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Graduation Day

Posted 2009.12.25 14.04 in Aquaria by Stephanie

Hard to believe, but it was about four months ago when I harvested a big mess of zebra fish fry from my fish tank. There were about three dozen of the little wrigglers, each no more than a little line with a dot at one end. Only about 3mm long, not yet free-swimming, they were tiny.

The first month or so was hard on them, with a couple big die-offs, and then they were re-housed a number of times as I kept trying to come up with a better solution. Finally there were just two left when I set up a dedicated 1-gallon nursery ‘tank’, and then before long, only one of them was left.

That last one has held on though, and thrived in the nursery. With the advent of several clutches of snail eggs, the nursery was upgraded to a 5-gallon tank, and the solitary juvinile zebra fish has continued to thrive and grow.

Now, at age 4 months, he’s roughly one inch long and big enough to be a serious threat to any other fry that go into the nursery. (Did I mention my corydoras were breeding like crazy?)

So today is graduation day. Today the sole surviving zebra fry is graduating from the nursery and rejoining his parents in the main tank. He’s big enough not to get eaten, and he knows how to socialize with others. (For a week I put one of the adult zebras in the nursery with him to make sure he could deal with it.)

His name is Les, because he is a survivor.

After moving Les to the 23 gallon fish tank where he hatched from a tiny egg 4 months ago, I watched him for a while. He actually seemed happy and excited – swimming in the big tank, with the big fish.

I must admit, it made me feel proud.

Aquarium Update #3: Alpha Betta Base

Posted 2009.11.12 7.16 in Aquaria by Stephanie

My betta fish named Alpha still has a 5.5 gallon aquarium all to himself. Well, himself and a colony of Bythinia tenticulata snails (aka faucet snails).

At first I thought the faucet snails were baby apple snails, as they are very, very similar in form. However, the B. tenticulata do not have labial tenticals, and their adult size is somewhere between a pea and a bb. They are sort of along the same line as ‘pest snails’ but unlike the accursed planorbids, faucet snails do not (in my experience) take over the aquarium like a swarm of locusts.

So, being that they are like micro-sized apple snails, I decided to keep some of these little guys, and put them in the Alpha Betta Base. They have been doing fine there, and are onto their second generation in fact.

Of course, the real star of the tank is Alpha the Betta. Betta snobs wouldn’t much like Alpha, he’s just a run-of-the-mill standard pet-store betta. His colour goes from darkest blue at his nose to a dark ‘royal’ blue at his tail. There are some undertones of red here and there.

Oddly, he’s a bit of a coward. Now and then I’ll hold a mirror next to the tank, and his immediate reaction is not to flare aggressively – it’s to run and hide behind a plant. 🙄

Alpha Betta Base

Aquarium Update #4 – Nursery Tank

Posted 2009.11.10 8.11 in Aquaria by Stephanie

After losing almost all of my zebrafish fry, I finally got the idea to set up a small separate tank for them. I was down to just two fry at this point. I got a 1-gallon ‘MiniBow’ tank that had an undergravel filter, and set it up.

Nursery Tank

I put the zebrafish fry in it, and also dropped in a single Physa snail (aka pond snail aka bladder snail) and a single trumpet snail, and put in some leaves that had come off a plant in another tank.

Within a week, one of the two fry simply vanished – leaving just a solitary survivor. I have named him Les because he is a survivor.

He’s growing quite slowly, because unfortunately the tank is unheated. I may have to fix that as it gets colder with the changing seasons. So he’s just over 1/2 inch long, but he’s a perfect copy of the adults, just in miniature.

Meanwhile the physa and trumpet snails have both been reproducing; there are lots of baby physas crawling around, and I’ve seen a few baby trumpets lurking around the gravel.

Aquarium Update #1 – Snail Tank

Posted 2009.11.09 9.05 in Aquaria by Stephanie

My 38-gallon aquarium, aka the Snail Tank, is where my apple snails live, along with some friendly fish. Not that I think people want to read all the nitty gritty details of my aquarium, so this is more or less for me, so if my memory goes, I will have something to refer back to.

The Snail Tank

There’s five apple snails in there right now. Speed Racer is my original snail, he (or she) is also the biggest. Then Big Blue, whom I am certain is a female, has been with me second-longest. Little Buddy is like a little brother or cousin to Speed Racer, and is definately male. Shelly is a pretty golden girl. And then the most-recent addition, a little golden male who doesn’t have an official name yet. I call him Munchkin though cos he’s kind of cute.

