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NFC: Fw: just finished this on Nematodes
For those who asked :)
File created: 052001
Phylum Nematoda ;) aka micro worms
Nematodes look like tiny earth worms under the microscope and are
quite common. They can be found in sand, debris, mud, and vegetation.
Along wet areas of any body of water nematodes are likely living! They
are not well understood, as there are a great many species and not
many people have studied them. Taxonomic and ecological studies are
lacking, and most information is from the early part of the 20th
century. They are generally avoided because of their smallness, and
thus making them hard to identify. There are a great many undescribed
species, so if one would want to be the first to describe a nematode
and get their name attached... here's your chance!
A good deal of the information available is written about the
thousands of parasitic or predatory species of nematodes. This is
because some of these nematodes affect us directly, and thereby brings
the little 'worms' to light! A few reports of aquatic species exist,
and some 1500 species have been reported world wide. But according to
Pennak, it is probably a small percentage of the species in the world
because they are diverse and range in areas from extremely cold
climates such as Polar Ice, to Tropical climates. They also occur in
deep water. Pennak reports "as of 1967" around 500 species have been
recorded in Europe.
In our case, and in most nematodes, they do look like tiny earth
worms, and they wiggle all the time. This wiggling allows them to work
through whatever substrate they are living in to digest food, move
about, and survive.
Aquaculturists use nematodes as a food for small larval organisms.
Invertebrates and vertebrate carnivorous larval forms will eat
nematodes. It's size compares to a brine shrimp nauplii, in being
smaller in diameter, and several times longer. Larval fish, for
example, will slurp them like spaghetti!
There is not much literature on nutritional value of nematodes. But
they are used with good results. As with most feeds, none should be
used as primary, but a part of a balanced diet (heard that often
In = commercial of nutritionally balance breakfast..
Setting up a culture:
Obtain a micro worm starter culture or wild collect them.
Using a plastic container = butter container, 4 oz Tupperware, plastic
shoe box, or something similar with a lid. It is recommended to put a
few small holes in the lid to allow for breathing.
Use the following: Corn meal, oatmeal, baby cereal, bread, possibly
any other grain you can get to a mushy consistency. Cooking the Corn
meal or other grains, helps in making it mushy, (hominy grits might
work too) but allow cooked feed to cool to room temperature before
adding your nematodes or they will cook too. Baby Cereal doesn't need
to be cooked. Nevertheless make the feed mushy... not too wet. A depth
of 1/2 inch or less seems to work well. Sprinkle a pinch of bakers or
brewers yeast on the top, and add your culture of nematodes. Within a
few days the culture will start to spread out, and if the container is
small, they will have taken over the whole surface in a day or so. The
wiggling mass can be seen easily by raising the culture to a light at
a little below eye level, and look at the light reflection on the
culture surface. It should be writhing with worms!
After several days there will be so many worms they will be migrating
up the sides of the container, even on the lid. They can be scraped
off with a blade, or in the case of petri plates, the lid can be
removed. Either way, then dip the blade or lid into the tank you wish
to feed.. Or you can collect them into a bowl, by rinsing the
lid/blade into the bowl. Then use an eye dropper to dispense the worms
among your tanks. You can also harvest an entire culture by rinsing
the culture into a sieve of 105 microns. Some of the feed will remain
with the culture then, so you may want to use a larger sieve to catch
the larger food particles, and saving the rinse off (which has the
worms in it.) Then pour the rinse into a 105 micron screen to collect
Depending on the cultures, type of feed and temperatures the cultures
can last up to several weeks, or go bad in a few days. If they start
to smell, make new cultures. If activity stops on the surface, the
culture has died... dump it.
You can add another sprinkle of yeast if the culture appears to be
declining in population, but making a new culture is almost as easy,
and keeps any smell away. Keeping several new cultures starting up
every few days, or once a week, depending on size of culture, will
keep you in nematodes :)
Nematodes make a great microscopic project for study!
Fresh-water Invertebrates of the United States, 3rd Ed. Protozoa to
Mollusca. Robert W. Pennak, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pages 226 - 245.
This information is located at
©2001, Paul Sachs
Sachs Systems Aquaculture
1185 Thompson Bailey Road
St. Augustine FL 32084
PHONE: (904) 824 - 6308
ICQ : 4216428
EMAIL: Mailto:Deano at AquacultureStore_com
web : http://www.AquacultureStore.com