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daryl

Experienced Breeders.....

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So, my second batch of fry has reached the 5 week mark, and, once again, I am experiencing a substantial die-off. When the first batch - with only about 60 in it - did this, it was devastating! I tried just about everything, and, with a round of antibiotics, the deaths abruptly stopped.

I am now seeing, at the same age - a substantial die-off in my younger broadtail fry tanks.

Is a die-off common? Do the fry that are stuggling with one problem or another just reach an age where their bodies can no longer support their size and they die? Or is there a bacterial problem again in all 6 tanks? The dead fry include really nice sized ones and ones that carried good potential as well as "weeny" ones. In fact, I would say it was the "larger" ones that die much more often than the weeny ones.....

The question then: Is a die-off at about 5 weeks of age a common occurance? Or is this something I need to address? None of the books tell anything about this, leading me to believe that I have some sort of problem in the group - disease or something else. (Tank parameters are 0/0/<10)

I am culling hard right now - about 50-60 a day for the past few days, so the 5-6 per tank that are dead are not a HUGE deal..... It is just that I would prefer to choose the ones that are not raised, not a disease or whatever.....

I only have about 300+ left..... but there are some really nice ones in there - or at least potentially nice ones. I do not want to lose them! :(

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I don't have what I would call "Breeder's Knowledge" for sure,but what I went through personally was very similar. I had that 2nd batch of 20-25.My biggest fear was the first 2 weeks of trying to change water out etc.what I found is that I didn't lose those fry in those first two weeks,it was much later,maybe around 5 weeks also,when all of a sudden,my biggest healthiest fish were dropping dead,and the little scrawny guys were the ones continuing on,which of course made no sense at all to me. I know params were perfect,nothing in the routine had changed,but they seemed to have gotten fat and big enough to where I was feeling quite comfortable then wham.Being that I only had a small number to begin with,I was only seeing a couple here,one there,but it was still the same.The big healthy guys were the ones dropping over,and I actually wondered if maybe I was overfeeding them? :hmm no visible signs of problems/good params,matched temps,so I didn't know what to think Carol.

And if I recall,I think that in one of Jen's fry stories,she too went through losing some of her bigger babies.

No answers here,but awful concidental,no? :unsure:

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Well, I have certainly made my share of mistakes..... I hatched this second batch in one tank - and then split them into 2 tanks. That went well, but when I found that I needed more tanks, I had to move a tank. I moved it with some fry in it - it was nearly impossible to scoop them all out into cups. The babies that were moved 2-3 times seem to have an abundance of bad backs and twisted tails amonst them. I think the movement is responsible for a great deal of that damage.

Then, one of the newer tanks - a 40 breeder was not quite cycled.. it was running between 0.25 and 0.50 nitrite on a daily basis - even with 2 changes a day..... and that had to take its toll on the babies in that tank - possibly making them weaker. I am seeing deaths in ALL the tanks of this spawning, though.

One tank was overcrowded for a lot longer than the other tanks - and I think not all the fry got the same amount of food - or even the needed food for good growth. That may have caused some problems.

In my first batch, I definately overfed the fish - resulting in massively deep bodies and unstable swimming habits and constipation in all but a few. I have heard that if you underfeed the broadtail they develop finnage as opposed to body so I was intent on not doing that. I suppose the opposite is equally possible....underfeeding has its own set of problems.

There is an inherant genetic flaw I see - coming directly from Mom fish - that makes them susceptible to this unstability .... I thought I was doing better on the feeding in the second batch, though. They are not developing swimming problems in the same fashion. They have a different dad, though - so it could be genetically dictated more than environmentally dictated - I can only assume.....

It certainly makes sense that they could reach a point where inherant flaws could become fatal..... and I certainly have a large enough selection that if that were a possibility, I would be seeing it..... :hmm

I just do not have enough experience - broad enough familiarity - to know what I am seeing. I also have no true clue as to colors and such..... I only know what I have experienced and can guess from what I know of the parents.

Fry certainly are confusing at times...... :blink:

The Lionhead fry I have and the Phoenix fry that I have are sooooo totally different in every aspect - they are growing very differently. The Lionhead fry resemble little muscular bricks. The Phoenix are like delicate little bricks. The Ryukin are swishy little delicate dancers in the water......

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:) well,regardless,I think it's time for pics as I would love to see the little" Bricks" :yeah:

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Daryl, I always find it very amusing what discriptions you find for their body types - big bricks, little bricks, etc... :DD

Hm, I wonder if the die-off has something to do with enough oxygen in the water. Since you mentioned the dead ones seem to be more among the larger ones. You know - bigger fish need more oxygen than smaller ones.

