Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:31 AM
The main culture, after a minor die off from me stupidly watering them too much, still has lots of live worms in it, but it takes me a long time to dig through the substrate with tweezers and collect worms from it. (Their numbers still aren't high enough, after me killing them off with too much water, to crawl over the lid of the container like they did before). So I don't want to overharvest it so much that there aren't any worms left. Also, it takes like an hour and I just don't have that time every day to dig for worms.
Here's my question:
How do I harvest worms from the scotchbrite® pads and from the sponges of the synthetic substrate cultures? Online, people suggest to feed the culture and then in an hour or three to come back and collect the worms from the surface. But when I feed the worms, they just stick the tiniest little bit of their heads out of the sponges and don't come out enough for me to easily collect them. Does this just mean that there aren't enough of them yet? I read online that it took a few weeks for a culture to grow enough to be easily harvested, but it's been a few weeks and I've been feeding them every day with fish food pellets, and they're still not populous enough. Am I doing something wrong? Does it just take longer than this for them to breed? Should I expect them to be easily harvest-able in a few more weeks? Months? Do you all have any tips or tricks?
Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:34 AM
Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:57 AM
Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:20 AM
Yeah, that's the seller. Those worms were a great buy. The culture was just teeming with life when it arrived, very awesome.
I poke small holes in the lid and then stick a piece of foam in the hole to keep fruit flies and other pests out of my culture. I think you just need to give it time. My cultures are so prolific that I can scrape a layer fo worms right off the substrate at any time. I have a feeling we bought cultures from the same Aqubidder, Moses was their name I think. Great deal on grindals.
As regards to the foam, I definitely considered that. But I've got the two shoeboxes inside a drawer in a dresser, so there hasn't been any fruit fly contamination so far. The dresser is this little two foot wide, two foot deep dresser-thing that I bought to rest the standard 10 gallon guppy tank on. It had two drawers, so I stuck the grindal cultures in the bottom one. The advantage to that is that there's no way for fruit flies to get in, but now I'm wondering if they have enough air. My guess is that they probably do, because the first day I had them I left the shoe box lids on, and some of the worms suicided into the water, which I read they do if they don't have enough air. None of them are suiciding any more, so they ... probably? have enough air to survive. Maybe? I'll drill holes tonight just in case.
I think you're right, that they just haven't had enough time. How long did it take your cultures to grow up to that population density? Do the cultures ever crash, or do they keep going forever? Are you using a synthetic substrate like a scotchbrite® pad, or do you use soil? And what do you feed your worms and how often? I'm just curious what other people are doing that works for them.
Edited by EricaWieser, 13 September 2011 - 08:20 AM.
Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:09 PM
Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:23 PM
That book that came out a few years ago, Culturing Live Food for the Aquarium has pictures of the way I do it. If you consult that book, though, I find that the crewel work mesh he mentions is not really necessary, especially if you are doing the Scotch pad method.
Posted 13 September 2011 - 02:04 PM
Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:16 AM
Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:48 PM
Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:32 PM
To harvest I use a clear piece of plastic on top or the culture as you can see in the photos. I feed regular oatmeal and put 4 piles of it and then the plastic over the top. The piles keep the cover plastic slightly above the culture media. This keeps it from sticking.
Starting a new culture takes about 1 month to get it going. (Less if you start with more than just a few dozen worms) To do this you start with one piece of oatmeal. You add a couple more after the first piece has worms eating it. Remember in a new culture with top soil as the substrate there will be foodstuff in the soil so you might not see any action of the worms eating the oatmeal for the first few days. If you add too much oatmeal and the worms donít eat it you will get mold, at that point, it is sometimes easier to start over. Every few days you add another piece or two of oatmeal. Once you start to see the worms on top of the media you start making 4 separate piles of oatmeal. Start small, as it will take a couple days for the worms to migrate to the new piles. At this time, you can add the plastic on top of the oatmeal.
To feed you just take the plastic and dip part of it into each tank that you want to feed. What could be easier?
To make sure that you have the right amount of moisture in the culture, make a trough on one side of the media. (See photo) The bottom of this trough should have just a little bit of water in it.
Harvest when you see enough worms on the plastic. Add more food every other time that you feed. Normally, I use each culture every 2-4 days depending on how it is producing. If you over use a culture you will drain it of breeding adults and will need to rebuild it which will take time.
I donít use my cultures in the summer as they donít produce well with the really warm weather. The photos are of my cultures, which I just started to feed again 2 weeks ago. If kept wet the worms will live for a really long time without any food.
Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:21 PM
Posted 16 September 2011 - 07:49 AM
Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:30 AM
Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:33 AM
Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:26 PM
Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:45 PM
Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:29 AM
I found that, when trying to get a new culture going, burying the food under the substrate a tiny bit really helped prevent mold. At the time, I was using ground coir, a little peat moss, and a touch of topsoil. This doesn't work as well if you are trying to harvest, but at the new culture stage it doesn't matter anyway.
Awesome! Grindals do grow fish out well.
Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:32 PM
I bet that is great food but it just looks gross.
Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:05 PM
Especially after you see the happy look on your fish's face when you drop live worms in. It's like when a dog wags its tail and jumps up and down for a treat. The worms remind me of rawhide. Not gross, just not something I'd want to eat. Food that will make my pet happy.
Sounds like you've never used them, Usil. Once you get used to using live foods, and see the health and growth benefits to your fish, a slimy wriggling mass of worms or a bucket full of mosquito larvae in gray-brown water becomes a thing of indescribable beauty. It's an attitude adjustment.
Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:05 PM
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