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Hi everyone! Welcome to my journal!

I've been keeping fish for almost a year now, but I helped my dad keep fish in a 50 gallon bamboo-framed aquarium he got in the Philippines when I was a kid. I'm 39 now and I decided to set up an aquarium for my 4 year-old daughter Zoey when her baby sister was born last spring. Don't get me wrong, Z loves the fish, but the aquarium quickly became a Dad Project.

I joined the Army when I was 17 and was mobilized twice during the Iraq War. I had a very hard year in Iraq in 2004-2005, and finding healthy things to keep me centered has been a struggle ever since. Over the course of 15 years or so, I've gone from being homeless to getting married, having two kids, and getting a great job in tech—all while struggling with PTSD, addiction, and all that jazz.

Keeping fish and raising them up, from collecting and hatching eggs to growing our fry, has been one of the most cathartic activities I've ever found. It's so rewarding to take a group of tiny, shy, and stressed-out fish and build an environment for them that nurtures them to the point that they're natural behaviors and colors bloom before your eyes. I love watching all my fish, learning about their species, and getting to know their personalities. And there's nothing better than rearing a new generation of fish in a little world you created.

But enough about me! Let's meet the gang!

Celestial Pearl Danios

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These were the fish I've wanted since I first started researching what kind of setup to get my daughter. I've got a colony of 12 adults and 4 fry. These is the first species I've ever bred.

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These guys live in a planted 20 gallon long aquarium in my living room. I'm currently harvesting eggs for a second attempt at breeding.

 

Amano Shrimp

There's about nine of these guys in my 20 gallon long. I bought these on eBay when they were babies, and months later I've discovered that there's only one female in the bunch. We've named the female La Reyna, and he's berried at the moment. I'm hoping to be able to pull her in a couple weeks and try to grow out her babies in a brackish tank.

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The Great Snail War

In November, I purchased some plants from a LFS and inherited an exploding population of ramshorn snails. This wouldn't be a problem except I have a feeling that they're eating the CPD eggs before I can pull them out and they're overrunning the tank. I've been pulling them out manually and giving them away to other hobbyists, but it's Sisyphean task. Last month, I hired some mercenary assassin snails to help me out, but they're having trouble keeping up. Here's a video I recorded the first time I saw one of the assassins hunting and eating a rams horn.

 

German Blue Rams

These are the newest addition to my household. They're currently living in a 10 gallon tank in the garage until I can get my hands on something a little bigger. I've only had this male-female pair for four days, so they're still a bit shying. I'm really excited about learning more about this species because, from what I can tell so far, these are very fun fish to watch. Plus, they're absolutely stunning.

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Here's a wide shot of their current setup (they aren't using the caves yet, but I've heard that can take some time).

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That's all I've got for now. Thanks for visiting my journal, and if you have any tips for creating a great environment for GBRs, please let me know!

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Taking a break from work to check on all the fish before feeding time this afternoon. I've got a couple small projects I'm working on today...

Celestial Pearl Danio Breeding

Yesterday, I started collecting eggs for a second attempt at breeding my CPDs. My first batch of 4 fry is about 2 months old now, and they've been happily living with the adults of the colony for about a week and half now. I started out with 30 eggs, managed to hatch 25 of them, and have only managed to keep three survivors alive. The fourth and largest fry was actually hatched in the main tank and grew to a decent sized free-swimmer before I netted it and put it in a breeding box with the fry I hatched. Here's three of them hanging out in the plants:

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Since celestial pearl danios are egg scatters, I've been collecting eggs in deli cups with spawning media and plant weights in them. I've tried DIY spawning mops, as well as water sprite and egeria dense trimmings, but I've found that a dense ball of java moss works best as a media. I usually put two cups in the aquarium to increase egg yields, but I've opted to go with one this time just to see how that goes. Here's where all the magic happens:

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I should note that the adults in my colony are mostly female, but my population of 5 males is a little to big for optimum spawning—the little buggers spend waaaaay more time interrupting each other during attempted spawns. I've thought about selectively pulling some of the males out of the colony to see if that helps, but I haven't tried that yet. The colony seems pretty happy with the way things are, and I'm more interested in happy fish than I am in maximizing breeding efficiency.

