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 Post subject: black worms
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 11:19 am 
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Hi
Because of the recent posts re live blackworms,I set up a 20 gal long,with two sponge filters and two airstones and the overflow from two point of service RO units running into it.
I purchased 1.5 lbs which arrived OK. I rinsed them 4 or 5 times though maybe 20 times might have been better and put them into the tank.Water temp was 55 F raising to 62F as the culture settled in.
It was an unmitigated mess. The 1.5 lbs of worms totally overwhelmed the tank. It because a freight train running to cess pool. I had to begin almost total water changes as often as 4 times a day ( it's easy). and I threw them out as there were always deaths that kept pushing the tank into failure

The supplier indicated that I had way to many worms, it was borderline too warm and I needed to put them in worm holders in the fridge. I don't want to do the fridge thing. I always forget to maintain them..
There were rather good instructions on this method ,which I followed. What did I miss?
Regards Al


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 6:28 am 
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mirador wrote:
Hi
Because of the recent posts re live blackworms,I set up a 20 gal long,with two sponge filters and two airstones and the overflow from two point of service RO units running into it.
I purchased 1.5 lbs which arrived OK. I rinsed them 4 or 5 times though maybe 20 times might have been better and put them into the tank.Water temp was 55 F raising to 62F as the culture settled in.
It was an unmitigated mess. The 1.5 lbs of worms totally overwhelmed the tank. It because a freight train running to cess pool. I had to begin almost total water changes as often as 4 times a day ( it's easy). and I threw them out as there were always deaths that kept pushing the tank into failure

The supplier indicated that I had way to many worms, it was borderline too warm and I needed to put them in worm holders in the fridge. I don't want to do the fridge thing. I always forget to maintain them..
There were rather good instructions on this method ,which I followed. What did I miss?
Regards Al



Hmmm? scratching my head on as to what you may have missed? or over done?
My most recent batch has been going for about 3 months, at this point I have only about a quarter pound left and the water, despite changes, is getting a bit turbid. I checked a sample and there are some dying worms but until now, all have been made fish poop. More interesting, there are many very small worms, red and healthy. Leeches have also reproduced.
My setup is also a 20 long (as described in post) and I am only using a 20 gallon rated bio sponge. the smaller Hikari Bacto-Surge (imitation).
I am going to buy one or two larger ones today... and order more worms.

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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 6:42 am 
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My last batch was 2.5 pounds purchased early March, so it's actually around 10 weeks old.

Now, the first couple of weeks while the filter settles in it is normal to see turbid water until the filters start to "close up" enough to do a better job at catching finer particles.

I feed mine, at least twice a week, sprinkling pellets over the "nest".

My 2.5 pounds spread over the bottom of about 3/4 of the tank into a rich, red and thick carpet of worms. It was just this week, that the worm residue (a very fine residue from the food) could be seen accumulated on the bottom of the tank. The filter is evidently overloaded at this point (remember, its just the one small bio sponge, oversaturated with the debris, I haven't rinsed or squeezed it once yet).

I hope this at least gives you something to compare with...

Could there be something in the water that is affecting your batch?

I use RO product water, not the concentrate or runoff. Then, as I explained, I pay a flat rate for my water, which helps a lot. I have also used Prime and Safestart when I've considred they can be useful.

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God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 12:53 pm 
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HI Thanks for replying.
AS for the differences:
1.My water from my well is coming up at 62F (seems warm) by the time it travels 35 feet in a 1/4 inch line from the well to a drinking water fawcet at the kitchen sink.

2.The water I am using into the worm tank (still going no worms) is my RO waste water which is basically 350PPM of sodium and chloride ions. If 350 PPM salt will kill them then it did..it's not likely though. I used waste water to get a second use from my RO units the same way people will actually raise discus (they say) in their RO waste water. I can use water straight from the well though it is one more waste of water.

3.It did appear that the sheer mass of worms overwhelmed the tank.They colonized the two sponge filters instantly,died in them and when I washed the filters, the filters ran very red for quite a while. THe worm "flats" on the bottom went "salt and pepper "from the grey dead ones in with the red live ones

4.My turnover is fairly high...even 100 gal per day which I hate to waste though we have tons of water here.
Any ideas would be helpful.The supplier is of no help. He just says the method you use won't work. I may well go for floating worm keepers and 1/2 the population and see how that goes.

