On Breeding Guppies

On Breeding Guppies

On Breeding Guppies

If you are reading this, you obviously have an interest in either broadening your knowledge as an avid aquarist, or you may have an interest in actually breeding Guppies. Be that as it may, this is NOT a complete guide caring for and the breeding of Show/Fancy Guppies. It is only intended to give you SOME idea on what is involved. If you have any questions or need help, or if you need information, please feel free to ask.

IN THE BEGINNING

Before starting off in the EXCITING world of breeding Fancy Guppies, one would need to thoroughly research the WIDE variety of colour strains that are available and contact a reputable breeder for breeding stock. But do not make the mistake that the majority of beginners make by going to a breeder and seeing many beautiful strains you’d like to keep – as explained later, the number of strains you can keep is limited by available tank space so only get the number of strains you can handle. The best would be to get ONE strain you REALLY LIKE, gain some experience and the expand if you wish. Proper preparation for the arrival of your fish is VITAL. Get everything in place and in GOOD running order before getting your first fish to avoid disappointment.

In the next few paragraphs, I will discuss equipment and setup.

TANKS
“Beginners in this hobby are many times discouraged when they hear about breeders with very elaborate fish rooms, with numbers approaching 200 tanks.”
No elaborate setup is required to raise GOOD Show Guppies. Bare 40L tanks are very practical, but you can also use 20L or 80L tanks – depending on the availability of SPACE. I use 20L tanks for breeding trios (and rest tanks for females after mating and birthing – more later), 40L tanks to birth and grow fry in, and 80L tanks to keep my SHOW fish.
To be successful in raising GOOD Fancy/Show Guppies, one needs 8 to 10 tanks per strain and you’d have to do some serious culling to achieve this…
Remember that each female will drop 30 – 50 fry every 28 – 30 days… if you do not cull you’d grow out of tank space in no time and also you’d end up keeping deformed and undesirable guppies (like some LFS’s sell). I keep a Beautiful community tank and an Angel Species tank, so I release any deformed fry into those tanks, as I’d rather they get eaten by other fish (as they would in the wild) than have to kill them.

FILTRATION
Use filters that are inexpensive and easy to clean and maintain – box filters and sponge filters are popular amongst breeders. Box filters are better mechanical filters and should be filled with floss/aquarium wool and weighed down with dolomite and/or marbles. Sponge filters, however, are a favourite with breeders – a simple filter made of sponge with an air lift tube – and is easy to clean. Just squeeze the sponge in warm water once a week – preferably in the tank water during a water change, as the sponge holds bacterial organisms that aid in cleaning and purifying the water.
Remember to clean your filter at LEAST once a fortnight.

AIR PUMPS
The amount of air you need will depend on the number of tanks in your set-up. A good vibrator pump will handle 10 to 15 tanks with no problem. The most efficient way to supply air to your tanks is to run PVC piping with branches off to each tank through flexible airline tubing. This type of system is easy to install and you can probably use a smaller pump than if you run all of your air through flexible tubing.

LIGHTING
If you have a lot of tanks, it’s best to use four foot fluorescent ceiling lights, rather than trying to light each tank individually with more expensive hoods. The lights should be kept on for 10-14 hours per day. Lights should be set to go on one hour before the first feeding and off one hour after the past feeding.

WATER
“Good, clean water is the most important element for growing large guppies with long, flowing fins.” Remember to first treat your water before adding it to your tank – I use Tetra AquaSafe to break down chemicals used to purify our water. Hardness and pH are not critical as long as they do not suddenly vary over a wide range. Guppies seem to do better if the water is on the hard side. With regard to pH, guppies can handle anything from 6.8 – 7.8 (7.0 is ideal).
Ammonia is the number one fish killer, and is caused by overcrowding, overfeeding, poor water conditions or lack of oxygen in the water. It is especially important to monitor the ammonia level in new setups. The “good” (nitrifying) bacteria that will eliminate ammonia, will take from 2 to 3 weeks to develop – I treat my tanks with SERA NITRIVEC BIO CULTURES for a week to help remove pollutants while maturing my filters BEFORE I add fish to my new tanks. If you find ammonia present, do 20-30% water changes with your teated water as required or run a box filter with ammo-chips in the affected tank. Remember, avoid sudden changes in pH and hardness. Guppies can acclimate to a wide variety of changes, if they are done slowly. It is very important to acclimate the fish slowly to your water to avoid shock. If you don’t, death or disease will follow.

WATER CHANGES
Water changes make or break good show fish and removal of uneaten food and fish waste is an important aspect in the growth cycle by siphoning with any half inch tubing that is about 1m in length. Success in raising show fish is achieved by changing 30-40% of the tank water weekly. I do daily water changes of 10% to reduce stress on the fish. This way the fry grow faster and bigger. Daily water changes also tend to level off the ammonia and pH readings avoiding DIPS and SPIKES.

TEMPERATURE
Guppies like their tank water to be between 25.5-27.8 degrees C, with 26 degrees an ideal temperature. These temperatures can be maintained with individual tank heaters or by using a room heater – depending on the number of tanks number of tanks that you have.

UPON ARRIVAL
“The first thing to do is to place your newly acquired breeding stock in a clean bowl or specimen tank using the water in which they were shipped. Then every 20-30 minutes add a little water from the aged breeding tank that you previously set up. When the container is 3/4 full, remove about 1/2 the water and replace it with water from the seasoned tank. Do this 2 to 3 times over the period of about an hour. At this point, you can release your guppies into their new permanent breeding tank. Do not be alarmed if your fish hide or act frightened. If the fish seem to be panicky, do not feed them for 24 – 48 hours. If the fish do not seem to be eating, don’t keep adding food. This will quickly foul the water. This is normal and can take up to a week before they are swimming and acting as guppies should. Just remember to have patience . . . the first 3-4 days are critical in getting your new stock established in your tanks.”

THE FIRST BATCH
Within 4-6 females should be ready to drop fry. It is better to remove the pregnant female to a smaller tank of her own. You can add spawning grass (Najas Guadalupensis is a great option), or new unrolled plastic pot scrubbers to the tank to give the newly born fry a safe place to hide from the mother. Another method commonly used is to place the female in a large breeder trap (I hate this as it stresses the female and seems a bit unnatural) in a 40 litre tank to give the fry more room to grow. Many breeders keep their fry in small tanks for the first few weeks. The theory is that when you feed these young fish they are surrounded by food instead of having to go searching for it. Remember to keep the expectant female well fed – I feed mine brine shrimp and some blood worm – during this period. This will reduce the chance of cannibalism. After the fry are born, remove the female and place her back with the male – but I prefer to let her rest in a tank with only females for a couple of days, as the male will immediately start chasing her to mate. This prevents further undue stress.

