Worms

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B.K.A. Information pamphlet No.3 1983 Johnny Walker.

MICROWORMS

The old smelly porridge method is now, with most aquarists, a thing of the past. The most consistent results being obtained from the following method.

For a container the most practical and probably the best is a half pound size margarine tub. This will produce more than sufficient worms for most needs. For a medium we will use bread, white, sliced and about two or three days old. Do not use bread with a lot of air pockets in it as this has been badly proved and will usually turn sour. The final requirement is a half to one teaspoonful of starter culture. To prepare the medium, cut the bread into circles which fit exactly into the container, a 1lb 3oz. pea tin or similar receptacle, with the contents removed, will act as a cutter in preshaping the bread to the exact size. Having cut the bread to the exact shape,turn on the cold water tap and flick the individual slices through +the stream and back again. This dampens the bread sufficiently to start the culture. Too much or too little moisture and the culture will most probably fail, so it is a question of personal trial and error. Place the dampened slices in the tub and seed the culture by spreading the starter on the bread, as if icing a cake, from edge to edge and sealing at the sides where the bread meets the container. It is most important that the whole surface of the bread is covered as this prevents oxydization and the growth of fungus. The culture will be ready to use in about six days at a temperature of 75 f. This period can be regulated by raising or lowering the temperature. During the culture growth period do not stir it. When the culture becomes wet, as it eventually will, and the production of worms slows up, add very small pieces of bread to soak up the liquid thus regenerating the culture. With careful management a single culture can be kept producing worms for a great many months. Ventilation should be provided by piercing the sides of the tub, near the lid, about eight times, with a safety pin.


GRINDAL WORMS

Grindal worms can be cultured in almost any size container from a half pound tub to a four pound tub. To start with it is probably best to use a small container and set up several cultures as these are tricky to get going until you have acquired the knack. Having decided upon the container to be used, the next requirement will be pieces of one inch squares of glass, about three for a half pound tub and more for larger containers. The medium should be fibrous, peaty and non - clogging material. Peat has been used extensively in the past but the worms seem to do better if a neutral medium is used. Very acid peat tends to kill off the cultures fairly quickly. Fill the tub with about two and a half inches of medium and press it firmly down. The medium needs to be just moist, not too wet and not too dry. Here again the consistency at which the culture is kept is all to important. Now place on the glass squares and add the food which you are going to use. Proprietary baby foods are ideal for this purpose but care must be exercised not to overfeed. Add a small amount of food to the glass square and moisten it using an eyedropper. Two drops of water on each piece of glass should be sufficient. Whatever ·you do, do not over water. With the starter added feeding should be done twice a day. This will, of course, depend on the worms clearing the food. Any uneaten food should be carefully removed and replaced with fresh, but a little less. The amount given can soon be gauged as the culture breeds. Over feeding and over watering are the biggest factors affecting failure. The culture should be feed for 7 to 14 days and kept at a temperature of about 75 F. by which time it should be ready for use. To feed your fish take a piece of glass covered in worms and dip into the tank until the required amount has been given. However, if you have problems with disease then use a glass or similar item in conjunction with a dip tube to feed the fish. Ventilation should be supplied by piercing 1/8" holes the lids of the tubs or 1/2" holes in larger containers.

An alternative and better food can be prepared using the following ingredients :- 2 cups of rolled oats, 2 cups of cornflakes, 1/4 teaspoon wheat germ oil and 1/4 teaspoon cod liver oil. Put the oats and flakes through a grinder and sieve, add both oils and rub in as if making pastry.

Feed the resultant mixture in exactly the same way as other foods.


WHITE WORMS

Wooden or metal containers are suitable for culturing white worms. The items required are a container, a quantity of peat or other medium, sufficient to cover the container to a depth of 1.5", a sweet jar lid, a few slices of white bread and a starter culture. Cut the bread into 1" squares and dry them until they are crisp and have no moisture content. Store in an airtight container for future use.Wet the medium thoroughly and squeeze in the hand until no more water comes out, this then will be at the right consistency. Place the medium in the container and put the starter in the centre of the container in a slight depression. Feed the pieces of the pre-dried crisp bread and cover with a jar lid before placing the lid on the container. The worms will feed from the bottom of the bread and because it is dry very little fungus will develop before it is eaten. As a result it is less likely that the culture will sour. As the culture matures more bread will have to be given. If the sides of the culture dry out wet immediately, using a vinegar shaker or similar, but never wet the centre of the culture where the food is placed. Using this method avoids smelly and foul cultures that never give of their best.