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I keep a few of these in a covered drum bowl in my closet with some
whole wheat flour. They're covered because I don't want them to
make their way to my kitchen and start eating my wheat and flour.
It is not easy to separate the beetles from the flour, so they mostly
sit quietly and unbothered by me in the
closet. Occasionally I grab a strainer and sift a few out
to sprinkle into the tanks, where the fish enjoy the treat. They
need whole wheat flour--white flour doesn't have enough nutrients to
keep them going in any dense, useful quantity. Once I thought I
could cleverly recycle some stale gingerbread cookies made with whole
wheat flour as crumbs for the beetles, but the spices didn't agree with
them and the large crumbs made it harder to separate out the
beetles. That was dumb. They get straight whole
wheat flour only now.
These beetles are well armored, and are best suited as food for larger
top feeding fish. If you dig a little deeper in the flour you can
harvest a mix of larvae and beetles, and the larvae are more appealing
to many fish.
They're called confused because they were confusing to taxonomists
trying to classify their species many years ago, but the beetles are
quite clear about eating and breeding and otherwise doing their thing.
Since I have a few of these fish in most of my tanks, there are nearly
always a few fry available to supplement the diet of the other fish, if
they're hungry enough to chase them down. They're live food
by default, not really by design. This also has the pleasant side
effect of keeping the Endler population under control; they're not
known as "Endless livebearers" for nothing.
I keep a bin of redworms to compost my kitchen scraps.
Occasionally the fish get a treat of some fresh chopped worms.
Recently I tested a rolling vegetable mincer vs my regular cleaver to
see which most efficiently chopped the worms, and the cleaver won hands
down because the mincer was too dull and didn't cut cleanly through the
worms. For just a few worms at a time for my largest fish
(smallish throrichthys cichlids), I just rinse them and pinch them off
between my fingers into 1-inch chunks.
I learned most of what I know about vermiculture from Worms eat my garbage, which is
and from the forums at HappyDRanch,
from whom I ordered my Can O' Worms. I use Magic Worm Bedding
here too with good success. The bin sits in the kitchen and
My planted tanks produce an abundance of snails, mostly ramshorns, and
when I was keeping goldfish, I’d toss the excess in their tanks,
they rarely hit the bottom of the tank before being snapped up.
Loaches also love them (although my present dwarf Sidthimunki loaches
don’t seem to eat them), and so did my adult Thorichthys
cichlids. Many fish that are too small to take on whole snails
will be delighted if you crush the snail shell and toss it back in the
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