Crustaceans and larvae as fish food

by Rita

We are all concerned about our food. We extend that concern to our pets. Most of us want our cats and dogs to be healthy, so don’t forget your fish are also living creatures and need to have healthy diets as well. In a natural environment fish can swim around finding areas rich in natural foods. In an aquarium fish rely on the aquarist to provide the essential foods.

An easy and probably the most common way to provide food for your fish is a commercial preparation. The food is packaged in a neat container that can be sprinkled into the fish tank aquarium a couple of times a day. Too often an aquarists will feel that the prepared food is enough. Granted the prepared food is easy and does provide many of the needed nutriments, but live food, and the proper foods for the breed of fish, will result in a healthier fish population. Healthy fish are less prone to diseases and are essential if you expect to have breeding fishes.

Here is a short list of crustaceans and larvae commonly used by fish owners.

INFORSORIA – a group of protozoan animalcules that depend upon decaying organic matter for their sustenance. By breaking down some vegetable matter in water, a culture of infusorians can be started. When the water becomes cloudy the culture is ready to be fed to the fry. There are tablets of powdered infusorians and pressed vegetable matter that break down rapidly in water.

BRINE SHRIMP- newly hatched brine shrimp. About 1950 it was discovered that the eggs of Brine Shrimp could be gathered then dried or frozen. The dried eggs can be reconstituted and hatched later. The frozen shrimp do not hatch but are an excellent food for fry and bottom feeders.

DAPHNIA and BOSMINA– small crustaceans, sometimes called water fleas, found in partly stagnant waters where there is an abundance of decaying vegetable matter. When conditions are right, swarms of them can be found near the banks. Care needs to be taken when gathering them. Collecting too many at one time may cause their death.

MOSQUITO LARVAE – just what it sounds like, larvae of the mosquito. Larvae and egg rafts can be found in and on almost any still water source. There is the risk of having some of the larvae maturing into an adult mosquito.

There are many other crustacean and larval foods available to aquarists. In future posts I will cover more larvae, worms and other foods.

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