Frozen, Live And Freeze Dried

If you’ve been in the aquarium scene long enough, you’ve no doubt heard of bloodworms and how they’re used.

But beyond that, most people know very little about them.

What are the different types you can feed your fish? What do bloodworms eat? Which fish prefer them?

What are bloodworms used for?

If you are unsure of the purpose of bloodworms, the answer to your question is very simple.

Bloodworms are used for food.

A wide variety of fish and aquatic life will happily eat this worm and benefit from the rich protein and nutrients it provides. That’s why they’re so popular, just about everyone finds them tasty!

Different types of bloodworms

One thing that is important to remember is that you can feed your fish bloodworms in different ways. Just like the food you buy in a store, it can be prepared in different ways.

Each of these ways has unique pros and cons, which we’ll explore below.

Live bloodworms

Live bloodworms are a popular option that aquarists tend to consider. These worms are alive (obviously) and buyers tend to like the idea that they feed fish in a more natural way.


  • Live bloodworms tend to be fresher than frozen or freeze-dried options
  • They are very rich in vitamins and nutrients compared to other forms
  • Feeding your fish live bloodworms will often bring out a more active side and can be quite fun to watch (compared to flakes).
  • They can be useful if you “condition” your fish before breeding. Feeding them nutrient-dense foods is a great way to do this.

The inconvenients:

  • You cannot store them as long as other forms. You usually have a two or three day window to use them as food before they die.
  • There’s a bit more prep to make sure they’re ready to eat
  • The use of live bloodworms comes with an increased risk of potential disease for the animals that eat them.

Frozen Bloodworms

Frozen bloodworms are certainly the most popular form of bloodworms used by aquarists. This is mostly down to convenience, but here are the pros and cons to give you an overview:


  • You can keep them for almost six months in your freezer
  • The risk of disease is extremely low, so it is very safe to give them to your fish
  • Frozen Bloodworms allow you to either feed your tank in a condensed area or spread it throughout the tank

The inconvenients:

  • There won’t be as much activity during mealtime
  • You must wait for the frozen bloodworms to thaw before mealtime
  • There is a chance that it can increase the bioload of your tank since 100% of frozen bloodworms will not be eaten

Freeze-dried bloodworms

Freeze-dried bloodworms are another very common and convenient form of bloodworm used by many tank owners.


  • Are certainly the easiest for fish to feed.
  • You can get them in different grades, giving you more control over the feeding process.

The inconvenients:

  • The least healthy and least nutritious option of the lot
  • You have to spend a little time soaking them to allow them to sink if you have fish that spend their time at the bottom of the tank.

What fish eat bloodworms?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding bloodworms, and it’s one of the easiest to answer. Bloodworms are the perfect snack for your fish and will be eaten no matter what form you serve them.

And when we say pretty much all fish, we mean it.

Both saltwater and freshwater fish will crush bloodworms without hesitation. This means you probably don’t even need to consider food compatibility when it comes to your fish.

That being said, some fish seem to enjoy them more than others. They are:

If your fish is not on this list, don’t worry. Chances are they like bloodworms too!

However, there is one thing you need to be aware of…

Don’t go too far

Despite the fact that they are considered a tasty treat by almost all fish, feeding them bloodworms too often is something you should avoid.

The reason is that bloodworms are not a complete food that covers a range of vitamins and nutrients. They contain a ton of protein and iron, which is great. But that’s about all.

For fish to thrive, they must have a balanced diet (just like people). Feeding your aquarium exclusively (or too often) with bloodworms can upset this balance.

The general rule is to give your fish bloodworms once or twice a week. If you stick to this rule and provide them with a balanced diet, you will be fine.

Where can you buy bloodworms?

You have a number of different options for where to buy bloodworms. You can try your local pet store (assuming they sell aquarium food), but sometimes it can be hit or miss.

If you want to buy locally, your best option is a fish or aquarium store. Bloodworms are so popular that we saw them in the majority of aquarium stores we went to.

The only thing that may vary is the condition of the worms you buy. Frozen bloodworms and freeze-dried options are very common, but whether you want them live can vary depending on the store.

Many don’t want to have to deal with it live and prefer to stick with types that they can stock cheaply for a long time.

If you prefer to opt for a cheaper option that offers you a little more comfort, here is what we recommend:

Buy bloodworms online

Getting your bloodworms online is something we highly recommend if you’re looking for the easiest and most affordable way (Amazon is the best).

Author’s Note: If you’re already convinced this is the best choice for you, try San Francisco Bay Brand Bloodworms. They are by far our favorite.

The prices are great compared to local aquarium stores, which really adds up over time if you plan to feed your fish a significant amount of bloodworms. Aquariums don’t come cheap, so anything you can do to cut costs is worth considering.

Here’s the catch:

You can hardly get freeze-dried bloodworms unless you buy them online. This is fine for most people, but if you had your heart set on live or frozen bloodworms, this may not be the method for you.

In our opinion, having to stick to freeze-dried is not a big deal nutritionally. Although they are not as nutrient dense as the other two options, you should use them to supplement your fish’s diet.

Assuming that’s the case, you can still provide your fish with plenty of protein and iron while enjoying the convenience of online ordering.

There are plenty of freeze-dried bloodworms you can get online, and most of them look pretty much the same at first. For this reason, it can be difficult to determine which product is the best.

Luckily, we’ve done it for you. We’ve tested a variety of bloodworms and gathered feedback from other aquarists we trust to come up with our favorite product.

So here they are:

San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Bloodworms are the brand we recommend to everyone. It is a very high quality choice that very experienced aquarists have trusted for years.

Not only that, but they are safely and efficiently packaged, and the nutritional quality is top notch.

Grow and breed your own bloodworms

If you are considering raising your own bloodworms to save money over time, there are a few things you should know first.

Although it seems reasonable to assume that breeding and growing bloodworms would be easy, it’s actually very difficult. The reason for this is that you need to see them throughout their life cycle until they become adult flies.

These flies can be difficult to manage because the necessary conditions they need to mate are surprisingly precise. Plus, it’s quite a process of keeping a bunch of flies in an area without them coming out (and making sure they actually mate).

For this reason, most aquarists simply prefer to buy their bloodworms from a store or online. Maintaining a healthy tank can take enough time, and spending a ton of time in your worms can quickly turn a hobby into an unpaid job.

What do bloodworms eat?

Since bloodworms are maggot larvae, they will eventually develop into adult maggots. Once this happens, the main source of its food will be fresh blood as a source of protein.

This is not something you will have to worry about if you are buying bloodworms in the forms we listed earlier.

Do bloodworms bite?

This is a common question because Glycera bloodworms do indeed bite. In fact, they have a venom gland that can cause a reaction very close to a wasp sting (they also look pretty scary when they bite).

However, that’s not the kind of bloodworm you’ll be dealing with, it’s usually not Glycera. As we mentioned earlier, these are actually red fly larvae!

Where do bloodworms live?

The Glycera type bloodworm generally lives in shallow marine waters. Red bloodworm larvae (the kind we talk about in this guide) usually come from moving water like large rivers and streams, or lakes and ponds that contain a lot of organic matter.

Now you are good to go

You should now have the knowledge to begin introducing bloodworms into your fish’s diet. Reading this guide will help you avoid making dietary mistakes or choosing a poor quality product.

Remember that fish love bloodworms, so it’s up to you to keep their intake to a moderate level.

If you have any questions or suggestions for different bloodworm products that we may want to investigate, let us know!

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