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Microworms - live fish food

Updated on September 3, 2014

All About Microworms

Microworms are a free living nematode. The scientific name is Panagrellus redivivus and they are also known as the sour paste nematode. They are used primarily in aquaculture by fish breeders and amphibian breeders. This is because they are a great first or second source of nutrition for baby fish and many other small animals.

I made this lens to help you learn all about microworms and why they are so popular among fish enthusiasts.

You will also find a few sections below that help you buy micrwoworms as well as some books about fish breeding and some of the best live bettas online since that is what I am most familiar with for the use of microworms (I breed bettas on and off).

If you have any questions, I will aim to answer them the best I can in any of the comment sections below too!

Image courtesy of:

Why you should use microworms as a fish food

Microworms really are extremely good as a first fish food for your baby fish. I have used them with great success for breeding my bettas in the past. The betta fry (baby fish) seem to love hunting down the microworms then eating them.

Microworms are about 2 to 3mm long and very thin. They do not float in the water column - instead they sink to the bottom and constantly wriggle around. This movement catches the eyes of nearby fish. This makes them idea for baby fish that you do not want wasting their energy swimming around in search of food.

Because microworms move - they are much better for your fry than processed/dead fish foods. They are also jam-packed with nutrition. They have many essential amino acids and fats that your fish require for optimal health.

I have seen, countless times, my baby bettas bellies absolutely packed with microworms - so much so that they stick out from their bodies!

Brine Shrimp Eggs - Great in combination with microworms

Ocean Star International AOSI0115 Osi Brine Shrimp Eggs Pet Food, 3.5-Ounce
Ocean Star International AOSI0115 Osi Brine Shrimp Eggs Pet Food, 3.5-Ounce

Baby brine shrimp eggs are a great food to alternate with microworms for your young fish, amphibians. They are also packed with nutritional value and your fish will grow quite quickly with them added into the diet. They swim throughout the water column and live for at least several hours in the aquarium water - more than enough time for your baby fish to hunt them down and fill their bellies!

I would recommend going with a company that has a 90% hatch rate. You will need a brine shrimp hatchery but these can easily be made at home out of a pop bottle and an air pump/tube!


Video: microworms squirming in oatmeal medium

This is a great video. I have tried to get people to figure out if their cultures are alive or not. Usually I ask them to look at the top from an angle and to see if they can spot any movement on the surface. That is very hard to describe over email since the movements are all small. In this video of live microworms you can see the cumulative effect of thousands of microworms moving around in their culture!

How To Culture Microworms

From A Microworm Starter Culture

Microworm cultures are easier to get started and keep healthy than you would expect.

First of all, you need to buy a starter culture (see the eBay section above). This will come in the mail likely as a baggie or container with what looks like a clump of slightly soupy goop. Some sellers give you a little bit of yeast in a bag too.

You will need a container with a lid, a substrate, and a bit of water.

For the substrate - fill the bottom of the container up to about 3/4" high with either a piece of bread or some oatmeal - basically a carbohydrate source. I prefer oatmeal. Make it slightly damp and add a pinch of yeast. Once that is ready - just dump the starter culture on top and spread around. Keep in a slightly warm area of the house - not hot and not cold; room temperature will work too!

Within a few days you will have microworms crawling up the sides of the container - ready for easy harvesting!

Picture: Microworms being eaten by juvenile betta fish

This picture shows some very healthy betta fry chowing down on a bunch of microworms! You can see them hunting down their live fish food quite clearly.

Image source: this awesome site

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Ask any questions about microworms - I'll do my best to answer them for you!

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