FEEDING YOUR GUPPIES
Birth- 6 Weeks: Guppy fry should receive a steady diet of newly hatched brine. It is also a good idea to put a tablespoon of aquarium salt in the tank, 1T / 20L. This acts as a tonic for the fish and will also keep the brine shrimp alive longer. After the first two days you can begin adding some dry food to their diet. Any good quality flake food is acceptable, but I prefer to use DARO Baby Fish Food for livebearers – remember to surround the fry with a “cloud” of food, smaller amounts more frequently and siphon any uneaten food regularly.

6 Weeks- Adult: Feeding properly with a balanced diet is very important to raising good fish. A balanced diet must be offered in order to meet all the nutritional needs of the fish. As the first 3 months are the most important time in a Fancy Guppy’s life, failing to provide good nutrition will result in disappointment. Feed small amounts regularly – up to 6 or 8 times a day. Vary dry and live/frozen foods in order to provide nutritional balance. “Meat, fish, vegetables and cereal provide vitamins, minerals and high amounts of protein that are needed in a complete and balanced diet.” It is important to supply good quality foods and not try to save money on cheap meals – as we say in Afrikaans – “Goed koop is duur koop”. Feed only the best foods containing shrimp, fish and meat meal as good protein sources AND Spirulina, algae or spinach for the vegetable protein they need – and the results will be the reward. Baby brine shrimp and micro worms are excellent foods for Guppies. Try Baby brine shrimp as a first meal (remember – an hour AFTER lights ON), a variety of dry/flake foods during the day and Baby Brine shrimp or micro worms at night (remember – an hour before lights OUT).

“Hatching brine shrimp eggs can be accomplished in several ways. You can use gallon jars or inverted two liter plastic soda bottles with the bottom cut out. Both work just fine. . .your choice will depend on the number of fish you have to feed. Or there are several small manufactured hatchers available. As for hatching the eggs, follow the label instructions for each brand, experimenting with different amounts of salt and eggs. One method that works is to use a teaspoon (or amount required) of eggs in a solution of two tablespoons of kosher salt in two liters of water. Keep the hatching solution at 80 degrees with strong aeration, and in 24-36 hours you should have a hatch. Don’t use an air stone because the tiny bubbles will throw the eggs out of the water only to dry on the sides of the bottle. At this point, shut off the air and wait about 15 minutes. This causes the empty shells to float to the top of the container, while the live shrimp collects hear the bottom. Placing a light near the bottom will assure that all shrimp collect there. Use a length of rigid plastic tubing attached to air-line tubing to reach down to the bottom of the container where the shrimps collect. From this point you siphon the shrimp through a brine shrimp net, rinse with fresh water and feed to your fish. If you are feeding a number of tanks, put the shrimp into a container of fresh water. You can now feed with an oven baster, ear syringe or spoon.”

REMEMBER – a couple (6 – 8) of small meals a day of which meals 2 should be live or frozen foods. Don’t overfeed siphon the tank bottom to clear uneaten foods. I also keep Pakistani Loaches and Kuhli Loaches in my adult tanks to clean up uneaten food. Your reward will be in YOUR RESULTS.

BREEDERS AND SHOW FISH
“When you buy a trio of two females and one male, you can establish two parallel lines. Keep the young from each female separated. These young are half brothers and sisters. After a few generations, there will be sufficient difference between the two lines so that you can cross the two lines to keep your strain strong. Every guppy breeder needs to learn how to pick fish in order to breed and raise good fish. Leaving all the fish together to breed causes rapid deterioration of the strain. The smaller, more active males impregnate the females first. At about three to six weeks, the time has come to separate males from the females. At this age you can recognize the females by the appearance of the gravid spot. Males will not show any darkness in the gravid area. If not already done, cull all deformed and weak fish too. Furthermore, do not keep more than 10-20 young in a 40 litre tank. At two months, the tank should contain no more than one fish per 4L to get maximum growth. Maximum growth also requires you to maintain a proper feeding schedule, and whatever tank maintenance that is necessary. The age for picking breeders or show guppies will depend on the rate of maturity of the particular strain you are working with. Some strains grow quicker than others. For example, reds, greens and blues grow rapidly and can be selected at 3 months. On the other hand, albinos, yellows and pastel colored guppies will require that you wait for 4 to 5 months, since they mature very slowly.”

Once you “know your strain” it is easy to make your selection.

4 STEPS TO SELECTING YOUR MALES:

1) The largest males with the THICKEST caudal peduncles (to support large tails) should be chosen.

2) Choose a wide, triangular caudal shape. Dorsal Fins should be elongated like smooth edged parallelogram.

3) Choose fish with matching caudal and dorsal fins.

4) Any fish with crooked backs, flat heads or poor colour intensity should be eliminated.

By using these steps, you’ll be guaranteed the BEST breeding stock. Remember – Don’t overcrowd your tanks – only 1 fish per 4L.

Select and breed with females at 2 to 4 months of age.

3 STEPS TO CHOOSE FEMALES:

1) To ensure females that throw best SHOW MALES, pick the babes with best booties – the largest females with the thickest caudals.

2) Select the females with the largest and widest caudals with matcing dorsal fins.

3) Choose females that show the best or desired colour.

Place your best male and best 2 females in a 20L tank – a smaller tank allows the male to catch the females easily. Some breeders prefer several males to several females, but if you use ONE male it is easier to monitor the desired characteristics. If the females do not become pregnant in two months, replace the male with another male (brother).

BREEDING A PURE STRAIN
Your best bet would be to buy a good strain from a reputable breeder. Avoid pet shop guppies. They’re a waste of time and money… Buy a trio – one male and two females.

3 techniques used in Guppy Breeding:

INBREEDING: Mating close relatives such as brother to sister, mother to son, father to daughter, etc. I prefer not to use this method.

LINE BREEDING: Breeding two separate lines branching from the original trio with eventual backcrossing or the breeding of distant relatives such as half siblings, cousins to cousins, etc.

OUT CROSSING: Mating two different pure strains which are compatible. This could mean fish of the same color that are obtained from two different breeders.

“KEEPING BREEDING RECORDS
One of the most important disciplines needed when working with any livestock is to keep good records. You should be able to tell where the fish came from and what they produced several generations back. Keeping records now will be useful in future generations. Record keeping is simple and helps to keep track of the progress of a particular strain. For each drop you should keep track of the number of young, the number of males/females, how may culls, etc. This way, you will know which fish throws the show guppies that you want. Accurate records will allow you to trace back through generations to see what steps you took to achieve your ultimate goal.”

DISEASES
If you keep your water clean and do not overcrowd your fish, disease will not be a problem.

