Can Guppies Eat Bloodworms (and are they good for guppies?)

I first started keeping guppies over 30 years ago when I got my first 10-gallon aquarium and a small group of guppies. From that day to this, I don’t think there has been a single day when I didn’t have at least one aquarium in my fish room filled with guppies.

Guppies love to eat bloodworms. They will go crackers for them. Bloodworms should only be fed as part of a balanced guppy diet. Bloodworms are high in protein and can be fed to your guppies either live, frozen,

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia
or freeze-dried. Bloodworms should make up part of a balanced guppy diet.

What Are Bloodworms

The bloodworms we feed to the fish in our aquariums are usually the larvae of the non-biting midge fly, also known as chironomids. These bright red worms, which aren’t true worms, are the larval state of the non-biting midge.

Bloodworms have very high levels of iron-porphyrin protein in their blood and body tissue, which is what gives them their characteristic bright red coloration. Bloodworms have high levels of hemoglobin which allows them to live in polluted water or water with very low oxygen levels.

Bloodworms form a major part of the natural food chain. In the wild, they will be eaten by just about every species of fish (except some of those hardcore algae eaters).



Are Bloodworms Good For Guppies To Eat?

Bloodworms are full of protein. Guppies, like many other fish, seem to find bloodworm irresistible. Bloodworms are great to feed as a treat, to bulk up an underweight guppy, or to entice a reluctant feeder back into feeding.

I try to feed my guppy’s bloodworms at least 3 or 4 times a week. I usually feed the bloodworms in the form of frozen cubes, but I also feed them live when my local fish store has them for sale.

Guppies require a varied diet to give them the full range of vitamins and minerals they need. Bloodworms make up an important part of that varied diet. Bloodworms are only a single piece of the puzzle though. Bloodworms can’t be used as a sole source of food for your guppies, no matter how much they enjoy them.

If you only feed your guppies bloodworm, they will quickly become unwell and put on an unhealthy amount of weight.



What Form Are Bloodworms Available In?

There are 3 different ways we can purchase bloodworms for our aquarium fish, live bloodwormsfrozen bloodworms, and freeze-dried bloodworms. There are both advantages and disadvantages in every way. Below we can have a look at all 3 forms.

Live Bloodworms

Live bloodworms can be purchased from your local fish store and they are usually sold in small plastic bags or cups. Before you purchase bloodworms, always gently shake the bag and check all the bloodworms are alive and wriggling in the bag.

If a large portion of the bloodworms are dead, don’t add them to your aquarium. Healthy bloodworms wriggle constantly, which is one reason fish are attracted to them.

When you are ready to feed the live bloodworms to your fish, cut the corner off the bag and tip the water and bloodworms into a net that is over a bucket. The bloodworms will be caught in the net whilst the dirty water will be held in the bucket.

You can now add the bloodworm to your aquarium and watch your guppies chase them down. The dirty, polluted water left in the bucket should be disposed of.

Live bloodworms will wriggle constantly in your aquarium, which will attract the guppies to them. Your guppies will eat most of the bloodworms immediately, but the ones they don’t eat will live happily in the aquarium for a day or two, usually less time if the guppies have anything to do with it.

The advantages of feeding live bloodworms to guppies include the fact that any uneaten bloodworm will live in the aquarium until they are consumed. It is also reported that live bloodworms have a higher nutritional value than either frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms.

There are two main disadvantages of feeding live bloodworms to your guppies. Firstly, live bloodworms don’t keep very long. You need to purchase them at most a day or two before you want to feed them to your guppies.

Secondly, there is a small chance that feeding live bloodworms to your guppies can introduce diseases. I have however never personally experienced introducing disease into my aquariums by feeding live bloodworms. It is this risk of introducing disease, that means you should never collect bloodworms from the wild to feed to your guppies.

Frozen Bloodworms

Frozen bloodworms are usually sold in two different forms, either as a slab of frozen bloodworms or as individual cubes in a blister pack. Frozen cubes of bloodworms can either be placed directly in the aquarium water where they will float whilst the guppies pick at them, or they can be defrosted in a cup of aquarium water which can then be poured into the aquarium.

One major advantage of feeding frozen bloodworms to your guppies is that they can be kept for months in the freezer until you are ready to feed them. When you are ready to feed the frozen bloodworms to your guppies, you only need to defrost the amount you want to feed, making frozen bloodworms very efficient.

The disadvantage of feeding frozen bloodworms to your guppies is that there is no way to tell the quality of the bloodworms before they were frozen. There is no way to tell if they were good quality live bloodworms or a soup of dead ones before they were frozen. For this reason, only ever buy good quality frozen bloodworms from a reputable supplier.

Freeze Dried Bloodworms

The advantages of feeding freeze-dried bloodworms to your guppies include the fact that freeze-dried bloodworms will keep for months, possibly years if stored properly. You can keep a can of freeze-dried bloodworms in your closet until you need them.

Freeze-dried bloodworms can also be soaked in a vitamin supplement before feeding to your guppies if they are in poor health.

On the flip side, a disadvantage of feeding freeze-dried bloodworms is the fact they do have to be rehydrated before feeding to your guppies, otherwise, they may swell up inside the guppy’s gut.

How Often Should You Feed Bloodworms To Your Guppies?

Whatever form of bloodworms you choose to feed to your guppies, make sure you only feed them either as a treat or as part of a varied diet. I feed my guppies 3 or 4 times a day. One of those feeding will usually include live or frozen bloodworms. Only ever add as many bloodworms as your guppies will eat in a couple of minutes.

What Other Live Or Frozen Foods Can Be Fed To Guppies?

Guppies will eat just about anything you put in their tank. I have had great success feeding some of the following, either live or frozen.




In Conclusion

Bloodworms make a great addition to your guppy’s diet. The guppies will relish them and they are packed with protein and goodness. Bloodworms are an excellent alternative to feeding flakes or pellets at every feeding. Just remember, they are too protein-rich to feed at every meal.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
Editor