Bloodworms are the small red larval stage of the midge fly. Although midge flies are not flesh-eaters, bloodworms are. Bloodworms are popular fish food, especially among fish keepers. These can be bought frozen or alive in markets and pet stores.
Bloodworms are ideal fish food, especially if you want to train your pet fishes because they contain high protein. These can grow up to 35 cm or 14 inches in length. Feeding your fish bloodworms will also have to vary on their size since they are carnivorous, and we wouldn’t want it the other way around.
There are a variety of these worms, but most popular are the small red larvae from midge flies called Chironomidae, and bristle worms, a type of bloodworm under the genus Glycera that found at the bottom of shallow marine waters.
It is crucial to note that commercially worms are not sold, but the small red larvae are.
What Do They Look Like?
From their namesake, bloodworms are red. It is due to the color of iron in pretty much their whole wriggly body called iron-porphyrin protein. Bloodworms are natives in the northeast regions along the coast of America. But you can pretty much see them in shallow, polluted waters which makes them hardy beings and they also require less oxygen due to the amount of hemoglobin in their blood.
so you may be asking this: “which end is the head?”
Well, the head shape differs on the type, but mostly, bloodworms have four antennas and have parapodia or the fleshy projections along their whole body.
Their mouths or proboscis appear to have four hollow jaws, and when they feed allows a sucking motion. Their jaws produce venom to kill their targets such as insects and insect larvae, and to a human, they can create a painful sensation if they manage to get a hold of one. They are not especially harmful to humans, but they can cause allergic reactions.
Types of Bloodworms
1) Live Bloodworms
These are quite popular among fishers, fishing hobbyists, and fish keepers. Although this is not particularly popular like frozen ones, these are ideal for feeding a large amount of fish placed in large tanks.
They are fresh and rich in vitamins and minerals in comparison to its other forms. But the shelf-life, following its larvae life cycle, is only from 10-12 days, and then it’ll evolve. So having it bought, you should feed it within 2-3 days.
For fish training and conditioning, especially for betta fish, this is the best option. If you want your fish to mate, providing them with a protein-rich diet such as the bloodworm ensures this is happening.
Live bloodworms are one of the best baits in fishing.
Feeding your fish live food activates their hunting instincts, and then you’ll be able to observe their more natural behaviors.
A word of caution in capturing wild bloodworms since they may carry bacteria and diseases is much recommendable if you buy from a reputable feeder to avoid it.
Finally, you may grow your bloodworm though it will need a lot of work, and you don’t want your bloodworms to grow bigger than your fish, or it’ll be eating or be eaten in your tank.
2) Frozen Bloodworms
Frozen bloodworms are the most popular product among fish keepers for several reasons, and primarily because they are in forms of either frozen blocks or thin sheets.
Buying frozen bloodworms is quite convenient since they are cheaper and last longer than live ones, and you can continue to freeze them for months (6 months at the most). Plus, they retained the nutritional content of live bloodworms in comparison to freeze-dried ones. Store, thaw, and serve.
Feeding your fish pets with frozen bloodworms is safe since your worms carrying disease is extremely low.
Putting frozen bloodworms in the tank is quite accessible since you can either drop it in one area or sprinkle across the tank.
Compared to feeding live bloodworms, there isn’t any thrill of seeing your fish display natural behaviors.
There is a 100% chance that frozen bloodworms won’t be eaten and will considerably increase the bioload in your tank. Directly increase the frequency of cleaning jobs.
3) Freeze-dried Bloodworms
Freeze-dried bloodworms have less nutritional content than both live and frozen bloodworms because of the process it has gone through.
They are easier to store and lasts longer. These come in small plastic tubs, and when you need to feed your fish, soak it in water for a few minutes to soften it up. Freeze-dried bloodworm stays afloat; it is necessary to soak more than 10 minutes if you want to feed fishes who are bottom feeders and dwellers, before putting it in the tank.
It has two types: Grade A and Grade B, enabling you to control the feeding process.
Uses of Bloodworms
Bloodworms are mainly using for fishing and fish food.
1) For Fishing
Bloodworms are world-famous as fish bait since they are a tasty treat for both freshwater and saltwater fishes making them one of the best baits because of their creamy, meaty texture that predatory fishes can’t get enough. These are the bestseller in the market for fishers who are on a roll.
Every fisher and fish enthusiast has put a bloodworm on their hook and dangled them to capture fish. They say a lot about the effectiveness of bloodworms as “the ultimate fish bait”, especially for fishermen who like to dwell in saltwater for weakfish, trout, winter flounders, porgies, perch, and, of course, striped bass.
2) As Fish Food
It is one of the primary food options in the aquatic food chain. Bloodworms are at the bottom of the food chain, and pretty much every carnivorous fish and other aquatic animals are turtles, crabs, shrimps, frogs, and snails salamanders, etc., you name it, have tasted and will continuously consume this treat.
It is an excellent source of protein, and for your pet fishes, make sure to have a varied diet since bloodworms serve as a laxative. You wouldn’t want to ante up your aquarium maintenance for this. Bloodworms are great for taking care of your goldfish’s constipation from eating way too much dried food.
One of the downsides probably of this creature, especially if you want to be self-sufficient raising bloodworm larvae is that they are aggressive creatures. Also, keep in mind that they are carnivorous, which grows up to 14 inches. You may not want the result if you put a sizeable and supposed ‘prey’ in front of your goldfish, which you’ve just bought.
In addition to this, bloodworms can cause problems with smaller fishes, which is why most fish keepers, especially for beginners, don’t like buying live bloodworms because of the risk.
Who Eats Bloodworms?
Carnivorous and omnivorous marine animals thriving in both fresh and saltwater dine on bloodworms without a second thought. Whether they are live, frozen, or freeze-dried, bloodworms are the perfect snack for fishes. They are also the ultimate fish bait because they are bought cheap and easy in every market.
They are rich in iron, protein though still lacking in vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids–this is why variety in fish pet diet and pairing it with the staple food is necessary if you want your fish to create families.
Bloodworms are suitable to condition fish for that purpose.
They are suited for fishes like bettas, for mollies and guppies, which are livebearers, a favorite among eels, Kuhli, discus, loaches, and African cichlids.
Breeding Your Fish Food
Being sustainable, having your bloodworm farm requires special work and effort to maintain, and this is one of the reasons why most fish keepers prefer to buy from the market and order online.
Aside from this, they are especially challenging because you need to monitor their life cycle or have a midge fly farm instead. They have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult midge. The challenging part is in inducing a swarm and having the midge flies mate in their cage.
We know that bloodworms up close are the stuff of horror movies and nightmares, but they are beneficial, especially if you’re a fish keeper.
Ignoring their looks and feeding them as a tasty treat for your fish, you’ll be thankful for this guide. However, caution on overfeeding them the stuff since bloodworms are considered junk food for your fish–they lack necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your fish healthy. You need to schedule feeding your fish bloodworms once or twice a week, along with staple food.