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Apisto Borreli Opal had fry. What do I do?

Sordbodan

Member
They are in a community tank.
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The last time they had babies, none made it. This time I managed to catch 4-6 with a turkey baster and put them in a new 6 gallon tank I started for them. The tank has a sponge filter and some bio material from the canister. It is bare bottom. I used the main tank’s water. I threw in some moss but they do not seem interested.

So what do I do next? How do I feed them? What temperature? I have never reared any kind of fry before so your help is much appreciated.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
They are in a community tank.
Welcome, that is a nice tank.
How do I feed them?
You really need some small live food, it is the movement that triggers the feeding response. Micro worms are good, and BBS even better.

I've used a mixture of dried decapsulated BBS and micro-worms successfully, once the fry are feeding on the microworms they are more likely to grab the passing BBS. You need to re-hydrate the BBS before feeding.

The worms will tend to snag in the moss which is useful, because it allows the fish to feed for longer.
I prefer a thin layer of sand and definitely some leaf litter. I'd also add a floating plant.

Are you in the UK?

cheers Darrel
 
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Samala

Member
Did you put the female into the 6-gallon tank with the fry you took out of the main tank?

My very first batch of borellii fry I separated a few youngsters as you have done and only 1 made it to a month-old. They were also markedly smaller than the surviving fry in the parents' tank.

It's impossible to say if the mother's presence was crucial as there were so many variables between the main tank and the fry tank at the time. But I have left all further batches of fry with their mother with greater success (and less work for me). In your situation I wouldn't move the fry again or their mother. If possible, I would take more plants from the main tank and drop into the fry tank to give them more forage.

Darrel is spot on about Microworms and BBS. At one month the fry are big enough to tackle thawed daphnia and even bits of thawed mysis. It took them a terrifically long time to figure out flake/pellets, about six weeks of age.

For temperature, my fry are doing fine at 75-80F. This species is pretty forgiving with temperature and can go lower. Have a search around this forum. There are lots of interesting older posts about the impact of temperature on the sex of Apistogramma fry.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Thanks Darrel. I am in Canada. I chose bare bottom to be able to siphon the waste - carefully with the turkey baster of course.

Any suggestions on how to get them to eat store foods. I ordered Hakari fry food which should come in later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile I crushed flake food in some tank water to make a paste and am trying to feed that to them. I also have frozen brine shrimp but not sure whether I can pulverize that. Maybe I’ll try.

I have never dealt with live foods and doubt I can come up to speed with th in time for this batch of fry.

On a puzzling and sad note, it has been 3 days since I saw the dad. I am not quite sure what happened. Tank parameters are great, all the other inhabitants including the mother and the 8 ottos are doing well - and ottos are extremely sensitive to water quality. There is a chance he is being shy and hiding - my tank is very heavily planted and very easy for the fish to hide. But given that he used constantly come to the glass begging for food, whenever I approached the tank, I really doubt it. The picture below is when the tank was just going.
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Sordbodan

Member
Did you put the female into the 6-gallon tank with the fry you took out of the main tank?

My very first batch of borellii fry I separated a few youngsters as you have done and only 1 made it to a month-old. They were also markedly smaller than the surviving fry in the parents' tank.

It's impossible to say if the mother's presence was crucial as there were so many variables between the main tank and the fry tank at the time. But I have left all further batches of fry with their mother with greater success (and less work for me). In your situation I wouldn't move the fry again or their mother. If possible, I would take more plants from the main tank and drop into the fry tank to give them more forage.

Darrel is spot on about Microworms and BBS. At one month the fry are big enough to tackle thawed daphnia and even bits of thawed mysis. It took them a terrifically long time to figure out flake/pellets, about six weeks of age.

For temperature, my fry are doing fine at 75-80F. This species is pretty forgiving with temperature and can go lower. Have a search around this forum. There are lots of interesting older posts about the impact of temperature on the sex of Apistogramma fry.
Thanks for your suggestions Samala. I kept the mother in the main tank since there are at least another 30 or so fry there. There is no way for me to even find them given how densely planted the tank is. The problem with the main tank is that I have about 20 green neon tetras and 8 harlequin rasboras who, I am sure, will make a quick snack of the fry as soon as they are free swimming. That is why I tried to move the fry.

I don’t have any access to live foods so I’ll try prepared fry food and crushed frozen foods to see if I have any luck with that. Though it sounds like it is a futile effort.
 

