How to Culture an Easy, Cheap Nutritious Live Food for Freshwater Fish

Mosquito LarvaeMosquito Larvae are extremely easy to culture from spring to fall, or all year round in warmer climates. It is as easy as getting a bucket and filling it with water. Mosquito larvae is a great food source for fish you want to breed, or fish you just keep as pets. As easy as it is, below are some steps and tips to get the most out of your culture while making sure you don’t accidentally become overrun with mosquitoes in your yard.



Larvae bucket

1. Get a 5 gallon bucket that hasn’t been used with any harsh chemicals.

2. Fill the bucket with water and place it in a shaded area that still gets a little sunlight.

3. Leave the bucket alone for a little while, just make sure the water doesn’t all evaporate. Over time the sides of the bucket will begin to grow algae and the water may even turn green. This is good, since mosquito larvae actually eat algae among other things. You could even throw some leaves in the bucket to jump start the culture if you want, or just leave the ones that fall in naturally.

4. In the beginning, you should check the bucket once a week just to make sure you don’t have any larvae growing. Mosquito larvae take roughly a week at 80° F to change from larvae to adult. By checking weekly, you make sure they don’t go unnoticed.

5. Once you start seeing larvae, you can harvest them as often as you would like. Use your net to scoop as many as you’d like to feed. Just make sure the larvae aren’t turning into adults, because then you would be contributing to the mosquito population. If you think about it, every mosquito larvae that you feed to your fish is one less mosquito that will end up biting you. 🙂

6. Before you feed the larvae to your tank, you may just want to give them a quick rinse with clean water.


Some people are worried about transmitting diseases to their fish. If you were collecting the mosquitoes from a pond or stream, this would absolutely be a concern. Since you are culturing them in a semi-controlled environment, you don’t have to worry about fish diseases since there are no fish in your bucket. Some things you should keep an eye out for though, are other insects and insect larvae. There are some insects, like water boatmen, dragonfly larvae, etc. that could actually eat your smaller fish if accidentally introduced to your tank, so always make sure it’s just mosquito larvae you are adding.

Also, in my experience the fish eat the mosquito larvae so fast, there is no risk of mosquitoes hatching in your tank and flying around your house.

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