Bloodworms are an inexpensive, protein-rich natural food for aquarium fish. They are supposedly tasty and appeal to even fussy eaters. So, bloodworms are an easy and affordable choice to add some protein and iron to a fish’s diet. Since tetras are common household pet fish, you may wonder if they will accept bloodworms. So, can tetras eat bloodworms?
Yes, tetras will eat bloodworms. You can feed tetras live or frozen bloodworms as occasional treats. Tiny tetras, like the neon tetras, may not be able to swallow whole bloodworms as they have small mouths. However, they will be able to easily eat the bloodworms if you cut them up in small pieces.
Let’s talk about this in detail now.
What Are Bloodworms? Are Bloodworms Good For Fish?
The term “bloodworm” is commonly used for various small red and pink colored worms.
These worms belong to the Glyceridae and Midge fly families.
They naturally occur in the stagnant waters of lakes and ponds.
These worms have deep blood-red color due to the presence of an iron-rich protein in their blood.
Bloodworms can grow quite big. An adult worm may be too big to fit into the mouths of tiny aquarium fish like tetras.
Most aquarium fish are fond of bloodworms. Even fish that fussy eaters find them appealing and enjoy their taste.
These worms are rich in protein. So, you can use them to add some extra protein to a fish diet.
Bloodworms are also a good source of iron.
Nevertheless, bloodworms lack certain minerals and vitamins that fish need to thrive.
Hence, they are not a complete food. You can use them as a supplement or occasional treat for tetras.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Why Do Tetras Glow? (Do They Glow All The Time?)
- Why Do Tetras Swim Upside Down? (Is It Normal For Tetras?)
- Why Do Tetras Twitch? (Causes, Exceptions, And Cure)
- Are Tetras Schooling Fish? (Why Do They Prefer Schools?)
Types Of Bloodworm-Based Food For Fish
Bloodworms are easily available in pet stores in frozen or freeze-dried form.
You can also feed live bloodworms to your fish. Let us take a closer look at each of these options in closer detail.
1. Frozen bloodworms.
You can buy frozen bloodworms from pet stores.
They are available as small blocks or sheets that can be stored in the freezer for several months.
When it is time to serve them, you can cut the sheet and thaw the worms.
Remember that it is very important to thaw the worms before serving them.
Your fish can go into shock if they eat them frozen.
To thaw the worms, add a block or sheet into a container with water and let it defrost.
Get rid of the excess water and drop the worms into the fish tank.
2. Freeze-dried bloodworms.
Freeze-dried bloodworms are dehydrated and frozen worms. They are sold in plastic tubs.
Although they are not as nutritious as frozen or live bloodworms, they are easy to store and do not spoil for a long time.
Since these worms are dehydrated, you will have to soak them before serving your fish.
If you do not soak them properly, the worms will expand in the fish’s stomach after they eat them.
It can cause bloating and discomfort to the fish.
3. Live bloodworms.
Given a choice, your fish will prefer live bloodworms to the other varieties.
Feeding them live bloodworms will often bring out the hunting instincts of fish.
It can make the fish competitive and help them overcome their shy nature.
However, live bloodworms are difficult to find. Some fish owners prefer to cultivate bloodworm cultures.
If you would like to do this, you can buy bloodworm eggs and hatch them.
You can also collect live worms from stagnant water. But these worms carry the risk of infection.
If you choose fresh bloodworms, take care to clean them well and remove any bacteria or germs that they may carry.
It is also important to use live bloodworms within two to three days.
Related Further Reading:
- Will Tetras Eat Snails, Baby Snails, Or Snail Eggs?
- Do Tetras Eat Shrimp? (Can Tetras Live With Shrimp?)
- Do Tetras Eat Other Fish? (Neon, Black Skirt, Redeye, Etc.)
How Tetras Eat Bloodworms?
In the wild, tetras feed on a variety of plant and animal-based foods.
A well-balanced diet allows them to stay healthy and happy.
Since tetras are omnivores, they need animal-based nutrition to thrive.
So, they feed on insect larvae, small crustaceans, and animal matter.
However, these fish are very fond of tiny worms and insects and will eat anything that fits their mouth.
When you raise tetras at home, it is important to provide a rich and varied diet.
Protein-based food will enable the fish to grow well and stay healthy.
Tetra fry will immensely benefit from such food. Even adult tetras benefit from regular protein intake.
You can use bloodworms as an occasional treat for this purpose.
Since the tiny worms are packed with protein and fiber, they are healthy food for tetras.
When you drop live bloodworms into their tank, you will observe the tetras’ instincts come into play.
The fish will hunt down the worms and happily devour them.
However, tetras will also benefit from frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms when the fresh variety is unavailable.
An important factor to consider when feeding bloodworms is the size of the worms.
Some worms are very long. Small varieties of tetras, like neon tetras, will be unable to swallow these whole bloodworms.
So, they may swim around with parts of the worm sticking out from their mouth.
You can offer bloodworms to such small fish by cutting them up. It will make it easier for the fish to swallow and digest them.
Can Neon Tetras Eat Bloodworms?
Neon tetras are one of the smallest varieties of tetras.
Despite their size, they have good appetites. They are not too fussy about food and will happily thrive on whatever you feed them.
This fish will easily get by on readymade fish flakes and pellets for small fish.
These foods offer complete and well-rounded nutrition for the tiny fish.
However, they will also benefit from occasional treats like bloodworms.
Since bloodworms are rich in protein, they are good for neon tetras.
However, bloodworms lack certain vitamins and essential minerals. Hence, they are not a complete food for these creatures.
Feeding tetras too many bloodworms and too often can affect their digestion.
The fish can end up being bloated and constipated.
Nevertheless, you can use them occasionally as a treat and restrict yourself from feeding them to your fish every day.
Now, you may have noticed how tiny the mouths of neon tetras are.
Due to the small size, they are usually unable to swallow entire bloodworms.
However, they will attempt to eat the worms that you throw into their tank.
So, it is a good idea to cut up large worms before offering them to neon tetras.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Do Tetras Eat Algae? (Neon, Ember, Cardinal, Etc.)
- How To Breed Neon Tetras? (9 Simple Steps)
- How To Care For Neon Tetras? (11 Simple Things To Do)
- Can Tetras Eat Betta Food? (How About Betta Pellets & Flakes?)
Can Neon Tetras Eat Freeze-Dried Bloodworms?
Although neon tetras prefer live and frozen bloodworms, they will also eat freeze-dried bloodworms. However, you should be careful when feeding them as neon tetras are very small. Freeze-dried bloodworms are very dry but expand on contact with water.
Hence, it is important to rehydrate bloodworms before serving them to your tetras.
Leave them in water until they soak up the moisture and reach their maximum size.
Doing this will reduce the risk of the food swelling up after the fish eat it.
If the freeze-dried bloodworms are too big for the tetras to eat, you can cut them up before serving.
Neon tetras will be able to eat and digest them faster when you feed them in this manner.