Ciliates-slipper refers to the type of ciliates (Infusoria), which has more than 7 thousand species. Compared with other groups of simplest ciliates, they have the most complex structure, being the apex of the organization of unicellular animals. The infusoria-slipper lives in almost all freshwater bodies of water and is an integral part of the “dust”.
They can easily be detected under a microscope among the silt particles and remnants of rotting plants taken from the aquarium.
Among the simplest ciliates, slippers are fairly large organisms, the size of which usually ranges from 0.1 to 0.3 mm. Infusoria-Slipper got its name due to the shape of its body, which resembles a lady’s shoe.
It retains a constant body shape due to the fact that the outer layer of its cytoplasm is dense. The entire body of the ciliates is covered with longitudinal rows of numerous small cilia that make wave-like movements.
With their help, the shoe floats blunt end ahead. From the front end to the middle of the body is a groove with longer cilia. At the end of the groove there is an oral opening leading to the pharynx.
Infusoria feed mainly on bacteria, pushing them by cilia to the mouth. The oral opening is always open.
Small food particles penetrate through the mouth into the throat and accumulate at its bottom, after which the food lump together with a small amount of liquid comes off the pharynx, forming a digestive vacuole in the cytoplasm. The latter makes a difficult path in the body of the infusorium, during which food digestion is carried out.
In addition to bacteria, ciliates feed on yeast and algae. When feeding them with algae, the influence of direct sunlight should be avoided, since the oxygen given off by freshly swallowed algae can break the ciliates. It should be borne in mind that infusoria can filter and swallow any particles, regardless of their nutritional value.
Therefore, the presence of extraneous suspended particles in the vessel with ciliates should be avoided, since the infusoria may overwhelm by overfilling its mouth opening with an extraneous suspension.
Ciliates slipper quite mobile. The speed of its movement at room temperature is 2.0 – 2.5 mm / sec.
This is a high speed: in 1 second the shoe overcomes a distance that is 10-15 times longer than its body. This circumstance must be taken into account when feeding small, slow-moving larvae of some calf-fishes, which can remain hungry even at high concentrations of ciliates.
For cultivation of ciliates at home, it is better to use a pure culture, after making sure under the microscope of its purity. In the absence of a pure culture, you can get it yourself. To do this, put on the glass a few drops of silt slurry with plant residues taken from the bottom of the aquarium, to which a drop of milk or a grain of salt is added.
Next to it from the side of the world, drop a drop of fresh settled water. Both drops are connected by a water bridge with a sharp match.
The shoe rushes in the direction of fresh water and light with greater speed than all other microorganisms. The shoes multiply very quickly: to achieve a maximum concentration of 40 thousand ind./cm from a single individual, under optimal cultivation conditions, it takes less than a month.
For the cultivation of shoes usually use all-glass vessels with a volume of 3 liters. Good results are achieved at room temperature, but the peak of reproduction of ciliates is observed at 22 – 26 ° C. In the first days of cultivation, low purge is desirable, however, sediment should not rise from the bottom of the can. In the presence of a purge, the ciliates are located in the lower part of the can, and with a lack of oxygen, they rush to the surface of the water.
This property is usually used to concentrate infusoria before feeding them to the larvae.
As feed for ciliates, you can use hay brew, dried banana peel, pumpkin, melon, yellow swede, sliced carrots, fish feed pellets, milk, dried lettuce, pieces of liver, yeast, algae, i.e. those substances that are either directly consumed by shoes (yeast, algae), or are a substrate for the development of bacteria.
When using hay, it is taken 10 g and placed in 1 l of water, boiled for 20 minutes, then filtered and diluted with an equal amount or two thirds of distilled water. During boiling, all microorganisms die, but bacterial spores persist. After 2 to 3 days, hay sticks, serving as food for infusoria, develop from the spores.
As necessary, the infusion is added to the culture. Infusion is stored in a cool place for a month.
The shoe can be diluted on dried lettuce leaves or pieces of liver, placed in a bag of gauze.
Peel ripe, intact bananas, melons, rutabagas, pumpkins dried and stored in a dry place. Before making the culture take a piece of 1 – 3 cm in size, rinse and pour 1 liter of water.
Hydrolysis yeast contribute at the rate of 1 g per 100 liters. The easiest way is to dilute shoes with skimmed, boiled or condensed (sugar-free) milk: it is introduced into the culture 1 to 2 drops per 1 l) once a week.
Slippers use lactic acid bacteria.
When using the above feed it is important not to overdose the food. Otherwise, the bacteria that multiply rapidly will leave infusoria without oxygen. When growing infusoria on bacteria, they have positive phototaxis, i.e. aim for the light.
You can dilute infusoria in algae scenes desmusse and chlorella. Good results can be achieved by cultivating infusoria with weak blowing, when 1 pellet of carp is added to 1 liter of algae. Ciliates fed with algae have negative phototaxis: they tend to darkness.
This property can be used in feeding shade-loving larvae of fish. Used culture of ciliates, as a rule, no longer than 20 days.
To maintain the culture continuously, it is charged in two banks at weekly intervals, with each bank being recharged every two weeks. For long-term storage of the culture of ciliates, it is placed in a refrigerator and stored at a temperature of + 3 ° – + 10 ° C.
The collection of ciliates is carried out in places of their highest concentration using a rubber hose. Concentrating ciliates can be done by carefully adding saline solution to the culture, which, dropping to the bottom of the can, causes the ciliates to concentrate near the surface.
A simpler way to collect ciliates is to add milk to the culture while shutting off the purge. After 2 hours, ciliates are concentrated near the surface on the illuminated side of the can.
Particularly good results can be achieved if the culture is placed in a cylinder, adding milk and salt to it. In this case, cotton is placed on the surface of the liquid and then fresh water is carefully added to the cotton, while the upper part of the cylinder is illuminated. After half an hour, most of the slippers are transferred to fresh water, and this water with infusoria is transferred to a vessel with fish larvae.
For feeding many haracin and some other fish, the larvae of which do not tolerate the presence of bacteria, they maintain infusoria in pure water for a day or two. During this time, the shoes eat all the bacteria and thus disinfect the water.
For constant infusion of ciliates into an aquarium with fish larvae, a jar with infusoria is placed above the aquarium and from it along the hose with a clip, water with infusoria drips into the aquarium with larvae. You can pour water with infusoria not with a hose, but over a moistened linen thread.
Feeding infusoria of the larvae of most fish is usually carried out only during the first two or three days with the gradual addition (on the second day) of larger food organisms.