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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this on VF, thought I'd cross post it here, maybe someone will find it useful

Here's a mini HOW-TO for making fruit fly cultures. By no means this is a definitive guide, this is simply what works for me. I tried a variety of methods, containers, recipes, etc. This is what works very well for me, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.

1st is the recipe for the media. This is very simple with no frills and it produces extremely well. It's also cheap !


Ingredients
  • White Vinegar - The cheapest you can find. No need for Heinz here. Bottom shelf, no name.[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Hot tap Water[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • White Sugar[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Brewers yeast - other types of yeast just don't cut it. Be sure to use brewers! (check your local bulk foods store)[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Instant mashed potato flakes (also bulk foods). [/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Fleischman's instant yeast[/*:m:22h07ex0]

Tools:
  • Whisk[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Bowl[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Fruit Fly containers & lids[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Excelsior or Coffee filters[/*:m:22h07ex0]

Make a mix of 50/50 water vinegar mixture. Add brewers yeast and sugar. Whisk until dissolved. Add potato flakes until you get a mix of consistency looser then apple sauce.

Let it stand for about 5-10 minutes until it thickens. It should now be as thick as apple sauce. If it isn't add more water/vinegar mixture. If it's too runny, add a bit more potato flakes and let it stand for a few minutes until it thickens.



Add about an inch of the media into the cup. I guess if you're into re-usable then you can use jars or even bottles. I don't like it and I refuse to clean the mess, so I just use the plastic 32oz fruit fly containers with meshed lids. You can get them here



Sprinkle a small pinch of instant yeast on top. Not sure if this actually works, but the popular belief is that the adult flies feed on this. I didn't notice any difference in production or life expectancy when I don't add it...but, it's not expensive, lasts a long time and doesn't really take that much more time, so might as well add it. Just a pinch.



There's probably as many opinions about the filler that you put into your cultures for fruit flies to climb and lay eggs on, as there are media recipes. A lot of people like to use coffee filter paper. Personally I don't. It gets wet, it's flimsy and sometimes falls out. If you like it and it works for you use it, if you like something else use that.



Excelsior works great for me, so that's what I perfer to use. It's expensive if you buy it at a craft store. It's cheap if you get it at a packing place of go to home depot early spring when their water fountains come in :) Don't ask, just take an empty box with all the excelsior you need and tell the cashier it's empty- they never seem to mind. I did that for a long time, then I needed it in the fall, home depot didn't have any, so I bought a bail of it for about $50. That was 2 years ago. I gave a ton to other people and I still have enough for the next 5 years! Get few guys, get a bail and your excelsior problem will be solved. I don't remember where I bought it tough...somewhere on the web at a packing place.



Make a little ball, shake out any loose threads and pack it into your containers. Make sure you press it into your media. You're now ready to seed your new cultures with fruit flies.



Before you add fruit flies from an old culture, be sure you inspect it for mites. If you have mites, well.... you have a big problem to deal with. I won't get into it here, so lets assume you don't have mites :)

Few things to remember when making cultures:
  • Get yourself good anti-mite paper. Make sure it's fresh. [/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Never leave your producing cultures on other surfaces other then the mite paper.[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • Don't use very old cultures to make your starter cultures. Try to pick'em at their prime[/*:m:22h07ex0]
  • When you stack the cultures on the shelf, make sure the lids don't touch.[/*:m:22h07ex0]

Add about 100 flies to each new cultures. You can add more, but be warned. Your culture will practically explode with maggots and fruit flies. If you leave too many flies in your culture, it may crash and shorten the useful life of your culture. It's better to add less flies and have it produce for a longer period of time, then have a huge popularion for a short time.



Above is a melanogaster culture that's packed with maggots. Like I said, you can get more maggots if you seed with larger number of FFs but this will come at a price, so don't be fruit fly greedy :) It's better for the culture to last you longer, so you don't have to make them as often.

