture of high densities, or as food for fish.

Calcium.
These guys are crustaceans, meaning they have a chitinous or calcareous exoskeleton. Like a crab, yabbie or lobster. This takes a lot of calcium to produce and if you want lots of healthy critters, then dried shells and sandy grit is a great way to provide it gradually.

I sell small bags of my Shellgrit Substrate Mix here, and although not necessarily, it really does improve general success rates and provide much higher densities, or critters per liter of water. It also aids the buffering of pH slowing or stopping altogether the swings that algae and bacterial blooms bring. Even better still, it provides a very porous surface and is the ideal media for beneficial bacteria to grow on, in turn improving water quality and clarity.

TLDR
Use a food safe container, add rainwater and eggs, keep warm and stir every 3days.
=Success!

Use larger containers, add more air and calcium.
= MEGA SUCCESS!!!

Anything else
= an experiment I have no experience with.
Could be good, could be bad, no idea, so I can’t recommend it.

Live Instructions

Growing Daphnia from a live culture.

Step 1

1 Buy Live Culture from daphniaculture.com
1 – Buy Live Culture from daphniaculture.com

Select a clean container of at least 10liters (~2.7gallons) made from food grade plastic, glass, perspex or 316 marine grade stainless steel fish tank.
All of these I recommend.
I personally use 10-55litre plastic tubs or roller boxes.
Cheap, comes with a lid, and is the ideal size.

You may later have success using old 44gallon drums, bath tubs, cattle troughs, even soft drink bottles, ice cream containers and yogurt tubs, but due to the variables in material, chemical, mineral and metal leakage risks, I can not recommend them in this initial delicate establishment stage.

Establish the culture first, keep it happy and healthy for a couple months, then later as numbers build you can split it and do experiments using other containers.
All the while keeping a back-up safe and happy, just in case.

Step 2

2 Hang the bottle inside the container so the water temperature can adjust
2 – Hang the bottle inside the container so the water temperature can adjust

On arrival open the package, and remove the lid.
Replace the lid loosely, and using the high tech flexible wire loop hang the bottle inside the container of rainwater you will be culturing these creatures in.
The temperature of the water in the bottle will be different to the water in your tank and they need to adapt to it slowly.

Step 3

3 Remove the lid and release carefully. Do not pour from a height as it damages and kills them
3 – Remove the lid and release carefully. Do not pour from a height as it damages and kills them

About ~30minutes later carefully add them to the water by submerging and carefully pouring out underwater.

Do NOT just pour them in from a height as this can kill them!
Pouring them in from a height creates air bubbles that can get trapped under the shell of mature adults stopping them from being able to feed and killing them.

It also bashes them around like a car crash, and while it may not kill them, it is just not a nice thing to do..
Slowly and gently folks, remembering the journey via Australia Post has been harsh enough for these poor little guys already.

Step 4

4 Attach the sticker to your container. Wait 1 month. Aeration helps
4 – Attach the sticker to your container. Wait 1 month. Aeration helps

You can apply the easy peel sticker to the culture vessel too, so you don’t loose track of which species you are growing.
Makes it much easier to tell your friends where you got them from too…

Every three days time really stir up the water to break up any algae clumps and allow more food and beneficial bacterial circulate into the water column.
At this early stage you will often see a large amount shells, and the water will look very cloudy and dirty.
This looks bad, may even smell a bit like the sea, but don’t stress, this is 100% normal, and those tiny shells will soon be broken down by the bacteria, used as fuel for algae, all in turn becoming food for the survivors.

As long as you continue to stir the water, roughly scraping the sides every 3 days they will bounce back fine and begin to reproduce again.

If you look closely you may also see tiny grey, brown or black bean pod type of things attached to some of the empty shells.

These are Ephippium, and inside that pod is several eggs which will soon hatch producing even more creatures!

After a couple weeks, when the dead have all disappeared, and the live are looking healthy again, you can begin to feed them a LITTLE extra food if you want.

Do not overfeed!
Cloudy water = too much food = DEATH!!!

Remember that although there may be hundreds or even thousands of creatures visible, they eat algae and bacteria all day long, and this food is already produced naturally in their tank.
It is too small to see, so just trust me on this.

How do I get really high densities?

Aeration WITHOUT air stones in large containers.
Air stones make super small bubbles that get stuck under the shells of mature adults.
This makes them float on the surface where they can not feed and eventually die.
Air stones are also made from rocky sandy minerals that are glued together and shaped around a connection.
This glue and metallic mineral mixture is normally 100% harmless to fish, BUT, it is often very toxic to Cladocera and other mini-critters.
DO NOT use air stones.
If you do, you will nearly always have more “crashes” where they all die unexpectedly, or the reproduction rate will be lower in general.

I use the slightly more expensive 316 marine grade 1/4inch stainless steel Hex nuts.
Do not use normal steel or zinc coated nuts, as that will often kill them via metal leaching.
They fit standard 4mm air hose snuggly, not interfering with the airflow or falling off.
The SAE 316 stainless steel does not rust, corrode or give off nasty chemicals, and it has no effect on growth rates in my trials.
In all honesty, after trialing heaps of different things, these are bloody PERFECT!

Cosy warm temperatures.
If you live in an area with cold night time temperatures then using an aquarium heater set at 15-30celcius(60-85farenheit) will increase your reproduction rates and densities.

~20% water changes using clean aged rainwater every week or so can really help if your plan is continual culture of high densities, or as food for fish.

Calcium.
These guys are crustaceans, meaning  they have a chitinous or calcareous exoskeleton. Like a crab, yabby or lobster.
This takes a lot of calcium to produce and if you want lots of healthy critters, then dried shells and sandy grit is a great way to provide it gradually.

I sell small bags of my Shellgrit Substrate Mix here, and although not necessarily, it really does improve general success rates and provide much higher densities, or critters per liter of water.
It also aids the buffering of pH slowing or stopping altogether the swings that algae and bacterial blooms bring.
Even better still, it provides a very porous surface and is the ideal media for beneficial bacteria to grow on, in turn improving water quality and clarity.

TLDR
Use a food safe container, add rainwater and critters, keep warm and stir every 3days.
= Success!

Use larger container, add more air and calcium
= MEGA SUCCESS!!!

Anything else
= an experiment I have no experience with.
Could be good, could be bad, no idea, so I can’t recommend it.

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