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The Bug Farm
San Rafael, CA 94903  USA

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, J.Atchison

The Bug Farm grows Grindal worms, Fruit Flies, Microworms and more!
Use these for:

· Newts
· Salamanders
· Frogs
· Birds
· Bettas both sub-adults and adults
· Corydoras both sub adults adults
· Apistogramma adults
· Killifish adults
· Larger Gourami adults such as Leeri
· Guppy adults
· Conditioning breeders prior to spawning
· Newts and Salamanders
· Finches
· Ask us more about Whiteworms

Whiteworms are an interesting food source for many critters. Most people who will read this article are probably keeping fish. However, whiteworms are great for many herps (salamanders, newts, some frogs) and several species of birds (Waxbills being one of them). The keeping of newts and newt larvae is in many ways more similar to fish keeping than some other herps. While they may be small, one could think of them as an earthworm. Any critter that might like a worm from the garden will enjoy a whiteworm also.

Interestingly, they will survive under water for several days. We have had them wiggling for days in a beaker of water, however, in a tank they will work into gravel beds and be difficult for many fish to find. Some fish, Corydoras and Loaches in particular, probably have some sort of "fun" working the gravel for the escaping worms. 

While the discussion of what medium to grow whiteworms in and what they prefer to eat can rage at fish conventions, one thing that all agree on is that this worm likes the temperature of it’s environ to be on the cold side. And while you might see a wide range of temperatures promoted as "ideal" for the species, little doubt can be had that the general consensus is on cooler is better.

While reading about this worm, we found "ideal" temperatures such as, "55 and 65 is best if you expect them to reproduce.

The first order of business in cultivating Whiteworms is to prepare a good quality medium for the worms. Not only does the medium have to have the right components and the right consistency, you really need to consider sterilizing it. You might get lucky and do o.K. without sterilizing the medium, however you will be risking a quick infection of mites and/or fungus gnats. And you don’t want to get either of these two infestations if you can avoid it.

All worms need a somewhat moist environment. They produce a mucus substance to help them "glide" through soils, but if the soils it too dry, the mucus dries and so then will the worm. While one might go down to the organic farming outlet (any good hydroponics store) and purchase a moisture meter to check on the water content of the soil, there is an easy manual method which works and cost you nothing.

If, when you squeeze a handful of soil in your hand water does not drip out and when you open you hand the soil keeps it’s shape (including the "finger grooves") the soil is in the realm of having the right amount of moisture.

We used to use plastic sweater boxes as our preferred culture box. We punched a series of small holes around the entire perimeter of the box, just below the edge of the cover for ventilation. 

If you do much reading on whiteworms you are going to find folks using, Pabulum, mashed potatoes and wheat flour. They'll even eat flake and pelletized fish foods, dry dog and cat food, if they're pre-soaked beforehand, breadcrumbs and dozens of other similar foods.

Personally we find that using stale hot dog buns particularly satisfying. Not only are the whiteworms doing very well on them, we have found yet another way to balance the number of buns with the number of hotdogs in their respective packages.

One can also place the food in a small depression and cover the food and depression with a sheet of glass. When the box is covered you will achieve a situation where the worms concentrate themselves all around the food and the worm glob is easy to get too.

The worms will eat moist food. If you feed them dry food, they will not eat until the food has absorbed enough moisture from the medium to make it palatable. If one does not moisten the food with each feeding, the culture will become dry over time. However, the reverse of this problem is to use dry food to dry an overly moist culture.

"We grow food not bait"


 

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