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Old 08-17-2013, 12:22 PM   #21
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OMG, I cant believe you are enjoying this OP... I'm about to restart my 40gallon tank due to the original set up not cycling at all, and i was considering doing it fishless cycle too, but now seeing all these insects you are breeding, im not sure if im interested in going through that myself lol!

For how long did you leave the initial shrimp in the tank? and how long do you have this tank "cycling" already?

i did enjoy seeing the pics of these tiny creatures you are breeding, but by no means would i ever enjoy seeing any of them in my tank at ANY given time!
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:33 PM   #22
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The winged creatures look more like Midge Flies than Mosquitos. The furry antennae do not like right for Mosquitos. I believe Midge Flies are the adult form of bloodworms. If you have fish in other tanks then these would make great treats.
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:08 PM   #23
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The winged creatures look more like Midge Flies than Mosquitos. The furry antennae do not like right for Mosquitos. I believe Midge Flies are the adult form of bloodworms. If you have fish in other tanks then these would make great treats.
OMG! Are you telling me that I was freaking out about mosquitoes when in fact, it was the bloodworms that were sprouting wings and flying away??

I'm so relieved! Lol! I thought I was breeding mosquitoes!

You're right, Fresh2o, they're midge flies.

The site I got this picture from says they often get mistaken for mosquitoes. Lol!

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Old 08-17-2013, 02:44 PM   #24
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OMG, I cant believe you are enjoying this OP... I'm about to restart my 40gallon tank due to the original set up not cycling at all, and i was considering doing it fishless cycle too, but now seeing all these insects you are breeding, im not sure if im interested in going through that myself lol!

For how long did you leave the initial shrimp in the tank? and how long do you have this tank "cycling" already?

i did enjoy seeing the pics of these tiny creatures you are breeding, but by no means would i ever enjoy seeing any of them in my tank at ANY given time!
My tank has been fishless cycling for four weeks now. I'm thinking all the critters came with the plants. I'm also cycling with grocery store shrimp which is providing an endless supply of ammonia for the beneficial bacteria, as well as an endless supply of food for the bloodworms and now MIDGE FLIES!!

Lol!!!

If I had used ammonia instead of shrimp, I probably wouldn't have seen as many "bugs". I also neglected to wash my plants before putting them in the tank.

Once I get fish, they'll start eating all the critters and FLIES!! Gah! I can't wait!!
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:45 PM   #25
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Everything in this thread was pretty awesome until I saw mosquitoes ha ha. Just about the last thing I'd want to happened.
I know, eh!? As if!!
According to Fresh2o, the mosquitoes are midge flies. Thank goodness!
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:26 PM   #26
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There are people out here, like me, who would be tickled to death to have that much life in a tank. Aside from the hydra, they are all potential fish food items that can be cultured, though maybe not the flies.. they're a bit hard to manage .

If you happen to see some very skinny, very pinkish colour worm looking things that look like a series of S curves when swimming, you have Dero worms, which are one of the hottest new live food items around. Related to earth worms and one of the few aquatic members of that family. They are replacing brine shrimp in many commercial operations, because brine shrimp are getting too costly and hard to get. I'd kill to have some but can't get them in Canada, and it costs too much to import them. Seems US Fish and Wildlife has to inspect them first, for a tidy $200. or so, sigh.. so I can't get them here.

But I am buying lab cultures of most of those other creatures to culture myself for fish and fan shrimp food. Fan shrimp need tiny things to sift from the water, and tiny critters are also outstanding for feeding fry.

Hydra can't harm larger fish, but they sure can harm baby shrimp or fish fry who stray too close. They don't hunt, they just sit and wait, anything that comes close enough triggers the tentacles to grab and start closing and fires off nematocysts containing toxins to kill the prey.

Larger fish will eat hydra. I think gouramis will eat them, but don't quote me. I know they'll eat a lot of things other fish won't. Maybe you could borrow a gourami when the cycle is done, if hydra are still there. Do not crush or cut them, they will simply become more hydra. They're immortal, so far as science can tell.

Copepods and ostracods, as I've said, make really great live fish food. If you can transfer some to small tanks or jars and keep them going, you'll have amazing food for your fishies. Helps bring them into breeding condition like nothing else can. Once you add fish to this tank, virtually all these creatures will pretty much disappear.

If you want to limit importing more of such things, don't let water from plants or even new fish into your tank. Parasites can come with water, never mind pest species. This is why a quarantine tank for new fish is so important. It can save accidentally adding Ick to your tank, or some other parasite that will be a huge pain to treat.

Always rinse new plants very thoroughly in tap water at the very least. You can also dip them into weak solutions of either bleach, hydrogen peroxide or potassium permanganate, or even Excel. This will kill off algae, snails and most other pests. All are powerful oxidizers. The Skeptical Aquarist has some nice info on culturing, and I think on dipping too, as do other sites.

But be careful, some plants are super sensitive to being dipped. Vals are one that tend to melt, and might die, though they often come back from the roots with a bit of time. Moss can be dipped too. It may fade badly, but typically it recovers with some time.

