Microworms Mystery

firefly

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My m/worm culture's been going since the 30 Dec. It's been really slow getting going but yesterday I managed to harvest my very first batch of worms. I could see the surface of the culture shimmering with them so I used a fine paintbrush to obtain them then dipped the brush into clean water before syphoning the cleaned worms off to give to my larvae. There were loads & loads of tiny worms. I got really excited at the prospect of ongoing food for them.

Well today it all went downhill because although the culture was still shimmering on the surface, for some unknown reason I couldn't see any worms at all after I had harvested them. I used exactly the same method as the previous night and tried 5 times without success. Bizarre :(.

What am I doing wrong please ??
 

Jennewt

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I have no idea. If you can see the worms on the surface of the culture, there is no reason that you shouldn't get some when you harvest them. Do you have some sort of magnifier or hand lens that you could use to look at the rinse water? Maybe there are worms there, but too few to see with the naked eye.
 

Coastal Groovin

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See if they stick to your finger. I just dip my finger on the surface and then dip my finger in the water over groups of larvae when I feed them. If you can see them on the surface moving they are still there. Remember to start a second culture now that the first is going well. When you are done with the first one you second one will be ready.
 

firefly

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I use a magnyfing glass, and it took a while to spot them the first time cos they're so small. I really do have to look hard, and let the water settle but no there's nothing there.

Maybe I'm being too tentative when I scoop them up and perhaps I should delve a bit deeper (but I don't mean digging into the media). It's very odd.

I've got some daphnia & brine shrimp from 'fishandfins' today so I've put some of the smallest ones in with the babies - can't see them eating or being interested in them at all tho.

Are they still to young to start eating yet? They hatched on the 9th Jan.

Sorry for worrying so much - it's my first experience with amphibians.

Thanks
 

bellabelloo

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When you say water, do you mean the water in the larva tank..or is the media very wet?
 

Coastal Groovin

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Micro worms bunch up along the sides of the plastic containers I culture them in. You should be able to see them.. Did your culture dry up? They like their oatmeal on the soupy side. They are hard to see when you place them in the tank with your larvae but they should be easy to see on the culture surface.
 

Greatwtehunter

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The larvae should be old enough to start eating. When you put the worms in there the first time did you notice the larvae 'hoping'?

You could try this method for harvesting them. Put the culture some place warm like on top of the aquarium lights. The worms will crawl up the sides after a few mintues. I use a butter knife to scrape them off the sides.
 

firefly

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When you say water, do you mean the water in the larva tank..or is the media very wet?
Sorry, the water is in a plastic cup and it's where I dip the paint brush or my finger to clean them before I give the worms to my larvae.
 

firefly

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Nope BillYannone, no hopping seen & I watch them like hawks most of the time. They're looking well though and they're very fast swimmers.

Greatwtehunter - yours is the method I tried (butterknife) along with others. I think I will just leave them alone for a while in the warm cupbnoard then try again.

I'm paranoid in case my larvae starve :( sorry.
 

fishkeeper

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The best method I've come across is to moisten a paper towel and place it on a surface of the culture for a minute or so, then lift it off. A thick film of worms will stick to it. If you medium is very wet this method may pick up a bit of the medium...but that is inconsequential and if it worries you you can rinse the worms off into a tall narrow container. Let sit for a minute or two and pour off the water(since the worms sink you should not lose many. This method can harvest worms from culture that are either very young and not yet crawling up the sides, or old cultures that are about to crash and have little activity. Works best if you shine a light to figure out where the most worms and and put the towel there.

I would reccomend trying to get a culture of vinegar eels. They are a bit smaller than microworms...but will be a perfect backup if your microworm cultures crash. I have 2 cultures in wine bottles that are kept in 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water(if you have lots of cider vinegar to spare, all the better. Malt vinegar is supposed to work very well too). A few apple pieces dropped in occasionally is all that is needed. Actually, since I have been away from home at college these cultures have gone for perhaps a year with no maintenance other than taking them out, peeking at them, and marveling their are still so many worms alive! You do need a container that allows airflow so they do not suffocate and they are a bit tricky to harvest out of the vinegar (no way I've found completely eliminates the vinegar residue...but again as long as your larval container is big enough this should be of no consequence..I'd be cautious if your water is very soft)
 

firefly

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Thats wonderful advice fishkeeper, I will try vinegar eels - I take cider vinegar myself anyway so I always have some in the cupboard and I have an apple tree so hey presto !!

The m/worms that I did manage to harvest the first time were so teeny tiny. Maybe they're just not grown enough yet like you say to climb, but I'm going to try the paper towel method.

The light shows little shimmering areas on top of the media so thats where I'll go for.

Thank you so much :)
 

SludgeMunkey

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I too swear by vinegar eels. They are great early live foods.

I have never had much luck culturing microworms (or whiteworms for that matter! I am the guy that can kill off those cultures in only a few days!), but to harvest them I used to cut a square of clear plastic and set it on top of the culture, when it is time to harvest I merely rinse this plastic into some spring water and the worms are ready to easily feed to your pets with an eyedropper or turkey baster.
 

firefly

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Thanks guys for your help.

Fishkeeper - I tried your method and it worked (a bit) didn't get a lot of worms, but it eased my mind a bit - and I've have ordered some vinegar eels.

SludgeMonkey - I'm glad I'm not the only one whose culture seems to fail a bit.

Thx again :)
 

firefly

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How long do you think I will have to wait for vinegar eels to start appearing please
 

fishkeeper

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I don't remember but they aren't as fast as microworms. They probably take a few weeks before you can harvest a goodly amt.(nothing is going to stop you from trying earlier though...just that you won't get many worms).

Ideally the vinegar eel culture will appear to shimmer when placed in bright light. They often gather just under the surface and a little tap to make them start sinking will make them easier to see.
 

firefly

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Ah ok - I'll do that. So I will keep them on tiny Daphnia and any microworms that may appear & hopefully they'll be ok til I get the Vinegar eels going.

One last question honestly fishkeeper, are Vinegar eels ok for when the larvae get bigger too.
 
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