Leech Keeping & Care Manual for Hirudo medicinalis & Hirudo verbana

Recommended Care Guide:

Container Necessary for the Leeches: Leeches can be kept in the leech jars that we offer, as well as inside the leech buckets, and aquariums we offer. The idea is for them to have enough space above the water, as they have water beneath. so that the leeches can hang outside of the water - adequate ventilation (either an airy cover or according to container size accordingly ventilate frequently) - for a purely purpose-oriented attitude is calculated 100ml water per leech - for a permanent attitude of leeches, are one to three liters of water recommended, depending on hidingpossibilities and size of the individual - leeches like to swim, but can also deal with relatively little space, 20-60 liters aquariums take only little space and are ideal to accommodate a larger number of them, as long as many attractive places for hiding are introduced water: - it is best to use still mineral water (choose a discounter with good quality) - rainwater or tap water, tap water only if it is free of chlorine / poisonous/heavy metals & the lime content is not too high - pond or river water if it is clear that it is not contaminated with anything (chemistry, heavy metals or similar) - osmosis water or distilled water, which is salted with 0.3-0.5g per liter. The salt must be completely free of additives (especially iodine) (Aldi dishwasher salt has proven to be effective) and it must be noted that the water does not provide nutrients for plants facility: - minimum facility are some rough stones where the leeches can hide in between and squeeze through, it will help them to shade and avoid problems - as a substrat sand and gravel are suitable, with free selectable grain - dyed or plastic coated products are discouraged due to possible contamination of the water by chemical substances that detach from it - plants should only be used in sufficient light conditions - A part of the land is not necessary and only recommended if you want juveniles. It should be well considered, as (per cocoon) about 15-35 small leeches will hatch, which all want to grow 15cm long and 20-30 years old. If you do not find people who want them or can not keep them yourself, you need to freeze them, it is NOT legal and it is not recommended to set them free, as it is in most cases its the nonnative species Hirudo verbana. The existence of Hirudo medicinalis is strongly threatened, since Hirudo verbana can produce hybrid offspring with them, if they get into the habitat of our native leeches, that would be a great threat to the survival of the species. Even in areas where leeches do not live, they can cause fatal damage by reproduction (for example, protected amphibian populations which have stabilized over centuries or decades, decimate sensitively or even eradicate, as leeches multiply very quickly and easily survive the winter here. Therefore, releasing Hirudo medicinalis would be unacceptable too, bringing back a formerly existing and now lost population only makes sense if it is clear why the stock has disappeared and this source of danger has been eliminated - but that is not the job of private individuals. End result: NOTHING exposing, no matter which species, even the garden pond is taboo, as the leeches can migrate from there or be taken away. technology: - a filter should be absolutely leeches-proof (e.g. air-lift filter), with every two weeks partial water change (complete water change in a jar) a filter is not necessary, for small leeches products like the Dennerle Nano corner filter with extra bought baby protection for shrimp is not safe, they squeeze through every little gap and enlarge it with incredible power - the tank should not be heated additional, room temperature is enough, for a nature-oriented attitude a hibernation is recommended, for a longer life expectancy - lighting is no need for the leeches, even if these animals like darkness, it is recommended that they may have a day / night rythm and not live in completely darkness. An extra lamp is only recommended when working with plants, while always making sure that there are enough hiding places for the leeches to retreat into the dark - all cables coming out of the tank are potential places for an easy break out lid - conventional lids from the pet-shop offer endless possibilities for an outbreak, they have to be meticulously secured with cotton wool, window sealing tape, duct tape or tape, also leeches can possibly push up light plastic covers, if they suspect an exit there - recommended would be a slightly thicker glass plate, matched to the tank size, attached to the edges of the lower window, sealing tape, which ensures a gapless support on the edges of the tank - you can also cut a window into this glass lid, which is covered with metal gauze for ventilation - DO NOT use plexiglass/acrylic glass, it warps with temperature fluctuations and can thus cause smallest gaps at any time (not safe) - for a short-term closure the use of mosquito net with self-adhesive velcro tape, is possible, however at some point, the mosquito net will fray and the velcro strip will lose its adhesive power, so it is not to be classified as permanently safe - for small container, such as glasses, tights and rubber band are a simple and extremely safe solution - mosquito net or same gauze is NOT safe for juveniles, little ones fit easily through the partially up to 1mm large meshes, the material is also not safe with double layer, nylon stocking, extra fine gauze, a screw cap or lid with rubber seal provide secuity flatmates: For all roommates must be ensure, that the water values in the basin, the temperature as well as the size of the tank, fit their needs, especially since fish have much higher demands and suffer quickly from wrong values. Small fish, often touted as "Nano-fish", often need more space, than some larger fish, which are swimming less (Which does not mean, that you should but big fish in an small tank!!). Paracheirodon innesi does not belong in aquariums under 100cm edge length and also Danio margaritatus is also only really happy in larger swarms, please inform yourself about the desired fish BEFORE purchasing, best in appropriate aquaristic groups or forums with a specialization in fish keeping. Fish, however, can be a target for leeches, especially small leeches are amazingly good hunters and many fish can easily be overwhelmed while resting, smaller species have better chances and once the leeches are fully grown, they require less food and become sluggish, so for example endler guppy fish hardly fall into their prey scheme unless they are close to starvation. In addition, all roommates need extra food supply. - little snails (bladder snails, posthorns) Attention! All kinds of racing snails, antler snails, steelhelmet snails, etc., feed on algae growth on stones and starve in fresh made aquariums within a very short period of time, besides, are all commercially available of these kinds wild cought, as these snails can only multiply successfully in brackish water. Larger snails quickly suffer from housing damage, as soon as the water does not have the right values! - sturdy shrimps (get advice in shrimp groups / forums in advance) - waterlouse/isopoda & planaria, tubifex Dennerle worms, hydra - Snail or horse leech (if food supply is too low, cannibalism is threatening!) - Daphnia feeding: An extra file will follow. My thanks for providing pictures goes to: Cyrill Fromm, Lari Vanessa Heldenlama, Susi Stirlzmair, Sandra Rensch, M.F., Änki Dreh, Janine Burat, Illy Habla Hamburg Germany, 03.02.2018, Viare Karrissen