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Rob

Blood worms and Africans?

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Rob said...

> I've heard a couple of places that you shouldn't feed

> bloodworms to Rift lake cichlids.

>

> True or false?

I imagine it's true that you've heard it... ;-)

> If it is true why?

Supposedly bloodworms can cause intestinal bacterial infections.

This may lead to the infamous 'Malawi Bloat'. While I've not

kept Africans, I have heard of bad experiences with bloodworms

and other fish but my suspicion is that most of the problems

come from frozen bloodworms that have been defrosted and frozen

again (perhaps repeatedly) before being fed to fish. Bloodworms

(Chirinomid midge larvae) can come from some pretty dirty

waters and so may carry quite a few nasties, the repeated

freeze/thaw cycles may give these nasties time to reproduce

and either build up to numbers where they can cause infection

or else where their metabolites are toxic.

Good quality bloodworms from a reputable source that have

been kept frozen until used (possibly even sterilised before

being frozen initially) are generally considered to be pretty

safe for most fish.

There is also the old theory that 'Mbuna' are vegetarian and a

high animal protein diet is inherently bad for them. I'm not

necessarily a subscriber to that story...

Just my thoughts,

Andrew.

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What I've read is that it's more that they can't handle a lot of high protein food. I guess it kinda constipates them then they get bloat. I guess they need a lot more fiber, like old people.;) So feeding them a little blood worms every few days shouldn't hurt if you defrost it in a glass and then dump it in the tank. That way every fish should get a little but none of them will be able to steal an entire chunk of them like my SA's like to do.:)

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Ira said...

> What I've read is that it's more that they can't handle a

> lot of high protein food. I guess it kinda constipates them

> then they get bloat. I guess they need a lot more fiber, like

> old people.

My understanding of this is that it may be a myth, propagated

because people thought Africans were algae eaters as they'd

been seen grazing on algal mats in the wild. Subsequently it

was found that they were actually eating small invertebrates

that live in the algae, probably including bloodworms ;-)

Anyway, I don't know what the current opinion is but I'm

inclined to agree that the occasional feeding of good

bloodworms as part of a varied diet is unlikely to cause

major problems.

Andrew.

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I think it's best to cover the bases, just in Case, I feed the African's Bio Suppliers "Seriously Green Tucker" as it is primarily vegies but also contains a small amount of protein in the form of small crustaetions. They seem to love this, and as some of the fish can be relativly expensive (5 Barred Lamprologus' for example) I would rather not take the chance- call me paranoid.

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Fee said...

> ... as some of the fish can be relativly expensive (5 Barred

> Lamprologus' for example) I would rather not take the chance...

I thought pretty much all of the Lamprologines were mostly

carnivorous though?

My comments were directed at Malawi cichlids such as Psuedotropheus,

Melanochromis, Labeotropheus and so forth. Those fish that were

known as Mbuna. There are many defintely predatory fish in both

lakes (both on invertebrates and other fish) such as Aulonocara in

Malawi and various Lamprologus spp in Tanganyika and I would

expect them to appreciate a diet much higher in animal protein.

One day I'd like to get some Tanganyikan fish other than the

(Neo)Lamprologus brichardi and Julidochromis marlieri that we

seem to be limited to. I have seen the odd specimen of other

species but they've been priced out of my league and only

available in ones and twos at a time. Lamp. lelupi used to be

relatively common but I haven't seen them for ages...

What I'd really like is some shell dwellers and some Cyprichromis

to have a go with...

Anyway, once again, just my thoughts...

Andrew.

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Hi all,

The story I always heard (here comes another one :D ) is that the fat content was too high for the fish to cope with if fed consistantly with bloodworms.

I keep heaps of Malawi and some Tangs too and they get bloodworms once a week (all except my Tropheus). Have been doing this for ages now with no detrimental effects.

Mind you, I used to be an almost exclusive bloodworm feeder once upon a time and wiped out heaps of fish but I think I have found a good balance now :D

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:o Just browsing the forum :o:o I am so glad you all shared this info for I was beginning to fed my fish bloodworms often. Still with flake and spirulina disks. Whoooooooooa slowing down on the bloodworms from now on. ty guys n gals. You probably saved my fish from complications of a beginner owners entusiasm.

