I have long been witness to the nutritional value of earthworms, and have even experimentally reared several amphibian and fish species on “earthworm only” diets (please see article below). In my experience, whole, well-fed earthworms come very close to being a perfect food item for a wide variety of carnivorous herps, fishes and invertebrates. What’s more, many animals cannot resist them – even those that rarely if ever encounter earthworms in the wild. Indeed, earthworms are often the first choice of zookeepers and experienced hobbyists seeking to induce feeding in “picky”, wild-caught or newborn amphibians, fishes and certain reptiles.
However, earthworms are expensive to purchase, and not everyone has the ability to collect them. Also, the tiny earthworms needed by smaller amphibians and fishes are nearly impossible to obtain unless one sets up a breeding colony. While this is feasible if you have access to a cool basement or similar area (please see article below), not everyone is able to indulge their pets in this manner.
Using Earthworm Flake Food
Enter Zoo Med’s Earthworm Flake Food, recently marketed as a breeding stimulant, fry rearing food and treat for tropical fishes. In addition to dried, powdered earthworms, Zoo Med’s exciting new food contains a variety of other nutritious ingredients, including salmon, krill, shrimp and plankton.
I believe Earthworm Flakes will also prove useful to those keeping smaller aquatic amphibians and other creatures. Tadpoles, Newts, smaller African Clawed Frogs, Crayfishes, Freshwater Shrimp, Snails and aquatic insects such as Diving Beetles would all benefit from a dose of earthworm nutrients in their diet.
Earthworm Flake Food might also be tried with those animals that, while preferring live invertebrates, can sometimes be induced to accept dry foods. Included among these would be newly-hatched Mexican Axolotls, aquatic salamander larvae of many species, and Dwarf African Clawed Frogs.
I have a special interest in North American Catfishes and other native fishes, most of which go into a feeding frenzy when supplied with earthworms. I plan to try Earthworm Flakes with some of these as well.
Of course, its hard to top the real thing…please see my article Keeping and Breeding Earthworms if you’d like to start your own colony.
Tadpoles image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by bohringer freidrich