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Failures and successes, taking risks!


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I have recently been experiencing some highs and lows of fishkeeping, and I want to document my efforts at breeding Ginga Rubra guppies. I bought them online cheap, and now I see them selling for quite a bit online! More importantly, I love these little buggers!

The first part of the roller coaster was finding that my community tank was really thriving- massive cherry shrimp colony, the guppies had bred without much effort from me, and everyone was happy. I decided to get a little fancy and feed better foods, start really taking care of the plants, etc.

This turned out to be a bit of a mistake that I am still recovering from. Apparently liquid CO2 kills things (I plead ignorance,) and feeding different food for the guppies left my inverts suffering. My corys started acting hungry and my bamboo shrimp weren't filtering. Nearly the entire cherry colony was wiped out- nearly! 

Now we get to the good. Turns out some cherry shrimp hitchhikers had made it into my quarantine tank on the hornwort, and bred too! 

Now I am afraid to put the new, fresh out of quarantine fish in the community tank because the guppies are breeding. What if I mess it up?! But thats the fun of it, right?

I decided to "back up" my guppy colony by placing a handful of fry in a few other established tanks and an outdoor tub. A few magenta mystery snails are into the tub too. Is it a little late in the season for tubbing? Sure, but whats the worst that can happen? It's hot here in Northern California and I think we've got a lot more time. You never know until you try!

I will use this thread to document my success or failures with my efforts at breeding and trying new things.

Current tanks:

60 gal Community tank: ginga rubra guppies (lots of fry!), Beckford's pencilfish, bronze corydoras (aeneus), assassin snails, cherry shrimp (population recovering), 2 bamboo shrimp (also recovering), orange fin "kyathit" danios (recently added after 4wks quarantine)

10gal Magenta mystery snail tank: very overstocked, need to sell some before adding guppy fry

Shrimp quarantine tank 5gal: blue dream neo shrimp, 3 tiny mystery snails, 5 guppy fry

Fish quarantine tank approx 5gal: recently vacated and filled with 5 guppy fry

29gal outdoor tub: 10 guppy fry, 3 mystery snails, lots of hornwort. Currently has sponge filter and airstone disk. This is the one I am most interested in following, and I plan to add cherry shrimp to see how they do, but only once my population recovers.




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An update today! 

60gal: I added 5 kyathit (orange fin) danios after a 4wk quarantine and while I was worried they would be bullies, it turns out they are the biggest weenies in the tank. Its cool to see them zoom around the tank all in a line! They are very fast so I have been keeping an eye out to make sure everyone gets food, but it doesn't look like a problem atm. The 4 new pencilfish were right at home and joined with the existing school.

I have been intentionally overfeeding the 60gal in an effort to recover the cherry shrimp colony and improve the health of the bamboo shrimp. I do see at least one bamboo out and about, but no filtering. The other is hiding, but appears to be alive. I've only see 1 cherry shriml but a the surprise backup colony is going well. I feed Omega Lne freshwater flakes and one Hikari algae wafer daily, since this is what I was feeding when the shrimp population was thriving. I also add lots of frozen daphnia, but haven't seen the bamboo shrimp filter for it. Other foods as I feel like it are frozen bloodworms and repashy community.

I have discovered that the corys are very dumb and will swim around for ages seemingly looking for food, when the wafer fell on a leaf plant above the substrate or something. I have seen less of the swimming towards the surface behavior. Since I only have 3, I am planning to buy 3-4 more this week to start quarantine and hopefully make them more comfortable. They always seem nervous and skittish.

Outdoor tub: I added 4-5 magenta mystery snails as well as some guppy babies, and they survived the night! Not only that, they survived the week! I am considering adding more fry in there but I want to grow them put first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On Wednesday (8/26) I was excited to find some cory eggs on the glass! I removed the eggs with a credit card VERY CAREFULLY (it was a pain haha) and placed them in a small Tupperware container with 3 drops of methylene blue to prevent fungus. I also placed an airstone, per the instructions I had found online.

