Vinegar eels are small (2mm) long nonparasitic nematodes. They feed on yeast cultures and live bacteria naturally found in fermenting apple cider vinegar. Vinegar eels are a must-have for any fish breeder as they function as an important stepping stone between smaller nematode feeds and larger live feeds such as daphnia and brine shrimp.
Vinegar eels are possibly the easiest live food to keep and to culture, they can thrive for years with minimal attention. Not only are they easy to keep but they are also a very enticing food for young fry- lively wriggling attracts fry and can last for multiple-day in the water column, swimming through the water, meaning minimal wastage.
The culture should be kept out of direct sunlight and at room temperature to ensure the best reproductive conditions. The female Vinegar Eel gives birth to up to 45 young every 8-10 days they live for an average of 10 months.
Instructions for culture starting:
- Fill a jar with a 1:1 apple cider vinegar and treated water (or old tank water) remembering to leave a little space for air in the jar and cut an air hole in the lid.
- Peel and cut an apple into small pieces and add a few pieces into the mixture. (you may also add a little sugar or yeast to give the culture a boost, but this is not necessary).
- Add starter culture to the jar.
- Store at room temperature and watch as the eels populate the culture. (they will be ready to harvest in 2-3 weeks (depending on the size of the starter culture ordered).
Instructions for harvesting
- Transfer culture to a long-necked bottle
- Insert a small piece of filter floss or a cotton ball into the neck so that it sits about 1-2cm into the culture fill the space above the cotton ball with the water from the tank they’re intended for.
- Wait a few hours for the eels to move into the water and syringe them up for harvest
Instructions for maintenance
- Split the culture once every 6 months
- Using new diluted apple cider vinegar to refresh the cultures
- Culture needs refreshing when the culture begins to get cloudy
They can be used to feed:
- Betta fry when newly hatched
- Corydorasfry when newly hatched
- Apistogrammafry at free-swimming
- Killifish fry when newly hatched
- Gourami newly hatched to 5mm
- when fry are too small for microworms
- when fry are too small for baby brine shrimp
- 50 mL (seed a starter culture)
- 500 mL (culture ready to harvest from)