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TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
Hi,

After years of unsuccessful eggs from several pairs of Dicrossus filamentosus, this last batch of eggs managed to hatch. I suppose using distilled instead of RO water or using peat moss and alder cones instead of catappa leaves did the trick. But after 2-3 days of their hatching, most of the fry died (not suddenly, slowly in a day or two). I don't know if they are all dead right now but when I just tried to siphon some out, the 3 I did managed to siphon were dead. Female is still agressively protecting the dead fry against the siphon hose.
Since the female laid eggs, I didn't do any water changes. When I saw the wrigglers I removed the male. I kept feeding the female every day, but less than I normally do when she doesn't have offspring.
Does anything I did sound wrong? Maybe I should've kept doing water changes? If yes, then how much and how often? Or maybe feeding the female caused water pollution? I really doubt the cause is just the inexperience of the female, because she did not eat the fry alive, the fry are definitely dying before she eats or removes them. I guess she could be hurting them as she moves them from one spot to another in her mouth, but I don't know if that is a realistic scenario.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,740
Location
Germany
I suppose using distilled instead of RO water or using peat moss and alder cones instead of catappa leaves did the trick.

There is barely a difference between RO and distilled chemically, but the switch to stronger sources of H+ might have brought your pH further down. Also, did you use peat or peat moss? There's a difference.
What were your respective water parameters before and after that shift?

Otherwise: Less hands on. Leave the fry in with the female, also there is no necessity to remove the male. All that is a lot of commotion which is the last thing they should experience in that phase.

I kept feeding the female every day, but less than I normally do when she doesn't have offspring.
Don't change anything about that, feed as usual. Less food signals to the fish the conditions to bring up the fry are getting worse.

Maybe I should've kept doing water changes? If yes, then how much and how often?
Do water changes (water out, water in, nothing else), 50% 2-3x a week.

Or maybe feeding the female caused water pollution?
Feed her and when the fry start to swim free feed them too. Artemia nauplia are best.

I really doubt the cause is just the inexperience of the female, because she did not eat the fry alive, the fry are definitely dying before she eats or removes them. I guess she could be hurting them as she moves them from one spot to another in her mouth, but I don't know if that is a realistic scenario.
Inexperienced fish are a thing, it can take 5, 6... 10 spawns until the first one is successful.

What tank size to you keep them in? What exactly do you feed? How did you structure the tank? Are there any other fish in it? Also, can you post a picture of the tank?

Ansonsten schönen Gruß aus Bonn.
 

TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
Also, did you use peat or peat moss?

Peat I guess? The product is Eheim Torf Pellets.

What were your respective water parameters before and after that shift?

TDS dropped from 25 ppm to 17 ppm, but I did have the water at 5-10 ppm for almost a year once and had no eggs hatch so that should have no correlation to success in my case.
pH has always been 4.5 to 5.5 in liquid tests. It is 5.0-5.5 right now. Strip tests can't measure less than 6.4 and the chemical tests I have can't measure less than 4.5. I don't know if the liquid tests are measuring correctly either (Sera shows 5.5 and Tetra 5.0 right now). Also since conductivity and kh are so low ph is supposed to fluctuate a lot apparently, although I didn't measure any fluctuations.
On strip tests Cl2, NO2, NO3 and KH show all 0. GH shows <3 dH. These are always the same.
I only use RO or distilled water for water changes, I never add any tap water or bottled water for human consumption. All decoration, sand, etc are tested with acid to see if they react with bubbles (and not added if they do bubble).
Temperature is 27 Celcius always.
Really the only difference in water chemistry I can measure is the acids being released by peat and alder cones, instead of the acids from dried catappa leaves. Maybe my and the pet stores RO filters had some kinda improper chemical effect on the filtered RO water, or the city tap water has a chemical that isn't filtered out by the RO units and distilled water doesn't have that mystery chemical, but I would have no idea what that chemical would be.

Less hands on. Leave the fry in with the female, also there is no necessity to remove the male. All that is a lot of commotion which is the last thing they should experience in that phase.

I have been keeping my hands off the tank. I didn't touch the tank other than to remove the male in 2 minutes and to just drop food in daily for the female. I only tried to remove fry today to rescue a few, but all seems to be dead already.
I removed the male because the female didn't want him. Whenever he would show up she would aggressively chase him back into the vegetation. In my experience the female filamentosus always act extremely hostile to the male whenever they have eggs. Should I just keep him in regardless? Won't that stress the female out?

Inexperienced fish are a thing, it can take 5, 6... 10 spawns until the first one is successful.

I know inexperience is a thing but I thought inexperienced females just ate the eggs or fry or let the eggs grow fungus. I wouldn't expect them to kill wriggler fry without directly eating them. Is that really possible?

