What Happened to my Fry ? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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What Happened to my Fry ?

Hello guys, I have a question. My borelli spawned in my 23G tank around 3 weeks ago and I had around 25-30 fry. I fed them Microworms 2-3 times a day and changed 10-15% of the water each day as well. I also leave a light on in the room at night. The fry were free swimming for the past I'd say 10-14 days and two days ago I noticed that the 25-30 fry turned into 15. Then yesterday there were only 3-5, and finally today the mom did not seem to swim back to protect anything and there were none. In the tank there are ONLY 10 red cherry shrimp, the mother and father Borelli and a ton of java moss along with other plants. What happened to all my fry? If they died, shouldnt I have seen a bunch of bodies ? If the father had eaten them, wouldnt he have done so earlier? Is it possible that the mother ate them? What should I do next time?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 01:02 AM
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Big fish eat little fish, often even their own young. Unless you have lots and lots of plant cover, next time either remove the fry or the parents at least until they're too big for snacks.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Big fish eat little fish, often even their own young. Unless you have lots and lots of plant cover, next time either remove the fry or the parents at least until they're too big for snacks.
I cant believe the mom would eat her own offspring after protecting them so carefully. Once the are free swimming, if I remove the mom and dad, will the fry be okay all by themselves?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 04:57 AM
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Once they're free-swimming, they're on their own. Fish aren't intelligent, they act on instinct, and fry moving around can trigger "bite that before it gets away" instincts.

If there are no predators that need to be defended against, the fry will be just fine on their own. The only parental care fish exhibit in the vast majority of species is protection, they don't feed the babies. About the only fish I can think of that feeds the babies are discus, and they don't even do that intentionally, they just have edible slime coats.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Once they're free-swimming, they're on their own. Fish aren't intelligent, they act on instinct, and fry moving around can trigger "bite that before it gets away" instincts.

If there are no predators that need to be defended against, the fry will be just fine on their own. The only parental care fish exhibit in the vast majority of species is protection, they don't feed the babies. About the only fish I can think of that feeds the babies are discus, and they don't even do that intentionally, they just have edible slime coats.

Oh man Im so sad that the mom and/or dad has eaten them all up. I will remove the parents to a smaller tank next time until the fry get older. How on earth do they survive in the wild if the parents are always eating them?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 01:44 PM
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Those who paint Mother Nature as a kindly old girl have not looked very close at what really happens. If the fry do not move, they become food. Kind of like kids? Nothing sadder than watching kids move away from home---unless it's watching what happens when they can't!
Different species have different timelines but most do require some space. Rather than moving the parents which can be super disruptive, I like to move a portion of the fry, leaving some for the parents to tend while I get a few for my breeding. This works better for some species than others but when dealing with free-swimming fry, I use a bucket of the tank water and a siphon to stick into the group and suck out the amount I feel I can raise. I can normally only deal with 25-30 small fish to raise so I leave the rest for the more natural action with pair bonding. The siphon sucks the fry out without having the damage of handling them.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 01:45 PM
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Oh man Im so sad that the mom and/or dad has eaten them all up. I will remove the parents to a smaller tank next time until the fry get older. How on earth do they survive in the wild if the parents are always eating them?
A lot of them do get eaten in the wild, but they have a chance to get away and enough of them do. It's a lot harder to escape from someone when you're in a small glass box with them.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Those who paint Mother Nature as a kindly old girl have not looked very close at what really happens. If the fry do not move, they become food. Kind of like kids? Nothing sadder than watching kids move away from home---unless it's watching what happens when they can't!
Different species have different timelines but most do require some space. Rather than moving the parents which can be super disruptive, I like to move a portion of the fry, leaving some for the parents to tend while I get a few for my breeding. This works better for some species than others but when dealing with free-swimming fry, I use a bucket of the tank water and a siphon to stick into the group and suck out the amount I feel I can raise. I can normally only deal with 25-30 small fish to raise so I leave the rest for the more natural action with pair bonding. The siphon sucks the fry out without having the damage of handling them.
Pardon my noob question but can you explain why it would be more disruptive to move the parents than the fry?

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A lot of them do get eaten in the wild, but they have a chance to get away and enough of them do. It's a lot harder to escape from someone when you're in a small glass box with them.
I didnt think that they would get eaten so fast. I was expecting them to be eaten if she had laid another batch of eggs, and not just after 10 days. It was weird cuz she would seem to come up for food when I was feeding and then quickly rush back to protect her young. Who knew that she would decide to eat them too while protecting them.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 06:46 PM
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The reasoning for moving fry is that they are not settled into the tank and not yet fully aware of things but the older pair will be used to things. So a move is not much for fry, while moving a breeding pair will set back a bit their work to get ready again . In nature, it often comes down to what is expedient without any moral objections or thought. So if the female is needing to fatten up again, it requires food and if the most available food is the fry, the timer is running and if they are not out of sight as they would be in nature, they become a way to fatten the female quicker. How long or how soon is not a precise thing but just something that happens at some point. Some fish are more inclined or there are times when something happens in the room which triggers the reaction. With newer, less experienced adults, it seems to happen more often or quicker, which is part of my reasoning for leaving some of the fry with the parents as it seems to firm up some of their actions for the next time. I doubt that the thought is the same but it may works that if all the fry are suddenly gone, why not just eat them immediately the next time?
Not a lot of firm science in all that thought, just what I feel works better! Also have to admit that part of the plan is that I can fit another ten gallon in for fry where it is more difficult to fit another tank for adults while leaving fry in the larger former tank.
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