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Worms in Substrate (on purpose)


Fish Folk
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Every month or so, I make an order of live Black Worms to feed our fish. As long as they are not carrying any disease or water-fouling decay, properly prepared Black worms are incredibly good for fish and can stimulate reproduction better than almost anything else.

Black worms aren’t really black, but range from a tan to brown to reddish color. Once fed to an aquarium, uneaten live worms will set up residence in the substrate, supplying a long-term food bank of sorts for fish.

I saw these Wigglers in my guppy tank, and thought I’d share. I’m sure this would deeply concern many aquarists if they didn’t know what these were 😂

 

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On 6/11/2021 at 10:04 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

And do tell, how does one know if said worms are "well prepared"?

I suppose that has to do with knowing your vendor. Much like choosing to drink raw unpasteurized milk. It is not inherently dangerous, but it requires a degree of trust in your local dairyman's expertise and accountablity that is lacking in the typical pooled milk supply.

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I totally understand vendor trust but I guess what I'm more getting at is, what do these vendors do to "ensure" the live food isn't carrying any bad stuff. Is there some sort of lab culture, medication treatments, cleansings or such one should ask a vendor about? Or maybe how the live food is raised?

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 6/12/2021 at 1:04 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

And do tell, how does one know if said worms are "well prepared"?

What I understand is that, even if they arrive with unwanted diseases, if cared for properly for a few weeks black worms will work out of their system anything that could bring sickness to your aquarium life. Certain breeders in Eastern Europe will opine on the dangers of feeding black worms. However, my opinion is that this is likely due to poor sourcing. @Daniel can attest that it is rare to find a reputable supplier serving up a bad batch.

Here is a video showing many of our fish chowing down on them (my son in the video):

When we get them, we use cool tank water from our Goodeid tank to wash them out into a sterilite container. I probably pour in more than 72 oz. over the top in 16 oz. batches from a pitcher. I pour in, then pour off the filthy refuse. Pour in, then pour out. It's so much easier if I show you . . . I might have a janky video on my phone somewhere . . .  let me check . . .

Ok. I found footage. But let me explain: this was the _worst_ batch of black worms I've ever gotten. The worms from the video above were excellent quality. These here are 50% dead. This is the caution. If you get dead worms, and feed them to your fish, you're going to have issues. This video sort of explains / shows how I rinse out the worms and store in our fish fridge. But honestly, this batch was so bad, I had to just keep washing out dead ones for most of a week before I felt safe enough to feed what remained to our fish. What will happen is that the dead worms will break down and be washed off. I rinse off with 32-74 oz. of Goodeid water (2x - 4x 16 oz. pitchers) 2x daily. [Note: it doesn't have to be Goodeid water . . . I just use that because it's the "cleanest" cycled water at room temp in our mini fishroom. Everything else is kept pretty hot for breeding / keeping Amazon fish (80-degrees or higher). It is actually recommended to pre-chill / age water and rinse with just cold refrigerated water. But this has worked out Ok, as long as the worms are kept in the fridge after rinsing]

CAUTION: THIS IS A SUPER GROSS VIDEO!

 

 

 

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On 6/12/2021 at 2:01 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I totally understand vendor trust but I guess what I'm more getting at is, what do these vendors do to "ensure" the live food isn't carrying any bad stuff. Is there some sort of lab culture, medication treatments, cleansings or such one should ask a vendor about? Or maybe how the live food is raised?

From what I've seen, it's a matter of how they're raised. Cultured and raised in a controlled environment without fish, fed on a high-quality diet, etc. Not every vendor is equally vigilant. There is certainly _some risk_. 

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@Fish Folk Wow! Thanks very much that's all super interesting. I sadly couldn't play your phone video (my browser doesn't support it, it said) but I get the idea. The rinsing video is interesting as well. I'm sure sometimes people don't consider that you do have to care for live foods as well, changing water, not letting them suffocate. Very cool, thanks for the education! Your fish are always so nice to see, and the Angels playing Lady and the Tramp for a minute was very cute. Got a smart and handsome kid there too! Cheers. 🙂 

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On 6/12/2021 at 2:21 PM, Koi said:

Glad to know I'm not the only one that is experiencing this! 

I always see a bunch of these worms especially when I tear crypts out from my tank. I'm sure I have black worms living in my substrate now but I found these in my tank before I even started feeding live black worms.

 

I just found one in an unexpected tank that we moved in from a school we'd set up over the last two semesters. I was trying tor escape it, and suddenly, here was this worm dancing for my tongs! 🤣

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On 6/12/2021 at 2:21 PM, Koi said:

Glad to know I'm not the only one that is experiencing this! 

I always see a bunch of these worms especially when I tear crypts out from my tank. I'm sure I have black worms living in my substrate now but I found these in my tank before I even started feeding live black worms.

 

Now, that worm you're showing doesn't appear to be a black worm. I think that's a detritus worm. They can get fairly large, but tend to be on the whitish side. Black worms won't swim like that.

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