One of the most common foods of natural origin. The most common species are Chironomus plumosus – buzzer midge or Non-biting midges (bloodworms). Bloodworms are larvae of a number of mosquito species up to 2.5 cm. The size of larvae is different, which depends on the type of mosquito.

A quick table of notes about Artemia:

Scientific nameGlycera
Common namesBloodworm, Glycera, Bloodworm larvae
Rangeeverywhere in the world
Size1cm to 2.5cm or 0.4-1 inches
Tank sizenot important
Life spanup to 2 years
Temperaturefor storage 5-10 C or freezer
Colorhealthy is red, if color goes brownish means it's ill or dead
Foodthey eat detritus and other organic suspension
Breedingits hard to breed bloodworms, better to buy them or catch
Temperamentused only for food
Maturitynot important, you most likely won't breed them

A brief description of the Bloodworm

Adult mosquitoes are not blood-sucking. These mosquitoes do not bite, so even if in your aquarium they get out of uneaten larvae, they won’t pester you at night. Usually, they live in ponds with a muddy bottom. After laying eggs by a female mosquito, the larvae appear in standing or swampy ponds, with slowly flowing water, in silted ditches, lakes, ponds, and are abundant in salt-water estuaries. Mosquito larvae have a worm-shaped body of various shades of red, ruby, burgundy. A bright red color depends on the color of the blood. The bright red color of the vermiform larvae gives hemoglobin contained in its blood. Hemoglobin serves as a source of iron and is used by the larvae to retain oxygen, allowing it to live in oxygen-poor water.

The larvae keep in silt in a semi-submerged state for the purpose of respiration and nutrition of organic suspension. By using saliva, the larvae glue particles of silt into the silty tubules in which they live, protruding only the head end. The bloodworm extracts food from the sludge containing many plant and animal remains. The bloodworm breathes with the help of gill appendages located at the end of the bloodworms body, as well as the entire surface of the body. Breaking out into the water column, the larvae move, quickly twisting and unbending, as if wounding in water, for which they are called a bloodworm. Under favorable temperature conditions and an abundance of food, larvae reach 15-16 mm two weeks after exiting the eggs. Ripening, they pupate and after a while rise to the surface of the water. Mosquitoes fly out of the pupae.

What kind of bloodworm is good

Speaking of bloodworms, the first thing you want to know about is not to feed the fishes with estuary bloodworms. This small, light red or carrot-colored bloodworm lives in estuaries, in river mouths, where fresh river water mixes with sea water, and its salinity gradually rises. It is in these biotopes that all harmful substances and industrial wastes carried by rivers. With a gradual increase in water salinity, the coagulation of the smallest particles of silt carried by the river. Enlarged, these particles sorb heavy metals, oil products, and other industrial wastes (including radionuclides!) Contained in water, as a result of which harmful substances accumulate in bottom sediments. It is there that the limy bloodworm lives, which, eating detritus and microbenthos in silt, accumulates all this rubbish in itself. Eating such a bloodworm, the fish can get serious acute and chronic poisoning. The most environmentally friendly bloodworms are lake, large and medium-sized, as well as small saturated dark red. Such bloodworms are the cleanest, safest, and can be safely recommended for feeding fish.


How to feed fish with bloodworm

The most important live food for feeding of adult fish is bloodworm. Bloodworms are excellent food for all aquarium fish larger than 1.5 centimeters. They have a pronounced dark ruby ​​color. In length reach 20 mm. Much more often in aquarium use of small bloodworms obtained in brackish estuaries. It includes the larvae of several species of mosquitoes from the same family with a size of less than 15 mm, this bloodworm, despite its size, not all fish eat. Much more often, a medium-sized river bloodworm is used, because they can feed both small and medium-sized fish. The blood of the larva is rich in hemoglobin, which positively affects the growth and development of fish if they are fed with bloodworms. In its nutritional properties, bloodworm surpasses almost all live food, but with abundant feeding with it, fish grow fat. Despite the high usefulness (0.231 mg of vitamin A, 0.287 carotenes, 0.180 B1; 0.483 mg B2) and effectiveness in preparing producers for spawning, bloodworms should not be abused. When feeding abundantly fish (Malaysian, Tanganyika cichlids, etc.), the activity of the gastrointestinal tract is disturbed, symptoms of poisoning arise, often ending in death. Feeding fish with bloodworms should be in moderation. Overfeeding of fish should not be allowed, as bloodworms are difficult to digest. Abundant feeding can cause intestinal inflammation, often leading to death. When you use bloodworms for daily feeding, your fish may experience obesity, which leads to impaired reproductive function, weakened immunity, and impaired metabolism. Eaten in large quantities can cause inflammation of the intestine, often leading to death. Fish are fed with a small bloodworm from a floating feeder with holes through which it gradually creeps into the water. The dead bloodworm remains in the feeder and is removed.

