You are on page 1of 20


Proudly hosted by

Version 3.2 written & compiled by
John Clare, B.A., Ph.D.

Table of Contents

Background Introduction and Version Information What are Daphnia? Anatomy of Daphnia What kinds are there? Where can they be found/obtained?

Culturing Where can I culture them? Physical Requirements What do I feed them? How do I maximise the yield? Harvesting Maintenance Dos and Don'ts

Further Information Contacts Daphnia Related Links References/Bibliography/Credits

Introduction and Version Information This document is aimed primarily at aquarists and anyone wishing to culture

1 of 20

8/31/2012 1:25 PM


Daphnia as a food for fish or other animals (such as young newts and salamanders). It is also aimed at anyone interested in learning more about Daphnids, and in particular, the genus Daphnia. Many of the culturing aspects of this document borrow from Kai Schumann's Daphnia FAQ. Interspersed throughout are useful tips from the live_foods mailing list ( A full list of credits can be found in the References/Credits section. I wrote and compiled this document because despite the culturing aspect being well covered by Kai and a number of others, correct detailed information on Daphnia is hard to obtain from almost all sources except scientific journals/post-graduate theses, and the internet (though you have to really dig for it). There is also a lot of conflicting advice out there, most of which I have tested and have used this experience to "filter" out what I think is good advice from the bad before putting it in here. I have explained much of the scientific phraseology and terminology used below, but if you are having problems, or if you see some incorrect information, please contact me using this form. A note on volume: I use Imperial Gallons to measure volume. An Imperial gallon is 4.545 litres. A US gallon is 3.8 litres. - The first version of this document was written in August 1998. - Version 2.0 is dated December 1999. - Version 2.5 features fixed links and many new ones for suppliers and information (January 2000). - Version 3.0 features additions to the feeding section based on advice I've given on the Axolotl Mailing List, as well as new links and some dead links removed. If you spot any dead ones or you have one I should add, please let me know. - Version 3.1: Removed the photos and made some minor corrections. I'll put some up of my own ASAP. - Version 3.2: Added my own photo of Daphnia magna.

What are Daphnia? Daphnia (or Daphnids) are members of a collection of animals that are broadly termed as "water fleas". These are predominantly small crustaceans, and Daphnia belong to a group known as the Daphniidae (which in turn is part of the Cladocera, relatives of the freshwater shrimp, Gammarus et al, and the brine shrimp, Artemia spp). They get their common name from their jerky movement through the water. Apart from the jerky movements, the resemblance to real fleas (Pulex iritans, etc), ends: real fleas are insects and share only an extremely distant common ancestry with Daphnia, since both crustaceans and insects are arthropods. In this document, the terms Daphnia, Daphnids/Daphniidae are used interchangeably and though not technically the same, they should be read as such in all cases except that of species names which are absolute. These terms will be used to describe species of the genus Daphnia, especially D. pulex and D. magna. All species of Daphnia occur in different strains - sometimes the same species can look completely different, both in terms of size and shape, depending on its origin, and environmental factors at that location. As many of their traits will apply to other related genera, we will also touch on Moina, a group of close relatives. It is important to distinguish between Daphnia and other "water fleas" such as the various species of copepod (like Cyclops spp) and ostracod (Cypridopsis et al)

2 of 20

8/31/2012 1:25 PM

You don't need to be a mathematician to imagine the magnitude of a healthy daphnia population. Many aquatic insect larvae and other invertebrates also feed on cladocerans. An important link in food chains of virtually every inland body of water.caudata. etc). These eggs develop into small embryos which then go into suspended animation. A few species of Cladocera are predacious but most are herbivores or detritivores. and are shed with the carapace as dark brown/black saddle-shaped cases known as ephippia (ephippium is Latin for saddle). but share many of the feeding habits of Daphnids. etc) as soon as they arise. the fry of larger fish and also larval amphibians. Volvox spp. either through accidental introduction by man. Their prolificity is due to a great extent to their ability to replicate by parthenogenicity. to a lesser extent.Daphnia http://www. Parthenogenicity is the ability to self-replicate without fertilisation of any form (a type of asexual reproduction) . Developing embryos are often visible in the mother's body without the aid of a microscope. minnows. and any differences in the physical state of the clones is due to environmental conditions. or nature). summer and early autumn (depending on temperature. In the which do not directly come under the scope of this document. Parthenogenesis seems to have evolved to allow daphnia to take advantage of good conditions (food. Many foreign species have been introduced to America and Europe from Asia and Africa (the most notorious of which is Daphnia lumholtzi. general shape (and. half the number of chromosomes to procreate from each sex.the offspring are exact genetic replicas of the parent (clones). The morphology and anatomy of Daphnids are discussed in detail in the Anatomy Section below. When food is scarce some eggs develop into males and the females produce eggs that must be fertilised (the sexes reproduce via haploid means. bearing. There are approximately 150 known species in North America. which is native to Africa). during the late spring. temperature. with new females reproducing as early as four days old at intervals as often as every three days. ten live young per individual (the entire race is made up of females during this period). In the summer months. cladocerans convert phytoplankton/benthic plants. for up to twenty five times in their lifetime (though this number is usually far smaller. The daphnia covered in this document feed on particles found floating in the water (phytoplankton. bacteria and fungi. they can often be seen "blooming" in ponds and lakes as the concentration of algae builds up. and females tend to produce a lot less than one hundred offspring). In large lakes they are a major food source for many kinds of fish such as sticklebacks. as opposed to parthenogenic reproduction which is diploid). colour) of daphnia are the best way to distinguish them without magnification. It is not uncommon to collect 20 or more species in one small area of lake bottom. and a similar number in Europe (many of these species are found on both continents. bacteria. food availability and presence of waste products of their metabolism). fungi and decaying organic matter into animal tissue that can be used by larger animals. on average. These can 3 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM .e. The jerky movement. i. Generation after generation of females can be born in this way. but also attached vegetation or decaying organic material). daphnia reproduce by parthenogenicity. but the predominant foods are free-living algae (eg Chlamydomanas spp.

