Where Do Vinegar Eels Come From?

It happens naturally with raw vinegar that vinegar eels are typically present in vinegar that has been hanging around for a while. Since any liquid containing sugar will eventually turn vinegary when exposed to air, kombucha that is acidic and vinegary is likewise prone to having these organisms grow.

Fortunately, it is quite uncommon that these organisms will show up in your kombucha brew. The few possibilities for their development include:

  • You unintentionally utilized raw vinegar in your brewing operation, either as a starting liquid or to rinse equipment.
  • You’re utilizing a SCOBY that was produced using raw vinegar or that already contained eels.

How do I verify there are vinegar eels present?

Take your kombucha into a dark room or cupboard and shine a flashlight through the side of the glass or the top of the ceramic container to see if you can find any of these little, wriggly worms. Eels will wiggle in the direction of the light.

Are vinegar eels safe to eat? What happens if I might have consumed them?

Because they are not parasitic, vinegar eels cannot hurt you. After only a few days of consumption, they are being expelled from your body in the same manner as other waste.

How are vinegar eels obtained?

How Are Vinegar Eels Harvested?

  • Make sure your funnel, pipette, flask, and floss are prepared.
  • Fill the tube with water and insert the floss in the center. The vinegar eels are able to navigate through dental floss and remain in freshwater.
  • Use a pipette to collect the freshwater after a few hours.

What is the duration of making vinegar eels?

The apple chunks finally decompose after six months, the nutrients are depleted, and you could notice the culture is much cloudier than usual. It is therefore time to establish a new culture. Pour part of the old culture into a new container. Slices of apple and a new solution made of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% dechlorinated water should be added to the remaining space in the new container. Your new culture should be ready for harvesting once more in two to four weeks.

Why do eels appear in vinegar?

Turbatrix aceti, also known as the “vinegar eel,” is a non-parasitic nematode that thrives in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar by consuming the bacteria that produces the vinegar. They have a body that is almost translucent and only reach a maximum length of 2mm, making them hardly visible to the human eye. Vinegar eels have a total of six developmental stages (egg, four larval stages, and adult), take five weeks to reach maturity, and have a lifespan of roughly ten months.

Why do vinegar eels die?

You can utilize stereomicroscopes in the absence of microscopes with scanning lenses (591815). (dissecting scopes). Students won’t be able to see as much detail, though, as they would with a compound scope, without the substage lighting and iris diaphragm. Even with Protoslo, vinegar eels move quickly, making it challenging to maintain them in your range of vision. They can be contained by removing some of the liquid from beneath the coverslip. To absorb part of the fluid that has been trapped, place a paper towel or a piece of Bibulous Paper (634050) at the edge of the coverslip.


Make sure that when completing any activity in the classroom or lab, students are aware of and follow safe laboratory procedures. Emphasize the value of good usage while demonstrating the technique for using the tools and supplies required to complete the activity. When necessary, put on personal protection gear such gloves, aprons, safety glasses or goggles, etc. For your students, set an example of good laboratory safety procedures, and insist that they follow all safety regulations.

Eels in vinegar are not harmful or parasitic. However, be aware of and adhere to your district’s policies so that you are ready should a student pick up a culture. After the activities are over, any remaining cultures can be flushed down the sink with tap water. Vinegar eels will be killed by the chlorine or chloramine in most treated tap water. Pipet 1 mL of home bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) or isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) into the culture if your tap water is not chlorinated, and then wait 15 minutes before flushing down the sink.


The droppers used in this experiment shouldn’t be used again with cultures other than vinegar eels due to vinegar residue.

Create a workspace with the following components for each culture of vinegar eels:

  • Eel cultivation in vinegar
  • Protoslo
  • removing pipet
  • removing needles (or toothpicks)
  • slide microscopy
  • coverslips
  • microscope

Optional: You could also use the Introduction to Hydra and Introduction to Planaria LabSheets if your pupils are unfamiliar with the fundamental traits of animals.

In freshwater, can vinegar eels survive?

A vinegar eel culture that was around three years old and presumably hadn’t been treated in two years was found in the author’s fishroom.

One of the freshwater food cultures that I believe too few aquarium owners have mastered and come to enjoy are vinegar eels, Tubatrix aceti. Nevertheless, because they are bigger than infusoria but smaller than microworms and young brine shrimp, they cover a significant gap in fish culture.

The Bug Farm in San Rafael, California, a supplier of live food cultures, proposes the following use for vinegar eels:

  • Betta fry during the time of hatching
  • Corydoras fry as soon as they hatch.
  • Apistogramma fry when swimming for free
  • Killifish fry right after hatching
  • Gourami just hatched, measuring 1/4 inch
  • when fry are too small for microworms
  • when young brine shrimp are too little for the fry

I choose vinegar eels over microworms as a breeder of freshwater and marine fish because of one advantage in particular: Unlike microworms, vinegar eels can remain in freshwater for a longer amount of time (perhaps up to a week) and swim in the water column where young fish are feeding (in comparison, microworms sink and die quickly). Vinegar eels are non-parasitic, harmless nematodes that are very alluring to aquarium fish fry due to their dynamic writhing behavior. (See video link at page’s bottom.)

