Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Self sustained blackworm colony (

okiemavis 01-22-2008 09:07 PM

Self sustained blackworm colony
I've heard a few people refer to their tanks having blackworms living in the substrate that their bottom dwellers munch on, but don't deplete enough to keep them from disappearing completely. I've looked around online, but haven't found anyway describing how to set this up.

Any suggestions on how to go about doing this? My LFS doesn't carry blackworms and I'd rather have my fish forage for and munch on them when they find them rather than have to order them online and constantly be introducing new creatures/bacteria into my tank. It's also (obviously) a lot cheaper and a lot less of a hassle. Plus, I like the idea of a more self-sustained ecosystem like that!

fish_4_all 01-23-2008 12:53 AM

While there arw roms that will live in the substrate, aquatic earthworms are one of them, I have never seen nor beenbale to find anything about them breeding in the aquarium. There are larger aquatic nematodes that will breed in aquariums if they are not all eaten.

If you want to start your own culture/colony of them then it is recommended to use burlap in a shallow pan with 2-3 inches of bottles or RO water. No tap water. A little bit of fish food and they will reproduce. There are a lot of sources on the web to set up a colony of them.

As for aquatic worms, I have not found a source for them yet but once I do I will be getting some of my own. If you find one, please post the link here as I think there are quite a few of us who would like to have them.

herefishy 01-23-2008 02:29 AM

okiemavis 01-23-2008 01:37 PM

Thanks guys!

Also, I thought I was going crazy, so I scoured fishforum for where I had read about a self sustained blackworm colony. In the topic "Love is in the air (water)" in the fish breeding section tophat665 said:


Incidentally, I think I figured out why I have bottom feeders in good condition in that tank - it has a self sustaining population of blackworms in the substrate that the cories and plecos graze on. This all started from overfeeding blackworms in a 20 gallon tanks, and the substrate has just moved along from one tank to the other with the blackworms in it, even spending a couple days just moist in an unheated rubbermaid tub.

fish_4_all 01-23-2008 03:49 PM

Hmmm, I don't remember that one. I did find some more information that says the species that will live in aquaria are the very small ones that have segmented bodies. They will reproduce by breaking off segments asexually, rarely but will sometimes reproduce sexually. I don't know the species names, might not be the same one you can get from one of the above links, California blackworms I think are the wrong ones, but is worth investigating.

There has to be some kind of worm that will reproduce fast enough in fresh water to provide an almost continual food source. Will keep looking to see if I can find any species names or anything.

okiemavis 01-23-2008 09:33 PM

Hehe, thanks. I've spent countless hours online myself researching, and haven't found anything, but maybe you'll have some luck!

Yeah, I'm such a fish geek. My boyfriend just looked over my shoulder at this forum and had a laugh. But I think a self-sustained food source for my fish would be so cool!!

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