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feeding blackworms


    I have noticed a certain attrition among the black worms kept in the
refrigerator, even when they are well washed. I'm wondering if they could be
modestly fed to clean out their guts and keep them going.

    Several years ago now, Rosario LaCorte wrote a fascinating article for
AFM (Aquarium Fish Magazine) where he described digging a daphnia pond in
the back yard of his new home. It was permanent in that the water table
supplied it most of the time (supplements could be directed in through the
water from his sump pump which pumped relatively clean water that seeped
into the holding well.

    After a year or two he added some blackworms, in the hope that they
would reproduce and provide him with a source of worms free of the internal
pathogens they could pick up if connected with waters occupied by fishes.
(This list had a thread on that a while back...) After a year he could
harvest small balls of worms which he contended were free of all or many of
the disease organisms associated with those worms. He also observed that
they seemed, like their earthworm "cousins, to be eating leaves.

    Too long ago to admit to, someone in the aquarium literature suggested
leaving a piece of potato in with tubifex worms so that they could eat the
potato and purge their systems. My question is could the same be done with,
say maple leaves - although finding t hem under a couple feet of snow is a
bit tricky at the moment.

    In fact, has anybody ever tried putting a piece of potato in with a
batch of worms? One of our local killie people has raised blackworms using
dried dog chow in a tank of worms and peat moss. I am a little leery of
using the dog food in the refrigerator however. However, has this been done?


    Scott Davis