Bloodworms: A Complete Guide

As one of the primary foods in the aquatic food chain, Bloodworms are a type of larvae, and refer to a few different types of worms.

The two most popular types for feeding fish are:

  1.  Small red larvae from midge flies (Chironomidae).
  2.  Genus Glycera: Usually found in marine waters.

In this guide we are going to cover everything related to bloodworms including, the types of bloodworm, what kind of fish can you feed them too?, how to breed bloodworms?, plus much more.

What Are Bloodworms?

What Are Bloodworms

Bloodworms are a type of larvae and one of the most popular foods worldwide for freshwater fish. It is also used to feed other aquatic animals such as crabs, shrimp, snails, salamanders, and turtles as they are a great source of protein.

They are generally farmed around the north east coast of America and are very popular as fishing bait.

As well as food, bloodworms can also be used to resolve constipation in fancy goldfish. Too much dried food causes this constipation and one of the best solutions is to feed them bloodworms.

Handy Bloodworm Information

  • Bloodworms can be bought in little packets, as well as a variety of other forms that need to be stored in a cool dry place.
  • Freeze dried bloodworms have less nutritional value but are easier to store.
  • You can purchase bloodworms in the form of a gel that has a 2 year life span, and includes extra added vitamins.

Why Are Bloodworms A good Choice?

Believe it or not, fish can actually be very picky eaters. If you’ve tried a number of options but your fish are still not eating, try using bloodworms. It’s said that 99% of fish will eat bloodworm if you offer it to them.

They are ideal for picky eaters, contain plenty of protein, and are fairly inexpensive. This means your fish will get all of the nutrition they require.

Types Of Bloodworms

In this section we are going to give you information on the different types of bloodworm.

Live Bloodworms

As you’ve probably figured from the name, live bloodworms are actually alive, and are a popular choice amongst fish keepers as it’s a more natural way of feeding.

Pros:

  • Rich in vitamins and nutrients.
  • Fresher than freeze-dried or frozen options.
  • Can bring out a more active side in your fish.
  • Handy for “conditioning” your fish before breeding.

Cons:

  • Storage time is very low and typically have to be used within two or three days.
  • More preparation needed before feeding.
  • A high risk of potential sickness and disease.

Frozen Bloodworms

Due to convenience, frozen bloodworms are probably the most popular type amongst fish keepers. Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s.

Pros:

  • Very safe to feed
  • Extremely low risk of sickness and disease.
  • Very long storage time. Up to half a year.
  • As well as spreading them across the tank, you can also feed in one condensed area.

Cons:

  • Cannot feed straight away. You have to wait for them to thaw.
  • Not much activity during feeding time.
  • As 100% of the frozen bloodworm won’t be eaten, this can increase the bioload of your tank.

Freeze Dried Bloodworms

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Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of freeze dried bloodworms which is another popular and convenient type.

Pros:

  • The easiest kind to feed to fish.
  • More control over the feeding process due to the availability of different quality grades.

Cons:

  • Least nutritious and healthy out of all of the options.
  • If you have fish that like to spend time at the bottom of the tank, you will need to allow time for the bloodworm to soak before they sink.

What Fish Can Eat Bloodworms?

Other than strict herbivores, almost any type of freshwater and saltwater fish will eat bloodworms. Let’s take a look at just some of the types:

  • Mollies
  • Guppies
  • Tetra
  • Wrasse
  • Angelfish
  • Gouramis
  • Betta fish
  • Dottyback
  • Discus
  • Loaches
  • Catfish
  • Butterfly fish
  • Cichlids

How Often Should You Feed Your Fish Bloodworms?

As overfeeding your fish with bloodworms can lead to constipation, it’s a good idea to feed them just once or twice a week. You can vary their diet with other kinds of fish food.

Bloodworms Breeding

You may be under the impression that breeding bloodworms is more convenient and cheaper than buying them but this is not the case.

It’s actually very difficult to breed bloodworms as the flies are lay eggs elsewhere because they are prone to keep flying away. Breeders usually have a designated space to keep them to prevent them flying.

For hobbyists or people just starting out, we recommend just buying them instead of breeding. If you do want to breed bloodworms, you can check out this step-by-step guide.

Bloodworm Life Cycle

When it comes to bloodworms, this is just one stage in the life cycle of non-biting Midge fly. Let’s take a look at all of the stages.

  • Egg: Eggs are laid on the surface of the water by the Midge.There may be up to 3,000 eggs that hatch at the bottom of the water within one week.
  • Larvae: They will build small tube-like structures to live in once they leave the egg mass and as they grow, the tubes will enlarge. As they grow they consume organic matter in the mud and water.
  • Bloodworm: The larva now become a C-shape in the bloodworm phase. This is the longest phase of a Midge fly’s life and will move around in a swimming-like motion.
  • Pupae: The bloodworm will cease to exist two to seven weeks after entering the larval stage. The pupae stage is entered whilst still living in it’s tube.
  • Adult: The Midge fly will look similar to a mosquito when it matures and reaches adult stage. In this final stage, an adult will only live three to five days and lay eggs on the water’s surface by skimming across it.

FAQ

What are bloodworms good for?

Bloodworms are used to feed fish as they are packed with proteins and iron. They are a great choice because pretty much most fish seem to like them.

Do bloodworms eat blood?

Due to their name, most people think that bloodworms eat blood but this is incorrect. They get their name not because they eat blood, but because of their color.

Are bloodworms dangerous to humans?

Bloodworms do not posses any great danger to humans. The worst that can happen is a bite that produces a similar reaction and sensation to that of a bee sting.

Do bloodworms bite?

As stated above, yes bloodworms do bite.

Conclusion

So that’s everything you need to know about bloodworms. Remember that it easier to purchase them than to breed them yourself. They are also a great choice for pretty much all fish breeds.