Dear Puffer Queen:
Florida Aqua Farms now offers resting rotifers (i.e., dormant cysts) of both the L and the S strains of Branchionus plicatilis. Their adult "S" Strain females are about 110-230 µm long compared to 130-340 µm for their long regular Strain.
The two different morphotypes of rotifers require somewhat different culture conditions, with the L-strain rotifers being reared at lower temperatures than S-type rotifers. In general, increasing the temperature within the optimal range usually results in an increased reproductive activity as well as faster growth rates.
However, there is a trade-off to achieve these benefits. Culturing rotifers at higher temperatures increases the rearing costs and requires more diligent maintenance, with more frequent and smaller feeding distributions being necessary in order to maintain good water quality in the culture containers. At high temperatures rotifers consume their lipid and carbohydrate reserves very fast and face an increased risk of starvation if they are not fed more frequently. Rearing rotifers below their optimal temperature slows down the population growth considerably.
In the case of Hippocampus reidi, there is no need to go to the added expense and trouble of obtaining and rearing the S-strain rotifers. Some of the larger reidi fry in every brood are typically able to take newly-hatched first-instar Artemia nauplii as their first foods, and the others are not far behind. Even the smaller reidi newborns should have no difficulty feeding on the normal L-strain of rotifers right from birth, and are usually ready to graduate to first-instar Artemia within a matter of days (a week or two at most).
Best of luck with your H. reidi fry, Kelly!