I have been looking for an opportunity to start working with some small livebearer species for a while, but I have not pulled the trigger on buying small groups of fish that would take a long time to build up into a good size colony. I want some livebearers types that are desirable as aquarium subjects, but will also produce enough culls to feed my growing collection of small predatory fish like dwarf pike cichlids and small wolf fish. A member of our local club (Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists), Jeff Zwicker, recently posted an ad to sell his colonies of Endler’s livebearers and other guppy types, so I took a trip out to see them… and made a purchase. Six different colonies! Enjoy the video….
One of the hardest groups of fish to deal with in the wholesale setting is livebearers. The problems start with the shipping process, which pretty much does everything to a livebearer that one really should not do: crowd them, keep them in poor water quality, subject them to low pH and starve them. Once they are in the fish room the situation does not get much better. They still need to be crowded. I tend to spread them out into multiple tanks, but I cannot take 250 sword tails and spread them out to 25 tanks. I can give them plenty of water changes though, and I use good Poret foam wall matten filters, so water quality is pretty stable. The big difference, I believe, is that I am able to feed the fish a LOT of quality food. Livebearers have a huge energy consumption, and they will eat all the time if there is food available to them. I feed Repashy Superfood to them at least once each day, sometimes twice. I like to mix the Soilent Green and Spawn & Grow formulas together in even amounts. I will also use Spawn & Grow, Super Green and Red Rum, especially with swordtails, red guppies and platies. The fatty acids in Spawn & Grow make a big difference in the health and vitality of the fish, the greens give the fish the plant matter they like and the Red Rum boosts color quickly and brightly. The fish learn very quickly that Repashy Superfood is good to eat. The video clips were shot after these farm-raised fish were in the fish room only 48 hours.
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.
Greg Sage is a talented aquarist who has built a viable business out of his hobby in his basement. I have never seen a more productive fish room! The number and quality of fish Greg has is astounding. And his fish room is designed to make it possible.
Select Aquatics is a retail business. If you are interested in purchasing some of Greg’s fish, feel free to contact him through his web site: Select Aquatics
Catching up with all the videos I am behind with is at the TOP of my list of New Year’s resolutions. 2011 has been a very busy year, and I apologize to everyone patiently waiting for the continuance of the fish room and basic aquarium series. Soon… very soon.
The aquarium-world has seen a much needed focus on the plight of fish species in peril. Clubs large and small have been starting programs to promote the keeping of threatened and endangered species. Our societal leader in this effort is the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program:
Founded in 2004, the C.A.R.E.S. (Conservation, Awareness, Recognition, Encouragement, and Support) Preservation Program is based on the critical and timely significance of Conservation, our Awareness as hobbyists of the issues involved, and the public Recognition of members, offering Encouragement and Support for those who take part in playing a vital role in ensuring a positive future for species at risk. The purpose of the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program is to encourage hobbyists worldwide to devote tank space to one or more species at risk, while forming an information network between aquarists, scientists, and conservationists.
I have been keeping C.A.R.E.S. species since the inception of the program… sometimes without even knowing that the fish I was breeding were threatened! Awareness is the key to the ultimate success of the program. You may also have some of these species in your aquariums; if so, make a personal pledge to maintain them for the long term. If you do not have any of these species, consider dedicating some space to one.
Here is one of the eight species at risk that I maintain in my fish room… Characodon lateralis. This goodeid livebearer from Mexico has been extirpated from most of its range by habitat loss, pollution and invasive species. Some sources suggest that C. lateralis can now be found in only two small springs. It is very possible that the captive population far outnumbers the wild populations.
I hope that getting this blog post up will be the catalyst for keeping up with the backlog of videos and posts I have NOT been doing. My apologies…
Allen Wood is a good friend of mine who maintains a fish room in Pueblo, Colorado. Allen has a lifetme of experience with fish, and in the past decade or so has dedicated most of his space to threatened and endangered live bearer species from North and Central America. Allen’s fish room has a fully automated water change system, but not a single drilled aquarium! There is hope for all of us who want automation without the hassle of drilled tanks.
Here is the new video of the same tank with H. tamasopoensis and X. montezumae. The current is generated by a 2400 gph circulation pump (Aqueon) embedded in the Poret foam filter (it is in the hole you can see in the middle of the wall). That pump really churns up the water! The movement of the grass plants indicates the current, but when the food appears in the video you can get a really good idea of how fast that water is flowing. The tank looks very natural to me, and the fish are thriving.
There is a pair starting to develop amongst the cichlids. The dominant male has taken up residence under the larger rock in the center of the pile. His female is smaller and is starting to get the black markings that will show that she is spawning. Right now the black in on her ventral fins and her breast, but the color should expand on her body a lot. The other cichlids are not being harmed by the pair, but they are also spread out to the far corners of the tank!
Most of the swords were much smaller when I got them last September. The old male is starting to look really old, but the younger male is starting to come into his prime condition. Some of the females look gravid, and I will be removing them before they drop their fry so that the cichlids will not get them. Eventually I would like to see at least 2x this number of swordtails in the tank.
This is a video of a 75-gallon river tank that I set up in August, 2010, to house a group of Herichthys tamasopoensis and Xiphophorus montezumae. The video was shot two months after setting up the tank and shortly after getting the swords. I am posting it today because I just filmed about 10 minutes of great footage of the same tank. I have made some changes to the filtration and water flow, and the fish have grown considerably. This video is for comparison to the one I will upload soon.