Can Mollies and Platies Eat Bloodworms?
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You would think this settles the matter, then, right? If they’re omnivorous fish and can consume live food, they can consume bloodworms as well, obviously.
Well, as you’ll soon see, the situation is trickier than that. Let’s get into more details!
Are Bloodworms Safe for Mollies and Platies?
That’s because these fish are omnivorous and require a more varied diet, while bloodworms only contain protein, iron, and some fat. This isn’t enough to ensure a healthy and nutritious diet.
Other than that, bloodworms are great as occasional treats, allowing your fish to get some much-needed protein snacks occasionally.
Benefits of Feeding Bloodworms to Platies and Mollies
There are several benefits related to feeding bloodworms to your mollies and platies, such as:
- High protein content – Mollies and platies don’t need too much protein. Some bloodworm snacks 2-4 times per week should be enough to fulfill their appetite. Bloodworms are packed with protein, so you only need a handful to satisfy your fish and satiated.
- Laxative effect – That’s right, bloodworms have a laxative effect, which is why they’re recommended to treat constipation in fish. This also means that fish that eat bloodworms more frequently produce more waste. So, only feed your mollies and platies bloodworms in moderation.
- Entertain the fish – Live bloodworms will tickle your fish’s hunting instincts, as your swimmers will actively hunt the worms through the tank. This is great for the fish’s mental state and offers some much-needed diversity. Bloodworms can live around 2-3 days in the tank water, providing your fish with long-term hunting opportunities.
- A solution for pretentious eaters – Not all fish function the same. Some have specific food preferences, causing them to prefer some foods over others. If your fish don’t eat pellets, flakes, or other types of fish food, tempt them with some bloodworms. Almost no fish would ignore a few fat and delicious live bloodworms squirming around them.
- Great for fry – Bloodworms are great for fry since these baby fish require a surplus of animal protein and fat during their first few weeks of life. Naturally, bloodworms are a bit more difficult to eat due to their size. So, make sure you prepare them for your fry by chopping them into smaller pieces or mashing them in a protein paste.
It goes without saying that bloodworms are great food options for mollies, platies, and pretty much all other omnivorous fish.
Drawbacks of Feeding Bloodworms to Platies and Mollies
Unfortunately, bloodworms aren’t the ideal food source since they also come with their own drawbacks.
- Not enough nutrients – Bloodworms are rich in iron and protein and often contain more than enough fats. But they don’t have much else. Mollies and platies are omnivorous, so they require a variety of foods to remain healthy over the years. Feeding your fish too many bloodworms will cause them to experience nutritional deficiencies over time.
- Laxative effect – Bloodworms have a laxative effect due to the rich protein content and fat. This is great if your fish are experiencing constipation for some reason, but not so great if they don’t. Too many bloodworms in your fish’s diet will increase the amount of waste that the fish produce in a 24-hour window. So, more cleaning is necessary to keep the aquatic ecosystem healthy and clean.
- Heavy on the tank’s bioload – The extra fish poop isn’t the only environmental threat, but the residual bloodworms themselves. Chopping the bloodworms results in worm pieces scattering through the substrate and decaying in the water, increasing ammonia levels. The same happens with live bloodworms that escape the initial carnage and hide within the tank and die.
The conclusion is simple, or should I say the conclusions:
- Feed bloodworms to your fish sparingly
- Remove any uneaten bloodworms to prevent ammonia buildup
- Provide fish with a varied diet to make up for the lack of nutrients specific to bloodworms
What Type of Bloodworms do Mollies and Platies Like?
There are basically 3 types of bloodworms available: live, frozen, and freeze-dried.
- Live bloodworms:
- Are the most nutritious of them all since they have not been processed at all
- Will move through the water, instigating the fish to hunt them
- Are great for fish during the breeding phase when they require more protein
- They won’t last as long as frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms
- Some bloodworms can contain parasites, depending on where you’re getting them
- Frozen Bloodworms:
- Can be stored for later use for up to 6 months
- They are safer for your fish since they contain no parasites or any infecting pathogens
- They aren’t as exhilarating to eat since they aren’t moving
- You need to wait for them to soften out before feeding them to the fish
- It will increase your tank’s bioload since fish won’t eat all of them
- Freeze-Dried Bloodworms:
- Easier for the fish to eat them
- They come in various quality grades for ease of diet personalization
- They’re the least nutritious of the 3 options
- They require pre-soaking to prevent them from floating
I would go for live bloodworms if you have the means to culture them at home. Setting up a bloodworm culture is easier than it sounds, and many aquarists keep several cultures to provide the fish with a constant supply of protein-rich food.
If time won’t allow you that, you can always go for the frozen or freeze-dried variants. Just remain aware of the plusses and minuses.
How to Feed Bloodworms to Platies and Mollies
The feeding process depends on the type of bloodworms you’re using. If you have live bloodworms, just collect them, chop them off, and throw them into the water.
The chopping part is necessary because most bloodworms get to grow up to 15 inches in their adult form.
You can also feed young bloodworms to your fish, which can get small enough for the fish to eat them whole.
This is ideal because it allows fish to chase and hunt the bloodworms for a plus of thrill and exercise.
Frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms require minimal preparation. Just chop them and serve them in small portions.
You can also use bloodworms as ingredients in your omnivorous paste, along with other ingredients like spirulina, algae, and home-grown veggies.
You can then freeze the paste for later use.
Just remember to clean the fish’s habitat after eating because this type of nutrient-rich paste increases the tank’s bioload.
Can Molly and Platy Babies Eat Bloodworms?
Yes, they can and they should. Fish fry demand a surplus of protein and fat due to their higher metabolic rates, and bloodworms are great in this sense.
Just remember to prepare the bloodworms for your fry since the tiny fish have even tinier mouths, unfit for consuming bloodworms.
Bloodworms are great protein sources that no fish will reject. The problem is that omnivorous fish need to eat them in smaller portions.
The same goes for carnivorous fish too, since they need animal protein from different sources like insects, shrimp, fish meat, etc.
I recommend setting up at least 2 bloodworm cultures if you have a larger community setup.
This will provide you with a rich and nutritious source of fresh live food for your fish.