Adventures in Fishkeeping or A Fish Tale

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Apr 2, 2002
3,265
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New York
It has been some time since I lost fish. The last losses we my altums a couple of years back and they were replace dand the five i have nore are doing fine.

Yesterday I heeded to clean the 150 with the clown loaches and the large redline barbs. As i was getting organized I noticed a redline upside down along the right end glass at the bottom near the front. it was faded and as I moved closer I expeted it to be dead, And then I spotted a second one behind it upside down as well. Two dead fish I thought. But when I got closer the first one was gasping.

I went for a long handled net and bucker with water and fished it out. it was a bit active then being caught but not enough to make it difficult to catch. When I went to nab number two it was clearly dead. The first one went into the bucket with an airstone. It was upside down mostly and barley moving.

The night before I had fed frozen to all the tanks. I buy in bulk and have fed the foods numerous times. However, I defrosted a bit too much, so the excess went into the 150. Three of the clowns are 10 inches or a tad more and then there are an assortment of 3.5 - 5+ unchers as well as 9 mature. redlines. I assumed the barbs had overeaten and some had plugged up. So I added some Epsom salt and some regular salt to the bucket. I also notice a couple of the other barbs in the tank looked poorly.

I did the tank maint. which was overdue, I had missed the prior weeks regular maint. and I changed over 50% of the water and cleaned the filter media on the AC. 110 and the pre=filter on the canister. The H.O.T. Magnum was running well so it did not need ti micron cart, changed.

In the morning I had another dead redline in the tank and the one in the bucket had died as well. Also of the remaining six, one was at the opposite end of the tank as the other five. It was not looking so great but it was swimming OK. I was worried. However, by early evening all six redlines were back together and I am thinking the fish made it. None of the other five had show any signs of distress.

I have had these fish since Sept. 2018 when I got them as imports at about 2 inches TL. So they are at what I have read is their typical lifespan. Much as I love keeping this species and have for at least 15 years, I will not replace them.

The big push to move out 3 breeding groups of my plecos and all their offspring has begun. It is still moving slowly but should hit high gear in about 4 weeks. I have begun getting the word of mouth out and have some interest already. But the realpush need the summer tanks up and cycled and the dedicated computer bought and set-up and all the online thinggs have to get done. I need to clone myself of find a partner within 30-40 miles of me.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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SF Bay area, CA
That's a shame about the barbs. I had no idea they had shorter lifespans. I had a group for 3 or 4 years but had to rehome them when we moved. They're still on my list of future fish but I'll keep that in mind.

Good luck with the summer tanks & selling lots! of pretty plecos.
 
Apr 2, 2002
3,265
582
120
New York
And so the end of the journey has begun. I had two buyers fly in from Colorado today they left with the first of my 7 breeding groups to be sold and then a number of offspring from that group and to others group. They took 43 fish and barel put a dent in things. I still have another few hundred fish to go. I have 3 more breeding groups and all the offsrping from them and the group that went out today to sell this year.

There were still well over 50 babies in the breeder tank for the group they bought and another 100+ from 1.75 - 4 inches nd that species group will be gone.

It is hard to believe the goal is to be down to one tank before 2024 beings. I have had 20-30 tanks for the past 16 years and fewer for the 6 years before then. No more selling in the vendor room or doing room sales., No more getting new fish and then now more fish at all.

Post is legal here and in two states NY borders. I guess its time to get a huge TV and spend my final years smoking while watching the world falling apart and a zillion movies and streaming stuff.

I am exhausted. I spent about 2 weeks setting up the 9 terraces tanks, cycling the filters for them and already there are fish in 4 of them. I had to clean the terrace and the tanks first and then I could do the rest. I also have the garden ready and had to stall on planting to get the fish stuff done. I also skipped all the tank maint and water changes except for the tanks from which I pulled fish for sale- a 125, 40L, 33L and 30.

I have to remember to dose ammonia in the unoccupied terrace tanks. I need to pull apart tanks to move fish. And this is why it is time for me to retire from the hobby. "You know that you are over the hill when your mind makes a promise that you body can't fill." Little Feat- Old Folks Boogie.

Play it in Hi Def
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,893
1,920
200
SF Bay area, CA
43 is a good amount of fish to sell all at 1 time! & especially at the beginning of summer. Fewer mouths to feed...but no fewer tanks to clean.

How were they getting the fish home? Flying with them in cargo?