I started harvesting eggs yesterday and I've placed those eggs in a Fluval 0.3 gallon hanging breeder box that I painted white to help me see the fry better. During my first attempt to hatch eggs, I found that placing eggs together in a cup and putting them somewhere with gentle flow helped prevent fungus growth and keep track of where they were in the box. I supplied a constant flow of water from the main tank to the breeder box with a mini water pump. I also dipped the eggs in methylene blue for a couple days before moving them to the breeder box (unfertilized and unviable eggs tended to turn slightly blue in the dye, which allowed me to cull them from the viable eggs).

This time I decided to try something a little different. First, I filled the 0.3 gallon breeding box with water from the main tank, taking care to remove any detritus and hitchhikers with a pipette. Then I placed a plastic blue lid from a small Ziploc jar (weighted down with plant weights) into the box. I find that eggs contrast nicely with the blue lid, which also keeps them from moving around too much in the breeding box. To oxygenate the water in the box and provide a small amount of flow, I added an air stone and secured it to the side of the box with a suction cup. Then I added a small 20w constant heater to the box, and connected it to an Inkbird Digital Temperature Controller to keep the water heated to 71-73°F.

Finally, I used a pipette to gently place the eggs into the blue lid, then dosed the water 3 times with 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide every 12 hours. Fish Folk suggested using 1 ml of hydrogen peroxide per 1 gallon of water 3 times every 12 hours in another post, and I've also read that proper dosages of H2O2 are temperature dependent, too. This is all to say that this all experimental until I find the dose that works best.

All said, this is what my egg hatching set up looks like:IMG_1188.jpeg.b50ccafb7dbb4a01de26ef0a0cf17e86.jpeg

And here are the eggs in the plastic lid:

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So why did I decide to eliminate the water pump that provided fresh water from the main tank this time around? Simply put, no mater how clean the main tank was, the pump ended up introducing detritus and hitchhikers into the breeding box. I'd like to keep things as clean as possible during the first few weeks of life, so we'll see if this works.

I could also use distilled or RODI water in the breeder box, but I've had bad experience with using "new" water with my CPD fry in the past. Yes, there's a higher chance of developing egg fungus with tank water, but I'm hoping that if I can keep everything clean enough while using hydrogen peroxide the eggs will be okay.

German Blue Ram Habitat Improvements

The GBRs are happily settling into their 10 gallon aquarium in the garage, and I've decided to name them Carl and Marie after Carl and Marie von Clausewitz (I was a doctoral candidate studying War & Society back in the day). Like the famed military strategist, Carl spends a lot of his time contemplating the complexities of life. On the other, Marie seems to be the one who makes things happen in the aquarium, much like her namesake who edited Carl's magnum opus On War.

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I've never kept GBRs before, so I can't be sure, but I think these two are pairing up nicely. They aren't fans of the terracotta caves I made them from pots, so I'm on the hunt for a decent piece of driftwood that might have a cave-like crevasse they'd prefer. They're still 3 days into a prophylactic 7-day medication bath, so I won't be adding the wood until after that's all done.

I don't really have plans to breed these two at them moment, so I haven't put any flat rocks in their aquarium. However, Marie has started digging a little hole next to a plant, and I've heard that this can be a nest behavior. What's funny about this is that she'll dig a little, then go find Carl and pester him until he goes to the hole to do a little digging. Here's a picture of what they've been working on:

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These two have really grown on me pretty quickly. They've got great personalities and are very smart, curious fish. Since I'm working from home right now, I like to take my lunch out in the garage and feed them small amounts of baby brine shrimp. They're already recognizing me, and there's something very dog-like about a GBR staring at you begging for food.

Edited by Allan B.
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On 1/26/2022 at 2:07 PM, Levi_Aquatics said:

Your aquariums are beautiful! 

Thanks! There's really nothing special about them besides the fact that I use CO2 in my 20 gallon to grow plants faster so I don't have to but new ones from the store. Weekly water changes and Easy Green also keeps everything looking fresh and clear.

