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Old 09/16/2010, 12:15 PM   #1
Ycore
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Thumbs up Live BlackWorms: Best Fish and LPS Food Ever?

So, I guess like most reefers I'm always struggling to find the ideal fish food.. Clowns eat pellets but anthias and copperband doesn't. All fish like frozen Mysis, except for copperband which only pecks at it-- plus how nutritious is it? Most of the fish like Rod's food, but it really messes up the tank. Finding something that everyone loves and is also nutritious has been a struggle..

In a recent effort to try and get my Copperband to enthusiastically eat something besides Aiptasia, which are now all gone (yay), I tried everything. Someone mentioned live blackworms.. I could only find one place in the city that carried these, but I was willing to try anything.

Picked some up, stored them in the fridge in a tupperware with some ro/di water, and threw a squirtload of worms into my tank via turkey baster.. WOAH-- fish went absolutely crazy.. I mean total piranha knife-fight-to-the death feeding frenzy.. ALL the fish loved them (clowns,anthias, copperband, and flamehawk). My copperband couldn't suck them down fast enough, and though usually extremely shy actually went head to head with my flamehawk for the last bite. I then had some left over, stuck to the insides of my turkey baster, and for the heck of it shot some out onto the feeding tentacles of my scoly and acans. They loved them too!

What's best, is they are so clean and totally consumed.. No fine particles or random food pieces floating around the tank.

These have now become my defacto standard for feeding my fish and LPS. Fish are loving it, LPS are loving it, and my filter/skimmer/sand bed are appreciating the lack of detritus and uneaten food.

What I wonder then is why nobody talks about these? They seem to be the ultimate fish food, and the store up to a month live in the fridge.


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Old 09/16/2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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I agree, great food, for many of the reasons you mention. I don't use it as a staple, per se, but my fish certainly get them as one of their staples. I've found the worms to get a little skinnier, and less "wriggly" after about 2-2 1/2 weeks in the fridge (no feeding).

I wash them every day, sometimes twice a day if I have a lot of them, to keep them clean. Keeping them from beginning to foul is a LOT easier than cleaning them up once they start to foul.


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Old 09/16/2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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What I wonder then is why nobody talks about these? They seem to be the ultimate fish food, and the store up to a month live in the fridge.
I have been telling people about these for 40 years. I use them every day and invented a worm keeper to keep them alive in. I don't like to put them in the fridge


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Old 09/16/2010, 01:00 PM   #4
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Paul:

For those of us who are not real DIY handy, are you aware of any commercially available blackworm keeper systems one can purchase. I too do not like the idea of keeping the worms in the refridgerator. Ideally, I would love to have my own breeding culture. Alternatively, I guess I would not mind just having a vessel to keep them alive and healthy for extended periods so that I can purchase them in bulk every month or two. Any suggestions?


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Old 09/16/2010, 01:53 PM   #5
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I would love to be able to culture these, as the only LFS that sells them is almost 40 miles away, but unfortunately I have no place in my house that I could build one of those keepers you have DIY'd. If they seel some sort of compact, non-messy, commerical keeper I'd certainly be interested.

I do add a couple of drops of Selcon to the water I use to replenish the tupperware holding the worms though, and they start wriggling like nuts. Not sure whether it will extend their life though.

the biggest pain so far is not the water changes or "fouling", but seperating the dead worms from the live ones.


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Old 09/16/2010, 01:59 PM   #6
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the biggest pain so far is not the water changes or "fouling", but seperating the dead worms from the live ones.
This actually is part of fouling, at least with respect to keeping these worms, IMO. Once they start to die, they foul the water much more quickly. IME, if you start will all live ones, or once you remove all the dead ones (pretty easy, they tend to sink less quickly than the live ones, which tend to hold on to each other - all this making pouring off the dead ones really easy) and you change the water every day, you will have no dead ones....at all.

JME.


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Old 09/16/2010, 02:07 PM   #7
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Yeah, I got some initial die off because for some reason the water in their tupperware actually partialy froze

Not exactly sure how/why this happened. I use ro/di water and other liquids in my fridge don't freeze.


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This actually is part of fouling, at least with respect to keeping these worms, IMO. Once they start to die, they foul the water much more quickly. IME, if you start will all live ones, or once you remove all the dead ones (pretty easy, they tend to sink less quickly than the live ones, which tend to hold on to each other - all this making pouring off the dead ones really easy) and you change the water every day, you will have no dead ones....at all.

JME.



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Old 09/16/2010, 02:44 PM   #8
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Yeah, I got some initial die off because for some reason the water in their tupperware actually partialy froze

Not exactly sure how/why this happened. I use ro/di water and other liquids in my fridge don't freeze.
Same thing happened to me! Certain areas in my fridge apparently get colder than others. RO/DI water in a big open air container freezes easier than most other sealed liquids we keep in there. I now keep them on a certain shelf...no problem.


