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Free P&P on Live Foods & Plants

All of our Live foods and Plants now have Free P&P within the UK
19/10/2017
Live Guarantee

Tartan Guppy provides a live guarantee where any creature or plant that unfortunately has not survived the journey will be refunded pro rata. Delivery must have been accepted on first attempt and notification must be made to ourselves within 24hrs of the item arriving. Delivery costs are non-refundable and a photograph of the creature or plant in the unopened bag must be provided with any claim.

Culturing Live Foods

White Worm Care Sheet

Grindal Worm Care Sheet

(Enchytraeus Albidus)

 

White Worms (Enchytraeus Albidus) are type of non-parasitic annelid that are the cousins to red worm and the Grindal worm. They are the larger version of the Grindal worm used by aquarist. The mentioned study of white worms has been dated as far back as the early 1800’s. White worms usually reach the length of 2-3cm long and 1mm wide. They reproduce hermaphroditically in that they have both male and female reproductive organs. White worms produce cocoons that contain 9-35 eggs. Each White worm can produce over 1000 eggs in its life span. Each egg takes about 12 days to hatch out into tiny white worms that by day 20 are ready to start reproducing. White worms survive best in cool temperatures, unlike its cousin the Grindal worm. White worms reproduce best at around 50 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and start to die off at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

All you will need to get your culture up and running is some sterile compost or coco-coir, a little food (such as dry cat/dog food, oatmeal or stale bread) a plastic container (something like an old margarine or ice cream tub, or a microwaveable food storage container).

Mix up some compost or coco-coir with water so that it is damp but not wet and add it to your container. Add the White Worm Starter Culture and provide a little food. Only a small amount is needed at first and you should only feed your culture with an amount that will be eaten with 24-48hrs

Punch some small holes in the lid of the container using something like a small nail, tack or pin. White Worms need some oxygen to survive but you do not want huge holes for other bugs or flies to enter through.

Initially the starter culture will take a little longer to get started, but once it is matured you will get a steady supply of worms, almost every day. After a few days you will start to see worms wriggling all through the culture and you can start harvesting them. One method is to place a piece of plastic on top of the food and the worms will crawl between them and you can lift the plastic and rinse them off, leaving most or all the food in the culture.

It is adviseable to have at least two cultures running that have been set up a week or two apart, just in case one crashes. Although these cultures are virtually indestructible and I have left them until they are brown and smelly, yet they have still bounced back once I have cleaned them out and added a small bit of the old culture to a new mixture.

Happy Culturing

Hyalella Azteca

Culturing Hyalella azteca couldn't be easier. Grab a small tank or plastic container and add a cycled sponge filter.

Do weekly water changes and remove any uneaten food before it goes bad and fouls the water

They love fresh vegetables, especially cucumber. They will eat almost any fish foods and also eat java moss right back to the bare stems so add any plants with this prior knowledge

I do not use a substrate but small sized gravel gives them additional places to bury into and hide.

They can survive most indoor UK temperatures but for best productivity I would suggest 20-25c

 

Culturing Springtails

Springtails are very easy to keep and can be cultured in a small plastic container without causing any inconvenience. Keep them moist and feed them a little food every now and they and they can be harvested easily and fed to your pet.
Being a live food, they help make your pet's diet more natural, without risking contaminants from the wild. They also trigger natural feeding instincts that can often trigger spawning or breeding in some species. 

There are several different ways to successfully culturing Springtails but I have found the easiest to be the following :

Take a medium sized plastic container, the smallest I would consider would be a microwavable tub (like you get take away food in) up to a shoe box sized container.

Add about 5cm of coco-coir, this is sold as repltile bedding in pet shops or soil improver in garden centres. It expands after water is added so you don't need much. The bedding shout be damp but not soaking (squeezing it should only cause a few drops of water to come out)

Put your starter colony into the container, making sure all the bedding and springtails have been removed from the bag.

Add a small amount of food and leave them for a few days to let them setttle in.

After that, feed them only when the last lot of food has been used up.

 I feed my Springtails two foods : Cucumber and my own Springtail Powder, this can be purchased in the online shop or on Ebay. They absolutely love both and reproduction rates are very good.

To harvest the springtails, you want to gather then with as little substrate as possible. One trick I have found is to use one of the small plastic media balls that you put in filters. The springtails climb on those and all you need to do is lift it out and tap them into a container. Remove any bits of bedding and they are ready to feed, nice and simple.

Springtails do not break the water tension, so they will always float, and I mean always. These are only useful for feeding to surface feeding fish, middle or bottom feeders will never get to them.

In my opinion they are a very easy food source to culture and can give you and everlasting supply of live food

 

Blackworm Cultures

Live blackworms rank among the best food that you can feed to your fish. Not only are they rich in protein and nutrients, but they can survive for an indefinite periods of time in a freshwater tank, which means that unlike other foods, they will never foul the water and will live until eaten by your fish.