Here's a picture of the 20 gallon before added the egeria densa, water sprite, and scarlet temple back in November:IMG_0317.jpeg.e92e1301cc5530b831d8e7d0588d5695.jpeg

Egeria densa is a pain to keep under control, but it's a great background plant:IMG_0578.jpeg.b8759fc6b135d574d0fac64ab239b87c.jpeg

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I just wanted to take a minute to thank the folks at Aquarium Co-op as well as the community here in the Forum for all the support and information you've given me since I started in the hobby last spring.

Before setting up my first aquarium, I did what I thought was a lot of research on other sites about they hobby. It was pretty rough goings there. There's a lot of contradictory information out there, and there's a lot of websites that seem more interested in maximizing ad space and affiliate links (no hate—gotta get that money). The quality of the information on Reddit and YouTube can be hit or miss, and if you know next to nothing about the hobby (as I did) it can be really hard to sort out what's true and what's clickbait (like, who takes the time to post videos about shy baby brine shrimp are BAD). As for TikTok, maybe there's some good stuff there, but most of the videos I saw on that platform bordered on animal abuse.

Needless to say, my poor fish and wallet suffered from this keeper's lack of knowledge until someone recommended Cory's videos and the store's products. Luckily my first fish were zebra danios, so they survived everything I inadvertently threw at them.

As for the C.A.R.E. community, I can't say enough. Everyone here is really supportive and collaborative, and I really appreciate the time and effort the moderators and more seasoned aquarists put into answering questions and sharing their experiences.

So thanks everyone!

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The CPDs kept me busy today. Where to begin...

Never Wear Black without the (Methylene) Blue

Maybe this is a neurotic hobbyist thing, but I tend to stick to what's worked for me in the past instead of experimenting. That said, as you can clearly see my brief experiment with using hydrogen peroxide to prevent fungus growth on my CPD eggs has ended.

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I decided to go back to Methylene Blue for a couple reasons. First, the eggs were beginning to clump together and I was worried that if fungus did start growing it would effect the whole batch. Second, I've been harvesting and dosing eggs since Sunday, and since I'm only treating the water with H2O2 three times over the course of 36 hours, this batch will be unevenly dosed. Finally, since these eggs were laid over the course of six days, they'll probably hatch over the course of a week (harvesting eggs over several days isn't ideal and I probably won't do it next time).

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So what's the game plan moving forward? Once the first fry are free-swimming I'm going to wait three days (the manufacturer recommends continuing treatment for three days past the free-swimming state), then do a 50 percent water change with "clean" tank water. Then I'll do another the following day, then another the next, and so on until the Methylene Blue is removed. Once it's all gone, I'll connect a small water pump to a silicon tube and begin continuously pumping water into the breeding box.

Take it Easy, Green

I generally don't worry about the nitrate levels in my 20 gallon CPD aquarium because the plants do a really great job absorbing all of it from the water (my small CO2 system also helps them process nutrients). However, when I adopted the German Blue Rams from the the neighbor last weekend, I moved a bunch of java fern, duckweed, anacharis, and salvinia to their tank (they L.O.V.E. the plant cover btw). Of course, this reduced how much nitrate the 20 gallon's ecosystem could absorb and I didn't take that into account when using Easy Green this week. So when I checked the water quality today, the nitrate levels were through the roof.

Time for a midweek 50% water change!

One of my biggest regrets since joining the hobby is buying an electric gravel cleaner. Why this was a waste of 58 bucks is a story for another time. However, for all its shortcomings as a gravel vacuum, it is an excellent clean water pump when you connect a 3/4 inch tube to it! Behold...

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Yes, a similarly powered submersible pump would probably be less expensive, but I'm not going to complain about salvaging this purchase too much. It beats pouring water into the aquarium, and it's gentle enough to rinse plants and decorations off while refilling the aquarium without causing a tornado of debris.

 I also used this as an opportunity to remove a HOB power filter with a carbon filter I was using to remove some medication earlier this week. No time like the present to give the old HOB a scrub down.

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After refilling the aquarium with dechlorinated tap water, my nitrate levels were back under control. I might do a smaller water change on Saturday (I'm taking my daughter to the Oakland Zoo tomorrow).