Thanks Al


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 10:30 pm 
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I don't think 62 degrees is an issue.

Now, as to: "The supplier says my method does not work..."

If what you described to your supplier was exactly what you did, that would make all the sense in the world and we just may have the answer right in front of us.

Again, I use PRODUCT water (20-25ppm), my concentrate goes down the drain.

If your concentrate is actually 350ppm of NaCl, it could be a salt intolerance issue, but the supplier would be the person who can say if this is too much salt for the blackworms. As to discus being raised in concentrate water, I know it helps, but depends on the concentrate quality, not all are the same. Not all setups are the same either.

One more thing, by any chance are you using the PRO or 10-20 ppi sponges?, or are they the 30-45 ppi sponges?. If a thick mass of worms digs into the coarser sponges, the mess will be quick. They will clog up the filtration very fast. The finer sponges work better, as it is harder for the worms to dig in, but they eventually will, at some point, depending on the mass size, they'll need to be replaced.

I took some pictures so you can see the small sponge filter i use, which at this point, 10 weeks in, needs to be replaced. The worms can't dig in too far and most fall off when I pick up the filter, but the debris from food and dead worms penetrates deep and spoils the filter. The little bt of worms you see today, probably 3 or 4 tablespoons worth are still in good condition, but they will last me just a few days more. I'll need to reorder Monday.

So Al, take note of the differences. 1.5 pounds should not overwhelm your tank, I had 2.5 pounds and it did not overwhelm mine.

I've kept blackworms going for over six months, and at least once, I went over 9 months, but when the goal is to grow and/or condition your fish, you will always run out a lot faster than they can segment and multiply.

Once last thing... the warmer water, the more oxygen they will delapidate, the more worms will die, I might be wrong about your 62F not adding to the cause because I might be thinking of what I feel when I jump into a 62 degree pool.. and my marbles scream and scram to hide in my stomach... but my RO product is closer to the low 50's (case in which my marbles would just crack) and I don't have a heater in my worm tank. Heck it's not even 60 degrees outside right now here in SLC.

Maybe tomorrow with daylight, I can take a close up pic of what's left, there are tiny blackworms along with the larger ones. And sorry for the bad pic quality, there is no additional light in the corner of the fishroom and my phone does not have any additional flash. I used a weak flashlight for a bit more light, I'll try and replace or add some better pics later after sunrise and I can open the main door.

Ed


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God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 10:41 pm 
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BTW, what does the supplier reccomend?
Ask him about best temps?
Salt intolerance?
Keep us posted.

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God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:47 am 
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HI Sorry ,. "Your method" means ,in short hand, the method of keeping them in a running water tank.
A few points:
1. The water is about 62F and the supplier indicates that is too warm..but more on this later
2.My filters are Hydros from Jehmco. They are fairly fine. They were colonized quickly. They are on those grey plastic pedestals and the worms all congregated under the base in the still water which must have been low on oxygen..they did seem OK when I repeatedly released them. I knew there were finer and coarser filters but never paid much attention to it. I can get "fine" refills from Jehmco, I presume..I also added airstones when I saw trouble ahead and did large water changes from the tap.
3.Could I have damaged the worms with my aggressive water changes with stirring up? Are they tough (as I think) or not so tough.
4.I never realized you were using RO water for the worms...it is such a luxury to have so much. I can use tap water or RO waste water but not RO. My well water is 350 TDS with moderate GH and very high KH. It first passes through a household iron remover bed then through a standard household salt replacement water softener, then runs through my point of service ROs which just takes out the salt. That's supposed to be a way of preserving the RO cartridge. I do not know if 350 PPM salt will hurt the worms ( or the fish that eat them)..it is not so likely. It is way,way below the TDS of salt water. However,I can drip tap water into the tank just fine.
5.The supplier is polite but not helpful. So,I won't get far there. The very short email on the topic that I receieved said ,basically ,I was wasting my time trying to keep them in a tank and to read the directions, stupid. (At least that was what I felt the tone was)

I really do want to use the tank storage method as it is way easier for me and I don't forget about them on a shelf right in view in my fish area. So, it's warm and the salt may not help at all. Actually it was like dropping a steak in a tank and trying to keep the tank fresh..that was a lot of worms.
Regards Al

