I thought I'd post up my results so far of my first proper hatch of angelfish fry. Perhaps others will find it interesting and try to breed their own or even those that are trying right now may find the information useful.
A bit of history first I guess. I've got 2 angelfish that regularly lay eggs. I got them a few months back when I had noticed that they were doing rather well in a tank at a local LFS. There were 2 females and one male in the tank so there was some fighting going on because one of the females was quite ready to lay some eggs. I figured "what the heck, I'll try my hand at breeding them to see what happens".
The next day they had laid some eggs.
And so and so on for the last few months. I think they would lay almost every 2 to 3 weeks depending on how long it took them to either eat all the eggs or eat the fry as they started to die off due to lack of food.
I had tried to breed them properly a few times but wasn't truly ready for the real deal until just recently.
A few of my mistakes in the beginning were:
1. Not have live food (baby brine shrimp). Fry don't recognize frozen brine shrimp as food and they most certainly don't eat ground up flake food. I don't think they even absorb it at all if you were to put them in a small container with a bunch of it.
2. Turned the lights off at night. For some reason, sometimes the parents would forget they laid eggs or something and eat them all in the morning when the lights came on. Sometimes too with the fry.
3. Do something disruptive to the tank after laying eggs or after fry are free swimming. Again, good parents that they are will freak out and eat all their fry if they feel there is a fair amount of danger around them.
I think that's about it for mistakes.. I did try to move the fry to another container once, but one day I didn't clean the water out and they got sick.
So, what's new in my approach?
First up I setup a completely empty 10 gallon tank and put a heater in it to keep the temp at around 80 and filled it 3/4 full of water. 75% of that water came from the parent tank. I got a sponge filter a few weeks before this and ran it in the parent tank to get it full of bacteria. This was transferred over once the fry were taken over.
I moved about 80% of the fry from the parent tank to the smaller tank when they were just starting to wriggle and very very slightly starting to break off the leaf. I decided to leave the other 20% in the parent tank for a few reasons.
1. I want the parents to have a few left.. they got very mad when I was sucking out the fry with the turkey baster.
2. I want the parents to actually raise the fry so they don't forget how (would they forget? do they know now? are questions I have too)
3. I wanted to compare between the two tanks on which would do better/worse etc
The fry tank got a small water change after a few days. You can see that in the pic below that the bottom of the tank is slightly dirty. That's from the parent tank. Can't clean the bottom of the tank with little fry all over it..
After the fry started swimming, I gave them 3 days to burn off their reserves. In the picture they are all swimming on day 3 but most were swimming late on day 2.
Now comes the pain in the arse part.. hatching brine shrimp everyday.
I picked up a can of brine shrimp eggs from Rogers for about 50 bucks. This is a big can and would most likely last a good few years I think. Even if I were to breed angel fish continuously for the whole time. Lotsa eggs..
Hatching brine shrimp is a simple process but can take a bit of practice at first. I would suggest getting a pattern in place on when you hatch them. My pattern was to set it up around 9 in the morning and then harvest them almost exactly 24 hours later. There's no exact science to this. When you put a 1/4 teaspoon of eggs in a batch it's no real loss to not have them all hatch. You still have thousands and thousands that do hatch.
Feeding time was always right after harvesting, then 2 more times in the day spaced about 4 hours apart. The fry would go without from about 7 at night until 9 in the morning. I kept the light on for the first week but acclimated to no light at night from the second week. Keeping notes as you go helps you remember when you fed them or did something to the tank.
After feeding I would religiously change some of the water. Some people/sites suggest changing 50% or even more.. I changed about 10 to 15% each time, which was enough to get anything off the bottom of the tank and refresh the water. It was rare that I ever had to remove uneaten food. These guys eat nonstop I think.
Feed less, even if you think that they may want more. It's easy to tell when they are getting full.. their tummies stick out quite a bit after the shrimpfest.
Losses weren't too bad on the fry tank. 33 losses that I counted which is about 10% I think, maybe slightly more. It's easy to tell which ones will not make it. They just look weak, don't eat food because they may not recognize it or are just too slow in comparison to the others. That's all fine with me, let the strong survive. No use breeding weak fish.
Here is a set of images showing their growth from day 1 to day 18. I wouldn't consider it perfect because I was obviously taking pictures of different fry each time. Not such a great indicator of how one fry may grow, but I suppose on average it works.
The last two are just extras that I kinda liked. It wasn't easy to take pics of such small creatures that move rather fast.. but for the most part it's easy to see their growth. From about the second week you can see their fins and colouring starting to show.
The one thing I did seem to notice between the parent tank and the fry tank is that the parent tank fry seemed to be growing faster and they never looked hungry. This is most likely due to the fact that as I watched them they would regularly go and snag something off the glass or a plant. On day 16 I tossed in a handful of moss into the fry tank to see if they would do the same (even without their parents around to show them). They did. I left it in there.
Here's a pic of one fry in the parent tank on day 18:
You can sorta see how much rounder it is in comparison to the others.
The losses in the parent tank are much higher. Probably about 50% loss. I almost never changed the water in there and it has an HOB filter that some of them got sucked up into. If they weren't chewed up by the impeller then sometimes they would get stuck in the sponge. Half removing the sponge got rid of the sponge problem. Again, not a big deal to me with around 300 fry in the house.. let the weak and stupid fish perish. Sounds harsh maybe... but I would bet that the fry in the parent tank grow up stronger and smarter being that they have been with their parents and grown up in a more normal setting for angelfish.
If I were to breed them again, I would take a much smaller amount of them from the parents. That would only be for testing purposes I think. Leaving them with the parents does them good (as long as they don't get eaten I suppose).
So last but not least a parting shot of a fry with mom and dad in the background.
Hopefully this has been kind of informative. If there is anything else I can think of then I'll add to the post later.