Grindal Worm (Enchytraeus Buchholzi)
Grindal Worm Background
Grindal worms (Enchytraeus Buchholzi) are a small white non-parasitic worm that is cousins to the red earthworm, and are smaller form of the White Worm used by aquarists. Grindal worms usually grow only 10mm making them ideal for larger fry and adult fish. Grindal worms were discovered by Mrs. Morten Grindal of Sweden who was improving on a White worm culture and discovered a small species the Grindal worms. Grindal worms reproduce hermaphroditic meaning each individual has both male and female reproductive organs. Grindal worms produce cocoons and each cocoon contains 9-25 eggs. The eggs hatch around 12 days old and the new Grindal worms reproduce around 20-28 days old. Temperature plays a role on how fast Grindal worms reproduce. A Grindal worm will produce as many as 1000 eggs in its life time. Grindal worms reproduce best at temperature of 70F-75F, but can with stand temperatures up to 90F. Reproduction slows at 80F and stops at 90F. But, temperatures below 65-68F will stop reproduction and the culture will start to die.
Why Grindal Worms?
Grindal Worms are a good next step in a well mixed diet. Since Grindal worms only grown to 10mm they are good at feeding larger fry, juvenile fish, or small adult fish. They are extremely easy to culture, feed, require a small space, and reproduce well in most room temperature environments. Grindal worms don’t need special requirements for salinity like Brine Shrimp. Grindal worms can also feed many types of pet like Newts, Salamanders, tadpoles, fry, and adult fish. Also, Grindal worms can live several days when immersed in water. Remember a mixed combination diet for your fish is the best way to utilize your fish needs.
How to Culture Grindal Worms
There are several ways to culture Grindal Worms. You just have to be able to meet their environmental needs. The container we provided for you, which your Grindal 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 Grindal 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 some small breathing holes in the lid (only lid.) Grindal Worms need oxygen to survive..
Now, you will need to prepare bedding for your Grindal Worms. There are several mediums that they can live in, and I will provide a couple mediums that can work for home culturing purposes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 350F 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 and combination or peat moss, coconut fiber, and potting soil.
Now you will need to add your Grindal 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. Grindal worms are scavengers like red worms are. They like to eat organic matter. You can feed your Grindal 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 month. To harvest your Grindal worms either wait until the culture is so establish that they start crawling on the sides of the container. Then you will be able to wipe them off either with your finger or a small paint brush. 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. Now, suck up worms with a turkey baster or rinse them carefully and thoroughly enough that won’t wash way. Again don’t pick up any food or bedding because it will foul your tanks water.
When to Start a New Culture
You can expand your culture at any time after the culture establishes it’s self, usually after a 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 Grindal worms will reproduce. The colder and hotter the temperatures the less they will reproduce. All you have to do is repeat the processes above. Otherwise, wait until your culture starts to outgrow it container with worms. It will start to become over crowded with worms and the Grindal worms’ 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 Grindal worms for your pets or newly hatched fry.