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Thread: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

  1. #1
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    'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

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    Sera
    Hi guys, just want to share this with you all. Some of you may have already know.

    I saw this web-site on culturing tubifex by feeding them dead decomposed fish or feaces *YAK*. This guy talk about getting his first 100 'healthy' tubifex and using this method and now having thousands and thousands of them.

    My killies are now eating granulate and I have no wish of spoiling them with too much livefood. Nevertheless, once in a blue moon, I think as a good owner I should let them have a taste of this wiggling natural food. But I have very bad experience with live tubifex and so, I thought, if I want to feed my fish then I must feed the best...or rather "my own best".

    I wanted to try culturing live tubifex but 'healthy and clean' one. And so this is what I did. I bought 50 cents of live tubifex then poured them all into a container with antiseptic mouthwash (suggested by Mr Loh in his killi website) then I got another container filled with clean water and lots of fish medication (the type that says it cure external bacteria infection). Much of the tubifex were killed in the first container (this is what I want actually), and I picked up like a hundred or so surviving and wiggling one and put them in the second container.

    I am not sure if I have successfully eliminated most or any bacteria the worms have on their body but at least I tried. Next, I filled to a centimeter or so of water in a 20 by 10 cm fish tank and added some watersafe solution and a cube of ice (to cool the water). Finally, I picked the best 'healthy looking' worms into their breeding home. I picked about 90+ of them. The rest, to hell they go.

    As for foods, NO WAY am I going to feed them dead decomposing fish or faeces. Rather, I use flake foods and tablets (the going to expired one ). And guess what? They eat! But rather than eating them straight away, they usually eat them after hours like when the foods are decomposing. I was like man, they still prefer eating decomposing stuffs but whatever it is, the fish foods are better than fish corpses and shits.

    It's been a week and a few days and guess what? The worms have multiplied! They now formed much bigger balls around the decomposing flake foods and tablets. I believe that you are what you eat, no offense, but I feel that most of our fishes are eating corpse and shit (that is why they fall ill) when they eat conventionally cultured tubifex worms. But still, these are arguably the best and economical livefoods worm around.

    I want my worms to at least contain some vitamin from those flake foods at least better than dead bodies or shit. That is why I am feeding them and culturing them with such foods rather than the dead decomposing and shitty stuffs. As for water change, strangely, after days, my water still remain crystal clear and no foul odour, perhaps it is due to the small about of worms or the type of foods I feed them. But when they increase in amount, I do pour off a bit of the water and add a cube of ice. the ice just melted and become cool water for them. I thought some of the worms were freezed to death but after some times, they were wiggling and going after those flake foods again.

    The thing is, :P I have not yet feed any of this worms to my killies. Maybe it is just with me but I have many bad experience with feeding my killies livefood especially tubifex worms. I still have my reservation and this culturing tubifex worms thing is really just for some cheap fun. But hey, it kind of work. At least, they survive and mulitplied.

    I just want to share. Some of you may have know about this or have better way. My method is just something I thought of and it is the cheapest and I think cleaner compare to that other guy feeding dead fish and shit. I am not sure if you can culture a lot with my method but a little maybe. Their population in my culture tank have increased that is for sure (I always wonder how they can do that...how they mate... ). Anyway, at least when I feed them to my killies the next time, I would feel better pyschologically that I am feeding something other than dead shitty fish.

    Gary

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    Interesting stuff Gary, but the problem with tubifex is that they need cool, running water to survive. Do you aerate your container or do you just rely on regular water changes?

    I know tubifex feed on rotting flesh, I've seen it with my own eyes and they make short work of dead carcasses.

    If possible, do post the URL of the website you mentioned. I'd like to take a look.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Incubation: Simpsonichthys margaritatus "Rio Verde" BR-MPM 12-07
    -back to old school fish-

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    Many years ago (50+?), we used to get Tubifex worms, probably from the sewer ditches of Mexico. The (mostly imagined) introduced disease problem got them banned in CA. Now Novalek brings them from E. Europe, and purges them well before packing in the mini breather bags.

    Tubifex can have real junk in their gut, but a few days in clear running water purges all that as well as most surface bacteria. I observed that in the earliest days of Discus breeding, when one of the first pairs to breed in the US was housed at the Altadena Water Gardens in Pasadena CA. Those Discus were worth thousands of dollars, and were regularly fed copious amounts of Tubifex worms.

    Even after purging, Tubifex and Blackworms will quickly kill your fish, but not for the reasons you think. They are very rich sources of nitrogen, and their wastes are super high in ammonium, At high pH that can turn to deadly ammonia, and at lower pH the bacteria can quickly convert it to nitrite which displaces oxygen in the blood and causes "brown-blood" disease.

