Adventures in Fishkeeping or A Fish Tale

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Apr 2, 2002
2,945
485
92
New York
Well things have started to move. Yesterday I shipped out 45 fish. Another 30 were supposed to go but time worked against me. If all goes well they will go out next Monday. I now have three open tanks on the terrace and bout a 2 -3 week window to use them for my second group of 173 and 236. I may have another interested buyer in a 20 fish group. That would get me about 1/3 of the way through the fish to go. But from a size point of view with it being the larger fish, the result is closer to 1/2 the bio-load.

I need to move out more fish. Soon I think it will be time to offer some of the breeding groups. I would like to find a couple of unique individuals with whom I could place them. Such a person will be qualified/experience enough to keep them spawning and getting the kids into the hands of other keepers.

I am very surprised to see I am one of very few people in the states who is spawning and selling them. there have to be others but I cannot seem to locate them. I do know that a quality breeding operation in Indonesia is doing so. But they sell the fish in 50 lots and their largest size fish is about 2.35 inched TL. They do sell a lot more at 1.5 - 1.75 inched. A box of 50 of their 1.5 inch fish used to be on sale for $210/fish down from $300. Add the importing costs and figure you can have 50 of them for the low low price of about $12,000. They sell what they call A grade fish at 1.5 inches for $500 and offer no discount. I consider many of my fish to be A grade.

I do not ask anywhere near the import cost when I sell my fish. If one buys a fish to resell for $210, they are going to mark up anywhere from 100% to 200%. I guess this is why they are not so easy to find nor to afford. To buy the proven breeders I have was an insane price. This was especially so because I was the one who made them proven before I owned them. *sigh*

There is one good thing about getting pretty old, by then one should have accumulated most of the wealth one might have. I am lucky enough to be able to pay stupid money every now and then for fish. But the other side of this is I do not go on vacations any more. I do not eat out often and I live a fairly simple life. I am just a fish nut and that is the one area where I splurge. I would bet that anybody reading this has splurged on fish or at least really wanted to do so. It also took me 10 years of working up the ladder of species where each one paid for the next to get to where I am. It also did not start until I had been keeping fish for 5 years.

But the real secret to any success I have had with fish is not because I am formally educated in this area. I am self=taught as are most of us. It is not because I have any special skills either. The success is due to two things. The first is I care for my fish by doing weekly maint. and water changes and feeding a good diet. But the most important factor is my well water. This is and was a matter of chance, it is basically soft and neutral pH. It must contain some sort of a natural fish aphrodisiac because things were spawning in my tanks long before I had a clue. I am just extremely lucky as much as anything.

One of the best things about the "hobby" of keeping fish is that there are more ways to do things and more different fish to keep tham one can imagine. As long as what you are doing makes you happy, then it is the right way for you. I am into my 21st year of keeping fish and just watching them still makes me smile. In spite of having 1,000s of fish born in my tanks over that time, I still do the happy fish dance when I see a new spawn or spot unexpected fry.

I have only two regrets about this hobby/ First, it took me close to 54 years to get started. Second, I am now only a couple of years from it all ending. I have to wrap my head around the idea of maybe just having one small community tank or no tanks at all.

My adventure began too late and is ending too soon.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,360
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SF Bay area, CA
That's great that you're able to sell some of your gorgeous hypans! I know you must be tired...

I been in the hobby twice as long but without the supercool rare fish breeding. In some ways having to move every 10+ years has given me the opportunity to keep different species. We've gone through a roller coaster of interest over the years. It helps there are 2 of us along for the ups & downs, & work. We tend to sort of alternate, like chef & sous chef, lol. My husband does some things differently & doesn't weed plants or clean filters but I can deal with either or letting tanks overgrow. Mr. Helpful does say things like that filter is running slow (he recently asked could I show him how to clean the prefilters? Whoo hoo, no wonder I love him :)) & he was the first to spot both sewellia loach & cory fry. He does help with heavy work & he's much better at glass algae scraping.

Just a thought TTA, when you may eventually need to look at assisted living, there were a couple with big! tanks when I looked at options for my mother. Maybe you can bring your clown loaches +/or altums tanks for everyone to enjoy in a common area...& staff to maintain, with your instruction...it sure would soften the move. But before then, there are tank mainenance companys when you just need to slow down to "a pretty tank or 2" rather than breeding with many, many tanks.
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,945
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New York
Do you believe in karma?

In Apr. 2006 a woman I had met online in a fish chat room hooked me up with the breeding group of 13 zebra plecos and 5 offspring which set off my addiction to the B&W Hypancistrus. These fish paid for themselves in under a year. then they paid me back for all the money I had spent on fish up until then. Finally they allowed me to start supporting fish orgs./sites which did good things for the hobby and fish keepers. They also financed future new groups and they, in turn financed ever more rare and expensive species. This lady is a master breeder had a fish store and speaks at events.

In spite of here living about as far from me as one can in the states, we met on several occasions when she came east for visits or events. In addition to arranging for me to get the zebras, she taught me an whole lot about keeping and breeding fish. While I thanked her a lot over the years and used to send her my snub nose zebras for some research she was doing on them. None of this really came close to what getting those zebras did for me.

So I felt the time had come for me to do something nice for her. I decide to contact her and offer her a group of 6 true F1 l173 that were among my earliest spawns and were the largest offspring I had. All I asked her to do was to pay the shipping as there was no charge for the fish. I had checked on here store before I contacted here and I ha discovered it was permanently closed.

