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Apisto Borreli Opal had fry. What do I do?

Samala

Member
The floating plants are Amazon frogbit. I've never used it before but it's been a perfect refuge for the smaller fry when any bickering occurs. The roots are great cover.

I'm not sure how I'll separate! I added another 40 leaves: pin oak, live oak, magnolia. Have some spider wood on order to help break up and define space more. There were already lots of caves.

I'm going to feed in a more dispersed area over next few days and see if that helps. Sparring mostly during feeding time it seems.

This species is hard to come by currently in my area. LFS will surely take them. The challenge seems to be getting them well past an inch (size I think they'll need to be) before the next group is ready.

Currently doing 80% water changes every day and keeping TDS at 100. Now if they would just consistently eat some earthworm flake or fluval bug bite crumbles...:rolleyes:

Have your little guys been eating the non-live foods? Is the pen working out well?
 

Sordbodan

Member
I’ll look up Amazon frog bit. My Gouramis are trying to make bubble nests; not an easy feat without any floating vegetation. I used to have Sylvania but they multiplied way too fast so I got rid of them.

Hopefully the leaves you got will work. Fast growing stems may also do the job. You can plant them very densely to give the fish refuge.

Have you considered selling them directly? You may be able to move them earlier. I bought mine directly from a local hobbyist. They were 5 months old and about 3/4”. They reached one inch at about 6 months.

I have been feeding them Hikkari first bites since week one. No idea if they eat it. They must though since that is all I had for the first week. The pen is working out great. Mainly because it is much easier to feed them and also no water changes - there is sufficient water exchange to keep the parameters the same as the main tank. They have become super fast and I do worry that they will soon be able to jump out of the pen - the walls are only 3/4” high above water. I’ll put a mesh lid on shortly.

All my tanks (I have 3) have a Ph of 6.2, Kh of 0, nitrates 10 to 20 and TDS of 150-200. The Ph and Kh are due to ADA aqua soil. I use ro water mineralized with Equilibrium. I do automated 7% water change every day. I also dose Seachem fertilizers. It seems to be keeping the fish happy. I plan to consolidate the 3 tanks into one bigger tank soon. I do not enjoy maintaining 3 separate filters, hoses, feedings, etc. But I have had a blast with raising the fry. It kind of took me back to how much I loved trying to keep all manner of critters when I was a boy.
 

Samala

Member
Sounds like we have very similar routines and tank parameters! Well.. minus the daily fry water changes slowly driving me crazy.

The frogbit is a gem, get some if you can. Soaks up every bit of N available it seems. (I have to dose KNO3 to get Rotala to stay green in the same tank.) If it's doing well everything else is too for the plants. My sparkling gouramis love the frogbit.

Tempted to try the pen with the latest batch of free swimming fry. But they're awful cute with mama watching over them. ☺️

Agreed on a larger tank. 40gal, 20gal, and 5gal is madness for me. Much rather have a larger setup and let borellii build a colony. Although seems I'll have survivors no matter what in a heavily planted tank. Found a 1"+ juvenile in the 40gal today that must be from June or July before I started feeding fry..... Little guys can't be stopped!
 

Sordbodan

Member
If your fry are surviving in the tank with their mother, there is no reason to separate them, except unless that is the tank that requires the daily 80% water changes. Also, very easy to direct feed them-in the pen. It does require daily siphoning of the leftover food though. I do it with a turkey baster. Takes 5 mins. In my case with the 2 broods, none survived with their mother. So I am glad I did the pen. I wish I had removed more of them. Once they reach a little bigger than 1/2”, I’ll be moving them out of the pen and into the 20 gallon (currently the pen is in my 40 gallon). The 20 gallon only has cories so I expect the fry to be ok with the cories at that size. The Cory benefit is that I won’t have to siphon the leftovers since the cories manage that very well.
 