What tank size to you keep them in? What exactly do you feed? How did you structure the tank? Are there any other fish in it? Also, can you post a picture of the tank?
55*36*35h cm, but the water is only 40-50 liters depending on how much I fill it. I could fill it to the top if it's too low of a water volume. The decoration is mostly live plants, a ton of Hydrocotyle leucocephala and 2-3 species of Echinodorus. Also some sponge filters and a heater. Sand is JBL Sansibar White. A net bag filled with a handful of peat. a lot of mulm from year or two years old catappa leaves and other decayed plant matter. The visibility is very low with all the plants. This below is the most open part of the aquarium.
I feed dry food mostly. Used to feed Sera Discus Granulat a lot, now it's Vitalis Cichlid Pellets xs usually. sometimes Fluval Bug Bites, frozen Blood Worms, frozen Black Mosquito Larvae, live Enchyträen, live Artemia Nauplii.
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,740
Location
Germany
Peat I guess? The product is Eheim Torf Pellets.
Yep, peat then. "Peat moss" is fresh or dried Sphagnum moss.

TDS dropped from 25 ppm to 17 ppm, but I did have the water at 5-10 ppm for almost a year once and had no eggs hatch so that should have no correlation to success in my case.
The difference is nothing noteworthy, so your likely right about that.

pH has always been 4.5 to 5.5 in liquid tests. It is 5.0-5.5 right now. Strip tests can't measure less than 6.4 and the chemical tests I have can't measure less than 4.5. I don't know if the liquid tests are measuring correctly either (Sera shows 5.5 and Tetra 5.0 right now). Also since conductivity and kh are so low ph is supposed to fluctuate a lot apparently, although I didn't measure any fluctuations.
I know, I use strip tests actually only for NO3 and hardness, as it's faster. PH I measure with the JBL drip test.
You have peat and other H+ sources, the pH isn't going to fluctuate. If you hadn't added anything this would be different. The fluctuations are only happening when you try to keep your water at neutral, which is not the case.
TDS is not conductivity, although you measure both with the same meters and by the same principle.
5-5.5 is a good reading.

Really the only difference in water chemistry I can measure is the acids being released by peat and alder cones, instead of the acids from dried catappa leaves. Maybe my and the pet stores RO filters had some kinda improper chemical effect on the filtered RO water, or the city tap water has a chemical that isn't filtered out by the RO units and distilled water doesn't have that mystery chemical, but I would have no idea what that chemical would be.
No it's actually your source of acidity. Even with a KH of zero Catappa leaves and alder cones can only bring the pH down to a certain level. The peat is bringing in a lot of H+ ions and tannins.
I myself only use botanicals like oak leaves and alder cones and my pH won't move much down from 6.0. Admitted: My EC and TDS are not as low as yours, I still use some tapwater to keep GH above zero, KH is below detection level.

I have been keeping my hands off the tank. I didn't touch the tank other than to remove the male in 2 minutes and to just drop food in daily for the female. I only tried to remove fry today to rescue a few, but all seems to be dead already.
I removed the male because the female didn't want him. Whenever he would show up she would aggressively chase him back into the vegetation. In my experience the female filamentosus always act extremely hostile to the male whenever they have eggs. Should I just keep him in regardless? Won't that stress the female out?
I meant hands off as a figure of speach. ;) Try with the male in and resist the urge to remove fry. Just observe what happens.
As long as the male can retreat it's ok and it won't stress her out that much to chase him away. Give her a chance to possibly accept his presence. Sometimes that works out. You will notice when it's actually necessary to separate them.

I know inexperience is a thing but I thought inexperienced females just ate the eggs or fry or let the eggs grow fungus. I wouldn't expect them to kill wriggler fry without directly eating them. Is that really possible?
Did you see her kill the fry or do you assume she killed them? Inexperienced females can do extremely erratic and unexpected things. Very individual.

55*36*35h cm, but the water is only 40-50 liters depending on how much I fill it. I could fill it to the top if it's too low of a water volume. The decoration is mostly live plants, a ton of Hydrocotyle leucocephala and 2-3 species of Echinodorus. Also some sponge filters and a heater. Sand is JBL Sansibar White. A net bag filled with a handful of peat. a lot of mulm from year or two years old catappa leaves and other decayed plant matter. The visibility is very low with all the plants. This below is the most open part of the aquarium.
I mean... more volume means more dilution. Otherwise the tank looks ok as a breeding tank.

So in conclusion:
- try leaving the male in the tank
- don't remove the fry either

Oh: What about feeding? You didn't write anything about that. Edit: Nevermind. Just saw your edit.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,740
Location
Germany
I feed dry food mostly. Used to feed Sera Discus Granulat a lot, now it's Vitalis Cichlid Pellets xs usually. sometimes Fluval Bug Bites, frozen Blood Worms, frozen Black Mosquito Larvae, live Enchyträen, live Artemia Nauplii.
This is a crucial part.

