Worm Culture Information


Equipment needed to prepare for your White Worm Starter Culture


A watertight plastic container minimum size 8” x 8” and 5” deep (large ice cream tubs etc. are ideal).   If the lid is tight fitting please ensure you put some small air holes in the lid.

Small amount of dry cat food, alternatively cheap pond pellets seem to be working really well, and the cultures are  flourishing.

An old clear plastic CD case, or a small piece of Perspex or glass, approximately 4” x 4”.


An old spoon, which is to be kept in the container at all times and must not cross contaminate with any other worm cultures (used for loosening the soil occasionally).


A small box of aquarium charcoal (optional) this aids in reducing the smell of the culture, especially good if you don’t have a fish house.


Small hand held spray bottle for water.  This is for helping keep the soil moist and also the food.  


Peat and or Compost for the culture to live in.  It is advised that you put it in the oven at a high temperature for 20 minutes or so kill any bugs that may be in it.  This ensures that the worms won't have to compete with anything else for the food.



Caring for your White Worm Culture


White worms are an excellent live food for fish and are very easy to raise.  White worms are white in colour and they reach up to 1½ inch in length.  White worms are great for conditioning fish for breeding.  They are eaten by most fish and are suitable for a wide range of fish since their size is appropriate even for the smallest fish. They should however be fed as part of a varied diet since some sources consider them to be excessively fatty. 



You will need a container with a lid, for example large ice cream tub.  You can use whatever you want; it just needs to be waterproof.  The worms need to breathe, so if the lid is airtight, put some small holes into the lid.  If the cover fits loosely, then there is no need for the holes.



Half fill the container with peat and/or compost.  The cheaper varieties are fine.  You can if you wish at this point add a handful of aquarium charcoal and mix thoroughly with the designated spoon.  Add water to wet the peat/compost and charcoal mix.  The wetness should be such that by slightly squeezing the peat/compost should result in a few drops.  Somewhere between damp and wet is the best way to describe it.



Add the starter culture of worms and mix with the designated spoon into the container, then add a little food (don't overfeed), if you put too much in it may go mouldy.  Having experimented over the past few months, we have found that dry cat-food works really well.  You can either leave it whole, or crush down into smaller pieces.  Either way works really well, and is easier to remove than the oats are.


The food should be placed in the centre of the container on the surface.  Don't feed again until the worms have eaten all the food.  If the food goes mouldy, just spoon it out and add fresh food, but not so much this time.



Once the worm colony is thriving (after approximately 1 month), because the food has been left on the surface, it will facilitate to harvesting on the worms, as the worms gather on the surface to feed.



To ease harvesting, we use one side of an old CD case (clear plastic), place it over the food, and press gently.  Then, when you harvest you just need to lift the plastic up, and the worms will be stuck to it.  BEWARE, food will also be attached to the plastic and should not be fed to the fish.  The worms can be harvested by either scraping them of with your finger, or using a q-tip, child's art paintbrush, or anything else that you feel appropriate.



Once the fish realise that the white things wriggling in the water is food and are tasty, they eagerly snatch them up as soon as they hit the water.



White Worms like it fairly dark and will start to dig back into the dirt once the lid is removed, so it is best to gather all the worms you need as soon as you open the lid, and put them in a small container, and then take your time dropping the worms into the tank. 



For maintenance add more food when the worms have eaten the last of the food you put in, and add more water if the soil starts to dry.  Worm cultures are fairly hardy and can survive weeks, possibly months of neglect (as long as the don't dry out).  Although they may need care and feed before you will able to harvest enough to feed your fish again.  They thrive at a temperature of up to 21C (70F).



A Healthy Culture of White Worm


Here is an example of how a healthy White Worm Culture can look with the right care and attention.