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Honey Gourami fry dying at 8 weeks


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First time fry parent here.
My 8 weeks old HG fry keep dying. Have had 2 deaths in a week. Water changed twice so far. The first one dead was the smallest one. I thought he was weak and didn’t develop his labyrinth organ properly. The tank has a plastic cover for humidity build up. Today one of the biggest one died. 
A sponge filter, a small LED, a heater set to 78. 
Ammonia is not 0 as I feed them quite a few times but change water every 2 days. 
I have a HOB, is it safe to move them in my main tank? The biggest one is 0.5 inch. 
I have Corys, Otos, and their HG parent. 

If it is water quality issue, moving them to main tank is my only option. Will they survive Nitrate of 30ppm? 
Help appreciated. 



Edited by Frodo
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Oh no! Sorry to hear about your losses.

It’s a little hard to tell since the fish is out of the water, but it looks like you may be having some fin rot issues. In that case, I wonder if the water quality in your grow out tank is not great (or maybe just fluctuating a lot). Is it a fairly new setup?

I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable putting them loose in the main tank... I worry that the parent gourami would go after them. But if you have some mesh, some super glue, and a plastic container, you can make them a mini enclosure that you can suspend in the main tank with some fishing line and suction cups. Here’s my current one: 

Or you can buy a mesh breeder box or a fancier one like this (if you don’t already have one):


Separates Fry from Larger Fish Designed For Maximum Water Flow Two Hanging Methods This premium breeder box from Ziss is designed to maximize water flow throughout the box. It features a hose connected...


My next question is what have you been feeding them? I’m still feeding almost exclusively baby brine at this age because it’s clean and they devour it (and I spoil my babies so they become super picky eaters 😬). 

How many fry do you have left at this point?

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@Hobbit Thank you. I knew it was worth tagging you. Us Shire folks got to stick together 😀. JK. 
since you mentioned fin rot, i have to go back and check is DB. 
I feed them instant baby brine shrimp (got no space for hatchery), hikari first bites. I have tried various crushed regular foods of which they only showed any liking to algae wafers. 

I will research about fin rot. Will they survive the recommended treatment for it is another question. 
I am really trying my best with all that find online to raise them. Honestly thought they were out of dying stage. Do you know if at this age their labyrinth organ should be developed? 

They are in a tank on their own. Bare bottom, a few duckweeds, nothing major. 
The nitrites were high though. Just changed their water and increased the volume too. Treated with some seachem prime


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One thing that I suggest you purchase since you don't have anywhere else to put them is a Marina Hang-On Breeding Box either the large or medium size. All you need is a gang valve or another air pump which you may want to consider purchasing either way as a backup. Here is a link to Amazon medium size is available now Marina Hang-On Breeding Box, medium. One caveat that I had an issue with is I have rims on my 20 and a hood on my 55. If you have a rimless or a small rim on your tank than you should definitely get one especially if you want to breed more. I loved the design and idea of the Marina Hang-on Breeding Box that I purchased one 3 years ago and kept it till I got a tank that it would actually work on.

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Instant baby brine sounds good! One reason I ask is because my honeys have more yellow color on them by 8 weeks. The one in that picture looks fairly pale. But if your adult females are gray rather than yellow, maybe that baby’s just a female? Are your other fry a similar color?

The fin rot is really just a guess. I’m basing it on the rough edges at the base of its tail, but again that might just be the way it looks out of the water. If your other fish’s fins look fine, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you think there is a fin rot issue though, I think it’s worth trying a treatment.

About the labyrinth organ: I’m not really sure when it finishes developing. I haven’t seen my 8 week babies gulping at the surface yet, but they just got moved to their makeshift grow out tub in the big tank and they’re still terrified of the tank’s lid. Unfortunately I can’t remember when my first generation started gulping at the surface regularly. Though either way, I wouldn’t expect labyrinth development problems to cause death all by itself. And since you have their tank covered it sounds like you’ve done everything right to support healthy labyrinth development.

Don’t blame yourself for losing some—there’s always the chance that they just had a genetic issue that you have no control over. And you’re right that you got them through the trickiest age, so that’s something to be proud of!

Did they die suddenly or did you have any warning they were going downhill?

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