In natural water bodies it is possible to get a lot of medium-sized crustaceans, which are successfully used when feeding aquarium fish. These crustaceans include copepods and branchy crustaceans.
These crustaceans actively develop with the onset of warm spring days and until late autumn. In the common people of these crustaceans, aquarists call daphnia.
Daphnids longispina, pules and magna are most common as food for aquarium fish. These crustaceans are considered quite large – the maximum length is about 4-5 millimeters.
The first signs of the appearance of these crustaceans appear in spring in shallow reservoirs and ditches, where industrial effluents do not fall.
In addition to crustaceans of the genus Daphnia, smaller crustaceans of the genus Bosmina are used to feed aquarium fish. Outwardly, they strongly resemble daphnia, but their maximum length is 1 – 2 millimeters.
But, on average, the standard bosmin length is 1 millimeter.
Of the other branchy crustaceans that have a similar structure and fodder dignity are considered Sida and Moin, which aquarists called “live bears”. In crustaceans, crustaceans have one feature — a high reproduction rate in small bodies of water into which meltwater flows. With an increase in water temperature in such water bodies, the simplest organisms and algae actively develop, with which these crustaceans feed.
Due to this feature aquarists use crustaceans in the fight against water blooming.
There are cases when aquarists breed purposeful crustaceans purposefully. This is characteristic of the breeding farms.
In the previously dug ditches or small ponds in the fall lay compost, and in the spring, when the prepared pits are filled with melt water, crustaceans will begin to actively develop in them. If the aquarist has an amicable plot, then you can use this method and prepare a small ditch accordingly.
Daphnids are extremely rarely bred in domestic aquariums, using infusoria, yeast or unicellular algae as feed. However, this method does not fully justify itself, since you cannot physically get the necessary number of crustaceans for feeding your pets.
Branched crayfish are in great demand among aquarists and fish farmers, not only because of their high nutritional value, but also because such food provokes the active maturation of the genital products in fish before spawning. Accordingly, in fish, fertility increases from this kind of feed.
As a rule, fry obtained from such fish turn out to be more resilient and grow an order of magnitude faster than congeners obtained from other producers.
In large natural reservoirs with stagnant water year-round can be found copepods (cyclops and diptomus). These crustaceans are much more modest in size, therefore they are most often used when feeding young fry.
For adult fish, periodic Cyclops feeding is also beneficial: it helps to accelerate growth, form a skeleton and increase resistance in fish to possible diseases.
You can catch cyclops and daphnids with the help of special nylon nets. When choosing a reservoir, it is best to choose those that are not inhabited by fish that can transmit various infectious diseases through feed to your pets. The danger of infectious agents getting into the aquarium increases many times if you scoop from the bottom of the silt where disease-causing organisms and parasites live.
In addition, in such a straightforward way you can bring into your aquarium such an unpleasant and unwelcome guest as a hydra. And this parasite delivers quite a lot of trouble, especially if a large number of fry are in your tank.
Caught crustaceans must be moved to a bath or other container, which must be на filled with water. It is necessary to transport the caught crustaceans in the rhythm of the waltz, because they react sharply to the lack of oxygen in the water. Crustacean houses will have to be sorted by size, passing them through a sieve. Thus, you kill two birds with one stone: you sort the crustaceans and separate the aquatic organisms that accidentally fell.
After sorting the crustaceans need to be transplanted into the pelvis and include aeration. In a cool place, food can be stored for several days. If necessary, crustaceans scoop a net and washed with running water, and only then fed to the fish.
It should be noted that the nutritional value of daphnia and cyclops is significantly reduced if they are stored in a small volume for more than one day.
If you regularly feed fish to small crustaceans, you should understand that cyclops are predators by nature. Accordingly, if there are a large number of fry in your tank, you endanger them, because these small crustaceans are capable of inflicting quite serious injuries on the young.
Therefore, if you feed the youngs with cyclops nauplii, you should regularly sort the food in order to separate the adults.
If you caught a lot of food for your pets, then you can prepare it in advance. For this, the crustaceans are pre-washed and laid in a thin layer in plastic bags and put in the freezer. Freshly frozen food will not yield anything alive.
The main thing when feeding is not to give too much food, since its remnants can quickly spoil the water of the aquarium.
Brancher crustaceans can also be harvested by drying during periods of rapid reproduction. To do this, crustaceans are laid in a thin layer on a piece of cloth in a well-ventilated room, where they dry for a couple of days.
In addition to food that can be obtained in natural waters, aquarium fish can be fed live food that is easily grown at home. Enhitrei are considered the most well-known “homemade” worms. An adult worm can be as long as 4 centimeters.
The nutritional value of this feed is extremely high, as the worms are rich in fats. And for the young, it is especially useful.
If enkhitrei are used when feeding adults, then it should be alternated with less high-calorie foods to prevent obesity of the internal organs in fish.
Enhitreous are grown in special boxes filled with earth. To ensure the stable development of culture, boxes must be bulky. The substrate for the worms should be light and porous.
The best substrate is a mixture of peat and turf soil and sand, which must be mixed in the same proportions.
Enhitreus colony is placed in pre-prepared boxes of ground where food is added: boiled vegetables and their waste, white bread soaked in milk, porridge, etc. Food is usually folded into small holes in a thin layer, and then lightly sprinkled with earth.
This procedure must be performed several times a week.
When growing enchitreus, it is necessary to regularly monitor, so that the ground in the boxes does not dry out and is not very wet. It is easy to check the level of humidity by a scientific method: take a lump of earth and squeeze it in your hand, if the earth retains its shape and does not stick to your hand, then the substrate humidity is optimal; if, after compression, the earth is stuck to the palm, then the substrate has excessive moisture.
To maintain a constant level of humidity, a box of earth is placed in plastic bags and placed in a shaded place.
One of the key conditions for growing enchitreus at home is the strict dosage of feed given to the worms. If you overdo it, the feed will begin to rot and the substrate will deteriorate. It is better to make the first portions extremely small so that the worms eat it for two or three days.
When there are already enough worms in the substrate, the box should be put in a basin with hot water (temperature up to 60 degrees).
After 20 minutes, all the worms will accumulate in the center of the box, where you can take as much as you need. Even under the condition that the food will be relatively clean, before feeding the worms, rinse the best of the remnants of the earth. Enhitreusov need to be placed in a jar of water and shake well a couple of times.
When performing this procedure, do not forget to change the water in the jar several times.