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Live food cultivating.


Atitagain
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BLACKWORMS 

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Setting up a dedicated tank to try and breed blackworms. Hopefully this will be a good learning experience and hopefully it works. I’ve heard a lot about culture crashes and the smell that goes along with it. Definitely will try to avoid that. 
I purchased 4oz of blackworms from my LFS yesterday and had to keep them in refrigerator overnight. When I got them home I did a water change with spring water with minerals added back in. Then placed in refrigerator for the night. Today I set up a 3 1/2G tank little less than 1/2 full with same spring water. It has the filter built in to side of tank, slotted openings allow water to go through an ACO coarse sponge in the collection area. Water is then pumped to top of tank and flows through a spout back into tank. Will be adding a air stone to help with surface agitation and fragmentation.47D4D071-A6F7-4029-9A98-F956381BDA88.jpeg.acbf7edfc841010af34fe47bff7e6ae8.jpeg

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I will not be heating this tank, my other no heater tank runs at 68F and this should run close to the same. (Will monitor) Placed a very thin layer of gravel. Then added a vallisneria and some PSO to help with nitrates, both placed with weights.

I am hoping some worms will be sucked through the filter system to hopefully be divided during their trip. Also hoping not to many go through at a time to cause clogging. Or get built up over time, will need to keep a close eye on that.
 
I did a small feeding in each tank I plan on feeding these too and as you can guess they absolutely loved them. This will be my first experience cultivating live food. Will also in the near future be trying vinegar eels, daphnia, and mosquito larvae. I will also try my hand at infusoria if needed, hopefully enough is naturally occurring (is that right? Maybe breeding? Cultivating?) in my 125G.

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Will start feeding tonight, light dusting of krill flake. Will try to alternate foods krill flake, spirulina pellets, vegetable, and fruit. Feedings will be every 2-3 days. 
As I keep a close eye on water parameters I will change 75%-ish water weekly. 
 

Would appreciate any advice or tips or point out anything I missed.

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I'd love to figure out how to get these to multiply. What I've heard is that they'll survive in a really established space, as long as the water is COLD. (I may be going off script here) One aquarist told me there used to be a National Aquarium in D.C. that had a big cement sink that black worms were kept alive in. The faucet would just drip in ice cold water very, very slowly. I know a guy in my Fish Club who has cultivated them before.

This video is very helpful for just keeping them alive once you order from a seller...

Note carefully the surface to depth info.

Now, I've seen them stay alive in a well-cycled tank for weeks. But propagation . . . I'm yet to unlock that one.

If you figure this out, you're going to end up with the best fish in the world. Black worms are an amazing miracle food for fish. 

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@Fish Folk I figured I am kinda going big with this, if it were easy everyone would do it. But I figure it’s a minimal investment maybe learn a few tricks and possibly strike gold! And at least I’ve found a local supply of them now. I actually called this place a month ago and the person I spoke with said NO we don’t sell any kind of live foods except feeders. Was in there other day and asked the fishroom manager “what’s that in the refrigerator?” Boom 💥 

Another thing, I don’t know if you remember but I started a post a couple months ago about what fish should I breed that would be easy for my parameters and supplies I had. And you came at me with basically, quit trying to go easy, go with what your passionate about and learn. Now I’ve set up a 125G with the exclusive reason to get rummynose tetra to breed and this my friend is part of making that happen. Your reply was such an inspiration and I want to thank you again for that.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:59 PM, Atitagain said:

I actually called this place a month ago and the person I spoke with said NO we don’t sell any kind of live foods except feeders. Was in there other day and asked the fishroom manager “what’s that in the refrigerator?” Boom 💥 

It's like the gate keeper in Wizard of Oz (now that's a horse of a different color) or Hoggle in Labyrinth (NOT, if you ask the right questions)- amazing what the right question to the right person can do!

