Drosophila Melanogaster

About The Wingless Fruit Flies

Drosophila or more commonly known as the vinegar fly or fruit fly is an easy to culture food that is great for fish, reptiles and amphibians alike. They are fantastic for many fish, especially surface feeding fish and will be quickly devoured as they float around on the surface of your aquarium. Drosophila flies measure approximately 3mm in length.

What is needed?

  • Plastic Container with lid (Taller is better)
  • Potato Flakes / Instant Mashed Potato
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Confectioners Sugar (Icing Sugar)
  • Dried Bakers Yeast (Optional. Only a small pinch needed)
  • Spirulina Powder (Optional)
  • Wood Wool (Excelsior) or coffee filters/paper towel
  • Drosophila starter culture

How to culture

Ratio for DIY media mix:
– 6 Parts Potato Flakes
– 1 Part Brewers Yeast
– 1 Part Confectioners Sugar
– 2-3 Tablespoons of Spirulina Powder (Optional. It will increase nutritional value of larvae/flies).

You will need to have some ventilation for air in your lid. We cut a hole in the lid and glue a fine mesh over the top to keep other critters out and the flies in the culture. You can use pantyhose or something similar to this.

  1. Mix up the DIY mix until evenly distributed in a container or plastic zip lock bag (The above mix will be enough for 6-10 cultures). Extra unused media mix can be stored dry in zip lock bags or air tight containers.
  2. Mix hot tap water and vinegar in a separate container at a ratio of 1:1. (I.e. 1/4cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar). Cheap white vinegar is perfect for this, but any brand is fine. The hot water mixes with the potato flakes instantly so no wait time needed for this to set.
  3. Pour about 1/2 cup or so of DIY Mix media into your culturing container. Pour your water and vinegar mix in gradually, you will need about 1/4-1/2 cup of liquid for 1/2 cup of media.
  4. Mix the above to a paste like consistency, not too thick but not too wet. Allow the culture medium to cool to room temperature.
  5. Use a handful or so of wood wool per container, ensuring some of it is touching the media at the base. This is for the adults to climb on and stay out of the media at the base where eggs are laid. If you don’t have this, you can use coffee filters or paper towel folding into an accordion style to prevent flies getting trapped in folds.
  6. Drop in your starter culture, about 20-30 flies is good enough to get you going. But more can be used, do not go over board though. We suggest nothing over ~50 flies.
  7. Add a lid to keep your flies in and insects out.

NOTE: You can tap the container on the floor/with your hand to make your flies fall to the floor of the container, they do not have great grip on the plastic walls. This is useful to prevent them escaping your holding container.

NOTE: Your culture should be ready to harvest from in approximately 10 days or so, you will see lots of flies running around in your culture as well as pupae on the walls. You should start a fresh culture every 4 weeks or so, fresh flies are better than old flies for starting new cultures.

Mites can take over and cause a culture to crash quickly if they infect your culture, we have not had this issue with our cultures. You can use mite spray (for birds or similar) sprayed on a paper towel, and than place your culture on top of this to ensure they don’t get to your flies.

Harvesting Instructions

To collect flies we tap the container to make the flies fall off the wood wool, and than turn it on its side and gently tap the container to knock flies out into a collection container. Do not tap too hard as the media will tip onto the side of your culture (if this happens just tap it back in place, but you may kill some flies in the process). Be quick and put a lid on both containers once you have enough flies to feed to prevent any escapees. Do the same with the harvested fly container to feed into aquariums. Alternatively we put about 1cm of water in the collection container and drop the flies down into this, this helps prevent the flies escaping the collection container.

Approximate Nutritional Values

Protein: 72%
Fat: 21%
Minerals: 7%