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This is a discussion on Worms Worms Worms within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Okay, I'm researching a bit. If anyone is experience with feeding earthworms to their fish and farming them, little help here. So there's wriggler ...

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Old 05-03-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
 
Worms Worms Worms

Okay, I'm researching a bit. If anyone is experience with feeding earthworms to their fish and farming them, little help here.

So there's wriggler worms, European earth worms, and Canadian nightcrawlers.

I believe they also grow from size in that order, wriggler being the smaller of the three, right?

So I was thinking of farming them for my fish and I have a few questions.

1. Other than size, are there differences in nutritional value of the three?
2. Can I mix two or so species together to give variety in both size and maybe nutrition?
3. Any thoughts on the setup for farming these guys?
4. What type of species of earthworm that we normally find in our yard in CA?

Because they sell 15 or so for $3.50 and that sounds bogus since they're all around us....heading to be bait shop today to see what they have over there.

These are for my soon to come fire eels!




EDIT

That's weird, one place I read that ppl are feeding their eels red wriggler worms and in this site they say it's toxic (they mention being to garter snakes but what if they are to fire eels too)
http://www.thamnophis.com/forum/husb...d-wiggler.html

Last edited by Nate515; 05-03-2011 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:45 PM   #2
 
Did some research and found a few things.

Canadian nightcrawlers are larger than European earthworms. ENC (short for European night crawlers) are about 3-7" and CNC are about 8".

ENC's are easier to breed because they are not as territorial, don't require deep substrate, are not as sensitive to disturbances in their living area, and are not sensitive to higher temperatures as the CNC. Therefore breeding ENCs are easier and CNC are best caught in the wild.

CNCs are also known as the common earthworm so I'm guessing that's the kind of worm we have? Question mark there. Many bait shops near my area seem to carry only the Canadian variety and they look pretty much like the worms I dig up around here not to mention their characteristic description.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:04 PM   #3
 
Okay, I've had a LOT of experience with vermiculture. You referred to red wigglers, European Night Crawlers(ENC) and North American Night Crawlers (NANC). Red wigglers are the worms used for composting and are the easiest to raise in a rubbermaid/sterlite bin and will process your veggy kitchen waste, producing a nutrient rich vermicompost (in addition to worms for the aquarium).
Euros are larger, but a bit more difficult as they due tend to crawl out/away if conditions are not just right. NANC's are very difficult to culture as they are naturally deep burrowers, requiring much cooler conditions.

Most night crawlers sold for bait in the US come from Canada. You can get 2 dozen at Wallymart for about $3. If you pick or dig your own, be sure to do so from lawn or soil that does not see fertilizer or pesticide.

Now to separate the tough nuts from the sissy's... all of these worms are too large for all but very large tropical fish, so you will need to cut, chop or put Mr. Worm in the blender to prepare for your fish.
ALSO, be aware that some bedding materials for bait worms are injested, but not suitable as feed. If so, you should use a purging vessel with a better bedding...or just damp newspaper or leaves.

Worms are readily available, high in protein and as part of a balanced diet, would be an excellent suppliment for our fish. I'm surprised that they aren't being processed and sold frozen...hmmm.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
 
Quote:
all of these worms are too large for all but very large tropical fish, so you will need to cut, chop or put Mr. Worm in the blender to prepare for your fish.
Ya they'll have babies so I'll be feeding my eels baby worms until they get a bit bigger. I would think fire eels around 1' would be able to take on full sized worms. I got the European variety.


Quote:
ALSO, be aware that some bedding materials for bait worms are injested, but not suitable as feed. If so, you should use a purging vessel with a better bedding...or just damp newspaper or leaves.
I have a huge question relating to that actually. I was planning to use newspaper but what about the ink in the paper? Won't ingesting ink be toxic to the fish that eats the worm? I was also thinking of using peat moss. I'm not setting up anything large, it's just enough to feed two fire eels.

