Artificially feeding

Artificially feeding


Artificially Rearing Discus Fry
By Tom Fowler

Sometimes there is a need to raise your discus fry separated from their parents. There are many reasons for this: They may eat their eggs or their young, the eggs do not hatch and we need to know why. So we remove the eggs 9 I wait til one hour after the eggs have been laid ) and hatch them in a small container just big enough to allow the spawning cone to be immersed completely.

Having filled the container with R/O water with minerals added to make KH & GH 1 dH at least 24 hours before bringing it to the correct temp and keeping it well aerated I then add meth/blue at two drops per gallon. I keep a stock of this water, once the eggs hatch I remove the young on the third day using a baster ( this makes for easy catching ) and put them in a clean dish with R/O water ( again with minerals added to make KH & GH 1 dH ), with just enough meth/blue to colour the water. At this stage I like to see the fry go together in clumps as this tells me that it is a strong spawn and they will be easy to raise once they go free swimming ( the timing for this depends on the temp ). I like to keep mine at 86F / 30C.

Now is the time to start feeding them. I use dry powdered egg yolk. The reason I use this is because it has been pasteurized and do not contain any bacteria like raw egg. I also add a small amount of Spirulina powder just enough to turn the mix slightly green. Mix this together on a small spoon with a drop of R/O water to a fine paste. Spread this around the rim of the dish as thin as you can, allow to dry until very sticky but will not come off on a dry finger. This is so when you add water the mix do not fall off and foul the water. Below is a photo of fry on their first day free swimming.

Fill the dish with prepared R/O water to just above the egg line and transfer the young into the dish using your baster. I leave them like this for two hours then using the baster I change as much water as possible. If you have added meth/blue to your water you could leave them for four hours but since I am at home most of the time I change water often. No matter what you can do time wise you must replace all the water every 4 hours and give them a new bowl. I continue this throughout the day till about eleven p.m. then I put them in a clean dish and fresh water for the night. Continue this for three days then you can add a small amount of crushed newly hatched brine shrimp. On day four you can tryfeeding a few newly hatched brine shrimp, live, to see if the size of the brine shrimp is small enough for the fry. Once they are taking the brine shrimp, at about fourteen days you can transfer them to a small tank and then get them onto other small foods. Here is a photo of fry at day thirteen.

Yes, a lot of work but what you get are disease and parasite free fish..... I think you can answer a lot of questions using this method.

Problems I have come across or solved with this method.

What if the eggs do not hatch?

If you have removed the eggs within one hour of spawning and placed them in R/O water it is likely you have not got a viable pair ( male infertile or two females are spawning together are the most common reasons ).

Parents eat newly hatched young.

With this method you are "the parent" and provide all the care from eggs onwards. Sometimes the eggs hatch but the young are so weak they can not take the food offered and I wond if these would be the ones parents eat?

What water change schedule and hardness of water?

Once they are taking BBS I change the water every three to four hours or when ever I see too many inactive shrimp laying on the bottom of the dish. When the fry are about 1/4 inch I then use 75% RO water and 35% tap water filtered through a CBR ( Carbon Block Resin ) system and change 25% a day. When most of the fry get to 1/2 inch I change one third a day. With heavy feedings about 25% of the fish will get to about 2 inch body size in two months.

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