How to Culture Fruitflies

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How to Culture Fruitflies

Post  gatsu7 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:02 am

This is the hardest task involved with keeping dart frogs, next to the initial vivarium setup. That being said, it is really easy, and people seem to be scared away from the dart frogs and other small amphibians because of this.

What you will need:
32 oz Tall Deli Cups with Ventilated, but Bug-Proof Lids
Coffee Filters or Excelsior
Fruitfly Media
Dry Active Yeast
Scissors
Tape
A Long Spoon
Spring Water
Paper Towels
Herptivite and Rep-Cal
Flightless or Wingless Fruitflies

With the exceptions of the spoon, yeast, tape, water, paper towels, and scissors, all of this comes in combo packages from Josh's Frogs for a much better deal than you could buy or make it separately. I would recommend getting a package "without flies" from Josh's Frogs and getting a starter culture from me or David Baker (Jumper). This will save you a ton on shipping, since they won't have to do any special packaging to keep the flies alive.

What To Do:
1. Put about 1/2 cup of the media into one of the deli cups.

2. Add 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of spring water to the media and stir thoroughly with the spoon. Make sure no dry spots are left. The media should have the consistancy of thin mashed potatos.

3. Use a paper towel to push any media down that spashed onto the sides.

4. Sprinkle a pinch of the yeast onto the damp media.

5. Add a handfull of excelsior about the size of a baseball to the cup. You will want to pull it apart a little so it isn't a tight ball.

6. Leave the cup for now and get the lid.

7. Using the scissors, cut a 1 to 2 inch slit in the lid, starting from the outside edge and going toward the middle.

8. Make another slit in the lid an inch or 2 from the first. Don't cut all the way to the first slit. We are going for a flap that can be opened and closed.

9. Put a piece of tape over each slit so that we now have a re-sealable flap for dispensing flies.

10. Pour some flies into the new culture. 75 or more flies is recommended for better results.

11. Put the lid onto the culture before the flies escape.

12. Wait until the culture is producing and start feeding out of it. Hydei flies take about 10 days to start and Melanogaster only take 2 or 3. I highly recommend the wingless Melanogaster, as I have tried both them and flightless Hydei and the Melanogaster are much more reliable.

How to Feed:
1. Get a sandwich-sized ziplock bag.

2. Put a 1/1 mixture of Rep-Cal and Herptivite into the bag. 1/2 teaspoon of each is probably enough, unless you are feeding an army.

3. Tap on the lid of the fruitfly culture to knock the flies down before opening the flap.

4. Open the re-sealable flap that we created earlier, turn the culture on it's side, and put the bag over the hole.

5. Gently tap the flies into the bag of supplements until you have the desired number in the bag.

6. Turn the culture, with the bag still in place, back up and tap down any excess flies before re-sealing the flap.

7. Seal the bag and gently shake it to coat the flies with the supplements.

8. Dump the little white flies into your frog tank and watch the show. Make sure not to dump too much excess supplement along with the flies.

This takes some practice, but eventually, you will be able to get the flies from the cup to the bag to the tank without losing any.

Tips:
1. I use the Hydei starter kit (without flies) from Josh's Frogs when I need to restock, even though I use Melanogaster flies. I just like having the extra mold protection, but it probably doesn't matter.

2. I do not heat the media or use boiling water, as Josh's Frogs suggests. I just sprinkle the yeast instead. I tried the boiling water method once, and still got mold. I've never had that problem using cold media and yeast.

3. You don't have to cut the flap in the lid, like I do, but if you don't, have a vaccum cleaner handy because when that lid comes off, the flies come out.

4. I have 5 frogs that I feed these to right now, and I need to keep 2 producing cultures and 2 starter cultures going at all times to keep them fed. I feed every other day. Plan on keeping at least this many going at all times and tossing the oldest ones and replacing them with new ones every couple of weeks. Depending on the size of your collection, you may have more going, but I would recommend always having 2 producers and 2 starters, so you will have a backup if one dies and will never be without food for your frogs. You'll figure out how many you need after a while.

5. Lots of people try to make their own media. I don't. Josh's Frogs is just too convenient and cheap to mess with it. Not to mention, whatever their secret recipe is, it has yet to be beaten by a homemade version.


Last edited by gatsu7 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How to Culture Fruitflies

Post  Snakeman on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:46 am

Great info. Michael.

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Re: How to Culture Fruitflies

Post  okie alice on Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:09 am

Read this BEFORE you run out of flies. See post under Frogs. LOL
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