This is the main, daily food for most fish species. As a percentage, the volumes of bloodworms used to feed aquarium fish range from 60 to 80% of the total feed mass. Bloodworm is a nutritious food for fish; analysis showed that bloodworms contain 12.8% dry matter, of which 48.5% contains protein, 10.9% contains fats, and 19% contains carbohydrates. The nutritional value of bloodworms, which have a lot of hemoglobin in their blood, cannot be overestimated. Depending on the size of the fish, they are fed a large, medium, or small bloodworm.

It must be given based on the calculation of one to five worms for each fish (for a large 10-12 pieces) once a day. When bloodworms are used for daily feeding, fish may experience obesity, which leads to impaired reproductive function, weakened immunity, and impaired metabolism. Therefore, feed the bloodworm with pets 2-3 times a week, alternating with other types of feed, or use balanced diets for feeding. It is necessary to give a moving live bloodworm, feeding a stationary dark brown is unsafe: such a bloodworm often causes the death of fish. It is possible to feed the juvenile fish with chopped, although washed in water, bloodworms only on the condition that it will fall into the “old” water. The decomposition of blood in fresh water, even in an aquarium with biological “balance”, is very dangerous. In some cases, it can cause clouding of water, which is not easy to deal with.

There are frequent cases when juveniles who are unable to swallow are fed with a bloodworm and then the following picture is observed – a flock of fry with a bloodworm sticking out of their mouth, similar to marine “anglers” – some fry can cope with the swallowing process, but some cannot. I’d better not say anything about the consequences of such feeding! If you decide to feed the young with a bloodworm, then it is better to grind it using a hard surface and a razor blade for the worst end of the scissors. The resulting “slurry” is fed to juveniles, it is better to remove uneaten residues in order to avoid “damage” to the aquarium water.

You can not throw a lot of bloodworms into the aquarium at once. The uneaten larvae, getting on the ground, tend to go into it as soon as possible, but, having died there, they can, when decomposed, cause rotting of the soil and spoil the water. Therefore, the best precaution is the batch feeding of fish from a special feeder. You can also leave part of the bottom of the front glass clear of soil in advance, where the bloodworm is placed. This is achieved using a low (4-5 cm) plexiglass strip, which is mounted vertically so that it abuts against the corners of the aquarium and forms a gentle arc, behind which the soil is located.


Negatives of feeding fish with bloodworms

  • Living bloodworms, as an inhabitant of our streams, lakes and slowly flowing rivers, may contain harmful and sometimes poisonous substances (waste products from hazardous industries) that can have negative effects on the well-being of fish;
  • Live bloodworm can be a carrier of pathogens of various diseases;
  • Bloodworms are a high-calorie feed with a high content of animal protein, therefore it is not suitable for feeding herbivorous and algae-eating species;
  • The shell of live bloodworm is an indigestible food for many species of fish;
  • When feeding large batches of live bloodworms, part of it can burrow into the ground, die there, and decompose, cause siltation (contamination) of the soil and soil cloudiness (“spoilage”) of aquarium water;
  • Non-eaten portions of frozen bloodworms, decomposing, also lead to an “unbalanced” aquarium, and can also serve as a source of gastrointestinal poisoning of fish;

High-quality bloodworms should be bright red or red with a glossy sheen. Fresh bloodworm begins to move intensively if you move the pile with a finger or moisten it with water. The stale bloodworm is dull, dark brown in color, almost motionless when touched, sticks together turns into a solid mass of dark color, which is unsuitable for feeding. If the food smells of mold or has an unnatural color, it is best not to use it. To obtain a clean bloodworm, it is placed in a sieve with openings of such a size that it can climb through them. The sieve is placed on a bowl of water so that it touches the bottom of the water. Bloodworm goes through holes into the water and falls to the bottom, where it is collected with a net, placed in a canvas rag and squeezed out quite energetically. The larvae intended for storage should be fresh, which is recognized by their mobility and color. The dead bloodworm loses mobility, and the ruby ​​red color turns into dark red.

Where to get Bloodworms

Live bloodworms can be purchased at pet stores. It should be remembered that the disinfection and cleaning of bloodworms is a very labor-intensive and technologically complex process, which is not possible for most private producers supplying fresh feed to pet stores, and an untreated bloodworm is a carrier of pathogenic microorganisms. Therefore, the simplest and safest option is to buy a frozen product that has been cleaned and disinfected with ozone.

