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Is Fry Death Normal?

Hi guys,

Once again I have a 33G Long tank, with three female Borellii's, what started as 60 fry and 3 amano shrimp. The fry are coming to around 3-4 weeks old now, depending on which female we're talking about. However, Ive noticed that every 1-3 days I'll find a dead fry or two. Is this normal? I am feeding them 2-3 times a day. Usually at around 3pm, 8pm and 11pm. I hatch bbs everyday and feed them only that, while I feed the mom blood worms and/or frozen brine shrimp as well. I change the water once every 3-5 days since its such a large tank, I figured I didnt need to do a daily change. Im down to about 30 ish which I find a complete bummer since I wanted to grow out all 100% of them. Just wondering if fry dying here and there after 3-4 weeks is normal?

And oh my god do these fry grow slow. I know that Borellii are the slowest growing Apistos species... but damn.
 
I just found another one that was on deaths door. It was able to scurry away when poked but thats about it. Ive noticed that the dead fry seem to turn whiteish colour on the inside of their bodies near the top and back where the tail is... any clues? Ive attached a photo but dont know if it'll help. The fish in the picture had literally JUST died.
IMG_20200303_143804593.jpg
 
I just thought about it some more. I have NOT been rinsing the brine shrimp and just using the salt water they were hatched in when feeding. Would this cause death to fry? If it did, shouldnt they all have died week one? maybe over exposure to salt? any help would greatly be appreciated
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

In my experience, that saltwater raises conductivity quite fast. And I don´t think the metabolic waste from the shrimp helps either if you want to maintain some level of water quality. Just my 2 cents.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I have to agree. I have a small bucket of water next to my hatcheries. After I siphon the bbs from the hatchery into a brine shrimp net, I rest the net in the bucket for a few minutes. Then I invert the net over a small cup and rinse the bbs into the cup using dechlorinated fresh water. As for fry losses, well few of us get 100% survival or even 90%. But regular, consistent losses means something is wrong in the tank. You could be over-feeding or water management is insufficient for the number of fish in the tank. It could even be stress from overpopulation and not enough hiding places. If I had this problem I'd cut back on the quantity of food (not necessarily the number of times) and increase water change with water with the same water values. I'd also drop in a lot of pieces of ½"/1.25cm diameter PVC pipe for additional hiding places.
 
Hmmm. I didnt know the fry can be over fed. Definitely doing that.... yikes. I see people dumping like millions of bbs in their tank and thought "well at least Im not doing that" but I guess im still over feeding. Thanks !
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Just remember - what the fish don't eat dies and rots (water pollution). My opinion is that it is better to under feed each time and feed more often.
 
oh, I thought you meant over feed as in they eat themselves to death lol. Okay I dont think I feed enough to over pollute since its such a large tank. Will definitely up the water changes however to every 3 days instead of 3-5. Sometimes I see the females nipping their own fry. Dunno why. Maybe they are getting too big. I see groups of fry that dont even stay with mom anymore and made their own group and have their own territory within the tank. Cool Behaviour.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Your tank isn't that large. Think of it this way. You have 1 Oscar in a 55 gallon/1 m tank. It weighs 1 lb/0.5 Kg. It is fine in this tank. Now put in the same weight of Neon Tetras (~1,000?). Each fish is putting out waste. What do you think will happen to the tank?

If the females are driving off their fry and the fry are no longer following their mother, then it is time to remove them.
 
Your tank isn't that large. Think of it this way. You have 1 Oscar in a 55 gallon/1 m tank. It weighs 1 lb/0.5 Kg. It is fine in this tank. Now put in the same weight of Neon Tetras (~1,000?). Each fish is putting out waste. What do you think will happen to the tank?

If the females are driving off their fry and the fry are no longer following their mother, then it is time to remove them.
LOL, Im laughing at the thought of 1000 Neon Tetras in a tank. That would be madness. Thanks for the tips as always Mike.
I just need to be clear however. It seems that the fry seem to follow a different female everyday. I have fry that are out on their own or are being chased away and fry that are 7-10 days smaller due to a later hatch. The females are okay with those still hanging around them. Im afraid to move the fry into the only other tank I have because its a community tank and I think they will be eaten, since they are still small compared to the community tank fish, so my only option is to move the females. However if I move the females, wont it be hard to feed each individual fry in a 33 Long? They will be so hard to find.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I see your problem. You don't have enough tanks! Seriously, you don't. It appears that your females are stealing each others' fry - which in not unusual for A. borellii females. Larger juveniles are being being drive away for 2 possible (or both) reasons: the females are protecting their more recent fry from the older juveniles or the females are ready to breed again and don't want older offspring near their breeding territory. I have that problem right now with a spawn of A. sp. (affin. luelingi) Cristal. Mom has forced them and their father to the opposite side of the tank. Fortunately I have several extra grow-out tanks that I can move them into.
 
