Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Quest, Day 6

I’m beginning to understand why people don’t have success with breeding Singapore Wood Shrimp! Lack of funds, lack of knowledge, lack of time.

Brian Dorn Husbandry Curator at North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has been a great sport- while he says he knows little or nothing about breeding Singapore Wood Shrimp, we’ve exchanged several emails that have been quite helpful to me. I am only moderately knowledgeable about the kinds of life-forms I work with in my home, but underneath that is a whole layer of microscopic life forms and chemistry of which I was somewhat aware, but blissfully ignorant.

He suggested a company in Florida that sells all manner of things related to plankton (and other things). One option is a larval diet- a mixture of processed foods for fish and invertebrate larvae. The smallest amount available is $25 plus shipping. The other route, to purchase rotifer cysts ($15) and algae culture ($15) would get me started with culturing live food. Brian said that tech support was great- so I called.

We talked for a long time, and Brian was right, tech support was very knowledgeable and patient with all my questions. He, too, indicated that if I had a tub of algae outside, the zoo-plankton would follow.

As of yesterday, I couldn’t really decide what to do. But late last night I was reading two excellent articles in the Advanced Aquarists Online Magazine about culturing rotifers. Not only did it start sounding like something I could easily fail at (thus having no food for the larvae), but there was a reference that rotifers might actually be too large for some fish fry. Well if they’re too large for some fish fry, I would well imagine they could well be too large for shrimp fry. In the next article ( he was talking about other ciliates.

While it didn’t exactly tell me where to get the ciliates, he did provide a nice recipe for something to feed the ciliates, using vegetable juice and some vitamins I have around the house. Also, the Aquatic Eco guy was talking about how careful you had to be with your algae culture that it didn’t get contaminated with ciliates. Hmm, I thought, this is sounding more like what might work. Just then, as I reading the end of the article, I got another message Jirkalib of the Czech Republic. He and I have been emailing almost daily. I found him back when I was doing google searches for information. He had found himself in the same predicament about 10 months ago- and posted questions about what to do, and got no good answers. As it happened, he posted an excellent video on YouTube, and since I have a YouTube account, I was able to message him.

He had no success with his larvae, but I have been asking as many questions as I can to learn what I can from his experience. More on this later. But he had mentioned the prior day that he had plankton to feed them with, and just as I was finishing the article I got a message from him that it was a culture he grew with just regular straw and water. So that is what I’m going to try. So, as of today, my basic food strategy is:

  • Hope for an algae bloom in the tanks I’m putting mollies in- I at least know I have algae around
  • Start a straw-water culture
  • Buy some plankton food meant for corals and the like
  • Have brine shrimp eggs on hand

Today I’m acclimating mollies. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought.

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