My tetras love frozen brine. So I'm interested in hatching and raising live ones. Any input on what to feed them?

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Comment by Jessie Madrid on October 9, 2013 at 12:13am

Hatching them doesn't require any feeding for the first 24 hours they're swimming because they have their sac. After the sac is used up (about 24 hours ) they can be fed spirulina powder. When you hatch them tho, the sooner you feed them to your fish the better since they have the nutrient sac. There are a few really cool videos about raising them outside with little to no effort. A guy named David Ramsey has a few videos on it, as well as other fish food preparations at home.

Comment by Robert Jango on October 9, 2013 at 2:26am

Keeping baby brine shrimp alive longer than three days is definitely not worth it. Its like adding a salt water setup to your operation. I just keep two hatcheries going at the same time to avoid running out, and I don't make more than a 3 day supply. Like Jessie said its very easy and cheap to raise baby brine shrimp and during the first 24 hours of their life they're more nutritious than the adults. If you insist on feeding the shrimp throw in a drop of Selco (this will add vitamins but it won't extend their life)  

The shrimp will stay alive in your freshwater tank for about 4 hours. If you feed too much and let them die they'll pollute the water or cause an outbreak of Hydra. Hydra isn't deadly but it is a big-time pest - the aquarium equivalent of roaches. Hydra can be wiped out with Prazipro or kept under control by siphoning them out when you do water changes.

By the way, live baby brine shrimp are a GREAT food for Tetras - much better than the frozen BS. In the future try raising Daphnia and throw some small earthworms in the tank. The Tetras will love them. 

Comment by Jessie Madrid on October 9, 2013 at 2:29am

Like live small earthworms from the yard? I've never heard of that but it sounds great

Comment by Robert Jango on October 9, 2013 at 5:10am

Yeah, the ones from the yard are best. Up North these are most likely going to be Canadian Nightcrawlers and down South they may be what is commonly called Alabama Jumpers. Both are great.

"Red Worms" or Trout Worms, also sold as "Compost Worms", are not so good. If I recall correctly, they are known scientifically as Eisensis Fetida and the word "Fetida" means exactly what you think it means - "fetid" ie. stinky. In the wild they can be found in feces and these will obviously carry harmful pathogens. If they're raised in a clean environment like a compost pile they should be ok but even then birds avoid them. The Red Worm's yellowish tail tells birds they smell.  

Where I live, Canadian Nightcrawlers are starting to migrate underground for the winter.  I'll collect as many as I can, so that I don't run out right away. Unlike whiteworms (also found up north) Canadian Nightcrawlers don't breed well in captivity. So I'll have to turn to my my small clean breeding box of Red Worms. Some of my fish will eat them - some will spit them out.  About the only native fish that eats them is the Trout. 

Worms and grubs are a great conditioning food for egg-laying females because they contain lots of fat. Fish eggs are mostly oil or fat. This is the egg sack or yolk that nourishes newborns. Given the right kind of water and worms, most females will start laying eggs within a week. And the amount of eggs will be higher than normal.

You can collect all kinds of live food in your backyard when its warm - mosquito larva, bloodworms, Mayfly larvae, and stuff I can't even identify. Fish need the chitin . This is the hard outer shell you find on beetles, bees, and all insects. It helps build their scales and fins.

Comment by Benny on October 9, 2013 at 6:43am
Cool! My neighbor raises Worms in her compost pile. Also I've seen the David Ramsey vids and I took note of the spiralina powder. Where can I get it tho? Is it a vitamin? Also what/where is selco? The babies are too small! It would look like my fish are eating the little micro bubbles in my tank lol
Comment by Robert Jango on October 9, 2013 at 11:04am

I'm sure your neighbor's worms are the ok, but ask just to make sure they're not red worms.  Once again, some fish will eat them but some won't. Red worms are not really red, They're smaller than nightcrawlers - about 3" tops, and their segments are conspicuous. Look for the yellowish tip on the tail. That's the giveaway.

Your Tetras may not be able to eat larger Nightcrawlers but they'll certainly enjoy trying. The baby nightcrawlers are better - more tender and bitesized. 

Some fish stores sell Spirulina powder but its way overpriced. Online healthfood sites are selling it for a reasonable sum. Spirulina is freezedried algae. I think Selco is a man-made concoction - lots of vitamins and good stuff, Aquarists feed it to adult brine shrimp to make them more nutritious, but you can also soak any kind of food in it. Its not necessary to feed to baby brine shrimp Selco, but if you do just add one drop to your hatchery. Any more will pollute the water and you'll be feeding your fish dead brine shrimp and harmful bacteria.

Baby brine shrimp are not too small for Tetras. This is the size of their food in nature. It was the staple diet for my Cardinal Tetras which grew to a huge size.  My Serpae Tetras ate it and bred like rabbits. Baby Brine Shrimp are also way more nutritious than the adults. If you by brine shrimp eggs in bulk. An $80 one pound can will last for years.

Comment by Jessie Madrid on October 9, 2013 at 1:41pm

I'm still stuck on this worm thing. lol Going to have to do some more research. I know I found tons when I was digging a hole for the pathetic pond attempt. I kept throwing it to the toad that was following me around all night... he has since become my best friend and follows me around anytime I'm out there at night... I call him John Pena lol

Comment by Benny on October 9, 2013 at 6:51pm
Ill see about the worms. I got some brine eggs, and I'm wanting raise them simular to David Ramsey's method. So with the worms... Are you saying to just drop a whole one in and let them do the work? Or should I cut it up and maybe rinse it first? Also the spiralina... It's a healthy supplement for human consumption as well? So look at my local gnc, or vitamin world? Ill check into selco as well. This is gonna be exciting! I've had my black neons, and a couple buenos aires tetras (not really my fav) scatter eggs before. It was after I first introduced co2. I didnt expect it and of course they were all immediately gobbled up my the others... Mainly x ray tetras. Actually got some of that on video. My current focus is to learn to grow plants. Lack of patience has me seeking live food expeditions now lol. Thanks everyone for all the great advice/ info
Comment by Robert Jango on October 9, 2013 at 8:01pm

Companies that make fish foods brag about all the nutrition packed into their little flakes. I'm sure there are some pretty good brands out there. But fish need live food for the same reason we need real fruits, vegetables, and organic meats. A baby fish does not eat a living organism will die in three days. That's a fact.  Live enzymes that must be ingested to set the stage for life. 

Any whole living organism (like earthworms, baby guppies, brine shrimp etc) contains every element of nutrition known to mankind. Live food has been the fish's diet for hundreds of millions of years and attempts to improve on nature are frankly comical. Think about that the next time you see a can of food with a clever name like "Super-grow" - something mass produced by a conglomerate that makes everything from attic insulation to Zebra muzzles. 

Professional breeders (and John Pena) know live foods are the best but our understanding of nature in general is in its infancy. We don't even know what we don't know.

A note of caution:

What about a dead worm?  No. This is bad. Very bad. Don't feed it to your fish. Throw it away. Throw any dead "live" food far away.

What about a worm or any live food from a poisonous environment like feces?  It may be ok but I would throw it far away.  

Comment by Benny on October 9, 2013 at 8:03pm
Talked to neighbor she says the worms are "red worms" also "they don't have yellow tail" and "they do have conspicuous segments" they are kept in a plastic tote and she is strick to only put in produce like potato skins, tomatoe ends, carrot tops etc. I may give one or two a try what do you think?

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