Oh boy. I dont think im going to be able to convince the boss (aka wife) to get another tank. I guess Im going to leave the fry in there and hope that the females dont kill them. The males are back in the community tank so that should slow down their need to breed? I have a shrimp tank that I guess I could put the fry into and its a 10G tank. Its just that the water parameters arent a perfect match and I wouldnt want to stress the fry out. Good news is the Fry at this point are large enough to not be eaten by the females. They are also pretty agile. Hopefully in a 4 foot long tank they can all find some space.
 

Ben Rhau

Member
I've been thinking about this question: What's the minimum number of tanks for my trio if I'd like to grow out some of the fry? Currently, just having just a single 20 long doesn't seem sufficient. If one of the females isn't ready to breed, she's harassed by both the male and the breeding female. The breeding female can get stressed and eat the fry. So I'm thinking of adding a 15G to be a quarantine tank sometimes, but also to relocate some combination of this trio during times of conflict (for example just the male or breeding female + fry). Probably simplest in the future to just keep one pair, two tanks.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Anyone seriously interested in producing full broods of apistos needs several tanks. I always recommend any aquarist to have a quarantine/hospital tank, so that's 1. A breeding tank is 2 - or more if you need to remove one or more of the breeding tank's inhabitants. Then you will need a grow-out tank where you can remove the fry once the breeding tank gets too crowded for them all, or the parents decide to breed again. If you plan having trios, where both females might produce fry at different times, then you will need at least 2 grow-out tanks.

I don't breed for quantity or for sale. Most of my fish are gifts to aquarium clubs where I speak. It helps defray their costs for having me there. Others are traded for other fish I want or to the local aquarium club auctions. I also try to not 'over-breed' a pair/trio. One or two spawns every 6 months is fine with me.
 

Ben Rhau

Member
Yes, I am not trying to scale as a serious breeder. I am aiming for small quantity to either trade with my LFS or give away. How do you prevent them from breeding every month? By separating?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
How do you prevent them from breeding every month? By separating?
It depends on the species. My A. wollii tend to allow fry in their tanks for 2 months or more, so it's not a problem for them. My Cristals and Wangenflecken sometimes need to be separated. When this is necessary I have the luxury of extra smaller tanks. A tank partition doesn't always work. A male's milt is very mobile, as I have discovered on several occasions.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
You may also want to add a lot of leaf litter to the tank as hiding places, probably more attractive than pvc pieces too.
Leaf litter is a very natural spawning site for apistos in the wild, so it won't stop them from breeding. On the contrary, it is more likely to encourage breeding. As for PVC pipe, I use it in quarantine/hospital and grow-out tanks because it is easier to move around and keep tanks clean. It is also easy to sterilize if needed, so it's re-usable. That's something you can't say about leaf litter. In breeding tanks, it depends on what you want - aesthetics or ease of maintenance. I prefer aesthetics.
 

Ben Rhau

Member
Yes, I guess it depends whether they re-spawn in that 2-month period. Naive question: Is it the spawning and rearing that are stressful, or egg production? They will still produce and possibly deposit eggs without the male present, correct? I saw in another post that you are getting better longevity with fewer spawns, and am wondering if those females are still producing eggs.
 

Garri Ausmus

New Member
I feed my fry once a day with brine shrimp. once they grow enough to eat crushed flake i put them on it. Fry will be poisoned by what they put in our water so i don't do water changes on newborn fry tanks just fill the evaporation with water that has sat in jugs at least 3 days. I am in trouble with the fish police a lot. I have spawned close to 100 species in the 40 years i've had tanks. I now only have 37 tanks . I do all my shellies or dwarves in ten to 20 gal tanks. depending on the colony size. I have found with the 5 different species of apistos i've kept that a spawn at 80 degrees will create mostly males witch could be the death problem also. I remove the tank heater when i want a spawn out of my apistos then put it back in and slowly raise the temp back up once they are free swimming or you will get a spawn a month out of them. At 72 degrees f the male to female ratio is pretty even. I have done Agassizii, Super reds, Orange flash, Bitaeniata, and Hongsloi Reds. Currently i am spawning the Apistogramma cacatuoides orange flash and on my 2nd spawn with them since i got them a couple months ago. The reason i can do this maint wise is i dont over stock a tank ever. My breeders are in species tanks only. the pic below is super reds and two spawns 28 days apart. I usually dont move the fry i move the parents.
 

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