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What do I do with all these babies?

shangman

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A month or two ago I got a pair of Apistogramma Macmasteri Redmask, I got the male (a very beautiful responsive fish) first from my dad, and then bought a female for him 2 weeks later, as his fishwife had died a while ago. They lived in a tank with 7 kuhli loaches and some otos. They had been doing mating dances, but he ignored her most of the time so I thought nothing of it, I wasn't obsessed with the idea of breeding them and haven't raised any fry before. About 2 weeks ago, he died unexpectedly, which I was very sad about as he made me really fall for apistos (he died the day after I fed him some frozen bloodworms with a bloated stomach, tho it could be that the female killed him according to my friend). 2 days later, I woke up and she's herding around about 30 tinytiny fry, letting them eat from the leaflitter in the tank and hiding them in seedpods. As I rather loved their father (known as Mister Apister), I decided to try to raise a few to adulthood hoping they'd be as lovely as him, and I could keep 1/2 and give away the rest (assuming I'd have maybe 2 or 3 to give away). I've been hatching brine shrimp and adding extra leaf litter.

IMG_20201124_181128.jpg

Mister Apister, he was more beautiful and charming than this photo shows!

So... I expected the kuhlis to eat most of these babies, and they haven't. I also kinda expected mother apisto to not be a great mother as it's her first time (she's aloso quite young), but it turns out she's the perfect mother. I still have 30+ fry, I don't know if any of them have died, the number looks the same (though impossible to actually count). At 1.5 weeks old, they're still small, but now too big to be eaten by the kuhlis' tiny mouths (they sometimes eat brine shrimp next to eachother and ignore eachother now). They've come a long way and are now zooming around the tank, eating and swimming all over, and making a much lazier school. It's fun looking after them, but like all parents I'm left wondering about their future.

I have 4 tanks - my main one which they're currently in (a 65l w/ rainwater), a 45l (softwater with crystal shrimp and pgymy corys), a 25l (tap water with cherry shrimp and snails), all heavily planted, and a quarantine tank that's about 25l that isn't set up atm. Will I have to spread them across tanks to grow up? Can I put some in the tapwater tank and have them be ok? Will some die off soon? Does anyone want any when they get to the right size (also what is that size?). I'm not sure how desireable they are or if a shop would want them, and I'd happily do my best for them to grow up, but I want to know if they'll have homes to go to. Please give me your advice and experience!

IMG_20201217_113731_1.jpg

 

tam

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No idea on the answers but congratulations on the babies. Worth talking to your local fish shop, mine would give store credit for fish but it just depends on the shop. If they will take them they will tell you the size and they might prefer to stagger it in batches.
 

mort

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Congratulations. I've not bred this species before and the aggression levels varies massively in apistogramma, so what works for one species doesn't for another. As I kept the more laid back species I left the fry in the tank until they were a decent size. It was quite a few years ago but the tank was larger than yours and I had more wiggle room. I do remember having to remove the parents for one pair as they were trying to push the growing offspring out of their territory.
Most lfs will only take them at a size that they can sell. They won't want to grow them out before sale, so the size you generally see them available for is the size they want. You could, probably, get them to this size in the tank if they are quite a quiet species, as you don't have the dad. Any aggression will be spread across the group, rather than on one particular individual and you will have time until one of the males becomes dominant.

I doubt you'd have much trouble rehoming them as they are a beautiful species.
 
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Nice fish and well done! It's a real shame that quite a lot of places won't take in fish these days. It stopped a large enjoyable part of the hobby for me. I wouldn't even be bothered about getting credit from the LFS as breeding and raising fry is satisfaction enough for me. There is nowhere anywhere near me that will now accept fish so breeding is pretty pointless, there are so many I would love to try.
I had a pair of Kribs and some endlers in my community tank that would breed constantly and no one would take the Fry, I tried offering them up on local facebook pages (pretending I wasn't giving away fish) but by the time I managed to give some away they were that prolific I had more on the way. In the end I managed to get rid of all the female endlers and the Kribs I gave the pair to someone whose other tank occupants would eat the fry :(
 

shangman

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Thank you for all the replies!! Today it seems like all the babies have grown their fins, getting closer to looking like fish rather than cute blobs. They also really 'hunt' for the brine shrimp now it's very cute.
No idea on the answers but congratulations on the babies. Worth talking to your local fish shop, mine would give store credit for fish but it just depends on the shop. If they will take them they will tell you the size and they might prefer to stagger it in batches.