ON CONCLUSION
As mentioned in part one, this is NOT intended to be a COMPLETE GUIDE in breeding Fancy/Show Guppies, but rather intended to give you an idea on what is involved in this very rewarding hobby. These are general guidelines that could set one off in the right direction if inclined to get started in Breeding Fancy Guppies – or to just give the general pubic an idea of what is involved – and hopefully create an awareness on the intricate needs for Keeping and Caring for these little pleasures. A good Fancy Guppy is truly a pleasure to behold and breeding them is a hobby with RESULT-AS-REWARD.

Should anybody need to know more, please feel free to contact me.

ALSO: feedback is always appreciated. So tell me what you think of this article. I’d like to hear from you.

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Breeding The Neon Swordtail

In the early 1840’s, the famous botanist Karl Heller traveled to Mexico on a plant collecting expedition. When he returned to Europe he brought with him some strange and beautiful fish specimens. Eventually, these fish were called Xiphophorus helleri, literally, “Heller’s sword bearer”. For some time I had been hoping to acquire a pair of Green Xiphophorus helleri but they never seemed available at the club auctions. Then last November I saw a pair of fish that seemed to equal the beauty and majesty of the Green Swords – they were a healthy pair of Neon Swordtails. The body of the Neon Sword is mostly a soft, glowing orange with a striking reddish-purple slightly zigzagging midline that extends from the pectoral fins to the tail. The midline is set against a background of iridescent greens, blues, and reds. As they energetically swim around the aquarium their glistening body colours seems to dance in the glow of the light. They are truly a beautiful fish.

The pair I bought was healthy and active. The male was 2.5” in length, closer to 4” including the tail, and the female was about 3”. She had a nice round belly. While I assumed she might be pregnant, I had no idea of how pregnant she was. I was soon to find out.

I placed my new acquisitions in a bare ten gallon tank with a corner filter. The water temperature was steady at 78 degrees F. The pH was about 8 and the hardness about 10. During the next few days I added a few plastic floating plants for cover. The first Saturday I had the fish home (November 20th) I noticed a few fry floating at the water line along the sides of the tank. I quickly removed them to an adjacent 10 gallon tank. Everything I had read about the Swordtails told me that good sized females are able to drop dozens of fry, so I was surprised when my female Neon only had four babies.

Almost exactly four weeks later (Dec. 22) there was a second drop; this time there were three babies. I began to get suspicious. After all, this female sword was a healthy fish and sported a good length and depth. About three weeks later, I decided to remove the male, figuring that he’d probably already done his fertility work. On January 22nd, a third group of fry were born, but this time there were 29! It seems clear to me now that the female was probably having good fry drops each time, but that the male was engorging himself enjoying swordtail sushi.

I decided to keep the male and female apart since I had 36 fry, all of which seemed to be doing well. Then, a month later, on Feb. 23, something most amazing occurred. There was another drop, this time of 15 babies. As a Religion teacher in a Catholic School I was familiar with the doctrine of the Virginal Conception, but I certainly never expected to see it in the fish hobby. I decided to do some investigation. It turns out that some fish have an ability called superfoetation which allows females to store sperm for future fertilizations after mating with a single male. This process continued in my aquarium, with a fifth batch of 18 fry dropped on Mar. 22nd and a sixth group of 10 fry born about a month later on April 21st. It seemed that the drops occurred about four weeks apart and that the number of fry decreased with each subsequent birth. This technique is surely a helpful way for the Swordtail to increase its progeny.

I fed the fry microworms for the first week, and then changed to baby brine shrimp. As they got larger, I added some Tetra and Nutra Fin Flakes into their diet. They really relished the baby brine shrimp, even as adults. The fry grow quickly. When they are born, they are probably about ¼” in size. At a month to six weeks they are in the ½” range. At 3 months, one begins to see an orange tint on the back and the dorsal and anal fins. By 4 months, many are 5/8″ long and one clearly sees the fluorescent body tint. At this stage I also noticed perch-like vertical bars along the sides of the body. These disappear over time. At five months many fish are close to an inch long; the midline is clearly visible. At the six month mark I noticed that one of the fish from the first batch was developing the elongated anal fin or gonopodium of the male. Prior to this point it was not possible for me to differentiate males from females (although I’m sure experienced fish keepers would be able to tell long before this point). One week later I noticed a slight sword extension beginning to develop on the male’s tail. By 7 months, this tail would measure almost one inch in length.

At different times I’ve noticed male swords engage in what I would call “sparring behaviour”. Two males will back up toward each other in an apparent display of their swords. Sometimes one of the males will back off with his dorsal fin down; if not, sometimes the males will go at each other head first. My assumption is that this often aggressive behaviour is establishing a hierarchy of dominance, but I’m not certain.

If you want a beautiful addition to your community aquarium or fish room, one that is easy to maintain, one that breeds almost miraculously, then you should look no further than the Neon Swordtail. They are a pleasure to behold.

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Breeding Fish

This article is not entirely original. I have been collecting spawning articles from various club publications for over three years. This is an overview taken from a collection of these.

Why breed fish?
There are many reasons. In our club, you get points in a nationally recognized Breeder’s Award program. If I ever move to another area of the U.S. there’s a good chance that a new club I join will accept the points I have earned at YATFS. Some people think they going to get rich – or at least support their hobby – selling the fish that they breed. Others do it for the scientific interest and fulfillment of seeing different species procreate. What better way to appreciate the “grander scheme” of life? And how about the ease of teaching the little humans in the household about the birds and the bees? (Although I must confess, I thought briefly that I had missed the boat when my then 4 year old daughter asked if the pregnant cat was an egg layer or a livebearer.) Still others do it for the competition within the club. On the larger scale, they compete to spawn species that are considered difficult or have never before been done.

How do you spawn fish?
First, you do some basic research. Read and/or talk to someone who already spawned the species. Find out what kind of species of fish you have. Is it a livebearer or egg-layer? What is the best ratio of males to females for that species? What is the best spawning age for the fish? What are the ideal tank conditions?

You also need to find out the best way to care for the fry. Some need to be left with the parents for a while. Others need their parents removed to prevent cannibalism. Some require special foods the first week(s). Others can subsist on average flake foods.

This article is not all inclusive. There are many fish that are considered “odd-balls.” They break the rules and do not fit into any one category. They exhibit one or more unique spawning traits to set them apart from the others. That is why breeding fish is so intriguing to many of us. There’s always another challenge or adventure in the hobby.