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Sidenote: I use a lab test tube rack to hold all my API Master Kit equipment and digital TDS and PH reader. I've been really happy with it, but there's a few modifications I'd like to make to improve it. For another time, though...

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La Reyna Watch

I haven't seen my berried Amano Shrimp in a couple days, so I'm a little worried about her. She's usually front and center, but she has been known to disappear from time to time. I'm sure she's okay, so I'm going to keep doing some research into how to hatch and raise her eggs should they get fertilized.

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Just a quick update since it’s late. I took my daughter to the Oakland Zoo today, and when I got back about an hour ago I found a wiggler!

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Unfortunately, I also noticed that a high number of eggs have turned milky white. I’m a little worried that these are unfertilized eggs that would have fungused over if not for the Methylene Blue and hydrogen peroxide treatments. Or maybe I overdosed them in hydrogen peroxide—I can’t be sure since I’m not sure what that would look like.

Regardless, it’s super exciting to see a wiggler and several other eggs developing the tell-tale signs of viability—black eyes and spinal column. All I can do now is watch and wait.

FYI, the zoo was great fun, but I can’t ID this fish species for the life of me…ACB60C2B-8549-4EF4-AE6B-A52CA55757B9.jpeg.83820d91a373dc6506a13ffcd39809d1.jpeg

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I’ve got a 20L stocked with CPDs as well. They are absolutely stunning fish! Mine are very shy, not quite sure how to get around that. 

Long ago, I had some successful spawns in the tank, only realizing it when I saw a tiny little silver fish in the tank. Never captured the eggs and grown them out, so this is too cool to see!

Hope you don’t mind me following along for the ride!

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Fungus…
It’s been a bittersweet morning—I woke up this morning and checked the CPD eggs with my daughter, and we found that a bunch of them had in fact developed fungus. I removed the bad eggs with a pipette and decided to remove the blue Ziploc lid since there weren’t any more eggs to hatch.

Lo and behold, there were several wigglers hiding under the lid!

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Since we were on our way out the door to my daughter’s occupational therapy appointment, I didn’t have time to take an accurate count of how many fry hatched. I’m guessing it’s less than ten.

I definitely wish more had hatched, but I’m not doing this to make money so I’ll be thrilled if I can get the few that did to the free-swimming and eating baby brine shrimp stage.

Things to think about moving forward

Firstly, I need to figure out a way to maximize the number of eggs that are getting fertilized in the harvesting cups. Since I have too many males in the colony, the spawning process is often rushed and interrupted by jealous suitors. When I harvested the eggs this time, I noticed that a lot of them had a clear yolk (instead of a yellowish one) and was worried this meant they were unfertilized. I’m not sure there’s much I can do to address this.

Second, I need to do some research into how I can cull unfertilized eggs after harvesting them.  Maybe I’ll need to float them in a deli cup and let them develop for a couple days before culling the cloudy infertile eggs, then moving them to the breeder box.

Third, I’m very surprised the fungus grew as fast as it did in the Methylene Blue bath. That said, these eggs did spend a couple days in tank water treated with H2O2 and I never culled any infertile eggs. So fungus may have developed before I added Methylene Blue yesterday, and since it’s not really effective at killing existing fungal growths this may have been why we saw fungused eggs this morning.

Fourth, I noticed some worms in the breeder box. I’m guessing they came in the tank water as eggs or cysts or whatever, then hatched in the breeder box. There’s also some debris in the bottom of the tank. This could be stuff growing out in the transferred water, but it could also be because I’m using a cheap air stone from Petco that appears to be brittle and  casting off dust.

In conclusion, I’ll need to pull unviable eggs earlier, and add only viable eggs to the breeder box with Methylene Blue. I’d also prefer not to have worms in the box, so maybe I need to consider using RODI and tank water.

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On 1/29/2022 at 10:08 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I admire that you basically turned your frown product to a smile product. Doubles as a lesson learned but still very useful even if it was an "expensive" lesson. 