Thank you! I will talk to my LFS when I next go there, fingers crossed they're one that takes them like yours, store credit would be great. They do sell apistos at least :) Maybe Brexit will make them more happy to take the local fish!

Congratulations. I've not bred this species before and the aggression levels varies massively in apistogramma, so what works for one species doesn't for another. As I kept the more laid back species I left the fry in the tank until they were a decent size. It was quite a few years ago but the tank was larger than yours and I had more wiggle room. I do remember having to remove the parents for one pair as they were trying to push the growing offspring out of their territory.
Most lfs will only take them at a size that they can sell. They won't want to grow them out before sale, so the size you generally see them available for is the size they want. You could, probably, get them to this size in the tank if they are quite a quiet species, as you don't have the dad. Any aggression will be spread across the group, rather than on one particular individual and you will have time until one of the males becomes dominant.

I doubt you'd have much trouble rehoming them as they are a beautiful species.
Thank you for all the advice :) I think from what I've read that Macmasteri aren't very aggressive, the parents haven't been mean at all so I think that's a good sign. I'll make sure to transfer over maybe 8 - 10 into the smaller tank so the aggression is still spread and no tanks are overwhelmed!

Congratulations on raising the fry

I’m sure a lot of the members would like some once they are a bit bigger

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding them a home


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Thank you, I hope they do, I would love to give them away to lovely fishkeepers on the forums so I know they'll go to good homes!

Nice fish and well done! It's a real shame that quite a lot of places won't take in fish these days. It stopped a large enjoyable part of the hobby for me. I wouldn't even be bothered about getting credit from the LFS as breeding and raising fry is satisfaction enough for me. There is nowhere anywhere near me that will now accept fish so breeding is pretty pointless, there are so many I would love to try.
I had a pair of Kribs and some endlers in my community tank that would breed constantly and no one would take the Fry, I tried offering them up on local facebook pages (pretending I wasn't giving away fish) but by the time I managed to give some away they were that prolific I had more on the way. In the end I managed to get rid of all the female endlers and the Kribs I gave the pair to someone whose other tank occupants would eat the fry :(

Thanks! Yes it's more work raising them with all the food and things, but it's really fun and interesting too, and makes fascinating change! Especially when you really like the parents, it's very nice to help raise their fry. It's a big shame that shops won't take them, part of the reason I joined lots of online forums when I started fishkeeping this year was because I expected there to be this nice secondary market for fish from hobbyists and was surprised there wasn't much of that around (though now part of the apisto group on facebook which seems to trade more).

That's sad for your kribs, they are so beautiful and definitely on my list of cichlids I'd love to keep! This has really made me want a larger tank, so that there's more space for raising fry, but also to keep some more fish that will eat 50 - 90% of the fry so it's still possible but not as many. Maybe just with some neons or something. My other thought was to make it beautifully aquascaped, get my boyfriends camera out and take amazing photos of the juveniles & parent and see if that lures people to take some!
 

mort

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I find it really strange that lfs aren't interested in taking fish. When I ran one we happily took in locally bred species on the basis that we only paid for them after they had been sold for new suppliers. We did this as sometimes first time breeders didn't have much quality control and thought that fish with weird mouths or bent spines were "cute". If we knew the breeder we'd pay up front and mark the fish as locally bred and you'd be surprised how fast they would sell because people love locally bred fish.
If it's a chain you normally shop at then try an independent but you might need to build up a report with the first, just don't turn up on their doorstep with a bag full.
 