Well, you can afford the big tv & the "post" (sic, lol) now. But it's not time for you to get all lazy yet. Take the rest of the night off & at least ammonia dose tomorrow. Then it's back to fish moving etc. No rest for the wicked or the pleco breeder. Next buyers please! I hope that'll be soon, fingers crossed for you :)
 
Apr 2, 2002
3,265
582
120
New York
They put the bags of fish into their carry on luggage. I gave then a bunch of extra bags and filled their 2 gal. collapsible jug with my tap water. I have not heard back from them so far so I assume they made it OK.
 
Apr 2, 2002
3,265
582
120
New York
Well, this past week was interesting. For the first time ever I began handling plecos with my hand not a net. I should explain that I have issues with dry skin on my hands and when I work in tanks I wear a latex glove on my right hand which is sealed to my arm using waterproof tape. I have the Aquagloves as well (they go up to your armpits). So I was not touch the plecos bare handed. I was always afraid I would hurt one doing this and was worried about getting stuck on a dorsal spine. But I was told this was not likely and I became a bit more bold.

And then there was this. A couple of weeks ago I pulled apart the left half of a divided 125 gal grow tank for one of my L173 groups. I had counted just over 100 in it when I divided it and I had no idea how many fish were on either side. I sized and move fish from the left half of the tank and moved 41 to a divided 40B on the terrace (summer tanks). However, I left a number of offspring behind in the left half. I also used most of the decor from the left half iin terrace tanks. So what was left was minimal cover, but sufficient for the 12 or so plecos left behind.

I have been pretty busy lately with multiple projects and a major health issue. Somehow, I forgot I had left fish in that left half and I had stopped feeding it. On Saturday over the past weekend I needed to pull fish from the right half to send out nexy week and to put in the summer space to be sold. My plan was to park the wood etc from the right half in what I thought was the empty left 1/2. I needed to move what was in the left half to make room for more things about to go in.

I was quite surprised to find fish in there as I started to move the decor. All the fish were alive and active and there were no bodies or bones. I wanted to get a few pics of these fish and I dropped in tome food near the from glass. That made it easy. Those fish were 1.75 - 2+ inches and survived unfed for about 2 weeks.

I get a one demerit for my memory lapse and the fish all get gold stars for surviving.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,893
1,920
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SF Bay area, CA
Wow, I've always heard & believed adult fish are ok without feeding for at least 2 weeks. We're too chicken to go longer than a week or so (husband mostly). But I would be even more concerned about juvenile fish...& more so with expensive rare 1s at that! But now we know with at least some fish it's ok sometimes...& maybe better than our "fish sitter"? He's good & we gladly pay him for peace of mind. I'm going to ask husband to read this before we go away again.

I know you have a lot of stuff going on, only half a demerit ...& no harm done...that's the very best part! You breed not only rare plecos but sturdy 1s too. You're the pleco man!!

So are all you plecos in your "terrace tanks" now?
 
Apr 2, 2002
3,265
582
120
New York
N0t yet. I basically use the summer tanks as a way to segregate fish for sale. I set them up differently. For one, I use very few caves. Males will occasionally refuse to come out. They will actually die before doing so. The only recourse is to break the cave. I have done that a few times over the years.

Right now I have zebras in 3 of the 20Ls, 7/14/9 I had already sold 5 to the CO guys. I am sending out another 6 tomorrow along with 6 L173 from my second group. I have about a week to 10 days before I have a medical issue to handle. My plan is to use that time to move things and to take pics and list them. I still have 2 tanks from the weekend without their normal maint. and WC :(

Life is harder these days because the tank total is now 27. And they are even more spread out. And I am no longer a spring chicken, heck I am not even an old rooster.......

I have a bucket of anubias scraps. These are bare rhizome, bare but with a bit of new growth
and small pieces from pruning or oddly shaped ones that have just been dropped into over crowded plant tanks. I should bring them to the fish club meeting this Friday, but the speaker is presenting on carnivorous plants. I have absolutely no interest in that. I could bring some things to sell and maybe buy some cories if there are some for the auction. But I am not sure it is worth it to sit though the presentation. Besides the drive is about 20 miles each way which is, at current prices, about $7 worth of gas and almost an hour round trip.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,893
1,920
200
SF Bay area, CA
I have only gone to a couple SF club meets, it's an hour away. Once was to support our plant club old timer that was starting a plant discussion group. I brought plants for his show & tell & that he could sell for our club's benefit. But the speaker was an African cichlid breeder, not my thing. His fish almost never moved in the videos & we had to wear 3D glasses & listen to blasting music. We left soon after the break...my plants did sell well...even to plant clubbers I saw regularly & they could have had for free, whatever...

