Vinegar Eels....culturing and harvesting Apr 17, 2017 21:16:19 GMT -6 Alex likes this
Post by rainbowbratt on Apr 17, 2017 21:16:19 GMT -6
vinegar eels 3 by Rainbow Bratt, on Flickr
Vinegar Eel Culture Recipe
1 cup starter culture of vinegar eels
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
sprinkle of yeast
thin slices of apple
2 pieces of cloth large enough to cover the jar opening
2 rubber bands
This recipe is for receiving a 1 cup starter culture of vinegar eels.
split starter culture between the two containers
add 1 cup water and 1 cup apple cider vinegar to each jar
add a tiny pinch of yeast...just a pinch.
add a couple slices of apple
cover containers with cloth, secured by a rubber band to keep bugs out and allow airflow
Put in a safe place so it does not get spilled, out of direct light, at around 75 degrees and see these critters multiply!
The cooler you keep them, the slower they will reproduce. Warmer, speeds up their metabolism and reproduction. You don't want to try to keep them above 85 degrees or less than 60 for any length of time. Your culture can crash from over-production or die off. I keep mine between 75-80 degrees when I need them reproducing for fry, and put them away in a cool closet when I'm not going to need them for a while. These things are pretty bullet proof. I've neglected them to the point half of the culture evaporates, forgotten about them and not added apples or yeast for as long as a year, and they were still going.
When evaporation occurs, just add water to top it back up.
A couple things....use dechlorinated tap, potable well, or bottled water. Do not use tank water, as you could introduce other organisms.
As the apple disappears, add a couple more slices. If your culture has apple slices that are not degrading, your culture is at least 75 degrees, and you see a decline in reproduction; add a pinch of yeast....the yeast feed off the sugar from the apple and the vinegar, the vinegar eels eat off the yeast.
You can expand your culture to as many containers and as large of a volume as you want.....just adjust the recipe as needed---remembering to use equal parts water and apple cider vinegar.
Always a good idea to keep at least two cultures going in the event one crashes, you can start more cultures from the good one.
If a culture produces a bad smell, dump it. A vinegar eel culture should just smell like apple cider vinegar.
I prefer glass jars, but you can use plastic if you so choose.
As the culture ages, it is normal for it to turn a lighter color. This is a signal to you to start a new culture as directed above, using some liquid from the original.
vinegar eel culture by Rainbow Bratt, on Flickr
Ok, Harvesting Vinegar Eels
filter floss/batting from local craft store
vinegar eel culture
dechlorinated tap, potable well, or bottled water.
I use clear vases from the dollar store. Easy. Some of my friends drink beer or soda and use those bottles. I prefer the shape of the vases pictured. Beer bottles have a smaller opening, and the neck widens towards the bottom, which makes it more difficult for the filter floss to stay in place.
Pour enough vinegar eel culture into the vase to reach just above where the neck starts.
Place filter floss, enough to fill the space, but do not pack it tightly. Place filter floss so the bottom of it is just touching the top of the culture.
Add water on top of the filter floss.
The vinegar eels swim up through the filter floss into the clear water above, so this is why you do not want to pack the filter floss too tightly in there, as it can block the migration upwards of the vinegar eels.
The water and vinegar do not mix. The water will flow down to the bottom of the filter floss/top of the culture, and you should have clear water full of vinegar eels anywhere from an hour to several hours after setting this up. The amount of vinegar eels you can harvest depends on the density of your culture.
Use a turkey baster, large medicine dropper, or pipette to suck up the water filled with vinegar eels and feed to your fish.
Once the vinegar eels are pretty used up out of the vase, just pour the culture back into the jar, or start a new jar, and refill from your 2nd culture.
vinegar eel harvest by Rainbow Bratt, on Flickr
Now, vinegar eels do stay suspended in the tank longer than say walter, banana, or microworms. But, they will sink eventually.
Since Rainbowfish fry like to hug the surface of the water, at least for the 1st few days, depending on the species; don't just squirt the vinegar eels you just harvested down into the tank. Take care to ensure the fry notice the food, and have access to it for as long as possible. Angle the pipette so the vinegar eels are released across the surface of the water. I usually see fry group up in different places in the tank. Some like to swim in the current from the sponge filter, some pick at the glass, and some hang out in plants--both small leaved and large leaved plants like Anubias.
If your fry are picking around on a large leafed plant, that's easy Just slowly release some vinegar eels onto the leaf and watch the fry go nuts.
If the fry are hanging out in say guppy grass or java moss...release the vinegar eels into the plants slowly.
If the fry are congregated in the outflow of the sponge filter, you can angle the pipette to release the vinegar eels into the flow of water. You should see a little cloud of vinegar eels and the fry swimming through it, munching away.
Sometimes fry are hanging out near the mop they just hatched out of...again, target feed.
You should see full bellies within minutes. Vinegar eels are whitish. So, you will not see full colorful bellies, just big white bellies on your fry.
It is best to feed several small meals per day, especially for the 1st week or two. If you have a busy schedule and try to get by only feeding once or twice a day, you will have losses.
When Rainbowfish fry hatch, they only have about 24 hours before they starve to death without food. This is especially important when hatching eggs from vials in small containers rather than hatching out of mops in a well seeded aquarium. Even at a week or so into your hatch out...some fry just can't make it 12 hours between meals, especially if there is not other insuforia in the tank for them to snack on. It can be tough for the 1st week or so to fit in multiple feedings per day for your fry...but it is worth it in the long run.
Vinegar eels stay alive in the water, until eaten, or until they die off because there is not enough microscopic stuff for them to filter out of the water. As the fry grow, you will see them begin to forage around the tank. You can continue feeding vinegar eels as long as you like, until the fry grow to the point of not caring about them anymore. As with raising any fry, you want to provide as much variety in their diet as possible, and you can see Mark's article and videos on feeding tiny fry for more ideas. Golden pearls, krill fines, ARP, and many other 5-50-ish micron foods are all good options for 1st fry foods.
Vinegar eels can really help with tiny fry that are difficult to get past that 1st week or so. If you are having difficulty raising certain species of fish(not just rainbows), vinegar eels could be the ticket to getting through the tough time, till they are big enough for other foods.
Hope that helps anyone who had questions on culturing and harvesting vinegar eels. Feel free to ask questions about the process if any of this has been confusing.
vinegar eel culture and harvest by Rainbow Bratt, on Flickr