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I couldn't agree with you more mate. It makes no sense to me. My local small LFS even pointed out when I took the Endlers when I asked if he would take some back said point blank no and I'd be better off not getting any females if that was the case. My only guess would be the issue of quarantine but they obviously aren't aware of how I keep my fish.
Imagine any other business refusing free high quality products that they can sell on for 100% profit. The mind boggles, really is annoying as it was my favourite part of the hobby. It was like Christmas every morning coming down to see how the fry were getting on.
 

shangman

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I thought I would do a little update on the babies, who are now about a month old.

They've all developed their proper fins and bits, and I still have at least 25, though they're not in their tight schooling around mum behaviour any more, so I could easily still have 30 or so. Before I was feeding them twice a day with brine shrimp, but then I read on a forum someone who breeds them for a living who said it's best to feed 4 - 6 times a day. Since starting that before Christmas... they've grown a lot! In the past 2 days, some of them seem to have gone from 1cm to 1.5cm even. There is a big variety in the size of them, a small number haven't reached 1cm yet. I'm not sure if I should take those out and put them in a small tank for a few days to get a better feeding, atm I'm planning just to keep them in there and sell/give them away last. As they don't school as tightly, I think they get a more uneven feeding now, with the clever big ones always staying where I feed so they never miss out.

The babies have started doing 2 things in the past few days - 1. they can now eat baby daphnia and live food from my waterbutts, before they tried but it wouldn't fit in their mouths. I put this live food in so the mum wouldn't eat all the brine shrimp, and to give my khulis something tasty so they wouldn't eat the fry when they were smaller. I think this is good as I want the babies to have a diverse diet. I also add powered bugbites to the brine shrimp feeding so they hopefully start to eat that later.
2. They've started to have little fights during feeding, and after. I use a syringe to feed them, and did it a bit forcefully yesterday, making a small 50p-sized crater in the sand, and then 2 babies fought over it as a territory. It's very cute, and fascinating to see the behaviour in such small young fish.

I suspect I have a lot of males, which is why they're big + aggressive, tho I suppose the females can be aggressive too. For the first 2 weeks they were at 24 degrees, then I read that 26 is better so set it to that. I use the hydror heater, and my hand goes past the wheel whenever I turn off the filter for 10mins to feed. One night last week when doing this I seem to have unknowingly turned the heater up to 32!!! The next morning I noticed my khulis and otos acting oddly, and changed the water to get it down to 26 over a few hours, but I wonder if that might have made all the babies male. Since then it's been at 25.5, with a piece of tape over it just incase.

I made a gif of them, they're so much easier to see in movement! It's really hard to photograph them as my cameras rubbish, they're tiny, they move fast and they blend in really well with the background. Got a new camera coming this week though, so hopefully can get some better macro shots!
4sbon3.gif



IMG_20210102_113408_1.jpg

^ it has a lovely tiny tail too, which is so transparent it doesn't show up on camera yet!
 
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EA James

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As I rather loved their father (known as Mister Apister)
Amazing name 😂 I've been after some Apistogramma Borelii Opal, if i finally get a pair I'm stealing that name!

If these are suited to my hard water (which i doubt) I'd happily take some when the time is right

Cheers, James
 

shangman

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Look very sweet. Shame we're all locked down.. I would love 4. Not sure which side of London you are
I will reserve them for you! I'm happy to give them to people from this forum for free, feels like they'll be more likely to thrive with you lot! They are still very small, I'm hoping their coming to size will perfectly coincide with lockdown measures being ok with people coming and picking them up (middle of March). I live in Crystal Palace, South East London. Fingers crossed!

Amazing name 😂 I've been after some Apistogramma Borelii Opal, if i finally get a pair I'm stealing that name!

If these are suited to my hard water (which i doubt) I'd happily take some when the time is right

Cheers, James

Thank you! I never usually name the fish but it stuck 😂 I was actually going to get some Borellii myself, before I was given Mister Apister, they are really lovely.

