How to Use Worms in Aquaponics - Go Green Aquaponics

How to Use Worms in Aquaponics

There are many good reasons why aquaponics growers support the idea of adding worms to their aquaponics systems. Worms feed on small decomposing organic particles, break down the fecal bits, dead roots, and other solid materials, preventing them from blocking the grow beds. That is why if you want your aquaponics system to thrive, knowing how to use worms for aquaponics should be on your priority list. 

The Benefits of Using Worms In your Aquaponics System

Adding worms to your aquaponics system is a great way to make your system function more efficiently. They will not hurt your plants and fish, and they help get rid of the wastes in your grow bed. Here are the benefits of using worms in your aquaponics system.

  • Worms help break down the solid fish waste and other solid materials that accumulate in the grow beds. 
  • Worms vermicompost contains nutrients that suppress bacterial and other infectious agents, thus reducing the harmful effects of these organisms on the plants.
  • Worms lessen the pathogens that affect humans. They do this by releasing coelomic fluids that contain antibacterial properties. This antibacterial removes almost all pathogens and promotes plant growth.
  • Worms produce waste that acts as an excellent natural fertilizer for the plants.
  • If you’re raising carnivorous fish, you can feed them worms. Red worms are an excellent source of protein and can be considered as an ideal fishmeal replacement.
  • Worms like decomposing anything solid like fish waste, plant debris, and other solid waste. Meaning you don’t have to clean regularly the grow bed because the worms will take care of that.
Composting Worms in Aquaponics

What are the Best Worms for Aquaponics?

The best worms for aquaponics are red worms. These worms break down solids that accumulate at the bottom of the grow bed excellently. Red worms love to feed on decaying or dead plant matter, excess fish food, and other solid wastes in the grow bed while at the same time producing excellent fertilizer for your plants.

How to Add Worms in Aquaponics?

 Adding worms to the grow bed is the most common practice that aquaponics growers do. Doing this will give the highest amount of benefits to your system. Tips on adding worms to the grow bed:

  1. It is best to add worms during day time. Worms don’t like light, and once they are placed in the grow bed, they will immediately crawl and hide from the light.
  2. If growing indoors, you can shine them with a flashlight to make them crawl and hide in the grow media.
  3. Make sure the worms are washed properly before introducing them to the system.
  4. To remove soil from the worms, put them in a sifter and rinse them off with a hose outside, and you’ll have clean worms you can put into your grow bed.

How to Care for Your Aquaponics Worms

The first step in caring for the worms in your aquaponics system is to purchase red worms from a reputable supplier. Second, make sure they are properly washed before introducing them into your aquaponics system. If they are not cleaned properly, they may introduce bacteria or contaminants that could hurt your system.

Worms require oxygen to prevent them from drowning, as do the plant roots and the bacteria. Worms breathe oxygen through their skin, so ensure that your system has enough aeration for the worms to survive, grow and multiply. The cycle of the flood and drain aquaponics system provides an excellent environment for the worms to live in because it keeps the grow bed damp and well oxygenated.

Worms require organic particles as their feed and are sensitive to the chemicals used in traditional gardening methods. So be sure only to use organic methods of treating pests in your aquaponics system.

Red Worms in Aquaponics Grow Bed

Conclusion: Is There Any Downside to Using Worms in Aquaponics?

There is no downside to using worms in your aquaponics system. In fact, they are a great help to your aquaponics system because they help improve the quality of nutrients, help eliminate nasty pathogens and reduce the need to clean your system regularly.

With all its great benefits and no downside, you should start investing in red worms now. Adding them to your aquaponics system can be one of the best things you can do to have a successful and thriving aquaponics system. 

If you plan on getting some, get from a reputable worm grower to get the right type of worm for aquaponics. Thank you for reading our blog. Subscribe to our mailing list to get aquaponics updates. 

1 Response

David M. Holcomb

David M. Holcomb

January 13, 2023

After the initial addition of red worms to 12 inch deep flood/drain (2" always dry on the top, 2" always wet on the bottom and 8" flooding and draining) grow beds: 1) Is there any practical way to check how well the worms are doing? 2) Is it necessary or desirable to periodically add more red worms? The filling time before drainage starts averages 6-7 minutes, and the drainage time before the next filling cycle starts averages 90-120 seconds. The water is always well oxygenated. About 40 cubic feet of grow beds and 260 gallon in fish tank. Ten common goldfish. Water always clear and tests well. Veggies grow great. Thanks for your time and consideration. dmh

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