A. and the male sex dies out completely until it is needed when conditions worsen once again.F. they are very sensitive to halide concentration. "they are what they eat". The ephippial females of most Daphnids are easy to tell from their live-bearing counterparts because the developing ephippium is visible as a black spot towards the rear end of the animal. dichromate ions). be they from the same genus or related genera. Once thought of as an animal of polluted waters. When conditions improve again.U. Anatomy of Daphnia 4 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . There are often pulses of population growth. They are often used to monitor water quality so that only safe water is released into the environment by industry and water treatment plants. For example. when numbers increase almost logarithmically by parthenogensis. or Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids are often sold for this purpose). Even in an aquarist's culture. and they can sometimes even survive freezing. In terms of nutritional survive harsh conditions and are quite capable of withstanding a dry spell if their pond dries up for a while. pulex and its variants as its model (found throughout the northern hemisphere).g. the egg producing generations begin producing live young once again (all females). even more so than to fish.Daphnia http://www. Daphnia are represented worldwide as a number of different species. like the chloride or fluoride in tap water. which are extremely toxic to daphnia. As with most live foods. and so vitamin and other formulas are available as food for filter feeders like Daphnia and Artemia which will give them certain food values or an increase in a given fatty acid. This document uses D. which in increased concentrations can cause immobility and death. There are usually two of these pulses every year. pulses will be noticeable. Daphnia have been proven to be very sensitive to poor water conditions and a number of research and industrial groups use Daphnia to test water quality. Some species have been reported to have a higher protein content. and Moina are quite often found to be 70% protein. but its characteristics can be applied equally well to most other species. They are also sensitive to metal ion concentration. though in a good year there can be many pulses. zinc and most dissolved toxins (e. Daphnia have a protein content of around 50% dry weight and a fat content of 20-27% for adults (4-6% for juveniles). for example (H. and then the numbers fall sharply and ephippia are produced. like sodium. potassium. and daphnia are extremely sensitive to copper.caudata. See the Maintenance section for ways to counter population fall-off. using up a lot of food and causing overcrowding. magnesium and calcium.

O. and sometimes even their last meal (the gut may appear green if the individual has been feeding on algae). FA. compound eye. SG. ovary. and leaf-like limbs inside the carapace that produce a current of water which carries food and oxygen to the mouth and gills. BC. brood chamber. Small particles (less than 50 microns in diameter) in the water are filtered out by fine setae on the thoracic legs and moved along a groove at the base of legs to the mouth.) Figure 2: Photograph of a female Daphnia magna (by John P. C. 1925. shell gland. Although there is some evidence that certain types of food. B. INT. they may be removed by spines on the first legs and then kicked out of the carapace by the 5 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . R. a simple eye). brain. ocellus. two doubly-branched antennae (frequently half the length of the body or more).org/daphnia/#cult2 Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 1: Anatomy of female Daphnia pulex (De Geer) (greatly magnified).Daphnia http://www. rostrum or beak. it is generally believed that all organic particles of suitable size are ingested without any selective mechanism.caudata. Clare). heart. digestive caecum. F. such as particular types of algae. (Fig 1 was greatly modified from Storch. In most species complex movements of the thoracic appendages produce a constant current of water between the valves. first antenna (antennule). H. OV. and is used as a brood chamber. including the 4 to 6 pairs of thoracic appendages. Daphnia tend to be almost kidney shaped. intestine. possessing only a single compound eye (though they have an ocellus. Swimming is accomplished by downward strokes of the large second antennae. or bacteria may be selected by some species. When undesirable material or large tangled masses are introduced between the mandibles. (muscles not shown in fig 1). A carapace covers the body. Protozoa. fornix. diagrammatic. Their bodies are almost transparent and with a microscope you can see the heart beating. The post-abdomen bears two large claws used primarily for cleaning debris out of the carapace. The abdomen and post-abdomen (distal to the anus) is generally bent forward under the thorax. CE.

