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Breeding/raising Blackworms

ferret_corner

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I did a search but only seemed to find one other article really pertaining to this on caudata.

Anyone have a good method of doing this?

I don't need huge amounts like ordering from the blackworm store (I forget the name). YEARS ago a fish store told me I should feed live blackworms to my fish, good for them, a great treat, what they would eat in nature blah blah blah. Ok I asked for a portion, they brought out this tiny cup like the medicine cups you use to give kids medicine and was appalled. Ok um give me 5 portions.

I went home and dropped all 5 portions in my 10gl tropical fish tank, with about 5 fish in it. As the ball of worms sank down I was appalled again, knowing the fish would never eat that many. But what could I do now right? I'd just change the water more and see what happened.

Nothing. Well except the worms replicating I suppose and my fish getting obese with the free feeding regimen I'd started. I'd always hyperfiltered my tanks because I like crowded fish tanks so I suppose the extra oxygen was good for this. I had more fish to start with but I lost some during my move.

When I siphoned the gravel once a month I picked up a lot of the worms, so I got some more buckets. After siphoning the dirty stuff out of the gravel I'd let the water sit. The carefully pour the water from one bucket to the other. I'd net out any free floating worms and put them back in the first bucket, pour in more clean water and let it sit again. Then I'd repeat the water pour off over and over until the water ran clear.

Later I figured out I could use a turkey baster to get the heavier debris from the bottom and that would speed up the water rinsing. All in all it probably took 1/2 an hour or if I did this in the evening an hour while I watched X-files. (water rinsing occuring during commercials!)

When it was all done I dumped the worms back into the 10gl tank and watched them sink in the large gravel substrate.

When I moved to a house (versus the apartment) I had several tanks. Most had a much smaller gravel and I was never able to get a culture going as strongly in those tanks as I had in the 10 gl. I had no idea what an embarassment of riches I'd accidently cultured.

Now here I am with 6 portions of blackworms and wondering how to get started. Sort of. Ok not wondering just worried about taking the plunge. lol isn't that silly?

Well it is and it isn't. Its really hard to get blackworms. No one sells them in county at all. So I try to get some when I go to Tucson. For a while it seems like they went out of style for feeding your fish. I couldn't get thema anywhere. FOR YEARS. A while back I got some and tossed them into my tanks not really caring if they established themselves or not. They didn't. These tanks had much smaller gravel and were kept at slightly cooler temperatures.

So here I am - going to try it again.

I've read a ton of webpages. Everyone is using brown paper or burlap even and having limited success. The culture survives but doesn't go nuts like my accidental one seemed to. http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/foods_nutritions/livefood_cultures/blackworms_cultures2.shtml

So I'm going to do some tank swapping and get this party started. Wish me luck!
 
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fishkeeper

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One thing is that it is really hard to tell if the blackworms are actually breeding unless perhaps you weigh out the worms afterward. It looks like that you were using yours for such a long time something had to be going on. I've had tanks get infested, but again I couldn't tell if they were merely hanging out or actually reproducing in good numbers.I've heard occasionally speeding the fragmentation process(read: chopping the worms in half) helps.
 

ferret_corner

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I should go look the info... but they don't actually "breed" they reproduce asexually through fragmentation. Poor choice of words on my part, sorry.

I've kept a very small portion going - I wasn't able to get my tanks up and running like I wanted to - hubby said the counter where I wanted to put the new 40gls wasn't strong enough to hold them so the whole thing has been put off. I wasn't going to keep the worms in the 40s but I needed to do some tank swapping so I'd have some smaller tanks and counterspace available to this experiment/undertaking!

I have noticed that my surviving culture is FAT compared to what I get from the stores. No wonder people say they aren't very good nutritionally or at least wonder if they are. The worms from the store are Keira Knightley and my culture is Roseanne Barr.

AND! (shaking my head here at the variables....) that makes weighing them as a measurement to breeding a pain in the ****.

Every so often I go in to the room with my worm stirring stick (a new screwdriver I stole out of hubbys new set - he's really torked and doesn't know where it is...) and stir up the white worms before giving them some its and bits of bread then I rinse that off and give the blackworm culture a water tornado stir.

So my experiment has been put off now there is more STUFF to crowd my brain for when I actually can get this going.
 

fishkeeper

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I think blackworms...thick or thin...are great nutritionally. But once newts get to a certain point earthworms are a meatier meal and they can't put on much weight with blackworms unless they can be fed large quantities(particularly in a natural setup where they need to hunt them and that is time consuming).
 
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