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Easiest fry to raise??


William Lynch
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Lots of people talk about the easiest fish to breed... guppies ect. But I am curious to know what fish is actually the easiest to raise from conception to its adult stage. It is my understanding that a lot of species will eat their eggs or young fry before they have a great chance at survival. Also do some fry have very specific care requirements as they are being raised? I'd love to hear from all of the master breeders (or newbie breeders!) out there and their own experiences.

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I have super limited experience, but with guppies we haven't lost a single fry that we know of.   We did pull them out of the tank with the adults, but with two drops we have about 30 fry growing out now.    My guess is that if you had plenty of cover, even without removing the fry you could still easily grow your own colony.   As I learned from @Guppysnail, fry feeding schedules along with fry food does foul up water, so you might have to do more water changes. 

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Yep, some fry have special requirements as they're being raised. I dont know a whole lot, but I know bettas need lots of live food until they're able to eat dry food. And other fish (theres a bunch, I dont know names of) that need egg incubators for them to even be hatched properly. Ive personally found that live bearers are super easy, but bettas are the most rewarding as you get to see them grow on a more intimate level because your caring for them a lot more than the "fend for yourself" species. 

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On 9/25/2021 at 6:20 PM, Mr Gumby said:

If you're looking for easy breeders other than live bearers I'd go for corydoras in a species only tank.

I find that they generally leave the eggs alone as long as you provide plenty of food and the fry can usually avoid getting eaten.

 

I'd love to breed pygmy cories.  That may be in our future.

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On 9/25/2021 at 5:20 PM, Mr Gumby said:

If you're looking for easy breeders other than live bearers I'd go for corydoras in a species only tank.

I find that they generally leave the eggs alone as long as you provide plenty of food and the fry can usually avoid getting eaten.

 

Have you found that certain species of corydoras are easier than others?

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Given enough cover guppy fry survive. In my guppy community I set up after breeding guppies for quite some time I have found this out. I even stopped feeding the tank other than Cory wafers for my panda Cory. I was hoping they would do their own population control heavily but they did not. I did not feed for 3 days and have not fed fry or any different food than normal after the three days. So many fry survived I had to remove over half (about 60). Comparing the fry I removed to raise separate to the ones I’m still not special feeding in the community they are ever so slightly larger but the unfed have fat bellies from finding in tank edibles. So they have fended for themselves and required no care from me. Easy as it gets. My BN pleco babies are easy but high waste so lots of water changes. Hope this helps. 

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On 9/25/2021 at 6:54 PM, Guppysnail said:

I did not feed for 3 days and have not fed fry or any different food than normal after the three days. So many fry survived I had to remove over half (about 60).

I have to second Guppysnail. 

Guppies are not called the miilion fish for nothing. 

I bought feeders from my lfs 18 months ago, and once they had reproduced enough, they learned how to work together to chase the turtle off of her own food.

They will scavenge everything!!!

I have witnessed them eating hair algae, as well as the white fuzzy growth you get on new to aquarium wood.

And this is on top of the BugBites color enhancing flakes they get. 

TBH, I am pretty sure my 'feeder guppies' were actually endlers with just enough guppy in the line to have larger females.

So far, the females are the only ones showing any guppy qualities, the males are 100% dead ringers for endlers.

Even when we had to go on an emergency trip, we came home to more fish than we left.

I am now deliberately separating males with the tail I like from the rest of the fish, and separating females, for intentional breeding of selected traits.

Only problem I am having is what I swore was a 10 week old female (based on time being separated out of the pond) may, or may not, *stay* female🤷‍♂️

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I'd go with any fish that exhibit parental care for the spawn as easier to raise fry from over egg scatterers, other egg layers, or livebearers personally.

A lot of livebearers, especially rare species, are notorious fry eaters.  Those pairs feed and teach the spawn normally for the first month or two for me with no special foods needed by the time I move them to a growout the fry eat everything. 

My limited experiences 

Crenicichla regani dwarf pike: the fry who stayed 68 days with parents were bigger and ate new foods easier than those who only  stayed with them for 2 weeks. 150 fry first spawn no issues raising 140 to share and or keep for F2 projects. No special foods just what parents ate normally, some vinear eels if i had them handy, and baby brine when big enough to eat it.