Livebearers

You usually can’t tell exactly when these fish have spawned. The male constantly chases the female. The eggs are fertilized inside the female’s body. The male transfers the sperm into her vent with his modified anal fin, called a gonopodium. But, if you know the average gestation period for the species and you watch the female’s developing belly size and shape, you can estimate when delivery will take place. Gestation for livebearers can be from 25 – 45 days. Most, but not in all, livebearing female fish have a gravid spot near the base of their tail, which is a sort of window to the developing fry. A day or so before delivery, you can sometimes see the babies’ eyes. Some species get a very square looking chest right before delivering. The most important reason for knowing all this is to know when to remove the female to a separate delivery tank. Sadly, most livebearers will eat fry. Even their own.

Another trick with livebearers is that females can store sperm from previous mating for many months. Just because you lost the male doesn’t mean the female will not any more babies. Also if you want to breed female A with male B, you may have to make sure that she is not with any other males whatsoever. Granted, the most recent male will most likely be the father of the fry. But it is always better to be extra careful with livebearers.

Generally speaking, the delivery tank should be 2.5 – 5 gallons. Use 70% water from the original tank, a sponge filter and a heater if needed. Live floating plants or artificial “spawning grass” will give the fry somewhere to hide. Lowering the lights will calm the female. Some theories say you should avoid exposing the gravid female to the air. So use a jar to scope her up and transfer her in water to the delivery tank. As soon as she is done delivering, remove the female back to either the original tank or a recovery tank away from the attentions of the male. Some species take up to 3 days to deliver their entire brood. Still others deliver a couple fry every 5-7 days. Again do some research.

Most livebearer fry can be feed crushed flake food from the day they are born. But all love baby brine shrimp and microworms! They are generally larger than egg-layer fry and are free swimming almost immediately. Therefore, they do not require parental care.

Egg-Layers

As mentioned before, egg- layer fry are often small and require special foods and/or varying degrees of parental care. Do the research. As far as spawning, these fish are divided into seven basic groups according to their different spawning styles:

Open substrate spawners
This is the most common spawning method, mainly used by cichlids. These fish often form permanent pair bonds. The female lays the eggs on a flat surface, such as a rock . The male works in close proximity with her to fertilize the eggs. These fish are often very good at guarding the eggs and defending the fry. Angels, Discus, Severums, Jack Dempseys, Oscars, Firemouths, Jewel Cichlids, Rainbow Cichlids, Rams, many Aequidens species, Sunfishes, Darters, Gobies, Damsels & Clowns.

A compatible pair must be found. This is best done by raising a group of 6-8 fry to maturity and picking out the pairs as they form. Set them up in their own tank, condition them, watch & wait. If the pairs become regular egg-eaters or fry devourers, you can remove the eggs to be hatched away from their parents.

Although these do not technically hide the eggs like the next category, some will often bury them and move them from place to place in the tank. So don’t think you lost the spawn until well past the time when you should see them free swimming. In addition, although this group are not considered Mouthbrooders some will pick the fry up in their mouths and move them to a safer territory, especially at night time. Don’t think they are eating the fry until many are actually missing!

Substrate Spawners that Hide their Eggs
Several of these fish also form permanent pair bonds. Most however, do not; it is the female that takes on the care of the fry. Eggs are usually laid in a hidden area such as a cave, flower pot or shell. Because of their secretive nature, the spawning is usually not observed.

Included in this group are many Dwarf cichlids, Apistogramma, Nanacara, Namachromis, Pelvicachromis, Julidochromis, Lamprologous, Loricaria, Farlowella & Ancistrus. It is interesting to note that the males of the catfish species are the ones that take care of the fry.

Set up a pair with several spawning choices. Feed them well and wait for Nature to takes it’s course. The female will lay the eggs within a cave or under a rock and the male will fertilize the eggs in unison. Sometimes you guess if spawning has actually taken place or not because the female disappears for about two weeks while she tends to her eggs. She drives the male out during this time. When the fry are free- swimming, she will bring them out and parade them around the tank. Pay attention to feeding whatever the fry require. It is often good to remove the male at this point. In another 3-4 weeks, the female can also be removed.

Mouthbrooders
An easy group of fish to spawn because they protect the fry the most efficiently. Also, they tend to be a very hardy group.

Set up a pair with rocks, gravel and caves. A few dither fish will help them keep their aggressions away from each other. Feed them well, Usually the male digs a pit in the substrate. The female, when ripe, will begin the circular spanning dance around the pit with the male. Eggs are laid, fertilized, then scooped up into the female’s mouth. In some African Cichlids the female tries to ” scoop up” the egg spots on the male’s anal fin, thereby ensuring that the sperm has reached the eggs in her mouth. The eggs are incubated in her mouth for about three weeks. She will not eat at all in this time, unless the eggs have been lost or swallowed. Wait for about two weeks and move her to another tank. When the fry are old enough, the female will release them and guard them. Often, she can be seen chewing up and spitting out food for them. When danger approaches the fry fly at lightning speed to hide in the mother’s mouth. When the young have been free swimming for about three to four weeks it is OK to remove the female. Sometimes she will eat them if she is ready to spawn again.

Egg Scatterers
This group consist mainly of those fish we call schooling types: Barbs, Danios, Characins, Tetras & Rainbows. They spawn as they school, scattering eggs all over the tank. The females release the eggs haphazardly; the males follow close behind, releasing sperm at the same time. Amazingly, the two meet and the eggs stick to whatever they land on. The eggs are usually eaten as fast as they are laid by the spawners and their tankmates.

To successfully save the eggs, set up another tank with lots of plants (plastic or real) or mops. Larger gravel or marbles on the floor also help to catch the eggs. Put in an air stone and a heater, if needed. Introduce a female only, and condition her on quality foods for a few days. One evening , introduce a male. The next morning they should spawn at sunrise. After a few hours, remove the pair. Cover the tank with dark cardboard or towels. The fry will hatch in three to four days. They are very tiny and are often described as slivers of glass on the walls of the tank. They require specialized food (infusoria, APR, etc.) at this stage. In a week or so, they will take live baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, microworms and such. After two weeks they can take powdered flake foods. Growth will then be more noticeable. Rainbows are in this category, but breeders usually remove the eggs and hatch them like mop spawners.

Mop Spawners
Mainly comprised of Killifish, these fish lay their eggs in mops made of synthetic yarn, or in plants. The goal seams to be to hide the eggs. Included in this group Aphyosemion, Aplocheilus, Epiplatys, Rivukus, Simposonichthys and the previously mentioned Rainbows. What makes these fish different from the egg lay scatterers is that their eggs are harder and larger, and they only lay about 20 -30 a day. Corydoras catfish also seem to fit in this group in method, although they lay many more eggs. Typically, they will attach their eggs to anything in the tank including the mop.

