What are bloodworms?

chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)June 8, 2005

What are bloodworms? I'm asking because I live in Michigan and when I scooped up some sand from my pond in late May (established in March) I got a small, 1/2" long bright red worm. It appeared to be segmented. I also found 2 when I scooped some sand from a local stream.

Was this a bloodworm?

Are they a larva of some kind of fly?

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Yes - they're not actually worms, but a fly larvae, although I don't remember the actual species name.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:52AM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

They're mosquito larvae (hence the name bloodworms). I wouldn't use any wild bloodworms because they can and do carry disease. If you want to use live bloodworms, find a person with a culture that's clean. Better yet, buy frozen bloodworms (only worth it if you have lots of fish because they're useless once they're thawed). Defrosted bloodworms can accumulate bacteria if they've been thawed for some time and then re-frozen, so if you buy frozen ones, make sure they're kept cool and are chillin' in your freezer no more than 1/2 an hour after purchasing.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 12:30PM
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You don't have have "lots of fish" in order to use frozen bloodworms!!! Where have you been the last few years Minaku??

They're sold frozen in plastic push-out cube packs. You push out one or two cubes per serving & pop the rest right back in the freezer. Nearly all frozen fish food is sold that way these days.

What I do is pop a cube into a fish net & run it under hot water for a minute, then a quick rinse with cold, & then pop the thawed food into the tank. Of course, I have good well water so don't have to worry about chlorine, etc.

I've been feeding frozen food this way for the last 8 years - everything from brine shrimp, to "Marine Cuisine" (various tiny sea creatures), "Emerald Cuisine" (sea creatures + vegetable matter, Bloodworms, Blackworms, & several others.

There's absolutely no reason to have to thaw out more than you need, & one cube is perfect for just a few fish.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 1:33PM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

bloodworms are not mosquito larva. Mosquito larva aren't red, and they're not really "worm-like".

Bloodworms are midge larva. I've attached a link that contains more information.

Here is a link that might be useful: bloodworm info

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 4:18PM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

I have two bettas. There is absolutely no reason for me to waste an entire cube of bloodworms on two fish. Even if I got the flat-pack of bloodworms (which I have, and I was using it for 3 bettas and 2 ADFs) I still end up wasting some money.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 4:28PM
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Okay - granted you just have two fish. Most folks with aquariums have more than just two fish.

Although I have to say that I don't think one small cube of bloodworms split between two Bettas as an occasional treat would kill/ruin anything.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 5:16PM
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just_curious(7b/8a Canada)

Most of those cubes are easily cut with a knife.
I've also used tubifex worms, live, freezedried and frozen.
This was many years ago, but bloodworms, frozen or freezedried and tubifex worms were both excellent products if used correctly.
I've never used live bloodworms.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:34PM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

What happened to all my posts on this thread? *puzzled* I had made two, and they didn't show up.

Well, the first one was to acknowledge that I was wrong about bloodworms being mosquito larvae. Midges to resemble mosquitos, though, and are pretty annoying.

Second was to mention that one cube divided between two fish is still a lot, and that since if I used all of the bloodworms my fishes would either get super-acute swim bladder or just have their stomachs explode. I can't exactly put the bloodworms back either, so it ends up being a waste of a cube. I'll probably get frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp when I start up my community tank of females, but not before then.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 6:34AM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

Thanks. I found another site that also said midge larva can be red, and also clear. So they must be midge larva. Are those (mature flies) the kind that bite, and are really tiny?
Sometimes called "no-see-ums"?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:17AM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

No, they're very different from no-see-ums. Much larger (generally about mosquito-sized) and, as Minaku points out, are quite mosquito-like in appearance. They have kind of fuzzy antennae that protrude forward from their head, as shown in the illustration that accompanies the article that I posted above, and they lack the "hunchback" look that mosquitoes display.

As far as I know, they don't bite/feed on blood and are harmless.

I have fed live bloodworms, and fish love 'em. I suppose the possibility of disease transmission is there, but the benefits of live food to your fish can't be over-emphasized.

Any kind of processing (even freezing) can destroy enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients to some degree.

I also believe there's a phsychological benefit to fish in allowing fish to excercise their natural predatory behavior.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:32AM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

Drygulch, I occasionally stun gnats and fruitflies and toss them into my tanks. My fish gobble them up. :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:01AM
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isis_nebthet(8b/11suns SoCA)

I've gone through four pounds (and opened the fifth) since March 4th and that's mostly feeding my one tank :)


    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:27AM
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I've fed the "clear" midge larvae as well, but my fish don't seem to like them as much as the red. The clear ones are larger & appear to be somewhat tougher.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 2:04PM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)


Are the clear larva the same thing as glassworms? Some of the better LFS's used to sell live glass worms in the winter, or you could mail order them, but I haven't seen live ones in years.

If they are glassworms, fish will eat them, but not quite as enthusiastically as bloodworms or brine shrimp.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 4:44PM
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Yes, they are Glassworms - name escaped me before. And I too used to be able to buy them live from some of the pet stores (along with live Tubifex, Daphnia, etc.). Can only get them frozen these days, but I agree that my fish were never that crazy about them anyway. I still buy the frozen ones once in awhile just to add diet variety.

These days it seems the only live food I come across regularly are Black worms, & once in awhile Brine Shrimp. That seems to be it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 5:04PM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

Oh boy. So I saw 3 of these things hatch and I thought they were mosquitos, but the adults' bodies were also bright red. They look just like mosquitos but the web page posted above said they don't bite.

I'm glad to know my pond is not breeding mosquitos.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 1:38PM
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sandywesttexas(zone 7)

I have two bettas and twice a week I feed frozen blood worms without any waste. What I do is take a cube place it on a paper plate use a meat cutting knife and cut off a little piece then return the cube to the freezer for next time neverletting it thaw out keep frozen . It is not hard to cut with a good knife. Only feed a betta eye ball size of blood worms to the fish otherwise you will constapate them and blow up their stomach. A bettas stomach is the size of their eye. I prefer using frozen foods by Hakiri.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 1:25PM
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