Happily, they hatched today! The fry are very, VERY small, as is expected. I can see their egg sacs too. I will start up a brine shrimp hatch tonight or tomorrow with hopes of keeping the little guys growing. Not sure where to have them grow out yet, as I have guppy fry big enough to eat them in one tank and the snail tank water parameters are a little off. Third tank is quarantining new corys (ironically, I got them the day before these ones bred.) For now they will stay in the egg hatching tupperware, but a breeding box in the main tank is also an option.

With only 3 adult corys in the community tank, I'm surprised they bred. I got more corys so they can feel more comfortable in a school. If I am successful with the fry, the school will grow more! As of this morning, I saw about 5 fry, but I am optimistic more will hatch.



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Well, a bit of a sad update today. Both bamboo shrimp have finally died.

I started doing more research online. What could I have done wrong? And GOSH DARN IT I FIGURED IT OUT. I'm angry I didn't figure it out sooner. First I thought it was because of the food, so I changed back the food. I thought that HAD to be it. Then I thought it was the Flourish excel, so I stopped dosing it. That HAD to be it. Then I thought it was the filter flow, so I increased the flow AND added an internal filter to increase it even further. I was sure THAT was the answer. Didn't see any improvement; they were hanging in there but not eating normally, hiding all day. What else could I do?

Went online today (not for the first time) and FINALLY found this:

"Note Regarding Copper & Plant Fertilizer: A big Bamboo Shrimp care issue involves copper. As with all freshwater aquarium shrimp, its important to avoid copper, as it’s fatal to them. Also be careful with plant fertilizer pellets. Once placed in the substrate, plant fertilizer pellets remain there and dissolve slowly. But if the substrate gets moved around and the dissolved pellets get stirred up, it releases whatever is in them into the water column. This sudden burst of plant fertilizer in the water column can be consumed in large concentrations by filter feeding shrimp, and it may be harmful or fatal to them. So check to see if the plant fertilizer of choice is “shrimp safe”. And even if it is, take care not to accidentally release bursts of the fertilizer into the water column."

SON OF A GUN. I had been dosing Flourish (not Fluorish excel) throughout the entire ordeal. I never thought any company would be STUPID enough to put copper in an aquarium fertilizer without clearly printing "NOT SAFE FOR INVERTS" somewhere in there. I was also just watching some YouTube vids saying you should dose ferts until nitrates reached 20ppm. Considering my tank is heavily planted, I gave an uber dose yesterday. And today, DEAD SHRIMP! So they were hanging on during the low dose, but the uber dose was just too much to overcome, especially when already weak. 

And all the over inverts that were suffering too? Makes sense now, doesn't it? Assassin snail population? Down. Cherry shrimp colony? Decimated. 

Uuuuugh. Whelp. Live and learn. Luckily I just got Easy Green from the Co-op, and it does NOT have copper. Clearly says shrimp safe. 

In other news, the cory fry are doing ok. I started with 13, then realized 3 weren't alive. Lost two more overnight, but not sure why. I think its just a result of normal losses. I have live baby brine hatching now, and Hikari fry food. I still see their egg sacs on some. I have been doing 50% water changes and have not been using methylene blue since they hatched. I have been very careful to dechlorinate water before adding it. (I have lost axolotl fry this way before.) There is not heater in the container now; I'm not sure when, but I would like to transfer them to a breeding box in the main tank soon.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, bit of good news and a bit of bad news. Warning- dead fish pics

Yesterday I found one of the pencilfish swimming strangely- he kept tilting to the left and couldn't stay upright unless swimming full speed forward. But he seemed normal otherwise- very active and showing off his fins. I put him in isolation; I was pretty sure it was a swim bladder issue from overfeeding (I am guilty- I love feeding my fish.) So I isolated it in a specimen container inside the main tank, so it would still be the same temp. I treated the container with 1tsp per 1gal aquarium salt, and I was feeling pretty good about it. I saw another pencilfish who was looking skinny and its back end would sink when it stopped swimming, so I put it in the salt solution too. I didn't see any other signs of disease on the fish or in anyone else in the yank. Everyone was active and happy, except for the "tilted bois" as I called them.