Daphnia magna. The colour is also moderated by what food is predominating in the diet. because young Moina are only slightly larger than newly-hatched brine shrimp. which are armed with a hook used in clasping. is highly variable depending on the species and environmental conditions (Pennak. which are already similar in form to the adults. Typically. What kinds are there? There are many different species of Daphnia and closely-related genera. but this can be a very vague indicator of species because within a species (and even a strain). the colour of genetically-identical individuals can be quite different due to the adaptive physiology of Daphnids . post-abdomen. An example of a species that seems to exist with very little hemoglobin in comparison to other members of its genus. depending on the species. Daphnia typically invest most of their energy in reproduction (D. due to lowered metabolic activity. Moina are very tiny Daphnids and are often used as an easier-to-culture substitute for Artemia (brine shrimp) as fry food. 1978). The average life span of D. The average life span of Daphnia pulex at 20oC is approximately 50 days. while those feeding on bacteria will be salmon-pink. and first legs. from the release of the egg into the brood chamber until the death of the adult. D. (2) juvenile. This serves to highlight the heavy emphasis on fast reproduction to take advantage of good conditions. Daphnia tend to develop more hemoglobin to increase their oxygen uptake from the water. while they invest comparatively little in growth (23%). Adult daphnia range in size from half a millimetre to almost a centimetre. The life span of Daphnia. water which has low oxygen levels. those of main concern to the aquarist will probably be Daphnia pulex. is red in colour and this gives the see-through body of daphnia a red pigmentation. modified post-abdomen. larger antennules. Colour is sometimes quoted in literature as a means of identifying species. that which has coordinatively bound oxygen. and first stage daphnia are not much bigger. The time required to reach maturity varies from 6 to 10 days. magna 69%. It is usually found in the open water of lakes where dissolved oxygen is plentiful. The eggs hatch in the brood chamber and the juveniles. Daphnia fed on green algae will be transparent-green in colour. size can vary greatly (female Daphnia magna can be between 3 mm and 5 mm). Generally the life span increases as temperature decreases. Individuals of the same strain in oxygen-rich environments tend to be yellow or almost unpigmented. and the various Moina species. Identifying Daphnia species accurately is best achieved using their size.Daphnia http://www.e. Four distinct periods may be recognized in the life history of Daphnia: (1) egg. Males are distinguished from females by their smaller size. the shape of the ephippium. i. the shape of the rostrum and whether the 6 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . is Daphnia hyalina. pulex 67%). are released in approximately two days when the female molts (casts off her exoskeleton). 1978). though within a given species. (3) adolescent and (4) adult (Pennak. a clutch of 6 or 10 eggs is released into the brood chamber. magna is about 40 days at 25 oC and about 56 days at 20oC.

magna. post-abdominal extension is long/short and/or whether smaller appendages close to it are setose (covered with small hair-like structures). It should be noted that within each species there are usually different strains. pulex produces ephippia quite readily in bad conditions. 7 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . the ephippium is more triangular than D. Daphnia magna is quite rare.A. but it should be noted that these are much harder to come by unless you happen to live in a country which has the species in the wild. their culture is almost identical to that of Daphnia. but it is this latter variety which I have found in the wild and identified as D. is quite distinct from the genus Daphnia. The males are usually 1. with the top long side having two extensions beyond the rectangle at either end. D. it is less inclined to do so than D. Generally. the embryos inside the ephippium (of which there are usually two in Daphnia species) are parallel.5 . it is usually very abundant. Some of the less well-known are described below. D. their use as a cheap alternative to brine shrimp as a first fry food has made them popular with many fish breeders. pulex's smaller size. magna's and the embyos in it are not parrallel. The strain which I culture and know as D.2 mm. one of the appendages of the carapace near the post-abdominal is setose. I obtained my Daphnia pulex strain from a local aquarist shop only because it happened to come in on some plants.3 mm.caudata. and in this respect can be very similar to D. and females up to 2. pulex is very hard to distinguish from a number of closely related forms (some consider them seperate species. since hybridisation is common. Related species There are many other species of Daphnia/Cladoceran to be found throughout the world.5mm in length). D. tends to be larger than that described by many texts (such as that by the British Columbian Resources Inventory Committee). The are a number of ways to distinguish D. Moina spp are. but its optimum temperature is between 18 and 22 oC (64-72F). pulex and as a result it is not as tolerant of culture fouling as D.'s 1966 Key to British Cladocera). the ephippium of D. although similar to daphnia and other members of the Daphniidae. and is usually fed to the same size of fish. D. and their young are only about the size of newly-hatched brine shrimp. However. Daphnia magna is the species normally associated with the name Daphnia by most aquarists. pulex. pulex is taken to have males of about 1. pulex (from the F. often this is affected by their food source. but where it does occur.Although a species in its own right. One example of this is D. magna has a wide temperature tolerance. They are very small in comparison to most Daphniidae (less than 0. magna is shaped like a saddle.3. pulex's colour ranges from yellow to almost red. magna. D. galeata).5 mm. These include D. magna is usually considered more "delicate" than D. In the wild. pulex. pulex. and there is only one extension from the top edge of the ephippium. They range in colour from a pale yellow to salmon-pink. and it is like a curve-edged rectangle.5 mm and females 2.Daphnia http://www. some of which may have different traits to the "norm". D. others sub-species. pulex from D. it is like a smaller replica of D. and although they are harder to acquire.B. but the generic D. Other than the size difference. magna males are 2 mm in length and females are 3-5 mm. Although magna does produce ephippia. Daphnia pulex . Like all Daphnia spp ephippia. However. It has been a favourite live food source since the hobby began. the two species are almost exactly the same in appearance.