Looking online, I don't think that my lot will do that well in hard water sadly, mine live in rain water with about 1/8 tap (used to get the rainwater to temperature). If you have any access to rainwater though, I do suggest it as it makes their care very easy.

They look great

Thank you!
 

shangman

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Doing another little update as the babies are growing, and I got a new phone which takes somewhat less rubbish photos. IRL the tank looks much more beautiful and less filthy than in these images, whoops! next time will take the photos the day after a waterchange, rather than the day before.

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ps. I have a v annoying case of spirogyra, I dealt with it v successfully in another tank by doing a 4 day blackout & some excel, but until the babies are large or gone I don't really want to do that, just in case.

New milestones this week are that they can now eat some frozen daphnia, and also LOVE live daphnia, especially from the pond which are a bit smaller. The big ones they gang up on and eat them together, it's like watching a vicious David Attenborough doc at home. 😂

The sizes are a bigger range now, I still have a few very small ones at about 0.5-1cm, but most are about 1.5cm, and some even 2cm. I think they'll just remain smaller until the bigger ones grow up and are given away and they can finally get as much food as the want. What's very lovely, and impossible to photograph is the tiny irridescent gold and pale blue spots they've started to get on their heads, hopefully a sign of beautiful colouring to come.

This week some of them have also started to develop more markings, particular a stripe through the eye, and black marks at the beginning of the top fin and bottom fins. I think this might mean that these ones are female? Looking at photos of mum and dad, mum has a a much stronger black eye stripe, as well as a graphic black and yellow pelvic fin, and at the front of the dorsal fin. Dad had very little black and was just colourful all over. I hpoe my theory is right, as I think I might have an ok mix of sexes!

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A potential female, has the only teritory of the baby fish which is guarded constantly. All the others don't bother.

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A potential male ( soz for blurry pic he wouldn't stay still)

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Here is Mister Apister, as you can see he didn't have the black mark on it fins, and only thin dark marks round his eyes. Really hoping I have some lovely males with his colouring!

The ones with the 'female' markings are also the most aggressive ones, which matches with their mum who has taken to chasing them around. I think she'd like them to go away, but she's still bright yellow and they still follow her around a bit, though not like before. They do a lot more exploring now, going all over the tank top to bottom discovering.

It's a lot of work growing all the brine shrimp and feeding them 4+ times a day, but it's a lovely lockdown activity and they are sooooo cute. I'm gonna miss them a lot when they're in their new homes! Absolutely dying for a new bigger tank now 😂😂

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jaypeecee

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I'm happy to give them to people from this forum for free, feels like they'll be more likely to thrive with you lot! They are still very small, I'm hoping their coming to size will perfectly coincide with lockdown measures being ok with people coming and picking them up (middle of March). I live in Crystal Palace, South East London. Fingers crossed!
Hi @shangman

When I first moved to London, I used to live in Forest Hill - just a stone's throw from Crystal Palace. But, I've moved out of London now and live 30 miles due West of London in Bracknell, Berkshire. So, it's impractical for me to take some of your lovely juveniles off your hands. FYI, I had no problem whatsoever selling 25 German Blue Ram juveniles to my local MA.

And, of course, congratulations on your new offspring!

JPC
 

shangman

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Hi @shangman

When I first moved to London, I used to live in Forest Hill - just a stone's throw from Crystal Palace. But, I've moved out of London now and live 30 miles due West of London in Bracknell, Berkshire. So, it's impractical for me to take some of your lovely juveniles off your hands. FYI, I had no problem whatsoever selling 25 German Blue Ram juveniles to my local MA.

And, of course, congratulations on your new offspring!

