How to Farm Bloodworms (Glycera Dibranchiata)

Updated April 17, 2017

Bloodworms are an excellent form of bait for fishermen, or food for fish kept as pets. The worms are rich in haemoglobin, which attracts the fish, and provides a high quality source of iron in their diet. When fully grown the worms are about an inch in length, making them a suitable food for fish measuring between 2 and 6 inches long. It is a straightforward process to set up a bloodworm farm and begin breeding.

Prepare the tank for the bloodworms. Remove gravel or other debris leftover from any fish that may have been in it and wash it out thoroughly.

Line the bottom of the tank with approximately 2 inches of dried leaves. Make sure the leaves are dead; if you can only get green ones, allow them to dry out and turn brown before you put them in the tank. Also add a few twigs, if you have some available.

Attach the water pump to the side of the tank. Position it so that it will not become clogged with leaves, or erect a screen around it. You could do this by blocking it with mesh or a sheet of plastic. Fill the tank with chlorine-free water. At first, the leaves will float, but leave them until they sink to the bottom of the tank. This could take over a week, so you need to plan the farm in advance.

Add the bloodworm larvae to the tank once the leaves have settled. You can get these from rivers, standing water or a pond. The eggs are found on sticks or grasses underneath the surface of the water, and look like blobs of green snot with between 50 and 700 dots inside them. Switch on the pump to aerate the water.

Wait two or three days for the eggs to hatch. During this time, keep the tank in a dark cellar or garage space. Cover the tank with a black plastic bag to block out the light, as this encourages them to hatch quicker.

Feed the worms with a handful of horse manure once they have hatched. Sprinkle it the manure onto the surface of the water so the worms can feed. Do not add too much as the uneaten manure will smell bad as it decomposes. It is better to add a little bit at a time as the worms eat it.

Harvest the worms after two to three weeks. Remove the worms using a small fishing net. Scoop them out and use for bait. Remember to leave a small number of adults in the tank to breed once again.


Some people are allergic to bloodworms. Skin can become itchy and cause red spots. If you are allergic, use gloves to harvest the worms. Add snails to the tank to clear up excess horse manure debris to keep the tank cleaner.

Things You'll Need

  • 24-by-15-by-15-inch aquarium or tank
  • 5-watt water pump
  • Chlorine-free water
  • Dried leaves
  • Midge larvae
  • Black plastic bag
  • Horse manure
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About the Author

Verity Jones is an English literature graduate who has been writing for over five years. Her work has been featured in local publications, national parenting magazines and online portals such as You and Your Family, and Mum Plus One. Jones holds a qualification in interior design.