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Apisto Borreli Opal had fry. What do I do?

Sordbodan

Member
The fry have become large enough now that I can take a picture with the macro lens without going right up to them. Here is one. I believe the orange belly is an indication that they snacked on the brine shrimp, but I am not 100% sure since the angle is not right:

90FB07F1-E1A7-4C5C-9130-A4EC123D305C_1_201_a.jpeg
 

Sordbodan

Member
Two week update:

Hard to believe it has already been 2 weeks since I noticed them. I had no idea what to do at that time. I feel a little more confident now, but still lots to learn. Most importantly, my fumbling around seems to be working (fingers crossed) since there are still live fry.

First the good news: there are actually 4 fry, not 3 as I had originally thought. They now like to hide in the moss - so hard to see them readily. And they seem to be growing nicely (are the orange dots in its stomach food?):

BDA837AB-307D-4522-A7C6-9D1D1912B6B2_1_201_a.jpeg


I am maintaining my daily routine. Every morning I use a turkey baster to suck out all the uneaten food at the bottom of the tank - the reason I left it bare bottom. I then do a 20% water change - I get the new water from the main tank, making sure that the parameters remain in line with the main tank. I feed them 3 to 4 times a day, a mix of brine shrimp, microforms and Hakari First bites.

Couple of changes are upcoming to some of my equipment - my stirrer is unhappy about being on 24/7 - that is not what it was designed for. Now that it looks like I am in it for the long run, I ordered a brine shrimp hatchery. I couldn't get the one @anewbie recommended - the shipping charges to Canada were exorbitant and when I reached out to them via email (a couple fo times) as to whether there was any other shipping arrangements that could be done - or whether they had any shops thy dealt with in Canada - they never responded. I reached out to an LFS nearby (Angelfins.ca), a husband and wife run shop. She is from Central Europe and they import European stuff that is not readily available elsewhere. Sure enough, she had some German hatchery equipment available so I ordered it. I'll do a post on it once I receive it. Here is a link to it: https://angelfins.ca/index.php?main...ucts_id=4177&zenid=81fr2he686vrd41b8luukqu2t7.

I also ordered a fry holding pen. Keeping them in the hospital tank has a major disadvantage. It is very hard to target feed them over such a large volume and surface area of water. So I keep on WAY overfeeding the tank, which then requires me to spend 15 mins every morning siphoning off the uneaten food - which would quickly mould the water if I let it there. The new holding pen will allow me to keep them confined in the main tank, also eliminating the need for water changes. I'll also do a post on this as well. Here is a link to that: https://angelfins.ca/index.php?main...ucts_id=3867&zenid=81fr2he686vrd41b8luukqu2t7.

If you have any thoughts on either equipment please comment - I am particularly not sure whether the in tank fry pen presents any potential problems I am failing to foresee.

That's It. Thanks for reading everyone, and thanks for all your help. Such a great forum with fantastic people. Also, I am thinking of turning this into a Journal of my experience in the hopes that it helps other beginners in the future. Does anyone know how to change the title?
 

anewbie

Member
One suggestion - given that there are only 4 frys is to try to not over feed them. It is the quick decay of uneaten food that is most dangerous to them at this stage.
 

Sordbodan

Member
One suggestion - given that there are only 4 frys is to try to not over feed them. It is the quick decay of uneaten food that is most dangerous to them at this stage.
Thanks and agreed. It is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand I don't want them to starve. On the other hand I don't the water to foul up. That is why I am looking into the fry pen idea and doing ton of cleanup in the meantime. Perhaps I'll reduce the feeding to 3 times a day (from 4) since what I am guessing you are saying is that they are better able to find food now.
 

anewbie

Member
No. It isn't the number of times you feed them - it is the little bits of food they don't eat will decay fairly quickly even if you are trying to clean.

Thanks and agreed. It is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand I don't want them to starve. On the other hand I don't the water to foul up. That is why I am looking into the fry pen idea and doing ton of cleanup in the meantime. Perhaps I'll reduce the feeding to 3 times a day (from 4) since what I am guessing you are saying is that they are better able to find food now.
 

