Tubifex Worms. Good or Bad?

AeonMapa

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I recently got 5 CFBN which I'm keeping with White Cloud Minnows and Cherry Shrimp. I've been using live Tubifex Worms as food, and all three species seem to enjoy eating them. I get the worms from the same pet store as I got the animals. the keep them in large buckets where they form giant masses. I usually buy enough to last about 2 weeks at a time.

I hear however that tubifex worms are notoriously dirty and sick. Should I be worried about the continuing to feed these worms? It seems they feed these to the newts at the shop too. Is it possible that these are "clean" tubifex worms? If so, are these nutritious enough to be the staple of a newt's diet?

Does any one else here keep a live supply of tubifex worms as well?
 

Mark

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I buy tubifex by the kilo and keep them alive for a month or two with no issue. It's easiest if you have an outside tap as keeping the water fresh is essential. I trickle water constantly through a plastic tub in which the worms are housed. The flow rate must be enough to completely change the water 2-3 times daily. If you don't have an outdoor tap you need to be doing complete water changes at least twice a day. With the tap system it's important to flip over the worm mass every other day. Dead worms gather at the bottom of the worm mass and need to be flushed away to prevent them fouling the rest. They also need to be kept as cool as possible.

There are horror stories related to use of tubifex - mass deaths due to bad worms. They are often cultured in unsavoury conditions. I've not had such issues and raised many great newts on a staple of tubifex.
 

AeonMapa

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How does one go about culturing tubifex worms? Are the a larvae or a true worm?
Also is it possible to feed healthy foods to tubifex worms so they we be gut loaded when fed to my newts? :)
 

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They are annelids, just like your average earthworm.
Obviously if they are well-fed they will be more nutritious, but nevertheless they have a low calcium content and if you live in an area with soft water, this might be a problem in the long run. I would recommend a varied diet over a diet consisting solely on Tubifex.
 

Coastal Groovin

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Some Discus fish breeders treat their worms with antibiotics before they use them as food because the bacteria they can contain. I myself have never done that.
 

AeonMapa

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Thanks to all of you :) I'll think about culturing my own worms so that I can be sure they're clean and fed with nutritious food.

My one concern with raising tubifex though is that my water bills will go through the roof if I keep them with a constant flow :/

Also I'm starting a compost heap to raise my own earthworms so I think between those two my newts will be well sustained!
 

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Culturing your own earthworms is an excellent idea. With an staple of earthworms, you could buy smaller quantities of Tubifex at a time which should make it easier to keep them alive and well, plus you wouldn´t have to keep them alive for long periods.
 

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I have one tank where the exhaust of a waterpump ends above the surface. I've placed a floating plastic container underneath the streaming water, so there's a constant replacement of water within the floating container. In this containter I keep my tubifex and because they form a tight ball they remain in the container instead of drifting into the tank. The dead worms (some live ones as well of course) are eaten by the snails, gammarus and shrimp that can get inside the container. The H.orientalis, who's tank I'm using for this, can also reach the tubifex, so they're always well fed with all those different kinds of food items around. The tubifex remains fresh, but I have to feed it to my other animals within two weeks. Else it's already gone.
 

AeonMapa

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Niels D, that sounds like a good idea! Could you post a picture maybe? :)

Though that would probably only work for a smaller number of worms right? As too many would foul the water quality too much... I also like keeping some tubifex allive in my tank as I feel it gives the newts a chance to practice their natural hunting instinct when it's not feeding time.

I will definitely start raising earthworms, and I'll keep reading up in the forums to create a good balance of live foods :)

ONE LAST QUESTION!
My newts feces are red (color of tubifex worms) and solid though not necessarily pellet shaped. Is this healthy or should I be a little concerned?
 

Bill B

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Hope it is OK to revive an old thread.

Anyone in the United States buy live tubifex worms?

I was looking up what to feed one salamander larva (unknown species I happened to collect a day ago, from the field) and saw that they can be fed live tubifex.

Carolina Biological Supply, which is usually for colleges and universities, sells them student laboratories, not necessarily as food for amphibians or fish. I do not necessarily see a place online or anywhere else in the U.S. to buy them.

The Carolina Biological Supply web page says they charge $9.95 for enough supply for 30 students. They typically are used like college/university students use planaria (done at my undergrad university, I think. -- and I know freshman classes used planaria where attended as a grad student) and sometimes Daphnia. I don't know if they would useful as salamander food.

Wait, I just noticed that Carolina Biological Supply says that the scientific name of tubifex worms is Lumbriculus variegatus, and that is the same as blackworms, which are often at the local fish/amphibian/reptile store where I often go for fruiflies, crickets, and aquarium supplies.

The Caudata Culture Care sheet that is part of this site <https://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/raising.shtml> lists blackworms and tubifex worms in a way that makes them seem different. Anyone know why?
 

Jennewt

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If you have a local shop that sells live blackworms, it seems like you're all set - no point messing around with finding tubifex. Blackworms and tubifex are different species, but both should be great for feeding sal larvae.
 

Bill B

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If you have a local shop that sells live blackworms, it seems like you're all set - no point messing around with finding tubifex. Blackworms and tubifex are different species, but both should be great for feeding sal larvae.
I kind of wondered if getting tubifex from Carolina Biological Supply might be higher quality. And with tubifex, maybe it is more possible to culture your own? What I've read online is that people will sometimes culture tubifex, but not blackworms.....
 

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Okay - think I'm getting it now. Tubifex worms are sometimes called blackworms, and so are the worms you can get at pet stores... but tubifex are a different species from the others.

I called my local pet store today. I did not really have a need for blackworms for a couple years. Unfortunately they don't carry them anymore -- the the source they had was too unreliable.
 
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