Micro Worms: Space Savers
by: Tony Terceira
If you are not as fortunate as some people in not having your own fish room or a great deal of space available, and would still like to spawn and raise young fish, I recommend micro-worms as an ideal food for most new-born fry. Micro-worms are a group of minute Nematode worms of the genus Anguillula. It is a very small live-bearing worm, at a maximum of 1/10 an inch so long, with young being very much smaller.
There are many suitable mediums for the culture of these worms. In shallow vessels ( less than 4 inches high) which have tight fitting covers, you place your medium of choice. I have used quick cook oatmeal, Pablum baby food, fine corn meal with good results. The medium is mixed with water and a small amount of instant baker's yeast is added. The culture should have a pasty consistency, more like sticky paste than watery glue. Once you place your medium in the bottom of the container, I sprinkle a small additional amount of yeast, and a small amount of a starter culture of micro-worms. Cover the container and set it aside in a warm location. Within a few days the culture will be a seething mass of worms, and they will begin to climb up the sides of the container.
To feed; all one need do is use a cotton swab (remove the cotton from the end), and wipe the worms from the inside of the container. Swish the swab in the tank containing your babies, and the fry have a reasonably good live food. This is far easier and uses less space than multiple hatching containers, air pumps, salty water and brine shrimp eggs.
If you are raising fish who are not able to consume brine shrimp or micro-worms when they first become free swimming, simply dip the swab directly into the culture medium and add it to the tank of fry. Because of the yeast that you have added, you have a good infusoria culture food that will get many fry over the first critical days. Another simply technique is to add a crushed rabbit pellet to the tank containing fry. This will also increase the infusoria available for the fry to feed on.
At least two cultures should be maintained simultaneously as your needs may reqauire that you use a different culture each day. In this way you allow one culture to rest and reproduce during its resting day. Your culture should last between 2-4 weeks, depending upon the amount of use. When a culture seems to be non-productive, start another container and use your established culture to inoculate the new one. A micro-worm culture should not be refrigerated, as they reproduce fastest in the 78 degree range. Micro-worms can withstand desication, so dried up cutltures can often be restated again by wetting them
Micro-worms do not have the same amount of food value as newly hatched brine shrimp, but any live food is far more nourishing than anything dried or frozen.
By using any of the commercially prepared fine-grain foods, frozen brine shrimp, and live micro-worms, in a confined space you should be able to raise just about any fish you wish.