How to Raise Baby Fish Fry in Your Aquarium
One of the most thrilling parts of the aquarium hobby is getting your fish to breed. A tiny baby may be spotted if you take care of your fish and are feeding them well. Accidental fry can be exciting but there are many ways to increase their survival rate and boost your profits if you intend on selling them.
1. Protect the Eggs from the Parents
Many fish do not show any parental care towards their offspring and will happily eat their own eggs that they just laid a few seconds ago. The first step in saving eggs is to stop them being eaten. One of the following methods can be used depending on the species and the egg-laying behavior.
If the eggs are sticky you can offer sites for them to lay such as yarn spawning mop, dense plants (like Java moss or Frogbit), ceramic tiles or spawning cones. You can move the egg spawning location to a safer spot once the eggs are laid. You can also remove sticky eggs from aquarium glass and other immovable objects if they are on the aquarium glass. You can also manually collect eggs using your fingers or a credit card. – If the eggs are freely scattered around and don’t stick to things, you can use layers of marbles as substrate to allow eggs to fall in between the cracks where the parents can’t reach them. To allow eggs to fall through, you can also place a mesh screen or plastic net from the craft shop just above the aquarium’s bottom. Some breeders like to put mosses or other bushy plants underneath the mesh as additional protection.
Some fish like discus prefer to use spawning cones or tiles to lay their eggs on vertical surfaces.
Plucking eggs from cave-spawning fish like dwarf cichlids and plecos is a skill that most fish are very good at protecting. However, new parents can be tempted to eat them. If you want to hatch the eggs yourself use a suitable-sized Apistogramma, Apistogramma, coconut hut or PVC pipe to allow the fish to spawn. Once the eggs are laid, remove the cave. Some African cichlid species have mouth brooders which protect their eggs and fry in their mouths. Some breeders will remove the eggs or fry from the female to protect them from being swallowed accidentally, to stop the fry being released into the main tank, and to give the mother time to recuperate from her duties. This is a complicated topic, so make sure to do some research on stripping eggs and the best method for you.
Now it’s time to hatch the eggs. Unfertilized eggs are more susceptible to fungus growth, which can rapidly spread and destroy entire clutches. Larger eggs that belong to African cichlids, plecos, peacock gudgeons, and the like can be placed in an egg tumbler that constantly blows fresh, oxygenated water onto the eggs and discourages fungal infections. A second option is to place the eggs into a small container of water. This will allow for circulation. The eggs can then be kept warm by being placed in an aquarium or by being clipped to the tank wall. Add a few drops methylene blue to the water until it turns slightly blue, or add some alder cones for a mild fungicide. Once the eggs hatch, you can do a few water changes at 50%. With both techniques, use a turkey baster to remove any eggs that have fungal growth.
2. Take out the Fry
After the eggs have hatched, the baby fish still aren’t out of the danger zone. Separating fry from adults is a good idea to keep them safe and allow them to grow faster as there is less food competition. It is best to keep your newborns in a smaller container, so they don’t need to swim as far to get to their food. Because the fry can live in the same water and tank conditions as their parents, a net breeder or a breeder box with a bunch of moss is ideal. Livebearers who prefer to live young rather than laying eggs can place the pregnant female in the box as she is about to give birth, and then take the mother out after the fry are born.
A breeder box is a way to keep your fry safe from predators and allows you to raise them in the same aquarium with the adults.
To give your baby fry more space to swim, you can move them to a bigger grow-out tank when they are stronger and larger. You may have to separate the fry according to size so that they are not competing for food. If necessary, you can also cull sick fry to stop defective genes spreading and avoid selling customers unhealthy fish.
3. Provide Lots of Cover
If you don’t have enough space for an additional grow-out tank, colony breeding is an option. In this method, the parents and the young are raised in one fish tank. While this approach may not yield the highest number of offspring, it is certainly easier in terms of time, cost, and space. It is important to have plenty of small spaces that the babies can fit into, but not the adults, in order to increase fry survival rates. Breeders make DIY fish fry traps by using craft mesh or floating pond plant baskets. They also use zip ties to attach the mesh to a tall cylindrical. You can either place a pregnant livebearer in the trap to allow the fry to escape from the holes or vice versa, where the parents can be outside and the fry can swim within the trap. Breeders use an enormous wad of Easter basketgrass to make a dense mass that is difficult for even the smallest babies to swim in.
A thick jungle of live aquarium plants can be used to shelter your animals if you prefer something more natural. We love java moss and Pogosteman. stellatus. ‘Octopus’ are our favorites for colony-building. For the youngest fish, some species prefer rocks that have small gaps between them. If the fish are being pursued, decorations for aquariums and artificial caves may provide extra hiding spots.
To hide your baby fish, add many aquarium plants.
4. Maintain good water quality
Baby fish are less resistant than adult fish, and can become more sensitive to toxic substances or other waste. Regular maintenance of the filter is essential to ensure it does not become clogged with fish poop. To prevent small fish from getting into your motor, use a hang-on back (HOB), or any other filter that has an intake tube.
Consider doing multiple water changes each week, or daily, to start feeding your fry. This is a time-consuming part that can cause stress as it is possible to accidentally vacuum up babies. When cleaning a breeder net or small container, a turkey baster is a nifty tool for carefully removing small amounts of water. For grow-out tanks, you can also create a tiny aquarium siphon using a length of airline tubing. Attach one end of the tubing to a chopstick with rubber bands, and then place that end into the aquarium water. The chopstick allows you to easily maneuver the siphon and avoid the baby fish. Use your mouth to suck on the other end of the tubing to start water flowing through the tiny siphon, and then place that end into a white bucket for collecting dirty water. The white bucket makes it easier to see any fry that might have accidentally escaped so you can retrieve them with a turkey baster, or small shrimp net. You can also have the siphoned water stream into a fish net or breeder net clipped to the side of the bucket, which will then collect any fry that escape.
Make a DIY fry siphon out of tubing, a chopstick, and rubber bands for cleaning grow-out tanks.
5. Feed Tiny Foods Multiple Times a Day
Fry have small mouths and tiny stomachs. Just like human babies, they need to eat every day. Newly hatched fish come with a yolk sac that feeds them until they are strong enough to freely swim and look for food. They then need small meals up to 3 times per day. You can set alarms on your phone or even use a automatic fish feeder for larger foods. For the smallest newborns, such as rainbowfish or tetras, you should feed them almost microscopic foods, like infusoria and fry powder and vinegar eels. Larger newborn fish (e.g., livebearers and African cichlids) can almost immediately eat crushed flakes, Repashy gel food, and Easy Fry and Small Fish Food.
Hatching baby brine shrimp live to feed fish fry is a great way to boost their growth and health.
However, the #1 fry food that every veteran fish keeper and fish farm knows will bring out the best growth and numbers in your breeding projects is live baby brine shrimp. These shrimp are packed with healthy fats and nutritious proteins. They also actively swim in water columns, activating your baby fish’s hunting instincts. If you haven’t tried hatching your own baby brine shrimp, check out our step-by-step tutorial and give it a try.