Enchytraea or pot worms, often found in the soil of flower pots of indoor plants can be a great food for the inhabitants of your aquariums. They are relatively easy to breed at home, making them a very attractive supplemental food for your pets.
Latin: Enchytraeus albidus.
These small worms as mentioned above are often found in flower pots. Depending on their age, they range in size from 5 to 25 millimeters.
Due to its white-gray coloring is clearly visible against the background of the potting soil. And if in the flower pot it is usually uninvited guests and amateur florists are trying to get rid of them by all rights and wrongs, then for the aquarist amateur these worms are so attractive that it is not sinful to appear to the florist pervert trying to cultivate them at home. What only do not go to diversify the diet of their favorites.
What to dilute it in?
In order to provide enchytraea inhabitants of two to three capitaliter aquariums is enough to have a home plantation of about 800 square centimeters. On this basis, it is most convenient to breed Enchytraeus albidus in a box with approximate dimensions of 50x30x20 centimeters. Such a box can be made independently from boards of non coniferous species. Birch, ash, oak will do. You can also use birch plywood.
Instead of a wooden box, you can use a plastic container of suitable size with a tray and small holes in the bottom to moisten the soil. The holes in the plastic can be made with a drill and a drill bit or burned with a hot nail or other metal rod of suitable diameter. The rod must not be held with bare hands. Pliers or pliers should be used.
Once the box is ready, it should be filled with well sifted garden soil. The best results are obtained if you use chernozem. To prevent unwanted spongers – various insects and their larvae – from entering our plantation, it is desirable to sift the sifted earth on the fire for 2 hours at a temperature of about 100 degrees Celsius. Prepared in this way, the earth should be poured into the box prepared in advance with a uniform layer of about 15 centimeters. Now it is necessary to moisten the earth as it should be moistened, pour water into the tray and you can run in our cultivator enchytrae culture. Where to get them?
Where to get a culture of enchitrea?
If you have indoor plants, take a closer look and see if you can find the planting material you are looking for. A small piece of cheese can be placed on the surface of the ground to attract worms. If the soil in your flower pots contains enchytrae, they will gather after a while under this tidbit. If, however, your flower pots are filled with sterile soil, you will have to turn to the amateur flower growers you know for help. I am sure you will be able to find enough worms to infest the soil in your houseplant.
The soil in the box should be periodically moistened without allowing it to dry out. In this regard, it is desirable to cover the box with a lid. As a lid you can use a glass or plywood cut to the dimensions of the box. Considering that enchytreas do not need light, it is probably better to use plywood. The cover will prevent insects and their larvae from getting into the ground, and will also slow down the drying of the soil, creating a kind of microclimate on the surface of the ground in the box.
The temperature of the soil in the box should be kept around 18 degrees Celsius.
What do I feed the enchytraea?
It’s time to think about feeding our voracious worms. Here we go! Instead of food, there’s an eater. That’s the way nature works. Our cultivated rung of the food ladder will have to be fed too. And from how qualitatively it will be done depends on how useful will be grown by you enchytrae for your fish.
Enchytraea are not as fastidious as fish for which we grow them. You can feed them white crustless bread soaked in milk. And also they will gladly eat almost all waste products of home kitchen – potatoes, apples, various porridges, fruits, vegetables. Good results are obtained by growing E. albidus on semolina porridge. However, it should be borne in mind that feeding them exclusively carbohydrate food leads to the fact that they as food become carbohydrate-containing food. That can lead to obesity of the fish they feed. To increase the amount of protein in the body of Enchitrea some sources recommend adding to the porridge 1 /3 – 1/5 of cottage cheese by weight.
You should also periodically feed your crop with baker’s yeast.
To feed the enchytraea culture make 3 – 4 deep longitudinal furrows in which the prepared fodder is put. The feed is covered with earth. The food should not have access to air otherwise it will rot. Feed is put into the box once every three days. After about six days, all the porridge will be eaten, and in its place will be collected in large numbers of enchytraea worms.
Separating the grain from the chaff 🙂
You can separate the enchytreas from the ground by placing a lump of ground with enchytreas on glass or transparent colorless Plexiglas (Plexiglas). Place an incandescent lamp at the bottom of the glass. Fleeing from its heat enchytraeys crawl out to the surface of the earth gathering in a small ball. From here they are collected with tweezers. Collected enchytreas should be slightly rinsed in water and you can feed them to your fish.
Fish tend to eat enchytraea with great appetite. Literary sources indicate that this is due to the sweet taste of these worms. It’s possible. I haven’t tried it myself…
However, this food should not be fed more than once every three days. This food is rich in carbohydrates and feeding it continuously to your fish can lead to obesity. Adult fish may lose the ability to reproduce.
But despite all this with the correct use of this food can be a very serious help in feeding your fish, especially in winter time. It is also convenient to feed enchitrei fry. It is only necessary to remember not to forget to alternate feeds. However, this applies to any feed.
I hope the article was something useful and interesting to you. Good luck with feeding your fish.
If there is anything wrong, then speak up in the comments. Constructive criticism is welcome.