Getting "Pond" Going - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Getting "Pond" Going

I recently set up a greenhouse to contain all of my hobbies. I've always loved breeding guppies, raising frogs from tadpoles, growing plants, ect... I have space for everything! I bought four, 13.5g storage containers to raise the humidity around the shelves where plants will be kept. I have a terrarium for frogs with a 10" x 8" x 3" water hole where they will hopefully breed in the springtime.

I'm very interested in the science of animal behavior, genetics, plants, ect. I thought it would be some great experience to get a good colony of guppies going to experiment with manipulation of traits. The greenhouse doesn't retain much heat at night, but the containers of water sure do. Right now, it gets down around 40F at night and 60F during the day. The water warms up to around 60-65 and retains a lot of heat to keep it around 50F when I get up in the morning.

Long story short, I went to the fish store and picked up about 25-30 HEALTHY feeder guppies. They were acclimated to one of the 13.5g containers (27" l x 15" w x 8" h) just a little while ago. I didn't get to pick them out, so half of the males aren't very colorful and a few have deformities. Those will be moved tomorrow. The females look good -- some are gray, some are yellow and some are in between, but they're all plain, which will be great for breeding as long as they aren't carrying recessive alleles that would screw up offspring when mated with fancy guppies.

Along with the guppies, I purchased a bunch of overpriced anacharis. Probably 6 or 8 long strands. The 13.5g containers were filled with tap water and left for a week to let the chlorine evaporate out, but they had nothing in them to start a cycle. I added some of the water from the bag of anacharis and the bag of guppies to get the cycle going, despite the risks of introducing pests.

Any tips for getting this "pond" and the three others going? Will the guppies feed off the anacharis, or will I need to add food? Will they accept frozen food like spirulina enhanced brine or mysis? Anything else I should know about?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Ooops, forgot to add, I'll be adding a bunch of duckweed from a dirty plastic pond to the 13.5g container containing the guppies tomorrow, if that changes anything.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 07:15 AM
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Make sure you have a lid. I had some male guppies seperated in a big tub for a few days, lost a few to jumping out.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 06:55 PM
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Water does not contain very much of the beneficial bacteria. These bacteria live stuck to surfaces like plant leaves, the sides of the container and filter media.

What are you using for water circulation and filtration?

Plants do compliment the fish by removing wastes (mostly ammonia and CO2). In an aquarium I would judge it this way: If you have so many plants you cannot see the back of the tank, then there are enough plants to handle a reasonable fish waste load.
One bunch of Anacharis might be OK for one, maybe 2 fish. (F guppy size).

I would run, not walk, to the store that carries a bacterial cycle helper. Make sure it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Any other product is a waste of time.
Another source of these bacteria will be other water habitats that already have well established cycles (Do you have the frog ponds going? How long have they been running?).

Guppies may or may not nibble the Anacharis, I would sure want to feed them a more balanced diet to get them into shape for breeding. A good quality flake like Almost Natural Tropical Fish Food would be my choice. Add freeze dried things like Brine Shrimp, Blood Worms and Daphnia.

Guppies will not be very active at that low temperature range.

Whenever M & F livebearers are mixed you can be 99.99% sure the F are all pregnant by whatever M are in with them. In the case of feeder guppies, that may very well be their brothers and cousins. Feeders are often the culls from a breeder of fancy guppies. The deformed or poorly colored ones, and the older females that are no longer productive. This is not the only source of feeders, of course. They are mass bred, too, by people who do not care about the genetics (fancy tails or breeding closely related fish)
That you are seeing deformities and poor tail colors already suggests you have gotten culls or closely related fish, not genetically healthy fish. The females will have to give birth several times to get rid of all the sperm from these genetically unknown males.
Even when you breed them with known males, you have only half the genetic picture. The females carry the same (poor quality/defective) genes as their brothers that you have removed.

If you are really interested in breeding Guppies, maybe it would be better to talk with a breeder and explain what you want to do. Get young males and virgin females from known lines, and then combine them and keep track of which traits show up. There will be more distinct traits such as tail color, shape and carriage (even female Guppies are now showing up with colors) and body colors. By starting with known parents that have been breeding true for several generations you know what genes you are starting with.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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The containers came with lids. I'm keeping them on at all times to keep the heat in until it warms up a bit. That will also protect them from jumping out.

Sadly, 7 guppies made it through the night, and 2 made it until now. The dead ones were removed. The two left are females, one small and one even smaller. I think the reason was that they were moved from an 80F tank to a 55-60F tank in just a few hours.

The frogs are starting to croak now, so it's getting warmer. I'll try guppies again when I get more plants in the containers and the weather is warmer.

Somebody is sending me five or six large bags of anacharis that has been growing in a pond for over 40 years, as well as some lily pads, if they can find some. I'll wash them with a water hose to make sure they're free of any large pests before I add them to the containers. This should be able to cope with lots of fish and frogs.

I do have a "pond" which is about 50 gallons that has been outside for a few years, collection crap in it. No frogs or anything, just tons of duckweed and leaves. I'll be adding the duckweed to the containers too. I had a bunch of guppies and platies that were added in the spring one year, and they live through the winter of 35F nights, but of course the pond was retaining some heat from the day, so it stayed a bit cooler than the containers I have in my greenhouse right now. It's not that guppies can't survive in those conditions I guess, it's that I shocked mine when I put them in to a cold environment from a hot indoor tank.

These were just to test if guppies would live out there, which wasn't really effective because I shocked them by the move, despite acclimation. I'll probably use one container for a different kind of purebred guppy, like those sunrise ones from petsmart, the cobra ones from petco, the black moscow ones, and whatever else my local petstore has (they actually sell healthy fish).

Thanks for all the great info guys!! I'll keep you updated and post pics as things happen.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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All of the guppies died and the anacharis is like deteriorating because it's getting so much light...
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