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Help with my wormbed

B

barrett

Guest
Hi, I have a wormbed that I am trying to culture the nightcrawlers I got from the convenience store. I don't know what kind they are but, if I had to guess, I would say...Canadian?

Actually the wormbed is a three tiered system with two large styrafoam coolers(10gal?)in which, I have about 15-20 worms apiece, and a small(3gal?)cooler in which to put any babies I find.

They are food for my chinese firebellies so they large nightcrawlers tend to be too big even when cut(hence the need for the babies.

I feed the crawlers 2-3weeks approx 1/2c of chopped vegi scraps and the pellets that are for the newts because the newts won't eat them. then for the babies I feed only the pellets to gut load them for the newts.They are all housed using some paper-based worm bedding I got at Wall-mart and I keep them outside in a wooden box. They seem to stay pretty cool even on hot days.

Only once in a great long while,however, do I find any babies and it is usually one lone baby at that so...all of the small worms I feed my newts I must hunt for outside. It is going to be winter soon and that will no longer be an option. All that will be available are the large diameter crawlers unless I can get them to produce more offspring.

Please tell me what I can do; aside from stocking up on wild caught smallsies.
Bmurph
 
F

frank

Guest
I think that you need a lot of worms to breed them yourself.

I takes some time and if you are also feeding the worms to your animals while trying to breed them this won't really work.

I have a few hundred in 1 bucket and I find a lot of eggs now (after about 6 weeks)
Here's a picture I tried to make of some eggs:
43081.jpg


They don't necessarily have to be very cool, if you just make sure they don't get too dry.

And make sure you always seal your wormfarm very well, they crawl to the tinyiest whole when it gets dark.

You can also make sure there is always a small light burning.
This is what worms do at night:
43082.jpg
 
J

jennifer

Guest
Bmurph, unfortunately, Canadian nightcrawlers reproduce too slowly to be practical for breeding. The amount of babies you are seeing is probably the best you can expect from them. You need to get some type of redworms. The disadvantage of redworms is that they give off a noxious odor when cut, so many newts will refuse to eat them if cut. A few animals will refuse to eat them, even whole. I breed a larger redworm species called "Belgian" (Eisenia hortensis). They have less noxious odor, but some newts will still refuse to eat them if cut up.

I'm not sure what kind of worms are those in Frank's photo. Probably some kind of redworms though.

See:
http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/worms.shtml
 
B

barrett

Guest
OK, what about regular earthworms; perhaps the larger ones in greater quantities? Unfortunately I would have no idea the exact species of the worms in my area.

On a side note I would just like to comment on the quality of this site. I have been reading the articles and forum discussions since before I got my newts and it has been incredibly informative.

I had newts before when I was about 11 or 12 and...WOW... what a horrible life they must have had right up to the bitter end.(needles to say they all met their demise.)I did everything wrong that you can imagine.

Butt, back in May of this year I decided to get back into into amphibians for their ecological and evolutionary significance and I am pretty confident that my animals are happy although there is always room for improvement.Caudata Culture has made all the difference. So, thank you Jennifer Macke you must really love what you do.
<u> </u>

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion, without the discomfort of thought"-John F. Kennedy

(Message edited by bmurph on September 13, 2005)
 
F

frank

Guest
I think these are. (Quite sure about it actually)

Eisenia hortensis

I first had wildcaught worms and also tried to breed them. So I had different species of worms. All the worms I had started to crawl at night.

The advantage of breeding your own worms is that you are certain about their condition and what they ate. You can also add extra calcium and vitamins in your farm.
 
B

barrett

Guest
I can try and get some pictures of the local worms I am finding; I have to first use up this roll of film and get it converted to a disc ( I'm not quite in the new millenia with a digital camera yet). What are other ways I can find out on my own the species I am dealing with? How do you classify them?

In addition to the newt pellets that I am giving to the worms, I also supplement the crushed egg shells for calcium as suggested.

P.S. Not to single anyone out; everyone who has contributed to this site has helped me in some way.
 
B

barrett

Guest
Oh, one more thing...

Worms tend to have a network of tunnels usually;right? Is it a system like ants have, with specific housing sections and places for the eggs?

Actually, I should ask which ones have permanent burrows because, apparently some do and some do not.

(Message edited by bmurph on September 13, 2005)
 
J

jennifer

Guest
Thanks for the compliment on the site. A lot of people have contributed. And the conversations here are what keep me motivated to figure things out.

I don't know much about "wild caught" worms. If you can find some reddish ones in a compost pile, they would probably be the best for culturing. I'd be curious if it's possible to culture common gray earthworms, but i suspect they reproduce slowly. Redworms do not make permanent burrows, that's about all I know on that topic.
 
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