pulex because D. hyalina in small lakes/ponds. hyalina is more often found in the open water of lakes.caudata. Simocephalus vetulus is a large daphnid which seems prone to being trapped in the surface film of water. in the evening before dusk in shallow water. pulex is far more readily available. magna. It is recommended that you obtain your daphnids from a fish-free lake/pond for two reasons: a fish-free lake/pond will mean there is more chance of obtaining daphnia because there will be less predators to eat them. It is important that you screen any daphnids you obtain in this manner to ensure you don't introduce parasites and/or predators (almost anything can eat fish fry. The best time of day to obtain daphnia is when they bloom in large clouds where there is a high concentration of algae. Again this species is commonly found in Northern Europe. the body shape slightly less rotund than that of D. and to most people. many "Moina" cultures are actually Bosmina cultures. Its body shape is shaped rather like a pea which has started to sprout. and often exceeds 6 mm in length. "Daphnia magna" is probably the most known. magna cultures turn out to be D. Try to ensure the mesh isn't too small and that the net isn't swept too fast. Due to its small size it is more suitable for use as a fry food than other Daphnia. but have never found D. the chances are there is a locally occuring species of daphnid which is as good as any for fish food purposes. Contact information for some of these sources can be found in the Contacts section. I use the inverted commas because most so-called D. even hydra). Interestingly. and it is almost comical to watch an individual wheeling about in the surface film attempting to break free. D. If you intend to obtain species from the wild.Daphnia http://www. it is advisable that you use a fine meshed-net or sieve (or a home-made one made of muslin/net-curtain and a bent coat-hanger on a broom handle). one species looks the same as the other. It tends to be more tolerant of acidic water than other Daphnids. D. Where can they be found or obtained? The answer to this question really depends on your location and which species you wish to culture. This is swept through the water at an even pace in a figure of eight pattern. I have found that lakes/ponds located in limestone-based areas are good sources of Daphnia. It is a very active species and can often be confused with other small daphnids without the aid of a microscope or high power magnifying glass. hyalina is very transparent and as a result it is sometimes hard to see individuals in the water. At this time the I'm not aware of any large-scale culturing of this species. and the "head" is less distinct as it doesn't extend as far from the body as it does in D. In comparison to D. Starter cultures can be obtained via mail order in the US and Europe. magna. It is commonly found in Northern Europe. and also if you're planning on using 8 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . despite the fact that is quite common in Europe. hyalina). or alternatively. But no matter where you are in the world. I have obtained most of the species mentioned above in nature in my own country. or dragged slowly behind a boat. The author has encountered this species on a number of occasions in the wild. otherwise the pressure of the water on the creatures caught in it may well kill them. Ireland (particularly the smaller variant of Daphnia pulex and D. magna. hyalina is generally 3 mm in length. Bosmina coregoni is a rather small species (about 1 mm in length) and is found in weedy ponds and canals.

but what you keep them in is really up to you. Aluminium oxidises to form a skin of aluminium oxide. In theory this would seem to be a good idea for all daphnia as it not only helps increase gaseous exchange at the surface of the water. very gentle aeration seems to be the key. There are some things to bear in mind though when selecting containers: Is the container made of a material that won't dissolve in water. I have found that although Daphnia pulex does better with aeration. but small amounts of aluminium are released into the water).caudata. dark colours produce more heat in the light than white or yellow containers. and it also helps stabilise the water conditions and acts against culture-fouling. Just like ordinary aquaria.4 US) gallon plastic crates because I don't have the space for multiple aquaria.g. since fine bubbles can lodge inside the carapaces of daphnia. I personally culture them in 4 (3. thus providing greater stability for the culture. If you're keeping the "tank" outside in strong sunlight or with heavy illumination around. a light bulb in the lid which is on a timer makes it easy to keep indoors (you can get timers from electrical shops or from good aquaria outlets). For an aquarium. and eventually resulting in death (Artemia also suffer from this problem). I have found that Daphnia magna likes gentle aeration. For someone who only wants a modest amount of Daphnia per daphnia as live food for fish. this section borrows heavily from Kai Schumann's FAQ and Franc Gorenc's article. with additions and changes by myself. However. Daphnia appreciate a good oxygen supply). It is also important when putting a container in strong light that it isn't a dark colour (especially black). daphnia from a fish-free lake/pond will almost be guaranteed disease free. floating them to the surface and also preventing them from feeding. it is a good idea to use a container larger than 10 gallons as the water temperature will fluctuate less markedly.Daphnia http://www. stainless steel is the safest because many metals will react slowly with water over time (e. because as you probably know. and/or leech chemicals into the water (some plastics. Many people like to use children's blow-up paddling pools (I've used these in the past with great success). particularly polypropylene do this)? If you use a metal container. cultures can be maintained in two litre bottles. 9 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . Where can I culture them? Daphnia are undemanding in terms of what you culture them in. Airstones should be avoided. it is desireable to have as high a surface area to volume ratio as possible to ensure that there is good gaseous exchange (though not very demanding. Physical Requirements In places.

