Bloodworms are natural protein-rich food for aquarium fish. They are also tasty and devoured by most fish. So, can cichlids eat bloodworms?
Cichlids can eat bloodworms in moderation. You can feed live, frozen, or freeze-dried bloodworms occasionally as a treat to cichlids. Excess consumption of bloodworms can cause digestive issues to cichlids. You should particularly avoid feeding bloodworms to Malawi cichlids as it causes bloating.
Let’s now talk more about feeding bloodworms to cichlids.
Are Bloodworms Good For Cichlids?
Bloodworms are suitable for cichlids when given in moderation. They are particularly good for carnivore cichlids. In the case of herbivore and omnivore cichlid species, you should give bloodworms sparingly.
Bloodworms are the ultimate baitfish, as almost all fish devour them.
Besides, bloodworms are rich in protein and fat. So, they’re an excellent source of nutrition for cichlids.
Although bloodworms are rich in protein, they lack other essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that cichlids need during reproduction.
So it’s advisable to feed bloodworms occasionally as a treat alongside their staple diet. Also, overfeeding the bloodworms can cause constipation and other digestive issues to cichlids.
How Many And How Often Can Cichlids Eat Bloodworms?
Bloodworms are rich in protein and fat. They’re a popular treat given to cichlids by many aquarists.
However, you shouldn’t feed them in excess. Excess consumption of bloodworms can cause constipation and other health issues to cichlids that can range in severity.
You can feed bloodworms once or twice a week to cichlids. This will ensure that your cichlids get their protein requirement, and at the same time, their health won’t be affected.
The number of bloodworms to feed depends on the behavior of the cichlids. If you find that they have consumed all the bloodworms in a couple of minutes, you can increase the quantity.
On the contrary, if they fail to consume the given bloodworms in about 3 minutes, you are overfeeding them.
How To Feed Bloodworms To Cichlids?
Bloodworms are one of the primary food sources in the aquatic food chain. Almost every fish species devour bloodworms in any form.
The good thing is that bloodworms are inexpensive and readily available. They can be given to cichlids either live, frozen, or freeze-dried.
Each of these forms has its pros and cons. So, let’s understand in detail.
1. Live Bloodworms
Live bloodworms are the most nutritious and a great source of protein. Besides, feeding live food helps to bring out the hunting instincts of your fish.
However, live bloodworms have a higher chance of carrying infections or diseases. So you must always purchase them from a reputed breeder.
Moreover, live bloodworms have a comparatively shorter shelf life of 2 to 5 days. So they have to be used within five days of buying them.
Also, live bloodworms need to be thoroughly rinsed before feeding to cichlids.
Any leftover live bloodworms need to be stored in the refrigerator with enough water.
2. Frozen Bloodworms
Another way to feed the bloodworms to cichlids is in frozen form. Frozen bloodworms are more convenient to feed as they are easy to maintain and have a higher shelf life than live bloodworms.
Another big advantage of feeding frozen bloodworms is that they are unlikely to carry any infections or parasites.
Also, since the frozen bloodworms come in thin sheets or small blocks, they can be cut and used as needed.
Frozen bloodworms can also last as long as six months. So you can easily store them in the refrigerator.
The only thing to remember while feeding frozen bloodworms is that they need to be thawed.
For that, you can fill a small container with tank water and place a cube of frozen bloodworms in it for thawing.
Once the bloodworms are thawed, you need to strain the defrosted bloodworms and remove the excess water and juices. Then they’re ready for the cichlids.
The only drawback of feeding frozen bloodworms is that cichlids can’t exhibit their natural hunting behavior.
3. Freeze-Dried Bloodworms
Freeze-dried bloodworms are the ones that are dried and preserved. They are the most convenient way to feed cichlids.
Freeze-dried bloodworms are often available in plastic tubs. The size of the tubs varies from less than one ounce to bulk offerings. So you can purchase them as per your requirement.
Some stores offer freeze-dried bloodworms of Grade A and B. Grade A is usually better quality and hence recommended. Grade B is lower quality as the tub may contain more non-bloodworm elements.
Also, you need to soak the freeze-dried bloodworms for around 5 minutes in clean water before feeding them to cichlids.
Soaking helps to soften them. Besides, the bloodworms don’t immediately sink once thrown in the tank.
If the freeze-dried bloodworms are not soaked, they can absorb the water in the cichlid’s gut and agitate the parasites, proving highly fatal to the fish.
Although freeze-dried bloodworms are the most convenient way to feed cichlids, many aquarists are not too keen to feed them to their cichlids as they have the least nutritional value.
Cichlids may not get the desired protein required for their optimal health from freeze-dried bloodworms.
Can Peacock Cichlids Eat Bloodworms?
Yes, peacock cichlids can eat bloodworms. But bloodworms shouldn’t constitute their complete diet. Instead, you can feed bloodworms to peacock cichlids once or twice a week to supplement their regular diet.
Being omnivores, peacock cichlids need a balanced plant-based and meat-based diet for optimal health.
Feeding excess bloodworms rich in protein can lead to constipation and other health problems.
Since bloodworms are low in fiber, they are best served as a treat rather than a part of their daily diet.
Can African Cichlids Eat Bloodworms?
Most carnivore African cichlids can eat bloodworms. However, you should feed bloodworms in moderation. Some African cichlids are herbivores, while others can eat a moderate meat-based diet. So depending on the species, you can feed them bloodworms.
Also, African cichlids can’t digest protein-rich foods because they have long intestines.
Feeding too many bloodworms can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders to African cichlids as bloodworms are difficult to digest.
Also, you shouldn’t give bloodworms every day to African cichlids, even if the quantity is less.
Instead, you can feed bloodworms to African cichlids once or twice a week along with their staple diet.
It’s best to provide a wholesome diet to African cichlids consisting of high-quality flakes, plant and vegetable matter, and a mix of live food rich in protein.
Can Malawi Cichlids Eat Bloodworms?
Bloodworms aren’t good for Malawi cichlids. Consumption of bloodworms is considered one of the main reasons for bloat in Malawi cichlids.
Although bloodworms aren’t the only reason for bloat, they can prove fatal if coupled with poor water chemistry, stress, and high fat intake.
Bloat can start as a stomach disease and lead to liver and kidney infection if left untreated in Malawi cichlids. It can also lead to loss of appetite, indigestion, gasping for air, and lethargy.
In worst situations, bloat can develop into dropsy and cause can be fatal to Malawi cichlids. This disease often manifests in Malawi cichlids, so it’s better not to take unnecessary risks.
Lake Malawi cichlids have adapted their feeding habits to survive in their natural habitat. That’s why it’s best to feed them the same diet that closely resembles what they eat in the wild.
In captivity, you can feed Malawi cichlids a varied diet consisting of high-quality flakes and pellets, spirulina, and green veggies such as lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, and peas.