Foolproof Infusoria Culturing

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Betta fry are very tiny. Well, duh! That much is obvious. Yet after they’ve lived off their yolk sac for a couple of days they need to start to eat very tiny foods. Which you won’t find on Aisle 3 of your neighborhood 7/11 most likely.

Luckily there is not much tinier prey for these guys than microscopic Infusoria. This video gives you a recipe for culturing it and then some.

Here’s the gist of what’s revealed:

  • To a plastic container/jar add some aged aquarium water. Using tank water will help the culture to develop faster. A two-litre soda bottle or something along those lines might be just perfect for this.
  • Add some vegetable matter to the water. The video suggests cabbage leaves. You might also use lettuce leaves or some partially boiled potato or turnip even.
  • Set it aside for about a week. Other recipes say to stick it near a window just not in direct sunlight for faster development as direct sunlight will just encourage unwanted algae growth. But bright light will encourage infusorians to develop like crazy. Not a bad idea.
  • Keeping it warmer helps too. Another good idea.
  • Don’t be surprised when things cloud up in your container. Or if it gives off, shall we say, a bit of a distinct odor that smacks of reeking. This is normal. This cloud is bacteria your infusoria will feed off of. And it’s a chicken or egg issue. You need the bacteria to get the infusoria population to explode and the bacteria simply gets ahead of things first. The infusoria will catch up and clear the water up though over time.
  • For best results you want to harvest the top couple of inches avoiding any of the decomposing glop on the bottom. Using an eye dropper, turkey baster or something along those lines to suck the teeming masses out and into a clean container.

So what was revealed here should get you started in the Infusoria growing business. Still you may have some questions…

What exactly is Infusoria?
This is basically tiny water borne organisms. Think back to paramecium of your high school biology days. The last time you gave your mom flowers the water in the vase was likely teeming with them. It was also teeming with a smell that wasn’t very flower like. Your fish tank has them too. Just not enough of them to feed a spawn of hungry betta fry.

What do they live on?
Decomposing vegetable matter provides a bacterial feast for the most part. Which is why you’ll often see them cultured on lettuce leaves or potatoes in water. Straw or grass also works.

How long does it take to produce sufficient quantities of these guys?
Since some feel light is critical, under ideal circumstances you might get things cooking, so to speak, in three days – if you keep a light on them 24/7. But it is usually more like a week or so.

How do I feed it?
Very carefully. And I’d suggest no longer than absolutely necessary. What does all that mean? It means that given the nature of infusoria, if you over feed and they fry don’t eat most of it, their water can go south in hurry before you know it. A SERIOUS downside you want to really understand before you start feeding this type of fry food. In fact water quality can go so far south it can become a toxic brew that will kill the fry which kinda defeats the purpose. This is why I recommend you only feed your fry this for a few days. The first week of their lives at the most. Using an eye dropper to deliver a fry sized meal. Introducing them to microworms or banana worms as soon as you can. Some breeders start with banana worms directly because of the risk posed by the Infusoria. What you decide to do is up to you.

How much do I feed?
Good question. It’s hard to know how much when you are running on faith there is something there to begin with. However, you generally want to think in terms of drops of the stuff. A small amount goes a long way with your recently hatched free swimming fry.

How often should I feed this?
Twice a day is probably good enough. Again this is best used for the first few days only when the fry are very tiny and need food that is tinier still. The sooner you can switch over to microworms the better (read safer) seems to me.

What’s the biggest mistake people make with this?
Very good question. The biggest mistake is to over feed. And to use it as the main fry food for too long. Some breeders swear by this stuff. Others swear at it. Because again you do run the risk of fouling your fry’s water by over feeding.

Anyway, there you go. Foolproof Infusoria culturing in 700 words or less. Any other questions?

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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