VideoCapture_20210925-191028.jpg.160138ba9e3029f1bf2e33682145dda2.jpg

VideoCapture_20210218-205125.jpg.3585541dc92d1b81df2677566110d432.jpg

 

 

Jordanella floridae (Flagfish): easier - males will build and defend their nests in my setups. the populations grow no matter what so long as I have males and females in a tank.

VideoCapture_20210925-194202.jpg.69cad6ebc70e528215b29e39dadf3540.jpg

 

 

Pelvicachromis subocellatus moanda (kribensis): easier- guard spawn use caves. They aren't that productive my biggest spawn so far is 7 fry out of the cave. Parents guard the fry well and get them as big as you want. 

20210606_113004.jpg.a3520e18880143dbd9b72ed10f53b228.jpg20210906_144604.jpg.c038c762a6eb3bea171f4e5ff8c953f6.jpg

 

 

Anomalochromis thomasi ( African Butterfly Cichlid) easy'ish-in a better set up than my growout they live in currently I'd say easy- pairs form and defend the spawn against any intruders into the area. Both parents guard spawn and fight intruders. 

20210918_130914.jpg.bdb77007d3bd1c8bdbfe0579ce608db1.jpg

 

 

Pao palustris (mekong river puffer) : intermediate, once the male has established a cave he will spawn with females and guard the spawn until they leave the cave.  They were a challenge because the colony was very aggressive until the group stabilized into 1 male and 3 females and territories were formed for each puffer. Fry are more difficult because they have been temperature sensitive and easily stressed if moved from parents tank too early. 

20210906_144955.jpg.bf31bdcb892aee99371bd7cc0410a787.jpg20210715_154751.jpg.3f306f5fb27decd8930c15da011461bb.jpg

20210727_184811.jpg.26b26362153bf9b25a877c82a8be4eb7.jpg

 

 

Characodon lateralis and Characodon audax : goodeid livebearers but both will eat fry as fast as they produce them. For me fairly impossible to raise them without 3 tanks: a heavily planted adult tank, a heavily planted fry drop tank, and a fry grow out tank. 

IMG_20181118_143205941.jpg.029424303bae8e344c903ce71046a48b.jpg

20210904_181554.jpg.a33f90b9c27b908355fa76118b6771dc.jpg

 

 

Limia perugiae - livebearer will eat fry fairly quickly when dropped. Also fairly impossible to raise them without 3 tanks: a heavily planted adult tank, a heavily planted fry drop tank, and a fry grow out tank. 

VideoCapture_20210925-192919.jpg.8862cfcd11815b699778bf44dca79430.jpg

 

Corydoras panda - easy egg layer, water changed 25 % with 5 degree cooler water and had heavy plants. Once they turned on the group of 6 never stopped breeding and my school was easily 100 corys in 4 months. Live plants served as fry protection and food sources until the fry were big enough to join the patents in the school. Corys reproducing is magic to me one day i notice more activity then a few weeks later a mystery fry appears and then they never stop appearing after that. I never have purposely fed cory fry but they make it in giant numbers if there is decent cover down low in my tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mountaintoppufferkeeper
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On 9/25/2021 at 6:54 PM, Guppysnail said:

Given enough cover guppy fry survive. In my guppy community I set up after breeding guppies for quite some time I have found this out. I even stopped feeding the tank other than Cory wafers for my panda Cory. I was hoping they would do their own population control heavily but they did not. I did not feed for 3 days and have not fed fry or any different food than normal after the three days. So many fry survived I had to remove over half (about 60). Comparing the fry I removed to raise separate to the ones I’m still not special feeding in the community they are ever so slightly larger but the unfed have fat bellies from finding in tank edibles. So they have fended for themselves and required no care from me. Easy as it gets. My BN pleco babies are easy but high waste so lots of water changes. Hope this helps. 

wow thank you for your insight. You always seem to have so much knowledge to share. Have you had any experience breeding and raising corys? I just purchased a 10g and am looking to start a little side breeding project to start funneling some new self-raised fish into my main tank down the road.

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On 9/25/2021 at 5:37 PM, William Lynch said:

But I am curious to know what fish is actually the easiest to raise from conception to its adult stage. It is my understanding that a lot of species will eat their eggs or young fry before they have a great chance at survival. Also do some fry have very specific care requirements as they are being raised? 

