Frequently Asked Questions

Aquaponics Worms

Q: How do worms survive in an aquaponic grow bed? Don’t they drown?

aquaponics wormsA: We have all seen worms crawling out onto the sidewalk after a soaking rain, seemly gasping for air. That they choose exposure to the sun and hungry birds to the water logged soil seems to tell us that worms don’t like soaking wet environments. And what is an aquaponics grow bed if not a soaking wet environment?

The difference with aquaponics worms is that they do not remain constantly full of water, but rather flood, and then drain. This allows for a “drying out” period between soakings that also encourages air circulation within the grow media.

This brings me to the most important reason why worms thrive within aquaponics: oxygen. The reason why those worms crawl from the soil to their death on the sidewalk is not because of the water, but because the water has forced the oxygen out of the soil. In aquaponics, however, not only does the flood and drain action pull oxygen into the grow bed media, but the water that is circulating throughout the system is highly oxygenated. In fact, I’ve found aquaponics worms thriving within my sump tanks!

Q: Do you ever have too many worms?

A: Sadly, no. My fish certainly wish there were too many worms! But the fact is that worms regulate their population to match the conditions within their environment and as soon as those conditions no longer support additional aquaponics worms they slow down or stop reproducing.

Q: I’m considering a system inside my home. Will they escape?

A: Again the answer is “no”. Worms hate the light, and are happiest in the moist dark of your grow beds. The only time you will see your aquaponics worms once they are in your grow bed is when you pull out a plant. They will be happily intertwined in the roots taking care of sloughed off dead root material.

Q: I heard that worms can carry E. coli. Is this true?

A: NO! In fact this rumor is so silly that I wrote an entire blog post on it in October, 2011 titled “Aquaponics and The Wonderful Worm“. Click on the title to read more.

Q: How do I get the worms to go into my grow beds?

A: First, you need to purchase them from a reliable source. Our worms are drop-shipped directly to you from a USDA inspected and certified facility. Once they arrive you should add them to your grow beds ASAP. They will actually dig themselves in without any help from you! Watch this five minute video to see how I do it.