They are also hardier than many of the other live foods, and aren't nearly as prone to large die offs as daphnia or adult brine shrimp. Of course this hardiness comes with a downside, and they don't reproduce as quickly as other commonly available live foods.

Harvesting blackworms is quite simple, and you can use either a pipette, or a turkey baster if you need a large number of worms. Any worms harvested should be rinsed off before you put them in the tank, and try to avoid feeding too many worms at once to the fish. 

If you just want to store blackworms for a short period, to feed to your fish they can be kept in a airtight container in a cool part of the home. they will survive several weeks with periodic water changes in a relatively small container.

If you want to culture these then firstly be prepared for a longer term investment. They are not the fastest reproducing culture you can use. However they do provide one of the best nutricious sources you can feed you fish.

You can read online several way of culturing them, such as the paper towel method but through trial and error I have found the coarse filter sponges provide an excellent home for them. Colour doesn't matter but the coarser the better. You can buy these for a few pounds online and cut them to size. The water should only be a few inches deeper than the top of the sponges and you will find that the worms congregate near the top, sometimes amassing in groups or clumps.

Blackworms reproduce in two ways, Sexually and through dissection. Sexual breeding can be a slower process so a little trick to encourage dissection is to use a strong airstone or bubbler, or even cut them up yourself. If a blackworm is split into two parts, both will grow into full worms, theoretically doubling your population. Not something I personally practise but it is an option.

The worms should get regular water changes, as you would with normal aquaria and it can be useful to add a ramshorn snail or two so that infusoria is created, the worms will filter these as food. Some for of aeration should be used (airstone or bubling airline) Do not use a filter as the worms will populate the sponge and become difficult to remove.

A fully grown Blackworm is about 5-6cm long so can be a full and healthy meal for a fish. They are well worth the effort and will help bring fish into breeding condition.

As will all live foods they should be fed in moderation and not used as a staple diet. Variety is the key to healthy fish.

Banana Worm Care Sheet

Banana Worm Care Sheet

 (Panagrellus Nepenthicola)

 

A Banana Worm is actually not a worm at all, but called a worm because of their minute size and worm like appearance. Banana Worms are actually a species of nematode, which grows on average to 1.5mm or less or a little smaller in size than the Microworm. They are a slightly more productive worm than microworms. Banana Worms are white-clear and have a worm like shape and movement. They are non-parasitic and live off of the bacteria and yeast from the culture medium. They live for about 35 days and a female Banana Worm can have 60 young a day at around 4 days old. Banana Worms can live at temperature room temperatures, and optimum reproduction rate is at about 68-85F degrees.

All you will need to get your culture up and running are a bag of oatmeal and a plastic container, something like an old margarine or ice cream tub, or a microwaveable food storage container. A small amount of bakers yeast is also useful to help the culture grow.

Mix up some oatmeal with water and leave it to soak for an hour or so (if using warm water then make sure it has cooled to room temperature before progressing). You want a thick porridge like mix, not runny. Then empty the mix into the plastic container and level it out.

Punch some small holes in the lid of the container using something like a small nail, tack or pin. Banana Worms need some oxygen to survive but you do not want huge holes for other bugs or flies to enter through.

Pour the starter culture into the container (do not worry too much about spreading it around, the worms will quickly migrate to the new oatmeal). If you have baker's yeast then sprinkle a small pinch over the top of the oatmeal.

Initially the starter culture will take a little longer to get started, but once it is matured you will get a steady supply of worms, almost every day. After a few days you will start to see worms wriggling all over the top of the culture (if you look very closely, and towards the edges). After about a week you should see worms crawling partly up the sides of the container, these can be wiped off with a cotton bud, small paint brush, or your finger), rinsed then fed to your fish.

It is adviseable to have at least two cultures running that have been set up a week or two apart, just in case one crashes. Although these cultures are virtually indestructible and I have left them until the oatmeal is brown and smelly, yet they have still bounced back once I have cleaned them out and added a small bit of the old culture to a new mixture.

Happy Culturing

 

Micro Worm Care Sheet

   

Microworm Care Sheet

(Panagrellus redivivus)

 

A Microworm is actually not a worm at all, but called a worm because of their minute size and worm like appearance. Microworms are actually a species of nematode, which grows on average to 1.5mm. Microworms are non-parasitic and live off of the bacteria and yeast from the culture medium. They live for about 20-25 days and a female microworm can have 300 young in her life time. Microworms can live at temperature below 32F degrees, but optimum reproduction rate is at about 68-85F degrees.

All you will need to get your culture up and running are a bag of oatmeal and a plastic container, something like an old margarine or ice cream tub, or a microwaveable food storage container. A small amount of bakers yeast is also useful to help the culture grow.

Mix up some oatmeal with water and leave it to soak for an hour or so (if using warm water then make sure it has cooled to room temperature before progressing). You want a thick porridge like mix, not runny. Then empty the mix into the plastic container and level it out.