They looked ok this morning but still off balance. I fed BBS in an effort to really spoil them. Came home today, found big dead! The water was terribly fouled and the fish who was worst off was clearly dead. The other fish had apparently jumped out of the container into the main tank, no doubt due to how gross the water was. I'm obviously quite concerned that there could be something going on in the tank, but geez, everyone else looks TOTALLY normal. In fact, I think they look active and healthy. I am nervous to treat the entire tank because... well I can't put my finger on it, but it seems like "I treated that fish and it immediately died!" But of course that's how it goes- you dont treat healthy fish, you treat sick ones that you're worried might die!

I will likely post in the disease section to get others' opinions, but I will certainly decrease the amount of feeding.

But in good news, the 2gal shrimp tank at work has resulted in babies! I was worried the temperature was too cold (the AC absolutely blasts in there,) but clearly thats not an issue for them. This is a great way to get a new stable colony started and Im really pleased, especially since 3 of the 5 I initially put in there died. (I think they were suffering from copper I had unknowingly added to their original tank when dosing ferts.)

I've had a request to send the ginga rubras to some other people, but I can't do that until I can see the tank is stable with no deaths in the next 4 weeks.

The cory babies are doing well, I only have 3 but I am happy with that. One of them is a big beast! Very interesting to see them develop. I have been feeding primarily BBS, as well as a bit of white worms and banana worms for variety.

Also, I finally got my hands on some orange medaka rice fish! 🤩 1 male, 3 females. They are in quarantine now, but looking active and healthy. Here's hoping I can get some breeding out of them; I will be quite sad if the male dies before I can try... Sorry, its just on my mind now!

Also moved the madagascar lace plant from the mystery tank to the main tank. It is doing ok right now, but I want to really see it thrive. Saw another lace plant at a big box store the other day... trying to fight the urge to buy it...





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  • 2 weeks later...

Ricefish eggs! I repeat, we have ricefish eggs!
I'm very excited that my ricefish are happy enough- even in quarantine- to lay some eggs. I have seen eggs on the females for each of the past 3 days, and I am certain I saw the female deposit some in the java moss this morning. I'm going to leave the eggs in there on the plants for a few more days, since ricefish eggs are supposed to hatch in 10-14 days. I'll get as many eggs as I can initially before moving them to a safe, separate hatching container. Right now I have cherry shrimp in there with them, so I am hoping they leave the eggs alone. I had some snails as well, but I removed them because I read they might eat the eggs. (Jury is out on the shrimp, so we'll see.)

I also took a big risk and placed one of my nice big magenta mystery snails in my show tank; the one with all the assassin snails. I have heard mixed reviews on whether it is possible to keep both in the same tank, but most of it is anecdotal as opposed to first hand advice. Some people said "Nope, assassins are assassins, they will kill all snails. They will gang up to kill a large mystery snail." While others said, " If the snail is big enough, they leave the mystery alone."

I tried leaving the mystery in a breeder box in the tank overnight, just to see if I could find any assassins hanging around and stalking, but they showed no interest. That morning I placed it in the main tank and kept checking on it every hour or so (or more... I may have been obsessing.) However, he is in there cruising with no issues at all! The assassin's are not showing any interest at all. That means I might be able to put in a few more mysteries, which I had wanted all along!

Speaking of lazy assassins, I have a bunch of very, very tiny snails in the tank that are apparently too small for them to bother with. 😕 They look like Malaysian trumpet snails, but WAY smaller, and they don't appear to be getting any bigger. It came in on a plant that I didn't quarantine or dip or anything- I placed them with impunity "knowing" the assassins would take care of any snails. 🙄 For now I am just going to accept them. I've found that the amount of work I have to put in to avoid snails or unsightly (not problem) algae is too much compared to the amount of enjoyment I would get from not having them. I just aim to keep pest snails out of my mystery breeding tank, but I suspect the mysteries would out compete them anyway. I may ask the forum for input on what the heck kind of snails these are, but it's not really going to solve anything- they are in there and they'll be staying in there, there's not much I can do.