According to some reports, fish raised entirely on vinegar eels don’t fair well because they aren’t really intended to be a long-term feeding source. Given that a larval clownfish hits a wall at around 8 to 12 days, at which point it requires about as much energy to eat and consume a rotifer as the rotifer itself contains, this is hardly surprising. Briefly put, vinegar eels serve as a foundational diet for fry until they can eat larger, more nutrient- and energy-dense prey.

Undoubtedly one of the easiest things to grow are vinegar eels. For approximately two years, I’ve had cultures that just kept growing without any upkeep, harvesting, or attention. Of course, you ought to focus more on your cultural heritage. However, because they are so simple to prepare, vinegar eels are one of the few foods that you can always just “They can be available anytime you need them because they are easy to store (like brine shrimp eggs).

Compared to other foods, vinegar eels appear to cultivate and increase in population more slowly, yet Wayne’s This and That claims that “In just 8 days, a healthy culture can see a 20-fold rise in its population. Their ramp-up time, in my experience, is closer to a month, and they cannot be picked regularly. Since vinegar eels don’t appear to travel very far or develop their cultures very densely, it is a good idea to provide their culture a little more room and to have several cultures active. Thankfully, these can be grown without much assistance from a moron.

All you need are some apple slices, some starter cultures, and clean glass jars. Seriously.

Clean glass jar, apple cider vinegar, an apple slice, and a starter culture are the necessary ingredients to create a new culture.

1. Put a slice of apple in the tidy jar.

2. Add the beginning culture; in this case, a small amount from an existing culture was poured in.

3. Finish with store-bought, generic apple cider vinegar. Wait for the culture to fill in before adding a lid, just resting it on top to allow for gas exchange.

The culture has officially begun with it! To emphasize a few crucial points: It’s crucial to keep the lid loosely on the culture rather than tightly fastening it to prevent the culture from breathing. I should point out that while many culture methods advise using a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, I found that utilizing undiluted apple cider vinegar produced far superior results. I’m not sure how this affects culture densities.

As an intriguing side point, it takes roughly a month to create a vinegar eel culture without any starter culture, according to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (see their website for the instructions). I might have to give that a shot!

This procedure involves separating a culture from the freshwater layer above it. The vinegar eels float up into the fresh water when the culture water loses oxygen, where they can then be readily picked and fed. This prevents vinegar from getting into your tanks. How to do it is as follows:

A beer container (ideally one like this Corona bottle), freshwater (I use RO/DI water), cotton balls, and your established culture are required materials to prepare a culture for harvest. A pipette for harvesting is not shown.

1. Begin by using an empty beer bottle.

2. Top off the bottle with liquid. 3. Place cotton balls in neck and press down till they expand upon contact with the vinegar’s surface.

3. Slowly drizzle fresh water over the cotton ball. Give it a day.

Put fresh apple cider vinegar in your culture to replenish what is already there. Await the eels’ ascent into your harvesting vessel’s freshwater compartment.

4. The freshwater layer is overrun with vinegar eels a day later. A pipette can be used to drain the water and eels.

Once the vinegar eels have been separated from the vinegar, you can easily harvest them with a little pipette, place them in a plastic cup, and feed the fishroom as necessary. I’ve discovered that I can typically acquire additional vinegar eels the next day by adding fresh water above the cotton balls. I’ve harvested for as long as a week, but obviously there comes a time where the benefits become less and less.

This is definitely one of the simplest live meals to culture, as I’ve already indicated. Cultures can be kept around and hidden for whenever you might need access to a very small live food because they are so low maintenance. Maintaining a few cultures won’t likely hurt if you’re interested fish breeding.

In Braggs apple cider vinegar, are there vinegar eels?

Instead of being genuine eels, vinegar eels are round worms known as nematodes. They eat the living yeast and bacteria used to make vinegar.

These unfiltered vinegar-found free-living nematodes are frequently cultivated and used as a live meal in fish fries.

A fantastic source of these tasty microworms, which are about 1/16th of an inch (2 mm) long and eat apple germs, is apple cider vinegar.

The good news is that most customers don’t eat vinegar eels because they are often filtered or pasteurized before bottling. You can be confident that the vinegar eel didn’t make the cut and won’t have any additional protein floating into your mouth the next time you drizzle some salad dressing on it or bite into a pickle.

Vinegar eels at home

Any desire to observe these worms in action? The good news is that growing vinegar eels on your own is simple.

A glass jar filled with an apple and enough water to make one part apple cider should be used for the experiment. Leave the container for roughly a month. To ensure that no other insects or animals are harmed by your tasty science experiment, be sure to cover the glass container with a lid.

If you want, you can make a tiny hole in the lid. For this experiment, you can use tap water, but you need let it rest for a few days to let the chlorine evaporate. The apple will offer some additional nutrition.

Believe it or not, hundreds of tiny eel-like nematodes are now swimming through your very own homemade vinegar. All you need is a microscope and a few pals to watch this incredible event.