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Author Topic: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)  (Read 815 times)
cheri_alexander
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A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« on: March 11, 2012, 11:35:20 PM »

Hi all. I thought I'd put together a little info on worm farming. I don't know if anyone will be interested but it is incredibly easy, cheap and the fish absolutley love the worms. After the intial cost you will not have to put any money into your worms and in the long-run it is the cheapest and most nutritious food you can offer your fish (if you grow your own zucchini, peas and lettuce you will rarely have to buy fish food at all).
   I currently have white worms and red worms. I have found the red worms to be much easier, cheaper and they are not so...gross is the word. So I'll be telling you about the reds. These worms are a medium size, usually 1-5 inches and thin.
   All you will need to get started is: a container with lid (plastic or wood or almost anything). A mix of "bedding" and the worms. The easiest and cheapest way to go about it is to buy a plastic tub- shoebox size and up (I paid $5) and drill or punch a few holes is the center of the lid. For bedding I went with a mix of top soil (plain dirt basically), peat moss, and organic manure (less than $2 per bag). I suggest you never use potting or garden soil and especially never use Miracle Grow (Oraganic Miracle Grow is NOT ok). These types of soils have chemical fertilizers which should not come near your fish in any fashion.  Now for the worms- you can buy them online, I wouldn't, rather expensive that way. I went to the fishing section at Wal-Mart ($2 per 20 worms). They were under the name "Trout Worms". Usually at a bait shop they will have two types of "red worms", one is fat and grows up to 8" , the other is much smaller. Both types of worms are good fish food but only huge fish would be able to eat a whole "earth worm". Go with the smaller. For my large tub I started with approx 80 worms.
   Get your tub and soil first (don't get the worms at the same time). Punch small holes, mix soil. The bedding must be kept "damp but not wet". The easiest way to explain it is the consistancy of a wrung-out sponge. It must always be damp, the worms will die if they dry out. If too wet they will lack oxygen and could also die. Once prepared add a bit of food. For a staple diet I use wet oatmeal. The worms actually live on the microorganisms growing on decaying food (but they consume the oatmeal along with it) which is why you should set up your "farm" a few days in advance.
   Now where to put them? These worms can survive a wide range of temperatures but around 70 degrees F is best (or a bit warmer if you are unsure). They require darkness, they can actually die from being exposed to sunlight for an extended length of time. I kept them in a closet for awhile, now they are under my unused kitchen table.
   Offer them a small amount of food when the last bit is gone. Besides oatmeal I throw in vegtable peels (get them wet as they will decay faster) I also gave them fish flakes I was trying to dispose of and rarely a bit of gel food. If you have flax oil or fish oil handy you can soak your oatmeal or bread in that- I always keep the needs of the goldfish in mind while feeding the worms.
   Now to feeding the precious goldies: For small fish the worms will have to be cut. This is not too unpleasant. I keep a small pair of craft scissors for this purpose, feed them immediately after cutting- the pieces will still be alive. Large fish can take baby worms whole. My farm produces enough young worms that I rarely have to cut any. If you make your own gel-food the worms can be a main ingredient, just blend them up (hint- buy an old blender from a second hand store).
   To start my worm farm I paid exactly $20.15. They are no trouble, my daughter loves helping with them and my goldfish have never looked better. Here are a few pictures. I placed my tub on an old push-toy of my daughters but it is not too heavy to carry around. You can see the worms crawling up the tub, this is why you punch holes in the middle of the lid, it is unlikely (but not impossible) for them to escape- it has not yet happened to me. In the last picture I am holding a young worm, this is the size my medium-large fish eat whole.
   Eventually I'll be putting up a worm video on YouTube (as well as a gel food vid) and I'll post the link. I did put a vid of Shoe eating one on Facebook for members of Piscium Custodes. Anyway- Thanks for reading and I hope you give it a shot (dooo it...it's easy!)
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Vicloz2006
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 01:22:15 AM »