I heard from quite a few breeders that they separate their fry by size at a certain age - bigger fish together, and smaller fish together. I always assumed that it had something to do with a chance for the smaller ones to get their fair share of food before the bigger ones gobble it up, but now I am not so sure.

How big are the fry tanks at the moment, and how many (wild guess here) are in each tank. How many bigger ones compared to smaller ones? Is there an additional air stone or something in there for extra airation?

I know I didn't have a big-number fry die-off with my wakin and comets last year, but they were raised in 160 gl containers. Its hard do compare that to fry that are housed in 20 or 30 gl tanks... :unsure:

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This is the set of 1185 broadtails that are now 5 weeks old. I have them in a 20L, a 25, a 30 and a 40. I have culled a fair number - so there are at most, maybe, 125-150 in the 40 and less in each of the smaller galloned tanks down to about 20ish in the 20L tank. The 40 is stocked the heaviest..... This is the stocking levels given in my breeding books - give or take a few fry.

(Edit: I just went and looked and since I culled over 100 this morning, there are far less..... I would say I have only about 300+ left all combined...)

Each tank has an Ehiem cannister (165gph)on it drawing from a sponged intake and returning to a spray bar. The 25 gallon tank is running on a 280Emperor, drawing from a sponged intake and a home-brew overflow for current control. Each tank has a bubbler bar that is placed horizontally under a heater that is also placed horizontally on the tank's side - so that the heated water is lifted and mixed. The tanks have glass tops and lights. They are kept at 72F.

The larger tanks are cycled, but have less than the gph of the smaller tanks, since the filters are basically the same.

I test each tank each morning and change out what water is needed to keep it in good shape. I occasionally have a trace of ammonia, depending on the food I fed the night before. The 40 breeder had difficulties - for it was not completely cycled for approximately 8 days - showing nitrite each day. For a few days, it would go to 0.50 nitrite and I would change 20 gallons in the morning, and 0.50nitrite, again, and I would change 20 gallons in the evening. Water is treated with Prime. gh 80, kH 100, pH 7.6

Even if the water does not require changing, a portion of the water is removed daily from each tank - along with any food or fish waste that has collected on the bottom. (or dead fry. :( )

.....................................

I would LOVE to move the fry around, putting my "favorites" into a tank or two, and pulling out the ones I think I may cull to another tank, separating the smaller ones from the larger ones.... My problem is that I need to see them from the side more than the top to cull. So, I cannot scoop them into a white bowl and separate that way, particularly. I cannot net them - that is a no-no.... and trying to scoop them into a cup is nearly impossible!!!! They swish out of the cup - and I end up chasing the fish all over..... I never get the ones I want...

So, how on Earth do people separate the ones they want without using a net? I have poked holes in the bottom of a cup, to scoop, so that the water will pass through as I move it through the water, and I can catch the fry better, then I dunk it into a larger cup to lift it from the water. This works..... kinda. It is a pain to use and not very safe for the fry, however. I have not done too much with it.....

I scoop and scoop and end up getting 15fry in each cupful - and these may or many not even contain the individual I am after! They all swim to the cup or my hand - they know that food comes from me..... So it is hard to separate the swarm of little fry!

My tank of Phoenix fry and tank of Lionhead fry are a lot easier to manage. The fry are far more homogeneous both in size and conformity - and move a lot more deliberately than the broadtail. The broadtails are a flitty group, dancing here and there, all over the place rather than "swimming" through the water as do the other groups.

How do you catch fry without injury?

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I've seen ranchu breeders catch fry with a really fine net that doesn't form a "bag" like most nets are, rather a "shallow bowl", if u know what i mean. I think u might want to try tying the bottom end of the net to the handle so to form a shallower net?

I drew a quick pic of it: 1. normal net, 2. fine fry net, 3. what u can do to normal net to make fry net

babynet.jpg

Edited by d_golem

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Good idea Riz,as I remember how hard it was catching fry.Doing it this way lessens the damage too,I would think for sure. :)

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No expert at all but I use a glass. I can see the fry from all angles in a glass cup. The hardest part is lowering the cup slowly into the water so that a suction is not created, if there is a big suction a fry will get in a swirl and fill its swimbladder or something and go wobbly for a while. Once its in the glass I can see all the fry from all angles.

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10 more dead in the 40 breeder this morning. Could that week of 0.50 nitrite (and under) have caused permanent damage such that, as the fish grow they die?

Could I have a bacterial infection in that tank? And if they DO, do I dare move fry from one tank to another?

The other fry tanks do not have any obvious dead fry in them. I shall find out when I clean them in a bit.... the 40 kill is obvious.

Sigh.

:cry1

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