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Microworms

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Growing Microworms at home is easy and rewarding!

Microworms are great food for young betta and fry, and make a nice complement to baby brine shrimp (BBS) and Water fleas (Daphnia).  Almost all betta fry can be started on microworms. They are easy to raise and easy to collect and easy to reset.

Start with a small plastic dish or cup with lids.  I like the containers my local food shop sell kids drinks in. They are about 3” X 3” round and about 2-3” tall with solid lids we use a big needle to poke small air hole in. Containers that cottage cheese and sour cream come in also work well but are not see through.  The worms grow on the surface of the culture medium, so low wide containers will produce more worms that tall thin ones most of the time.

 

A lot of different foods are used for microworms, but I found either a good sweet white bread or banana multi-grain baby cereal is the best compromise between longevity of the culture and worm production with out much smell to it as it ages.  I start with a few tablespoons of the cereal or one slice of bread with the crust removed and two pinches of instant baker’s yeast. If you use the bread you do not even need to add any yeast. Then I simply add warm distilled water and stir until it forms a thick paste like oat meal.

Once the mixture or either bread or cereal cools, you can add some microworms from your starter culture or a old non-moldy culture. You don’t need much. As much as you can scrape on the wide end of a flat tooth pick is more than enough. Poke some holes in the cover and place it in a warm location and out of direct sunlight. I place mine on our out side deck in the summer. The culture will grow faster in warm locations but not last as long.

After a few days the microworms will break down the food in your new culture and it will spread out to cover the container. In another couple of days the worms will start crawling up the sides of the container where they can be harvested. This is why I like to use clear plastic containers.  Just use a tooth pick or your clean finger to scrap off the microworms and swish it in the aquarium with the baby fish. The microworms will slowly sink to the bottom of the tank.

Over time, the microworms will continue to break down the food in the container and it will become a thinner liquid. Add a little more dry cereal or bread when it gets runny will give you a little more time. This will boost worm production and extend the life of the culture.

After about 4-6 weeks the culture will start to turn brown and production will decrease. That is the time to start a new culture. Once the new culture is producing, you can throw the old one out.

There are a couple of other worms types similar to micro worms including Walter worms and banana worms. There have been over 28,000 species of nematodes described, so it is possible they are different species.  There is a bit of difference in the size but it is probably not critical in most cases.  I have found that the banana worms are more productive but the cultures goes bad much faster.  You might have different results in your area so nothing wrong with giving all types a try. Try all three to see which work best for you.  It may not make sense to keep cultures of all three but one will bring you some feeding joy and the rest you can stop. Stick with the type that works best in your area and climate.

Microworms make a great compliment to baby brine shrimp for feeding newly hatched betta and tropical fish. The effort to culture them is definitely worth the small effort you need to put in to keep it going.

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