Packed in a 100 ml plastic bag filled with water. Rotifers are an important part of the freshwater zooplankton, being a major foodsource and with many species also contributing to the decomposition of soil organic matter. Rotifers are small (50-1000 µm) zooplankton that occur in freshwater, brackish, and marine environments.
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The rotifers (Rotifera, commonly called wheel animals) make up a phylum of microscopic and near-microscopic pseudocoelomate animals. Most rotifers are around 0.1 – 0.5 mm long (although their size can range from 50 μm to over 2 mm), and are common in freshwater environments throughout the world with a few saltwater species. Some rotifers are free swimming and truly planktonic, others move by inchworming along a substrate, and some are sessile, living inside tubes or gelatinous holdfasts that are attached to a substrate.
Rotifers eat particulate organic detritus, dead bacteria, algae, and protozoans. They eat particles up to 10 micrometres in size. Like crustaceans, rotifers contribute to nutrient recycling. For this reason, they are used in fish tanks to help clean the water, to prevent clouds of waste matter. Rotifers affect the species composition of algae in ecosystems through their choice in grazing. Rotifers may be in competition with cladocera and copepods for planktonic food sources.
In a healthy culture all the rotifers will be females and will reproduce clonally. In a stressful environment males will be produced and the rotifers will reproduce sexually and create encysted eggs. Under optimal conditions rotifer culture will double in the population every day.
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