but will not affect the actual health of the animals themselves. and calcium. remember that pH is a logarithmic scale . pH and ammonia . Also. and the remaining few species are mostly found in brackish.5 is acceptable. they are often used to test waste-water from industry. 99% of Cladocerans are found in freshwater. but in alkaline conditions. a pH of 9 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 8. D. have found that Bio-foam filters (designed for fry-tanks) are ideal for aerating Daphnia culture. and salinities of 1. Like the Brine Shrimp. with the optimum being between 7. or rain water collected from areas of low/no air pollution (and rain water collected in cities or industrial areas is usually safe if left to stand for a week and only the top-most 3/4 used). monitoring of pH and ammonia is not critical to success. the higher the toxicity of dissolved minerals and gases. potassium. Daphnia are not affected by the addition of nitrogen in fertilizers for the promotion of algae growth. A small degree of temporary and permanent hardness in the water usually encourages growth and reproduction because Daphnia make use of calcium and other minerals in their chitinous carapaces.0 are lethal to the young. even in small amounts.a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 6.5. Some species have been observed in salinities up to 4 ppt. and dissolved oxygen varies from almost zero to supersaturation. I (and a number of others). Ammonia is generally highly toxic to all organisms.2 and 8. not sea water.Daphnia are typically freshwater organisms and there are no marine species of the Daphnia genus. bleaches and other dissolved toxins. and the removal of larger particles from the water is an added bonus. For this reason. magnesium. but concentrations higher than 1. Dissolved minerals . However care should be taken to use them at minimal air flow to avoid over-agitating the water.Daphnia http://www. NOTE: in general. Low concentrations of phosphorus (less than 0. and a high population.01 ppm copper will result in reduced movement in Daphnia. and this will drastically impair Daphnia reproduction.Daphnia are generally tolerant of poor water quality.5 to 3. the toxicity is radically increased.5 and 9. So it seems that on the small scale that we require.caudata.A pH between 6. like brine shrimp. Daphnia magna are quite resistant to phosphorus and can withstand concentrations as high as 5-7 ppm. They become immobile and eventually die with the addition of salts like sodium. Also. the more extreme the pH. Daphnia are very sensitive to disturbances of the ionic composition of their environment. The production of hemoglobin may be promoted by high temperatures.0 ppt are common in pond cultures in the Orient.In contrast to their tolerance of low oxygen.5 ppm) will stimulate reproduction. The best source of water is from your aquarium water changes. but you could also use filtered stream or lake water (fish-free water bodies are recommended due to possible disease introduction to your fish aquarium by way of the daphnia). Oxygen . As with any aquarium venture. and likewise. Concentrations of only 0. as it does not have the minerals needed for Salinity . Daphnia are not tolerant of fine air bubbles. the water used should be treated with aeration or de-chlorinator to remove chlorine before the culture is started. A slow aeration is needed with Daphnia as a large bubble column will strip the Daphnia out and kill them. detergents. their ability to survive in an oxygen poor environment is in their ability to synthesize hemoglobin. magna tends to prefer harder water 10 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . Municipal and well water may be contaminated enough to kill the culture. They are extremely sensitive to metal ions like copper and zinc. pesticides. Never use distilled or deionised water.

yeast and algae seem to compliment one another). The higher temperature tolerance of Moina make this species a better choice where temperatures may rise above the comfort levels for D. pour it into a Daphnia tank. 1 for each day of the week. yeasts (Sacromyces spp. By bubbling air through the containers (an airpump with 7 side lines will do.two days later tank #2 . One method is to use 1 gallon containers. and means of attaining/growing it. As you might be able to tell. resisting daily variations of 5-31oC (41-88 F). usually a lot less. magna at certain times of the year. because there really only needs to be a small movement in the water). Temperature . When this has turned bright green (within 2 weeks). There are a number of ways to grow algae. this will provide about 1 gallon of fresh green water every two days. their optimum being 24-31oC (75-88 F).caudata. This is repeated with each container as they turn bright green. The best foods for culturing are algae (typically free-living green algae species which tend to turn water to "pea soup"). pulex a little less hard (90 mg carbonate hardness). all of which are very basic and require little effort. Moina withstand extremes even more. 2. etc. I usually add a very tiny pinch of powdered Tufa rock (often used in Marine aquaria) to my water because there is very little temporary hardness in the water I use and no permanent hardness whatsoever. What do I feed them? This is a general section on feeding Daphnia. I have summarised my own experiences at the end of this section. D.two days later tank #3. Add 1 tea spoon of Miracle grow per gallon. an organic plant fertiliser. Miracle grow. together with its advantages and disadvantages. This system is then seeded with green water in tank #1 .Daphnia have a wide tolerance to temperature. The optimum temperature for Daphnia magna is 18-22 oC (64-72F). and similar fungi).Daphnia http://www. These sit on a window sill which gets good sunlight for as much of the day as possible. Algal spores are carried on the wind and will colonise the water. algae won't grow on the sides of the containers where it can block the sunlight. but it usually speeds up the process if you "seed" the water with some algae from a container that has already has a (170 mg carbonate hardness) and D. Refill the container with water mixture and seed with tank #2 which should be about to turn bright green. 11 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . can be used to grow algae (after all they're just plants). Combinations of the above seem to have the most success (i. 1. and bacteria.e. Placing a container of water outside in good sunlight will usually guarantee a good growth of algae within two weeks. pulex seems to do well at well at almost any temperature above 10oC. Algae Micro algae is consumed in great quantities by Daphnia. Each food type will be discussed in turn. and the abundance of daphnia is usually proportional to the density of algal blooms. Daphnia have similar feeding habits to other tiny crustaceans (especially to the likes of Artemia).

