How to culture and harvest ciliates??

How to culture and harvest ciliates??

Postby DrHsu » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:32 am

I now officially have ciliate cultures :D Downside is that I probably don't have a rotifer culture anymore :lol:

I've been suspecting that my rotifers have crashed following a rather busy period at the end/beginning of the year. Was still getting the phyto clearing up rather quickly, but not the typical "crystal clear" with rotifers, but a slightly brownish, turbid appearance. Today I confirmed under the microscope at work that I do have ciliates, and at quite high densities as well....

Have never deliberately cultured ciliates, so am wondering what is the right way to do it? And how do you harvest them for larval feeding?
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Postby rainers » Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:56 pm

Hi,

here is something described, I don't know if they have it in english too.


http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO= ... SPLAY=DESC
Happy breeding. Have a nice day.

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Postby Nick McClurg » Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:34 pm

I think they are to small to sieve out, but they multiply quickly in the larval tank, if there is a high organic content. So you have to balance water quality with cilliate population. Someone suggested using centralfugal motion to concentrate them, then siphoning them. I don't think they are any good for most large larvae, but worth a try for small pelagic larvae. They can cause havoc with your rots. Try keep your cultures free of waste and detritus if you want to improve rotifer blooms.
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Postby danch » Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:39 pm

I have a few varieties of ciliate and haven't been successful in culturing them stand-alone. They do well as a contaminate, though. :roll:

Some of mine are near to 50microns long and look like the pictures I've seen of Euplotes sp., others are very small, I can just make out the little fast-moving ovals under a 40X scope. I also have some that look more like paramecium.

I've tried halfhearedly to culture them solo a couple of times, but they die out pretty quick in unaerated water. Today I've dedicated my most recently crashed rot culture (about 3 times as many of the Euplotes things as rots) and I'll keep it heated and aerated and see what I can do for food.

Hoff (in the plankton culture manual) reports that his observations have indicated that they don't eat algal cells, but rather bacteria. He describes a co-culture of yeast (fed on wheat flour) and cilliates, but my attempt in that direction failed miserably.

My current thought is that dirty water (high organic load, as nick suggested) with aeration and kept warm might work. I'm not going to attempt to raise them separately from rotifers: I'm simply going to quit worrying about keeping the rotifers alive in that particular culture.

Hmm, according to this, many ciliates (most described there) are over 100 microns long.
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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:59 am

I have a couple different types of ciliates as contaminants in my copepod (harps.) cultures. Neither seems to harm the other, so I'm letting everyone stay together until I see any problems. It would be easy to separate--the ciliates pass through 53 micron mesh. I'm feeding the whole mess with Instant Algae Nanno and T-Iso.
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Postby KMB » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:30 am

I have some ciliates that are shaped like miter shells (so I call them the shell ciliates) and are about 50u. They do well on nanno paste. I also have some smaller 20u X 40u oblong shape and some larger that look like the death star from Star Wars. Both of these do better on oily enrichments. They are each kept in 5 gallon buckets. If I lose a culture I just let the rotifers get old and add nanno paste or enrichment and they usually show up again.

I harvest by removing the air for about an hour. They gather at the surface and can be scooped out. I then use them to start a bloom in the larval tank a couple of days before adding larvae. I try to add only a little food for them once they are in the larval tank. Sometimes it works, sometimes they disappear.

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Postby DrHsu » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:32 am

Thanks for the interesting bits of info and experiences.

The ciliates I have now seem to be rather tough and easy to maintain. Yesterday I filtered out debris and rotifers (if any) from a small subculture that I had been maintaining through a 53mic screen. diluted the filtered culture by 50% with new water and added more IA. Within hours, you could see the concentrated swirls of ciliates in the container. This culture is maintained without aeration and salinity was rather high at 1.031.

I also have another culture that is aerated, and doing well. Salinity in this culture is also 1.030, so maybe they do better at higher salinities.

Under the microscope, they can be seen to be greenish, thus they are most likely ingesting and living off the IA.

Today I checked another 2 buckets and they too are over run with this ciliate. Pretty much no rotifer looking things left in them. I was able to look at them and compare with a rotifer in one of the samples - these ciliates are small! Looks like you could easily fit 2 of them into the lorica opening of my SS rotifer! :shock: So, chances they will be in the 20 mic range....

....wondering if a 26 micron screen would even be able to screen them out!!

I intend to see if I can keep them going and in pure culture....and then to try them on my Priolepis nocturna larvae :D
Li Chieh

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"It's what you learn after you think you know it all..that matters" - Anon
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Postby danch » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:25 am

Just wanted to get back to this with another note. The larger ciliates I have (Euplotes sp.?) don't do well in conditions that rotifers don't like, but they're now in all of my rot cultures (and my larva tub) to some extent. Soon after the rots crash, though, they go. I've seen large numbers of them on a dead larva I scoped as well. Whether they were feeding directly on the fish or on the bacteria that were decomposing the fish I can't say.

There are other critters that do very well in some pretty nasty water. These are smaller and round (spherical or just round in cross section I can't say). I'm not sure these are ciliates because I haven't scoped them over 40X. While that's enough to show the 'walking cilia' on the Euplotes, I don't see any cilia or flagella on these things. They do swim pretty fast, so I have to imagine there's something there.
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Postby DrHsu » Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:54 am

Update: The ciliates I have are pretty tough and I have them in pure culture now. Found that they do well even at salinity of 1.040 - probably too high for rotifers to do well so was easy to isolate out from them. They will even do well exposed to direct sunlight for a few hours in the mornings, so the can probably tolerate pretty high water temps as well (note that usual water temp here is about 28C, and outdoor sunlight exposed water can usually go above 30C). They also thrive on IA.....
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Re: How to culture and harvest ciliates??

Postby efren » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:17 pm

do you know what the spherical very small ones are? i have alot of them and added to my newly colected 3 line damselfish babies
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Re: How to culture and harvest ciliates??

Postby Jake Levi » Wed May 13, 2015 8:44 am

Any updates on this?

I have been looking through what I can find for small ciliates, thinking of them as a first food for pelagic larvae. I am very interested in the 20 micron sized ones, a lot of possibilities there.
Jake Levi

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Re: How to culture and harvest ciliates??

Postby Luis A M » Wed May 13, 2015 1:52 pm

Indeed,Jake and it´s good that you bring it back to the surface :wink:
Todd G.could raise some small goby larvae using them,and recently Frank B.succeded with triggers using Strombidium.But the most recent update comes from this group in Israel who are raising food fish with them. viewtopic.php?f=141&t=12173
I imagine we will have soon culture protocols and strains being available from copepod suppliers.
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