The spawning tank setup is simple enough. Hang several mops, add a sponge filter and a heater if needed. Add a pair of fish. The female will lay the eggs deep in the mop or the plant. The male will then fertilize them. Sometimes they will turn right around and eat them. Another difference with Corydoras is that it is now believed that the female takes the sperm into her mouth and fertilizes the eggs which she is clutching in her pectoral fins, while sticking it on the preferred surface.

You must pick the eggs out of the mop daily and put them in a small container with anti-fungal medication added (methylene blue or acriflavin). Store the eggs in a darker place, at the required temperature. They will incubate for 14-21 days for killies and 7-10 days for rainbows. As the fry hatch, remove them with an eyedropper or pipette to another small container or tank with the correct water parameters and some Java moss or similar floating plants. Some can take live food right away, others need infusoria or APR.

Peat Spawners
This group is made up entirely of Killifish. Cynolebias, Pterolebias, Nothobranchus and Fundulopanchax. These are the fish we hear referred to “true annual” killies. In the wild, they have adapted to life in correlation with the rainy seasons. They hatch, grow and spawn before the next dry season comes along, during which their watery world as they know it dries up and they die. The eggs are able to survive in this drying period. When the next rainy season comes along: life anew.

Set up a 5 gallon tank for a trio of fish. In it should be a bowl that contains about 2″ of peat moss. Some people like a slow bubbling sponge filter and some plants or a mop for the female to hide in. Feed the fish well, but away from the spawning container. The male will display himself above the peat moss. When the female is interested in spawning she will come close. They will seem to dive into the peat, where they will lay a few eggs and fertilize them. This continues several times a daily for many days.

Most breeders collect the peat and give the fish a new batch about once a week. The peat is gently squeezed and placed into some newspaper, lightly covered with a plastic bag overnight. The dried peat is stored in a zipped sandwich bag, in a dark place at a correct temperature.

Here is were you need to consult the charts in the killifish books for temperature and drying /incubation time. It can take anywhere from 2-9 months! And incorrect temperatures can cause poorly developed fry or low hatching rates.

When it is time to hatch the fry, the parents are most likely dead. Wet the peat, then submerge it in a couple inches of water in a plastic shoe box. Cover lightly to shade the eggs. With in a few hours, fry can be seen popping up over the layer of peat. Remove them with a pipette and put into another shoebox with a few inches of water and some peat moss or a floating plant. after about 24 hours, the peat can be re-dried for another two weeks. Try to hatch more fry. This can be repeated 1-2 more times. Feed the fry often and well, paying attention to water quality. Because these fish live such short lives, they grow quickly.

Nest Builders
As the name implies, these fish build a nest in which to lay their eggs. Fish nests are built with bubbles, mostly on the surface of the water using pieces of plants. The male builds the nest. The bubbles stay inflated because of a special mucous he has in his mouth when he blows the bubbles. The nest builders are mainly the labyrinth fished such as Gouramis, Paradise Fish, most Bettas and Hoplosturnum Cats.

Set up a separate spawning tank for the pair. A very slowly bubbling, aged sponge filter should be included to culture infusoria for the future fry. A couple snails will do the same thing, along with lots of floating plants. A heater will be needed. Some plastic plants or mops are helpful for the female to hide in. The key to the set-up is an upside down Styrofoam bowl or something similar, taped to the front of the glass of the tank, right at the surface of the water. There should be some dead air space inside the container.

Put the male into the tank, and do not add the female until he has started a bubble nest and she is ripe with eggs. When all conditions are right, the male will entice the female under the nest. He will wrap his body around hers until she releases a stream of eggs. He releases his sperm at the same time. Then he lets her go. She will remain motionless and sink for a moment or two, but the male will immediately go to work gathering eggs in his mouth and spitting them into the nest. When the female comes to, she will often help. This will continue for several hours. When they are finished spawning, the male will violently drive the female away from the nest. Now is the time to remove her.

The male will guard, fix and add bubbles to the nest for the next three days. When the fry begin to hatch, they will wiggle out of the nest. He will actively catch them and spit them back into place. He should not be fed during these 3-4 days. Otherwise, he might forget his job and begin eating the fry as well.

At the age of 6-8 weeks the fry will begin to develop their labyrinth organs. Covering the tank with plastic wrap or taping the cracks in the glass will keep the air temperature closer to the water temperature and you will lose less fry.

Some exception to the surface bubble nest are seen with the Croaking Gouramis and the Pygmy Gouramis. They build their nests inside a cave, so breeders usually use 2″ PVC tubing pieces for them.

This Overview should be enough to get you interested in spawning some of your favorite fish.

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Breeding Your Goldfish

If you are keen on breeding Goldfish, you should know that it’s not an easy task. It will take a lot of patience, a lot of space in the tank and quite a bit of money too. Don’t get into breeding if you think it’s going to be profitable, because it isn’t! Breeding goldfish is best left to a professional but if you still want to breed them, here’s how to begin:

You would need to plan a year ahead in the months of July or August. If you skip this period then you would find it hard to find a good breeding quality pair of goldfish.

Decide on the breed: You also must decide before hand what variety of goldfish you want to breed. Ideally, if you are a beginner you should decide on breeding a good quality single tail type fish like the comet.

Pair and choose the breeds: You must choose high quality goldfish to breed high quality goldfish. The goldfish you choose should be two-four years. A good quality goldfish would be assessed according to its finnage, body shape, size and color. They should be at least 4-6 inches or larger and very healthy. It’s better to breed with younger fish as the older ones might produce eggs that are deformed and infertile.

The ideal female goldfish would be heavy at the rear, protruding on the left part of her body and her anal area would be soft.
The ideal male goldfish would be a great chaser and there should be signs of his breeding tubercles on his gills and pectoral fins.
Begin with two females and three males. The idea is to have two males for every female.

Time to breed
Here’s the time plan to breed goldfish –

You would need to plan a year ahead in the months of July or August. This is when most breeders sell their surplus fish at cheaper rates. If you skip this period then you would find it hard to find a good breeding quality pair of goldfish.
During the winter you must feed the fish and help them build enough body mass to last the winter and be ready for spawning in the early spring. By October or November, your fish would need less food and this is the time to not only clean the fish but also separate the males from the females.

Cleaning the fish: The solution you need to clean the fish is one measure of Terramycin, 80 drops of Formaldehyde and 6 drops of copper sulphate in four gallons of water. The solution should be at the right temperature and the fish should get enough oxygen to breathe. Allow the goldfish to remain in this solution for 20 minutes and then move them to a separate container of clean water while you prepare a spawning tank.

