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So now you have a nest full of little tails bobbing up and down very exciting. For the first 2 days
after the fry are born they hang under the nest and when they fall to the bottom of the tank the
male will swim down pick them up in his mouth and spit them back in the nest. This is a very
good time to give the bottom of the tank a good clean so once the fry are free swimming it
becomes more difficult . Once they are free swimming for the first 2 weeks tank cleaning is
very difficult. On about the 4th day you will notice they are swimming like normal fish and the
male will be battling to keep them all in the nest and he should be removed. When the male is
removed we add a air stone to the tank bubbling very lightly and as the days go on we up the
air flow to keep the water moving and to break the scum of the top of the water. The airstone
also helps with cleaning of the tank as it will tend to push all the muck into one spot for easy
siphoning.

Missing Ventrals
This has been a major ordeal for us and we have finally got to the root of the problem. In fish
tanks there is bacteria that grows this is very normal if the bacteria is kept to normal levels. In
fry tanks this is quite difficult to do has it is not so easy keeping the bottom of the tanks clean.
We have resolved this issue by adding an airstone to the tanks to keep the water well circulated
and the fry of the bottom of the tank most of the time. Dry commercial foods can also be a
problem as this sinks down to the bottom of the tank and causes abnormal bacteria grown.
Every second day from when the male is removed we siphon the bottom of the tank and wipe
carefully with a sponge. We also only feed Microworms or other live foods for the first 3 weeks
this is the time period that the ventrals are most likely to be dissolved. Baby brine shrimp is also
a good option as they swim around the tank and will keep fry of the bottom, we stopped
feeding Baby Brine as we were getting  lot of fish with Swim Bladder problems but this could
have been due to over feeding. I personally do not like Brine Shrimp in any form I find it bloats
the fish and is a very unnatural food for fresh water fish, they can also carry a lot of parasites.
But in saying this a lot of people feed it with no problems. Feeding live food also saves cleaning
up a lot of mess on the bottom of your tanks.

Feeding
We start to feed our fry from the moment the eggs start to hatch, I am not sure if they actually
eat the food this young but it just makes me feel better to put a few Microworms in the tank 2
times a day. Once the male is removed feeding really begins and you will see their little tummies
white full of worms, try to avoid any dry foods at this time. We use a baby medicine eye
dropper to feed and we put all the Microworms in a cup with water and give them a few drops.
If at the next feed there are many worms still on the bottom we skip that feed. If they are still
there the next morning siphon the old ones out before feeding fresh. At 3-4 weeks of age we
grate frozen Bloodworms and Frozen Daphnia with the finest part of a cheese grater and the
fry get this mixture including the Microworms. We will only use hiakri brand frozen foods as it
has vitamins added and goes through a strict de contamination process for parasites  before
packaging. All frozen foods can carry parasites and is some thing to be very aware of. When
the fry are moved to the grow out tank we like to feed as much variety as possible. One of my
favorites is Osi Granules and they are easy to crush in your fingers to feed the smaller fish, they
still get all the rest of the baby foods until they are jarred. Once they are in the grow out tank
and eating well this is the best time to get them used to eating anything. There is a lot of
competition for food and they will gobble up anything that is put in the tank. If they ignore a
certain food persist they will soon get hungry and eat.

Once the fry are jarred they get fed the same as our adult fish, Whole Bloodworms, Frozen
Daphnia, Live Daphnia, White Worms, Grindal Worms, Osi Flakes and Granules and what
ever new foods I am trying out at the time.

Moving to grow out tank
At about 6 weeks of age we move our fry to a 10 gallon grow out tank. If is is a very large
spawn which we do try to avoid they will go into 2 tanks. I am not keen on netting such young
fish so I have a big tube and I siphon them into a bucket and pour them into the new tank. If
the tank happens to be below the spawning tank I just siphon them straight into the grow out
tank. Yes they do swirl around and look a bit dazed for a few minutes but they soon recover
and I find they are less stressed this way than if netting them. Depending on the size of the fry
they will start being fed Frozen daphnia not grated and Grindal worms when available plus all
the other foods they have been getting up to this point. Different spawns do grow out at
different rates this is quite normal so if you go to a friend and see they have enormous fry at the
same age of yours don't panic they all grow up eventually. If it is a very fast growing spawn
within a week of moving them to the grow out tank the larger fry can be jarred, depending on
space we generally start jar fry at about 8 weeks when they are about 3/4 of an inch long. You
will also find with in a spawn you will have some huge fish and then some very very tiny ones,
we find as you start removing the little ones will start to grow at a faster rate. We don't just jar
the males we also jar females when they are big enough, this is just our way of doing thing and
keeping fish under control. If you do not have the jar space you can just move the bigger
females to another tank. Bigger fish will eat smaller siblings.

Water Changes
Once again this is very different for us as all our tanks are linked to a central filter and water
changes are done through the whole system through the filter. Before we set up like we are
now, I started water changes from the day we removed the male. Just 1/4 of a gallon a day to
start with. Treat your water how every you do for your adult fish put it in a container and float
it in the fry tank for an hour, siphon out some of the old water and gently pour in the new water.
Once the fry are 2 weeks old you should do a 25% water change 2 times a week. Be very
careful that the water is exactly the same temp as the tank and pour it in very slowly. Try to
avoid testing your water every 5 minutes the LESS YOU MESS with the tank the better. I you
are doing your regular water changes taking out uneaten food on a regular basis your water will
be fine. The ideal pH is from 7-7.2 but if yours is lower or higher you will do more damage to
the fry trying to fix this with chemicals just let the pH be. I often say to new breeders throw your
test kit away it causes more heartache than anything else in fish breeding, testing your water all
the time causes you to panic and mess around with the water, forget about it and enjoy your
babies.

 

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