Home » Aquarium Guides » Bloodworms For Fish – Best High Protein Fish Diet

Bloodworms For Fish – Best High Protein Fish Diet

Bloodworms are not as bad as they sound. A common misconception about blood worms is they suck blood from fish. But they are not. Bloodworms are very useful in the aquarium world as a high-protein diet for your fish.

This means including me many aquarium owners give them as a supplement, not a whole complete diet. Usually, I give them twice a week. Otherwise, fish will get many health problems as an effect of that. For example, If you feed your fish a lot of bloodworms, it can cause constipation.

They breed in places like ponds, and they lay eggs in those places. They got their names because of their dark red color. Bloodworm is one of the best baits and essential in the food chain. Because many fish love to eat Bloodworm as fish food.


What are bloodworms good for?

These belong to the phylum Annelida, and their scientific name is Glycera. Bloodworms are an ideal feed for omnivorous and carnivorous fish. They are rich in iron and protein. But they lack other essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Thus, it can be used as a fish food supplement to the main diet. It is also used as bait for fishing activities.

Bloodworms For Fish: Available bloodworm types in fish feed

When it comes to the sake of feeding fish, there are 3 significant types of bloodworms we can buy: They are,

  • Freeze-dried bloodworms
  • Live bloodworm
  • Frozen bloodworms
bloodworms fish food

In these 3 types, there are some conveniences over others. Try to use what you prefer and according to the purpose. The frequent type is the first type, freeze-dried bloodworms. The only thing you have to do is soak and let your fish feed.

Live bloodworms are difficult to find. Unlike dried ones or frozen ones, you can’t keep this that much longer. Because of that reason, use them soon after within 2 or 3 days you buy them. But even though it’s a drawback the nutritional value of live bloodworms are more way better than dried or frozen bloodworms.

But you have to wash bloodworms properly before you feed fish with them. Some exterior germs coming outside of that bloodworm pack may be harmful to your fish. Because it’s a live food, it can spread infectious diseases. Frozen bloodworms are more comfortable to use than live ones and can store for long periods. Most of the time, many fish types feed on these bloodworms, as mentioned above. The reason for that is that many fish are carnivorous.

Are Frozen bloodworms safe?

Yes, when you froze bloodworms you can store them for up to half a year. It is quite safe to feed frozen worms to your fish.

Freeze-dried bloodworms

This type usually has a cubic shape. Thus, it does not require much space to store the feed. The freeze-dried forms of bloodworms are easy to use. And also can be preserved for a long time. Therefore, it is an ideal feed. When you dip those cubes in water, they expand back to their full size. Compared with the live form of bloodworm, the frozen type has a minimal nutritional level.

When you put Freeze-dried worms into the tank, they will float at the top of the tank. Thus, if you want to feed bottom dwellers using bloodworms, soak freeze-dried bloodworms in the water for around 10 minutes before adding them to the fish tank. Freeze-dried bloodworms can be categorized as Grade A and Grade B based on their quality. Omega One is good. Grade A is a little bit more expensive and has high quality than Grade B.

Live bloodworms

Live bloodworms have more nutrition than frozen bloodworms. Because of the motion of worms in the water, fish have to hunt them to fulfill their dietary requirement. Therefore, it stimulates the fish brain, and it also helps to improve their natural hunting behaviors. Unlike frozen or dried worms, the live form of blood worms cannot be kept for a long time. The larvae life cycle is usually 10, or 12 days, and you have to use them within 2, or 3 days after purchasing.

You have to wash bloodworms before feeding them to fish. Because the live bloodworms may contain disease-causing parasites or bacteria in their body, do not add liquid, which includes the packaging of bloodworms, to your tank. Live bloodworms are a bit more expensive than frozen and dried forms.

Frozen bloodworms

There are several types of frozen bloodworms, and cubes are the most commonly used frozen bloodworm type. The thin sheets of frozen blood worms also can be found in the market. It has a high nutrient level than the freeze-dried form and comparatively low nutrients than the live form. This type can be stored for a longer period (up to 6 months) than live worms. There are several benefits of using frozen bloodworms.

Because the possibility to carry parasites or diseases in their body is lower than that of live worms. If you purchase frozen form, leave it in a separate container to thaw. Once it thawed, you can remove unwanted liquids and excess water from the feeding. Then you can add filtered bloodworms to the tank because it reduces unwanted bio load on the tank filter system.