Punch some small holes in the lid of the container using something like a small nail, tack or pin. Banana Worms need some oxygen to survive but you do not want huge holes for other bugs or flies to enter through.

Pour the starter culture into the container (do not worry too much about spreading it around, the worms will quickly migrate to the new oatmeal). If you have baker's yeast then sprinkle a small pinch over the top of the oatmeal.

Initially the starter culture will take a little longer to get started, but once it is matured you will get a steady supply of worms, almost every day. After a few days you will start to see worms wriggling all over the top of the culture (if you look very closely, and towards the edges). After about a week you should see worms crawling partly up the sides of the container, these can be wiped off with a cotton bud, small paint brush, or your finger), rinsed then fed to your fish.

It is adviseable to have at least two cultures running that have been set up a week or two apart, just in case one crashes. Although these cultures are virtually indestructible and I have left them until the oatmeal is brown and smelly, yet they have still bounced back once I have cleaned them out and added a small bit of the old culture to a new mixture.

Happy Culturing

 

Walter Worm Care Sheet

   

Walter Worm Care Sheet

 (Panagrellus Silusioides)

 

A Walter Worm is actually not a worm at all, but called a worm because of their minute size and worm like appearance. Walter Worms are actually a species of nematode, which grows on average to 1.5mm or less. And, is a little smaller in size and rounder than the Microworm. Walter worms are non-parasitic and live off of the bacteria and yeast from the culture medium. They live for about 35 days and a female Walter Worm can have 60 young a day at around 4 days old. Walter Worms can live at temperature room temperatures, and optimum reproduction rate is at about 68-85F degrees.

All you will need to get your culture up and running are a bag of oatmeal and a plastic container, something like an old margarine or ice cream tub, or a microwaveable food storage container. A small amount of bakers yeast is also useful to help the culture grow.

Mix up some oatmeal with water and leave it to soak for an hour or so (if using warm water then make sure it has cooled to room temperature before progressing). You want a thick porridge like mix, not runny. Then empty the mix into the plastic container and level it out.

Punch some small holes in the lid of the container using something like a small nail, tack or pin. Banana Worms need some oxygen to survive but you do not want huge holes for other bugs or flies to enter through.

Pour the starter culture into the container (do not worry too much about spreading it around, the worms will quickly migrate to the new oatmeal). If you have baker's yeast then sprinkle a small pinch over the top of the oatmeal.

Initially the starter culture will take a little longer to get started, but once it is matured you will get a steady supply of worms, almost every day. After a few days you will start to see worms wriggling all over the top of the culture (if you look very closely, and towards the edges). After about a week you should see worms crawling partly up the sides of the container, these can be wiped off with a cotton bud, small paint brush, or your finger), rinsed then fed to your fish.

It is adviseable to have at least two cultures running that have been set up a week or two apart, just in case one crashes. Although these cultures are virtually indestructible and I have left them until the oatmeal is brown and smelly, yet they have still bounced back once I have cleaned them out and added a small bit of the old culture to a new mixture.

Happy Culturing

 

Grindal Worm Care Sheet

Grindal Worm Care Sheet

(Enchytraeus Buchholzi)

 

Grindal worms are a small white non-parasitic worm that is cousins to the red earthworm, and are smaller form of the White Worm, often used by aquarists. Grindal worms usually grow to 10mm making them ideal for larger fry and adult fish. Temperature plays a role on how fast Grindal worms reproduce. Grindal worms reproduce best at temperature of 70F-75F, but can with stand temperatures up to 90F. Reproduction slows at 80F and stops at 90F. But, temperatures below 65-68F will stop reproduction and the culture will start to die.

All you will need to get your culture up and running is some sterile compost or coco-coir, a little food (such as dry cat/dog food, oatmeal or stale bread) a plastic container (something like an old margarine or ice cream tub, or a microwaveable food storage container).

Mix up some compost or coco-coir with water so that it is damp but not wet and add it to your container. Add the Grindal Worm Starter Culture and provide a little food. Only a small amount is needed at first and you should only feed your culture with an amount that will be eaten with 24-48hrs

Punch some small holes in the lid of the container using something like a small nail, tack or pin. Grindal Worms need some oxygen to survive but you do not want huge holes for other bugs or flies to enter through.

Initially the starter culture will take a little longer to get started, but once it is matured you will get a steady supply of worms, almost every day. After a few days you will start to see worms wriggling all through the culture and you can start harvesting them. One method is to place a piece of plastic on top of the food and the worms will crawl between them and you can lift the plastic and rinse them off, leaving most or all the food in the culture.

It is adviseable to have at least two cultures running that have been set up a week or two apart, just in case one crashes. Although these cultures are virtually indestructible and I have left them until they are brown and smelly, yet they have still bounced back once I have cleaned them out and added a small bit of the old culture to a new mixture.

Happy Culturing

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