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Keeping Leeches in an aquarium help

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Keeping Leeches in an aquarium help

Postby lordmagnus » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:58 am

I have been trying to find as much info on leeches as I can, I am planning to keep some in a seperate 10 Gal. Glass aquarium, of course no light except for a deep red one for viewing them, and also cool water. I read that distilled and Reverse Osmosis water is bad for them due to their inability to adj for osmotic pressures, I found a formula under biological protocols for LEECH SALINE, is this appropriate for maintaining them, or only for dissection of their body parts?


Hedon-Fleig solution

To 1000ml water add;

7 g Sodium Chloride (kosher salt)
0.3 g potassium chloride
0.1 g calcium chloride
1.5 g sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
0.3 g magnessium sulfate (epsom salts)

I would appreciate any usefull input on this subject
:P
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Postby Darby » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:47 pm

That sounds like a dissection fluid. Most leeches are fresh-water, so keeping them in saline would be a bad idea.

Do a web search on Hirudinea to pick up some info on them. There's not much available, but you'll get some clues to upkeep. It might even be worth calling the few supply houses that you could buy live leeches from - they might not be willing to share their methods with you, but it can't hurt to ask.

If I was going to keep them in an aquarium, I'd set up a gravelly & rocky substrate and fill it with pond / lake water with an external filter.

I think I might try a commercial food like shrimp pellets or tubifex worms - it seems like smaller leeches at least could get by on that if they're willing to eat it. You could do small bits of meat (liver seems a good choice), but it would be really difficult to keep the aquarium clean with that.
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Postby February Beetle » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:48 pm

My zoology teacher had a leech for awhile, I don't know for the water conditions but he would feed them liver because they eat blood and it is a meat rich in blood, or he would stick his finger in. It's safe. I think you can find liver easily somewhere because people use it to fish. Maybe a bait shop?
PS - tell us how it goes, I would like to keep a pet leech!
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Postby Darby » Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:57 pm

Most leeches only suck blood when it's available - normally they're predators. That's why I figured the more prey-related commercial foods might work.
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Postby lordmagnus » Sun Jun 04, 2006 1:47 am

Hey, found out a few things.

Water treated with the good dechlorinators like NOVAQUA, or Becket's (dechlorinates, adds electrolytes, etc) will work just fine, I was already prepared to feed them every few months with a blood sausage (sheeps intestine sausage packer, filled with boiled pigs blood, heated in a pan of water to about 80 deg or so, and dropped in the tank). I am trying to acquire the Medicinal Leechs now
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