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Eisenia hortensis culture

JoshBA

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This is a Rubbermaid bin I am using to culture European nightcrawlers. The substrate I used was ~6 inches of coco-fiber with various vegetables mixed in.
joshba-albums-eisenia-hortensis-culture-picture29002-20130606-200652.jpeg
 

JoshBA

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Okay, here's a pic. The worms are always attempting massive breakouts. Its kind of irritating to wake up to a graveyard of 30 dried worms all over your floor! Now I'm in the process of plugging up all the ventilation holes on the sides. Their food is starting to decompose a little more so hopefully they won't have as much of an urge to escape!
joshba-albums-eisenia-hortensis-culture-picture29002-20130606-200652.jpeg
 

tcbemis

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Leave a light on over the tub for 24 hours, works like a charm. They'll stay down after that.

Sent from my LGLS990 using Tapatalk
 

manderkeeper

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Sorry to dredge up an old post, but curious what size ventilation holes they can fit through? I am thinking of siliconing fiberglass insect screening in the middle of the lid instead, maybe a 3" vent hole or something?
 

JoshBA

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They'll pretty much find their way through any hole size. Honestly I don't think ventilation is necessary; a loose fitting lid and periodically opening it up should be adequate. I have long since switched to a container with no ventilation or drainage, and the worms are just fine. I think the way I started this out is almost laughable.

Once the substrate was established, meaning there was plenty of microbial activity and decomposition going on, the worms stopped escaping almost entirely. They still climb the sides at night (they are nightcrawlers!), but its been a while since I've found any dried up carcasses on the floor.

As far as breeding goes, they are fairly consistent as long as ample food is provided. They don't mind a substrate like coconut fiber as long its mixed with plenty of 'edible' particles. Shredded cardboard and leaves are good amendments to serve this purpose. Fruits and vegetables that rot quickly should be used (avoid carrots and lettuce new setups). I have found that powdered dietary supplements (like that nasty organic stuff that people put in smoothies,or 'Superfoods') including ground up nuts and spirulina powder work VERY well as food for these worms. But once things start decomposing, almost anything works.

These worms are very moisture tolerant as well. I've kept their culture at an almost 'mud' moisture level for prolonged periods and they were just fine. There's even a small population living in the substrate in one of my planted aquariums. So don't worry if your newts fail to eat them.
 

herpguy

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Very nice, I have much experience with this kind of setup. You can also raise soldier flies (aka "Phoenix worms") in with the worms in the same exact setup.
 

manderkeeper

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Do you think they were getting out through the holes or the loose sides of the lid? I've heard there are gasket sealed plastic boxes one can buy, I might go with that if the regular sterilite lids are too insecure.
 

dano

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I keep a lid on the bins that I use. Also, I chop up the garden veggies with a food processor . They will decompose quicker. Also, I put shredded paper on top of the culture to keep flies away.
 
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