Thanks for the encouragement! This is my second “bad” batch in as many weeks, and there have definitely been moments where I’ve thought about giving up breeding because of the amount of time and attention it requires. But learning and experimenting always comes with bouts with failure, and one of the things I love about this hobby is that it’s an amazing feeling when things work.

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Yea it really does seem we do a lot of gambling in a sense, trying one way or another, and sometimes what is equally cool and frustrating with this hobby is that just because it works for some people (gravel vacs or egg fungus methods) doesn't necessarily work for your set up. Sometimes it's purely gut instinct. When it fails it can be very discouraging but when it works it's one of the best things in the world. 

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German Blue Ram Habitat Improvements

I picked up some driftwood a couple days ago and I’ve been using a Dremel tool to grind down some pointy edges and widen some crevasses for the GBRs to use as hidey-holes if they want to. I’ve had them a week now and they’ve been fasting due to a Med Trio bath, but today we wrapped that process up with a 50% water change and had some live BBS and frozen blood worms to celebrate!

Here’s a before and after of their aquarium…

Before

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After (sorry about the glare, I had the garage door open)

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The GBR look great, btw! I think they’re enjoying the BBS more than the bloodworms.

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10 Gallon Blues

I've been battling ammonia in the German Blue Rams' ten-gallon tank for the last few days. As you might know from your own experiences, smaller tanks are susceptible to water quality issues because they have less water to dilute ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc.

Luckily, I've been watching the GBRs pretty closely since they're new and still settling in, and on Saturday I noticed Carl had pretty my lost all of his coloring. He wasn't acting oddly—still very active and curious—but I definitely didn't like how pale he'd gotten.

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I immediately ran ammonia check with an API Master Kit and used an Aquarium Co-Op test strip to test the other levels. Turns out the ammonia was up to 1 PPM, so I decided to use a 50% water change. I had 10 gallons of RODI water in jugs, but they weren't warm enough to use in the GBR's 83-85°F aquarium. I opted to just use dechlorinated tap water even though it's harder than GBR's like. The Seachem Prime I use to dechlorinate would also help detoxify the ammonia in the aquarium, albeit temporarily.

After doing the water change, Carl's colors came back surprisingly quickly. The ammonia was cut in half thanks to the water change, and my hardness levels only went up slightly. I've been following up with smaller water changes every day until the tanks bio filter catches up with the ammonia.

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Watching Carl through all this, I noticed for the first time that he is missing a pectoral fin on his right side. I mean, it's completely missing. No nub, no damage, just gone. I'm wondering if this is congenital or if he suffered an injury at some point. Regardless, he gets around well enough that I didn't notice it was gone.

As for the ammonia spike, I think it was caused by a cube of frozen bloodworm I fed them on Friday. I put the cube in whole to let them feed on as it melted gradually, but they didn't eat much of it in the end and it likely fouled the water. I think I'm going to try target feeding them the bloodworms in the future. They've gotten comfortable enough to approach anything tweezers when I put them in the water, so we'll see if they'll eat from them.

CPD Update

Batch Three is a no-go. The few wrigglers that hatched over the weekend melted away during the last couple days. It's a bummer when that happens because they just kinda disappear.

So it's back to the drawing board. I'm going to reassess how to approach hatching out CPD eggs next and run a couple experiments. Thank you to everyone who has offered advice, it's really fascinating to see the unique ways everyone approaches breeding Celestial Pearl Danios!

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I'm sorry to hear about your CPDs 😞 

You know people on the forum seem to say a lot that "smaller tanks are harder to manage water parameters". I'd have to whole heartedly disagree just based on my experience. I have a 10 with over 40 fish (Otos)- it's double filtered but it has always been double filtered and I do spot clean daily because of the amount of fish and that they are bottom feeders that like to leave food behind (Otos, gotta love em) so it might not be the prime example- however I've also had a 3 gallon cube (I got rid of it) and now have a 4.12 gallon cube running now for a bit over 4 months which has never had a parameter issue to speak of in its lifetime after cycling. I have 10 CPD in the 4 gallon and I thought it's possible it was overstocked....so far so good! I did daily tank maintenance this morning on all my tanks the 4 gallon is the only tank I don't have to touch daily other than feeding the CPDs. I also maintain my Mum's 3 gallon cube (exact model I used to have) and other than saying hi to the ADF in there I've never had an issue with the tank other than 1 time when the pump failed but I don't consider that the small tank's fault. 

