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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had contrasting opinions from 2 different LFS regarding the use of blood worms. One told me that I should not feed my Malawis with blood worms whilst the other told me variety is good, hence blood worm is ok. I currently feed my malawis with blood worms once a week as I don't want to give them too much protein, which I read can cause bloating. The fish love them.
Should I continue or stop doing that?
 

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Bloodworms are a major risk for causing bloat as well as carrying a desease.. You should stop feeding it and inform the LFS that it is unhealthy for malawi's.
 

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Protein does not cause bloating. The most abundant protein on the planet, rubisco, is found only in plants and other photosynthetic organisms. The issue with blood worms would be fat content (type and amount), collection point pollutants, and the lack of roughage for herbivores.
 

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Dave,

That makes a lot of sense. I have always heard it was the protein, but then the protein content of my spirulina pellets and other herbivore foods is at least as high, if not higher than other comercially available foods. What you say makes more sense. Thanks. I do feed mine occassional brine shrimp which they enjoy and has never caused me any problems though. What are your thoughts on brine shrimp?
 

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small dogs love chocolate, which can kill them.
humans love fast food and candy..... obesity and cavities.

most animals seem to like to eat things that are bad for them, and I doubt fish are any different.
Animals do this because in nature these things are rarely-occurring treats that hold nutritional value. But in the aquarium, your fish are already getting more and better food than they would in nature.

I'm sure that bloodworms or shrimp, if fed very rarely as a treat, wouldn't do much harm. But once a week may be too often. It also doesn't hurt to skip a day now and then for feeding.
 

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But just because something is loved or cherished, does not necessarily make it bad. Most kids love fruit for example... And my dog looooooves chicken! My fish's favorite food is Dainichi spirulina sinking pellets... I am pretty sure this is pretty good for them....
 

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Brine shrimp is a poor source of food for adults as well, again especially for herbivores.

Honestly, I good pellet such as NLS or Dianichi, is all you really need.

One additional thing to consider when feeding frozen foods. Often these products can end up going through freeze/thaws that result in loss of nutritional value or possible spoiling of the product.
 

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Please forgive my ignorance as I am fairly new to the hobby, but I thought cichlids were omnivores. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

So far my fish have been eating about 80%-90% TetraCichlid Crisps and 10%-20% Hikari Multi-Vitamin Enriched Blood Worms. They get fed twice a day and get flakes every meal and once a day I will sprinkle in some blood worms.
 

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Many are omnivores, but the protein they get in the lake tends to be the occasional insect, fry and plankton-size critters in the algae. Pretty lean and aquatic in origin. The ones that are more pure herbivores are usually the problems to feed so people cater to them and the omnivores adapt.

I don't know if it is Konings or another book which recommends shooting for a food that is less than 1/3 protein. Of course that may a little dated as more recently I've been reading that high quality protein (lean and aquatic) is probably fine in higher quantities.
 

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Personally the risk outways the benefits in my opinion. Bloodworms are no more beneficial than a good pellet food, as has been stated.

Treats are more for our enjoyment rather than the cichlids health. I feed my cichlid cucumbers because I know they enjoy it, as do I. Watching them feed in a semi-natural fashion is always great fun. Does the cucumber make my fish healthier - it may or may not - but feeding it is not near as risky as feeding bloodworms. Just make sure to wash the vegetable very well to remove any possible residue on the skin (or better yet, remove the skin completely).
 

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I will have to try cucumber... I was also thinking of trying carrots. I figure the beta carotene would be a good color enhancer. Has anyone ever tried carrots? Is there any reason it would be bad for them?
 

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I've tried carrots. I washed them really well then sliced them into maybe .25" thick rounds and par boiled them a bit to start to soften them up a bit. I don't feed them carrots very often but the fish do like them. I heard the beta carotene was a good color enhancer too but I guess I don't give it enough to tell. I figure the NLS I feed probably already has them as colored up as they will get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for your valuable insights. My blood worm supply is a leftover from the previous occupants of my tank (25 red jewel cichlids, which I bred). I fed them blood worms daily and they survived for one and a half years, until they all dropped dead one day in late April this year (i think due to bad water chemistry as I got tired of them). They didn't have any bloating problems at all. :-?
 

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Just a couple of points. I believe red jewel cichlids are carnivores and I don't think they are especially susceptible to bloat. Most cichlids from Lake Malawi are susceptible to bloat. Secondly, bloat does not necessarily mean the fish gets bloated. Actually, usually they stop eating and get rather skinny prior to dying. From what I know, the disease "bloat" is an intestinal obstruction in the fish. If the fish continued to eat with it, I am sure they would get bloated, but because they usually stop eating, they get skinny. I am not sure if anyone knows exactly what triggers bloat, but from what I have heard there is an increased incidence in certain species of fish, such as mbuna and others from Lake Malawi, when fed certain foods such as blood worms. A lot of people do feed blood worms and their fish do fine. However, IMO it would not be worth the risk when there are lots of other choices for feeding available.
 
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