It will facilitate the maintenance of good water quality in the tank. The appearance of thawed bloodworm products is closer to the live form. If you have small tanks, cut the frozen cube and add the necessary amount to the tank. Overfeeding also reduces the water quality of the tank. If fish do not eat feed within two minutes, remove excess feed to maintain the tank’s water quality.

What type of fish eats bloodworms?

Both carnivorous and omnivorous fish can eat bloodworms. Bloodworms are rich in protein, and almost all carnivorous and omnivorous fish seem to find them as delicious food. In the ornamental industry, bloodworms are commonly used to feed Neon tetra, Betta, Angel, and Discus fish species.

This is ideal for feeding cichlids who seek high protein levels in feed. The bloodworms can be used as a feed supplement with other feeds because it does not contain enough vitamins and minerals. It is essential to provide a balance fish feed to your fish to maintain the healthiness of fish.

How much of bloodworms should I feed my fish?

The number of bloodworms that need to feed your fish depends on the fish’s size and feeding frequency. You should add enough amount of bloodworms that can be eaten within two or three minutes. Because excess feed will spoil the water, and will lead to a reduction in water quality. The contaminated water with extra feed can affect the health of fish. Remember to feed your fish with a varied diet.

Bloodworms vs. fish food nutrients

According to the Analytics lab results of the Netherlands, Blood worm contains:

  • Protein (amino acids) – 59.3 %
  • Carbohydrates – 20.2%
  • Moistures – 7.34 %
  • Lipid – 7.22 %
  • Ashes – 5.91 %

But the frozen form of bloodworms contains 8.3% of protein, 1.2 % of fat, 3.9% of fiber, and 81.7% of moisture. The commercially prepared feed has a balanced nutrient level, and it can be used as a complete diet. It contains protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals for optimal fish optimal growth and health. Typical fish food contains nutrients around:

  • Protein – 18%-50 %
  • Lipids – 10%-25 %
  • Carbohydrate – 15-20 %
  • Ash less than 8.5%
  • Phosphorus – less than 10%
  • Vitamins & Minerals – Trace amounts

How to make a bloodworm culture?

There are four main stages in the bloodworm’s life cycle. Those are the egg stage, larva stage, pupa stage, and adult midge stage. You should follow the below procedure to culture bloodworms in your aquarium.

1. Get a plastic container and put a layer of soil into the container

It is better if you use a transparent plastic container with a transparent lid because sunlight is essential for worms to grow. If you only have an opaque plastic container, you have to use a transparent cover to make the culture. The soil used for this purpose should be free of bugs and pieces of litter. Add 3-6 inches of dirt into the container.

2. Add some animal manure to the plastic container

Bloodworms need feed to grow in the container. They can eat animal manure. Do not use cat or dog manure for this process, as it can kill your worms. Generally, the addition of 28g of animal manure is adequate for 1 kg of soil.

3. Make a thick paste by adding rainwater

Pour rainwater into the container and mix it with manure and soil until it becomes a thick paste.

4. Purchase midge fly eggs to initiate your culture

You can purchase some eggs from the aquarium shop to initiate the blood worm culture. The eggs are pale in color and small in size. Adult flies lay eggs in aquatic habitats.

5. Add eggs to the soil and spread dead leaves over the eggs

Purchased eggs should be placed on top of thick soil paste. Then spread some dead leaves over the eggs.

6. Cover your habitat with a transparent lid

Mosquitos feed on bloodworm eggs and larvae. Thus, it is essential to cover your culture to prevent mosquito attacks.

7. Provide enough sunlight to the culture

The eggs need enough sunlight to hatch. Therefore, could you not allow them to freeze? Generally, bloodworms’ eggs hatch within a week. Then you can see small pink color worms present in the soil.

8. Feed the worms

Once a week, feed the worms with little manure and dead leaves.

9. Check the growth of blood worms

You have to check the habitat daily to ensure bloodworm growth. Because bloodworms grow and turn into midge flies after 10-30 days from hatching. Thus, monitoring their color changes is essential. Because worms first get a bright pink color, and then they turn a deep red. Use these deep red color worms to feed your fish.

10. Storage

When blood worms turn a red color, you can pack them in a polythene bag and store them in the fridge. It will delay the transformation of bloodworms into midge flies. You can store them in a refrigerator condition for 2-3 weeks.

