by Michael Stephen of Midwest Aquatics (unedited version)
Raising live foods for your aquarium or pond fish can seem a daunting task and even
be a bit intimidating. In this book we will cover many live foods and break the culturing and
maintaining of them down into easy to follow steps that anyone can do with little to no stress on
your behalf. Live foods offer a few bonuses to you and your fish;
1) The uneaten food will not immediately decay and load up the filtration system, or crashing the
2 Live Foods can be raised in controlled conditions and be free of pathogenic (disease causing)
bacteria by using inexpensive media and techniques,
3) Most importantly, fish love grabbing things that try to run away (plus, fish owners love watching
their fish chase live food).
4) Live food will condition your fish for spawning and allow you to see your fish act more naturally.
5) Once you became skilled at raising some live foods you can get some of the rarer fish that require
live food to be kept in the aquarium. Like the mandarin goby.
6) The biggest bonus of all is that once the cultures are sat up the maintenance is minimal and costs
are low to keep a stead supply of live, fresh food for your fish.
7) Culturing live foods for your fish is a great way to save money in hard times like these and even
turn a little profit from your live food endeavor!
8) Culturing live food is a green practices in that you will no longer be buying those plastic containers
of fish food that get thrown away and stay in land fills forever clogging the earth with garbage.
9) Live foods are just the right thing to do for the health of your fish and aquatic critters!
I know that this may seem like a daunting task to someone that is new to the hobby and I don’t
want anyone to feel over whelmed if you don’t think you can do it because one thing that everyone should
know is that raising live food is not hard to do nor is it a daunting task! Some live foods are a bit harder to
get to take off or will cost a bit more to set up, but on the other side of the same coin some are so simple
I decided to write this “HOW TO” book to clear up a lot of misconceptions about raising
live foods and to educate people on just what is available, and how easy it can be to culture them for your
fish. I am an advocate of feeding live foods to fish to help with both conditioning for spawning and also
to get healthier fish through improved food quality. Another bonus is that your fish will have more vibrant
colors and live longer healthier lives.
Now what determines a “live” food? Well the easiest answer to this question is that if it moves on
its own its live food. Of course this isn’t the case with some live foods nor can we always see the said live
food with our naked eye, so this is a bit of a misnomer about live food. Live food covers everything from
microscopic paramecium all the way up to feeder fish. Below is a list of some of the live foods we will be
covering in this book on the culturing and maintaining the culture there after.
Micro worms, Mosquito larva,Walter worms,Banana worms,Cyclop,Mosquito larvae, Baby brine shrimp
Adult brine shrimp, Grindal worms, White worms, Earth worms, Vinegar eels, Infusoria, Fruit flies,
Feeder fish, Daphnia, Green water, Black trout worms, Moina, Scuds, Ghost shrimp, Earth worms Meal worms
There is many more that will be covered in this book but that is a short list for now.That
being listed can be a bit over whelming in itself. I will break this down and cover the related live foods in
each chapter and how to culture them in your fish room to keep a steady supply for your fish. Each
different culturing method has a few of the different foods that can be cultured in that method. For
example micro/Walter/banana worms are all cultured in the same culturing set up and therefore will be
lumped together in the same chapter, but more on that later.
Now that we have looked at the advantages of live foods and some of the cultures that are commonly
available lets look at some of the items needed to culture these stated foods. The equipment for culturing
the foods can range from a simple bowl to a full blown aquarium. Most of the equipment people have
laying around their houses or can be acquired for little to no cost making culturing live foods not only a
good choice for your fish but also a good choice for your budget and a green choice for the environment.
Live food is a constant renewable resource that takes little to no energy to produce and maintain forever.
The upside to the culturing of the live foods is that once you master them it takes minimal effort from you
to maintain them and to feed your fish a totally organic diet.
The positives are almost endless but there are a few draw backs as well.
It takes space to set up the cultures to get them going.
Daily harvesting to feed your fish are required.
Some have a slight odor while culturing.
Most culturing containers are functional but not very pretty.
More work then simply feeding flake food or some other prepared food.
Keeping both the pros and cons in mind we will now delve into the world of culturing live
foods and attempt to debunk a lot of the former myths that have kept so many hobbyist away
room them in the past. All accounts in this publication are of my actual experience and are the
actual methods that I use on a daily basis in my own fish room. I am not a scientist nor do I
have a degree in biology but I do hold a special place in my heart for tropical fish and this is
but one facet of their care and maintenance.