Joined: Nov 11, 2010 Posts: 1203 Location: Mumbai (Mahim)
Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:16 pm Post subject: White Worms Photo, Springtails and Tackling Mites
This post is covering 3 things
1. A white Worms Photo and Springtails photos
2. Culturing Spring Tails
3. Using miticide paper to remove mites (Deepak - We need to find this for our mites that raid our cultures)
These 3 photos are from John Vandeurzen (Veneta, Oregon - USA) who is Admin on "Fishrooms" on Facebook
Photo 1 - A Mass of White Worm Culture. See how different it is from Grindals. (Pio: As compared to Grindals White Worms are more fatter, longer and look more glassy/transparent)
Photo 2 - Spring Tail culture harvesting. A culture that was heavy with springtails. John says "I flood it so I can scoop
out the springtails...the white worms will be fine"
Photo 3 - Springtails float so John scoops them out with a net
My questions were
Which fish will eat springtails ?
Are cultures sold ?
Can these be collected after creating a pile of leaf litter where they will eventually gather ?
How fast do the take to multiply ?
John Vandeurzen replied
Anything betta sized or smaller eat them. Large fish will eat them if you turn off filtration as the springtails will float in masses. My springtails are a local variety that have made their way into my white worm cultures. They are extremely prolific...as you can see in the middle photo.
Corey W commented with a lot of information
I'd also note that these float on the surface, so if the fish isn't willing to come to the surface it won't eat them. Any
fish that loves little invertebrates (1-3mm is typical size) pretty much loves these though - basically ideal for stuff that likes food smaller than a wingless fruit fly (my Boraras love them). A couple great traits for them are that they float on the surface, they don't break water tension so they don't drown (and can survive on the water indefinitely if they have food), and by gently blowing on them they hop ("spring") up around 2-3cm in the air, otherwise they will just walk around the surface of the water (this activity makes them very attractive!).
These are often cultured and sold as food items for tropical Poison Dart Frogs so they are pretty common in Europe and USA that way, but I don't know about India. I'd recommend collecting some fallen, rotting leaves and then making a Berlese funnel trap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tullgren_funnel) to separate them out. The mesh you use on it should have holes larger than 3mm just to make sure the little invertebrates you capture are the right size and most likely to be springtails, and keep larger things you don't want OUT. Generation time (how fast they reproduce) depends on the species and conditions, but typically 3 weeks to 8 months, with the larger species and some temperate/cool loving species taking longer. Tiny tropical species tend to reproduce quickly and may be the easiest. Once you learn how fast they reproduce you can even start new cultures with adults with the goal of getting tiny little babies (<1mm) for fish fry to eat.
Once you have separated out some springtails (you may want to try to collect some from different places) you need to figure out how to raise them easily. John had it easy, as the springtails that invaded his culture obviously love his methods I have raised 6 species of small springtails, most being tropical, and not all of them like that method and some are very picky (like one species that will ONLY do well if I feed it real mushrooms, the rest like live baker's yeast, dried couscous, or fish flakes), and they may have different preferred temperatures (some like it cooler, some like it warmer).
If you are able to you may want to just take a set up "culture" container (all set up and add the food you want to try and feed to the container as well) and just leave it outside in a leaf pile, and cover the top with the mesh mentioned in the berlese funnel instructions. Leave it out there for a few days and see if anything shows up. This is as close as I can get to John's luck of getting a good local springtail, and I've used it myself in the past - if any of the springtails in the leaf pile like the container set up they will go there and be hanging out on the food. Even just a few springtails in it will work over time, and take it home and see if the population starts getting bigger. I always leave a tiny amount of food in there at all times - if they can eat it all in a couple of days I have it about right. Too much food for the population can make the culture nasty as the fungus goes to town, and the fungus is what they eat.
Pio : After seeing this I decided to find some information about them
Where to find Springtails to start your culture
As per Wikipedia Springtails are cryptozoa frequently found in leaf litter and other decaying material, where they are primarily detritivores and microbivores, and one of the main biological agents responsible for the control and the
dissemination of soil microorganisms.
Aside from overfeeding, springtails do not tolerate drying out, or extreme temperatures. Cultures can also be attacked by various mite species, which can cause a substantial drop in production or even a complete crash. For this reason, we like to keep cultures on miticidal paper towels and keep the area around the cultures as clean as possible.
Who can we feed Spring tails
· Betta bubble nesting subadults
· Young Frogs
· Corydoras fry and sub adults to 3/4 inches
· Apistogramma fry to 1/4 inch
· Killifish particularly Epiplaty
· Gourami subadults
· Guppy subadults
· A great food for young Dart Frogs and small Herps
· Any fish up to 1 1/2 inches that will eat from the surface (including White Cloud Mountain Fish)
The bottom line will be keeping the area free of dust, cobwebs and even spraying a bit of sanitiser liquid around the
culture box. I wonder if we can use a bit of pesticide too around the area where we keep our culture boxes ?
After reading a bit more on various other forums I came across this
Diatomaceous earth for gardening has sharp edges not like the powder used in filtration. It gets lodged in the joints of insects and basically suffocates them but does no harm to the white worms.
Few other hobbyist performed an experiment and were successful. also they claim that results can be seen in less than 48 hours.
Source: Google search for "Mites in white worm cultures" go to first link
or click here Google search
Hope this helps, may be someone can perform experiment.
I just started my culture so dont want to risk it for now. I also have Mites
Joined: Oct 24, 2012 Posts: 187 Location: Borivali-West, Mumbai
Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:49 pm Post subject: Re: White Worms Photo, Springtails and Tackling Mites
Hi guys I will be doing experiment on my culture with powder i got from nursery. I have more mites than ever...
I asked guy there for DE powder, then told him that i have coco peat with earth worms in it, and many small ant like bugs (he didn't knew mites)
so he gave me this powder saying it is "Bass or Brass powder". Its very fine powder.
but he was not sure if it will affect earth worms...will let you guys know about output.
Joined: Dec 20, 2011 Posts: 111 Location: Hennur, Bangalore
Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:05 pm Post subject: Re: White Worms Photo, Springtails and Tackling Mites
jjaaxx44 ... while you looked for DE did people understand what you are asking for, does it have an alternate name ... I read in a forum where DE was successfully used to eliminate mites in 48hrs leaving grindal culture alive ... I am looking for it to disinfect my grindal culture ...
Joined: Oct 24, 2012 Posts: 187 Location: Borivali-West, Mumbai
Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:15 pm Post subject: Re: White Worms Photo, Springtails and Tackling Mites
I'm not sure if what I got is actually a DE powder or something else, but the gardner told me its bass or brass powder, and its used to keep ants away from soil.
Also it matches the characteristics of DE powder, that is DE powder is very fine, but again talcum powder is also very fine
I got it for 20 Rs. so i bought it, lets see if it kills my mites, if successful i will upload pic of it(but I highly doubt pic will help).
you can check at your local gardeners/plant nuseries if they have it.
We can apply the methods to grindal worm culture as well. Most methods may be know to most of us. I was unaware of Method 3 and it is do-able without a sweat. Will try and see whether it makes a difference.
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