Sordbodan

Member
I put in some CRS shrimp; I don’t have any snails. However, they didn’t make much of a difference. I suspect that says as to how much I have been over feeding them. So I cut back.
 

Samala

Member
Honestly I don't know if the MTS cleanup anything as I never see them eat microworms, BBS, or flake I put in. However.. definitely have more baby snails lately. Must be pigging out on something.

Borellii_10302020.jpg

One week free-swimmers, about 25 total. Starting to test her limits and scoot wherever they please! Poor thing, she spends all day chasing them down and trying to corral them into the dwarf Sagittaria.
 

anewbie

Active Member
Gotta tell you krib frys are much better behaved. Parents tell them to go there - and they go there and stay there until parent sez otherwise ;)


Honestly I don't know if the MTS cleanup anything as I never see them eat microworms, BBS, or flake I put in. However.. definitely have more baby snails lately. Must be pigging out on something.

View attachment 9581
One week free-swimmers, about 25 total. Starting to test her limits and scoot wherever they please! Poor thing, she spends all day chasing them down and trying to corral them into the dwarf Sagittaria.
 

Sordbodan

Member
That has been my experience with smaller snails as well. Nerite do an awesome job of cleaning algae. Mystery snails will eat anything but are way too big and was afraid he would hurt the fry.

Nice picture by the way. That size fry are so difficult to get to show up - you captured them well. Also, the mother has great colouring. Are they the only fish in this tank? Is the dad still in there?
 

Samala

Member
Yep, the male is in the tank. He mostly patrols the edge of female's territory or chases the pencil fish when she is looking. Swear he's trying to look helpful. Gives female a wide berth and she is very insistent he's 12"+ from the fry. Quite a shame since I've seen him bring a stray fry back to the nest for the thanks of a tail swipe to the face! I think he'd care for fry given the chance.

Other tank mates are MTS, some green hydra that won't leave, Nannostomus beckfordi (a foursome of females) and two juvenile female borellii (both about 1") that I just can't catch. Well pretty sure they are female, they're very yellow in color. They RUN for cover every time I see them.

Mama's color and personality remind me of an angry queen bee. She definitely runs the tank. :D

I do wish I had your macro lens! You must post more photos soon.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Yep, the male is in the tank. He mostly patrols the edge of female's territory or chases the pencil fish when she is looking. Swear he's trying to look helpful. Gives female a wide berth and she is very insistent he's 12"+ from the fry. Quite a shame since I've seen him bring a stray fry back to the nest for the thanks of a tail swipe to the face! I think he'd care for fry given the chance.

Other tank mates are MTS, some green hydra that won't leave, Nannostomus beckfordi (a foursome of females) and two juvenile female borellii (both about 1") that I just can't catch. Well pretty sure they are female, they're very yellow in color. They RUN for cover every time I see them.

Mama's color and personality remind me of an angry queen bee. She definitely runs the tank. :D

I do wish I had your macro lens! You must post more photos soon.
I have been away for a little while, while I search for larger tank to consolidate my tanks. Finding one that I can affor and also doesn’t look like it belongs in the garage (my aquariums are in our rec room) has been a challenge. One thing I found out is that this is a terrible time to buy a large aquarium. The hobby is growing thanks to COVID and supply lines have been interrupted. As a result the prices are going through the roof - and most tanks are on back order for months. Anyway enough of the rant.

