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Culturing Micro Worms, Banana Worms and Walter Worms for Small Egg Laying Fish Fry
Worms are a great first food source for small fry like Bettas and Guppies. The culture can be kept continuously thriving with much effort and little expense. If you produce large enough quantities you can even sell your own starter cultures.
Set up your first culture
1. Buy a starter culture from other breeders or online shops. They are not often available in pet stores.
2. You will need a container with a tight-fitting lid. A 2 liter ice cream tub is ideal.
3. The cover must fit snugly as the worms climb up the sides and I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to escape but you must also put some holes in the cover to allow them to breathe.
4. Dried potatoes, instant oats or porridge are usually the best food choices because they are cheap and easy to source but worms are not usually fussy when it comes to food.
5. Fill your tub with your chosen food to about 1 inch deep and add warm water to make it a thick paste. You want it firm but not dry.
6. Once cooled to room temperature, rub your starter culture all over the surface of the food and it is sorted. It usually takes about a week before your culture is established enough to start harvesting. The temperature will play a role in the growth rate of the culture as well, the warmer it is the faster the worms will multiply. The culture may smell a little but it should not be offensive. There should also be no signs of mold if your culture is healthy.
Harvest your worms
The worms will climb up the side of your container so it’s easy to harvest them with little fuss. Use a spoon, lolly pop or corkscrew to scrape down the side of the container. Dip this in some cool water and it will rinse off any food on the worms. Then the worms can be collected from the bottom using a pipette and fed directly to you fried Worms will live for about 5 hours in water and their wriggling will attract your fry to have a meal.
Keep 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 start to smell, the worm numbers may also start to decline. Now you need to restart your culture. Set up a new tub and feed just like you did when you first got your worms. Scrape about a quarter of your existing culture into your new food and again it will begin to sprout as before. Do not throw away the remains of your original culture until you are certain the new one is established.
Sell culture starter
If you want to sell the starter culture do not use the residue from the restart. Remaining on the culture should be binned or used to create a number of cultures as well as your personal use one. 2-3 tablespoons of an active established culture is more than enough for anyone else to create their own but only use a healthy established culture that has more than a week left before it is likely to go bad if you choose to sell them. This will ensure the customer will receive thriving worms that will quickly reproduce compared to a dead culture.
There are many foods that can be used for these worm cultures including adding yeast or bananas but they are really not necessary and the simplest foods are dried potatoes or instant oats. Micro worms and other smaller worms are easy to keep and low maintenance regardless of the food source they choose. They are a good way to provide live food at the most essential time of a fry’s development, but also be aware that they are not nutritionally complete and the fry will need alternative food as they grow.
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