Self-propigating worms for fish food in tank?

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spudjnr123

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Apr 3, 2006
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Hey all,
I've never done this before and wanted to get some thoughts on this and see if it has ever been done successfully!

I was thinking that it would be great for my Loaches (and other fish) to have self-sustaining food source in the tank in the form of worms that lived in the sand substrate. Has anyone attempted this before? Specific species that work better? Caveats and concerns?

My tank is a 75 gallon with a substrate that is a mix of large cobble, gravel, and sand. No heater on the tank, heavily oxygenated and "over-filtered". I keep Hillstream (Beaufortia kweichowensis) and Horsefaced Loaches as well as some WCMM and Denison Barbs. I figured the horsefaced Loaches would all love to snack on some worms as would the barbs and WCMM.

Would love to hear thoughts!
 

OrionGirl

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You can add black worms. Some will avoid being eaten and make it to the substrate, where they will happily reproduce. Everything will eat them, so be sure to start with many, add after feeding the fish. Make sure to LOOK at them, and remove any hitchhikers, otherwise you will end up with leeches (detrivores, not blood suckers). It does mean that you can't really clean the substrate, since you'll remove them as well. Fine in a planted tank, maybe not so much in a tank with no plants.
 

spudjnr123

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You can add black worms. Some will avoid being eaten and make it to the substrate, where they will happily reproduce. Everything will eat them, so be sure to start with many, add after feeding the fish. Make sure to LOOK at them, and remove any hitchhikers, otherwise you will end up with leeches (detrivores, not blood suckers). It does mean that you can't really clean the substrate, since you'll remove them as well. Fine in a planted tank, maybe not so much in a tank with no plants.
Excellent! I was wondering about blackworms!! I am planning on planting my tank more, also the current in the tank is such that very little, if any, waste makes it into the substrate that I can see when I vacuum it currently!
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Yeah, blackworms would be my choice too...But loaches might eat them before you can get a colony established. That was my very limited experience.

Shrimp were even less so...

What loaches are you talking about?
 

fishorama

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I just found live blackworms in my "river-ish" tank today (see my post in General FW). Mine were tangled up in plant roots, I don't think any fish eat them, or not many. I haven't fed BW in several years & never see them all heads up like yours...That may be because I have algae all over my front glass for my sewellia loach fry, lol.

I've never kept horse faces, do you see them much?
 

spudjnr123

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This was about 1 hr after introducing almost an entire ounce of them into the tank. They are now completely gone. I'm sure that my Horsefaced Loaches are making meals of them when they can find them, but most have likely burrowed down entirely into the substrate.

The Loaches are definitely on the shy side, and I see them mostly during the morning and evening, but since adding the worms they have been more active. They burrow and "sift" a lot looking for hidden worms now.

The WCCM and Denison barbs half-heartedly search, grabbing mouthfuls of sand now and again.
 

fishorama

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I see the 1 but not the others. When I had Denisonii they ate all levels, but not as much off the bottom. Cool if yours do! Do you have more than the 2 in the pic?

My tank with a colony of BWs is unheated too. I think that helps, but I don't know any fish I keep in there eats them.
 

spudjnr123

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So, one is underlined,

The other two are here (zoomed into same area):
224241

I've got 4 Denisonii, 15(ish?) WCCM, the 3 horsefaces and 6 kweichowensis. The Denisonii and WCCM went nuts when I fed the worms initially as a "ball-o-worms" they would dart in and rip worms out or snag free swimmers. Now, they must know the worms are there, but don't really care to dig. The worms were actually only meant for the loaches. I don't have many snails for them and no other food makes it past the minnow horde to the bottom.
 
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