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xxianxx
26th January 2013, 21:04
I cannot source commercial black worm in the UK, are they actually illegal to keep ? Or illegal to import?

FX1C
26th January 2013, 21:23
I just found out the live worms I've been getting here at various LFS's are live blackworms not live bloodworms :-/
weird because I always ask for live bloodies & no one has ever corrected me. Are these the worms you're looking for?



<3 >o_o< <3

xxianxx
26th January 2013, 21:30
I am reffering to live blackworm, rather than frozen etc Google Image Result for http://www.aquaticfoods.com/images/blackworms1.jpg (http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=blackworm&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=en&biw=1440&bih=757&tbm=isch&tbnid=l3Jf5uyE4EfFVM:&imgrefurl=http://www.aquaticfoods.com/blackwormcare.html&docid=mJ7LgVT5W75dWM&imgurl=http://www.aquaticfoods.com/images/blackworms1.jpg&w=391&h=265&ei=x0oEUffsA6qa0QXVuoGYBg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=13&sig=115182486426611733254&page=1&tbnh=149&tbnw=265&start=0&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:82&tx=180&ty=74)

oceanblue
26th January 2013, 22:38
I don't think there is anyone growing them in commercial quantities as food in the UK and they are potentially an invasive organism but I have not found anything to suggest they are illegal and they are probably available in small quantities if you want to culture them yourself.

I'll PM you a UK company stocking them in small quantities.

Davo
26th January 2013, 22:43
Bloodworm are midge larvae and are gathered from pools in the UK, i would have thought that blackworm would be the larvae of something that does not occur in the UK as i have never seen any live ones for sale.

Just my theory, i could be totally wrong. :wacko:

Kaysie
27th January 2013, 00:56
Blackworms are aquatic cousins to earthworms, not the larvae of anything.

oceanblue
27th January 2013, 19:12
I've spent the last day reading round blackworms, the species Lumbriculus varegatus is very widely distributed and a bit like tiger salamanders may be a cluster of similar species or one depending on who you read.

It is my understanding that it is widely used and commercially grown in the US where it is often sold in cultures which include a predatory flatworm. Importing to Europe seems a bad idea.

Why are they not available here? They are present in shallow mud in the UK. Culture is supposed to be easy, all I need is a UK source.

Reference-

The vertical distribution of macroinvertebrates in the substratum of the upper reaches of the R. Wye, Wales
D.L. Morris & M.P. Brooker Department of Applied Biology, UWIST, Cardiff, Wales

I own a few acres of muddy lake in the upper reaches of a different but ecologically similar river system - I'm going on a blackworm hunt here!- http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-advanced-newt-salamander-topics/f1175-herpetological-science-politics/f1180-conservation-habitat-management/56539-bog-lake-drainage.html

morg
28th January 2013, 09:18
I tried culturing them, and they were very slow to culture and not worth the bother in my mind when we have live bloodworm and live tubifex available here.
I have found live bloodworm to be the favoured food of EVERY species of newt Ive kept through the years aquatic or terrestrial, thats untill the larger newt species outgrow them due to bloodworm being so small.

caleb
28th January 2013, 09:40
I bought a small (and expensive) culture from Sciento:

Sciento: Welcome to Sciento (http://www.sciento.co.uk/)

which is ticking over slowly at the moment.

I also have large amounts living in my water butt. I'd always assumed these were tubifex (before I bought the culture) but it turns out these are blackworms too. If anyone's interested in trying to culture these, I could probably send some out (PM me) at postage cost, when the ice is gone...

Some of my newts like these a lot, some aren't that bothered.

bellabelloo
28th January 2013, 10:06
I have all sorts of things growing in my water butt. It looks like I need to explore its murky depths to see what is now growing in there.

oceanblue
28th January 2013, 18:12
I've done a search of distribution at gbif.org There are only six recorded occurrences in the US 200 in the UK and with typical Dutch efficiency 7359 in the Netherlands. They must have surveyed every canal and river at less than 1kM intervals.

Coastal Groovin
28th January 2013, 18:49
Do you have any fish hatcheries near you. They grow like crazy in the waste water collection ponds. I find them in a small swampy area that is a about 10 inches deep that contains daphnia and other insects but no fish . Maybe that will help you find an area to collect them or one of their cousins

oceanblue
28th January 2013, 19:05
Do you have any fish hatcheries near you. They grow like crazy in the waste water collection ponds. I find them in a small swampy area that is a about 10 inches deep that contains daphnia and other insects but no fish . Maybe that will help you find an area to collect them or one of their cousins

Thanks, I think there is a local fish hatchery. If I fail to find them easily in the lake I'll contact them. Shallowish swampy areas with a bit of debris but good water quality seems to be blackworm habitat. I'm after a local strain.

Mark
28th January 2013, 19:40
I'm not sure what the aquatic worms in my garden bin are but larvae love them and they look very similar to what the US call blackworm. The largest are 4cm long, dark red/purple in colour and segmented. Not thin and curly like tubifex. They're fiddly to collect in large numbers but if your search draws blanks Oceanblue I can provide you with some. It would be interesting to compare them with Caleb's. I believe mine were introduced with some water lilies about 10 years ago.

