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Understanding the

Science of feeding

Worms for Pet Food

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Very small worms for very small Pets -
Microworms, Tubifex Worms, White Worms and Grindal Worms


Microworms, a nematode, are aquatic worms that grow to only
about 1/32 to 1/8 of an inch (0.5 -2 millimeters) long at
adulthood, and are thread-thin. They are not suitable for
the primary part of your pet's diet, but they are easy to
grow and low cost, and their small size makes them excellent
for getting very young animals to begin to feed.

Here is one suggested way to grow your own:

Purchase some microworm starter. Mix water with oatmeal and
cornmeal at a ratio of one (water) to three cornmeal and
oatmeal, to equal about a cup and one half (.36 liter), in a
microwaveable container, cover and heat for about one and
one half minutes. Cool completely without stirring, and then
add some dry baking yeast and stir. Add more water if
needed, but the mix should be thick. Put into a plastic
container with air holes punched into the lid, add some
starter culture and keep at room temperature. Harvest the
worms when they climb the sides of the container, and start
a new culture whenever needed.

Live Tubifex Worms

The aquatic Tubifex worms have long been a staple food for
aquarists, and are okay as a food supplement for fish and
newt larvae. But the traditionally sold Tubifex worms are
not as popular as they once were here in America because
they are not so easy to culture, not that nutritious and the
dried or frozen can contaminate your aquarium. But there are
other very small species available around the world that are
easy to grow yourself, small aquatic red worms, ero worms,
or microfex to name a few.

One recommended way to culture these "microworms" is to put
the starter culture into a glass jar filled part way with
water from the aquarium. Cover the jar loosely so some air
can circulate, and feed the culture with a fish pellet or a
small piece of raw fish about twice a week. Add more
aquarium water as needed, and keep at a reasonable room

Once you have twice as many worms as you began with, (These
worms will double their numbers every week.), take some out
and use them to start a new jar. After a few months you'll
have plenty for feed, and if you keep a number of jars going
at once, you will have a backup when all the worms in one
jar suddenly die of old age, as commonly happens.

When you are ready to use them, simply suction some out of
the jar and rinse before feeding to your pets.

White Worms and Grindal Worms

White worms (Enchytraeus albidus) and Grindal worms are also
popular as part of the diet for fish and small amphibians,
as they are nutritious and easy to raise. You may have to
find your starter culture on the Internet if you don't live
in a large city, but they are fairly easy to find.

To raise your own white worms (Grindal worm culture is
similar) prepare a small container such as a plastic storage
box with a lid. Make sure the lid allows ventilation, either
by fitting loosely or via covered air holes punched into the

Add three or four inches (eight to eleven centimeters) of a
peat moss and potting soil mixture and dampen the substrate
until it is moist but not soggy. Add your starter culture
and some fish food or bread crumbs. Put the container in a
cool part of the house, and wait.

Once your worms are growing, you might try feeding them some
cooked rice, as it is said to cause them to grow quickly.
Keep the soil moist and the food coming, and your worms will
multiply rapidly.

To use them as pet food, watch for clumps of worms near the
food. You can simply grab a ball of worms and put them into
a container so you can drop them into your aquarium as
needed. As with other worm cultures, its a good idea to keep
several cultures going to get you thorough the inevitable
"crashes" in which all the worms seem to die of old age at

Back to:  Invertebrates

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