The Sera and Vitalis foods (I have the latter myself but stopped feeding it) include fish meal and wheat flour in their ingredient lists, very prominently. Both ingredients are just fillers, fish meal is said to spread prions, which is all but good.
Bug bites also have fish (giving the species = higher quality) and at least gluten (binder) on the ingredient list, but mainly has insect meal. I feed that stuff myself, works like a charm. Instead of the Sera and Vitalis try "Rio Orinoco"
by "more for fish". It's the inhouse brand of Fressnapf, I have nothing to complain about the ingredients.
Keep the frozen black mosquito larvae (very good choice!), but scratch the blood worms. Blood worms have a bad ratio of protein:fat:fiber, also tend to have higher readings of heavy metals. They are basically junk food for fish. Replace them with regular offerings of live white mosquito larvae and frozen Artemia.
Also maybe try daphnia once a month and add frozen or live cyclops to the list. Variety and more live foods are key for healthy fry to spawn.
 

TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
Yeah I know TDS isn't conductivity. I just have a "TDS meter" which just measures conductivity and displays an approximate TDS value. I don't know how exactly it calculates TDS from the conductivity so I just tell the calculated TDS value it shows on the device. (Which is not the actual TDS, I assume that would be only measured by letting the water evaporate in a cup.)
If I had a device that just displayed conductivity without turning it into a TDS value estimate, that would be more accurate, but sadly I don't.

I don't assume the female killed the fry, but with all the seemingly correct water values and no fungus or other disease indicators on the dead fry I collected, I don't know how else the fry would die. They just look like they had heart attacks, which of course, is not the case. Maybe somehow ammonia levels spiked even in the acidic enviroment? I have no idea.

I will stop feeding those foods and buy Rio Orinoco then, I always see it at Fressnapf. And I'll try to get a Daphnia culture and maybe Hyalella azteca or a Grindal Worm or White Worm culture if those are good too. I can get frozen cyclops but probably can't find live cyclops often. I stopped buying frozen cyclops a few years ago because they were of saltwater origin and the apistos I had at the time didn't seem to eat them. Will try again tho.
Is there a reason to feed daphnia only once a month? Because of their shells or something?

Thanks for the replies.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,740
Location
Germany
Yeah I know TDS isn't conductivity. I just have a "TDS meter" which just measures conductivity and displays an approximate TDS value. I don't know how exactly it calculates TDS from the conductivity so I just tell the calculated TDS value it shows on the device. (Which is not the actual TDS, I assume that would be only measured by letting the water evaporate in a cup.)
If I had a device that just displayed conductivity without turning it into a TDS value estimate, that would be more accurate, but sadly I don't.
The conversion factor is approx. TDS x2. If you want a meter that measures both, the small 20,- meter by Amtra is much better than I expected. A friend who is a technician approved the meter. Give it a try, I'd say for rough quick measurement it's fine. Kind of a parallel to test strips, just in meter form.

I don't assume the female killed the fry, but with all the seemingly correct water values and no fungus or other disease indicators on the dead fry I collected, I don't know how else the fry would die. They just look like they had heart attacks, which of course, is not the case. Maybe somehow ammonia levels spiked even in the acidic enviroment? I have no idea.
Considering how small the fry are the possible reasons are unlikely to be seen with the naked eye, fungus is rather affecting the eggs. I'm starting to presume the female was not conditioned well (see food). Ammonia is unlikely, but have you checked your oxygen levels?

I will stop feeding those foods and buy Rio Orinoco then, I always see it at Fressnapf. And I'll try to get a Daphnia culture and maybe Hyalella azteca or a Grindal Worm or White Worm culture if those are good too.
Sounds like a good plan.

I can get frozen cyclops but probably can't find live cyclops often. I stopped buying frozen cyclops a few years ago because they were of saltwater origin and the apistos I had at the time didn't seem to eat them. Will try again tho.
Fully grown Apistos tend to ignore cyclops. You could get Hüpferlinge instead for a live version. With all foods of saltwater origin: Rinse them after defrosting in a small sieve. Same goes for Artemia nauplii. The salt can be bad for the fishes kidneys.

Is there a reason to feed daphnia only once a month? Because of their shells or something?
Exactly. I use them (frozen or live is irrelevant) especially for a monthly intestinal cleanse. Too often and too much can lead to diarrhea, which is a death sentence in blackwater conditions.

You're welcome! Report the developments, always interested how things develop.
 

TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
I did not measure oxygen levels. I can buy a test for it. I'm guessing if oxygen is low I probably need an oxydator? Since I'm guessing strong water movement method for more oxygen wouldn't be comfortable for the adults or the fry?

