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Re: general diet - Black Worms

From: Mike Wise
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 2:01 PM
>...Black worms are a tubificid worm and just like red tubifex worms
>require a septic environment for feeding and breeding - just not
>quite as bad.

"the creature...is a common freshwater annelid, Lumbriculus variegatus. Also
known as a California blackworm, or mudworm, Lumbriculus variegatus. is a
member of the Order Lumbriculida, a small subgroup of oligochaetes that
includes neither earthworms nor freshwater tubifex worms..."
     C. D. Drews, Ph.D., Dept. of Zoology and Genetics, University of Iowa

>...No matter how well you rinse them there is still the chance of
>introducing parasites and disease organisms with them. Anything
>that would completely sterilize the worms will also kill them...

Discussing the efficacy and prophylaxis of blackworms is similar to debating
the causes and cures for hole-in-the-head/lateral line disease in larger
cichlids - most of the evidence seems to be based on post hoc reasoning.
This is not said to downplay the perceived risks, however. Like most aquatic
foods, the risk of exposure is minimized in an environment wherein many of
the factors are controlled - a culture, for instance.

Even something as "nasty" as the tubifex suffers from supporters and
detractors equally vehement in their stand on the issue. Some won't go near
them, others raise successive generations on almost nothing but...

From: William Vannerson
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 1999 8:55 AM
>>How do you keep them fresh for a whole month?

The article from which the above quote was lifted is at Carolina Biological
Supply's Web site. It is one of many outlining possibilities for classroom
projects in the school, and specifically discusses the culture techniques
used for blackworms. The article implies that the method is fairly
simplistic, but some people on the Live Foods list have reported trouble in
following the recommendations. As with any other culture or culturing
medium, your mileage may indeed vary.

The article, "Those Wonderful Worms", can be found at


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David A. Youngker

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