Stay away from micro worms and the ones similar (banana/walter worms) -
(Given to me by the IBC president, Gerald, in one of our discussions about missing ventral issues..)
Microworms In Relationship To Missing Ventrals This has been a well discussed and it is amazing how as technology grew so people have researched into the problem. There are some very helpful and technical people willing to help and add their input. I think enough information and suggestions have been gathered to come to a reasonable conclusion.
It is important to keep in mind that there are several causes of missing ventrals but this seems to be the most common reason.
The original theory was that microworms sank to the bottom and died, causing a build up of bacteria that ate the ventrals away. Reasonable assumption!
Through discussions this is what we know.
1. Microworms, when fed ALONE for the start of the fry's life, are associated with missing ventrals.
2. Microworms sink to the bottom, and the fry get in the habit of foraging on the bottom, so some people conclude that being on the bottom is the cause of the missing ventrals.
3. Other foods also sink to the bottom, but do not cause missing ventrals. When tanks are left dirty on the bottom with non-microworm food OR a combination of microworms and other food, and fry ARE in the habit of foraging on the bottom, there are still NO missing ventrals.
4. This indicates that the problem with microworms is NOT due to foraging on the bottom.
5. Other fins are not affected by the microworm-only diet. This indicates that the problem is not a mechanical problem such as burning, but is happening at the developmental level.
6. According to Laura, "If the proper environmental conditions do not exist (if a certain molecule is not present) then the molecule-promoter interaction does not occur, and the gene is never turned on and is never expressed." It makes sense that the most likely environmental condition to go wrong is nutrition, since the problem is a LACK of a certain molecule. It could be some other environmental condition created by microworms when they are the only decaying matter, but the simplest and most obvious answer is nutrition.
Conclusion: The microworms are missing a certain molecule that interacts with the promoter to turn the "ventral gene" on. When microworms are the only food during a critical growth phase, the fish will not develop ventrals. If the fish eat other foods, the other foods will provide that missing nutrient to activate the "ventral gene." - – Rob Panerio and many many many research contributors, etc..
I have done a number of spawns using a variety of those micro worm cultures as well as feeding a different amount/amount of time, etc.. in cases where micro worms were primarily fed the first few weeks every single spawn had missing vents.. some spawns every single fish had them missing. This also includes the banana and walter worms, not just the microworms.
Vinegar eels there was no missing ventrals.
Yes, a variety helps a lot - but the first couple weeks there isn't a great deal of it.. a lot of breeders will feed vinegar eels for the first few days and then switch to BBS until the fry are big enough/old enough to start feeding on manufactured foods and large worms such as grindals, white, black, etc. But the first couple weeks you are wanting to focus on nutrition, not worry about their taste buds, etc.. and really the best nutrition you can easily get/harvest would be newly hatched brine shrimp - in which you don't feed the brine shrimp after the shrimp are 24hrs old.. make sure to start a new hatchery on a daily basis and harvest them every other day (day one start up Hatchery 1, day two start up Hatchery 2 and harvest from Hatchery 1, day three harvest from Hatchery 2 and start up Hatchery 1). Best temps to grow the BBS is 78-80F, anything higher you will smother them.. anything lower it will take considerably longer to hatch. Also light stimulates them to hatch, so a light on them at all times is key. I personally use a 10g partially filled with water, an aquarium heater set to the temp I want (adjusted as less water means the temp will rise higher)... this way the hatcheries get the warmth I want, and I will leave the light on 24/7 - I use the florescent bulbs (you can buy them like a normal tank bulb rather than strips) that are used for growing plants as they don't heat up like the incadescent you normally use/get in a 10g. I'll also toss in some light loving plants, usually frogbit and moss as they usually flourish in the 24/7 light.
But that's just my opinion, and a fact that the micro worm cultures lack considerably in the nutrition department.. as one breeder said, it's like feeding them tofu.. just stick with the vinegar eels the first couple days, or the infusoria and then just go with BBS as it's healthy enough nothing else is really needed... oh, and feeding primarily BBS will have them growing at a much bigger rate than feeding those micro worm cultures.. BIG difference in development.
Here is a picture of some from 2 different spawns.. the cambodians are 5-6 weeks of age, fed BBS, the blue one is about 9-10 weeks of age, fed the micro worms. You can see how the cambodians grew and caught up to the blues - by 3 weeks of age, the cambodians started to pass up the blues. This is the difference between primarily feeding of two different foods. (ignore the dirty bottom, was vacuumed that day, but plecos and juvies make a mess >.<) The blue spawn were all missing ventrals - ended up culling all of them but for 10, which I will grow out and possibly breed myself, as the missing vents aren't a deformity passed on, rather a missing gene that was created after birth.
Last edited by Myates; 07-07-2013 at 07:05 PM.