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Corydora Kitten Cat Fish!

Posted 2009.10.24 11.53 in Aquaria by Stephanie

OMG – this morning I was sitting around trying to think of some good ways to procrastinate on my chores, when I noticed something small, dark and wriggly scooting along just above the gravel in my aquarium.

I moved in for a closer look, and to my shock there was a wee little teeny tiny Peppered Cory catfish! A baby catfish!

A kitten fish! Squeeee!

Cory Kitten Fish

My two corydoras have been mating like crazy for what seems like at least two months, but I didn’t think anything had come of it – the eggs looked like duds, and they all get eaten within a few days. So this was totally unexpected!

The little baby is about 1/2 inch long, I don’t know how old that would make it, and I don’t know if there might be others. It’s obviously done a very good job at hiding, to have survived to get to this size.

It looks just like the parents, except in miniature.

Yay!

Zebra Fry: Still Alive

Posted 2009.10.08 12.05 in Aquaria by Stephanie

So my two remaining zebra danio fry continue to live and grow! Of the seven that went into the breeder basket in my big tank, 5 of them wandered out through the slats (why make a breeder basket that fry can get in and out of?!) and were soon disappeared. I believe they were eaten by the rasboras. But two of the fry stayed in the breeder basket.

fry1Eventually I got an idea that I should have had like 3 weeks ago. I picked up a small cheap “aquarium” to use as a nursery. A 1 gallon “minibow” acrylic tank, it uses an under-gravel filter with an air bubbler. Cheap and inadequate as a ‘real’ tank, it works fine as a nursery tank for my remaining fry.

I put them in, threw in a pair of ‘pest’ snails (a physa and a trumpet) and a bit of plant that had been floating around one of my tanks. Voilla! Fry nursery.

fry2The remaining fry are growing well, they’ve gotten a bit longer but more importantly, they are ‘filling out’ and becoming little fish. They’re a little under 1/2 inch long, their bodies are growing more fish-shaped and they’re slowly getting all their little fins. Their tails are the right shape. The photos still don’t do them justice, but you get the idea.

I just wish I’d have thought of the nursery tank before I lost 5 of the fry in the 38 gallon tank. Sigh. Also I haven’t gotten any more fry out of my zebra danios in a long time – some new pest has moved into the gravel and is efficiently eliminating all the fry, possibly before they even hatch out.

Nursery Tank

Nursery Tank

Possibly the Last Fry Update

Posted 2009.09.26 22.04 in Aquaria by Stephanie

So my zebrafish fry are about a month old, perhaps even a bit more than that. Their numbers have dwindled to only seven, out of over 3 dozen. Those who remained, however, have been growing. They’ve doubled their size I think, from when I first found them. The longest is about 7mm long. They’re developing tail fins and their wee bodies are developing. When I am able to see them using a loupe I can even see their stripes are coming in.

Zebra FrySo, I figured that I shouldn’t be still keeping them in that inadequately small plastic ‘tank’ any more. Especially considering that ‘tank’ has no filtering and no way to add filtering. I figured, I have a breeder box that hangs inside a larger tank, it has little slits to let water move in and out but keeps the big hungry fishes away. I know when the fry were first born they were small enough to drift in and out with the water which is why I didn’t use it in the first place. But now, they’re much bigger. Well, doubled in size anyways.

Not big enough, it seems.

I put all seven into the breeder box and before I knew it there were only five. Ingenious thing about the design of the breeder box – the slits are angled in such a way that the fry can figure out how to exit but they can’t figure out how to get back in. I spotted one trying to get back in, he was poking at it and swimming into it over and over but couldn’t get through the slots. So I scooped him up and put him back in. Still, it’s fairly easy for them to get out, it seems.

Within an hour, there were only four. Now at last check, there’s just two left in there.

Zebrafish Fry

The ones who’ve moved on out into the big wide open world (well, big wide open tank anyways) are in a dangerous place. There’s four harlequin rasboras and two peppered corydoras, all of whom would love to eat a little wriggly fish fry. I did spot one of the rasboras chasing a fry, and on this one occasion, the fry escaped. But who knows if that will happen next time around.

So, the fry seem bound and determined to strike out on their own and I suppose I have to sit back and let them do their thing. Maybe they’ll all end up being fish-food in the first 24 hours. Maybe one or two will even survive. I suppose it’s just up to luck now.