Before we go into the study proper we have to look into the
"story" of the tubifex worms.
Tubifex have been long hyped as the miracle growth food and breeders throughout world use
it as a staple food for their discus or any kind of aquarium fish due to its low cost. I
have visited many farms and have tried out their fishes for my breeding stock, fishes from
Malaysian discus farms were fed with tubifex but they balanced it out with a fair amount
of meat in the diet, the fishes there are good, up to my satisfaction, the colour strains
are also the best in the world. In my opinion, Malaysia is now the capital of discus
throughout the world.
Fishes from Hong Kong (Blue discus) and Taiwan (Spotted/wild discus) are generally more
well taken care of, being fed with minimal amounts of tubifex. However though the fishes
are good, I would never pay the kind of prices they demand when I could get fishes better
than theirs at 1/10 of the cost elsewhere.
Thailand is my opinion is the worse offender of the tubifex usage, worms
were fed totally without discretion and left in huge clumps on the base of the tanks. It
is bad for 2 reasons, the fish might overeat and die due to indigestion(for small fish)
and worms left in clumps are dangerous as worms trapped in the bottom will die due to
suffocation and then rot, the worms at the top will feast on the dead material and then
when it fish eats it... ... dies.
INSIGHT INTO TUBIFEX WORMS.
Tubifex worms are bred in huge mud ponds measuring 1/4 the size of a
football field, in Malaysia (where most of the tubifex to Singapore comes from), the worms
breeding ponds are usually located side by side to a pig farm. The food for the worms
comes from pig manure, that is why there is always a "SHIT" smell in the worms.
Worms are transported in jam jars across the causeway every morning and delivered to the
LFS, where the shop owner cleans them like a madman, but if you meet a lazy shopowner,
pooo, that is the end of your fishes.
Normally hobbyists(diligent ones) prepare their worms in this way, soaking in tetracycline
powder for 1 day, changing the water every 3 hours and them sieving with a fine net before
Here are my findings:
1. Use of tubifex on juvenile/baby discus.
The use of tubifex worms on baby/juvenile discus has been much hyped, the huge growth
rates, yes I do agree that the growth rate is magnificent as shown in the experiments
Test 1: 2 Tanks of baby discus (turquoise discus, same batch), abt 2 weeks old. One fed
pigheart/brine shrimp the other tubifex.
|1 weeks ¾"
2 weeks 1"
3 weeks 1¼"
4 weeks 1½"
THE FISH WERE DISPOSED OF AFTER 4WEEKS.
The growth rate of fishes fed tubifex worms were significantly faster, but
there were some drawbacks.
The fishes fed tubifex has short fins (top and bottom) and long body.
The fishes fed tubifex were more susceptible to illness and the use of
medicine was not as effective as the fishes were much less resistant than their
The fishes fed tubifex have a few cases of passing white feces.
Fishes looked too fat for my liking and did not pass my "quality
PS: Please note that when feeding small discus, food must not be thrown in
grave excess, it will cause the fishes to overeat and ultimately die.
2. Effects on juvenile discus 2"-4"
The effects of juvenile discus from 2"-4" are as shown below.
Fishes were very suspectible to open gill disease, hole in the head
Their body was stout and fat, very unsightly for a discus.
They suffered from a MYSTERIOUS disease in which the fish would be
healthy in appearance but suddenly float up grasping for air and then die without reason,
no kind of medication or amt of medication can save the fish.
The fish was also seriously prone to changing colour, then asphyxiating
The fish achieved growth rates which was 1.4 times that of using
beefheart and 1.27 times that of using pigheart.
- The drawback was that fishes fed with tubifex could never reach the size of those
massive fishes fed with pigheart.
3. Effects on adult discus 5"-8"
Breeding discus that are fed on tubifex was easy since live foods are
stimulants for love making. However I found out that the fish could not take care of the
babies easily since tubifex fed discus are not so large as their counterparts.
Apart from breeding difference, the fishes suffered from the same symptoms as those in
USAGE OF WORMS (RECOMMENDED)
If you all out have no choice but to feed tubifex, I recommend that you
fed in small quantities but at least 3 times a day and clean them thoroughly.