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Old 09/16/2010, 02:51 PM   #9
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BTW, home fishcam monitoring maid on cleaning day going through fridge and discovering tupperware filled with worms... Priceless.

I just fed some of my acans, a weso brain, and an RBTA with these little buggers. Insane feeding response-- they practically turn inside out to get every possible tentacle grasping.

Spread the word on these guys and hopefully more LFS will carry them.


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Old 09/16/2010, 03:42 PM   #10
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I don't know of a commercially available worm keeper but you don't have to be very handy to build one. You just need moving water in a shallow container.
I built this trough but you could probably find a plastic tray semewhere. I tilted it a little so the water drains down to the right where it goes into a small tank.
There are pieces of plastic glued into the tray about 1/2" high to keep the water at that level.
There is a very small powerhead in the tank that supplies water to the high side of the trough. I never find a dead worm and they will live there forever and even breed but not fast enough. I feed them small pieces of paper towels or brown paper bags, about 1"X1" pieces. The trick is that the thing must be cycled like a tank for a couple of weeks. The worms will not live long in a new tank. There needs to be bacteria built up to keep the water clean. I also add some plastic egg crate material to the tank to grow bacteria but any plastic items will work. Even bio balls but it would be difficult to get the worms off bioballs. You could use eggcrate or plastic plumbing fittings, pieces of plastic plumbing pite etc. After the thing is cycled you would only have to change water rarely. But before it is cycled you may have to change the water twice a day.
The worms stay healthy and fat because they are eating. If you keep them in a fridge, they continually grow weak and thin, some will die every day.






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Old 09/16/2010, 03:46 PM   #11
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What do you use to cycle it? How long?


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Old 09/16/2010, 03:51 PM   #12
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The worms stay healthy and fat because they are eating. If you keep them in a fridge, they continually grow weak and thin,
Yes, I agree. I have found this to be true.

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... some will die every day.
I respectfully disagree. I never see a single dead worm, assuming daily, thorough rinsing, during the two weeks it takes for me to go through my batch. They also remain "wriggly" to the touch the entire time.


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Old 09/16/2010, 04:39 PM   #13
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SDGuy you probably know better than me being I don't keep them in the refrigerator. My wife goes to the gym almost every day so I can't keep them there
I don't have to rinse them and they do spawn, only not nearly fast enough.

I cycled the trough with worms. But for about two weeks I have to rinse them every day and at first, twice a day.
Now I just add a small piece of paper towell once a week or so and suck them out to feed.
So, if you like, keep them in the fridge, but if you have a lot of them you can't keep them in there too long. At least I don't think so


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Old 09/16/2010, 04:53 PM   #14
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Ugh, I have terrible memories of these from my days working in an LFS - we kept them in the fridge and they STUNK. One Saturday morning someone came in and wanted 10 portions of them individually bagged and I had a terrible hangover - made it to about the 4th batch then.... to this day I cannot be anywhere near them. It boggles my mind that people can stand to keep them in their fridge!


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Old 09/16/2010, 04:56 PM   #15
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I had an idea for a rather simple blackworm keeper. What I was thinking of doing is simply taking a small aquarium, like a spare 20 long I have now, filling the bottom with a layer of large plastic bioballs and filling it up with ro/di water about a inch or so over the bioballs (2-3 inches total height). The bioballs would serve the dual purpose of both providing some shelter for the worms and keeping water conditions high. I would attach an air pump and airstone or two for oxygenation, and that is it. I would first cycle the tank for a few weeks with some shrimp and live bacteria (microbacter) and would think the system would develop a biofilter sufficient so that once stocked with worms I would rarely have to do much water changing and just merely top off. Once the system cycled, I would then add 1/2 - 1 lb of worms which I would feed daily with sinking pellets. I would periodically buy more worms in bulk to replenish every few months, and use this system primarily to keep large amounts of worms periodically purchased in bulk alive and fat for months at a time until fed to my fish. To harvest I would think would not be all that hard because I could just move a bunch of the large bioballs out of the way and then scoup them out and replace water removed with fresh ro/di water. I also read of another guy who came up with a great harvesting technique. What he did is take a small plastic jar, put some food in the jar, and poked holes in the lid. The worms crawled in jar and then he removed the jar and fed the worms therein to his fish. This could be an option if the first method was not effective. Could this work?



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Old 09/16/2010, 05:32 PM   #16
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So, if you like, keep them in the fridge, but if you have a lot of them you can't keep them in there too long. At least I don't think so
Agreed. I only buy 5 to 10 portions at a time (1 portion = ?). I usually prefer them to last 1 week, but I've gone as long as 2.5. For people buying more, or mail ordering them, I would definitely recommend a PaulB approach

Ooulophilia - if kept clean, they don't smell at all. I mean at all... it's weird. Believe me, I worked in LFS for many years, and I have those same memories


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Old 09/16/2010, 05:43 PM   #17
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I just got some H2O 50/50 mix in that has brine, mysis and black worms in it and both tanks devoured it.

