Fry Rack – Part 1

The most recently completed project in the fish room is a rack of plastic bins for growing fry.  I needed more space for small fry, and I wanted to design a system that would be faster and easier to change the water in.  The end product is a rack of twelve 6-gallon bins plumbed to permit flow-through water changes.  Since plastic bins of shallow water are hard to control the temperature in, the rack is also equipped with under-bin heating.  It has been up and running for just about two months, and I am very happy with the results.  This project will be presented in two parts.  The first covers how to assemble the rack, and the second how to install the bins and water change/heating systems.

Livestock Shipping Season!

I am shipping fish again for the next few months.  Unfortunately, I do not have a ton of fish to ship.  One big change is that I now have a REAL job, and I can only pack and ship fish on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are the only days I can get to the post office on time (or have time in the morning to pack fish).  That schedule may change at the end of October, but for now that is the best I can do.  There is a new list of fish posted on the livestock page.

Who C.A.R.E.S? – Pelvicachromis sacrimontis

I have a wild pair of Pelvicachromis sacrimontis that are currently raising a batch of fry.  I have had this species many times, but for some reason I cannot seem to keep them around for multiple generations.  That is now my goal.  There is some concern that this species is suffering from its close proximity to the human population of Lagos, Nigeria, and the barely-controlled oil drilling industry in the areas where the fish is found.  Not to mention the deforestation that has decimated 95% of Nigeria’s rainforests.  P. sacrimontis used to be a relatively common export, and we used to see them in stores all the time as ‘Giant Krib’.  I can remember getting boxes of ‘mixed kribs’ and being disappointed when most of them were this species!!!!  If I could only have now what I used to have then…

Chromidotilapia guentheri guentheri pair

Hey!  An actual fish video… from my fish room!  About freakin’ time!

C. g. guentheri is the most widely distributed species in the genus.  This pair was imported from Ghana, and were said to have been collected in Lake Volta.  That lake is a reservoir which happens to have the largest surface area of all the reservoirs in the world, and the fourth largest by volume.  Two river systems were flooded in 1965 to make the lake:  the White Volta and the Black Volta.  C. g. guentheri is actually a river fish that has been able to make the switch to living in a lake.  I hate to think about all the species that did not….

What I like most about the genus Chromidotilapia is the diversity of behaviors and communication they display.  While all cichlids are great communicators, these West African mouthbrooders seem to be very clear in how they talk to each other and their fry.  You will some some examples of that in the video.  Enjoy…

Repashy Spawn and Grow

Ever thought about the differences between fry and adult fish?  There are a lot of differences, especially with regards to what they need nutritionally in order to grow quickly and with good health.  Repashy Superfoods’ new Spawn & Grow formula is designed with fry in mind.  Here is a video I put together talking about raising fry in general, and how Spawn & Grow can help…

A Visit to Jim Cormier’s Fish Room

Jim Cormier was my host when visiting the New England Cichlid Association in February, 2012.  We had plenty of time to kill between my arrival in town and the meeting, so im took me to see his fish room.  My assumption was that we were going to his house, but that was not the case.  Jim’s hatchery is located in rental space inside an old industrial mill.  I wish we had places like this in Wisconsin!  I would love to double the size of my room and have it ‘off site’.  Not that I dislike having my fish room in my basement (very convenient), but just think about how easy it would be to ‘get lost’ if the aquariums were on the other side of town!

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi Fry

I have been waiting for a pair of German blue rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) to spawn for a few months so I can get some video.  They finally cooperated, and laid eggs a few inches from the front glass… and moved the larvae to a pit even closer!  Rams are one of those species I return to again and again.  I had not have any for four or five years, however, until I got this pair from  to photograph for their website.  OBF has some great rams!  They also have nice gold and electric blue rams, and a lot of other great fish.  Check them out.

Watch for the Repashy Superfood in the video.  I placed a couple pieces near the nest before the fry were fully free swimming, and the parents picked a small piece up and dropped it dead center of the fry pile.  The fry were picking on it!  That is less than 6-hour free swimming fry picking on a food that is NOT alive.  I was amazed… Repashy food is awesome.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Moliwe’ with new fry

I have a group of P. taeniatus ‘Moliwe’ (one male and three females) that are doing well in a 33-gallon long aquarium with some Neolebias cf. trewavasae and Barbus jae that I brought home from Gabon last Winter.  I used to keep all my kribs as single pairs, but I have discovered that they do better in small colonies, so long as there is enough space.  In this case, I have three females and three breeding locations separated by visual barriers.  This video shows the most dominant female with a group of fry and the male helping her to care for them.  But he sneaks off to visit another female that is ready to spawn!  This is not typical behavior.  Pairs with fry usually have a very strong bond, but captivity does strange things to fish behavior.  I have never had two females of this species together in the same tank guarding fry… it will be interesting to see what happens!