And what about that link I left about wigglers being toxic?
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate515 View Post
Ya they'll have babies so I'll be feeding my eels baby worms until they get a bit bigger. I would think fire eels around 1' would be able to take on full sized worms. I got the European variety. I have a huge question relating to that actually. I was planning to use newspaper but what about the ink in the paper? Won't ingesting ink be toxic to the fish that eats the worm? I was also thinking of using peat moss. I'm not setting up anything large, it's just enough to feed two fire eels.
And what about that link I left about wigglers being toxic?
You're right, I was thinking of adult worms and my platys, mollys and neons oh my.

Most newspapers nowadays are using environmentally friendly plant based inks. I would just steer clear of excessively colored paper (the funny papers) and any shiny page (high clay) inserts.

Worms will absorb and retain in their tissues any chemical contaminants. They are even being used in some sewage treatment plants to 'clean' sludge and in one case I read of, they are being used in India to clean up chemical waste dumped in soil (subsequently the worms are somehow extracted and destroyed to deal with the contaminants). So yes, if you were to feed a worm that was contaminated, it would be a bad thing.

But you would be raising them yourself right, so they would not be exposed to chemical contaminants. And as I mentioned, any worms hand picked or dug should be done only from uncontaminated lawns and soils (which may be harder than we think with all the chemically treated lawns out there.).
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
 
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I've had my worm bins for years (red wrigglers) and because I'm not sure with beyond a shadow of a doubt if they are toxic I hesitate to feed them to my fish. My LFS guy (who I think very highly of) claims they are. He told me he fed a batch of red wrigglers to a grouping of baby turtles and they died. My worm lady (a published vermiculture expert) said that the baby turtles died because red wrigglers are nothing but pure protein and a baby turtle's developing kidneys can't handle that kind of overload. She says red wrigglers would be fine to feed to my fish.
The site you linked to is discussing red wriggler toxicity in garter snakes. Comparing snakes to fish, turtles to fish, is akin to comparing apples to oranges. With all that being said I twice fed them to my fish and they snapped them right up. The only reason I never fed them to my fish anymore was because the act of having to chop them up made me absolutely ill.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:30 PM   #7
 
Like I was saying.."Now to separate the tough nuts from the sissy's"

lol
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Like I was saying.."Now to separate the tough nuts from the sissy's"
lol
Yep, it was WAY to gross for me, lol. Yeach!! Doing the earthworm chopping was double el grosso. They are bigger and their guts spirt.
So, do we know yet if the red wrigglers are toxic to fish?? I'd love to have a definitive answer.
Everything I read/hear is split 50/50.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:11 AM   #9
 
You should see my caecilians chow into worms. And your right they are really expensive when you use them regularly. I collect some from the yard/garden when its nice out and I have time. It is a big pain feed them the little skinny 3-4" long regular worms I dig up. I don't raise raise any worms myself, sometimes I get some from other people who do for pretty cheap. I got this giant nightcrawler once it was at least 8". I guess like most people here I don't do much chopping if any. My caecilians can eat any average or large nightcrawler whole without a problem since they are both about 2 feet long. Then they can eat like 4 in a row.... depending on size. Most of their diet is chopped up talapia fillets from the grocery store. They are cheaper then the worms and keep better long term. I don't like to feed anything only one kinda food so their food changes regularly. Chopped fish, worms, jumbo shrimp, then the occasional treats. Keep them on mostly healthy foods, but TBH they are not picky and will eat most anything that is easy to get and smells good. Any cooked meat or animal based stuff is consumed, like scrambled eggs, cheese, ect... for some reason they will eat sauteed mushrooms too.

Starter cultures of red wigglers were sold at the last fish auction I was at... so some people are obviously feeding them. They are too small to be of much use to me though.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:58 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
Starter cultures of red wigglers were sold at the last fish auction I was at... so some people are obviously feeding them. They are too small to be of much use to me though.
Well, that's good to know. If they are being sold at fish auctions that must mean that they are "safe" for fish?? My discus are now of good enough size that they'd be able to eat the smaller worms from my bin so I wouldn't have to "chop" them. I know that my worms would be very healthy for them as they are feed nothing but good food!
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