Sordbodan

Member
No. It isn't the number of times you feed them - it is the little bits of food they don't eat will decay fairly quickly even if you are trying to clean.
So perhaps I’ll start siphoning out the uneaten food before feeding them each time, rather than once a day. I jest don’t see how I can reduce the amount of food given that it is impossible to target feed them.
 

Sordbodan

Member
One quick question. After the brine shrimp hatch, what should I do with the ones I don’t immediately feed to the fry? Currently, I keep them in the hatchery, with the bubbler and heater for another 24 hours and feed from that periodically. I have seen some people mention that they should be put in a flat, wide dish and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. If I do that, will they still remain alive?
Thanks.
 

Samala

Member
A fry pen might work, but I'd be more inclined to keep them in their own tank. Fry pens generally have plastic grates or net that are large enough to let BBS microworms and even fry through.

If your tank inhabitants ate the fry in the main tank they might learn to attack the sides of the pen. Particularly if a net pen. That could be stressful for the fry even if they can't be eaten.

I'd drop the hikari bites until they're a few more weeks old and try to feed the live food at smaller portions more frequently if possible. Turn off the filter to feed and use a pipet to target the little guys. Turn filter back on once they've hunted down most.

I also use Malaysian trumpet snails as cleanup crew.

You've done very well to get them this far! The macro photos are lovely.
 

anewbie

Member
I have several of those; if the fry were to go to the top they could get out via the grid but you can put some filter floss over it to help reduce the chance. What i also found worked well with my angel frys was this item:

ZISS EZ Breeder Box BL-3

Once the frys are large enough not to slip through the bottom - this has a rigid screening that will protect the fry from fishes in the tank but allow uneaten food to slip out. The negative is that it is not small - it fit in my 29 fine but still larger than i would like for a small amount of frys. I used a small marina box (linked above - there are three sizes) on 2 cory frys but it doesn't quite keep the water as clean and the food collects on the plastic bottom so there are the negatives.

I suggest you look at a Hagen Marina hag on holding/breeder box: http://usa.hagen.com/Aquatic/Misc.-Accessories/Breeders--Salt--Silicone/10943. If you decide to get one just make sure the outflow grid is small enough to keep the fry in.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. First of all @anewbie saved the fry. I was actually not testing the hospital tank and assuming my cleaning and water change routine was working. I tested it this morning spurred on by @anewbie’s comments ... and the results were horrific. Ammonia and nitrites were through the roof. I am surprised the fry were still alive. I feel utterly shocked. It would have been awful to loose them after all that effort. I did 2 back to back 90% water changes and the parameters are fine now.

I’ll definitely need the pen when it comes in tomorrow. It is a Ziss brand as well, but a smaller floating version of the one @anewbie mentions above. Hopefully that will resolve the water parameter issue going forward.

@Samala, I don’t believe the fry would be in danger from the tank mates since it is a solid acrylic tube with a metal mesh at the bottom. I’ll provide them with moss to give them cover. I’ll however, definitely make vigilant observation.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Hi all, I always put a "tank janitor" in with eggs and fry, usually <"Asellus and Malaysian Trumpet Snails">, but you can use Red Cherry Shrimps and <"Red Ramshorn snails"> etc.

cheers Darrel
Great idea. I think I’ll add a Crystal Red Shrimp to the pen. My parameters are suitable for CRS - very low buffered KH and 6.0 Ph, thanks to the Aquasoil and the fact that I use RODI mineralized with Seachem Equilibrium. Cherry shrimp would not survive. And it happens that I have a 7 gallon tank where the CRS population is exploding.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Here is their new home in the main tank. They are much easier to feed now:

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Here they are in their new home (at least 3 of them). Based on the colouring I seem to have 2 boys and 1 girl (the fourth one was elsewhere in the pen). I can see 2 of them looking very blue compared to the third one in the picture (the leftmost one) which looks more yellow. Or are my eyes playing tricks?
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I'll post a video review of the pen over the weekend.
 

Samala

Member
My eight week olds also seem to have a few more yellow and a few more blue. All the biggest fry look blue-ish and have started sparring / quarrelling with each other over last two weeks.

