Dendroboard banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all,

Having some troubles with FF (melanos) crashing. This is getting quite frustrating.

I'll explain:

1st attempt: Picked up some supplies from Josh's. Mixed everything up properly and got a starter culture from a local frogger (Orchid Lady). Mold happened. In a really bad way. I dont recall what it's called at this moment but it was the bad black mold that grows on fruit/veggies, etc.

Solution: located the source of the problem and fixed it. I trashed the culture and container.

2nd attempt: Still using Josh's supplies. Got some melanos from petco. Made the mix, this time I nuked everything (including lids). Then added flies. Flies are stored in sterilite containers - with some water in the bottom. Water is heated to 78deg. Two cultures made on dec 20th. It looked like they started going - as the media started to get mixed up, etc. Two days ago they looked good but not booming. Today - everything is dead. To make matters weirder - the original petco culture is still doing well - and stored in the same spot.

Any ideas? If pics would help let me know. Frogs coming on jan 22 so I kinda need to figure out my problems! BTW - the springs are doing excellent.

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
If you look closely at the media in the cultures crashed do you see any live larva? Look for small black dots (the heads of the maggots) and see if they are moving (or if they are there at all).

If the cultures were too warm when you added the flies, you could have sterilized the flies.


Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ed,

What I think are maggots - small (about a cm) whitish object with a very small black dot are all over the place. None are moving. From other threads it seems like the media was churned (top 1.5cm of the media is a different color that matches the photos) - that is done by the maggots, correct?

Although I dont recall specifically I'm pretty sure I let the nuked culture cool for about 2 hours before I put in the flies. But my memory is not what it used to be, I think. ;) I do know that on my home made instruction sheet it says "let cool" before it says "add flies".

Thanks for your help!

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
Hi Ryan,

The time line is about right for the adults to die off. That is why I asked about the maggots. If the flies were sterilized you wouldn't have maggots. It sounds like you may have asphixated the cultures by restricting the air flow to the cultures. (The amount of movement of very small maggots can be very hard to spot unless you magnify them to see if the heads are moving).

Why are you housing them in the tubs with the water at the bottom?

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
I had a culture die. I found that if you add the flies when there is a great deal of condensation on the sides of the container (from cooling with the lid on) that the flies sometimes drown. Also if the condensation runs down the walls it forms a ring of water around the container and they also can get trapped and drown. FF are not all that bright.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Ryan,

The time line is about right for the adults to die off. That is why I asked about the maggots. If the flies were sterilized you wouldn't have maggots. It sounds like you may have asphixated the cultures by restricting the air flow to the cultures. (The amount of movement of very small maggots can be very hard to spot unless you magnify them to see if the heads are moving).
Asphixiation is surely possible - I wouldn't expect it because the tubs are not sealed. I'll make up some more batches and keep the drawers open this time.

Why are you housing them in the tubs with the water at the bottom?
Ed
Two reasons. First, the water allows me to put a heater in there which allows me to keep ideal temps. If I cannot add a heater then the ambient temp would be around 53 deg. Not sure if the flies will actually reproduce at that temp and previous posts indicated that the life cyle would dramatically extend. Second, I read some post a while ago (sorry, cannot find the link) that it is an inexpensive and effective alternative to mite paper.

Are you adding the yeast to the media? Reproduction takes 12 to 14 days.
Yes sir, I am! But I only did it on the second set because the first set (the modly one) came from a culture raised on Josh's media.

I had a culture die. I found that if you add the flies when there is a great deal of condensation on the sides of the container (from cooling with the lid on) that the flies sometimes drown. Also if the condensation runs down the walls it forms a ring of water around the container and they also can get trapped and drown. FF are not all that bright.
LOL @ them not being bright. No wonder I had difficulty clicker training them!
Seriously though - thank you for this insight. I'll keep an eye out for the condensation. I do not believe it was an issue this time as the flies survived for about 2 weeks.

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
If you think about it, if something as large as a fruit fly doesn't break the surface tension, there is nothing to indicate that this would be different for the mites.... Mite paper, and keeping old cultures away from new cultures do a lot more..

53 F is pretty low for the flies and they may significantly slow down production (to the point that other things take over the culture). Keep in mind that if something happens, you have all of the makings of a fire there since plastic can be easily melted through if the heater touches the plastic and the plastic will be close enough to potentially burn if the heater becomes dry.

If possible, a under the tank heater is a good choice. I keep my cultures ontop of my rack to take advantage of the heat from the lights.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you think about it, if something as large as a fruit fly doesn't break the surface tension, there is nothing to indicate that this would be different for the mites.... Mite paper, and keeping old cultures away from new cultures do a lot more..

53 F is pretty low for the flies and they may significantly slow down production (to the point that other things take over the culture). Keep in mind that if something happens, you have all of the makings of a fire there since plastic can be easily melted through if the heater touches the plastic and the plastic will be close enough to potentially burn if the heater becomes dry.

If possible, a under the tank heater is a good choice. I keep my cultures ontop of my rack to take advantage of the heat from the lights.

Ed
Something tells me that the OP on the water idea was not arguing from a surface tension point (and you have a good one). I took it as it seemed to address both of my issues.

I've thought the same thing about the fire issue - and wish I could convince the wife to do a rack. After all - these are her frogs! :D It would surely address many problems. I wonder what gift she would like...... any ideas on some really cute small frogs - like thumbnail froglets? Really - i'm only half joking here (vents on order).