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On 11/27/2021 at 10:59 PM, Atitagain said:

@Fish Folk I figured I am kinda going big with this, if it were easy everyone would do it. But I figure it’s a minimal investment maybe learn a few tricks and possibly strike gold! And at least I’ve found a local supply of them now. I actually called this place a month ago and the person I spoke with said NO we don’t sell any kind of live foods except feeders. Was in there other day and asked the fishroom manager “what’s that in the refrigerator?” Boom 💥 

Another thing, I don’t know if you remember but I started a post a couple months ago about what fish should I breed that would be easy for my parameters and supplies I had. And you came at me with basically, quit trying to go easy, go with what your passionate about and learn. Now I’ve set up a 125G with the exclusive reason to get rummynose tetra to breed and this my friend is part of making that happen. Your reply was such an inspiration and I want to thank you again for that.

Keep going! This is going to be legendary. We can try to group source how-to on this. I'll see if I can connect with the guy in my fish club that used to cultivate them. I know he had this elaborate system in a basement closet . . . loads of small trays, drip-lines . . . crazy cyberpunk stuff . . . 

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@Beardedbillygoat1975 that’s where I got most of my instructions too. From wildfishtanks I already follow him but @Patrick_G linked a video about blackworms of his in another thread and that’s how I found it. I started with a 3 1/2G and if they take off I’m gonna seed a 10G and have 2 going so I can avoid a total crash (hopefully)!

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After a week, holding strong blackworms seem to be doing great. Eating good ate through a few green beans in less than 48 hours. Also feed krill flake and crushed pellets. I check water parameters every day and I stir the entire tank with a turkey baster, causing fragmentation is the idea. I stirred with a blow from turkey baster a took a pic.238023D9-94A1-4C2A-8EF8-A86D10A55C84.jpeg.db74efad6059ddfc6757d591c7dad0e0.jpeg

their all nice and pink/ red and active. When moved they are lively and have a lot of movement. And I see them poking themselves from the substrate plenty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Little over two weeks now. The nitrates have been tough to control in such a small amount of water. Nitrites had to be addressed as well, increased water changes 1/3 every second day. Feeding are spread 2-3 days apart and amount has been lowered as well. Over feeding was definitely a problem. 
The worms in the 3G seems to be doing great , I think they are reproducing well. There seems to be as many or maybe more than when I started. So, I have now seeded a 10G tank with black worms. Medium sponge filter (will be changing this to a small so I can lower water) Want to fix something up like the built in filter in the 3G small pump to raise water 6”-ish so it can splash on surface. (Also for fragmentation) No heater in this tank. Other two tanks with no heaters (3G+20G) ride between 68-71F. Placed thin layer of gravel and couple small plants vallisneria then a few cut off/ rotting leaves. Some duckweed came along as well🤷🏻‍♂️.

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collected in turkey baster 3 times.

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Both tanks going well, the 3G the water parameters are leveled out and been checked every other day.  Nitrates have to be monitored close in such a small tank, I’ve been doing  1/4 water changes as needed. 
The 10G not sure if their multiplying yet because their still a little hard to find. Only get 3-6 per turkey baster when checking. I’ve added a small pump to circulate water up and drop. (Hopefully to help with fragmentation) I think this is a good set up in 3G they are certainly multiplying (I think, I can’t count them) So I want to recreate as much as possible see if it holds true.82131D52-D241-4EBB-BA3A-18671DD96D86.jpeg.028aa2d7133373fdbd61a2ba92565faa.jpeg

I still have been stirring with the turkey baster once a day on both tanks. I feed ground up algae wafer and krill flakes over last 4 days small portions. 
i admit I probably over feed my tanks. It’s so hard to give such small portions. But they seem to be thriving in the 3G and the ones I’ve inspected from the 10G look healthy and have good movement.

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@Beardedbillygoat1975 

On 11/28/2021 at 12:35 AM, Fish Folk said:

used to cultivate them. I know he had this elaborate system in a basement closet . . . loads of small trays, drip-lines . . . crazy cyberpunk stuff . .

I’m thinking of expanding 

it’s going well but I need to have patience. If I remember right you said your attempt crashed at 4 weeks. I should wait and let the 10G population get going well then… 

Ive got some “cyberpunk” ideas of my own. I can’t let the cart get In front of the horse tho. 

