Vinegar eels (Turbatrix aceti) are tiny nematode worms that are commonly used as a live food source for small fish, particularly for raising and feeding fry (baby fish). They are often used in the aquarium hobby and by fish breeders as a nutritious and easily digestible food option for young or very small fish that may not accept traditional fish foods.
Here’s how you can use vinegar eels for fish:
- Cultivate Vinegar Eels: To start, you’ll need to culture vinegar eels. You can do this by creating a simple vinegar eel culture. Here’s a basic guide to setting up a vinegar eel culture: a. Obtain a small container or jar with a lid. b. Add apple cider vinegar (without preservatives) and let it sit for a few days to allow natural fermentation. This creates the acidic environment that vinegar eels thrive in. c. After the vinegar is sufficiently fermented, introduce a piece of overripe fruit (like a banana slice) into the container. d. Place a small piece of filter paper or a coffee filter on top of the fruit to serve as a substrate for the eels to lay their eggs. e. Keep the culture at room temperature, ideally between 70-80°F (21-27°C), and away from direct sunlight.
- Harvesting Vinegar Eels: In a well-established vinegar eel culture, the worms will reproduce and populate the container. To harvest vinegar eels for your fish, follow these steps: a. Take a piece of filter paper with eels attached and rinse it gently in fresh water to remove any excess vinegar. b. Transfer the rinsed filter paper with vinegar eels to a small container or cup. c. Use a pipette or small spoon to introduce the vinegar eels into your fish tank or aquarium. They can be added directly to the water, and the fish will consume them.
- Feeding Your Fish: Vinegar eels are a suitable food source for fish fry because they are small and nutritious. They can be a valuable food source for species like bettas, guppies, and other small fish. Be sure to adjust the quantity of vinegar eels you add to the tank according to the number and size of the fish you’re feeding.
Vinegar eels are an excellent live food option for young fish, but it’s important to maintain the culture properly to ensure a continuous supply of these tiny worms. It’s also essential to avoid overfeeding your fish with live foods to prevent water quality issues in the aquarium.
Do not overfeed your fish.