Micro worms culture: preparation and care
See how simple and feasible it is to maintain the culture of micro worms, a very interesting and proper food for the first days of life of Bettas fry. They are not the only option, but among the sources of food available at any given moment, it can make a difference.
Necessary material for the cultivation of micro worms
1 – a plastic box with a lid (like ice cream), very clean, and without any smell;
2 – a fork;
3 – a glass cup (very clean and without any smell, like curd, for example);
4 – a small spatula with a wide tip to scrape the glass and the bottom of it;
5 – a small coffee spoon
6 – a razor blade;
7 – a package of oatmeal (the one in bran, avoid the one that looks like talc, or flakes)
Starting the culture
1 – pour the amount of oatmeal until it fills the glass just over half;
2 – add a little water (it can be from a tap) over this amount of oat flour, and WITH THE FORK start to mix the flour and the water, revolving this dough with the fork, in such a way that the water penetrates in the oatmeal inside the cup. When there is no water left – and, yes, an almost dry mass of oatmeal – add in SMALL QUANTITIES more water to this dry mass, and continue to “cut” it with your fork, in such a way, little by little ( and without haste), to be converted into a thick and uniform porridge. At that point start to press this porridge against the wall of the glass with your fork, to end those dry balls of dough that always form in the middle of the porridge. With the wide-tipped spatula, also turn the porridge in the bottom of the glass, so that there is no heterogeneous mass (half dry, eg) of the rest of the porridge.
3 – let this porridge rest for 10 minutes or so. Why? So that the heat released by mixing the oatmeal with the water will dissipate, and the mixture will absorb all the water.
Sometimes the porridge solidifies to the point that the glass is turned upside down and the dough is stuck together. In that case, A LITTLE MORE WATER is added to the mixture in such a way that the porridge consistency is achieved again (see step 2).
4 – after the porridge has stopped heating, mix the strain with the micro worms to the porridge, inside the cup.
5 – this inseminated porridge is carefully poured into the container, completely scraping the glass with the spatula, and spread inside the box (avoiding soiling the walls of the container).
To help homogenize the porridge evenly on the bottom of the container, tap lightly and repeatedly with the container on a flat, horizontal surface. In addition to homogeneously soaking the porridge inside the container, these beats release air bubbles that may have been trapped inside the mixture. Cover well, and let the container rest.
6 – the next day, with a cloth, remove (without letting the cloth touch the porridge) the excess water (in the form of droplets) that forms on the walls and lid of the container, due to the heat that emanated from the porridge due to a possible fermentation process. This will make it easier for the micro worms to climb up the DRY WALLS of the container a few days later.
Maintenance and management of micro worms culture
1 – from time to time, the existing mixture of culture must be carefully revolved, with that small spoon reserved for that purpose (see item 5 of the necessary material).
The idea is to make this culture survive, because on the porridge surface we will have a liquefied layer of micro worms (in brown color), and below it, apparently untouched, the mixture of water and oat bran, very clear. In this way, the culture, after mixing, as a whole, will be darker, and with spots due to the impossibility of homogeneously revolving the mixture. But it doesn’t matter. It will take new momentum.
2 – sometimes a film is formed on the inseminated porridge. It’s normal, and DON’T STIR! Do not try to remove it, it is not necessary.
When this film does not form, it is possible to see (in the days following the insemination of the culture in the porridge), the surface tingling with worms! DO NOT STAY FINGERING, as it may contaminate the crop.
3 – do not keep opening the lid of the container all the time, only open it when collecting the micro worms, or when giving maintenance to the culture.
4 – when the crop starts to smell weird (within a month or so), we recommend opening a new crop (but, as a precaution, keep the current one, still).
But, how to get a new strain to inseminate the next crop?
5 – lightly scrape off the container walls with the culture stabilized, a quantity of micro worms. These quantities should be deposited inside a tablespoon, eg, or in a container that is easy to mix with the new porridge (step 4, from the item “starting the culture”).
6 – regarding lighting and ambient temperature, until now I have had no problem with the culture, as they have already been in the cold (14º C), in the heat (32ºC), and even receiving direct sunlight through glass tiles.
However, at lower temperatures, the cultures do not “rise” very well – that is, the micro worms do not spread through the walls (and often, even the lid) of the container! Then, place the container with the culture on a heated lamp (but, be careful: LIGHTLY HEATED, and not on a lamp that reaches temperatures that rival those of an iron, OK?). The culture will “rise again”.
Harvest: the long-awaited moment
Take a little water from the aquarium where the fry are and, with the razor, lightly scrape the micro worms that have spread on the walls of the culture vessel you are using.
Then shake the razor in the glass with the water collected from the fry aquarium. It moves and spills slowly spreading through the aquarium, or dripping this water full of micro worms, through a dropper. Then wash the razor well and, of course, dry it.
Attention: never return the excess of harvested micro worms to the culture. Discard it under running water.
Good luck with the culture!