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I think if I did It again - and with my current plan to get another breeding setup off the ground- I’d split the 1/2 lbs of black worms into 1/3rds and split them between my two 3 g and one 2.5 g with gravel substrate, sponges and see if I can get them to get going. I think I had too many worms in too small a container and I also put too much plant matter. The plants died then the whole setup went downhill fast. I’d just do some water lettuce next time nothing else. Agree with the frequent water changes 2-3 times a week. I’ll let you know when I dip my toes back in. I’m hatching bbs 3 x a week but I need to stay hungry if what I’m planning happens.

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I was able to keep a small number of blackworms alive for months in two glass applesauce jars, about half full of water, with salvinia on top for the water quality and dried leaves + old betta pellets for worm food. I had a small amount of gravel in there and I’d swirl the jars whenever I remembered. 50% water change about once a week. I didn’t get much replication at all. I think finding the right food balance and getting them to fragment are the two keys here. Am I right in remembering they actually eat infusoria, not the added food itself?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Both cultures still going good. 3G I’ve been feeding from here a few times. Not overly, One turkey baster full every 2-3 days. Still drawing a good amount each time. 10G they seem to be reproducing. 😁

every day I take the turkey baster and scrape around all the gravel to create fragmentation. (I believe) then I try to follow a pattern and draw on baster same each time then count worms. In 3G uncountable amounts graded as great, good, poor, and minimal. Every draw has been atleast in the good range. 10G when 1st starting sometimes I would get 0 or 1-2 and now today about 2 weeks I pulled 10 and then 12. That’s very encouraging.

water changes are a pain and I’m using distilled water. May try to start a culture in my tap water that would make water changes easier. If I continue to have success with tap or distilled water I plan on setting up an auto water changing system.

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Next step is in motion, ive combined the two tanks into a system. EB2A7836-2D10-49BC-A92E-8DFD4582BD83.jpeg.cc424069eae83067529eb2381e24a035.jpeg

starting in the 10G water is pumped up to container.B236FB9C-DE24-4AA1-B85C-9E8EA2CB0AAA.jpeg.8279b76f109f8f21a5bc86450006f0b2.jpeg

streaming down the container to holes drilled out for a rainfall. 1A550149-85CD-40D0-841E-CB37077337AE.jpeg.2d301b5ad87feae18fb35d29440c1696.jpeg
 
then pumped through the 3G’s filtration and  back into the 10G.97BF5A1C-4C6D-45E3-8E88-768CB010CA95.jpeg.ea869da275fdfaa02f2413b900dfe3c4.jpeg

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with the pumps being different sizes and back pressure being an issue to balance everything out I had to add a siphon to off set flow rate.C15CBB73-AD9D-43C7-BA10-A3362B5886BA.jpeg.20b46d8d2f8d5192854a639c024174e2.jpeg

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balanced out and has been running 4-ish hours with no issues. I am worried about system getting out of balance and water overfilling the 3G. Will need to watch closely, figure out a safety back up, and top water off every day for now anyways. Also I’m setting up a 20G in next couple of weeks and I will be buying a new culture so I can seed the tank with blackworms. I believe this could sustain my needs. 

 If this stays operational for next 5 days I will do a final update for blackworms. (only update long term) Then I will start next project for this thread, I’m thinking vinegar eels next then: daphnia, brine shrimp, infusoria, and whenever spring falls during this list I will be doing mosquito larvae.

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@AtitagainORD but this is an interesting development in culturing them. I do share some of @Vanishconcern regarding if one of the tanks crashes you'll lose the whole culture. I would make sure you have a backup culture just in case. I do think that the larger water volume could offset these concerns but you'll have to be very careful with the instruments and other items that touch the culture containers. 

I am almost ready to get my feet wet again with the black worms. I need to figure out the fish room timetable before I commit though. 

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On 1/3/2022 at 6:01 PM, Vanish said:

What is the advantage of daisy chaining the tanks like that?

I'm concerned that this increases the chances of both cultures dying.

I’m trying to control the nitrates in the 3G it actually about 1G+ in there and 4G in the 10G tank. Just trying to increase the water volume. And create more turbulence for fragmentation. I’m also seeding another tank with a new batch of blackworms so I do have 2 different cultures running because I am worried about a total crash.

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