Drape Fin Barb unexpected fry — help!

dubadotcom

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Hi freshwater fans,

Brand new to this forum and hoping to get some much-needed advice. I have a heavily planted 70l community tank containing six Drape Fin Barbs (three males and three females), four male guppies, three dwarf corydoras, and a pleco. Everyone gets along famously, and I was happy to see the barbs spawning from time to time thinking it was a sign of a healthy tank. Having read as much as I could on the species, I didn't expect anything to come of the spawning.

Imagine my surprise when a few days ago I notice two fry swimming about in the dense hygrophila polysperma! They're both over a centimetre long and freely swimming and foraging. I have no intention of breeding, but of course I'm instantly attached to these little guys and want to look after them.

I suppose my question is a moral one as much as a practical one. Common sense would tell me to isolate immediately, but I haven't a back-up tank and with lockdown getting my hands on a submergible net/box will take a week or two. Considering they've already made it this far and are clearly at least a couple weeks old, is it fair to leave them be? The hygrophila polysperma certainly acts as a nursery, the mature fish seldom swim through it and have shown no interest in the fry.

I know there's of course no guarantees, but is there a certain size/age past which the window of danger closes for these little guys? I think my tank can handle two more residents, but of course if this happens again I'll need a better long-term solution. I love my drape fins and want to keep a happy balanced tank.

Blurry picture of the little guys attached. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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Deanasue

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They are lunch as long as any fish can get them in their mouth. After they grow large enough for that not to happen, then they are safe. Hopefully, they’ll stay in the foliage until then. Congrats!
 
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dubadotcom

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Thanks Deanasue for your help.

Quick update, the two little fry are getting bolder each day, and after a couple close calls I decided I had to intervene — not to mention their increasingly curious attitude would finally make catching them possible.

I managed to net them one at a time and gently transferred them to a container while I set up a make-shift home for them. I used a food-safe plastic netting (from a re-usable bag intended for produce) and sectioned off a corner of my tank. I added some cuttings of the hygrophila to try and recreate the conditions they'd become used to.

I'm wondering, how temporary of a solution is this? Should I be worried about that the netting material isn't "aquarium approved"? And is this enough space for them to thrive, at least for a few weeks until they're large enough to join the group? I'll try and get my hands on a proper net box in the mean time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advanced for your continued support. I'm really figuring it out as I go here!
 

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