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My experience:

The freeze dried tubex worms are a definite no-no for mbuna. It tends to bloat, and eventually kill, them, but I have honestly never experienced problems with the "ordinary" blood worms. I feed them bloodworms as a special treat once a month, it could be that the secret is not to feed it to them too often.

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My take,

IMO and from experience depending on the species and the quality of the worms fed in MODERATION isn't bad . But, I personaly wouldn't suggest it be fed to most Africans.

Resson being most African Cichlids have lond digestive tracks. Meaning it takes them a long time to digest there food. Yes it was once believed that africans only ate greens and not live foods. Most all African Cichlids have a varied diet in the wild. Very few species depending mainly on one food source. So some do eat high protien foods but again have a variety in there diets.

Most foods fed to African Cichlids contain protiens . Blood worms are VERY high in protien and also are very prone to have bacteria. Now, this all depends on the quality of the worms. They MUST be rinsed VERY well and any viss. dead ones should be pulled out before feeding. Still even if you prep them properly and assure they are fresh there is still the chance that some fish don't exept it well. Causing the upset tummy leading to bloat.

The problem is not so much either or but a combanation. See Blood worms are normaly nasty from the get go. Most times there are more dead than fresh. Speaking of the type bought at your LFS which they keep in the fridge. There is also the freeze dried ones which IMO are not as bad. Add bad worms to fish are are prone to bloat and chances are the results may be ugly. Now this doesn't stand true for all Africans as I mentioned. I am speaking from experience in the past because I personaly feed both bloodworms and or white worms when avail. To alot of species that I keep which are mostly Lake Victorian some Malawi and some Tangs.

But i also feed them a variety of foods depending on the fish and it's natural food source. some get snails,worms,larva,daphnia,small mullusk,brine, baby brine,krill/ghost shrimp,assorted flake foods,bugs yeap bugs.

But over the years I have lost fish to bloat and not being due to a certain food in perticular. Some fish can and will bloat on flake food if they eat to much. So basicly as long as fed in MODERATION and fed aa treat and NOT as a staple diet the fish should be fine and also benefit from it.

Though I WILL remind that Blood Worms are VERY,VERY nasty and not the best source of live foods. This is just my opinion and from past experience.

My question would be,

What type fish are you planning on feeding the worms to ?

How many feedings a day are they now fed?

What other foods are you feeding ?

And a must fitration / water changes? ( worms are messy and can foul tank)

Alot of your Tanganyikan species do well with live foods including worms. (in moderation) While alot of your Malawi species tend to bloat up easier. Most my Victorians eat some source of live foods and also tolerate it better than the Malawi species do. Again not all fish nor hobbiest are alike though. A friend feed his fish pellets. Something I stoped doing years ago due to the amount of bloat cases I was having.

But just about everyone I know feeds there fish pellets with no problem so it just goes to show that it may work for one but not another.

Hope my 2 cents helps,

Danny

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Danny thanks for sharing.

I am sure I lost a beautiful marbelled female angel due to bloat - due to my ignorance and overfeeding on blood worms. Hard lesson.

However now I have confined myself to serving such food as treat and not very often I have found that the tanks stay cleaner and the fish happier.

REALLY 102 Tanks :o !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The hobby is a learning experience and even the best of us make mistakes. Who do you think I ended up with so many tanks. ? Other than I would not stop buying fish other trail and error. Alwyas learning day by day.

Check out the links on the other thread and you can see pics there,

Danny

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Hi Rob,

We keep African Cichlids and a whole heap died from a combination of things, BUT we did feed them a lot of bloodworms. They loved it, so we got carried away and fed them a lot (will opt out of posting here how much exactly as it will elicit a a bundle of hate-posts aimed at me, I'm sure :oops: ).

If you decide to feed them bloodworms, DO NOT feed live bloodworms unless you know how they were bred or bred them yourself as they may carry diseases which could wipe out your Africans. The high-quality frozen ones are excellent products - I used the Japanese-made one - Hikari, I think. Also, I would not recommend to feed them blood worms everyday.

TankMate

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