Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Are Bloodworms Used For? 6 Vet Approved Uses

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

red bloodworms in a pile

Vet approved

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »


Bloodworms is not a word that generates a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. For the uninitiated, a bloodworm might sound like something terrifying or something out of a fantasy novel. But bloodworms are very real and very benign. These worms are part of the lifecycle of the basic midge fly, a mosquito-like insect, but they have a ton of fantastic uses. Bloodworms can be used as a main source of food, live bait, a treat, a dietary supplement, and more. Here are seven amazing uses for bloodworms, including which type of bloodworms are best for certain situations.

The 6 Primary Uses for Bloodworms


1. Home Aquarium Food

Bloodworms can also be used to feed your aquarium fish at home. There are many species of domesticated fish that will gladly chow down on bloodworms dropped into their tanks. Some of the most common aquarium fish species that will eat bloodworms are Betta Fish, Kuhli Loaches, Mollies, Platy Fish, Discus Fish, and African Cichlids. If you own any of these fish or similar species, they will gladly eat bloodworms if you provide them. Simply drop them into your fish tank. You might need to grind up larger worms to feed smaller fish.

Image Credit: Alexander Geiger, Shutterstock

2. Fish Protein Boost

Another use for bloodworms is as a protein booster for fish. Bloodworms pack a serious protein punch, and they can be used as a supplement for fish that need more protein in their diets. Bloodworms can be used as a supplement in conjunction with normal fish food or other types of supplements.

3. Aquatic Pet Food

Fish are not the only type of aquatic pet that people can own. There are numerous other types of aquatic pets that might be kept in an aquarium. Like fish, many of these animals will happily feast on bloodworms. Animals such as frogs and turtles can eat bloodworms. Many turtles love frozen bloodworms as a treat or as a nutrition supplement. Some species of toads and salamanders will also eat bloodworms. Even newts will enjoy a bloodworm snack from time to time. That makes bloodworms an extremely well-rounded food for a variety of different animals far outside of fish alone.

pea puffers eating bloodworm
Image Credit: Toxotes Hun-Gabor Horvath, Shutterstock

4. Reptile Treats

Like amphibians and aquatic animals, some reptiles will also eat bloodworms. You can feed bloodworms to lizards, such as bearded dragons. Unlike aquatic animals, reptiles cannot eat copious amounts of bloodworms. They should be used as a sparing treat rather than a booster or supplement. However, many carnivorous lizards will happily eat bloodworm treats on occasion.

Most experts agree that you should only feed bloodworm treats to your lizards once per week at the max. Lizards do not need bloodworms more often than that, and overfeeding bloodworms to a lizard can cause dietary issues.

5. Freshwater Fishing Bait

Another common use for bloodworms away from your pets is for freshwater fishing. Bloodworms are the perfect food for fish, so they make absolutely amazing bait. You can use live bloodworms as bait or frozen worms. Live worms have the benefit of wriggling, which helps them entice fish into making a bite. Bloodworms can be used for both river and lake fishing. They can also be used for brackish water fishing. Almost every species of freshwater fish will gladly eat a bloodworm.

bloodworms in fishing line
Image Credit: Balser, Shutterstock

6. Saltwater Fishing Bait

Freshwater fish are not the only fish that enjoy the taste of bloodworms. Bloodworms can also be used as an effective saltwater bait. Bloodworms can be used for shore fishing, inshore fishing, and even deep-water fishing. Large mature bloodworms can be used to try to catch large species of fish during saltwater expeditions.

Different Types of Bloodworms

Bloodworms can be bought in various states, and each one has a different usage. Before you run off to buy bloodworms, you should know what type of bloodworm you want to buy so you get the best option to meet your goals.


Like crickets and other types of bait, you can buy live bloodworms. Live bloodworms are great for a variety of different purposes. Live bloodworms are a fantastic form of live bait that is heavily used in fishing. Some aquarium fish also like to eat live bloodworms, while a few other fish species may only accept them in this form. Live worms need to be used quickly or kept in a box where they have enough food and water to stay alive until you use them. Live bloodworms are also often moving and wiggling around, which is good for bait but not always great for handling them.

If you want to use bloodworms as bait or as fish food, you should consider getting live worms. When sourcing worms, you can choose from young worms or more mature worms.

Red bloodworm
Image Credit: schankz, Shutterstock


Young bloodworms are smaller than mature bloodworms. Young worms are often the best for aquarium feeding since most aquarium fish are not very large. If you plan on keeping your worms for a few days, you might also want to consider getting young worms so that they can live longer in a worm box.


Mature worms are much larger than young worms. Mature bloodworms are great for live bait because they are easier to see and move more rigorously than young worms. Mature worms are on the cusp of turning into adult midge flies. Bloodworms are simply the larvae form of midge flies. Most worms won’t complete the growth cycle unless certain conditions are met, but you should be wary of keeping mature bloodworms for too long.

Frozen / Freeze Dried

The other way you can purchase bloodworms is either frozen or freeze dried. Frozen bloodworms are cold and are shipped with ice packs to keep them cool. Frozen bloodworms make great treats for animals such as turtles and frogs. Bloodworms can also be freeze dried. Freeze dried worms have a similar consistency to dry fish food. These worms can be kept for long periods of time and fed to many different types of fish. However, freeze dried bloodworms are the least nutritious option, as the freeze-drying process removes many important nutrients. But the nutrition loss comes at a trade-off since freeze dried worms are some of the easiest to keep and feed.


Bloodworms might not look like much at first glance, but they are extremely versatile as a food source for a variety of different animals. They can be used as fishing bait, food, supplements, and even as a laxative. Bloodworms are incredibly useful and important for people who fish or own an aquarium or aquatic animals. Most people think of bloodworms as live bait or aquarium food, but they can be used for so much more than that.

Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database