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General Info about Daphnia

Daphnia lifecycle.jpg

from Waterflea.org

Some sources quote an authority of "Leydig, 1860", or "(De Geer, 1776)(its like Degger!) ". but most list Daphnia pulex (Linnaeus, 1758)

Hunting and Breeding

Daphnia jar.jpg

this guy seems to be the Master of Daphnia hunting

more coming soon...

great article about "daphnia culturing made simple" [1]

"I hope this helps for anybody wishing to venture into daphnia production or who have had troubles in the past. Daphnia culture can be reduced to science, although for many it may still seem like magic!"

Feeding: chlorella powder and yeast

Hunting and Breeding 2

Many instuctions online on how to cultivate daphnia. Big pot of water, add some daphnia, feed with yeast and put some bladder snails with it. Those apparently eat the dead daphnia and help them grow. Now there are also many reports in dedicated blogs that it is not as easy as this in practice. Let's try and see where the secret is.

Some notes:
- Daphnia need big containers. Pools seem to be best. I read 20 - 40 galons (= 75 - 150 liters !!)
- Some however report to do it in big jars.
- Water quality needs to be stable.
- They eat yeast and algae
- ...

Daphnia containement.jpg

Daphnia hunt1.jpgDaphnia hunt2.jpg

After several weeks of experimenting I managed to get a quite stable population of Dophnia. Here some toughts and learnings:
- Biology takes time - there are several cycles involved, growth of algae, growth of snails, growth of daphnia, change of water quality. You do not see much in the beginning and one cycle takes at least one week. So be paitient, obesrver and only make little changes.
- Growing a population is about creating a stable ecosystem. The Daphnia eat primarely poop and (maybe algae). Poop form duck in bigger ponds or from snails in aquariums. Then they have eggs i their body, then little daphnia babies. The snails eat the daphnia and vegetables (and maybe algae). This forms a cycle and this cycle needs to be stable. Not too many snails nor to little poop. Snails seem to stabilize the water quality which is important.
- Once conditions are right growth is rapid (exponential) - for Daphnia as well as for snails. At some point I had 100 baby snails and then I had 1000 baby daphnia. At one point I see hundreds of snail eggs and then then none.
- Snails need some crushed egg shells for their shells and they like cucumber
- Not sure about yeast (and paprika) yet. To much of it seems to kill the daphnia. Some might favor breeding.
- Observing Daphnia under the microscope regularly is very useful to see if they are well fed, healthy, carry eggs or babies.
- At one point hydra suddenly apeared on the wall of the aquarium. I cleaned and restarted.
- ...

Daphnia withLittle.jpg
A daphnia with a little one.
Daphnia hydra.jpg
The hydra.

Error creating thumbnail: File missing

A healthy daphnia

Daphnia snail.jpg
great ramshorn Planorbarius corneus
Daphnia babysnail.jpgDaphnia babysnail2.jpg
A baby snail.
Daphnia containement big.jpg
Big water container for daphnia
Daphnia containement aquarium.jpg
Aquarium with snails.

Self contained Ecosystems

It is fairly simple to set up a self contained ecosystem What you need is daphnia, some algae or a bit of pond weed and a glass jar Half fill the container with rainwater, add daphnia and algae or pond weed, seal, and place on a sunny windowledge The daphnia population with go up and down, hopefully there will always be a few individuals to start another population. Looking at the lifecycle, we can see that they have lots of ways of breeding. This versatility means as long as there is one, there is hope :)

Daphnia Water Sensor

Sansor to mesure mobility of Daphnia to therefrom determin water quality.
Daphnia WaterSensor.png

Daphnia in Kuglica


Distributed Daphnia Domestication Program

a 10 year program(2013-2023) to

*study domestication
*learn about epigenetics 
*support art/ists that use daphnia through a resources
*make a companion animal 
*think about Daphnia CRISPr 
*new: think about amino acids to reprogram dphnia life cycle

Half way through..its 2018!...though it has been on a hiatus. While my slow-backterias winogradsky column is still going well from 2011, I have no Daphnia atm. There are a number of NCL ponds to visit, now that my main petshop that supplied Daphnia (for ~50euro cents) has shut down.

Sample 1

? -> Newcastle -> Prague -> Ljubjlana -> Zagreb -> Zürich -> Yogyakarta

Sample 2

now at I'MM_Media lab

Sample 3

brought to yogya, but spilled... maybe 1 left

Sample 4

new wild dapnia from yogya aquarium fish market, but died after 1-2 days.

Previous Workshops and Projects

Wasserfloh Zirkus

A simple participative and playful setup for children. Developed for the Create Ur World Workshop at Ars Electronica 2011

Wasserfloh zirkus setup.jpg

Video example recorded with hacked PS3 eye microscope

more info on the workshop description Hackteria_&_SGMK_BioCyberKidzz#DIY_Microscopy

A nice way to talk about microscopy and daphnia with children, was to let them draw and make little models of what they saw by eye and microscope. here is an example of a beautiful little sculpture...

Putty wasserfloh.jpg

Video from Anu Osva, Pixelache 2011

more info on the Finnish Bioart Society Blog

Pond Life, by Tony Hall

see his website


see waterflea circus by the finnish gangs... [2]

Merja Talvela, Anu Osva, Sini Haapalinna, Kristiina Ljokkoi

Single LED Daphnia projector aka "Life Emitting Diode"

Instructions on hackteria site, advanced bioLED hacking

Cladocera: Literary Evening, Špela Petrič


Spela Petric Cladocera literarni vecer sm.jpg

Hiphop Daphnia

By bio Kristien Brans , PhD student , Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution & Conservation - KU Leuven Has given us permission to post it here... Hiphopdaphnia.jpg Hiphopdaphnia2.jpg