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Your First Baby Fish! [a Sub-faq For Newbies]


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#1 nmonks

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:13 PM

Congratulations on your new baby fish!

Four types of livebearer readily breed in community tanks, and there's plenty of experience for you to draw on if you want to ensure you raise a healthy brood of fish. Guppies, mollies, swordtails, and platies all breed regularly in aquaria with little help from the aquarist. Really, the only thing you need to take care of are the following:

(1) Ensuring that the baby fish aren't eaten
(2) Providing an adequate diet so that the fish grow steadily

Ensuring that the baby fish aren't eaten

Even if the fry survive in a community tank long enough for you to find them, there's no guarantees they won't be eaten by the other fish in the tank. Dwarf cichlids, angelfish, catfish, and barbs may look benign but they will hunt down any livebearer fry that they find. So, it is invariably a good idea to remove the fry to a separate aquarium as soon as possible.

Sometimes the parents will eat their own fry, but this isn't always the case, and guppies and platies in particular tend to ignore their offspring provided they are otherwise well fed. If you want to take the chance of leaving them with their parents, it's a good idea to incorporate some plants into the tank. These will give the fry some cover, and instinctively they hide among the leaves away from larger fish. Floating plants, such as Ceratophyllum demersum are ideal for this.

Breeding traps can be used to create a floating "refuge" in the tank for raising the fry. On the plus side they are inexpensive and easy to use. But they are very small, and usually only make sense with small broods and over the short term. If confined to breeding traps for more than a couple of weeks, fish tend to become stressed. Bottom line, they can be an excellent stop-gap solution but you still want to invest in another tank to raise the fry. Bear in mind that it takes about 3 months for baby fish to get big enough to be combined with generic, non-predatory community fish.

Breeding nets are similar to traps but a big bigger, so allow you to keep the baby fish confined in them for a week or two more. But again, they are stop-gap solutions rather than alternatives to a second aquarium.

If you're keeping the baby fish in a breeding trap or net, float a large leaf or some floating plants inside it. This gives the baby fish some cover, which they appreciate.

A tank for raising fish need not be complex or expensive. I use a 30 litre (~10 US gallon) aquarium, half-filled with water taken from the main aquarium. A heater is obviously essential, but lighting is not, and I usually keep the tank in a sunny place so that floating plants can be grown easily. Filtration is also easy: a simple box-filter powered by a small air pump is ideal. Avoid strong electric filters as these can suck up tiny fish, resulting in their untimely demise.

Providing an adequate diet to that the fish grow steadily

Baby guppies, mollies, swordtails, and platies are easy to raise. Finely powdered flake food is taken readily, and there are commercial baby fish foods (such as Liquifry) that can be used as well. They will also peck at algae and aquarium detritus. Once they become a little larger, frozen foods are an excellent way to speed up their growth, with things like bloodworms being popular and easy to buy.

Feed your baby fish small amounts on a very regular basis, more often than you would feed adult fish; at least 4 times a day, and preferably 6 times a day. Give them as much food as they will eat within a couple of minutes, and remove anything left over.

These baby fish grow rapidly, and you'll be astonished at how quickly they develop. Just as with any other fish, move the babies to larger quarters as they grow. Mollies in particular are rather large fish, and sailfin mollies will not develop their sail-like dorsal fins if kept in crampt conditions.

Good luck!

Neale

With thanks to Annastasia

Edited by nmonks, 14 November 2005 - 10:14 AM.


#2 love_fish

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:19 PM

Good writeup man. Answered a few of my questions i would have posted :) Definetely should be pinned.

#3 Weaver

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:33 PM

Congratulations on a superb post and if love_fish is anything to go by it is doing its job already :clap:

#4 Annastasia

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 10:57 PM

Good job nmonks. :)

A few things I'd add though:

1. You can use a breeder net instead of a trap. That way the babies can stay in there a liiiittle longer.
2. You should feed the fry at least 3 times a day, preferably 4-6.
3. I wouldn't say Mollies are very safe with their fry. My Mollies are little cannibals when it comes to babies. :( Guppies seem to be pretty good though.
4. Another thing that helps, is if you put them in a breeder net/trap, to give them a few floating plants. My fry love it, and you can really just stick in any plants you happen to have. I've used an Amazon Sword leaf, a few lilly leaves, some water sprite...anything is good. :thumbs:

So those are my little nit-picks. :P Other then that, great job! Might want to add it to the "Pin Me, Pin Me!" topic in Board Announcements and Suggestions.

Edited by Annastasia, 13 November 2005 - 10:58 PM.


#5 nmonks

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:17 AM

Hi,

Thanks for positive feedback!

Annastasia -- have added your comments to the sub-FAQ, and posted a request on the "pin me" thread.

Cheers,

Neale




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