Thanks Al


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 10:50 am 
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Hi Al, I've replied within your text:
1. The water is about 62F and the supplier indicates that is too warm..but more on this later

Doing a little more internet reading (sometimes I hate to call that "research"), it looks like 62 is little above a blackworm's best preference. But still, if you do everything else, I don't believe this temperature will cause a massive kill. It's all a relation between oxygen level and availability (usability). Though my temperature is below yours, I'm sure that at some point, I've kept them in a bit warmer water. They colonize and live in the gravel of my fish tanks for as long as they have not been eaten by the fish, and that water is well into the 80's. But for keeping a concentrated mass, as we'd like to, the temperature needs to be cold This provides better oxygen saturation and if it's circulating water, it's a renovating oxygen flow coming in. These worms don't breath only by the end of their tails as some people say, but they can breath through their skin and directly absorb oxygen when their is a good saturation of it in the water column. When oxygen is low, they will let you know, creeping up tords the surface to find more air exposure.

2.My filters are Hydros from Jehmco. They are fairly fine. They were colonized quickly. They are on those grey plastic pedestals and the worms all congregated under the base in the still water which must have been low on oxygen..they did seem OK when I repeatedly released them. I knew there were finer and coarser filters but never paid much attention to it. I can get "fine" refills from Jehmco, I presume..I also added airstones when I saw trouble ahead and did large water changes from the tap.

In this case, the finer the better. The farther you can get the filter off from the bottom the less worms will get into the filter. You can also use an HOB with a prefilter sponge.

3.Could I have damaged the worms with my aggressive water changes with stirring up? Are they tough (as I think) or not so tough.

If you use a blender, I'm sure you'll kill more than you want to chop. These worms reproduce mostly by segmentation. If they are cut up (i.e. by an impeller), chances are you'll get more worms, this said, I don't know how long they take to grow to a munchable size. Even the smallest worms are good for dwarf cichlids and tetras. I actually stir mine up briskly with a 1 inch piece of pvc pipe to get the excess food debris, leaches and other stuff out of the worm nest (worm ball).

4.I never realized you were using RO water for the worms...it is such a luxury to have so much. I can use tap water or RO waste water but not RO. My well water is 350 TDS with moderate GH and very high KH. It first passes through a household iron remover bed then through a standard household salt replacement water softener, then runs through my point of service ROs which just takes out the salt. That's supposed to be a way of preserving the RO cartridge. I do not know if 350 PPM salt will hurt the worms ( or the fish that eat them)..it is not so likely. It is way,way below the TDS of salt water. However,I can drip tap water into the tank just fine.

Like I always clarify, I'm just lucky to pay a flat rate for my water. Tap should be fine if you pass it through an inline GAC cartridge. More than just a drip, a very thin continuous stream providing at least a 100% water change every 24 hours would be better. You can use an electric solenoid shutoff valve and a timer to set it up so it runs for the time you'd like, 12 by 7. It's the first week mostly that you need to run it most of the time. Again, take into account that one thing is 350ppm TDS, but when you say "350ppm of sodium and chloride", this is different. Now you mention carbonate hardness, so if the carbonate hardness is part of your 350ppm TDS that's not so bad. I was thinking your concentrate water was a 350ppm of pure NaCl, which could be an irritation factor for the worms. I'd use the preconditioned tapwater, that is, run straight tap through the inline GAC catridge and into the worm tank.

5.The supplier is polite but not helpful. So,I won't get far there. The very short email on the topic that I receieved said ,basically ,I was wasting my time trying to keep them in a tank and to read the directions, stupid. (At least that was what I felt the tone was)

No blackworm supplier will tell you how to keep alive something that he needs your fish to turn to poop fast so you buy more. He'd be telling you how to give him less money.

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God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 11:09 am 
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Al (and everybody), I substituted the darker pictures (from earlier post) with new ones, better lighted.

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God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: black worms
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:26 pm 
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To clarify
My water out of the waste water of the Ro is 350 ppm of sodium chloride. The household water softener has taken out the calcium,magnesium and bicarbonate of my 350 TDS well water and replaced it with 350 ppm of NaCl. Then the RO takes out the Na Cl. So, all of the salt is in the waste water . I'll use tap water .It would have been nice to get another function out of the RO waste water before it flowed out to my neighbour/s pond. This is part of a 'grey water " system and is separate from our relatively sophisticated septic system.

Regards Al


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