Fish Folk Posted November 19, 2021 Share Posted November 19, 2021 (edited) Because I typically have Fridays off work, I tend to be most active on the Forum. Today, I’d like to share a mini “Photo Tour” of my fish-room-basement, and try to explain a few things that might be helpful for younger / newer aquarists who are interested in breeding fish. I love learning from Dean, Cory, Lucas Bretz, Bob Steenfott, and many others. But sometimes it’s hard to gather enough thoughts, tips, etc. to really understand factors they’ve instinctively been tuned to from years of experience. So, here goes… CHANGING WATER There are very different philosophies about water changes. How often? (if ever) How much? etc. My tanks are often very overstocked because I breed fish. Unless I change water regularly, the nitrate levels can get embarrassingly high (60-80 sometimes). This 55 gal. used to be an African Cichlid tank until my Electric Blue Acaras and Bristlenose Plecos started spawning a LOT. Now it’s loaded with 200-300 fish growing out. I run two Aqueon 75s with sponge pre intakes, two sponge filters, and a massive jungle of Pothos jammed into the HOBs. The stocking requires a minimum of weekly water changes of 50%. Some breeders would do more, but this is my rhythm. I sell these to local fish stores, to my fish club, online, and I’ll donate to places like the local hospital cancer treatment center, etc. I put a nylon stocking over the end of my Python, which sucks water out and returns clean water. The faucet attachment gets leaky after awhile, so I wrap a hand towel around it to minimize water spray. Another tank I did a water change on is this 20 gal. long German Blue Ram Growout tank. I’ve got about 20x GBRs in here, just reaching spawning age. There’s another 17x Glowlight Pygmy Barbs (a miniature fish from India that is sadly underrated). I have two sponge filters in here as well as a small HOB with pre filter sponge. Plants do labor hard in here to battle Nitrate. Pothos, Bamboo, Water lettuce, Duckweed, Nana petite, Najas, Java fern, Wisteria, and…. I think Bolbitis all labor to filter the water. But I do at least one water change every two weeks on this tank. I’ll sell the GBRs sometime after the New Year, because I like mine to look good when they arrive in stores. I have learned not to be too picky with how my breeding or grow-out tanks _look_ as long as they _function_ well. Just two water changes today, but that’s the rhythm. I have soft city water. My favorite conditioner is Fritz Complete. FEEDING My personal rule for feeding fish is always variety. I select frozen food from my freezer. I drop in cubes into warm (sometimes hot) water to thaw. I prefer to keep them separated. By the way, I do not believe it is possible to have too many specimen containers. Today, I’m serving up frozen Hikari bloodworms, Spirulina Brine Shrimp, and Krill. I also pull out my dry foods from the fridge and set on a step stool. I feed less dry foods on “frozen food days” but I always need to add some to certain tanks. I buy a lot of Omega One and Bug Bites, but I would actually get other foods if they were as easy for me to find. Again… my key is loads of variety. With only one species exception, I try to never feed fish the same every day. Discus always get the best quality I have on hand. They’re pigs! I use Walmart liquid medicine syringes with an airline attached for serving frozen foods in liquid solution. You certainly can just drop the cubes in the tank and walk away. But I’m obsessive. Some fish will eat from the syringe end like a baby bottle. On days off, it’s fun to watch… When I’m working on certain breeding projects — for example, these Emerald Killifish — I’m really careful to ensure they get quality foods in variety without fouling up the water. Females and males need vitamin-rich foods to effectively develop roe and milt. The big grow-out tanks lean more heavily on flake food. It would just cost too much for me to feed frozen foods every day. The U. S. Native tanks all have Darters in. They will only eat worms. The Dace, however, enjoy drift feeding on just about anything. My Xenotoca doadrioi are an endangered Mexican Goodeid species that needs a lot of greens along with protein. I prefer Bug Bites Spirulina flakes + Omega One Kelp flakes as their staple diet. I add some live baby brine shrimp (not on menu today) and a few frozen Spirulina Brine shrimp. BREEDING Almost all of my tanks are either breeding projects or grow-out projects. I’m working on pulling Killifish eggs from their spawning mop 2x every day. I pull the mop out, drape over a net handle in a bucket, let drip-dry for 5-10 mins while I work on other things. Then I pick through the mop for clear little eggs. I drop these into a tiny 2.5 gal fry hatching tank, loaded up with tannins and “stewarded” by one neocaridina— my Cherry Nurse. Other species are easy.. the “just add water” guppy tanks are always bursting with fry. A lot of breeders set up very bare tanks. I appreciate that, but my approach is to try to raise fish in the sort of environment that they’ll be headed into in aquarist’s homes. I find that certain plants like Pothos, Najas and Java moss are so essential that it gets added reflexively to nearly every tank. Some species are harder to breed. They depend on annual cycles and different triggers to spawn. This tank of Banded darters is a long wait project. Its a cool water tank, and it’s green-striped inhabitants are sometimes elusive. With my Goodeids, they drop 6-12 fry ca. every 3x months. It takes awhile, but they’ll eventually fill up the tank. I like selling these to specialists who will help propagate CARES Species. I’ve hidden / added a few cups of crushed coral to up the KH, and also kept these shells in there from NC vacation trips to slowly counteract my soft water. For me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching tiny fish fry grow up into adults in my tanks. Some of them take a long while. I’m enjoying these little Rainbow Shiners (can you spot them?) Someday, they’ll look spectacular like their parents… MAINTENANCE Apart from water changes, I typically remove over-populations of duckweed each week. Long ago I lost the battle, and have just given in to the reality that Duckweed is going to be in my tanks no matter what. Goldfish and African Cichlids will eat it off the surface, if you keep them. Goodeids will nibble at it sone as well. But my goal is to return the surface to good agitation from air so that the fish don’t suffer deprivation. Otherwise… every month or so, I squeeze out sponge filters. And yes, I just do it under tap water. OBSERVE The best advice I can give a new aquarist is take sone good time regularly to just observe your fish. You’ll discover their secrets if you’re attentive. In a few weeks, teeny-tiny Killi fry will probably appear in this tank… These two may spawn on a rock any day… And who knows what else… Edited November 19, 2021 by Fish Folk 4 3 5 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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