Dero / Mircoflex Worms (Dero digitata)
Dero Worm Background
Dero digitata or Dero Worms are a very small clear to reddish colored annelid and range usually from 6 to 32 mm. The dero worm has been known and documented since 1773 by Muller. Dero worms are an aquatic annelid and are known for swimming in a helix motion and gathering in tangled piles. They reproduce mostly by asexual fission and are found naturally in ponds, lakes, and streams. Dero worm’s reproduction rate is dependent upon temperature and food availability. They are detritus feeders and reproduce best at 60 degrees Fahrenheit +/- 10 degrees.
Why Dero Worms?
Dero Worm are a good supplement to food to feed fish and aquatic pets like frogs and salamanders. Dero worms are very small making them easy for consumption for juvenile aquatic pets. They are aquatic, so they will not foul your water. They are even beneficial to your pet housing set up. They can reproduce and eat wasted food that would normally foul your water. They can be used as an addition to recreating an ecosystem. They are valued as food and as janitors. Dero worms are also very easy to culture and reproduce relatively steady. They reproduce at temperatures above freezing, and best at room temperatures. They take minor culturing methods. The best food for your pet a mixed diet.
How to Culture Dero Worms
There a couple of ways to culture dero worms. You will have to try to mimic their environmental needs. The container that your culture comes in is only for temporary for shipping purposes.
You will need a container based on how big you would like your culture to be. A 5-10 gallon aquarium, a food grade pail bucket, or a plastic tote can work for housing containers. An airline with pump or aquarium filter, de-chlorinated water, and food. We will explain how to culture them next.
- Airline with food scraps: You will need to get your container and house it at best temperatures. Add de-chlorinated water to you container. Now, add a rigid or waited airline to the bottom of your tank. Then, add food vegetable scraps, or pasta scraps. Do not add meat scraps as it fouls the water to fast. Once your airline and pump are in place and working and food is added, you will need to add your dero worm culture on top of the food to get them working and reproducing fast.
- Filter with grains: You will need your culturing container and again house it at best temperatures. Now add a basic aquarium filter to meet your aquarium tank size. Now, add de-chlorinated water. One of the easiest foods to use for dero worms are whole grains like wheat, oats, and barley. Add a small pile of grains to the bottom of the tank. Then, set your dero worms on the pile. They will get to work as soon as the rain starts to soften.
Dero worms are pretty hardy and take only minimal care. Once your basic set up is in place you will need to do basic water changes if water becomes cloudy or add food once it is ate. Adding too much food at a time will only foul the water. As it does not seem to have a big impact on your worms it does however make it hard to find them and harvesting them as food. Best way to feel them is to add food when you see they have almost ate it all. If followed correctly their population should double or triple in 2-4 weeks. Feel free to experiment as with all culturing methods it’s all about experimentation.
When to Start a New Culture
You cans start a new culture when you have many dero worms covering your piles of food. You will only need to take a small clump of them and place them in their next set up and wait another 2-4 weeks for their population to expand. Then just add food as needed until you have the amount needed or they are covering the bottom of your container.