Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mosquito Larvae as Fish Food

How to Raise Mosquito Larvae for Fish Food

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Some fish require live food to survive; some require live food to breed. Raising mosquito or midge larvae for this purpose is free, simple to set up, and requires minimal work. After you've determined that doing this will not violate any local laws and regulations regarding public health [1] all you'll need is a bucket, water, and some sun.


  1. Find a bucket or plastic barrel. A 5 gallon bucket will work, as will a 50 gallon barrel. It is possible to collect 30–40 larva per day from a 35 gallon barrel.A black bucket will get warmer earlier but it may get too hot in mid-summer. When the temperatures reach a high of 80°F, move the bucket to a place that is in shade all day. The indirect sunlight will still allow the algae to grow. Algae is the main food source for the larvae.Alternatively, you can use a 5 gallon or 10 gallon fish tank so you can see the larvae better and reach the ones that escape to the bottom of the tank. An acrylic tank will be more suitable for outdoor use.
  2. Put the bucket outside and allow it to fill with rainwater. Or, if it's wintertime, fill it with snow to melt in warmer weather. If you fill it with water from the garden hose, be sure to use a dechlorinator to neutralize chlorine and chloramines. Chlorine will prevent algae growth, which will deprive the larvae of food.
  3. Put the bucket in the sun. This will warm the water and allow algae to grow. You want your water to look like green pea soup. Algae growing on the sides of the bucket is not what your larvae eat. They need the algae that makes the water green.
  4. Wait until the midges and mosquitoes lay tiny rafts of dark brown eggs (about the size of a sesame seed) on the surface of the water. If you can find the tiny, 3mm football-shaped, dark brown egg rafts, you found a bonus! Put these in your tank and the fish will eat the wigglers as they hatch into the water, usually within 48 hours.[2] If you don't move them to the fish tank, they'll hatch and the larvae (aka "wigglers") will grow and eat the algae. As the larvae mature, they become comma-shaped with two tiny antenna. When they reach this shape, be sure to feed them to your fish.

    • Remember, wigglers go from egg, to water larvae, to pupae ("tumblers"), then to flying adult. Whatever you do, do not let them reach the flying adult stage as mosquitoes and some midges are not only a nuisance, but they can transmit diseases to animals and humans alike. See Warnings below.

  5. Net the larvae every few days to prevent them from developing into pupae (and then into mosquitoes or midges). The warmer the weather, the faster they'll develop. While you're at it, look for other sources of standing water where larvae might be developing (old tires, driveway puddles, unfiltered fish ponds, empty flowerpots, and any item that can hold water for more than a few days at a time). Net out the larvae and dump the water so that mosquitoes don't breed there anymore. See Warnings below.

    • Net out larvae using a brine shrimp net. The netting is very fine and looks like t-shirt material. A regular fish net may not work as well because the larvae could slip through the holes.
    • Use one or more buckets (one empty, the other one(s) full of water and mosquito). Set the fish net on the rim of the empty bucket and pour the entire content through the net, letting the water drain into the empty bucket. All larvae of a certain size will be skeined back and can be fed to your fish. All the ones too small will slip through and continue to grow out. Using this method, you will need to collect at least every other day so that you do not allow the development of pupae and adult mosquitoes or midges.


  • Sometimes you will find little hollow mosquito shaped floaters. These are the skins. They are not dead larvae. Larvae need to shed their skins just like other insects.
  • Adult mosquitoes and midges look exactly alike and so do their larvae. It takes a microscope and highly trained biologist to tell the difference. Some midge larvae float on the surface like mosquitoes, some midge larvae are red and sit on the bottom of the bucket.


  • Be responsible. Allowing mosquitoes and midges to reach maturity poses dangers to you, your family, your neighbors, your pets, and wildlife. Some threats to be aware of (and avoid):[3]

    • encephalitis: humans
    • West Nile virus: humans, horses, birds, and other animals
    • Malaria: humans (The species of mosquito that transmits malaria does not exist in North America, but does in other climates)
    • Heartworm: dogs and cats

  • Use a new or clean food grade bucket. Do not use one that has held paint, tar, or other chemicals as the chemicals will poison the algae or larva. Even if you clean it, traces of the chemicals will still be there.
  • Some countries do not allow bringing up larvae, especially in South East Asia. Countries such as Singapore and Malaysia have very strict laws regarding raising mosquitoes and violations are strictly punished.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Example - 2007 Florida Statutes
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito
  3. http://www.glacvcd.org/HTML%20Pages/Mosquito%20Section%20of%20Website.htm

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