Yeah I do throughly rinse all kinds of live and frozen food before feeding. I just wasn't sure if saltwater cyclops were ok to feed, since I know there are freshwater cyclops species but harder to find (Hüpferlinge I suppose). Same with Mysis, even though all my fish loved it, I stopped feeding it after learning it's saltwater shrimps. I guess since we feed artemia to freshwater fish it's a baseless worry I have.
 

MacZ

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Messages
1,740
Location
Germany
I'm guessing if oxygen is low I probably need an oxydator?
Not necessarily. The sponge filter should do enough. But it's possible fresh alder cones and peat use up a lot of oxygen during the first few days.

Since I'm guessing strong water movement method for more oxygen wouldn't be comfortable for the adults or the fry?
Depends on the strength of the current.
 

dw1305

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5 Year Member
Messages
2,602
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I feed dry food mostly. Used to feed Sera Discus Granulat a lot, now it's Vitalis Cichlid Pellets xs usually. sometimes Fluval Bug Bites, frozen Blood Worms, frozen Black Mosquito Larvae, live Enchyträen, live Artemia Nauplii.
I'd start by saying fry <"is further than I've got"> with any Dicrossus spp., but I wonder if a smaller live food item (than Artemia (Brine Shrimp) ) might be needed for the fry?

"Banana worms" (Panagrellus nepenthicola) might do? and are very easy to culture or even "Vinegar eels" (Turbatrix aceti).

cheers Darrel
 

Bowluvr

Member
Messages
45
Location
North Carolina
Hi all,

Not food then.

cheers Darrel
Honestly, even if it was food, there is likely more than enough micro-fauna just in the aquarium to support the fry for at least the first day or two. It sounds like there should be, at least, judging from the photo and description of the set up. I have used sorted grindal worms as a substitute for microworms (not as familiar with banana worms, sorry) for tiny fry, and it's worked well for me. I simply harvest the worms from all of my cultures into a deli cup (clear so you can see through it) full of tank water (or aged water similar in chemistry to the tank). Then I stir the worms in the water gently. The larger worms will settle out first, leaving the tiny baby worms in the water column. One can then gently pour that water with the tiny worms off into another container, leaving all of the larger size worms behind. One does have to look closely to see the teenies (one of the few upsides to being so near-sighted lol), but mature grindal cultures will yield a surprising amount of them. I've used this food for baby B. splendens, GBR, and other tiny fry. I have a habit of killing microworm cultures (they just need so much more care, and I'm a flake about making new cultures in a timely manner), and this has saved many a batch of new fry from starvation.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,602
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I have used sorted grindal worms as a substitute for microworms (not as familiar with banana worms, sorry)
They are just another Panagrellus sp., a little bit smaller than microworms and more productive. I'm a Grindal worm fan as well.
I have a habit of killing microworm cultures (they just need so much more care,
Have tried culturing them on rolled oats? Much, much better than dried potato etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Bowluvr

Member
Messages
45
Location
North Carolina
Hi all,

They are just another Panagrellus sp., a little bit smaller than microworms and more productive. I'm a Grindal worm fan as well.

Have tried culturing them on rolled oats? Much, much better than dried potato etc.

cheers Darrel
I kill them because I get lazy and forget about them for weeks at a time. LOL One can do that with some live foods. Not with microworms. I do use oats, and definitely find it the better medium for me. Honestly, grindal worms are usually more than enough for my needs, especially when I'm hatching bbs. I had the microworms because someone gave me a culture. I kept them going for almost a year. Probably a record for me. :)
 

TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
Well, good news. Most of the eggs turned into larvae and the fry are starting to swim now. I added a full pack of Eheim torf pellets to the 50-60 liter aquarium 2 weeks ago, so I think that played a major part in the success. The pH value is 4-4.5 right now!

The eggs from the batch before this, between the batch I talked about here and the one that's alive right now, the eggs just stayed eggs and got eaten pretty fast in the first few days even though I mostly fed live food, More For Fish Rio Orinoco and Fluval Bug Bites.
 
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TCMontium

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
179
Location
Germany, Kassel
I removed the male yesterday, a few hours after the fry started to swim. It was hard to feed him while he mostly hid in the jungle part and whenever he came out the female would push him back into the jungle even when he was more than a foot away from the fry. I feared he might eat the fry since he seemed to be not eating enough because of the females behavior.
The fry are doing well now, there seems to be approx. 60 of them. I fed them artemia nauplii today approx. 20 hours after they started to swim. They could probably eat artemia even yesterday but the artemia cysts didn't hatch before the female and the fry went to sleep.

The female gathers the fry on an Echinodorus leaf when it's nighttime, even when the lights are still fully on. That's an interesting behavior I didn't expect from the mother. I would expect her to just gather them on the spot after the lights go out, not before I turn the lights off and not on a leaf relatively up high.
She also seems to herd the fry in a small area, at the open half of the aquarium. She doesn't go into the jungle part with the fry, maybe because she still thinks the male is in there or maybe for some other reason.
 

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