The flies will be coming upstairs in the mean time. Wont need a heater for them.

So - since the maggots are there is it possible that the cultures will produce? Going to also start two new ones today.

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
The water as an antimite guard has been floating around for a long time. Even if the mites sink, they will trap an airbubble on thier bodies which prevents them from drowning right away potentially letting them migrate along the bottom and into the next culture.

Ed
 
  • Like
Reactions: andyl

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,415 Posts
I submerged several pieces of charcoal that had a bunch of mites on it. Three to four days later, I still had live mites stuck in the surface tension of the water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
I've had cultures seem to be dead when I don't open the lid in 3-4 days. I opened the lid and fanned fresh air into the culture and the next day maggots came back to life. The fruit flies themselves never came back but some maggots and the maggots in cacoons all survived. I know open lids atleast once a day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all!

Overall I think this is the plan:

Move the sterilite drawer system (not sealed containers) upstairs to where it is warmer. Keep an eye on humidity (house is 25-30% ambient) and add mite paper while moving old cultures to different location (actually planned on tossing all cultures over 30 days).

Update on the flies/maggots - they went from white with very small black dots to almost all dark brown/black. Does this indicate normal development?

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
No that is an indication that they have died off (unless they pupated). You could have had a viral infection or a problem with wolbachia.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
596 Posts
Thanks all!

Overall I think this is the plan:

Move the sterilite drawer system (not sealed containers) upstairs to where it is warmer. Keep an eye on humidity (house is 25-30% ambient) and add mite paper while moving old cultures to different location (actually planned on tossing all cultures over 30 days).

Update on the flies/maggots - they went from white with very small black dots to almost all dark brown/black. Does this indicate normal development?

- ryan
I use Josh's media. I always just mix it at room temp and add flies immediately. I would definitely store your flies all upstairs if your basement is 53 degrees. Yikes. That is one cold basement!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
I keep my place on the cool side so I made a "bug closet" - I put a small electric space heater in my coat closet and set it at 75 degrees. I keep all my flies, isos, and springs in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,498 Posts
First, the water allows me to put a heater in there which allows me to keep ideal temps. If I cannot add a heater then the ambient temp would be around 53 deg. Not sure if the flies will actually reproduce at that temp and previous posts indicated that the life cyle would dramatically extend.
- ryan
I would like to chime in and say that I keep my cultures of melanogaster and hydei by the windowsill on mite paper. The temp for the last few weeks has ben around 50F during the day at the sill (I'm sure it drops a few more during the night). I've had stable (although slow) production from my fly cultures that have been sitting on the windowsill.

I should mention that I've had these cultures on the sill for months, so the pupulations have had time to adjust to the slowly falling temps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks to everyone for your replies! I'll post back once I attempt another culture under the new conditions (already running). Good to hear that production is actually happening around 50deg (I only have tentative approval to keep the flies upstairs).

I guess if it's virulent wolbachia (see the following link that Ed posted in another thread: Wolbachia, normally a symbiont of Drosophila, can be virulent, causing degeneration and earlydeath ) then I may just have to start with a different set of flies all together.

However, I dont think it is a virulent form as the original culture from petco was still producing when I tossed it. Because all were kept in the same conditions (save the media and cups) - I have to conclude that it had something to do with my process.

- ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Here's a how I do mine, and they seem to be fine.

Container choice: Non recyclable bottles, cleaned
Media:
2:1 Potato flake: oatmeal, .5"-.75" dry
Enough hot water to make it damp
Then a little white vinegar, pinch of yeast, and table sugar.
^My basic mix, I will add a pinch of premixed or dried fruit to cultures if it's on hand too.

Bunched industrial paper towel pushed inside, flies dropped in using a funnel (Melan., Hydei, Turkish Gliders.), the top is sealed by rubber banding a napkin over the top. The rubber band gets into the creases of the screw cap preventing escapes. If you keep the lid you can just cap old cultures and toss them away, or easily wash them.

I label my bottles with the date, and type; I place them on a plastic rack next to one of my tanks and in about 10 days larvae crawl up the sides, 10 more and they're booming. Mine are at room temperature which varies day to day in my room, but I'm guessing no cooler than 60 degrees. Once the boom is done and slow production begins, I might toss them. I try to make cultures every week or so to feed 12 frogs.

Hope this helps, I don't do a whole lot with them once they're in the bottle, they just sit on the shelf and produce. :p

Just as a note of observation: After putting hot water and vinegar in the containers, which produces condensation, I put the paper towel and the flies in and don't experience too many deaths that are noticeable. I do keep them on the drier side which prevents condensation forming on the containers with coming days.

================================================
Don't mean to intrude on main subject, but I had a few questions that I didn't think needed an entire new thread.

If someone could help me ID mite infestations that would be great, just for the future, I haven't had too many problems with them.

Also, how do you produce new cultures from those Hydei vials from Petsmart? Do they take awhile to become established? I try to scoop out some larvae and drop them into a fresh culture mix. Should I let them morph into flies inside the vial and then drop them into a container?

thanks
================================================
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
One of the problems people often run into when they begin culturing hydeii is due to how the sexes emerge at different times from the pupae and how fast they mature. If the hydei in the vials are from the initial emergence from the pupal state, then your going to end up with (usually) all one sex so the culture fails... Or people think it has failed when there isn't any sign of maggots for more than ten days.

This thread has pictures of several types of mites. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/68741-deliberately-culturing-mites-3.html#post603758

Ed
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top