Back to my apisto babies. It has been almost 6 weeks now. I started out with 6. 4 are still alive and healthy. Given that when they hatched I knew nothing about raising fry, this has been one of the most satisfying and proud moments for me in this hobby - let’s hope I don’t jinx myself. At this point they are large enough that I can even shoot them with my iPhone camera. Here are a few things I learned:

1 - The brine shrimp blender is awesome. It works extremely well, has several stand options - can use the stand that came with it and the handle can be used to hang it on a wall instead. Place for a heater, thermometer (included). The volume is fantastic. I had poor hatch rates at first. Increased the air volume and that solved it. My hatch rates are through the roof now. One thing I’d improve would be to provide a longer drain spout - tough am looking at adding a hose to the spout to address that.
2 - The fry ring (‘the pen") is not perfect. Two problems are that because the mesh is so fine, the food accumulates at the bottom. The only thing that escapes are the micro-worms. Plus, the leftover food gets embedded into the mesh, and thus can’t simply use a baster to remove it. Instead I have to gently scrape the bottom then suction the leftovers. Also, because it is in my planted tank which has high light, there is algae on the mesh - leftover food and high light is the perfect recipe for algae. Once again, the algae is embedded in the mesh, so no way to really get it out until the fry are moved. It does works superbly for three things though. It contains the food in a small area so the small fry can find it; water readily diffuses from the main tank so the water parameters are excellent (and I don’t expect bacteria problems); the temp is maintained at the tank temperature.
I recently watched the following video about the setup of an experienced breeder:
. He essentially built the equivalent of the Hagen Marina @Mike Wise suggested. But unlike the hang on concept, he floated them in the tank ensuring the temperature is at the main tank level and added pump based flow to increase the flow. I think my next fry pen is going to be the Hagen Marina with a pump providing greater flow to ensure water cleanliness. One thing I am not sure about is the temperature, but I’ll try the set up prior to having fry.

3 - I feed them 2-3 times a day. They are definitely eating dry foods. I have seen them lunge at Hakari Fry starter. I had suspected as much; the first week of their life that’s all they got until I could get set up. I’ll still feed brine shrimp and micro worms until they are adults. In fact I discovered that the adult fish love brine shrimp as well. I put them into my main tanks and everyone ate them. My honey gouramis keep hunting them for up to 30 minutes after I put brine shrimp into their tank.

My next step is to figure out how to set up a grow out tank. They are now getting big enough that the pen is not going to be enough. But I can’t let them loose in a 20 gallon planted tank yet - making sure they readily find their food is still a priority I am guessing. Perhaps I’ll get one of the floating breeder boxes that @newbie suggested - I just don’t feel like maintaining my hospital tank - I find 2 too many already.

I’ll conclude with the weekly shots - this time by my iPhone and the quality definitely suffers. Note that they are now almost as big as my shrimp.
B9222DF6-6CE0-4A35-B68B-B15C469336A2.jpeg


92251DDC-3B5B-4140-A154-D96E385A8617.jpeg
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
The only thing that escapes are the micro-worms. Plus, the leftover food gets embedded into the mesh, and thus can’t simply use a baster to remove it. Instead I have to gently scrape the bottom then suction the leftovers. Also, because it is in my planted tank which has high light, there is algae on the mesh - leftover food and high light is the perfect recipe for algae. Once again, the algae is embedded in the mesh, so no way to really get it out until the fry are moved.
You just need to add a snail, either MTS (Malaysian Trumpet Snail) or a Red Ramshorn. There are other "fry janitors" that work (Asellus or your Shrimp), but they aren't as good as snails.

I've found the best combination is some leaf litter, Snails and Asellus.

cheers Darrel
 

Samala

Member
Fry look very robust! Seem much bigger than my batches at that age too.

You've done very well, I think, to raise the current four without any prior experience. :)
 

Sordbodan

Member
Hi all,

You just need to add a snail, either MTS (Malaysian Trumpet Snail) or a Red Ramshorn. There are other "fry janitors" that work (Asellus or your Shrimp), but they aren't as good as snails.

I've found the best combination is some leaf litter, Snails and Asellus.

cheers Darrel
Ok, I’ll try it Darrel - I like experimenting. I’ll grab couple of rams horn and see how that works. MTS would probably not do well since they like to bury themselves in the substrate and there is no substrate in the pen.

Why the leaf litter? I already have aqua soil that keeps the PH at 6.2. Is it because of the anti-bacterial properties?
 
