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  1. What the heck is "infusoria" and where do I get it?
    by (WRIGHT HUNTLEY ) (10 Jul 1995)
  2. rotifers, vorticella and unicellular algae feeders
    by spush/saudan.HAC.COM (Wed, 08 Jan 1997)
  3. Rams have spawned
    by Fredrik.Ljungberg/ (Fri, 23 Jan 1998)
  4. Ram Fry Problems
    by Dave Gomberg <gomberg/> (Mon, 23 Mar 1998)

What the heck is "infusoria" and where do I get it?

Date: 10 Jul 1995
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria

In <3ssr2o$> (Alisa Dean) writes: 
>In article <>,
(Ken Cunningham) says:
>>I've heard that the best food for newly hatched fry is infusoria.
>>Where do I get/grow/culture this stuff?
>"Infusoria" is a generic term for the microscopic and near-microscopic
>life found in water.  Examples are protozoa, rotifers, etc.
>Many newborn fry from egg layers are so small that their mouths
>can only fit around microscopic beasties.
>How to get some? They are already in your tank.  The problem is
>that there is probably so few that they could not support a batch
>of fry.  Therefore, you must cultivate them.
>Take a large jar (gallon sized, if possible).  Fill with water from
>your tank.  Add a handful of straw or grass.  Put in the sun for a
>few days.  If you look closely, you'll see the water get cloudy -
>that's infusoria growing.  If you look _really_ closely, you'll
>see little specks moving around.
>Use a turkey baster or eyedropper to feed water from your jar near
>the batch of fry.
>I read somewhere that the water from a vase of flowers is full of
>infusoria - however, it usually smells so bad I would hesitate to use
>A sponge filter in your tank will also cultivate infusoria.  Fry will
>pick at it.
>You can order specific species of microscopic animals from 
>biology lab supply houses.  I'm sure they'll provide instructions for 
>Good luck

It's difficult to add to Alisa's great answer, but I must try. Once you
have the beasties in your fry tank, it is better to feed the infusoria
there and get them to sustain a population, if you can. This cuts the
chance of introducing a bad bug like hydra, cyclops, dragonfly larvae,

Oleg Kiselev gave me a pure (laboratory) strain of paramecium (slipper
bacillus?) and I have kept them going for many months in cultures and
in baby tanks by feeding them the LiquiFry for egglayers. Water
clearing? Add a couple of drops. Clouds of live stuff in hours. Just
never use a wrong eyedropper and contaminate your culture with

Good luck from me, too, Ken


rotifers, vorticella and unicellular algae feeders

by spush/saudan.HAC.COM
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 1997

I did some research last night from a book on live foods
for aquariums and found some answers to a few questions.

> Questions:
> How big are rotifers and vorticella in microns?

There are a tremendous variety of these organisms; rotifers is
a phylum (class?) so there are probably thousands of species. 
They are probably not as diverse as bacteria however. They
are higher level organisms than single cell organisms and
feed on protozoa or water borne algae or any organic particles
which they can capture. They are easily visible under low
power with a microscope and the largest should be visible as
specks to the naked eye. They are smaller than hydra.

> Are there other critters which attach themselves to plant
> or other surfaces which might perform a similar function?
> What's the physiology of these things? How do they feed and
> reproduce?

Rotifers come in a variety of shapes but share a physical
characteristic which is used to give them their name. Rotifer
refers to wheel like appendages which have cilia which seem
to rotate as they sweep particles into their mouth orifice.

They are extremely widespread but I believe each type of
rotifer is adapted to a specialized environment. A rotifer
found wild in the temperate zones probably cannot adapt to
life in the tropical environment of a heated aquarium however
a tropical rotifer (say from the Amazon) might be more suited.

The book mentioned reproduction by eggs and that they were
capable of producing different types of eggs according to
seasonal temperature changes similar to daphnia.

I believe vorticella are somewhat smaller in general than
rotifers and have a simpler anatomy than rotifers judging
from the few pictures I looked at. They also had cilia which
appeared primarily to be for locomotion.

The book didn't mention if they were capable of dehydrating
and reviving later similar to other protozoa but it wouldn't
surprise me.

Rotifers are generally classified according to their
method of movement: free swimming, crawling, hopping or attached
although many are not constrained to that single mode. I
believe that rotifers especially those which prefered to
stay close to plant surfaces and hiding places could
survive easily in an aquarium with fish where the larger
free swimming daphnia cannot.

> How do they compare with creatures like freshwater hydra?

Much smaller and they use cilia, not stinging tentacles.

> Where do they come from? Could they be found in natural soils?

They can be found in virtually any puddle of water especially
on aquatic plants. They have specialized habitats such as on
floating plants or detritus etc. I don't think they are
found in terrestrial soil except possibly in a dormant form.
I think you'd have to innoculate your aquarium to get them
although plants you buy probably carry them.

> If we wanted to populate an aquarium with such creatures, what's
> the best way to do it?

