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Raising Blackworms info please
I hope this is the right place for this thread. =)
Well, I am thinking about raising some of my own live food to cut down on costs of buying frozen foods(man they've gotten costly! Near ten dollars for a packet of frozen glassworms, brine shrimp and stuff like that!), but I'm not sure if this is the right way to go to actually save money, I have NO idea.
I was wondering if anyone who does raise these would tell me about it. How it's done, what do I raise and care for them in(like tank, can I use something else, how large and it's set up, could I use a large net inside a tank I already have set up), costs, feeding and care and the like to give me an idea on how it works, and if it will benefit my pocket, and my fishes and crayfishes tummies!
I have a lot of livebearers, a couple gouramis, kuhli loaches, betta, crayfish, I'm sure they'd like these as tasty treats once or twice a week, but finding them is very hard and I'd like to cultivate my own food here. One day I hope to raise brine shrimp as well, but my knowledge on saltwater/brackish care is...well, almost zilch, so it'll have to wait for another time.
Get a 10 gallon tank or similar size rubbermaid tub, and 1/4 pound of blackworms. You can use leaf litter for substrate, folks use the old school brown paper towels, leaves fall off trees free for the collecting. You won't need a heater, but you will need a sponge filter you can suspend off the bottom, nothing fancy there. Feed any cheap flake, pond food, trout chow, they aren't picky. A couple times weekly beat the snot out of the bottom with a spatula, or whatever you have available, blackworms reproduce by segmentation, just like earthworms but smaller.
After 4, maybe 6 weeks your 1/4 pound will be a half pound, somewhat less if you're pulling from there & feeding. I've bred them unintentionally, I sell way more than I could reasonably breed, or at least care to. You could do the same thing with a pound in a 40b or 55, I sell 25 pounds every 10-14 days, 40-50 pounds at a swap, gives you some idea of the tubs/tanks I'd need to have running.
This is the same thing my supplier in Cali does, on a much larger scale, ponds, large rakes & so on. Due to the winters here, my small back yard, and my wife's aversion to me tearing up that yard to put in a pond that won't work here. For shipping & storage they're a refrigerated product, my basement has a couple beater refrigerators with the shelves pulled out, large bins stack nicely. She's tolerant of that, turning the yard into a worm pit, no.
OK, so you're saying you need to raise them in the fridg??? If not do you just fridg them for storage?
Fridge is for storage. Just as with pond fish, once it gets below a certain temperature you don't have to feed them, their metabolism drops. That 1/4 pound that needs a 10 gallon to breed can be kept in a sandwich size tupperware or ziplock container, a pound needs one about the size of a shoebox. They do need a daily rinse this way, cold tap works fine. Pretty simple, this is all there is to it; Organic Blackworms - Blackworm Care
As with pond fish, they won't breed when it's this cold. When it's warmer & their metabolism increases they need more room, this means water volume. Also as with fish, warmer water holds less O2, so you need to stock much more lightly.
I've had them reproduce in an outdoor 150 gallon tub that sort of naturally gets leaf litter. I've got several lilac bushes, crab apple trees, and some sort of monster locust tree near by, when these flower they get in the tub. I start with a few trios of platys in there, by fall I have hundreds. Platys generally don't disturb the substrate, so some of the blackworms I feed end up reproducing.
The reason for suspending the sponge filter is that they will find their way into there, and just sit as food comes to them. I've found out quite unintentionally that this can be a good thing when pulling a sponge filter & setting up a bare bottom hatching/fry tank for angels. They will come out of the filter to feed on leftover bbs, won't bother the fry, and the fry are too small to eat them. Many breeders will use a small cory, plec, or snails for this, the cats generally don't like the warmer angel temperatures, and sometimes get a taste for fry. Snails reproduce like snails, thank God for loachs.
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