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Miscellaneous Critters

Livebearer fry
Red Wigglers

Confused flour beetles

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. 
beetles in drum

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.

Endler's livebearer fry

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.

Red Wigglers (earthworms)

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 available here, 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 doesn't stink.


My planted tanks produce an abundance of snails, mostly ramshorns, and when I was keeping goldfish, I’d toss the excess in their tanks, and 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 tank. 

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