    Salt can help the latter problem if your water isn't too soft. For either problem, the water needs to be cleaned by more frequent water changes and lush plant growth when feeding rich foods like worms.

    We had highly chlorinated water when I was a student in So. CA. I just put an ounce or two of Tubifex in a quart canning jar and submerged it in the tank behind the toilet. It thus got several water changes a day, flushing out any dead worms and debris, but those were normally not visible in the toilet. It worked great and the worms never introduced any outside pathogens that I could identify. [Heavy feeding to condition breeders did give me the bad results above when I neglected a water change.]

    Don't be afraid to feed worms, as their other byproduct is greatly improved egg quality and quantity. Just be aware that they are rich so you need to react accordingly.

    It has cooled off, here, so I just ordered another pound of blackworms from Fresno. Blackworms have much less hemoglobin, so I cannot keep them in the toilet tank without drowning them. :-( I need to clear some refrigerator space for them.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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    I can't find the address of the website anymore but if you typed tubifex worms in search engine, you should be able to get plenty of information. As for water change, I do not change them regularly. Maybe every 2 to 3 days when it get a little murky and with some dead worms (but the causality is very minimal. I usually just pick them up with a pincher about 3-4 of them).

    I have since reduced the water level to like 0.5 cm and I add ice cube to keep cool. They do not seems to finish the "foods" as fast. It seems to take about a day or two for them to clear up all the decomposing flake foods. Personally, I find it weird that they take such a long time to finish the flake as compare to fish corpse when it is definitely much harder and usually bigger.

    It's been like almost 2 weeks and they are still doing fine with no foul odour. Like I say, maybe it is with the number of them or the food I feed, I don't know. Haha, if I am successful, I may even consider patenting such worms and get $$$ *No Lah* Just kidding. This is so simple stuff. Everyone can do it. And if this can be done, I really hope all tubifex farm or culturing for commercial purpose will do it this way, feed them 'healthier' decomposing stuffs. I mean, have you ever wonder why they are feeding these worms shit and then selling to us to feed our fish? There must surely be a better, cleaner and less stinky way. :P which is what I am trying to experiment now.

    Anyway, it is still too early to tell. I am keeping my fingers crossed. It's not even a month yet. Who knows when Singapore temperature soar, they would have all soar up to wormy heaven.

    (One thing, the tubifex look pink though...)

    Gary

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    I'm amazed you can get the tubifex worms to not just stay alive but multiply by such a simple method, Gary. I've always thought without some kind of filtration system, it would be very difficult to keep tubifex alive for more than a week. Looks like I was wrong.

    You should show us some pictures.

    In the old days, there was a fish shop in the Havelock area that was well-known to have very fresh tubifex worms for sale. They do not keep their worms in trays like what most other fish shops do. They keep their worms on the concrete floor along the five-foot way in front of their shop. Besides that, they also have a constant flow of water running through the mass of worms. It's a terrible waste of water but the flow is slow. The cement keeps the worms cool and the flow of water removes all the scum. It's a good way to keep worms alive but I don't think they managed to get them to multiply.

    Loh K L

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    Best information I found online was a university website showing how they maintained the worms in a flow-through system. The worms were fed a mash of vegetables and animal matter. However the amount of worms produced for harvesting did not make the effort worthwhile.

    Given that the worms are plentiful in supply locally, I would rather buy a whole lot more and rinse it well rather than to culture them.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Incubation: Simpsonichthys margaritatus "Rio Verde" BR-MPM 12-07
    -back to old school fish-

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    Instead of tubifex, you may want to try raising and feeding Grindal worms. They are much easier to raise and less maintenance.

    I used potting soil and feed them with oat bran. I have 3 or 4 containers, 10 x 20 cm. Keep the soil moist, feed once a day or every other day, and maybe restart a culture about once a month or every other month. The culture tend to get a bit funky after about 2 or 3 months.

    Au Sul may have his cultures mature enough to supply some starter cultures.

    They are not not as big as tubifex - only about one cm long, but the fish really go for them all the same, PLUS you can feed to younger fish without having to chop them up.

    Wes

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    My tubifex are still alive and no dead worm today. Actually, I am not sure the 'bigger' ball of tubifex is the result of their reproduction or growth. I think it is probably their growth. I fed a few of them to my killies and wow, they are so long compare to a week ago and when I first pick them for the experiment.