Personal experience: guppies, platies, endlers.

Easiest from conception to adult is probably the hardier livebearers. That includes the question about specific care requirements. They all just need typical parameters: temp in the 70's, pH 7+, GH that's maybe 12+ (easily achieved with some Equilibrium)... nothing odd or laborious. They're even pretty tolerant of a slight ammonia oops. I have found guppies to be much more prone to infection than endlers and platies.

Many livebearers do eat their young. From personal experience, guppies and platies pig them down, but endlers don't even think about it. 

Meeting all the asks you've mentioned: Endlers. (Not cross-bred with guppies.) Personal experience: Though most endlers feature a lot of orange, there's also a variety called El Silverado, which is so shiny they look like little lightbulbs.

If you can protect platy fry, they're the second-best option of those 3 species. Personal experience: If you buy a color you like, they may develop a lot of black later. So check into that, if you care about it.

Full disclosure: I did also have 1 female molly, who got pregnant before I bought her. Though my experience is only the one mom, I don't think she ever ate fry. She also turned entirely black, though bought mature and mostly white.

Anyway, my vote is endlers of some color. If you go for it, aim for "N class" or "P class." "K class" is cross-bred with guppies, so just for this conversation, K don't really qualify as endlers.

ETA: Livebearer fry also don't need special fry food. (Yay!) I've always ground adults' shelf-stable food (high in protein and fat) into a fine powder with a simple pill crusher. So easy.

Edited by CalmedByFish
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On 9/25/2021 at 9:47 PM, mountaintoppufferkeeper said:

I'd go with any fish that exhibit parental care for the spawn as easier to raise fry from over egg scatterers, other egg layers, or livebearers personally.

A lot of livebearers, especially rare species, are notorious fry eaters.  Those pairs feed and teach the spawn normally for the first month or two for me with no special foods needed by the time I move them to a growout the fry eat everything. 

My limited experiences 

Crenicichla regani dwarf pike: the fry who stayed 68 days with parents were bigger and ate new foods easier than those who only  stayed with them for 2 weeks. 150 fry first spawn no issues raising 140 to share and or keep for F2 projects. No special foods just what parents ate normally, some vinear eels if i had them handy, and baby brine when big enough to eat it.

VideoCapture_20210925-191028.jpg.160138ba9e3029f1bf2e33682145dda2.jpg

VideoCapture_20210218-205125.jpg.3585541dc92d1b81df2677566110d432.jpg

 

 

Jordanella floridae (Flagfish): easier - males will build and defend their nests in my setups. the populations grow no matter what so long as I have males and females in a tank.

VideoCapture_20210925-194202.jpg.69cad6ebc70e528215b29e39dadf3540.jpg

 

 

Pelvicachromis subocellatus moanda (kribensis): easier- guard spawn use caves. They aren't that productive my biggest spawn so far is 7 fry out of the cave. Parents guard the fry well and get them as big as you want. 

20210606_113004.jpg.a3520e18880143dbd9b72ed10f53b228.jpg20210906_144604.jpg.c038c762a6eb3bea171f4e5ff8c953f6.jpg

 

 

Anomalochromis thomasi ( African Butterfly Cichlid) easy'ish-in a better set up than my growout they live in currently I'd say easy- pairs form and defend the spawn against any intruders into the area. Both parents guard spawn and fight intruders. 

20210918_130914.jpg.bdb77007d3bd1c8bdbfe0579ce608db1.jpg

 

 

Pao palustris (mekong river puffer) : intermediate, once the male has established a cave he will spawn with females and guard the spawn until they leave the cave.  They were a challenge because the colony was very aggressive until the group stabilized into 1 male and 3 females and territories were formed for each puffer. Fry are more difficult because they have been temperature sensitive and easily stressed if moved from parents tank too early. 

20210906_144955.jpg.bf31bdcb892aee99371bd7cc0410a787.jpg20210715_154751.jpg.3f306f5fb27decd8930c15da011461bb.jpg

20210727_184811.jpg.26b26362153bf9b25a877c82a8be4eb7.jpg

 

 

Characodon lateralis and Characodon audax : goodeid livebearers but both will eat fry as fast as they produce them. For me fairly impossible to raise them without 3 tanks: a heavily planted adult tank, a heavily planted fry drop tank, and a fry grow out tank. 