though don't use human faeces unless you want typhoid or worse..) contains copious quantities of bacteria from the digestive system. yeast is far better than any other food except some bacteria. other than the fact that it requires bi-daily maintenance / renewal. then drip the liquid into the tank at a rate of 16 fluid ounces per five to eight days. Bacteria are a good food source. but it is recommended that no more than half an ounce of yeast per five gallons of water be fed every five days. There are no disadvantages really. An important 12 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . brewers. Bacteria Bacteria have a similar food value to fungi. The only slight disadvantage is that it's not quite as good a food as algae (the daphnia need to consume more weight of yeast than algae to get the same food value). and most antibiotics or growth promoters which were fed to the animal will break down if the dung is left to dry for a while) and tying it in a nylon bag (such as tights/pantyhose). cow or sheep dung (dried for two reasons: it's easier to deal with. The only downside is the smell of the decaying matter (which can be pretty bad at times). The advantages of yeast as a food are that it's easy to acquire. the water will go cloudy after a time. but care should be taken when adding this kind of yeast because Ascorbic acid can give pHs less than 6. Another way to culture bacteria in a hurry is to throw a handful of salmon (or trout pellets). and there is a minimum of fuss when preparing it for the culture. Some bakers yeasts come with added ingredients like Calcium Sulphate and Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to aid fast activation of the yeast. Bacteria are "cultured" by taking 5-6 ounces of dried horse. If you're using The advantages of algae as a food are that it is very easy to culture and it is excellent for growing daphnia. and easily acquired/cultivated. and these will leech out of the dung into the water and reproduce.activated and inactive. Do take care not to overfeed inactive yeast as it will foul the culture and therefore kill your daphnia. and almost any kind of yeast are suitable for daphnia cultures. which have almost as high a food value. and the calcium sulphate gives vital calcium for the daphnia's carapaces. which are far from ideal with Daphnia.caudata. This should be changed once a week for maximum effect. Within a few days it is usually cloudy with bacteria. Typically. especially inactive yeast. Activated yeast is generally a better food to feed because it will not foul the water as quickly/as much as the inactive kind. indicating that the bacteria are starting to multiply.Daphnia http://www. but they generally reproduce faster than fungi and algae. However. Bakers. Yeasts There are two general kinds of yeast that we need be concerned about . These are harmless to daphnia cultures. I have never had any pH changes when using such "mixes" in moderation. Another method is to soak the dung for weeks until it decomposes into a nutrient slurry. However. dog biscuits or other meat-based food into a few gallons of water with some added aquarium water.. Animal dung (including human dung. consider adding some algae to the water as this will counter any fouling which may result from adding the inactive yeast (this isn't so important with activated yeasts). although the food value doesn't tend to be as high. and hanging this in the water with the daphnia.

The fresh water louse is a crustacean that looks like a wood louse and it is not a fish louse (louse is just the name). I would have to say that I mainly agree with this. The only real difference is that the food value isn't as high as the corresponding weight of yeast. It gives just as good a result. Blend these until you have a mulch. If you want a recommendation for a quick fix substitute for green water. ideally in the early 20s celsius / ~70F. but I'm just too lazy most of the time to bother with anything except rotting pellets. but the pellets win in my opinion. I would say for a 4 foot long aquarium one or even two handfuls is enough to fertilise the water if there is an already healthy population of daphnia. The amount depends on your container size and current daphnia population. I've been maintaining two populations since June 1998 and they have never completely died out.May 2000). As a guide. I've used this a few times.don't crush them much first. People recommend green water as the best food for daphnia. It's far more concentrated than water with algae in it.caudata. These should be considered similar to inactive yeast. and dried blood. I don't think "green water" is worth the effort.Daphnia http://www. so care should be taken when handling it (make sure you have no open cuts/sores on your hands or arms). 13 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . Mix about 80% peas and 20% carrots together and then stick them in a food blender. They do pulse though. Other Foods These include bran. then don't use as many pellets or the bacteria population will go out of control. I fertilise the water with salmon pellets (the Indiana University Axolotl Colony's at the moment . I should mention that I also keep water slaters (the European fresh water louse) in my daphnia cultures because they break down solid waste and prevent the pellets from being covered in fungus and floating at the surface. One final note on pellets . I've tried animal's blood and found it ok. I haven't bothered feeding green water to daphnia since 1998 so draw your own thing to remember is that horse dung usually contains tetanus (also a bacterium). and the same amounts and care should be taken when administering them. Too much and you foul the water and everything dies. but I think that bacteria are just as nutritious. If you do you'll release all of the nutrients at once instead of over a few days and you can get the bacteria going out of control. like an outdoor pond. Some of My Own Experience Unless you have a very large container. get yourself a bag of frozen peas and one of carrots. I don't recommend snails in the culture either because for one thing. followed by algae and the mixture I mentioned above. so take any liquid and squeeze the mulch to get all of the liquid from it. This contains particles of a size small enough for daphnia to sieve from the water (less than 50 microns). In that case it's mainly the blood that is the fertiliser. If you have less. and also because they use up calcium and that's reserved for the daphnia! I've heard of ground-up liver in water being recommended. wheat flour. this is reliant on temperature. You're looking for the "juices". so use it sparingly. some species can act as a parasite vector.

no airstones) should be used instead. However. The only problem with aeration is that fine bubbles can lodge underneath the daphnia's carapace and float it to the surface and preventing it from feeding. and therefore the more frequent the water changes. there are proven measures that increase the productivity of a culture.continuous 24 hour periods in which the daylight is less than 12 hours and with a temperature significantly below 18 Water changes: some people recommend you change up to 75% of the water in a culture every day. Good aeration (good in so far as the manner in which the water is How do I maximise the yield? Daphnia production is relatively simple. These are commonly used in fry tanks. see the Harvesting section). Some people like to keep a light on 24 hours a day for their daphnia tank as this can encourage faster growth and reproduction. It allows you to keep more daphnia in the same container. but are ideal for daphnia. not a torrent). The outlets are usually very good at aerating the water. This is really dependent on what rate you're "running" the culture at. the faster the water will be fouled. harvesting may be the aim of the exercise. releasing nutrient for the algae to feed on. Therefore airstones should be avoided (unless used in a bio-foam filter in which case the air bubbles combine together).Daphnia http://www. The more food you feed. Carry out regular maintenance as described in the Maintenance section.caudata. or coarse airstones (or better yet. Harvesting When it comes to culturing Daphnia. They trap larger particles in the water (they don't trap algae). One important note though . but be aware that output levels will drop if there is a build up of metabolites/toxins/etc in the water. (which counters stagnancy and fouling). especially water changes. but care should be taken to use them at low to minimum flow to avoid over-agitating the water (we want some aeration. It minimises the possibility of algae growing on the walls of the container. A good method (tried and trusted) of aerating the water which I have mentioned previously is the bio-foam filter (there are a number of models available. if not an exact science. It also circulates the water. but Daphnia magna seems to do well with it. This could lead to crashing. Cull/Harvest the culture regularly (again. However. I haven't had a fouled culture yet while using a bio-foam. I haven't tried this myself. This is really up to the individual. you probably won't need to do this once your culture gets going. Some species prefer no aeration. any will do). This encourages constant growth and also keeps the daphnia from exhausting both the oxygen and the food in the water too fast for it to be replaced. and it also keeps inert food in suspension which is more conducive to most daphnia feeding habits. but 14 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . and help break them down. not good as in quantity) is probably the largest contributing factor for good production.