I would like to add my Fluval Flex 9 to that but it has had some parameter issues- however I would defend it because the original pump was a p.o.s. so I got an aftermarket one that is better and I decided to double filter that one as well and got a co-op nano sponge- ever since those changes that tank tests golden too! 

Not saying bigger tanks aren't easier as my 20 gallon tanks are also trouble free but I don't find small tanks hard at all. I think once you figure out what the ammonia issues are it won't give you any trouble! It's possible!!!!

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On 1/31/2022 at 1:56 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I'm sorry to hear about your CPDs 😞 

You know people on the forum seem to say a lot that "smaller tanks are harder to manage water parameters". I'd have to whole heartedly disagree just based on my experience. I have a 10 with over 40 fish (Otos)- it's double filtered but it has always been double filtered and I do spot clean daily because of the amount of fish and that they are bottom feeders that like to leave food behind (Otos, gotta love em) so it might not be the prime example- however I've also had a 3 gallon cube (I got rid of it) and now have a 4.12 gallon cube running now for a bit over 4 months which has never had a parameter issue to speak of in its lifetime after cycling. I have 10 CPD in the 4 gallon and I thought it's possible it was overstocked....so far so good! I did daily tank maintenance this morning on all my tanks the 4 gallon is the only tank I don't have to touch daily other than feeding the CPDs. I also maintain my Mum's 3 gallon cube (exact model I used to have) and other than saying hi to the ADF in there I've never had an issue with the tank other than 1 time when the pump failed but I don't consider that the small tank's fault. 

I would like to add my Fluval Flex 9 to that but it has had some parameter issues- however I would defend it because the original pump was a p.o.s. so I got an aftermarket one that is better and I decided to double filter that one as well and got a co-op nano sponge- ever since those changes that tank tests golden too! 

Not saying bigger tanks aren't easier as my 20 gallon tanks are also trouble free but I don't find small tanks hard at all. I think once you figure out what the ammonia issues are it won't give you any trouble! It's possible!!!!

I agree with you completely about 10 gallons tanks getting a bad rap—I think they’re actually a good tank for beginners if you have hardy livestock because it forces you to learn about filtration, the nitrogen cycle, and aquarium maintenance. There’s nothing inherently “harder” about maintaining a smaller tank—but in my experience, and I’m just one guy, things like ammonia spikes from overfeeding can get out of hand faster in a 10 gallon. That said, the ammonia situation in my 10 gallon aquarium was under control after removing the source (uneaten bloodworms) and doing two water changes—all in all, a pretty easy fix.
 

To say I was “struggling” with water quality was perhaps over dramatic on my part. What really happened is that I’m still learning the feeding habits of a new species of fish, overestimated how much they would eat, and had to fix the resulting ammonia spike. I also need a larger sponge filter for that tank, I think. Definitely not something I’d blame on the tank size.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been experimenting with a couple setups to figure out what's going on with my CPDs' low hatch and fry survival rates, but I haven't had any success. I've tried several methods to no avail.

Method 1: Collecting eggs in a deli cup, then placing them in a Fluval hanging breeding box with a constant stream of water from main tank and gentle air stone. Outcome: 75% hatch rate among fertilized eggs, but fry don't survive 24 hours.

Method 2: Collecting eggs in a deli cup, then placing them in a Fluval hanging breeding box with a 1 drip/second of water from the main tank and no air stone. Outcome: 50% hatch rate among fertilized eggs, but fry don't survive 24 hours.

Method 3: Collecting eggs in a deli cup, then placing them in a 2.5 gallon tank with heater and gentle airstone. No hatching.

I'm going to try letting a male and a couple females breed in a 5.5 gallon with a sponge filter next and see if there's any improvement.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update: CPD Breeding

It's a been a good long while since I posted an entry on my progress, and I've been experimenting on a ton of different ways to hatch eggs and raise fry. Here's a couple things I've learned.