Have you ever seen where the same bloodworm, corethra, and even more so, the tubule, live in nature? These are, as a rule, residents of sewage treatment plants, sewer sumps, sewers, littered ponds, and the eerie kind of “stinky rivers”. Most of the natural food sold by private traders at the “mass” markets, first of all, corethra(glassworm), tubifex, bloodworm, daphnia, are obtained in sewage treatment plants of pig farms, poultry farms, and cowsheds, where all these organisms reproduce abundantly in a saturated solution of fecal industrial waste. I think it’s not worth it to describe how many and what pathogenic microorganisms live in such “biotopes”, and how dangerous it is when they get, together with live food, into the aquarium to your tropical “tenders”. The bloodworm lives in the silt of dirty reservoirs with standing or slowly flowing water. Larvae are obtained by washing them in a sieve with a small net.

How to disinfect bloodworm

It is an inhabitant of polluted sewage and may be a carrier of pathogens. It should be washed 3-5 days twice a day, before the first feeding, in order to free the intestines from harmful substances. It is recommended to disinfect it before feeding it with methylene blue, rivanol, erycyclinum. For disinfection, bloodworms can be kept 1-2 times a week for 10 minutes in a 5% salt solution, and rinse before feeding. If the bloodworm for 2-3 days is placed in a solution of tripaflavin or alanogues (100 mg per 10 l), in this case they will not contain the stages of external lowest parasites. Some aquarists before disinfecting live bloodworms disinfect them by treating them with Furazolidone.

How to Clean and Feed Frozen Bloodworms to Your Fish
If you still decide to include bloodworms in the diet, then it is better to use it in iced type, as it is most safe by the same criteria that are inherent in live food. In order to avoid most of the negative consequences, bloodworms are still better to freeze and store in the freezer or in the freezer of the refrigerator. Indicators of good quality of bloodworms are: a slight peculiar smell, filled (empty shell) larvae, uniform red color without light (empty shells) and dark (before freezing, the larvae were dead) larvae. The different sizes of larvae are not an indicator of quality. Aquariums also use bloodworms in dry (dried) and sublimated forms.

How to store bloodworm

Store bloodworms at a low temperature (it is possible in the refrigerator), but above 0 ° С (4-10 ° С). Before laying the bloodworm, it is advisable to rinse it with cold water and let it dry a little. The packaging in which the bloodworm will be stored should be periodically wetted with water, but not wet (the packaging is wetted, not the bloodworm itself). For this purpose, a simple spray gun is quite suitable, and if one is not found, then just your hand (soak it under the tap and several times shake drops of water from your hand over the bathtub).

Frozen bloodwrom

You can store live bloodworms in the fridge for no more than 5-7 days, but in any case, do not bring to the appearance of a “rotten” smell. A bloodworm with smell cannot be used and it is better to simply throw it away – in this case, saving it and further use can lead to disastrous consequences.

Storage in a damp newspaper (wrapping paper). To do this, take three layers of fresh newspaper, one of which must be moistened and placed between the other two. Then we put the bloodworm on a newspaper with an even thin layer and carefully wrap it, after which the newspaper is placed in a cool place, and preferably on the lower shelf of the refrigerator. This operation must be done every day. It is very important that there is no excess moisture in the bloodworm. This will inevitably lead to difficulty breathing larvae and to their death. The layer of larvae in the newspaper should not exceed five millimeters.

Spread the bloodworm on a half-folded half of a newspaper leaf moistened with water and wrap it with an envelope. To prevent the larvae from being crowded, rollers from newspaper wet paper are placed inside the envelope. They make two or three more such wrappers on top and put the bundle in a cool place – at the very bottom of the fridge or between the window frames. Once every two days bloodworms are sorted and thrown away dead larvae. Newspapers are changing. Two or three spreads of the newspaper is taken, a portion of bloodworm is placed on it, the newspaper is folded into a loose roll, which is placed in a plastic bag. The bag in open form is placed in the “vegetable” box of the refrigerator. With this package, the bloodworm quickly frees itself from excess water and receives a constant and sufficient amount of oxygen for breathing.

Store in a refrigerator, wrapped in a dry, thick canvas rag, with a thin layer of up to 1 cm, which must be wrapped in a rag from a burlap, soaked in cold water and squeezed out well (make it moist, but not wet at all, otherwise the bloodworm will quickly deteriorate ) As the rag from the burlap dries, it must be moistened. You can also store bloodworms in a dampened and well-wrung canvas or wool rag, into which it is poured with a thin layer. The rag is folded and stored in a cool place. After two days, the rag must be rinsed, wrung well, and put the bloodworm back.

When storing in a humid environment, make sure that the moisture from the squeezed cloth does not evaporate. Almost daily, you have to rinse the cloth in hot water, sort out the dead, rinse bloodworms and dry it on a newspaper page. If the bloodworm is fresh, just spray it with water.

