Culturing Daphnia in Outdoor Tubs

Culturing Daphnia in Outdoor Tubs

Daphnia, also known as water fleas, are freshwater crustaceans that live in ponds, lakes, and streams. They are a significant source of aquatic food. Feeding live Daphnia improves the appearance, health, and longevity of fish and other aquatic organisms dramatically. They mature in a matter of days, so developing a stable culture does not take long.

If fish could write, Daphnia would be on their shopping list. These irresistible, tasty morsels are non-fattening and do not cause indigestion or constipation. These little water fleas, as they are sometimes referred to, enjoy reproducing and are most enticed to do so in alkaline water (above pH 7.0) that is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and with medium-light intensity. They are astonishingly content in a relatively small volume of water as long as there is enough food and oxygen to sustain them.

Daphnia contains two primary vitamins that are essential for fish — vitamins A and D. Vitamin A is required for fish growth and development, and it is also an effective anti-infective agent. Vitamin D is primarily responsible for bone formation, and all vertebrates are thus dependent on it. Daphnia also contains trace amounts of vitamins B and C, the amounts of which vary depending on the foods consumed by the Daphnia. Vitamin B promotes tissue growth and increases appetite. Vitamin C aids in the formation and coloration of skin. Daphnia also contains protein, carbohydrates (sugars and starches), and fats.

There are numerous advantages to providing Daphnia over a diet consisting solely of dried foods. Dried foods are typically deficient in essential vitamins. Daphnia provides the required vitamins in proportionately balanced amounts. Daphnia, as live food, stimulates a fish’s hunting instinct. Daphnia overfeeding will not pollute aquarium water because they will live until they are eaten. There are no difficult or expensive requirements for growing Daphnia to adulthood.