  1. FEED FEED FEED: The single most important variable in CPD breeding is feeding them a TON of live or TWO TONS of frozen food. CPDs breed pretty readily, so the females will lay eggs every single day as long as you feed them. However, in my experiments, you've got to feed them a ton of food to increase hatch rates and fry survival. I don't know what the science is behind this is, but I've noticed that the more you feed the mothers, the larger the yolk sacks are on the wigglers—which is their only source of food during the first days of life. I've found that live baby brine shrimp daily for a week before collecting eggs is the most efficient way to feed the parents enough to boost survival rates. I've tried adding vitamins to frozen food, but this doesn't seem to have much of an effect on breeding. I also try to make sure there's food present in the water when the fry start swimming.
  2. Hatching and Raising Container: I spent a lot of time monkeying with water conditions in different containers. Doesn't seem to make a difference as long as the water conditions are good. I tried using a separate tank to hatch eggs, as well as my usual hanging breeding box method.
  3. Water Temperature: I tried 70°F water, 75°F water, and 78°F water (the highest temp I'm comfortable with). The sweet spot seems to be 75°F, which is a little warmer than what I keep the parents in.
  4. Water Conditions: My best outcomes came from matching the water conditions (hardness, PH, cleanliness) in the parent's tank.
  5. Egg Fungus: I had the best outcomes when I placed freshly laid eggs in methylene blue and floated them in the main tank for 24 hours. This allows me to remove the unfertilized eggs before fungus can grow. After 24 hours, I gently put the eggs in whatever I'm hatching them in with a pipette. If the embryo is visible in the egg, they're fine as long as I'm extra gentle when moving them to the hatching container. I even had a couple fry hatch in the float, and they did fine.
  6. Catappa Leaves: I've had the best luck using catalpa leaves in the main tank and hatching container when I want to collect and hatch eggs. The water doesn't have to be too dark, just enough to get the benefits (see photo below). I use 1 leaf per 20 gallons. I'd love to try alder cones, but I haven't gotten my hands on any yet.IMG_1493.jpeg.c4880f5c2487e9505cdeaf36b8695cee.jpeg
  7. Other water notes: An air stone is unnecessary until the fry are free swimming, and neither are water changes. Eggs and fry develop better in their early days when the water is still. They have more than enough oxygen, and as long as the water you put them in is free of ammonia and nitrites they should be alright (fry and eggs don't create much waste).
  8. Development Timeline: How quickly eggs and fry develop seems to be tied to water temperature—the warmer the water, the faster they grow. In my opinion, faster isn't better, but I have no evidence for that. This is what I typically see for healthy eggs and fry at 75°F:
    • Day 1: Unfertilized eggs turn white (or blue in methylene blue) and can develop fungus.
    • Day 3-4: Embryos are visible in the egg.
    • Day 4-5: Eggs hatch and fry "wigglers" lay on the bottom of the container.
    • Day 5-7: Fry can start sticking to the sides of the container.
    • Day 7-10: Fry start to swim freely.

I'm currently on Day 6 of a new batch eggs I collected last week. The eggs I collected on Monday of last week are now fry who are starting to stick on the sides of the container, and the eggs I collect on Saturday are just now showing embryos in them. Everything seems to be going alright so far, and I've started putting cultured paramecium and the tiniest amount of fry powder in the container in case any of the fry decide to start swimming.

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Everyone’s free-swimming!

F223199E-3060-4C37-971B-DE2648ED65D9.jpeg.268269658cffe9bf3bc50a948e8f2947.jpeg

I haven’t tried to count how many fry I’ve got since CPD babies are so small, but I’d guess there’s 30 I hatched plus 5 I removed from the colony. My last successful clutch of eggs hatched three months ago, so I’m relieved this one has worked out so well. To be honest, I was getting pretty demoralized trying to figure out why my previous clutches were failing—I was even having dreams about struggling to keep fry alive. 😅

As I mentioned in my previous post, all my problems seemed to be rooted in how I was feeding the parents. I’ve had the most success with feeding them live baby brine everyday. After that, my CPDs were breeding pretty successfully on their own and I’ve been netting fry out of the main tank.

Everything looks good today! 🤞🏼 

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