Make sure you make the new tank a natural spawning area with bushy natural plants, artificial fibers or spawning mops and coconut fibers, all materials that can receive the spawn. Goldfish need such props for spawning.
Size of the spawning tank: You will need at least a tank that can hold 20 gallons of water. If the fish were bigger than you would need a bigger tank.
Now that the fish are clean and the tank is clean too, do not feed the fish anything for the next two months except some amount of live food like insect larvae,worms, and brine shrimp. This preparation will help the females develop healthy and the males, milt that is needed to fertilize the eggs.
If the winters are too cold in your area, you can consider using a heater.
Watch the male goldfish developing breeding tubercles that look like white pimples on their gill covers and the pectoral fins.
Watch the females become rounder body as it fills up with roe or eggs.

How do you spot the spawning moment?

Spawning usually happens in the early morning.
The colors of all the goldfish will look brighter then before.
The fish would group together while swimming.
The males will be chasing the females at random.
Finally the active males zero in on one particular female and chase her more than before.
The chase will intensify with the male getting aggressive and pushing against the female goldfish till she ejects her eggs.
As the eggs are out the male will fertilize them by depositing milt over the eggs.
The eggs will fall through the water, landing on plants. They stay in the same spot till they hatch.
The spawning may begin again after some days of rest.

Point of note: Goldfish eat their eggs. Of the 10,000 eggs that are laid in one spawning session, hardly any will be left if the fish are not removed. So once the eggs are laid, move the parents back to another tank. inversiones en bolsa

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Stumped? The secrets of a Corydoras breeder

Some Corydoras are among the easiest egglayers to breed. Such species include those which have been maintained in captivity for many generations, e.g. C.paleatus and C.anaeus. Even relatively recent arrivals such as C.panda are quite easy, at least in principle.

The basics for breeding Corydoras are:
1. healthy disease-free fish, (with both sexes present!)
2. good diet (preferably including live foods)
3. acceptable water quality

Corydoras panda
In theory, all the above conditions are simple to achieve. In practice, they are also the reason why most spawning attempts fail, and certainly the reason why the pros can often seem to achieve effortless spawnings while others struggle and fail.

Many of the Corydoras offered for sale are not healthy. This is particularly true of many (but by no means all) captive-bred specimens. As has been said so many times, find a fish store which sells healthy fish and stick to it. Even if it’s a little more expensive than other stores in the area, you’ll save money in the long run. Wild caught fish may also have disease problems – I once lost a hundred quids worth of wild C.barbatus due to internal parasitic infections – shh, don’t tell my wife! Parastitic infections are a problem, since scaleless fish such as Corydoras are particularly sensitive to medications such as malachite green. Having said that, I routinely treat wild-caught fish with Waterlife Sterazin (a proprietary anti-parasite medication, which I believe contains malachite green and formalin). Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions!!!

Diet and conditioning are important. Although some Corydoras will spawn on an exclusive diet of dry food, many will not, and even for the former group, the frequency of spawning and the size of the clutch will be much better when the fish are properly conditioned. Live food is also much less polluting than prepared foods, which helps in maintaining good water quality.

Corydoras paleatus
Corydoras paleatus What is acceptable water quality? Again, this depends on which species you are interested in, but I would define it as something like ammonia 0ppm, nitrate 0ppm and nitrate
The bacteriological quality of the water is important, it needs to be relatively clean for Corydoras (this translates as perfectly clear, no strong smell), and so is the cleanliness of the substrate. I breed all my Corydoras in tanks with bare glass bottoms. Over the years, I’ve tried gravel, sand, peat, etc, but bare glass consistently gives me the best results. (I paint the outsides of all my tanks (including the base) black, which helps to avoid the fish getting spooked.) I maintain my Corydoras outside of breeding attempts in tanks with a thin layer (5mm) of fine (2-3mm), smooth gravel, but this is purely cosmetic. Several German fishkeepers keep newly imported Corydoras on soft peat substrates and say important this is in helping them to settle. I’ve experimented with a mixture of fine pale sand (playpit sand) and peat. This looks good in my opinion and the fish seem to like it, but it does trap food and dirt and I can never maintain such good water quality with this substrate as with plain gravel or nothing, so I don’t routinely use it.

There are several reason why Corydoras loose their whiskers (or barbels), another commonly reported problem:

* Gravel which is too sharp or dirty. Rub a sample between your fingers to see if there are sharp edges. Fine rather than coarse gravel is best, although some people like to keep Corydoras on soft substrates such as sand or peat rather than gravel. If you do this, only use a shallow layer.
* Bullying is another common reason why this happens. Some fish such as some barbs, cichlids or tetras nip at the whiskers, which is bad news. Choose tankmates for Corydoras carefully.
* The condition of the whiskers is a good indicator of the general condition of Corydoras. Happy, healthy fish (which you must have if you want them to breed) have long whiskers. Stress of any form (poor water conditions, bullying or disease) frequently results in loss or shortening of the whiskers.

If you fix the problem, the whiskers will regrow, but never to the original length. You often read that Corydoras with short whiskers will not breed. That’s true if the fish are really stressed, but I have successfully bred Corys with short whiskers. In this case, I believe that the reason was genetic rather than environmental. Certainly in dealers tanks, I always look at the condition of the barbels as an indicator of overall health before I buy fish.

So, maybe you have all the basics right, but the fish still won’t spawn – what next? Corydoras take a while to reach full sexual maturity, often several years, so patience is important. Some species are also seasonal spawners, even after several generations of captive breeding. For most species in the wild, spawning occurs in the rainy season, which corresponds to the winter period in the Northern hemisphere. This is the prime time to try for a spawning. However, if attempts to stimulate breeding fail, I usually give up and wait for 4-6 months before trying again – giving the fish longer to mature and trying at a different time of the year.

Another thing to consider is water chemistry. I am distinguishing here between water chemistry and water quality (above), and assuming the latter is OK. While most Corydoras are quite tolerant of a range of water chemistry (e.g. pH 6-8, 50-300°dH), some species, and wild-caught fish in particular are more demanding. Blackwater species such as Corydoras adolfi and its relatives (C.simulans, etc) essentially demand soft, slightly acid conditions. On the other hand, I have sometimes had success when transferring fish which have failed to spawn under these conditions back into my local tapwater (16°dH, 8°KH, pH 7.2). For Corydoras, a change is usually the key to making things happen.

Which brings us to the most important advance in fishbreeding over the last few years, the flood program. This is my standard method for inducing spawning in Corydoras. (For a good description, see Larry Vires excellent article Those Captivating Corydoras Aquarium Fish Magazine, July 1998, p30). My version goes like this:

* 8pm daily: Perform 60-80% waterchange with water a few degrees cooler than the tank. Unplug heater, turn powerhead on. Allow temperature to drift down overnight.
* 8am daily: Turn heater back on, powerhead off.
* If no response after a week or so, try 60-80% waterchanges morning AND evening.
* Important: don’t give up. Larry Vires reports that it took 21 days for Corydoras virginiae to respond to this treatment.

