Vinegar Eel Starter Culture

This auction is for a large two liquid ounce starter culture of vinegar eels - Turbatrix aceti - that are perhaps the most easily cultured of all nematodes used as live food for freshwater aquarium fish. Not eels at all, they are nematode worms related to the common micro worm. They are extremely useful as a first or second food for very small fry such as bettas, rainbows and many danios. A huge advantage of vinegar eels is that they will stay alive in the fry tank almost indefinitely without dying and fouling the water.

You culture vinegar eels by preparing a jug, plastic or glass, with a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and de-chlorinated water. Fill the jug only to the widest part so that you have the maximum surface area for oxygen absorption. Then drop in three or four slices of peeled apple and add your starter culture. Keep the lid ajar or cover the opening with a piece of thin cloth held in place by a rubber band. If the neck is small you can use filter floss or a cotton wad as a stopper. The idea is to allow some oxygen to get into the culture.

That's it! You have just started a vinegar eel culture. They multiply much slower than the other nematodes we use, like micro worms, but after they get going they do produce a steady supply. Just put your culture away somewhere, dark and room temp is best, for about a month and you are ready to feed. Vinegar eels are not a culture you decide to start when your bettas are spawning. These are cultures that all serious breeders of small fry egg layers should have on hand before the fact.

There are many great videos on YouTube showing how to harvest vinegar eels but the main idea is simple - separate the eels from the vinegar. The first technique is to fill a clear bottle like a Corona beer bottle with your eel culture vinegar up to the bottom of the narrow neck. The bottle you use needs to have this narrow neck. Then you stuff a cotton ball or wad of filter floss down to the bottom of the neck and fill the neck with dechlor water. Put the bottle away overnight. In the morning, the eels below the plug will have wriggled through it into the clear water above seeking oxygen. Then you can carefully pour them out and feed leaving the vinegar below the plug.

The other way to harvest is by pouring a portion of your culture liquid through a coffee filter, and then swishing the filter into a cup of aquarium water to get the worms out of it.Be sure to catch the solution that you pour through the filter and return it to your culture. When your culture gets low, just top it off with the same 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Your culture can go for months, but depending on how much you are breeding, I would advise starting one every three or four weeks till you have as many going as you need.

Thanks for looking at my culture!