Samala

Member
Given how densely planted your tank is - and how tenacious my little borellii female has been at guarding her fry - you might be surprised and have a few survive in the main tank. It was several weeks before my fry wandered more than an inch from their mother. (Edit: Just noted last time your pair spawned none of the fry survived. With luck the parents have learnt a bit and will have more success this round.)

BBS are very easy, lots of good videos on Youtube but you can take an glass jar, tap, dechlor, sea salt from your kitchen and stir in a 1/2 tsp of BBS eggs and you'll have magic in 24 hours. Not as many shrimp to feed out as if you did a proper setup, but something for the little guys in the fry tank. It will be tough to get them to feed on anything that doesn't move. Swapping out plants, a little filter mulm, and moss from the main tank to the fry tank every few days might give them more to forage.

I hope your male comes out of hiding soon. My male does the same the first few days the fry are free swimming. The female is half his size but insistent he stays on his end of the 40gal. Usually after a day or two he goes about patrolling and makes a good show of running off the pencilfish as if trying to be helpful.
 
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Sordbodan

Member
I hope you are right about the male, Samala. I ordered some brine shrimp eggs and will try it tomorrow. Meanwhile I added an old sponge from my canister, and that seems to be a hit - a lot of the fry are hanging there. I’ll take your advice and leave the rest of the fry with their mom. Thanks for all your help.
 

Sordbodan

Member
I finally got my DSLR out. Here is a macro lens shot of one of the little newcomers looking out the tank. To put its size in perspective, the flakes are pulverized flake food I had just fed the tank. It is about 1.5 mm long(1/8"):
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And here is his/her new home. I only filled the tank halfway to make cleaning easier:

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Sordbodan

Member
The dad came out today and looks terrible. His coloring is gone, will not eat - a frozen brine shrim literally hit him on the face and nothing. He just lays at the bottom. Corries practically ran over him. I am not sure what to do
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Samala

Member
Torn fins, missing scales, anything to indicate he was in a fight?

Are his only signs rapid breathing and lethargy? No swollen belly? Is he listing on one side?

Are any other tank mates showing rapid breathing?
 

Sordbodan

Member
Hi Samala. Other than the extreme lethargy and rapid breading, no further visible symptoms. No indication of rough play. No swollen belly. Occasional slight listing to one side when he was resting at the bottom. Everyone else in the tank is doing very well, even the many fry, so far.
 

Sordbodan

Member
I have never had a apisto survive the rapid breathing, I hope that's not it and someone can help.
Thanks for your input. Do you know the cause for the rapid breathing? Is it a symptom of infection or gill problem? Or is it simply a symptom of general distress?
 

Samala

Member
It could be gill flukes or another parasite, even ich and velvet can cause gill issues before presenting on the body. Stress can make symptoms more acute. Are his gills reddish or worse than other fish?

If it were my fish I'd do a water change and drop in air stone to try to increase oxygen available. Better in a hospital tank if possible so the cories aren't troubling him. Very sorry you are having such trouble!
 

Sordbodan

Member
Thanks. I did not notice anything out of ordinary with his gills. But then again I did not have a good view. He has once again disappeared back into the stem plants. I’ll add an air stone, but unfortunately I don’t have a hospital tank - I just put the fry it. I am guessing putting him in with the fry is a bad idea. On a positive note, the fry I put in the hospital tank are all still alive and active.
 

Sordbodan

Member
Unfortunately I just found him dead. I can’t believe how said I feel for a tiny fish. I hope I am able to save his fry in his honor.

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I I set up a shrimp hatchery using a stirrer, beaker and air bubbles. We’ll see if they hatch.
 

Samala

Member
Very sad, so sorry to hear that! I would watch the female carefully over the next few days.

How are the fry getting on, both those with and without mama? Have they picked at the flake/non-live food at all in the 6 gallon?

PS: Quite jealous of the BBS setup! When they've hatched out take a flashlight to the side of the beaker for a few minutes to attract them and then suck up an orange cloud of BBS with a pipette or even a turkey baster. I try not to get too much of the hatch water into the aquarium (limiting the ammonia, salt, whatever other weebeasties) but a few mls a day doesn't seem to hurt.

The nicest payoff of feeding BBS is that you can see the bellies of the fry turn pink-orange and you'll know they've had a good meal. Very reassuring and fun to watch them hunt.
 
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