The Phoenix Worm Experiment

SludgeMunkey

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I purchased some Phoenix worms (Soldier Fly Larvae) of various sizes a few weeks back to try them out with my extremely varied collection of pets.

Here are the results of the trials after a two week feeding cycle:

Cynops ensicauda popei juveniles: fed the smallest size available. Readily accepted by some, ignored by others

Ambystoma mexicanum: They eat anything offered on tongs, but the largest size is too small to make this an effective feeder

Hyla chysoscelis: Voraciously accepted! Completely digested, that is, no dead Phoenix worms noted in feces

Bombina orientalis: Instant feeding frenzy. Many undigested Phoenix worms noted in feces in the following days, I do not recommend these for this animal. If they are not digesting them, what is the point in feeding them with these?

Acris crepitans blanchardi: readily accepted

Pseudacris triseriata: readily accepted, massive increase in growth and activity of specimen over two week period

Chamaeleo jacksonii merumontanus
: Readily accepted, not digestible, same as wax worms. Not reccomended for this animal

Canis familiaris:
Pug: Ignored as food, but excellent to bark at for hours on end even after the one dropped on the floor is picked up and disposed of. Chug: Container is fun to push around the floor and bark at for hours on end...;)


So all marketing blather aside, are these really worth the money? I feel not. Sure, once in a while as part of a balanced diet these are fine. I feel that these are only slightly better than wax worms.
I personally will not spend the money on them again, even though I got them extremely cheap online.
 

Kerry1968

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Tried to give you rep Johnny, but I obviously gave you some not that long ago!

This is a great post, it tells people exactly what they need to know about this specific food.

I especially like the bits about the dogs!
 

Jennewt

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I agree, this was a very informative post. Thanks for trying them out and posting specific results. I've had similar experience with them. They work well for some animals, but aren't something I buy on a regular basis.

Cynops ensicauda popei juveniles: fed the smallest size available. Readily accepted by some, ignored by others
This fact may make these guys worth purchasing regularly, for some folks. Considering the difficulty in finding small live food for terrestrial metamorphs, this at least gives an additional option. I would bet that, if hungry enough, all of the popei would eventually accept these as food.
 

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I´m curious as to why you find waxworms to be a poorer choice than phoenix worms.
 

SludgeMunkey

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I´m curious as to why you find wax worms to be a poorer choice than phoenix worms.

I have never had good luck with wax worms. With all of my animals, past and present, they were either spit out directly, regurgitated whole later, or passed in feces undigested. That was enough for me to shun them. I replaced wax worms with live silkworms with excellent results.( The Silk Worm Shop)

Call me crazy for spending so much time looking at feces, but I figure a good, healthy pile means I am feeding properly.
 
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Azhael

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What culture media did you use for your waxworms?
I suspect there has to be something particular that made them taste bad or something on those lines, because i´ve had amazing results with waxworms...i can quite safely say they have saved my a** a couple of times.

I´ve had the odd undigested one...but it´s the exception, not the norm.
 

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Phoenix worms just cost way to much for me to use. I make a very good cricket gut load mix useing scambled eggs, bee pollen, blue green algae, rep cal and fish food. Plus Im all about free fly maggots at the moment. big, fat and juicy flie maggots. Which of course is amost what phoenix worm larvae is in the first place. I have had success with feeding maggots to 5 different kinds of newts and salamanders. Phoenix worms also seem to me to have a much tougher skin .Which could be the reason for the digestion problems that have been mentioned.
 

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I have never had good luck with wax worms. With all of my animals, past and present, they were either spit out directly, regurgitated whole later, or passed in feces undigested. That was enough for me to shun them.

With the huge exception of my A. tigrinum and my one hippo axolotl juvie (out of three) I have had poor luck with wax worms as well. Mostly spit out or not even accepted. I usually just buy them and feed them, they are always in the wood shaving media. I was unaware that there is other media to keep wax worms in, I am curious to see what you suggest Azhael.

Call me crazy for spending so much time looking at feces, but I figure a good, healthy pile means I am feeding properly.

I think to is REALLY important to do. It really shines light on what is happening and how it is affecting your animals. I do not use a filter in my tanks so I remove all waste manually. I usually give it a visual look over to see if things are normal, regular, etc.

I am very happy that you have tried this and relayed the information but to us. This gives me great incentive to go and try these different foods.

Mitch
 

Azhael

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Well i personally culture them in a mixture of honey, yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ and potato flakes.
As i said i´ve had great results with my waxworms(they are the lesser ones though, Achroia grisella), with only the odd undigested one, and never a refusal. I´ve had animals that wouldn´t eat anything else...but would go crazy for the waxworms.
 

xMIDNIGHTx

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Thanks Azhael! After reading this and a little google magic it seems that honey is there natural food. Interesting enough these seem to be rather easy to breed and at different stage could offer different sizes and more "taste" to the fussy wax worm eaters. It will definitely to on my list of things to start and try! Thanks again.

