Re: The business of flies
First post here...but thought it might be appropriate on this thread.
My biggest deterrent from entering the hobby years ago was the idea of fruit flies, and culturing them.
That said, I'm just over a year into it now - and enjoying it immensely. Some great advice here, especially to use pre-mixes (I use Repashy myself).
One little tip I started doing, is that once a month I make an extra "double" culture. Every week I make 1 new culture, and discard my 1 month old culture. But, this extra "double" culture I use to negate against crashes etc., and find I can get it to boom for an extra week or so, and get it to at least produce for a solid month, because I have doubled the water/mixture amounts.
I culture only D. melanogaster flies, and I know the frogs are fine for at least a week with no food source beyond microfauna in the tank. This helps me sleep at night in case of an all out crash! Couple that with 3 large springtail cultures, it's a good constant food source. Add on some good contacts (pet store/hobbyists) and you are in a pretty safe situation.
This setup effectively feeds 4 vivs (5 R. imitator, 3 R. summersi, 2 O. pumilio and a grow out of 4-8 imitators) with no issue - even with an occasional FF crash (which is rare, but has happened a few times).
Just some short experience from another newer hobbyist here, if it helps at all.