10.26.09

Redworms

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:31 am by livefood

Subject: Question about Redworms

Hello,
I have 4 large, 7-10in and growing quickly, spiny eels and am looking for a food culture that can support their huge eating habits. Their going through frozen bloodworms like crazy and its getting pretty expensive. I am seriously thinking of buying a redworm culture, but I have a couple questions.
1) How fast does a culture of redworms multiply?
2) How big do they normally get?
Thanks,
Gennelle
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Gennelle,
The redworms double the size of the culture every two months under “ideal” conditions. It’s a little slower in the winter and if it’s too hot in the summer. We keep our outside year round and see a little fluctuation in production but not too much. The key to “ideal” is moisture content and food. They eat like crazy when the colony is doing well and if they don’t get fed, well…they don’t grow NOR do they multiply.
They get to about 2 1/2 inches…they are hatched at more like 1/8th of an inch. A healthy colony (and the starters from us) are a mixture of sizes. For our own purposes we harvest the net fully grown ones and let the big ones continue to lay eggs.
If you feed each of the fish 3-4 worms every other day and started a colony of worms today, providing pretty good conditions, you would need about a pound of worms/culture to get you going…by the time you remove some for the feeding, they get settled in and multiply and some die in shipping you would (or should be) self sustaining in about 90ish days. In other words you should be able to harvest those 3-4 every other day “forever.”
Let us know how we can help you.
Take care,
Jim
The Bug Farm
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10.19.09

Daphnia Question

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:11 am by livefood

Subject: RE: question

Hi Jim

Thanks for the answer. Want to ask you questions on Daphnia culture.

Can a culture stay viable indefinitely for up to 3 mos without anyone to care for on just green water alone.
I go out of the country anywhere from 1 to 3 mos and was thinking of leaving them in my outdoor 55 gallon plastic drums where in the winter it can get to 40 degree F and 90 degree F in the summer. The barrel will get full sun exposure long as the day allows.
Can the culture kills itself by depleting the green water? Or can the culture be self-sustaining from the daphnia explosion then a minor die off from overpopulation resulting in more pollution hence green water and the culture just recycle itself over and over from the daphnia that are still alive???

If the above scenario is not possible what other live food culture do you suggest more appropriate for my situation?

Thanks

Liam

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Liam,

The scenario you outline “sort of” works. The problem you would run into is that you do no include water changes in the outline. Like all aquatic critters, the nitrite/nitrate levels will catch up with the population sooner than later (in this case later…but will still catch up).

In a natural setting, you scenario is pretty much what happens BUT the water will frequently dry up OR when the nitrate levels get too high the population crashes. The water will either come back or the quality improve through the addition of rain (usually). This accounts for the tremendous Springtime blooms of daphnia following the algae and the mid-summer crashes as the algae and daphnia suffer through the declining water quality.

Also, the daphnia are a livebearing creature when conditions are ideal and switch to an egg laying colony when the conditions decline. The eggs stay viable through the bad conditions and hatch when conditions are once again ideal.

We use a system of barrels for our production. One set of barrels housed a colony of goldfish. We fed the goldfish and they produced excellent greenwater for us.

A second set of barrels (smaller, but the size doesn’t matter too much unless they are too small…ours were 24 gallons) housed the daphnia colonies.

A 50 gallons of greenwater more-or-less supported a 24 gallon culture of daphnia with a minimum amount of boom-bust cycling.

While it was helpful to feed the goldfish every day, we have gone extended periods (6 weeks) without feeding and didn’t loose any fish. We had 16 barrels with 5-6 fish in each and were gone for that 6 week period numerous times…never a problem.

We installed a spigot on the bottom of the daphnia tanks and harvest the daphnia by holding a fish net under the spigot and catching them as the water from their tub flowed out.

We fed the daphnia from the goldfish greenwater by taking a bucket full of greenwater and pouring it into the daphnia tub. We then backfilled the goldfish/greenwater barrels with fresh water (we never bothered to declor that water…never had a problem).

With this system, the daphnia and the goldfish received water changes…the daphnia were fed everyday when we needed a lot of food and less when we didn’t. The system crashed occasionally but it was usually related to something odd occurring…and not related to the methodology of the system.

I would think that if you left a very healthy culture which had been recently fed, you would find some daphnia in the system when you came back after 3 months…the water would need to be changed and they would need to be fed, but the colony should rebound and be harvestable in a few weeks or so.

Where do you live, the temperatures you mention sound just about like ours.

Take care,
Jim
The Bug Farm

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10.12.09

Feeding Redworms

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:05 am by livefood

Subject: Earthworms

Jim: My white worms are doing just fine. I am also keeping some earthworms inside for my garter snake. Do you know what I should be feeding earthworms?
Have a good day!
Linda

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Linda,
It sort of matters as to which species of worm you are dealing with. However, I’m going to assume you have little red wrigglers (sometimes referred to as mini-redworms, but they are not very “mini”). Most worms will eat the same sorts of food, but the difference may be in the way you feed them. The redworm eat just below the garbage you feed them. You do not have to bury the food (although it helps to decompose the material more quickly). They tend to live near the surface (the top several inches) and will eat any organic gardenie matter (not meat, fish, dairy products). They will also eat moistened grains (oatmeal, rice, etc)…love breads (not sourdough). You can also feed them specifically designed worm food (we carry it but are currently out of stock).
So the easy way is to either feed them the breads and kitchen waste or the commercial worm diet. We do a combination of all of the above.Take care,

Jim
The Bug Farm

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10.05.09

Microworm Scum

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:57 am by livefood

Subject: Questions about Microworms

I have recently developed problems with my microworm jars as they developed a cloudy film on the surface that I can not get rid of. I have restarted many times after steralizing the container ,to no avail. I assume it is a yeast or mould ?? It happens with or without brewers yeast that I have added

I look forward to your response
Joseph

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Joseph,

That scum that you see is very common and does not really effect the culture much. It’s a bacteria. You can not really control it. We have had it show up with just about every media we have tried and now just don’t even try to figure out solutions (no harm no foul).

Sterilizing the container does no good. I have always felt that it was introduced via air, but have not evidence to for that conclusion…but when you have tried just about everything else what else can be blamed. Insurance companies called these sorts of events an “act of God.”

While we have never had a culture crash with this bacteria scum on the surface we also always have had multiple cultures as backup.

Take care,

Jim
The Bug Farm

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