Here's a closeup


I make my cultures probably once every 3 weeks. I make both melanogasters and hydei's



Here's a good tip that will make your fruit flies last much longer ! When I make new cultures I always make few extra that I don't seed. Just leave them empty. I make them my "Overflow" storage containers. If a fruit fly culture produces more then I can use, I'll throw the excess FFs into the "O" containers where they will be able to survive without a problem. This alleviates the strain on the culture that produces, which makes it last longer. You now also have all the fruit flies that you'll ever need in the overflow. This will also mean that you've SUPER seeded the overflow culture. Which is OK as this is just an "O" culture. It will still be useful for feeding off the adults, but remember it will also explode with a population when it matures. I don't use the Overflow cultures for seeding new ones. I only seed new ones from healthy cultures. The Overflows are great buffers to keep your cultures in check and not crashing. It's also great when your cultures are not ready to produce. Works great for me.



Here's how I keep my cultures. I've been doing it for several years, so I've got it down to a science. Before I needed many more cultures, now with the overflow containers my cultures are much healthier and produce much longer. I typically toss'em out when they still produce. I'd keep'em longer, but after about 3-4 weeks they tend to start to stink. I don't like stinky cultures, so off they go. I put the freshest cultures near the top and older cultures that I'm using to feed on lower shelves.

Hope you find this useful !
 

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This was a very helpful thread.
As a beginner who has not made their first culture yet, I found the pictures extremely helpful.
I think this thread should be a sticky or made easy to find for newbs.

Thank you, Marty.

Smogre
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you do not protect your cultures, sooner or later you will start seeing mites crawling all around the cultures. Mite paper is paper that's laced with a pesticide. If the paper is fresh and potent, any mite that will try to walk on the paper to get to your cultures will die.

You can get anti-mite paper in many places...wherever you get it make sure you ask how old it is. If possible you want to get fresh stock. The fresher the better. I got my paper from carolina and from black jungle. Both worked great. I got a deal on the web somewhere once and it must have been too old, I had mites walking all over it. Had to scrap the whole setup and start fresh - not fun!

link to Carolina
link to Black Jungle
 

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thanks

i knew the purpose, just was curious as to any brands that might be locally available, or if it was something i'd have to order from a supplier/specialty shop. i wonder if fly paper would work, or would the mites be able to get past that one?
 

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Nice post Marty, I like your recipe! I do that with my extra flies too.(overflow) but I don't put excelsior in there, and when they get maggots I feed off the flies and use them to feed out the maggots. I just scrape out the maggots, with a plastic knife and put em on a lid, into the viv. The frogs love them! I have even taken the lids off these cultures and put them directly in the tank, (at an angle) when I am on vacation etc.., and I usually come home to find them all piled in the container, slurping up the maggots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I went through some turmoil with mite paper also, now I only buy it if it's fresh and then when I store it, I always wrap it in plastic so it stays fresh. It works and keeps my cultures mite free. Get bad old paper and your cultures are history. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get mite paper and then spray it with the mitocite
 
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Great recipe Marty! Ive never made an FF culture in my life so I have to ask about the very last step; how do you feed your frogs? :oops:
 

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Instead of mite paper I use paper towls sprayed with Provent-a-Mite. Then I let it dry completely. It has always worked better and longer than the blue mite paper I had used before. The blue mit paper seemed to lose effectiveness at aroud 2-3 weeks and the paper towel/Provent-a-Mite method lasts me twice as long at about 1 1/2 months and I dont even get any dead mites collecting on the sprayed paper towel.
 
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What do mites look like? Where are they found in a fly culture? Can someone post pictures? PM?

Sorry for the questions,
 

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§lipperhead said:
What do mites look like? Where are they found in a fly culture? Can someone post pictures? PM?

Sorry for the questions,
i was curious too what to be looking for. I have seen some mites in my life, but don't know if they are the same ones I need to be looking out for.
 
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