White Worm Care Sheet

|   White Worm (enchytraeus Albidus) White Worm Background White Worms (enchytraeus Albidus) Are Type of Non-parasitic Annelid That Are the Cousins to Red Worm and the Grindal Worm. They Are The…

White Worm (Enchytraeus Albidus)

White Worm Background

White Worms (Enchytraeus Albidus) are type of non-parasitic annelid that are the cousins to red worm and the Grindal worm. They are the larger version of the Grindal worm used by aquarist. The mentioned study of white worms has been dated as far back as the early 1800’s. White worms usually reach the length of 3-4cm long and 1mm wide. They reproduce hermaphroditically in that they have both male and female reproductive organs. White worms produce cocoons that contain 9-35 eggs. Each White worm can produce over 1000 eggs in its life span. Each egg takes about 12 days to hatch out into tiny white worms that by day 20 are ready to start reproducing. White worms survive best in cool temperatures, unlike its cousin the Grindal worm. White worms reproduce best at around 50 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and start to die off at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why White Worms?

White worms are great for feeding juvenile fry after the Grindal worm stage. They are just large enough to feed to adult fish, frogs, salamanders, larger tadpoles, turtles, and lizards. They are relatively easy to culture as long as you provide them a cool space. They don’t require a large container. They can live several days when immersed in water, and they require a non-salinity environment. Remember a mixed combination diet for your fish is the best way to utilize your fish needs.

How to Culture White Worms

There are several ways to culture White Worms. You just have to be able to meet their environmental needs. The container we provided for you, which your White Worms are in, is only a temporary home for shipping purposes.

Firstly, you will need a container to hold you worms in. Plastic non-transparent containers work best because White Worms don’t like light. Like a solid non-see through storage container or tote. The container must have a tight fitting lid. Now, with the container lid you will need to puncture several small breathing holes in the lid (only lid.) White Worms need good oxygen exchange to survive.

Now, you will need to prepare bedding for your White Worms. There are several mediums that they can live in, and I will provide a couple mediums that can work for home culturing purposes.

  1. Peat Moss: Take any type of peat moss and boil it on medium heat on the stove top in a large cooking pot for about an hour. This sterilizes it and we are going to change the Ph. Once peat moss has boiled for an hour remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Now, rinse your cooled peat moss under running water. Drain off all of water, except enough to leave it fairly damp. You will now need to add about 2 inches of your peat moss to your container.
  2. Coconut Fiber: Take your expandable coconut fiber and add enough water to it until it is fairly damp. Add about 2 inches of the coconut fiber to your container.
  3. Potting Soil: Take any good bagged potting soil and pour some into a microwave and oven safe bowl or dish. Now, either bake the soil at 350°F in the oven for 20 minutes or nuke in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Be very careful when taking out the soil because the container and the soil will be very hot! Let the soil cool to room temperature. Now, pour 2 inches or the potting soil into your plastic container.

Don’t be hesitant. You can experiment with soil combinations of peat moss, coconut fiber, and potting soil.

Now you will need to add your White worms to your contain with the bedding medium. Take your culture you have received and add it directly in the middle of the container. No need to stir it in. Just give the plastic container a light shift or tap to settle the culture into the new bedding.

Food: Now we need to feed our culture to get it off to a good start. White worms are scavengers like red worms are. They like to eat organic matter. You can feed your White worms something as simple as baby rice cereal, couscous, rice flour, cooked pasta etc. You can also add some scraps from fruit and veggies, but not citrus or coffee grounds because it is too acidic. And, not meat, dairy, fats, or oils because they cause rancidity and your worms don’t do well in that and don’t like it. So, you will want their mail diet to be a grainy food. You will want to spread this grain lightly on the surface of the bedding. Moisten the grain with sprinkled water lightly. Feed your worms’ every time you see their food is running out. If you feed too much, the grain will start to mold and foul your container.

Once you have all their requirements meet, you should be able to harvest them in about a 2 month. To harvest your White worms either wait until the culture is so establish that they start crawling on the sides of the container and each other. Then you will be able to wipe them off either with your finger, grab them by tweezers, or pick them cup in clumps. Try not to take any of their food or bedding or it will foul up your tanks water. Or, you can put a sheet of plastic or glass and set it on top of an area that you have just sprinkled with moistened food. Once you see worms crawling on the sheet lift it up and rinse it with water into a clear container. Or, you can purchase a worm feeder that will let the worms fall out.

When to Start a New Culture

You can expand your culture at any time after the culture establishes itself, usually after about 2 month. This is based off of container size, food supply and temperatures. The bigger the container the longer it takes to establish a thriving culture. The less food you feed them after they eat it all gone the less the White worms will reproduce. The hotter the temperatures the less they will reproduce. All you have to do is repeat the processes above to re-culture them again. Otherwise, wait until your culture starts to outgrow it container with worms. It will start to become over crowded with worms and then the White worm’s population will start to plateau. At this point, you need to get a container again, add bedding, food, and repeat the steps stated above. If you keep your culture going, you will have a never ending supply of White worms for your pets or newly hatched fry.

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