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Re: blackworms

From: UncleScott <UncleScott at prodigy_net>


	A number of us seem to have had trouble with black worms. I still
them to fish I wish to breed certain killies despite the fact that it is
for me (with the local commercial supply) a calculated gamble. (So is
keeping some killies in my fishroom.)

	A discus breeder who used to live in the area (Joe Gargas) sent off
some of his blackworms to a university laboratory. The lab found nothing
dangerous externally but did find some interesting worms within the
worms which could parasitize aquarium fish.

	In some of the older aquarium literature daphnia are similarly
castigated as hosts for fish parasites. This is probably why the
conventional wisdom of harvesting daphnia only from bodies of water with
no connection (permanent or seasonal) with bodies of water with fishes
in them has circulated. Certainly that is one reason why I try to raise
my own daphnia. Diseases and problems in my tanks can not be really
traced to the daphnia. (Now neglect on the other hand...)

	Rosario Lacorte wrote a great article in Aquarium Fish Magazine a
couple of years ago (July 1995?) where he described how he had arranged
for the digging of a backyard pond at his new residence. The pond was
supplied water from the relatively high water table. In dry weather he
had a sump pump (pumping only ground water) which he piped to the pond.
The climate and sump pump keep the pond from freezing solid. He seeded
that pond with daphnia and had plenty of the stuff to feed his fishes.
(Rosario is one of those legendary figures who was among the first to
breed all kinds of killies, tetras and, oh yeah, discus.)

	Then on a hunch he tossed in some blackworms, assuming their
to our garden worms and that the supply of leaves which fell into the
pond would feed them, since leaves are important to garden worms. About
a year later he could begin to harvest small handfulls of blackworms. It
was his contention that these worms caused no problems with his fish. (I
am so JEALOUS of that arrangement!)

	The assumption then is that Rosario's blackworms and daphnia are
carrying no fish parasites that need to be hosted by a fish or fish
eating bird sometime in their life cycle. I know of a couple of
aquarists who have raised small quantities of blackworms indoors. One-
Chicago area AKAer inadvertantly raised them while feeding small
quantities of Purina dog chow to some Columbian ramshorn snails. Several
of us have found thriving colonies in aquarium gravel (a risky
proposition for the fish).

	The best blackworms then, would be those from a source which is not
connected with fish habitats (natural or otherwise). Unless one raises
their own worms, I don't know if that information is available. On the
other hand, we complain about own local wholesalers, we don't talk to
them. Maybe I'll ask around.

			All the best,


David W. Webb           Texas Instruments
(972) 575-3443 (voice)  http://www.dallas.net/~dwebb
(214) 581-2380 (pager)  2145812380 at alphapage_airtouch.com