Is Brine Shrimp our best option?
Why has brine Shrimp became the food of choice for the American people? For sure it is easier to handle then the live tubifex worms (blood worms, not!) for those who are faint hearted.
Problem is that is it so hard to keep them alive more than a few days, which makes us buy them very often. And that probably is why it’s worth it for the stores to build the weird tanks needed for hatching and keeping those puppies, with their special salinity levels, high temperature and massive filtration required, what an investment just to be able to use live food for our fish.
However there is a better option, known to more seasoned aquatic enthusiasts, as well as to European since it grows freely in their countries. An option that goes by the exotic name ‘Daphnia’ or more commonly named ‘water flea’.
These little critters are very easy to maintain, they don’t die as voluntarily as their cousin Mr. Brine Shrimp, they live in regular fresh water, better off in old fresh water, cold temperature is a plus, and no filtration needed, in fact no electricity is needed at all, very low maintenance. They breed like no one’s business, in one week, provided with food (yeast from the grocery store) they can multiply 20 times what they were.
They make excellent food for fresh water fish due to their super high body percentage of protein, shared with all the crustacean (shrimp) family.
The only problem working with this species is the fact that it takes away business from the fish dealers, and since we don’t find them in nature in the US, they are very hard to find here.
And here are some interesting facts about our cute little shrimp:
The Daphnias are most of the time only females, they actually clone themselves without the need of males, and they create many exact replicas of themselves in their see through bellies, and then release the new born females to the water.
They like to live in pond areas of still water where there are no fish since they have no way of defense against those, they have short life span, and in pond they are seasonal, comes the summer when the water temperature heats up, the females give birth to males, upon mating with those males they would lay eggs that would last the dry season.
The daphnia in nature lives on organic waste, they are great at cleaning green or cloudy waters, they would eat fungus, dead things, and basically anything organic, they can catch food from the water, and if the food is at the bottom, they would just lay on it and grab it with their little belly legs.
At home they could be fed with yeast, no need to worry about polluting the water, over feeding, they would just breed faster.
That’s about our new friends the water fleas for today, and good luck in finding one.