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Dry / powdered food for picky fry.


Tetra Guy
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Looking for recommendations for powdered food to keep on hand for unexpected fry.    I have dwarf gouramis, and some other small fish, that breed but I can't keep the fry alive.   In the absence of live foods, I think they just starve to death.  I have tried  Sera powdered fry food, but no luck.  Thinking maybe freeze dried daphnia?    TIA! 🙂  

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I make my own. I have an old coffee grinder that I use for fish food. Depending on the fry, I use different stuff. Almost all types start with a basic flake food (Tetramin Plus typically) then I add either freeze-dried tubifex worms/brine shrimp/shrimp pellets for more carnivorous fry or algae wafers for the vegetarians. Then I just grind it up until it's as small and fine as I need it. A coffee grinder lets you grind it very, very fine. A coffee grinder like I use costs about $20 brand new and pays for itself in no time. (Just don't use it for coffee after making fish food in it.) You can grind pretty much anything that's dry into as fine a powder as you need for your fish. Since you're using the food you're already using to make food for the fry there's no real transition down the road. The fry will already be used to the food since it's what they've been eating all along, just now in a larger form. With a coffee grinder you're never out of fry food as long as you have adult fish food. Just grind some up and in a matter of a minute or two, you've got fry food.

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Here are some photos showing the process. In the first photo is my coffee grinder empty. In photo two is the coffee grinder with the Tetramin Plus, three freeze-dried tubifex worm cubes, and two and a half algae wafers. In the final photo you see the finished, ground up fish food dust, for lack of a better word in it's plastic storage container. It's a very, very fine powder. Just a tiny pinch becomes a cloud of food in the tank. The beauty of grinding your own food is you can make it out of whatever you want, as long as that item is dry. If I wasn't allergic to freeze-dried blood worms I'd use them also, but I sneeze badly whenever I'm around them. A simple $20 (or so) investment in a cheap coffee grinder means you'll never have to buy fry food again and can customize it to suit your fishes. It's one of the best investments you'll ever make as a fish keeper. 

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Like @Irene, my honey gourami fry will only eat live foods. I always start them on infusoria. If it doesn’t move, they just won’t eat it. Right now I have a four week old group and the other day I ran out of baby brine shrimp. I keep frozen bbs on hand and so I tried to give them some of that. After nearly 24 hours they finally ate a few, but they weren’t happy about it!

Other fry might accept prepared food though. 

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Finely ground/powdered food  that disperses in a cloud when it hits the water tends to move with the water currents and stay somewhat suspended in the water. It looks largely like a cloud of infusoria if you get it ground finely enough. It even "moves" in the water to some extent due to current and the movement of the fish.

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3 hours ago, gardenman said:

It looks largely like a cloud of infusoria if you get it ground finely enough.

My honey fry must be too smart. They give each little speck a good stare and wait for it to move before nomming. Even if they decide to try a non-moving speck, they immediately spit it out. They want it raw and wriggling!

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I think vinegar eels are a good low maintenance culture for tiny fry, and I found that frozen baby brine was better than powdered food to keep them going when my hatch failed and I was losing fry right and left. I did not have good luck with powdered dry food for week old fry, tho I assume that as they get older they may be less picky.

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I keep a pestle and morter for grinding up food for fry, it has an advantage over a coffee grinder because it can be used on very small amounts of food. I do  3 or 4 pellets at a time and use a child's paint brush to brush the dust into the fry tank. If you need even finer food add a drop of water as you grind it and you will get dirty water which will feed the smallest fry. 

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