When a Blessing Becomes A Curse

TwoTankAmin

Fish Connoisseur
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I have made no secret of the fact that age has finally worn me down and the result it I am greatly reducing my tank numbers. For the past almost 17 years I have been one of the luckiest fishkeeper I know when it came to spawning Hypancustrus plecos. I cut my teeth early on with the bristlenose- common tanks varieties. They were like rabbits and I could never get out from under the insane number of fry I got. The final spawn from my oldest couple was over 100 eggs. Along the way i finally was able to acquire my most wanted pleco - zebras. I ended up buying a proven breeding group of 13 fish which began to give me two spawns a month almost immediately.

And this provided me with the way to expand. The zebras first paid me for the purchase. Then they began paying me back for all the money I had spent on everything else fish and not pleco. So like any good addict with MTS, I then used the zebra sales to finance more species- P. compta, L450. H. contradens, L173b and RB line 236. And then the pride of my groups- wild caught L173. I may have had the only WC group in the country at that time, but I am not certain. The final addition was a group of RB line SW 236.

And pretty much everything spawned. Only thr P. comptas gave me some issues and they got sold to make room for my of thos crazy B&W Hypans.

As the years passed I discovered that water had gained a lot of weight, that I had to be doing 25 hours a week of tank work as I also had a number of planted communities. When I finally crossed into my 70s 6 years ago I realized I was coming to the end of an era. I was simply having trouble keeping up with it all. My heart never wanted to stop working with the fish but my head told me not to be an idiot, you are getting too old.

So I bit the bullet and put together a few year plan to go from 20+ tanks to maybe one or two smaller ones. The first things that had to go were the breeding groups of plecos. As Long as I had them it meant many more babies.

So I began selling things. My last sale of breeders was my last acquired group- the SW 236 and about 132 assorted offspring. However, we hit a small snag. When I went to catch the SW breeders, I discovered a trapping in progress which precedes a spawn. So I called the buyer and asked what he wanted me to do. I could break them apart and send them, or I could hold on until the trapping ended and send them later. My buyer did not want a spawning interrupted, as we both knew this often means they may not try again for months, so I held onto them.


The shipping arrangement were unusual here as two buyers combined and took advantage of the 29% discount I offer if fish are picked up instead of my shipping. So the partner came and got most of the fish and he took the other gents fish and sent them to him airport to airport. They both work for airlines or had in the past. The two fish and 5 more kids were to be picked up at a later date and sent.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (excuse the western movie metaphore) I had been buying small albino bristlenose and a few tiny super reds to help with algae in my planted tanks. I was putting twp in each of 4 tanks and the super reds also went into the biggest. My plan was to remove one if there were signs of spawning. Three days ago I discovered BN fry plasterer on the front and side glass of the 75. A the male and only LF had claimed a cave and the rest is history. Right now my best hope if that a load of amano shrimp in the tank will eat most of them. Now I have to grabs that male in the cave and get rid of it. I will segregate it and bring it to my culb meeting to sell or give away.

Next, last night I was working in the fish paces where the last vestiges of the plecos are. I have kept the wild a L173 for a bit and have stopped selling their offspring. They are too unique and valuable to let go quite yet. SInce the intital trapping above that yielded nothing I have not seen any further signs of spawning, until last night. i decided to check the cave as i saw the males movong in a way that made me suspicious. Trusty flashlight in hand I got doen on my hands and needs to see into the cave. Inside were both fish and they were vibrating whihc is haow they behave when spaning. UGH!

This orning when I checked the males was alone. But he was doing his nest to keep me from seeing for sure or not there were eggs, His behavior makes me thinks there age, but until I can acyually see them I have hope.

The absolute one thing I do not want is more pleco fry. I had to hold onto the last 30 or so SW fry because they were way to small to sell fo a few months. they are almost ready to go out and now this.

