Mosquito larva

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Anopheles larve.jpg

About Mosquito Larva

Mosquito larva (plural - larvae) is the secondary stage of the Mosquito life cycle. Mosquito larvae are water dependent, with most species breathing oxygen from the water's surface via a siphon at the base of the abdomen section, and feeding upon micro-organisms and other organic wastes. When disturbed the larvae will "wriggle" downwards, and attempt to take cover in whatever medium is available until they must return to the surface to breathe again.
Available in almost any standing pool of water, mosquito larvae are an easily obtainable (and free) source of live food for aquarium fish.

Culturing and Collecting

Depending on how many fish you would like to feed, place a sturdy container of dechlorinated water (old tank water works well) in a sunny spot that's unlikely to collect leaf matter. This will encourage the growth of bacteria and algae for the larvae to feed upon. Leaf matter and other debris not only make collection more difficult, but may also encourage the growth of other creatures you do not want in your tank.
To collect the larvae you may use a fine mesh net to scoop out the resulting larvae and pupae (the third stage of development), strain the bucket contents through a fine mesh, or use a turkey baster to quickly suck up any larvae and pupae that have fled to the bottom of the container...which can later be strained through a net or coffee filter to avoid transfer of water into your tank.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Mosquitoes can be carriers of pathogens dangerous to humans, pets, and wildlife. It may be against local regulations to cultivate mosquitoes, and please be responsible by draining any collection containers you will not be able to check regularly. To protect yourself against being bitten during collection wear clothing that covers as much bare skin as possible. Also note that mosquito pupae hatch into adult mosquitoes in about 2 days, it is therefore imperative that you make the collection of these a priority. Your fish will happily eat them.
  • Feeding any live food, especially those endemic to freshwater, carries the risk of transferring disease or parasites to your freshwater fish.
  • Standing water can also attract other insect larvae that can pose a risk to fish, such as Dragonfly nymphs that can prey upon fry. It's always a good idea to carefully screen your catch for any unidentified insects, larvae or worms that you are unfamiliar with.