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[APD] RE: can O worms

>I recently got it into my head that I should introduce a heap of black
worms into my planted tank, in an effort to start a in-substrate colony.
>My reasoning is as follows:
>1) More biodiversity in substrate is usually a good thing, right? ;-)

No, not always. 

> Seriously though, I thought that they may keep the substrate healthy by
turning over nutrients, 
>processing some of the mulm down further, etc...

No, they are heterotrophes, they will lower O2 and produce more waste, and
consume fish food, die and rot etc. It's fine if you don';t have too many
but if they die off for some reason, you will have a nasty mess. 

Consider it the same as adding more fish to the tank. Worms or fish? 

>2) Any excess worms would be forced to the surface and be eaten by my

Perhaps.I've seen a number of tanks fill with worms and fish, nothing I'd
care for. 
A colony would have to be fed to grow and put more strain on the system.
Now you are feeding the worms also.

Try raising Daphnia, vingar eels, brine shrimp etc. 

> 3) My Corys would love me, be happier and healthier from a live food
source, and be more interesting to watch as they hunt around for them (not
that their spastic >antics aren't enjoyable enough already)

Yes, they do like them. As long as they are clean.........

>Now my concerns:
>1) Would the worms multiply too rapidly, and consume too much of the
available oxygen?

They will consume a fair amount of O2, just liken having a high fish shock
load added weekly or how often you feed them.
Any dead worms would rot since fish will go after the live ones first
often(sometimes not).
>) Would they harm the roots of the plants?

Not really.

>3) Do they usually carry any diseases?

Ohh yeaaa. Few people have fish for more than a few years without using
medications. Still, some folks think they are the cat's meow. Some
suppliers clainm disease free worms, it's possible I guess, but difficult
over time and exposure.
I think a varied diet, red worms, frozen foods, live brine etc are good.
Anything that lives outside the environment that the fish live is good.
Fish sure last longer without disease and using medications. Some will
claim great success, so called clean worms. I still don't trust it,
probably never will. Plenty of other food that's less risky. Live food is
PITA. Brine ain't bad. Worms in your Refrig is not something that goes over
well with others. A block of frozen Mysis shrimp/glass worms is a bit more
acceptable. So are frozen worms. Cheaper/simpler/less hassle also.
Fish/cories can still do pretty well.     

>4) I have heard that black worms in plastic bowl cultures create a lot of
slime quickly. I am concerned that there might be a large slime buildup
within the substrate.

I do not think it will make a difference, main thing is general bioload
being increased by adding them. Would you like to have more fish or worms?
Or be able to feed more other foods? 

>5) Would the black worms even survive in the substrate in 26C water?

Yes and warmer

>Any thoughts?

Feed the fish something else.Unless you like medications. Breeders often
have as many meds as I do fertilizers. Good food does really make
difference but it's not obligatory to use live black worms etc. I think
people need to get that through their heads. 
I have not bought nor needed meds is about 15 years.
Healthy plants = healthy fish. 
Reasonable fish loads, loads of plants relative to fish biomass, space,
hiding plances, high O2 levels, lower NO3/NH4 levels etc.  
Tom Barr

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