Thanks for that cheri! That's really interesting I would love to do that for my guys but my mum won't let me have a bearded dragon because it eats live food she would have a fit at me if I started a worm farm! I can just imagine all the curses under her breath! Lol! Will defo keep it in mind when we get a place of our own. If I got another tank I could use my current QT tank to do it black the sides! Hmmm! Could I do it without her knowing!  Roll Eyes
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Skwishee
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 08:03:33 AM »

I think a worm farm would be really attractive in a see through box, so you could see the little guys burrow Grin

Could you use the worms little home as an organic bin? You mention throwing in some pieces, but I guess if you chuck too much in there, it'll be too much and just turn mouldy?

Perhaps I shall do this one day, thanks Cheri  Smiley
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 08:07:58 AM by Skwishee » Logged
cheri_alexander
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 05:54:23 PM »

Vicky- a tank would probably work well! Tell your mom it doesn't smell or anything! Just put it under your bed lol, she'll never know.
Skwishee- You'd have to keep the clear bin in the dark most the time, they wont burrow near the edge if it's too bright. People use the worms in their composting bins all the time! In that case I would certainly keep it outside, the decaying food would give off enough heat that they'd probably be ok through winter.

Edit- I forgot to mention; rinse the soil off the worms before feeding them to the fishies. Easiest way is to put them in a net and rinse them in bottled water. For large worms a tea-strainer works.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 06:08:01 PM by cheri_alexander » Logged
Vicloz2006
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »

I'm thinking when I get my new tank and stand if it has a cupboard underneath I might put my smaller tank under that, with them in!
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sparkly-puffball
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 10:02:29 PM »

This is pretty interesting! I was just looking at red worms at the other day for (vermi)composting, and now I know that the worms may be multifunctional too. Until my roommate decided that worms are gross and she would never want them in her house.  Tongue Composting is pretty cool though, you can set it up indoors by adding wet newspaper, dry leaves, leftover fruits and veggies, dirt, and worms, preferably red worms (also known as red wigglers). After a while you have vermicompost!

This reminds me of how my dad told me that in Asia, he fed bettas mosquito larvae, instead of commercial brand fish flakes. Anything natural is way superior to fish flakes, but you have to go the extra mile. This shows that you must really care for your goldies, cheri.  Wink
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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 11:47:06 PM »

Thanks sparkly, I do love them a lot! I don't know much about composting...doesn't it smell bad indoors? I always feed just barely enough food because I figured rotting plant material would stink.
I have been trying to figure out how to get some mosquito larvae! I don't know how to get the larvae without encouraging adults to hang around!
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fantailer
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 05:36:29 AM »

Cheri_alexander just fill a bowl with water and put it outside. Wait a week or more. They'lll be the first things to show up. But the water has to be dechlorinated.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 08:16:50 PM »

But then you'll have lots of adult mosiqutos hanging around wouldn't you? Hmm, I'll have to do a bit of research, I don't even know what they look like.
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Vicloz2006
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 09:22:51 PM »

I mentioned doing this to my partner and he seems to like the idea! His only concern was that they the worms might be too big for the fish and whether I could cut them up if they were! Bless him!
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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 09:38:56 PM »

Smiley Cutting them bothers me a bit tbh. The tiniest babies are so small that any goldfish can eat them but the newborns are sometimes hard to find- of course I'm looking for 10 tiny worms and you'll only need a few. I just feed the babies on a daily basis and then every two months or so I use a cup of the biggest adults for gel food and then let the farm "rest" a week. That way I don't have adults dying of old age nor do I use too many babies.
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Vicloz2006
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2012, 07:06:51 AM »

That's a good idea! I said that the babies wouldn't be too big and that if we get a 120L tank the fish will grow bigger anyway!
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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Guide to Farming Worms (for live food...)
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 12:39:32 PM »

Omg! It's a sticky you guys! Do you see that?! My first one! Cheesy
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