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Sordbodan

Member
Fry look very robust! Seem much bigger than my batches at that age too.

You've done very well, I think, to raise the current four without any prior experience.:)
You are very kind. I am proud of the 4 - but pales in comparison with the dozens you are rearing. I’ll do my best to follow in your foot steps.:) How are your fry doing?
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,

Why the leaf litter? I already have aqua soil that keeps the PH at 6.2. Is it because of the anti-bacterial properties?
Yes I like oak leaves, for their anti-microbial properties, it makes sure that the Asellus & MTS have some cover, and allows the fry to hide from one another. Should have also said I'm a great moss fan.

cheers Darrel
 

Samala

Member
You are very kind. I am proud of the 4 - but pales in comparison with the dozens you are rearing. I’ll do my best to follow in your foot steps.:) How are your fry doing?
Not at all! I've had many fry from angelfish, rams, discus, A. cf eunotus, and a bunch of other cichlids in the past. Definitely had my failures and just lucky with a good pair and a very good female.

The juveniles are growing SO slowly.. we lost one and I'm not sure why. No external physical issues noted and water perfect. Attempted a necropsy but these little guys are so small it's not really feasible without a scope and better equipment.

The biggest fry is very close to 1" and very much the boss of the fry tank. I worry about aggression. The leaves recommended definitely help give them more cover and territory. He's eating enriched adult brine shrimp and mysis like it's his job.

The latest batch is still with mama and doing well. Trying to feed them 4-5 times a day but smaller amounts. Seem to be growing faster.

Keep the updates coming!
 
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Samala

Member
One more thing: Have you checked your filter and/or around the tank for any strays? My main tank is a jungle and yours also looks heavily planted. You might be surprised!

I literally found another juvenile this morning in the filter overflow box/refugia. Haven't cleaned it properly for 2 months. About 3/4". Tough little thing!
 

Sordbodan

Member
Wow, it must have been awesome fun rearing all those fish. Sorry for your loss. And very adventurous of you to attempt a necropsy. I do have a microscope but even then, the type of tools you’d need to operate on that size a fish would be difficult to obtain and expensive I’d imagine. If there is one thing I learned over the years keeping fish is that they are very fragile - and seem to die for no reason at all. Sometimes it is my fault - I once killed a poor little betta by using ammonia removing resin in the filter thinking it was Seachem matrix like bio media. At first things went well. But once the resin filled up, ammonia started leaching out. I’d change the water and the next day ammonia was up again, released by the overloaded resin of course. I was flummoxed. Poor thing died of fin rot. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was too late - no effective medications in Canada- only natural herbal remedies are available without a vet prescription. But most of the time, there is nothing I can point at to explain the death. I guess we learn to let nature take its course (as artificial as it is in a tank).

‘Unfortunately there are no fry in the main tank that I can see - I’d be surprised, frankly. By the way, I did get a hang-on pen to move the fry to - I couldn’t find the floating kind in stock. This will increase their swimming space from 300ml (‘smaller than a can of coke) to almost 2 litres (0.6 gallons). I hope that should cover their next 2-3 months, before I release them into the 20 gallon tank.
 

Sordbodan

Member
After a two week hiatus, some changes. At the end of week 8, all four fry are still doing well. However, they are much bigger. More importantly, they have a new home:

9414093B-BDED-44BA-A39D-6A6CFF689157.jpeg

The old pen was too small at this point. And also getting covered in algae:

9782CD19-2AC4-4496-8D93-ABD535498F1A.jpeg

These pens are useful mainly in low light tanks. In my high light one it was becoming a challenge. I’ll definitely use it again, but have to come up with a lid.

The fry are so big now that the iPhone works fine. In this picture I believe one is a male and the other a female.
69BC5D1D-FD4D-4A5E-9846-AA9E1164CAC5.jpeg

The below two I think are both females but one may be a male. We’ll see:


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