I'm sure live ones are better but these frozen cubes were pretty easy!!!


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Old 09/16/2010, 05:55 PM   #18
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This is how I got my Leopard Toby to start eating. I agree, a godsend.

-A


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Old 09/16/2010, 07:46 PM   #19
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I just got some H2O 50/50 mix in that has brine, mysis and black worms in it and both tanks devoured it.

I'm sure live ones are better but these frozen cubes were pretty easy!!!
I think those maybe bloodworms? AFAIK blackworms don't freeze well (I've accidentally tried ).


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Old 09/16/2010, 08:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart60611 View Post
I had an idea for a rather simple blackworm keeper. What I was thinking of doing is simply taking a small aquarium, like a spare 20 long I have now, filling the bottom with a layer of large plastic bioballs and filling it up with ro/di water about a inch or so over the bioballs (2-3 inches total height). The bioballs would serve the dual purpose of both providing some shelter for the worms and keeping water conditions high. I would attach an air pump and airstone or two for oxygenation, and that is it. I would first cycle the tank for a few weeks with some shrimp and live bacteria (microbacter) and would think the system would develop a biofilter sufficient so that once stocked with worms I would rarely have to do much water changing and just merely top off. Once the system cycled, I would then add 1/2 - 1 lb of worms which I would feed daily with sinking pellets. I would periodically buy more worms in bulk to replenish every few months, and use this system primarily to keep large amounts of worms periodically purchased in bulk alive and fat for months at a time until fed to my fish. To harvest I would think would not be all that hard because I could just move a bunch of the large bioballs out of the way and then scoup them out and replace water removed with fresh ro/di water. I also read of another guy who came up with a great harvesting technique. What he did is take a small plastic jar, put some food in the jar, and poked holes in the lid. The worms crawled in jar and then he removed the jar and fed the worms therein to his fish. This could be an option if the first method was not effective. Could this work?
check out this article...

http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/...cultures.shtml

i read somewhere that you can use bio balls but its hard to get worms out of them if they get in 'em. they recommended eggcrate.

this article says that if your worms smell, that its bad...


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Old 09/16/2010, 08:52 PM   #21
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check out this article...

http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/...cultures.shtml

i read somewhere that you can use bio balls but its hard to get worms out of them if they get in 'em. they recommended eggcrate.

this article says that if your worms smell, that its bad...

Ya, thanks, I have read that article before. I hear you on the worms geting stuck in bioballs. I would choose a large biomedia, whether bioballs or or perhaps ceramic disks, etc. with the intent of not creating lots of places for the worms to get stuck. Ceramic fluval media may be a good choice because they are pretty solid and do not provide a lot of areas for the worms to hide. Also, I could use the jar method described above to catch them if necessary so geting them harvested from the biomedia may not be a problem. Do not want to go the bag or paper route in terms of feeding them because I have read it is real hard to separate the worms from the resulting mush, and worms do just fine on pellets so that problem can be avoided. Curious what you and others think of my approach as a viable way to keep the worms in mass.


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Old 09/16/2010, 08:55 PM   #22
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I think those maybe bloodworms? AFAIK blackworms don't freeze well (I've accidentally tried ).
blood worm is insect larve, so unless you are in asia, you don't typically buy those live

black worm need to be in cold water and some people suggested the toilet bowl culturing method


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Old 09/16/2010, 09:03 PM   #23
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just found this site
http://www.aquaticfoods.com/intros.html


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Old 09/16/2010, 10:03 PM   #24
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Live blackworms are a great food to invoke a feeding response from hard to feed fish. I have a fish that didnt eat for about 11 days from the day i got him(paracentropyge multifasciata). I tried about 25 different things from frozen, to flake, to pellet to freeze dried everything and he wouldnt even mouth the foods. I figured id give the blackworms a shot because if he didnt eat now he probably wouldnt survive. Well sure enough the second they hit the water ALL of the fish including both of the multibar's tore into the blackworms like they never ate in their lives. Live blackworms bought me time to ween the fish onto other foods. I keep them on a counter in a few plastic cups with an inch of water in each one and change out the water once a day. They usually live about 3 weeks for me at room temperature with no food. +1 for live blackworms


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Old 09/17/2010, 05:12 AM   #25
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If you keep worms in a tank with bioballs it will be difficult to harvest the worms and seperate them from blackworm poop which will build up all over those bioballs.
If you keep them in a trough with running water, the worms stay clean in the trough and the poop goes into the tank below where it could be easily sucked out when you change the water.
But you can keep them in a tank, it is just harder. I have been using them all my life, and I'm old.


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