How to initiate a bloodworm culture at home?

First, you can add some soil to a plastic container and then add some rainwater to it. Then add some animal manure. You have to mix soil and manure with rainwater until it becomes a thick paste. Then you can add some blood worm eggs into the container and scatter some leaves on top of the eggs. (Bloodworm eggs can be purchased from aquariums.)

Then cover the top of the container with a plastic lid. You can observe the habitat every day. After a week, eggs will hatch and initiate the larvae stage. In this stage, you have to observe their color variations. Initially, their color will be pink, and then it will turn into a deep red color.

You have to collect larvae once it becomes red in color. It can be stored in a fridge for around 2-3 weeks. You can use these deep red color larvae to feed your fish. It would help if you had a little practice to breed and maintain a blood worm culture.

What do bloodworms eat?

Bloodworms are carnivorous, and they only eat foods that contain meat. They also can eat detritus and organic matter present in the mud habitat. They extend their long proboscis from their head with venom-bearing jaws to exhaust the prey. Bloodworm venom does not contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans. But they can bite humans, and they can make a string.

Can I feed my fish bloodworms everyday?

No, I do not recommend daily feeding of blood worms to your fish. your fish might get constipated if you feed them bloodworms every day.

Can you feed fish too many bloodworms?

Yes if you feed more than two bloodworm meals per week, that would be too much for the fish. As mentioned before they might get constipation.

Do bloodworms make fish aggressive?

Bloodworms do not make fish aggressive. Some factors influence fish behaviors. Those are the tank’s size, the number of fish in the tank, water quality, and the feed supplied to the fish. If the feeding is not enough for fish, there will be a competition to grab food. It will cause the aggressiveness of fish.

Can frozen bloodworms come back to life?

No, frozen bloodworms cannot come back to live form.

Can freeze-dried bloodworms come back to life?

No, they cannot. Freeze-dried bloodworms are dehydrated using several methods when processing the feed. Thus freeze-dried form contains only dead bloodworms.

Are bloodworms and red worms the same?

No. Generally, the midge fly’s larvae stage is called bloodworms, and they inhabit the aquatic environment. But red worms are separate species, and it is commonly known as an earthworm. They generally inhabit terrestrial environments.

What do bloodworms transform into in their life cycle?

Bloodworms are the larvae stage of the midge fly. Midge fly has four stages in its life cycle: egg stage, larvae stage, pupae stage, and midge fly stage. Appearance Midge fly is the same as a mosquito, and it can fly. Midge flies only survive up to 3-5 days.

Where to find bloodworms in the wild

They can be mostly found in Canada, the United States of America, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The bloodworm can be found in the intertidal zone, the coastal environment’s benthic zone, and estuary environments.

They inhabit in soft sediment of the natural environment. Midge flies lay eggs in lagoon environments, especially those that have poor water quality and quiet waters. The eggs are attached to the surface mats or sunk into the bottom mud in the lagoon. The eggs hatch within 7 days and feed on bottom sludge and bacteria. They can also be found in ponds and pools that have still waters.

Where do bloodworms come from?

The bloodworms can be found in coastal and estuarine environments at a water depth of 24 meters or more. They are abundant on eastern Canada’s shores, the east coast of the United States, the south shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. They are pink or red. Bloodworms can survive in waters with low oxygen levels or high levels of pollution and are used for bite

Effects on human

Even bloodworms are good for fish, but sometimes there will be some adverse effects on humans. Since bloodworms are carnivorous, they suck blood as their food and bite. And they have venomous jaws for grasping. So, if they bite on us, humans it will be even more painful than we think. It can cause allergies.


I hope you found something useful here. But here, we should mainly focus on what are the best things suitable for our fish. And also it’s essential to care about yourselves too. Since bloodworms are parasites even though they are good nutritional fish food, they can spread a lot of diseases around the area.

Because of this, the reason is the best option is to buy them. Instead of trying to culture them in your living area. it is a good bite So be careful about that factor. And that other thing is it’s perfectly fine to use dried or frozen ones rather than using live ones. Some fish need food with live ones. Other than that it’s excellent to use dried or frozen ones. Don’t feed fish frequently with bloodworms. Once or twice a week is completely enough.

Credit to : 6M Aquarium Fish

Read How to lower pH in Freshwater aquarium

Sharing is caring!

About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.