JPC
Ahh that's very close to me! Thank you for your well wishes!! :)


I have good news - I managed a trip to the local fish shop (Aquatic Design Center in Balham), and they're happy to take the babies when they get to a good size (which is about an inch - 3cm). Still a good month or two of growth! They had some lovely apistos already, including a gorg pair of panduro, and a whole selection of other beautiful dwarf cichlids, so they seem like the perfect place to give them to. Will of course reserve some if anyone wants them here.
____

I have a question though! I have a really nasty outbreak of spirogyra is the tank. it's been there for a while, but was only a little bit when the babies were born. It's now all over, and twice a week when I do a waterchange, I have to spend an extra 30+mins on pulling it off all of the plants. This includes my beautiful crinum whose leaves I can't just trim to get rid of it. It's very, very irritating, especially as I already spend a lot of time making food for the babies. I had an outbreak in my other shrimp tank that was even worse, so I did a 3-day full blackout, and it worked amazingly with no problems and a beautifully clean tank after. There is a tiny bit there still, NOTHING like it was, and now I dose some excel it's really struggling.

My question is... can I blackout a tank with all these babies for 3 days and expect them to be ok? It would really help with maintenance if I can, but I don't want to hurt them. I am thinking I could add a flap over a small hole so I can still feed them each day. What do you guys think?
 

dean

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A short 3 day black out will not hurt the fish
Ae you just going to turn the lights off for three days so there will be ambient light hitting the tank ? If so the fish will still be active and feeding won’t be a problem

Small regular feeding will bring on the fry faster
Once a hour is ideal if you have the time


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shangman

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I'm planning on wrapping the tank in black plastic bags so no light gets in for 3 days, but will fashion some sort of 3D flap so I can still feed the fish small amounts a few times a day, while keeping it dark. If I let any light in the algae won't die off properly.

Once an hour!!!:eek: I work at home atm but with all the culturing and algae clearing and water changing and rainwater collecting I don't think I can do much more! Hopefully this blackout stops most of the algae clearing.

I feed 3 - 6 times a day a mix BBS, waterbutt-grown livefood, defrosted daphnia, and various sizes of bugbites when there isn't enough BBS (the cultures vary a lot and boom-bust quickly). They also now eat the loach pellets and algae wafers, they seem to eat anything now the greedy babies.

I also now do 2 40% water changes a week as they eat so much.
 

shangman

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An... interesting update.

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Today I noticed that motherfish was not harrassing and chasing the babies as usual, and was hanging back more just watching over them calmy, and going in her long seedpod sometimes. Then I noticed that she was wiggling and what I can only call presenting herself to one or two of the biggest baby fish, and she's gone particularly yellow. Pretty sure she wants to bang her babies, talk about an oedipus complex! I thought that one of the babies she shook at was a female, apparently I'm bad at working out what sex they are lol. The babies just ignored her and ran away though, they are definitely bigger but not sure they're that big yet. Perhaps I should call the teens rather than babies now.

I was planning on keeping one of the males as her partner, but also that feels gross to me, is it gross in the fish world? I only really kept the babies at the beginning because I wanted one like their dad who was so beautiful, but I'm attached to motherfish and can't get rid of her to keep just a few of the babies, she is my fish for life, so I thoguht maybe I'd keep 1 male. Is it deeply f***ed up in the fish world? I have no idea lol, I imagine that many of the babies will be bought as pairs and mated, idk if all of this is weird or not.

The babies are much bigger and doing very well, I moved some big rocks out of the tank that took up a lot of floor space and replaced them with sand and big pile of dried leaves, which has really helped make all the fish calmer and they're acting more natural. The kuhli loaches and otos in the tank really love this too, they're also much more active and hide less now. There are some big size differences, I have 2 big ones, then 8 that are just behind, 15 mid-sized and 5 small ones that'll be with me for at least a month longer than the rest I think. I read online that sometimes the small ones always remain small even when mature which would be very cute and interesting. The babies eat any food I put in the tank now, so they have a mixed diet of live, frozen and dried. Also they get the occasional wild-coloured cherry shrimp from my nanotank, which they love to hunt, I think a lot of the shrimp survive just fine in the plants still, they're very fast.

Also, I did the blackout and it went well, no casualties, though the algae didn't die off like it did in my other tank, so will have to do it again sometime. At least I know the blackouts are ok on the fish!
 
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