I have acquired some live cultures (microworms, banana worms, and vinegar eels,) and it's a lot of fun; I think someone else on the forum said it was addictive, and indeed they were right. I am trying to start a greenwater culture, but I haven't had success yet. Daphnia or scuds might be next, but I'm running out of space.

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Oh, and the maracyn treatment in the main tank was completed without issue. There were no further losses and the cory fry are healthy and growing, no negative impacts. Looks like I was overreacting from one death; it's possible that particular fish was just old. I've had pencilfish since 2015/2016 or so.

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Well, I found a very "rice" surprise today!
I was doing a water change on the gold Medaka ricefish tank and was rinsing the sponge filter in the removed aquarium water, and felt some weird bumps. I looked and TA-DA! More ricefish eggs! They kind of messed up my plan of removing the plants with eggs and leaving the parents in there, but hey, they don't care about what I want. I have removed the java moss to an alternate container in hopes of getting some fry there. I'm honestly just out of space; I only have smaller containers for the ricefish if I'm going to move them, and I think this will stress them/will be an unhealthy environment. I'm trying to be very careful about their water parameters because they are only in a 5gal right now. I had plans to move them to a nice 10, but honestly... I just have no space! I'm resisting putting a tank in the bedroom; might have to move around some of my sewing stuff and put a new tank there. 😉 If I was feeling saucy I would put them in the outdoor tub, but... I desperately want them to breed and by keeping them inside I can keep a closer eye on them. Now, if I am successful in that, THEN I can move some outside.

I also went through the guppy growout tank and pulled out some culls; only 2. One has a very bent spine and the other has a split tail, which I just don't like for this line. Makes me feel like a "real" breeder now lol I don't have the heart to put them down just yet, although that might be best for the deformed guy. I've placed them in the snail tank for now to see how they do.

The snails are doing GREAT and are still breeding quite well. I think I've actually gotten to a point where they are breeding true; they used to drop a lot of ivories, but after several different clutches (maybe 5?) I only see one ivory. I took some to my LFS but they didn't seem too keen on offering me store credit or cash for them. 😕 I gave them 10 for free (and 10 assassin snails) as a sign of good faith, per Cory's "Breeding for profit" recommendations. I don't hold it against them; they are business and maybe that's just not what they need. (But personally I think the magentas are unique and you can't get them at many LFS. or box stores.) I have a different LFS that I will drop off a different batch to. Worst case scenario I will have to start just giving them away, but I'm not too terribly upset about that. I just like keeping and breeding them.

I was able to successfully put one of the large mystery snails in the main tank with all the assassin snails. I've heard conflicting info, some saying they would be left alone, some saying that the assassins would gang up to kill it. Well he's been in there almost a week now and the assassins are not showing any interest whatsoever. I'm quite happy about that because I had originally wanted the magentas in there in the first place, but the assassins started breeding out of control. 

The assassins are not too interested in the stupid pest snails in there either! After consulting the forum, we think they are trumpet snails that are likely hiding during the day and breeding at night. The tiny offspring are too small for the assassins to be bothered. (Stupid lazy assassins lol) I don't particularly like the trumpet snails but I'm not going to freak out and try to eliminate them. Honestly, it's so much less stress to simply accept that if you have a planted tank, you're going to get snails. I am surprised though, because I had trumpets previously, which is why I got the assassins in the first place. Perhaps this is a slightly different type? Or maybe I am feeding the assassins too much and they need to get hungry? haha

The ricefish eggs are due to hatch starting tomorrow; they've laid eggs every day for the past 9 days, so hopefully I will have many many tiny ricefish babies. I have plenty of live food ready for them- vinegar eels, microworms, banana worms, and the Hikari first bites... I think I'm ready. 👍

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