IMG_20181118_143205941.jpg.029424303bae8e344c903ce71046a48b.jpg

20210904_181554.jpg.a33f90b9c27b908355fa76118b6771dc.jpg

 

 

Limia perugiae - livebearer will eat fry fairly quickly when dropped. Also fairly impossible to raise them without 3 tanks: a heavily planted adult tank, a heavily planted fry drop tank, and a fry grow out tank. 

VideoCapture_20210925-192919.jpg.8862cfcd11815b699778bf44dca79430.jpg

 

Corydoras panda - easy egg layer, water changed 25 % with 5 degree cooler water and had heavy plants. Once they turned on the group of 6 never stopped breeding and my school was easily 100 corys in 4 months. Live plants served as fry protection and food sources until the fry were big enough to join the patents in the school. Corys reproducing is magic to me one day i notice more activity then a few weeks later a mystery fry appears and then they never stop appearing after that. I never have purposely fed cory fry but they make it in giant numbers if there is decent cover down low in my tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m never sure if you have the most interesting fish on the planet or if your passionate telling of them just makes them seem so 😁

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On 9/25/2021 at 8:26 PM, Torrey said:

I have to second Guppysnail. 

Guppies are not called the miilion fish for nothing. 

I bought feeders from my lfs 18 months ago, and once they had reproduced enough, they learned how to work together to chase the turtle off of her own food.

They will scavenge everything!!!

I have witnessed them eating hair algae, as well as the white fuzzy growth you get on new to aquarium wood.

And this is on top of the BugBites color enhancing flakes they get. 

TBH, I am pretty sure my 'feeder guppies' were actually endlers with just enough guppy in the line to have larger females.

So far, the females are the only ones showing any guppy qualities, the males are 100% dead ringers for endlers.

Even when we had to go on an emergency trip, we came home to more fish than we left.

I am now deliberately separating males with the tail I like from the rest of the fish, and separating females, for intentional breeding of selected traits.

Only problem I am having is what I swore was a 10 week old female (based on time being separated out of the pond) may, or may not, *stay* female🤷‍♂️

Wanna see what you come up with breeding for sure!

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I’m here to testify that the right pair of Jack Dempsey cichlids will run you out of house and home with fry.  I got over 1500 (probably closer to 1600) out of 2 clutches in 2 months before I separated them, then gradually turned the temp down to the low end of their preferred range to discourage breeding so I could remove the divider (they were pining for each other).

I removed the fry at 2 weeks old on the first clutch (because that’s the general recommendation), then left the second clutch in because I was already over being overrun with fry.  I removed the parents from the fry after 2 months on the second clutch because the fry were getting to the food faster than the parents and the parents were going hungry (the parents are the fish I promised my friend I would give a lifelong home when I rescued them).  Then I had to put some fry in with them because the male was pouting and not eating.  🤦🏻‍♀️
 

Pics:

1. First clutch of eggs (more on the backside of the rock, around 900+ fry).

2. Second, smaller clutch (only around 600+ fry).  [edit to note this pic got randomly flipped upside down]

3. Parents

4. Papa pining, but mama would do the same thing in that corner, I just didn’t happen to get a pic of both doing that.

5. Parents tank from last month.

C1D97767-955B-4FB4-890D-6D3E0B2B2F12.jpeg

72E65C5D-1210-4EEE-AF90-7F98DAE890A5.jpeg

73869597-81ED-4355-8A80-0F135C191EDD.jpeg

A36AB3DB-B395-487D-88F8-458AD9F2E83B.jpeg

898ED685-9D25-4760-8909-632B15A44AA4.jpeg

Edited by Odd Duck
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Also wanted to note that I agree with cories being very easy to coax into breeding.  And my bronzes (Corydoras aeneus) breed with pretty much any water change, even if it’s not cooler.  Mine will absolutely eat both eggs and fry even when well fed.

I would also note that if the fry have enough cover, they will survive even in a moderately stocked, heavily planted, nano community tank.  I have more than double the 6 adults I put in my 100 gallon in early May, to the point I’m probably going to put in a fish trap soon and see if I can remove some fry.  Got to get it in gear on setting them a grow out tank but the one I was planning to use might have developed a slow seep.

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