Btw, that pic of eggs ? Almost surely from bladder snails. Ramshorns lay eggs in a neat little jelly crescent shape, it's amazing how tidy they are about it. Bladder snails are more of an irregular blob of jelly, as if they don't care how it looks. [ ]

Pond snails I'm not quite sure of regarding eggs, haven't seen any yet. Bladder snails are the dark ones that move quite fast, and seem to appear almost by magic. Most of us think they are pond snails, but while they may live in ponds, among other places, they are not true pond snails.

Pond snails get much bigger than bladder snails do, and bigger than ramshorns as well. I've yet to see a bladder snail that was even as large as an adult ramshorn snail, never mind a pond snail. They're just so darn successful, and though they don't really bother anything, most of us don't care for them unless we keep puffers or loaches that need them to eat.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:03 AM   #27
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Wow, Fishfur! Thanks for all the info.

I googled "bladder snails" and the pictures look identical to all the snails in my aquarium except for my one lone ramshorn. I wonder how come I've only got one of those. Lol.

Thanks for the info on the hydra. I was thinking of pulling my driftwood out and scrubbing them off but it sounds like that might make it worse. I'm sure once I add fish and they eat all the copepods, the hydra will probably starve... Maybe? The fact that they're immortal really freaks me out. Eek!

They're really beautiful in an odd way, though.

I haven't seen any pink worms. Only white ones.

I knew about the hydrogen peroxide wash for the plants but I thought that the high ammonia and nitrite levels while cycling would kill any hitchhikers. Boy, was I wrong!! Lol!

I'm not sad though. I've had something interesting to look at everyday for the duration of this fishless cycle.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:05 AM   #28
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I'm excited to report that my water parameters are as follows:

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm

I think my cycle is almost done! Yay!!
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:22 PM   #29
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So today I got a chance to look at some of my aquarium water under a microscope. It was so cool! I took some pictures:
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #30
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I made a collage of all the cute little organisms i found:
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:24 PM   #31
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The "hairy" guys were the best! They kept zipping around on the slide. Lol!!
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:25 PM   #32
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I made a collage of all the cute little organisms i found:
Ha! I love it! I definitely recognize some of those critters from my microbiology class!
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:56 PM   #33
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Ha! I love it! I definitely recognize some of those critters from my microbiology class!
Would you know what any of them are? 'Cause I have no clue! Lol
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #34
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Would you know what any of them are? 'Cause I have no clue! Lol
The little hairy ones that were scooting all over the place look like they might be paramecium, and the sort of rectangular one to the left of center on the bottom left one is almost definitely a diatom.

ETA: there are all sorts of resources out there for identifying microbes in fresh water.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:22 PM   #35
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Neat pics. Wish I still had my old scope.. I could so easily have added a camera to it. sigh.
It's fun to see what all lives in water though. Most of those critters are part of what is often called infusoria.. which includes bacteria, and is ideal food for the very tiniest of fish fry.

Those who breed fish with very small fry try to culture this too, to feed the fry but it can be a bit tricky as it can go kind of swampy and nasty if not watched pretty carefully.

You will get more ramhorns with time, they are hermaphrodites, as are bladder snails, but they prefer mating if they can find a mate. They are actually quite good algae eaters that will keep glass pretty clean too and at least one poster on another forum reported his consumed Black brush algae, and there aren't many critters who will eat that.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:53 PM   #36
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The "hairy" guys were the best! They kept zipping around on the slide. Lol!!
A microscope! Cool. I remember in class we often added a drop of "Proto-Slow" to the slide. As the name implies, it put all the microbes in slow motion so that you can see them (especially the more mobile ones) in detail.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:01 AM   #37
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A microscope! Cool. I remember in class we often added a drop of "Proto-Slow" to the slide. As the name implies, it put all the microbes in slow motion so that you can see them (especially the more mobile ones) in detail.
Ha! We used Proto-Slow in one of my classes too! I just wish I had access to one now. I was lucky to have a teacher who let me culture the various bacterial additives I had when I was starting up my tank. A drop of Stress-Zyme and Quick Start (both API) grew quite a few unique colonies of bacteria.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:11 AM   #38
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Interesting. Such products are supposed to contain microbes in some sort of suspended animation, right ? First time I've really seen confirmation they do contain some that are alive.

I've had very mixed luck using those types of products. They appear to help slightly, but nothing like as much as they claim to.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:17 AM   #39
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Interesting. Such products are supposed to contain microbes in some sort of suspended animation, right ? First time I've really seen confirmation they do contain some that are alive.

I've had very mixed luck using those types of products. They appear to help slightly, but nothing like as much as they claim to.
Yeah I can't really vouch for their efficacy, because my tank has been a hot mess since I set it up with one issue after another, but they definitely did have some live bacteria in them. I'm FINALLY getting things where they should be after ~5 months of (at least) daily water changes. I've been using Seachem's Stability recently, and it maybe might be helping...
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:23 AM   #40
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A friend of mine swears by Stability, though I am not sure it does enough to warrant the price. But generally I like Seachem's products. I have trouble with heat too. Building I live in is old, I'm on the southwest corner. Summer heat gain, winter, heat is so high to keep the north side warm, I have fans running most of the year, even though I live in cold wintery Canada. Actually, winters have not been so cold here of late, just outside Toronto. Climate change.
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