It can be stored in raw potatoes. To do this, cut the potato in half and clean out its core. We put bloodworms in the formed recess and remove the potatoes in the refrigerator. The second method: A large potato is cut from the top with a thickness of a couple of centimeters. In the remaining potato, the pulp is cut out, leaving about 1 cm at the walls, put bloodworms in it and cover it with cut top, put in the refrigerator. Rinse every day (both bloodworms and potatoes). It is believed that being in potatoes, bloodworm receives nutrients from this vegetable. For 50 gr. larvae require one medium-sized potato, peeled and grated on a coarse grater. Squeeze out the resulting mass, thus removing the excess mass. Spread with a thin layer on a clean rag, fill up with a bloodworm on top, and cover with the same layer. Fold the rags with a bag and place it in a cool place.

To increase the shelf life of bloodworms, you need to take a fresh cabbage and, having pressed three or four top leaves, place the larvae there, then put the head of cabbage with larvae in the refrigerator. Due to the constant humidity of the leaves, the larvae remain alive and last up to two weeks. If you chop several leaves of cabbage, mix with bloodworm and place it again among the cabbage leaves, then the shelf life of the larvae will increase to twenty days. Sometimes bloodworms are kept mixed with sleeping tea in a slightly damp linen cloth. In this case, it lives longer, but it is difficult to choose when feeding. Good results are obtained when kept in the sand with water. For this purpose, a net is made of such material so that washed fine sand passes through its cells, and the bloodworm does not pass.

The sand is placed in a layer of 1-2 cm in a low vessel, poured with water 1-2 cm above the level of sand, and placed there bloodworm. A living bloodworm quickly buries itself in the sand, and a dead barely swims and must be splashed out with water. Before feeding, a portion of sand is washed through the net and the remaining bloodworm is used as food. Store it in the refrigerator. You can store them in a jar with a small volume of water: 1 tbsp. a spoonful of bloodworms of at least 0.5 liters of water. Rinse and cleanse the dead daily.

If the larvae are spread out in a thin layer in a flat vessel with a tight-fitting lid and sprinkled with water a little, the result is a so-called wet chamber. The air there is saturated with water vapor, and there is a lot of oxygen. Larvae in such a camera, installed in a cool place, live for a long time.

Bloodworms are placed in an enamel tray in which the jelly is made, and filled with water so that it barely covers the larvae. Bloodworms are washed at least once a day. With this storage method, do not forget that the water in the bath should be regularly replaced with fresh water, its level should be minimal. True, under such storage the bloodworm dies quickly enough, at least faster than when stored in a damp package.

Store bloodworms in a special cassette – for bloodworms (sold in pet stores). It can be done independently. Water is poured into the bottle so that it touches the mesh laid on top. A bloodworm is placed on the net, which gets into the water. Sluggish and dead bloodworms remaining on top are thrown away. It is only necessary to change the water daily and wash the cartridge once a week with warm water and soap.

stored bloodwrom

Store in a tightly-closed container with a large bottom area, on the middle-upper shelves of the refrigerator. Before laying for storage, the bloodworm should be washed and slightly squeezed out to even out a layer of 2-3 mm along the bottom of the container for storage. Water does not need to be added if the bloodworm dries slightly and is sprayed out of the spray gun. In similar conditions, the corethra (glassworm) is stored for up to 3 weeks.

In the toilet tank. Bloodworms are placed in a bag made of nylon and suspended inside the tank so that it does not touch the walls. In this case, the bloodworm is automatically washed after each drain of water into the sewer. The lower the temperature of the water in the water supply, the longer the bloodworm lives. Up to a month, bloodworms remain alive in running cold water.

You can save bloodworms like this: put finely chopped ice in a thermos, and on it a gauze bag with bloodworms mixed with used tea. Pull the bag with a thin fishing line, the end of which is released from under the cork (for the convenience of pulling the bag out of the thermos). The tightness of the thermos will not be violated at all. Since the ice in the thermos will begin to thaw over time, it must be periodically changed.

The degree of reliability during the storage of bloodworms can be increased with the help of mini air pumps. For this, bloodworms should be placed on a fine nylon mesh with sides, suspended in the middle of a bucket of water, turn on the compressor and contain larvae at a temperature of 5-10 ° С. About once a week, water needs to be changed. In such conditions, bloodworms are stored for a long time.

Those townspeople who have balcony flower boxes can store bloodworms in spring as follows. It is necessary to make a small hole in the ground where the box is filled, and cover it with gauze. Then place fresh bloodworm on it, cover it with a piece of twice the folded gauze and slightly pour over well-settled water. If you moisten a little in the morning and evening, the bloodworm will remain fresh for a week.

Bloodworms can be stored frozen.

Attention! Buying a live bloodworm by weight, you run the risk of causing infectious and invasive infections in your aquarium, which threatens, if you do not have the proper treatment and preventive measures, the death of your fish.

Therefore, buy only frozen food and only in trusted stores with freezers for storage.