No new blackworms?

S

s1ren

Guest
Ok. I started a Blackworm culture tank in February. I'm keeping them according to info I've found here on the forum, and also according to this website: http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/DrewesC/htdocs/LVCULT.htm
(brown paper towel substrate, water changes with aged and de-chlorinated tap water every third day, feeding them with fish pellets, aerated with a simple bubbler, etc).

They're doing just fine, but they don't seem to be multiplying, which was kind of the whole point of culturing them.


Anyone have any suggestions? Ideas?
 
S

sharon

Guest
really? Mine seem to be multiplying just fine? The bag (the brown paper bag) broke up, and there are little "heaps" all over the bottom of the tank. If I suck one of the smaller heaps up and break it up - I see itty bitty babies in there. I KNOW there weren't any babies when my culture came in the mail. I scoop out about a gallon of water every couple of days and pour another gallon in. I don't filter. I feed dissolved fish food and newt bites.

yeah and I have an airstone too.
 
J

jennifer

Guest
They don't reproduce quickly. The information I have seen says their number doubles in 3-4 (or 4-6) weeks. So you probably wouldn't be able to see a noticable increase in their number in less time than that.

I've tried to culture them, but in the end concluded that they are just too slow to be worthwhile.
 
S

s1ren

Guest
Sharon: wow, babies? That's cool. Most of what I've read say that they hardly every reproduce that way in culture, that they usually split.

Jennifer: that's what I've read, too, but it's been three and a half months since I started. Surely I'd have noticed something by now, don't you think?}
 
L

l.

Guest
Two more months later...I finally took down the culture I had going, and just fed the rest of the blackworms to my newts.

This thing wasn't going ANYWHERE. The worms were increasing, but not even at a good enough rate to keep up with feeding. After I stopped feeding them to the newts for a MONTH to wait for the population to build up - which it DIDNT - I finally just gave up.

Does anyone have any further ideas on why they won't reproduce? I'd really like to keep a blackworm culture, but I'd rather not waste the electricity if it won't go anywhere.

Clean water...paper towells...food...aeration...what am I missing? Is there a temperature thing? Any ideas?
Anyone?

Bueller?

 
J

jennifer

Guest
That's a bummer, S1ren, but I'm not entirely surprised. I had similar results when I tried. If you want something easy to raise that you could use to supplement store-bought blackworms, you might want to consider growing whiteworms. You need soil (microwaved to kill mites), a small plastic tub, and bits of bread. In a month you'll have millions. Although they are smaller than blackworms, all my newts go for them.
 
L

l.

Guest
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on that, Jennifer - I only just noticed your reply here.

Whiteworms sound like a good idea. What exactly are they? I've never seen anything but mealworms and waxworms (other than earth- and black-worms) sold locally. I imagine there's somewhere on the internet to buy a starter culture?
 
J

jennifer

Guest
You can order whiteworm starter cultures many places: aquabid.com, livefoodcultures.com, lfscultures.com etc. If you are willing to wait until cool weather, I can send you some. Drop me an e-mail.

(Message edited by jennewt on December 10, 2006)
 
A

andre

Guest
Hello...new to the site but in reading the post I thought I would add something useful here. I new Charlie Drewes at Iowa State while I was a grad student there. He was a great teacher, mentor, and friend! As for the cultures with Lumbriculus, the one thing that appears to have been overlooked is that you do not necessarily need to wait from them to breed. Charlie spent a lot of time using them as a model for regeneration and the nice thing is, a single worm can be cut in two, and in a short time two new worms will be present. This can be a quick way to increase the "numbers" of a given population as well as get the right size you need for feeding. I had many chats with Charlie about the worms and their husbandry and really think that waiting for them to breed is difficult as that the specific conditions are still not known. Fragmenting still appears the best way to expand them in culture.
 
J

joseph

Guest
Hmmm...so are you saying periodically take worms from the culture and cut them in two?
 
A

andre

Guest
Cutting them with a razor blade works fairly well. Using the blade will allow for more control of sizes, etc. There actually is a minimum number of segments that is necessary in order to regenerate a "new" worm, meaning head and/or tail. Stirring does not always mean fragmentation, and could potentially lead to more damage.
 
D

deborah

Guest
I also culture blackworms and find that they reproduce very slowly. But I do have babies: they tend to clump together in tiny little pink balls by themselves.

Cutting the larger ones sounds like a good idea, and we hadn't tried that... will have to get a razor blade and cut a few of them up, see if it stretches out the lifespan of the culture.

I usually buy 1/2 pound at a time (that is a LOT of blackworms) from the California Blackworm site online. It costs around $30 to overnight them, but they usually last a few months.

The link referenced in the first post has excellent instructions on how to culture them. We do it exactly the same way and find that little lunch sacks, torn in half, are about the right amount to feed to 1/2 pounds of blackworms.

The only issue I've had with the Cali. Blackworms is that there are generally a lot of tiny leaches in the shipments, and it takes a LONG time to thoroughly wash them out when they arrive. Even then it's easy to miss a few leaches (they are tiny) and they will sometimes trigger a die-off.

Any one have an easier method of leach-proofing your blackworm culture?

Good luck with your culturing!
 
L

lily

Guest
hi,

i am new here and also new to culturing blackworms. i somehow recieved a few individuals with some plants and they are now in my substrate. this is what i have noticed:

my 10g tank was at 74F (more or less) and the worms seemed to be thriving. the water is NOT shallow (at least compared to the worms). i don't feed them anything in particular but i do feed my snails and fish either frozen veggie food (home-made) or algae tablets. the worms seem to really like the left-overs. after a week or two of feeding, i noticed LOTS of tiny tiny worms that looked like a pinkish hairy covering on the gravel where the food excess was. some of the original worms did split and regenerate--i know this because i saw bigger worms but in greater numbers than previously. these were obviously not the same as the babies.

anyway, i recently did major renovations to the tank lay-out, moving around rocks, adding driftwood and planting more plants. i also raised the temperature up to 80F as i wanted to make sure that my shrimps would breed. this was a couple days ago.

now, i do not see as many worms or worm babies, though i still see a few confidently sticking their tail ends up from the gravel. i'm not sure if the babies are lying low after all the disruption or if i have suddenly made their home less happy for them. it could also be that they are in areas of the tank i can't see (as there is now a large piece of driftwood in the middle).

the upshot is though, that they WILL reproduce as well as fragment if given enough food, the right temp and enough space (i assume).

this is all based on my recent experience though, so i may have been lucky.

lily
 

whyjune1st

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I am pretty new to all of this I have two pet axolotls, one fully grown and one only a teenager. I would like to culture blackworms because they seem to be having trouble with throwing up redworms so i thought blackworms would be a good alternative for them before redworms i was feeding them feeder goldfish until I realized how void of nutrition and disease ridden they were. Anyway I would like to start a blackworm culture and have enough food to sustain my two axies. Do you guys think that one culture would be enough to keep feeding and not have to re-buy more blackworms?

Also I was wondering about the cutting of the blackworms. It looks to me like they are very tiny creatures and it would be very hard and not very time efficient to cut each individual worm. Do you guys know of any way that is quicker and efficient to segment them to create a faster reproduction rate? I know someone suggested stirring the tank but someone else said that could be more harmful than helpful. Any reply would be appreciated.
 

Kaysie

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This thread is over 2 years old.

It's much more efficient to feed adult axolotls earthworms rather than blackworms.
 
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