I don't think I'd advise collecting wild local rotifers or other
protozoa and adding them to a carefully established planted
aquarium due to the high probability of introducing unwanted
strains of filamentous algaes, or other undesirable organisms
such as nematodes, insect eggs or larvae, amoebae or hydrae.
In fact, local rotifers might not thrive in the warmer tropical
environment. It might be better to get the specialized Amazon
critters which we suppose might have been carefully cultured
and screened for their suitability as rapid reproducers and
consumers of unicellular algae.

> Are these creatures the same ones refered to in German aquarium
> literature as the beneficial creatures which grow on plants
> and which provide a natural food for fishes? (what's the name
> of that stuff?)

Couldn't find the name but I think they're the same thing.

> Can these type of creatures enter a dormant or encysted state
> similar to other microscopic creatures (paramecium?)
> Shouldn't these things already be growing in a healthy, 
> balanced aquarium? What would kill them off?

I think we would find them in aquaria. I imagine snails and
suckermouth catfish feed on them but I suppose they do not
entirely eradicate them. I would think that bleach treatment
or other methods of disinfecting plants would probably kill
any populations currently on plants being added to a sterile

> Could somebody package up these dormant micro-fauna or
> something similar, sell it with a catchy name like
> "Magic Amazon Extract" for the purposes of enhancing your
> aquarium environment and controlling green algae?

It should be easy to find out.

> Do you suppose if somebody got some of this "Magic Amazon Extract" 
> and put it into a sterile nutrient solution, then they could see 
> if it could be cultured, put under a microscope and identified?

They are probably best cultured in a relatively clean culture
of unicellular algae which can be fed mineral nutrients. It's
probably not wise to try to culture them in infusoria since it
would be very difficult to distinguish one microscopic critter
from another.

It's also quite possible that the extract does not contain a
single species but is a random sample of an uncontrolled mixture
of beasties. Since the producer has not volunteered any information
on the nature of this stuff, we can only guess based upon what
other types of products and facilities they are known to possess.

If I were a consumer of such a product, I should really like to
know what specialized facilities the producer had to ensure
quality control. DUPLA, TROPICA, take heed!!

> Do you suppose if some of us had some good cultures of these
> friendly little bugs growing, we could share them all
> amoungst ourselves? (sort of a Poor Man's Magic Amazon Extract)

I suppose we could trade colonies of mixed assorted critters
amoung ourselves on plants or with water samples. We probably
don't know enough without a lot of lab experimentation and
study about how to culture just the single critter in the
Amazon Extract to large populations or to induce it to produce
eggs. Herein may lie the trade secret of the product.


Rams have spawned

by Fredrik.Ljungberg/
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998
To: apisto/

On Jan 22, 11:12am, EXT AVS; \Leo Reinhard\ wrote:
> How much tank water for how many drops of Liquifry.?

Go easy at first, just 3-5 drops in a quart as starter. Then wait and see.

> Do I keep this in a bright or dark area?

I kept my rotifers in not too much light, but not really dark either.

> How will I know when the culture is ready to feed to the fry? Will I see
> something moving in the culture?

When you feed the culture (with a couple of drops of milk) you'll see a
clouding at the surface. I don't mean the milk clouding but the infusoria
reproducing. F.i. rotifers can be seen as *tiny* dots in the water.

> How long will the culture be good? Do I start a new culture each day or how
> do I keep the culture going?

Depends on how hard you feed them and harvest from them. A friend has had
cultures running for years and they are still OK. Not very many cichlids
fry require infusoria so one culture plus one backup should be enough.

> Will the culture eventually go bad and if so what are the signs?

It'll be dirty and start smelling?

> Any other tips are most welcome
> I do have a small clump of Java Moss im the vicinity of the spawn-it is hard
> to find in the LFS in this area>
> Thanks
> Leo

Try to get rotifers. You can feed them with boiled rice (just a few grains
now and then) and they stay very clean and odorless. These buggers! are
visible to the eye so it's easy to check if they reproduce. I lost my
culture due too sloppiness and I punish myself daily for that...

Hope this helps


Saab Ab 
Flutter and Loads Department
voice +46 13 18 54 60, fax +46 13 18 33 63

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Ram Fry Problems

by Dave Gomberg <gomberg/>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998
To: apisto/

At 08:46 PM 3/23/1998 -0500, you wrote:
>On Mon, 23 Mar 1998, Dave Gomberg wrote:
>> In fact, when I considered
>> raising apistos seriously, my first research project was how to raise
>> infusoria in quantity (by the gram!).   That's a LOT of paramecia.
>So were you successful in raising this much infusoria, and if so, how did 
>you do it?

It turns the trick is to keep the paramecia on the exponential part of the
population growth curve, which you do by (1) keeping water clean and (2)
feeding them.   What a concept!   Actually as I recall yeast was the killer
food, the thing is to connect with a brewer that surpluses dead and dying
Dave Gomberg
FormMaestro  <>
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