    Anyway, for those hobbyists who only have a few killies and only feed their fishes livefood once in a while, I think my method is quite a good way of keeping tubifex growing and alive, clean and hygenic maybe even healthy .

    I only have a few killies and they all love the granulates I have trained them to take so it is not a problem of insufficiency with my little colony of tubifex. I do not have the space and have not intention of trying a bigger culture. :P Maybe it is not even a culture. I have yet to see many small worms. Only a few which I am not sure if it is baby tubifex or remnant of tubifex I accidentally cutted with the pincher.

    Gary

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    Question Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Hello, I was browsing through the site in search of information on culturing tubifex and came upon this one. One of the sites that I visited previously mentioned that I have to have the right amount of ammonia within the tubifex pond. It that really necessary? Please let me know. Thank you for your attention

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    No idea if they need ammonia much, but in fresh tap water they die within minutes. Since they do exist in polluted waters, it is likely that they are able to handle ammonia to a certain degree, before it reaches levels lethal to these worms.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Incubation: Simpsonichthys margaritatus "Rio Verde" BR-MPM 12-07
    -back to old school fish-

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    I have a friend who cultivates tubifex in 90 litre containers.

    He fills the comtainer with water, adds a lot of foam-cubes (filter foam) and an airline with an airstone. The he adds tubifex and feed them on carp/goldfish pellets. It works great for him.

    I myself cultures a type of Lumbriculus (blackworm) that is native to Denmark. It tis similar to the Californian blackworm but a bit larger and more reddish. At my parents house there is also a pond where I can collect them in the thousands without too much trouble in the warmer months. I culture them the same way.

    Live food is essential to me and all my fish get livefood at least 2 times a week. My "Rivulus" killies (mostly Anablepsoides now) are fed live food every day. BBS every other day and blackworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae etc. the other days. I collect daphnia and mosquitolarvae (at this time of year glass worms) two times a week. My Corys also get this food and I can clearly see an increase in spawning activity after a period of feeding live foods.

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Kim,

    You're very lucky to get assess to a variety of live foods. The only live food that most of our LFS in Singapore got to offer is tubifex worms, very much different as it was several years back when we can easily buy live bloodworms & daphnia. Now, I culture most of my live food & feed my fishes frozen bloodworms & live grindal worms almost exclusively. As for black mosquito larvae, we have to culture them discreetly & use it fast if we really have to do so because of malaria.

    It's really unfortunate that we couldn't have white worms, needless to say, the trip to Singapore would have killed them, else, it would have been a great food, saves the hassle to make endless trip to LFS for tubifex worms.

    Shi Xuan

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    White worms are good! Usually I have cultured them on coconut fibres, but I think the harvest was kind of time consuming, so now I've tried the same as I do for my micro worms; moist cereal with some spiruluna powder. Time will tell if it works better

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Hmm... I don't have any option of culturing white worms but if their smaller cousin, grindal worms count, maybe you can try opting for synthetic culturing method, peat hassle free & cleaner, so it's easier to harvest the worms for feeding.

    I used cereals initially but somehow, the yield wasn't as great as cat food. Now, I have a few cultures going in case any of them crashes & I lose them all.

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Yes, I've seen them cultured on foam-mats...will see how the sereal-approach goes. If it's not a success I'll give the mats a go

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    My scrubber pad grindal box is still going strong. Been a year now and still producing.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Incubation: Simpsonichthys margaritatus "Rio Verde" BR-MPM 12-07
    -back to old school fish-

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    Question Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Wow, all of you are so good with cultivating live worms. I'd like to ask a question. Let's say if I want to cultivate live worms by using mud, but am confused where to look for them. Is it alright to just use any mud we find anywhere, or do we have to take some steps to clean the mud before we can use them?

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Hi Michael,

    My understanding of culturing live worms is rather vague & deals specifically with one species of true worm, that is, grindals (Enchytraeus buchholzi). The culturing method only involves a media, some moisture & food, which is simple, easy yet efficient. I use a variety of food for the worms but friskies cat kibbles yielded the best result so far, & I'm able to harvest a lot of them twice daily.

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    Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    Michael, I have no idea what worm you intend to culture, but mud is not exactly the best culture media.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Incubation: Simpsonichthys margaritatus "Rio Verde" BR-MPM 12-07
    -back to old school fish-

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    Wink Re: 'Healthy & Clean' indoor culturing of live tubifex worms

    I am trying to culture tubifex worm, and am looking for the best condition in which to cultivate them. What sort of media should I use, what type of condition is suitable for culturing tubifex worm, the right temperature, etc etc... If anyone have information on this, please let me know. Thank you very much. ^.^

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