Do feed your daphnia on a regular basis. Remember that if you're keeping your colonies outside. the population will naturally decrease in winter. more daphnia usually means more water needs to be changed. Daphnia can be stored for long periods by freezing them in a low salinity water (7ppt. culture fouling. so adequate circulation is required to keep them in suspension during feeding. If you're culturing below about 25 oC.Daphnia http://www. Of course this kills the Daphnia. the ephippia should hatch within 4 to 8 days (if you accidentally poisoned the culture with chemicals. Should your culture die off. and in an hour all free amino acids. and let the tank settle. to a maximum of 50% per week). but the harvest may vary according to the quality of the population. you may need to obtain a new starter culture because the daphnia may not have had time to produce ephippia. and most bound amino acids are lost. even ephippia will not survive for very long in strong chemicals like bleach or even mild acid). This is because a lot of cultures take a few days to settle and start reproducing. still cull them. The key to avoiding population fall-off/crashing is to have constantly good conditions.caudata. 1. Nearly all the enzyme activity is lost in ten minutes. and even if they did. don't despair. The nutritional quality will not be as good because they have been starving for several days. Either change most of the water or take the mulm and put it in a new container . then it's generally a good idea to begin culling only midway through the second week unless you started out with a large number of daphnia (or your culture is growing like crazy already). They will resume normal activity when the water warms up. but just small enough to catch the adults (some people prefer to drain 1/4 of the tank into a net. Overcrowding is a serious danger otherwise. Not more than 1/4 of the population should be harvested daily. but should increase again in the following season. If you go on holiday for a few weeks.if conditions are good. When culling. otherwise the culture could become unstable. or the addition of dangerous chemicals to the water.0046 density). Even if you have to wash the culled ones down the sink because you have too many. Harvested Daphnia can be kept alive for several days in the refrigerator in clean water. But remember to cull regularly. such as large temperature drops. when you stop the aeration. try to use a net which has a large enough mesh to let young daphnia through. so a supplemental feeding is required for best effect. Maintenance A daphnia culture requires very little maintenance other than partial water changes (the amount really depends on the volume of water and the number of daphnia in the culture . and to avoid sudden changes. and in this way you do two jobs at once). the Daphnia will concentrate on the surface where they're easier to harvest. and replace the water with new fertilised water. Fish will not feed on frozen Daphnia as readily either.more water usually needs less changing. In daylight/roomlight. don't be surprised if your daphnia have produced ephippia and the population has decreased while you were away! 15 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM .org/daphnia/#cult2 it's also essential. They also will not be as nutritious as the nutrients rapidly leach out in the aquarium.

DOs Do make sure you age your tap water and have a good idea of what's in it: If it contains chlorine (chloramine will also put chloride into the water). this could be disastrous for the daphnia.again. it must be left to stand or aerate the water for 24 hours to drive off the chlorine gas (fluoride is usually very low in concentration and isn't really something to worry about). Do carry out regular partial water changes. and will probably just produce ephippia.Daphnia http://www. If your water contains lots of ammonia. and coupled with even a low ammonia concentration. Do cull/harvest your cultures at least once a week to avoid overcrowding. Do try to maintain a constant temperature (about 20oC is ideal for most species).caudata. otherwise they will not reproduce at a high rate. DON'Ts Don't wash your hands with soap/detergent just before you put your hands in a daphnia culture unless you've _thoroughly_ rinsed your hands because soap and detergents are toxic to daphnia. Don't put your daphnia in a container of dense algae (and don't change too much water from the tank for algae water at one time) because algal blooms tend to raise pH to very high levels (over pH 9). Don't keep all your eggs in one basket (or daphnia in one container). this will inhibit the population growth of your culture . aerating the water vigourously helps drive off ammonia (although it takes a lot longer than with chlorine).org/daphnia/#cult2 Dos and Don'ts This section is intended as a reminder of things to remember and a precaution against simple mistakes people often make without realising it. and our cultures may be poisoned or die off for no apparent reason. killing them in short order. Do make sure you have adequate water hardness for your daphnia. Do feed regular modest amounts of food (this will depend on the culture size). To counter this. Any metals in the water can often be toxic to daphnia. Even the best of us will have accidents on occasion or have an emergency. etc.if anything. it 16 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . Ammonia toxicity increases with higher pH. Some can inhibit population growth (see the section on Physical Requirements). Don't overfeed . underfeed your daphnia to avoid fouling and toxic build-up of ammonia.

