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Harvesting White Worms for Aquarium Fish

By keno | April 6, 2011

Growing and Harvesting White Worms for Your Aquarium Fish

White worms, Enchytraeus albidus, are an excellent source of protein for your aquarium fish. White worms can easily be cultured at home for an extremely low cost. I received my white worm farm from a fellow aquarist Darin. He was nice enough to take some of his white worms and start a batch for me. This was the first time I have grown live food for my fish, so I figured there would be some trials and errors along the way.

My white worm farm is your typical setup with moist peat as the medium. I feed my white worms softened dog food as recommended by Darin. I check the food daily to make sure that the food does not go moldy. I raise my white worms in a plastic container, the lid having plenty of holes in it for fresh air. White worms like to be in the dark, and I have a room in my basement that has no outside windows, so the room is perfect for growing the white worms. You can also use a cardboard box on top of your white worm farm to make it dark. The temperature for now in the basement  is just around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for the worms to grow and multiply.

Just How Do You Harvest White Worms?

Getting the white worms to grow and multiply, no problem. When I would check the state of the food in the container, I could see lots and lots of worms. Ok, now try to collect some. As soon as you try, the worms pull back into the peat. Ok, so I tried taking out a clump of worms along with the peat. That worked, but now how do you separate the worms from the peat. The first time I tried putting the worms and peat into a small amount of water. That wasn’t bad, the worms did clump together, but I did have peat floating also.

So I went to the web to see if I could find a better method. What I did find was someone who grows grindal worms and that person mentioned that he uses a piece of glass on top of the worm medium to collect the worms. So I thought why not try it with the white worms. I didn’t have a piece of glass, but I did have a piece of semi-rigid plastic. I put the plastic on top of the peat and put a few pieces of moist dog food on top of the plastic. I figured I would give it a day and see what happens. The next day I couldn’t believe it, when I checked on the worms, I had a large amount of them right on top of the plastic eating the food.

To harvest them I picked up the plastic and using a wooden tongue depressor, I just scraped them off into a small plastic container. I then rinsed the worms with some RO water and off to the aquariums. This harvesting process was much easier, faster and cleaner. If you have your own method of harvesting white worms, please let me know.

 

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Topics: Live Fish Food | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Harvesting White Worms for Aquarium Fish”

  1. Andy Skinner Says:
    July 12th, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Great tip keno.recently started my first forray into live bait myself and wondered best way to harvest after i too tried the rinsing peat method,not great!so after reading your tip i thought id separate a clear cd case.loads lying about.and have done likewise with some food on top.will post back if have better luck.cheers andy

  2. Mites in whiteworm cultures - Page 2 - Caudata.org Newt and Salamander Forum Says:
    July 28th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    [...] Re: Mites in whiteworm cultures Thought I'd add my thoughts after reading this post and buying diatomaceous earth. I found it for sale online as a natural flea powder for cats and dogs, rather than at a garden centre (who all looked at me funny too!) I've used it and, along with regularly churning up the soil in the culture and not keeping it too moist, has kept me pretty much free of mites. Might be easier to look for it as a flea killer than garden fertiliser (also apparently you can eat it ) Also I don't know if Molch now has a different method of harvesting the worms now (that was posted in 2011) but Davo showed me a great method. Place a blob of porridge oats (ready-brek) onto the soil and then place a piece of glass, or a sheet of plastic, or similar item on top of the blob. The worms will then wriggle up into the gap between the soil and the flat glass surface (over time) and you can pick up a clump of worms with no soil or wipe them from the glass. Simple. This webpage has photos of how it looks Harvesting White Worms for Aquarium Fish at Ken's Aquariums & Pond [...]

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