Aulophorus, or water snake, is a pink worm, the length of which is 1-2 cm, the body thickness is 0.2 mm. Habitat – muddy soil in polluted natural lakes, where it feeds on rotten algae, dead organic matter. Reproduction by division, occasionally heterosexual. In appearance, the anterior segments of the worm’s body are in the ground, and the posterior segments, together with the gills, are visible in the water column. If you look closely at the muddy bottom, you can find dense colonies of pink worms in the rotting remains of plants.
The water snake feeds on bacteria, which it obtains from silt or rotten plants. These worms cannot tolerate light and prefer places with a lot of oxygen. If oxygen starvation occurs, they go to the surface of the reservoir in search of a new substrate for life.
Food for fish and fry
Aulophorus is a valuable food for small fish and their fry; breeding it is possible at home. The snake can peck at the prepared bait. Lower a glass jar to the bottom of a natural lake (in a shallow area), where put the rotten organic matter (fish, carrots, bananas), and close the container on top with gauze or nylon stocking.
These worms are very useful and nutritious for aquarium fish, and they are especially useful for breeding fry. Due to the microscopic size of the worms, tiny fry can capture and swallow them. Oddly enough, but due to its rich color, such food is easy to spot in the water column, so it will interest all fish.
In order for the fry of aquarium fish to receive high-quality food, you can breed it at home. Such worms can provide food around the clock. It is better to breed aulophorus in a container with water, where its level will not be higher than 20 cm, with good aeration. The optimum temperature of the aqueous medium for cultivation – 24-27 of C, allowed a slight lowering of the temperature range.
Feeding the snakes should be done according to the following scheme: put the food on cheesecloth, which is stretched over a foam frame that floats on the surface of the dishes. For feeding the worms, you can take pumpkin pulp, nettles, carrots, bananas, or melon (pulp). They can be served fresh or dried, soaked prior to feeding.
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Before feeding, carrots must be peeled, cut into pieces, and left in the freezer. Before feeding, scald the carrots with boiling water and put them in a bowl with aquarium water for a day. This step is necessary to destroy the tissue of the vegetable and prevent the growth of bacteria. In such food, you can add protein in the form of low-fat or non-sour cottage cheese in a proportion of 10% of the total mass of the mixture. The product will help speed up the reproduction of worms.
There is a known recipe for another food that is suitable for these worms:
- Take 300 grams of clover;
- 100 grams of brewer’s yeast;
- 100 grams of carrots;
- 5 grams of daphnia;
- 2 grams of mineral fertilizers;
- 5 glucose tablets.
Dry all the ingredients, grind in a blender and knead in boiling water until a thick consistency (dough) is formed, then dry the product and store in the refrigerator. Periodically, you can add sludge from the bottom of the aquarium or biological filter to the worm breeding dish. Bacteria from the latter can soften the feed, and will serve as feed.
How much to feed the worms? Its amount is equal to the volume of the aulophorus. The mixture should be served in small quantities, every few days, or every 2 days. Watch for fresh feed in the net. When feeding, do not eat foods that spoil the condition of the water – oranges, berries, apples, tomatoes. Store dishes with worms in a dark place, covered with glass.
Difficulty may arise with replacing old water with fresh one. Every day you need to renew 70% of the total water volume. This should be done when you notice that the worm clumps have floated to the surface, or are attached to the walls of the dish. All signs are evidence of poor aeration and water pollution. Aulophorus prefers a large amount of oxygen in the water. Due to weak aeration, the aulophorus that has surfaced on the surface of the vessel will quickly die. Every day, 20% of the worms must be removed from the dishes, since this procedure stimulates their reproduction.
To provide baby fish with constant feeding, add chopped pieces of foam rubber to the net with food for the aulophorus worm in order to collect the animals with them. After that, put the foam rubber in the aquarium with fish fry so that the water snakes move from the foam rubber to the bottom of the tank. Since the aulophorus is sensitive to a lack of aeration, stopping it can cause all the worms to rise to the surface, from where the animals can be easily collected. If the breeding is successful, the total mass of the aulophorus will increase several times in 10 days, if from time to time they are collected from the vessel.
Several worms can be given to fish for feeding, the rest of the ball can be broken and placed in a closed container with water, which must be shaken. If you plan to make aulophorus the initial food for fry, then the ball of worms must be placed on a hard surface and, using a sharp knife, divided into many parts. Whole worms can be fed to fry, which had previously been fed live dust for more than three days.