Many Loracid species have been bred with this approach in the 1990s, including many previously considered impossible to spawn. In some cases, breeders attempt to simulate a dry season (high temperatures, low water level, aeration and feeding) for a couple of months, during which water quality is deliberately allowed to fall (don’t take this to extremes!). After this, filtration with fast water flow, frequent waterchanges and heavy feeding are resumed to induce spawning.

Perhaps the most important attribute if you are serious about breeding Silurids is persistence – never give up, they’ll always surprise you! купить квартиру в Киеве

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Breeding Livebearers

Breeder Box or Breeder Net
Breeding Grass
5 or 10 gallon tank for the baby fish or a tank divider that you can use for your main tank.
A pair – 1 female and 1 male

Two of the more popular tropical fish for beginners has to be Guppies and Swordtails. Guppies and Swordtails are livebearers which means that their babies come out swimming. Like most livebearers, there is not much to getting your guppies or swordtail to breed. If you have a male and a female then you will eventually have a pregnant female. The gestation period for livebearers is usually 28 days but can range from 20 to 40 days.

Place the male and female in the same tank together and they will soon mate. You are probably asking, how can I tell when the female is pregnant? When a female guppy is pregnant she will develop a dark triangular shaped gravid spot near her anal vent. This will get larger and darker as the pregnancy progresses. While you are waiting on the female to develop the fry it’s time to make sure you are prepared for the delivery. We use plastic breeder boxes and always have without any problems. A breeder box is a small box plastic box about 4 inches long by 3 inches wide and 4 inches deep. There is a removable “V” shaped trap in it which serves to separate the mother from the babies. When the mother fish has babies they fall through the slot in the “V” into the bottom of the box. After the mother is finished having babies, you can remove the “V” trap so that the babies have more room to grow. Some people have had bad experiences with breeder boxes and now only use a breeding net. It is also a good idea to purchase some real or plastic breeding grass for the top of the aquarium. The breeding grass is just in case the mother gives birth before you have a chance to put her in the breeder box. The young babies instinctively will swim to the top of the aquarium and the breeder grass provides a great hiding place so they won’t get eaten by the bigger fish in your tank.

To feed your new arrivals you can use finely crushed flake food. Using your fingers, you can rub the flakes into a fine powder. Some only feed live foods such as baby brine shrimp. Live foods would definitely be the best way to go, but for most this is simply not feasible. Crushed or powdered flake food will suffice. Try to feed the babies 3 very small meals per day. You will invariably feed too much and the excess food will drop to the bottom of the tank or breeder box. To clean a breeder box we like to take a 3 ft. length of aquarium tubing and a small bucket. Use the tubing as a siphon to clean the bottom of the breeder box. Be careful not to siphon any baby fish.

Try to perform 25% water changes weekly for your baby guppies. This will aid in the optimal growth of your baby tropical fish. After a few weeks in the breeder box your new babies will soon outgrow their home and you will need to move them either to a new tank or your main tank with a divider installed. By 8 weeks old your baby fish will most likely be able to return to the main tank without a divider. However, it really depends on the size of the other inhabitants in your aquarium. Use your best judgement before releasing them into the main tank.

Whether you are going for that one of kind strain or if you simply find small fry swimming in the top of your tank one day after work, please be responsible with your fish. If you have more than you can accomodate you can try trading them or maybe even selling them to a local fish store in your area. Talk to your local pet stores beforehand to see if you can work out some sort of arrangement. You can also use this opportunity to get your friends interested in fish.

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Breeding Rosy Barbs

Rosy Barbs are egg-scatterers. That means the female drops the eggs and the male fertilizes them at the same time. In a community tank the eggs will be quickly eaten — if you are serious about breeding these fish you should set up a small 3-5 gallon tank just for a pair of Rosy Barbs to breed. If you would rather not go through the trouble, then you might want to breed Swordtails. They are a lot easier.

Tank Setup:
A 3 gallon or larger will do for breeding and the raising of fry. There should be lots of plants (fake ones will work also). It is preferable to have an undergravel or sponge filter — if you have a mechanical or biowheel you have two options, or else it will suck the fry up. First, you can cover the intake with something that will not allow fry to pass through. I have heard that pantyhose works well for this. Second, you can turn the filter off. This is not recommended if you don’t have a pump and airstone to create surface agitation (keeps oxygen levels high).
Part or all of the tank bottom should be covered with marbles instead of gravel, as this prevents the parents from eating them.

Water Chemistry:
Ammonia: This must be at 0. It will be if no other fish have been in the tank.
pH: Rosy Barbs are not very sensitive to pH. 6.5-7.5 will be fine, and it might even work outside that range.
Water hardness: Rosy Barbs like soft water.

Introduction of parents:
The parents must be fully matured, and you should have had them in your main tank for a while. The female might look fat (from having lots of eggs in her), and have a pinkish color. This means that she is probably ready to mate. Put her in the tank a few days before you put the male in. This is to allow her to get acclimated to the new tank and water conditions– unlike the male, she won’t breed if under stress.

After one through three days, assuming she is doing fine, add the male. Hopefully they will lay eggs over the next few days, and they will nearly always do it in the morning.

Laying Eggs:
In the morning the male should start chasing the female around the tank. If he can push her against plants and such, then she will lay eggs. The whole breeding process take three hours or so, with 100-300 eggs being laid. Some will be eaten even if you put marbles in the tank– but you really don’t need 300 fry, right?

The eggs are about the size of the period on your keyboard. They are clear. If they become white, they are most likely infertile– there is no need to remove them, though. After a few hours, when it looks like they are done laying, remove the parents.

Hatching:
Okay, now you have got all the eggs safely in their own tank. For the next two or three days, there isn’t much to do. The eggs should hatch from 24-72 hours. The fry will attach themselves to the glass, and won’t swim much at all. You should begin feeding a bit now. Soon, they will become free swimming, and will zip around the tank.

Feeding:
I feed my fry ground up flakes. It does work, although it’s probably better to feed live foods (often not available at pet stores). If you use flakes, use a mortar to grind them up really finely, into a power. Feed as much as you think necessary without overfeeding– use your judgment.

Oh, and when the fry are really tiny (right after they hatch) it will be helpful to add decorations, plants or algae clumps from your main tank. There will be micro-organisims on these things, and the fry will often be able to eat them.

Free-swimming stage:
Most of your worries are over now, if the fry are eating. Fortunately, Rosy Barbs, even as fry, are really hardy. There will most likely be few casualties.

