Home blackworm culture worth the bother?[long]

morg

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Blackworms are not readily available here in the UK, but are available as a starter culture from biological supply houses.
Although I do not have a shortage of different foods for my newts I decided to try a blackworm culture.
I first obtained a starter culture of around 30 worms, put them in a small fish tank with around 3 inches of water.
In the bottom I put some ripped up paper towels to provide decaying matter for the worms to live on.
Although the instructions said that gently aeration may be of benefit, I did not bother.
The worms were fed on trout pellets, and I did a partial water change weekly,These regular water changes probably kept any smell down.
The tank was kept in my caudate room inside the house, but as blackworms are not lovers of light I covered the tank with a towel.
According to instructions the population should double every 3-4 weeks.
My plan was to keep my culture going untill next year when I should have enough to start feeding once a week to my aquatic stage newts.
The culture has expanded slowly, althoughh not as quickly as I expected and I decided to try a few out on my newts.
The results were not as expected with most not being interested.
John Clare pointed out to me that maybe the newts have to get used to the new food source, and also that the worms may have taken on the taste of the trout pellets which I suppose may put some newts off.
I am going to wait untill my culture of blackworms is a lot larger before offering again, but the conclusions I have come to, up to now are that with so many other food sources available home culture of blackworms is not worth it.
Before finishing I would like to add a link for a company I have found usefull for obtaining starter cultures of other food sources here in the UK.
www.livinglunch.co.uk
 

morg

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Over four months on from my original post, and the culture is still only large enough to feed my pair of Triturus karelinii a small amount of the worms once a fortnight without any noticable depletion of the blackworm numbers.
So I repeat the advice, that home blackworm culture is not worth the bother.

MORG
 
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aaron

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Thanks for conducting this experiment. I've been thinking of starting a culture myself, but after reading your results, I'm thinking not.

~Aaron
 

caleb

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Caleb Leeke
Maybe you should cut out the middleman, and feed the trout pellets to the newts... most of my aquatic ones will take fish pellets.

I was thinking of trying blackworms as well, but it sounds a lot less productive than a whiteworm culture of the same size.

Incidentally, I have an excellent whiteworm culture which started itself in an earthworm culture- I don't know where they came from, but they thrived, while the earthworms all died off. I've continued using vegetable scraps, the same as I did for the worms, and they live very well on this.
 
U

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Yes whiteworm cultures expand rapidly once they start going, while blackworm cultures are so SLOW, that they are not worth bothering with.
I have also found that whiteworm do great in with earthworms,so I keep some in with my Denrobeana worms, incase my whiteworm cultures fail for any reason.
There are also masses of whiteworms in an outdoor worm composting bin that I have, which is used for composting vegetable scraps.

MORG
 
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