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-   -   Red Wiggler Worms - West Texas Style (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/member-submitted-articles/red-wiggler-worms-west-texas-style-7596/)

jones57742 08-17-2007 03:09 PM

Red Wiggler Worms - West Texas Style
 
Folks:

Chapter One - My Experience With Feeding Red Wiggler Worms

I have found that my fishies "love" red wiggler worms.

I originally began growing them in order to feed to full grown angels although at that time these angels were approximately 1".

Red wigglers are small earthworms but are still large with respect to the size of most of my fish.

This one is a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not".

I now feed approximately 50 of these worms once a week or every two weeks.

It is unbelievable!

Platties swimming around with the worms in their mouths and other fish trying to take them away (and the worms are typically more than half the length of the platties).
Same with the silver dollars although they are now much larger than the platties.
Same with the angels and "believe it or not" the Red Phantom Tetras also "get in on the act".

I typically feed them late in the afternoon and approximately half of the worms remain on the bottom after the above cited fish "have their bellies full".

Although not reported in the literature red wiggler worms will survive submersed for periods of 4 to 8 hours.

For "some reason" currently unknown to me the sterbai cories will only "get after them" after the lights are out.

I also believe that the gold nugget plecos and the queen plecos "munch down on them at night" (although I have observed this behavior only once)

I believe that the yoyo loaches "clean up the left overs" as I do not observe any evidence of the remnants of the worms when I turn on the lights the next morning.


Chapter Two - My Experience With Raising Red Wiggler Worms

Please review the information at
http://www.wormwoman.com/acatalog/index.html

A brief overview is that these worms
can be raised in a home as the there is no odor emanating from a properly maintained worm bin
and can be fed organic material which would otherwise "go down the food disposal".

I maintained a worm bin
http://fishforum.com/userpix/435_wormaway_1.jpg
in my laundry room for many months.

I have two of these worm bins now set up at my offices in order that the staff can contribute "what is termed in fish keeping as bioload" to them.

Two products of these bins are:
1) the red wiggler worms for feeding fish and
2) the vericompost for fertilizing terrestrial plants.

I if "knew then" what I "know now" I may not have purchased these bins as much less expensive bins which are not manufactured as worm bins will work "just fine".

These links, although not dedicated to red wiggler worms, will exemplify the above paragraph:

http://www.compostsantacruzcounty.or.../worm_bins.htm

http://www.organicgardening.com/feat...1-1396,00.html

One last item based on hard earned experience:

Red wigglers can tolerate higher exterior ambient temperatures,ie. 100F to 110F, for brief periods, ie. a couple of hours a day.
They will migrate to the middle of the bin where the temperature is "more to their liking".
Red wigglers cannot tolerate (and I know that this contrary to some of the literature) extended periods of ambient temperatures external to the bin of 40F to 50F.

This hard earned experience is based on an episode last winter.
The bins at my offices are kept in the "shop area" where we park the surveying suburbans, keep the surveying supplies and the surveying equipment, etc.
This area is not heated or cooled but the attic area is not "walled off" from the offices "finish out area".
As best as I remember last winter we had several weeks of outside temperatures of high 20's as lows and high 40's as highs.
My estimation is that the ambient temperature in the shop varied from 40F to 50F .
All the worms died "before we knew it".

If any questions please post and I will incorporate my responses, if indeed I know the answers, into this treatise.

TR

jim21 08-17-2007 07:39 PM

Great post TR! Thanks!!

Couple of questions if you don't mind please:
-where did you get your initial batch of red worms?
-how quicky do they reproduce in the bins under optimal conditions?

Thanks again,
-jim

jones57742 08-17-2007 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim21
Great post TR!

Thanks: Ron Jones

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim21
where did you get your initial batch of red worms?

The first batch I purchased from a worm farm nears Winters, Texas which is approximately 70 miles northeast of San Angelo.
When I started over, after the worms died as described in my original post, I purchased from the company where I purchased the worm bins as the farm in Winters was no longer in business.
IMHO I would Google for Red Wiggler Worms which is what I did on both occasions as there are many worms farms in the US.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim21
how quicky do they reproduce in the bins under optimal conditions?

The literature generally reports 6 to 8 weeks for reproduction and growth.
I have found these reports to be incorrect.
I cannot say for certain that after 4 weeks the number of worms in my bins had doubled but I can say that I estimate the number had increased 50% from the original stocking quantity.

TR

fish_4_all 08-19-2007 01:11 AM

http://www.wormman.com/cat_composting.cfm

That is one of the best companies I have ever found for ordering livestock.

I also wanted to add one thing to your post Jones. If you raise them you have to remember not to feed them meat, dairy, fish nor seafood.

jones57742 08-19-2007 01:29 PM

F4A:

My experience is similar but not exact.

I have found that very minor amounts of meat, fish and seafood fed very infrequently are very good for the "wormies" (never tried dairy products).

I know that the above assertion varies from the literature but it is based on experience.

One item though I acquired from very, very hard earned experience is to cover this type matter with a least 4" of soil instead of 2" of soil.

I should have known this from the literature as well as my experience in sanitary landfill design.

When I had one of the bins in my laundry room (which is inside a well sealed house) and which had minor ventilation area and did not do this:
within a week I was placing the worm bin outside;
sealing it up and
fumigating my house from very, very small but very, very aggressive biting flies.

TR


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