When I dig some out I'll take a video of them.

oceanblue
28th January 2013, 20:32
I'm not sure what the aquatic worms in my garden bin are but larvae love them and they look very similar to what the US call blackworm. The largest are 4cm long, dark red/purple in colour and segmented. Not thin and curly like tubifex. They're fiddly to collect in large numbers but if your search draws blanks Oceanblue I can provide you with some. It would be interesting to compare them with Caleb's. I believe mine were introduced with some water lilies about 10 years ago.

When I dig some out I'll take a video of them.

Thanks, I'll do my own hunt and then I think a gathering in of samples of UK blackworm and comparison with the North American commercial ones may be indicated. There is one paper suggesting there are two clades representing species of different ploidy levels (chromosome counts) with both clades present in Europe and America.

Mark
30th January 2013, 12:12
The ice has melted and whilst collecting some daphnia this morning I fished out a few of my aquatic worms to video. The lines on the paper are approximately 1cm apart for scale.

Let me know what you think they are and how they compare to US blackworm. They should be easy to culture as this is one net scoop from a large garden bin.

Aquatic worms - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqEkDbH853I&feature=youtu.be)

PS. For the best quality view on Youtube at 1080p, full screen. It doesn't look great at 360p in a tiny viewer.

oceanblue
30th January 2013, 13:25
They look like blackworms to me. I take it they are segmented. I've scooped around in my various buckets without success, cannot look in the local river (its an SSSI so I need permission which I will seek if needed) and hope to sample the lake tomorrow).

So all us american envying europeans don't need to look very far.

Mark
30th January 2013, 13:49
Yes, they are segmented. Attached is a screen grab from the movie at 1080p which gives more detail.

oceanblue
30th January 2013, 14:34
They seem to have an appropriate number of segments. This ia a useful summary of biology, ecology and basic culture methods.

Lumbriculus variegatus (http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/DrewesC/htdocs/Lvgen4.htm)

caleb
30th January 2013, 14:42
Mine are very similar, photo should be attached.

One of the reasons I assumed these were tubifex was that the water butt is not shallow clean water- it's about 3 feet deep and a bit smelly.

oceanblue
30th January 2013, 14:50
In the paper on the ecology of the Wye they were present not only in the very superficial layers but deep. It seems they are versatile!

Mark
30th January 2013, 15:18
Mine are also in 3ft of water with 1ft of stinky anaerobic sludge. I suspect the sludge is key to their success. Tubifex also inhabit the bin but are outnumbered 100 to 1 by the "black worms".

oceanblue
30th January 2013, 18:54
Mine are also in 3ft of water with 1ft of stinky anaerobic sludge. I suspect the sludge is key to their success. Tubifex also inhabit the bin but are outnumbered 100 to 1 by the "black worms".
Substrate undoubtedly has a lot to do with it. You need one they like and one you can separate them from. Paper is one they like but becomes a mess.

Assessment of Alternative Substrates for Culturing Lumbriculus variegatus
2007, Lasier, P.J.
28th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America, Midwest Express Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA), 11-15 Nov.
Abstract:
The freshwater oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus, is tank-cultured to provide organisms for aquatic-habitat assessments, regeneration research and as a clean source of live food for aquarium fishes. Shredded paper is the typical substrate in cultures used to rear L. variegatus for these purposes. However, the effort needed to separate large numbers from decomposing paper can be prohibitive. Burlap and nylon mesh material were compared to paper as potential alternatives that could reduce this effort. Oligochaete production and the amount of time needed to separate animals from substrate were compared for eight weeks among experimental cultures containing burlap, nylon mesh and paper. Cultures with paper substrate increased in number and weight two to three times faster than those with burlap or nylon mesh substrates. The time needed to separate animals from substrate was initially two to three times longer with paper substrate than with burlap or nylon mesh substrates, but this difference increased to between 10 and 40 times longer after six weeks as the paper substrate decomposed. Feeding rates varied by treatment and were based on average wet weight at the time of water replacement. Elevated ammonia and nitrite concentrations resulting from excess food may have reduced production in nylon mesh treatments and was lethal in paper treatments during the final phases of the study. The type of substrate recommended may depend on the desired production rate of oligochaetes, space available for cultures and the amount of effort available for substrate renewal and separating the animals from the cultures.


I feel a substrate experiment coming on but first catch some worms and think about setups.

oceanblue
30th January 2013, 21:17
Snake in another thread on this forum manages to say the same but much more briefly and succinctly:
Black worms are easy to raise, a little burlap or brown paper sack some old tank water and there you go. Brown cardboard is good but hard to retrieve your worms from. Make sure you do water changes because it stinks.

caleb
31st January 2013, 09:30
Some aquarists claim that a sand or gravel substrate is better than paper/card/cloth- one example here:
Black Worms, Tubifex, Whatever - Live Food Cultures - NANFA Forum - Page 2 (http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/3252-black-worms-tubifex-whatever/page__st__20#entry32466)

oceanblue
1st February 2013, 22:01
A quick survey of the lake turned up remarkably little and no blackworms. I've still got a bucket of mud to try filtering which I dug up from the silt at the upstream end, but it is not promising. I'll hunt wider when I've a bit more free time.

Adogowo
19th March 2013, 06:28
Hi all, while researching possible worm inhabitants for a micro terrarium I am building I came across this man in Iowa, USA. here is a link to his studies Culturing Lumbriculus (http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/DrewesC/htdocs/LVCULT.htm)

Hope this gives some more insight to your efforts.