It won't be much use. Ph: 01342 850242 Living Lunch (mixed species) 50 Hazel Close. These will usually stock D. Don't use airstones in a daphnia culture. Note however. Don't add fresh tap water to a daphnia culture unless you want to kill them all with the chlorine. Salisbury. because the fumes/gas can be toxic. Don't add miracle grow. etc. pulex. Don't use insecticides near your daphnia containers. Suppliers Europe Blades Biological (Daphnia pulex only) Kent. and some will also stock D. aquariums. directly to the culture. and even flower window boxes with daphnia when the culture is first obtained. and even if it doesn't kill the daphnia. and don't leave your daphnia container in a room that was just painted/varnished/etc. there should only be a weak flow of air through the filter to avoid too much water flow).Daphnia http://www. Contacts This section is a list of addresses/phone numbers of suppliers and information in Europe and America. in high is best to seed as many water vessels. Don't keep your daphnia in the dark for days at a time as this can stimulate them to produce ephippia.caudata. Bemerton Heath. but the bubbles are not fine enough to harm the daphnia when the bubbles emerge into the tank. SP2 9JJ. magna. This will ensure you will be able to "restart" without too much fuss. Use an open airline tube or a bio-foam filter (the latter contains an airstone inside in the apparatus. Wiltshire. England. UK. and it could also poison the culture. UK. North America/Canada 17 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . the fish you feed them to may be slowly poisoned.

USA. and then information (daphnia/daphnid specific links and more general ones).caudata. CO 80104.Daphnia http://www. Box 641541. CA 90064-1541. The address is livefood@aquaria. UK. Cultures (see Links section) Internet with the line "subscribe live_foods" in the message body. USA. Ph: 800-825-8522 LarvaTech (see Links section) P. Ph: 1-877-603-4085 Information Europe Freshwater Biological Association (see Links section) The Ferry House. Ph: 601-236-4687 Blue Spruce Biological Supply (see Links section) 701 Park Street. I've ordered various live foods and they're 18 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM . Living Lunch. To subscribe. MS 38677. University. no matter what the question is (even though it's not the most active list on the net. The Live Foods mailing list is very informative and the subscribers are immensely helpful.015394 42468 Daphnia Related Links The links section is divided into mailing list links. Ambleside. S. it more than makes up for this with its quality). Los Angeles. F. based in southwest L. Post Office Box Castle Rock. Windermere . send a message to majordomo@actwin. Cumbria. then suppliers. LA22 0LP. USA.

org/daphnia/#cult2 always friendly and helpful. Viviparous's Daphnia Page: Very well worth reading.Daphnia http://www. Some good information about Moina. LarvaTech also supply Daphnia cultures. Blades Biological. including Daphnia magna as well as other Daphnia species. 19 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM .com's "Feeding Your Fish Links": Some links to Daphnia sites among other things. A study of Daphnia retrocurva reproduction . is a detailed study of differentiation between isolated colonial groups of the same species of daphnia. LFS Cultures supply live foods. Blue Spruce Biological Supply are a good supplier of biological specimens and equipment.this paper. Jan Parmentier and Wilm van Egmond's Web Site at Microscopy-UK is well worth a look. The Journal of Plankton Research is published online and occasionally has some articles on Daphnia. supply laboratories but they also supply private individuals.quite interesting as it details the influence of enviromental factors and predators on Daphnid morphology. A study of the ecological genetics of Daphnia and the genetic structure of Gammarus populations. Gives a good insight into the development of new/different strains of a species. Information on non-indigenous crustaceans in the US (specifically Daphnia lumholtzi). Daphnia Physiology: A little information on Daphnia Physiology. Nutritional Value of Daphnia.caudata. based in England. It is a fascinating publication and back issues can be found in the online archive. written by Sky Sterry. About. A good intro to Daphnia culturing (Kai Schumann's Daphnia FAQ). and the overall changes over time. The Daphnia Parasite Picture Gallery: And you thought Daphnia were weird enough without having to worry about their parasites! The Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax: Information on Daphnia in the Metro Halifax region. The Krib has a lot of fishy information. Population Structure and Daphnia . including a collection of Daphnia articles (which includes the Daphnia FAQ by Kai Schumann). Actwin's Live Food FAQ.

caudata. Schumann. December 1999. Proudly hosted by Caudata. Membership is open to anyone.Daphnia http://www. March 2001. Robert . Many of the sites mentioned in the links section Sterry. Scourfield. July 2002.Freshwater Invertebrates of the US (1978). John . The Freshwater Biological Association is an independent association founded in 1929. anywhere in the world. JP . -John Clare.Daphnia FAQ. dating back more than three years). Genetic Analysis of Daphnia magna ephippia at Hull University. They are not only extremely helpful. but members have access to their library. Clegg. The Fish INformation Service (FINS) has an online archive of many mailing lists (including a live-foods list. Paul . as well as FAQs on live food. They also carry out research and publish many helpful species keys as well as articles in scientific journals. Legal Deposition meant I was able to find books in the library there that are very rare. The subscribers to the Live Foods mailing list (see the Links Section). May 2000. References/Bibliography/Credits Pennak. too numerous to mention. Many snippets of information from a variety of Zoology and Limnology books.A key the the British Species of Freshwater Cladocera with notes (1957-1966). one of the finest freshwater libraries in the world. Kai . I have been lucky in my life to have attended Trinity College Dublin for my Bachelor's degree. DJ & Harding.The Observers book of pondlife. August 20 of 20 8/31/2012 1:25 PM .org/daphnia/#cult2 Daphnia: A nice site on culturing Daphnia.Pond Watching (198x).