For many years every new spawn had me doing the happy fish dance. I was so lucky to have the success I did. I credit it to three things. The first is my well water. the best way I can explain it is it would appear it contain a natural fish aphrodeseac. Every species of plecos (save the P. compta) has spawned prolifically for me. The next factor is that I have been almost religeous in my maintenance and water changes now for going on 24 years. the last factor was learning how importan diet is when if comes to having healthy fish that will spawn. But the lions share of the credit should be given to the fish.

Now the most recent two spawns are not the sort of belssing they used to be, they are a curse. They are moving me in the wrong direction. I am s fish keeper who feels a that if I keep fish in a box I am entirely responsible for their lives. It is my duty to see they are properly cared for and given the best chance to groew and live long lives. It is up to me to try to get the offspring to others who want to spawn them. And I have also made rthe decision that I cannot kcontiue doing so, hence the selling of a lot of them.

So here I have arrived at a point where what I used to consider a blessing has now turned into a curse. I do not want or need more babies and I will not euthanize them and U cannot sell or even give them away until they get big enough to be most likely to survive. My usualy rule has been a minimum size of 1.5 inches TL and a minimum age of 6 months for many. the L173 are very slow frowers and need well over a year before I will offer them.

*SIGH*
Old age sucks.
 
I am old but not yet tired. I have learned to pace myself. What does it really matter if it takes 3 days what I used to do in less than one? It doesn’t.

Those things I can no longer do physically? I ask for help, or in a rare instance I hire help, worse case they do not get done.

Few things at this point in life are needs, most are wants and wants can when necessary be ignored.

I am lucky on several fronts. Over the years, without noticing or planning to, I built a bank of goodwill. I used my skills to help others without compensation beyond their company. Now, they gladly return the favor.
 
I wish I was "cursed" :rofl:


You have offered me quite a bit of knowledge Chris. When one door closes others open and even though you don't feel like you can keep up with breeding these days you can still contribute in helping the rest of us achieve success. I'm in debt for all the time you've already spent talking with me, helping refine my methods. Far as I can tell, youre still very much involved and appreciated. Wish I lived closer so we could visit and I could learn from you in person but alas the phone with have to suffice.

I just personally wanted to say thank you



Kind regards

Danny
 
Again, thanks for your knd words. One of the things that comes with the fish I sell is any future help for folks who get them may need especially when they want to be breeding them. Many years ago people helped me immensely. In this hobby it really is important to "pay it forward."

Also, the odds are decent that some of the species will become extinct in the wild.
 
I turned 65 last Friday. I've been reducing tanks, no longer buy fish, sad that my 12 year old albino bn is a bachelor but not sad, as I am reducing tanks. I don't do the maintenance I should during pond season, but I still clean ponds for a living, leaning more heavily on my crew this year. Since my platelets and energy are up, I am not retiring yet. I'm afraid if I sit down I'll fall apart. but I am not buying more fish, trying new species, fighting new diseases anymore. Still trying to trap another beehive, they are easier to manage than fish.
 
I turned 65 last Friday. I've been reducing tanks, no longer buy fish, sad that my 12 year old albino bn is a bachelor but not sad, as I am reducing tanks. I don't do the maintenance I should during pond season, but I still clean ponds for a living, leaning more heavily on my crew this year. Since my platelets and energy are up, I am not retiring yet. I'm afraid if I sit down I'll fall apart. but I am not buying more fish, trying new species, fighting new diseases anymore. Still trying to trap another beehive, they are easier to manage than fish.
Happy birthday! Sixty five is the new 50.
 
I turned 64 yesterday... I'm not retired yet, just tired... I'm at the point I'm feeling urgency to get stuff done ( like fencing pastures, & fixing on the house & farm buildings ) while I can still do it... hiring it out is always an option, but if I do something myself, I have a tendency to try to do it well enough, that it will last the rest of my life... hiring out work, never seems to get close to that, & some projects I hired out, but, feel I could have done it better myself, I'm paying to have it fixed for the 3rd time...
 

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