What to do with them:
You probably won’t be able to keep most of your fish once they start getting big. How can you get rid of them? And when? The best way to go about it is to give them to your pet store– they might even give you a bit of money in the form of store credit. You have to decide when to do it, mostly depending upon how well your tank can hold them now. Wait until they are at least half an inch long, though, and preferably bigger. Otherwise, they may not survive the stress of traveling and the new conditions. And, remember to keep some for yourself! cipro user reviews

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Breeding The Corydoras paleatus

At the November 2003 D.R.A.S. auction I bought a bag of six Corydoras paleatus, commonly known in the fish hobby as the “Salt and Pepper Cory”. Unfortunately, at different points in time during the next year, I lost four. Fortunately, the two surviving Corys turned out to be a breeding pair. I didn’t know how old the pair was, but the female was a good 3.5” in length and full bodied. The male was probably two inches. Females are naturally larger than the males and their dorsal fins are a bit more rounded and tapered. The male dorsal fin is steeper and narrower. I kept my pair of Corys in a bare 10 gallon tank with a corner filter. The pH was about 8; the hardness was over 10. Many breeders breed several pairs in one tank to increase chances of success. Since I was left with only one pair, I had to hope they would do well on their own.

My first attempts at breeding these fish occurred in the spring of 2004. I was able to get eggs twice, but none of them developed into anything except clear eggs or fungus filled eggs. I wasn’t sure what my problem was, but I did read that sometimes males may not be sexually mature. The books suggested that the keeper wait for another year.

In April of this year, I tried to breed my Corys again. In the months leading up to the breeding attempts I fed them heavily on baby brine shrimp and Nutra Fin Pellets. I found the live foods to be much better than the manufactured ones. No matter how much brine shrimp I fed they always cleaned it up. With the pellets, there always seemed to be some left over. I always suctioned out the extra to avoid spoilage.

In order to stimulate breeding, I continued heavy feeding and began performing daily water changes of 20-30% in the evenings. I also turned the heater off in the evenings. The usual temperature in the Cory tank was 74 degree F, but it dropped 6-8 degrees overnight. The water changes and temperature decreases supposedly mimiced the conditions of the Cory breeding season where heavy rains bring plentiful food supplies, lots of fresh water, and lower temperatures.

I repeated this pattern and on the fourth day breeding occurred. The courtship ritual is truly unique. The male chases the female vigourously around the tank, mouthing her head whenever he catches up to her. Soon they settle down. The male presents himself to the female and she pushes her head into the male’s ventral area. The theory is that the male is expressing his milt. At this point, the female has several eggs cupped into her ventral fins. Once the “T” encounter is over the female floats to one side, almost as if she is paralyzed, for about 45 seconds. Then, as if she’s awakened from a trance, the female swims in frenzied fashion up and down the sides of the tank, frantically mouthing the glass, searching for a site to deposit her eggs. After a search that lasts anywhere from 45-60 seconds, she presses her pelvis into the glass, laying the adhesive eggs on the sides of the tank. Even during the laying process, the male devotedly follows his mate. Once the eggs are dropped, the pair rest for a brief period of time before repeating the same process again. At the end of the first day of breeding the pair had laid over 260 eggs.

I moved the pair into an adjoining tank to protect the first batch of eggs. The next day I noticed that the pair had filled their second tank with eggs as well. Unfortunately, I did not have any other tanks available. Before I was able to remove the eggs, all but 12 became Corydoras caviar.

On day three I noticed that 22 of the eggs started to darken. On day four, 2 of the eggs had small tails. On day five, there were four small, tad-pole like swimmers moving around the bottom of the tank. By day six 12 of the eggs had hatched, and by the next day I counted 20 fry. Two of the eggs with tails died. Each day through this incubation process I performed 10% water changes. Since the fry swim with a yolk sack I did not feed them the first two days after hatching, but then I began to feed them microworms twice daily. By day 10 some of the fry reached a length of ¼”. The bodies began to become spotty and I could see tiny, hair-like whiskers around the mouth. At this point I lost two more fry. To this day, 18 are still surviving. On day 12 I began feeding baby brine shrimp. On this diet it’s easy to tell when the babies are well fed because they have rounded orange bellies. By day 15 the pectoral fins are developing more distinctly and the fry are very active in their swimming. By 30 days, the fry really look like little copies of their parents. At six weeks, the fry show beautiful colouration with the dark spots contrasting with the lighter background. Many of the young have developed four barbells. Some fry at this point have reached 5/8” of an inch long. As of 8 weeks, all 18 fry are still alive, although there is a noticeable size difference among some of them, with a few much smaller than the others. I wonder if this is an early indication of gender differences.

The Corydoras paleatus is a good fish for beginners. If you can replicate their spawning triggers, they’ll probably reward you with fry.

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Breeding Swordtails

Swordtails are very easy fish to breed. They are livebearers, and the fry (baby fish) come out large enough to eat ground flake foods.

Breeding:
Swordtails will breed under almost any regular conditions. Often, the females you buy at the pet store are already pregnant. Usually, no special setup is required to get Swordtails to breed. Midway through pregnancy, the female will get a dark spot on her tummy called a “gravid spot.” This is a good indicator to look for when checking if the female is pregnant. The best indicator, however, is the size of the pregnant female’s tummy.

Tank Setup:
It is not necessary to get a separate tank as the fry will probably survive the few hours before you notice them. As long as your tank does not have any huge or aggressive fish in it you can leave the pregnant mother in the community tank. Plants and other hiding places will help the fry stay safe.

Birth and handling of fry:
The female will usually give birth in the early morning. A day or two before giving birth, a female’s tummy will look almost squarish. Depending on the size of the female, there can be 5-50 fry born. How can you protect the fry from the other fish, including the parents who will try to eat them? The best option is to get a breeding net. They can be bought at pet stores and you hang the net in your tank. This way the fry will be safe from the adult fish, get their own finely ground food, and the water quality will be as good as in your main tank.

Be sure to let them out once they are big enough to avoid being eaten — if they are kept in the net too long their growth will be stunted.

If there are lots of hiding places, few fish, and no very large fish, then you might not need to provide a breeding net– the fry might survive by themselves in the tank. Be prepared for losses, however, and doing this is somewhat risky.

The female:
It is extremely stressful for livebearers to give birth and the female often dies afterwards. To avoid this, don’t keep aggressive fish with her and provide lots of hiding places.

Raising the fry:
Feed finely ground flake foods. Swordtails are somewhat fragile, and will likely get diseases– expect losses. Once males start developing their tails, any older males you have will get into fights with them. If you have too many fry, lots of pet stores will accept them when they are mostly grown. virgin media customer services contact

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