I'm not sure how old they are before sex is solidified but thought it was not set for sure until >6 weeks.

Do let us know how the pen works out. Am curious if they will grow faster in this environment versus a smaller tank with larger and more frequent water changes (my approach currently).
 

Sordbodan

Member
@Samala. How many fry do you have? Do you have pictures? Sorry if I missed your thread. Not sure how I'll be able to tell whether they are growing faster or slower. I guess they have been growing like gangbusters till now, so I'll keep an eye out for that.

It is week 3 - and they are so much bigger. I no longer confuse them with debris:

5D98ABFE-C698-4688-8AC5-B5D5ED1DC5B5.jpeg

Though everything I have read state, like @Samala, that the sex is not determined until at least till six weeks, I still think there is a clear difference in coloration. Note the patterning on this one:

64C71DF1-89ED-4C75-B2D1-3C87ACA62847.jpeg


I now feed them 3 times a day. Once with brine shrimp, over which they go crazy, once with microworms and once with hikarri, neither of which they really respond to (though they must be eating them because for the first week I had no brine shrimp).

I did not get to finish my videos of the pen and new brine shrimp hatchery. I'll try to do it this weekend.
 

Samala

Member
Yes, they look like proper little cichlids now! It's amazing how quickly they can put on size.

I have ten from an August spawn in their own tank. About another ten from September and a new batch of wigglers with mama, hatched yesterday. The September bunch are in the main tank so the count is likely off. Will work on some photos of the August juvies, they should have decided sex by now and perhaps we can compare.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Great job with all the spawnings. It sounds like your Apistos are really healthy and happy. Look forward to the photos.
 

Samala

Member
So nice of you to say! I think I got lucky with the borellii pair. Having wanted some since I was a kid may have helped as now I am swimming in them. ;) It took forever to get decent shots. These are the oldest fry from August. Smallest at 1/2" TL and largest at least 5/8".

Borellii_10222020.jpg

1: Presumed female (more yellow, smallest fry, most docile).

Borellii_BY_10222020.jpg

2: Presume left male (blue) and right female (same fish from photo 1) based on behavior, size, apparent color. (She looks bigger but she's in the foreground.)

Borelli_Spar_10222020.jpg

3: Presumed males, both largest fry, also feistiest. Sparring here (may be able to see puffed up gills) and likely need to be separated soon. Caught them locking jaws today. :eek: Adding a TON of Rotala and leaves tonight.

Family_10222020.jpg

4: Seven of the August batch shown. Best family portrait we could muster. Range of colors here that are true to life and not effect of light/shadow. Certainly seem to be 3 more yellow and 4 more blue. Anticipate a male heavy ratio in this batch (temp 77-80F first 8 weeks of life).
 

Sordbodan

Member
Awesome pictures. The fry look great. You have clearly taken really good care of them. Nice tank as well. What are the floating plants? They have cool roots - bettas and gouramis would really appreciate them.

Scary to hear about the sparring. I hadn’t realized fighting starts that early. I’ll have to make housing plans soon. How do you plan on separating them? Do you have other tanks you can add them to? I noticed that these guys are feisty - even the females. I actually have 2 females. I had moved the second one into another tank since the bigger female picked on her. I always thought the small one was really timid. Until I put a pair of honey gouramis into her tank. She shadowed and chased them around relentlessly - and she is a third of their size. I have a video of that I’ll post. So I moved her back into main tank hoping the two will get along now that they are not spawning. The sparring is less but the bigger one chases her if she ever sees her. At this point I consider it to be maintaining pecking order and leave it be.

As for determining the sexes, the colouring is very clear on yours. I am embarrassed to say that my color differences were due to the white balance on my camera. I have an Olympus I used, and it clearly seems to do some processing in the background. Now that they are big enough to shoot with my iPhone, there is clearly no difference in colouring. They are all very transparent. I’ll have to learn how to use my camera better :)

What do you intend to do with yours when they grow up? Are you planning to sell them - I am presuming you’ll not want 20 adult apistos. Are they readily available in your area? They are rare (and pricey) in Toronto and when local hobbyists make them available, it is always welcome.
 
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