15/07/2024

The Critters

For Nice Critters

Culturing Micro Worms, Banana Worms and Walter Worms for Small Egg Laying Fish Fry

Culturing Micro Worms, Banana Worms and Walter Worms for Small Egg Laying Fish Fry

Worms are a great first food source for small fish fry like Bettas and Guppies. The culture can be kept continuously thriving with very little effort and small outlay. If you produce large enough quantities you can even sell your own starter cultures.

Setting up your first culture

1. Buy a starter culture from other breeders or online shops. They aren’t often available in pet stores.

2. You will need a container with a well fitting lid. A 2 litre ice cream tub is ideal.

3. The lid must fit well as the worms climb the sides and I’m sure you wouldn’t want them escaping but you must also put some holes in the lid to allow them to breathe.

4. Dried potato, instant oats or porridge are usually the best choices for food due to being cheap and easily sourced but the worms aren’t usually fussy when it comes to food.

5. Fill your tub with your chosen food to about 1 inch deep then add warm water to make it a thick paste. You want it to be firm but not dry.

6. Once cooled to room temperature smear your starter culture alll over the food surface and that’s it sorted. It usually takes around a week before your culture is established enough to begin harvesting. Temperature will play a role in the culture growth rate too, the warmer it is the faster the worms will multiply. The culture may smell slightly but shouldn’t be offensive. There should also be no signs of mould if your culture is healthy.

Harvesting your worms

The worms will climb the side of your container so it is easy to harvest them with minimal fuss. Use a spoon, lolly pop or blunt knife to scrape along the side of the container. Dip this into some fresh water and any food will be rinsed off the worms. The worms can then be collected from the bottom using a pipette and fed directly to your fry. The worms will live for around 5 hours in water and their wriggling will entice your fry to have a munch.

Keeping your culture alive

After about 4-6 weeks depending on the temperature your culture will start to break down. It will start to get more liquid and will begin to smell, the worm numbers may also start to decline. You now need to restart your culture. Set up a new tub with food as you did when you first obtained your worms. Scrape about one quarter of your existing culture into your new food and again this will start to thrive like before. Do not dump the rest of your original culture until you a certain the new one is established.

Selling starter cultures

If you wish to sell starter cultures do not use the residue from the restart. The left over culture should be binned or used to create a number of cultures as well as your personal use one. 2-3 tablespoonfuls of an active established culture is more than enough for any else to create their own from but only use a healthy established culture which has more than a week left before it is likely to become foul if you choose to sell them. This will ensure the customer will receive thriving worms which will quickly reproduce compared to a dying culture.

There are numerous foods that may be used for these worm cultures including adding yeast or banana but they really aren’t necessary and the simplest foods are dried potato or instant oats. Micro worms and the other smaller worms are easy to keep and low maintenance regardless of the chosen food source. They are a great way to provide live foods at the most essential time in a fry’s development but also be aware that they are not nutritionally complete and fry will need alternative foods as they grow.