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Daphnia are freshwater crustaceans most often found in quiet sections of streams or stagnant pools that are green with algae and free from fish. These are the little guys people buy to feed to their guppies or other tropical fish.

They are easy to see, but are so small that they can only be caught with a very fine mesh dip net. If you were brave, you could try using Mom's tea strainer. After all, if Mom wants you to become a brilliant scientist, she will have to make a few sacrifices.

Place the daphnia you have caught into a jar filled with some of the pond water (with algae) in which they are found, and watch them for awhile. I don't know what daphnia can do, but if you have ten of them, they could play basketball.

When you buy daphnia at the pet store, they are frozen into the shape of a candy bar. You draw the frozen bar through the water of your aquarium a few times, and the ones on the outside will drop off into the water. When they warm a bit, they will start swimming around. When they are frozen they go into a state of suspended animation. I don't know if it gives them brain damage or not.

Daphnia eat bacteria and algae, but they can also be fed once a week with boiled bone meal or mashed hardboiled egg yolk at a ratio of 1 ounce (two tablespoons) of dry material to every 2 quarts of water.

Adding pulverized manure and placing the jar in sunlight will aid the growth of algae. Perhaps this would be another place to discuss the possibility of brain damage. Or hepatitis.


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