At least you'll be sending out some fish soon & get caught up on WCs. How many terrace tanks have you got going now? I know it's a bunch & you're trying for picture groups so you can post the actual fish for sale in each. Is that just for older juveniles & breeders, & all the little 1s too as a generic group? As in you'll be buying 6 of these 30? (sorry, you've probably said several times). Photography may be the hardest part of breeding fish...well & shipping...for me, not for you.
 
Apr 2, 2002
3,265
582
120
New York
I have a gent who sells one of my more expensive groups of fish. He sells in singles only. I pretty much only sell int groups. When folks pick up or I am ay an event, they can see before they buy. But when shipped normally need to provide pictures of the exact fish. The one exception are zebra plecos. Unlike the rest they rarely morph. A zebra fry and a 22 year old zebras are instantly identifiable 99% of the time. The other fish I sell ten to morph with age. The 173s do not attain their ideal form until they are near sexal maturity which can take years (3-5).

What complicates this is that I can show you a spawn of 15 babies who are all brothers and sisters, and not tell you what they are or whot the parents are and then ask you what you think they are. You will likely tell me they are clearly two or three different species. And then there are those species for which line breeders have created a super white strain. They are very unusual and pretty fish. The problem is that young of the same species but not super whites will look like them when very young. This opens up the field to scammers.

In this respect Covid was sort of a blessing in disguise. When it first hit I had just about gotten a few offspring to the point where they were showing signs of looking great. But I stopped selling because of the lockdowns etc. And then for then next almost 18 months very few fish went out. The problem was nobody told the fish they should stop spawning, so they did not. Besides one of the neat things about the plecos I keep is when they start to spawn they are like randy teenagers without any supervision.

So I find myself for more fish to sell than I have ever had. I think I have mentioned this before. But the breeding group of 11 fish I recently sold along with about 216 of their offspring left me with between 150 and 175 more offspring. That range is so wide because a lot of them were fry under 1 inch recently born. I left 50-75 fish i could not begin to count in the breeder tank.

My great luck in having things spawn is also bit of a curse. Because I expanded to 7 distinct groups also meant a lot of babies. Now I have many fish to go out. I still have 3 more breeding groups I want to sell this year. One is partly gone- this are my original zebras. 7 of them are quite old as I told you and I doubt they will sell. But of the other 12 likely breeders and offspring, 11 have been sold. There are 14 more offspring available and there should be no more spawns from this group. However, the new group I bought in 2020 is in spawning mode.

I am holding onto 3 groups to sell next year and they are all actively spawning. However, I think I have been able to work a deal to y=turn them over to other, much younger, breeders who i will basically set up for a nominal fee and then share in the sales of offspring until they can pay for them by selling offspring. That way I can move the fish out easier and still be able to get a fair price for them. neither deal is set in stone as I need to know these folks can sell the fish. They need to be on social media whereas I am not.

I began selling my fish before social media come into its own. I am not willing to sell my soul to be on social media which means i am not registered on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. My email provider is in a bunker in Switzerland and they encrypt everything and they cannot read it. In fact you must opt in to allow them to see your pword. If you do not and you lose it, they cannot send it to you without your having opted in. I did not opt in. I do not forget pwords and I do not store them. early on I was always able to sell my fish on fish sites but most of them have been replaced by social media. Mostly people find me from my posts or from referrals from past buyers.

I have no feedback in the formal sense on what I do. However, I do have a pretty decent reputation and I stand behind what I sell. it may be out there someplace on the net, but I have never seen a bad word about how a do business nor the quality of what i sell. I was likely the only seller of zebra plecos who often used to put an extra one in the bag whenever folks bought 8 or more.

But one of the best things i was able to do because of selling fish was to support places like PlanetCatfish, CatCon, The NEC and a few other outfits. I did this with fish I donated to be sold at auctions or outright cash contributions ai made from sale proceeds. For many years when people would post Qs on general forums etc. about catfish the most common response was go to Planetcatfish for the answer. I sent many folks there. And most of the people getting a lot of great advice and information did so at no cost. But sites like PC are not free to operate. They cost money and they also take a lot of time from a few people who keep such sites going.

So I figured I could manage to offer some financial help/support from my fish sales. If people like me and some others who could afford to do so did not, sites chocked full of valuable and helpful information would disappear. There are two things I do know about social media. First, they are not free, you have give up your privacy as members are the product. Second, they are where information goes to die.
 
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