Mitch

(sorry for straying away from phoenix worms Sludge :eek:)
 

SludgeMunkey

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I suspect the issues I have had with wax worms are related to the supplier. They are readily available in just about any pet shop in the US, but as in a previous post, they always come in wood shavings. I suspect the packing media may be the issue, as it smelled like a pine to me when I gave it a burn test. While I have considered culturing my own, I decided against it when other foods are readily available.

As for the cost, yes, they are expensive, depending on the source. (With out sounding like Billy Mays...) Ghann's Cricket farm has the lowest prices I have found yet. They somehow sell them cheaper than the company that breeds them!

As for house fly maggots, I do not feel comfortable culturing them now a days. (I did farm them in the past when I was breeding chameleons and the like.) I found that juvenile lobster roaches are more suitable for me and my creatures, strictly on the ease of culturing large amounts.

I admit, I bought the phoenix worms strictly to give them a try after reading some very good things about them. I suspect over time the price will drop and availability will increase. Given that I reside in the heart of "snake people" country, getting suitable feeder foods is a real pain here, especially in winter time. I have had trouble keeping my terrestrial food cultures going lately so I have been forced to spend more and have foods shipped in. Hopefully by winter i will have my "warm room" finished in the critter zoo. this will make culturing much easier for me.
 
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Jennewt

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I suspect over time the price will drop and availability will increase.
Generic Phoenix worms are already starting to be available, sold under names like "soldier worm" or "soldier grub".
 

froggy

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Very interesting post. Thanks. I have found that waxworms are readily accepted by my animals (Tylototriton verrucosus (of course they were accepted!) and until recently Hynobius dunni), and that in animals where digestion is not very effective (particularly juvenile verrucosus), piercing the grub several times, or feeding them chopped or slashed open leads to good digestion. Out of interest, how big are phoenix worms, and why are they so-called (I take it that they don't reincarnate in a blaze of flames)?

Chris
 

SludgeMunkey

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Very interesting post. Thanks. I have found that waxworms are readily accepted by my animals (Tylototriton verrucosus (of course they were accepted!) and until recently Hynobius dunni), and that in animals where digestion is not very effective (particularly juvenile verrucosus), piercing the grub several times, or feeding them chopped or slashed open leads to good digestion. Out of interest, how big are phoenix worms, and why are they so-called (I take it that they don't reincarnate in a blaze of flames)?

Chris
They are readily available in various sizes from extra small (about 4mm) to large ( about 19.5mm). As for the "Brand Name" I have no cue, I suspect this is just a marketing ploy. The original developer of the food claims they have a natural 1.5:1 calcium phosphorus ratio.
Prices vary wildly. These are the larvae of a wasp mimic,the Black Soldier Fly[FONT="Trebuchet MS", Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT="Trebuchet MS", Arial, Helvetica]Hermetia illucens.


[/FONT][FONT="Trebuchet MS", Arial, Helvetica][/FONT]
 

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I tried these once and had mixed results. If I remember right they don't move much, so little in fact that I thought they were dead. They cost a small fortune and quite a few newts either wouldn't look at them or spat them out. If the price was to drop by more than half I would be tempted to include them regularly. As it is I'll stick to earth worms.
 

SludgeMunkey

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I tried these once and had mixed results. If I remember right they don't move much, so little in fact that I thought they were dead. They cost a small fortune and quite a few newts either wouldn't look at them or spat them out. If the price was to drop by more than half I would be tempted to include them regularly. As it is I'll stick to earth worms.

I found them to be quite lively. However, it appears the ones available outside of North America are still farmed in North America. While they have a long shelf life, I bet it isn't long enough...
 

SludgeMunkey

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Well i personally culture them in a mixture of honey, yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ and potato flakes.
As i said i´ve had great results with my waxworms(they are the lesser ones though, Achroia grisella), with only the odd undigested one, and never a refusal. I´ve had animals that wouldn´t eat anything else...but would go crazy for the waxworms.

It also appears that the wax worms most commonly available in the US are Galleria mellonella. This could be part of the issue also. I will have to see about getting some A. grisella and trying them out.
 

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The waxworms I got in Europe are the same as the ones I get here in the US. Tiger salamander crack cocaine.
 

SludgeMunkey

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I have sent out a few letters about to various suppliers of Phoenix worms to try and find out what the "Phoenix" bit is all about. While I was at it, I asked which wax worm species they sell...;)
 

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Where I've been around the US, I've found "waxworms" can be quite different species. The worst example being mealworm pupae sold as "waxworms". Actually, I think some of the confusion may have been rectified thanks to the Internet.
 
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