Killifish
Immature Nothobranchius palmqvisti Gezani feeding on grindal worms

Grindal worms (Enchytraeus buchholzi) are very easy to keep and breed, and make an excellent food for small to medium fish. A typical harvest will contain numerous larger (up to 1cm) and smaller worms (1mm or smaller) suitable for even tiny fry, and what's more, these worms will live happily underwater without dieing and causing pollution. This is an ideal situation to feed tanks of immature killies. Some individuals of certain species (like Nothobranchius palmqvisti Gezani, above) may outgrow, and ultimately predate on their smaller siblings. Grindal worms provide ample food for fry of all sizes, and unlike artemia, don't all bunch together in one area of the tank. Importantly, all fish get a chance to feed.

All you need to culture grindal worms: oats, media, glass, water
All you need to culture grindal worms: oats, media, glass, water

Grindal worm culture regime

The worms and media are kept in plastic food storage boxes, loosely lidded, with ventilation holes. Each culture is fed and harvested at the same time approximately every 24 hours. Cultures live indoors on the top (warmest) shelf of the fish room all year round. It is important to allow the worms ample ventilation; cultures with no air can crash very quickly, however they should not be allowed to dry out.

The traditional culture media for grindal worms is much the same as for white worms: a blend of coir (45%), peat/compost (45%), a small amount of sand (10%), maybe a handful of lime to maintain alkalinity. Cultures will turn acidic eventually and should either be replaced with new cultures if production drops, or partially replaced continuously (I take a few handfuls of media to a fish auction every now and again, and then top up the old culture). Activated carbon can be added to the media. The media should always be damp, yet never waterlogged or sodden.

Another method for housing grindal worms, and one that works very well indeed, is to keep the worms in damp sponge. Simply cut a rectangle of open-pored sponge, maybe three to four centimetres thick, and place it in half a centimetre depth of water in the food storage box. This is the perfect media for grindal worms, maintaining the correct humidity, and providing a huge area for the worms to inhabit. The sponge may need to be rinsed out periodically, especially if production drops.

A typical grindal worm culture
A typical grindal worm culture
The worms gather on the glass in large numbers
The worms gather on the glass in large numbers
The worms can be simply rinsed off
The worms can be simply rinsed off

Feeding grindal worms

Whichever media the worms are kept in, they are fed the same way: on (under) glass plates. I sprinkle a light layer of fine instant oat cereal on the damp glass, and place face down on the culture. Keeping the food on the glass keeps the culture fresh, minimises mold and mites, and draws the worms to the glass for easy harvesting.

The worms are collected 24 hours later, simply by running clean water over the glass. The glass can then again be reloaded with food.

Grindal worm culturing problems

These really are one of the easiest livefoods available for killifish keepers. Provided cultures are kept warm and well fed they can provide daily worms for months with no real problems. Cultures should be restarted when production drops off. Many people complain about mites within their cultures, and moth balls can be used, however if the food is under a large enough piece of glass this is rarely a problem. In fact mites can act as an additional food source for surface feeding killies.

Feeding grindal worms to killifish

Grindal worms make a superb food for most small and medium sized killifish. Quicker growing annual fish such as Nothobranchius will take grindal worms fairly quickly after artemia, often within their first week. Make sure you feed very small numbers if you have a substrate in your tank, as worms will bury themselves, eventually dieing under the gravel. As is the case with white worms, apple and rams-horn snails will eat grindal worms given the opportunity.

10 day old Nothobranchius furzeri eating grindal worms

10 day old Nothobranchius furzeri eating grindal worms This is a still from a short video clip. Click the the image to go to youtube and play the clip. Note there is a high resolution version (just below the image on youtube, look for the 'watch in high quality' link)


Grindal worm cultures for sale

ENTIRE GRINDAL WORM KIT (Heat pack included, READ DESCRIPTION)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, 89178, USA

$35.00


**SORRY, WE DO NOT SHIP OUTSIDE OF THE USA.** ** FIRST AND SECOND PHOTO ARE OF OUR MAIN CULTURE WHICH YOUR STARTER CAME FROM** ** YOUR STARTER MAY ARRIVE WITH LITTLE TO NO WORMS. EGGS ARE IN THE SOIL!! ** OUR WORMS SHIP OUT MON and WED ONLY *live arrival not guaranteed with this method.*(if you order on Monday your order will ship Wed. Anything received Tue or Wed will be rounded up and shipped the following Monday. we want to prevent the possibility of our live cultures getting stranded at the ... more

White worm and soilless grindal worm cultures - live fish food starter pack

BRENTWOOD, TENNESSEE, 37027, USA

$17.00


Listing for 2 scour pads from my soilless grindal worm cultures and 2oz of soil from a White Worm culture. Grindal worms are great for raising fry and preparing small fish to breed. Great for fish under 3". - 3 scour pads White worms are larger, growing over an inch long. They are great for adult oxylotles and fish under 6". -2oz of soil This is meant to be a starter culture. For reliable production of worms the cultures you receive will need to be added to a larger container with more media, ... more

16oz Grindal Worm ready to feed +kit 2 oz portion FREE (Insulated box / heat pack)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, 89110, USA

$16.99


EACH ORDER WILL INCLUDE A FREE HOLIDAY CANDY CANE TREAT STARTING THE 1ST OF DECEMBER.With this deal we will be offering 1 FREE 2 oz container cup of media / worms. These deals will run from Dec 1st until Dec 20th! Winter Wonder Worm Package!(Do to cost of shipping, and all involved our prices have gone up to compensate. We want to provide quality to our customers over winter. Once temps heat up our prices will drop dramatically.) (Each package has tracking AND is Insured in the case they are ... more

Butterfly Fish - African Butterflyfish - Pantodon buchholzi - Oddball Live Fish

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, 92105, USA

$14.99


Butterfly Fish - Pantodon buchholzi Also commonly known as the African Butterflyfish. This is a top dwelling fish that grows no bigger than 5 inches in size. A carnivore in nature, it will readily accept insects and small fish.Size is around 2-3 inches. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who shops with is more than satisfied! We want to see you happy so do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. Shipping: We use FedEx or UPS overnight service for all live fish orders. ... more