In response to my email she told me that a miscommunication had caused her to lose almost all of here Hypancistrus as well as her store. She lost fish she had for over two decades. She was gutted to say the least. So when my email arrived out of the blue it helped her a lot. She wanted to pay mt for the 173 and i said absolutely not, no argument. I also offered her up to 10 zebras from the group of 25 I had purchased in Mar. 2020 and I offered them to her at my cost. The group had begun spawning earlier this year but I had no clue who did what with whom. I got these zebras at 2 inch size very cheaply as part of an import order. Finally, I am sending her 12 of my RB kine 236. I have them parked ever since somebody in the group spawned. I told her to pay me what they were worth after she got to see them.

I have felt somewhat guilty for not doing something like this a long time ago. My goal was not to sell anything but to give her the 6 x 173. Now I am am able to help her rebuild. I thought sending the 173s would make me feel good. Now i am felling really good because what turned out as a small good deed is turning into more. I am really please to be able to do this.

Here is the kicker. I managed to be up to my ears in pleco offspring. I had set up the 6 summer tanks outside and filled them with over 100 fish. As of today I had 3 30L holding 24 fish with 6 going out tomorrow. The other fish were the 12 x 236 and the 5 x 173 mentioned above. I had no open tank space inside. The night time temps are under 50F tomorrow evening and will be 45 - 49F the next few days. The fish cannot be outside for this. I was going to have to do something i wanted to avoid and that was to put the 18 fish back into tanks from which Ii had worked hard to get remove them. So being able to ship them to this person who will not only cherish them but will almost certainly spawn them.

I cannot express how very good I feel about being able to do this. It is almost better than spotting a new spawn, well not almost, it is actually better. I get lots of spawns but I only get the chance to send around what came around to me very rarely. This person had zebras, 173s and 236 and all were lost.

Here is one more interesting fact. This person was one of the earliest member on AC. She was here when I joined in 02 maybe earlier as there was a lost of the older member list.
 

dougall

...
Mar 29, 2005
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I may know to whom he refers...

If so, I can confirm that she is incredible people.
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,945
485
92
New York
I finally got somewhat out from under the crush of all the offspring accumulated in my tanks. Today the final 18 fish from the summer terrace tanks went out. That brings the total fish which went out at 122. I am still pressed for space but at least I have the fish sorted by size in various tanks. At least I can sell fish from those tanks.

I am way behind on maint. and need to catch up. I also need to take everything down on the terrace. Wood, caves and rocks/slate gets dried and stored. Sand gets siphoned out which also removes water. It has to be dried out and bagged and stored.

I now have tanks, lids and stands as well as a bunch or Poret cubefilters to sell plus driftwood, caves and river rounds. I am thinking I have to be in the vendor room if the NEC event is held this coming spring. I have a lot of good equipment I do not need much longer.

And the other side of things is something we wrong in my Altum tank. my besy guess was internal parasites. I started with Prazi Pro. It seemed to help some. So when that was done I did a big water change and wnet with Levamisole HCL. And then the smallest new angel died. Then a second. Next the one reaming adult began having problems. When it was found lying onits side I moved ti to a cbuckey with heat and air and a piece of polyfilter. It died yesterday. I have lost a total of 6 of the 9 new ones as well. No idea what got them. I pulled the dead fish to contained where I found see any visible parasites or worms that might come out of the fish. Nothing.

The thing that has me stumped is there is one surviving rummy nose tetra in the tank which has been there since the big fish come in small years ago. There is also one of two H. contradens (pleco) that went into the tank a long time ago. I removed the other one dead a few years ago. Both of these fish appear fine.

The fish start by hanging at the surface. Not long after that they hang near the bottom and then they lay down on their side and some time after that they die. The only thing new in the tank were the 9 smaller angels added about two months ago. I am familiar with the person who bred them and I do not think they came in ill or infected.

This is one of the worst parts of the hobby. I have not had this sort of thing happen very often in 21 years. I am decent at diagnosing things but I am not an expert by any means. The meds I tried did not harm my fish, they are both pretty safe, but they failed to help.

I have always believe there was a yin and yang to my fishkeeping. I would often get a first spawn from some fish and about the same time I would lose something else in another tank and completely unrelated. Even as i have been sending out my offspring the parents have been breeding.

Apropos of nothing;

Last night I saw upon the stair
The little man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
Damn, I wish he'd go away.
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,945
485
92
New York
Well there are 3 small altums still alive. Fingers crossed.

But here is the best part of things. The fish I sent out above arrived alive yesterday. As I mentioned, the recipient is one of the people I respect a lot in terms of fish knowledge and experience. I got this comment back "The L173’s are just stunning."

A comment like that is worth more to me than any money I could get for selling them. I have always prided myself on offering healthy fish at fair prices. I also am always willing to help folks who ask what I do to raise my fish, what i feed them and to answer any other questions they may have as long as i feel I know the answer.

I am now allowing myself a brief respite from selling. Yes of people contact me I will sell fish. But for now I need to get the terrace tanks and their equipment cleaned and stowed. Water in the two tanks still filled is pretty cold and the damp sand is heavy and a PITA to get dried out. I had thought I was done with summer tanks :(
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,360
1,780
200
SF Bay area, CA
You've done a lot of work lately! Can you run an extension cord for heaters on your terrace tanks until you can move the fish? It's getting down in the 40s at night even here. The sand can wait if there aren't fish to worry about.

I'm so glad your hypans made it safe to your friend, may they live long & prosper for her :D (spock hands)

Yes, my fingers are crossed for your altums. I hate knowing something is wrong & "best" guessing. We both have experience with problems but that doesn't mean we know what to do every time...in time. Good luck!
 
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