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.