Adventures in Fishkeeping or A Fish Tale

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Apr 2, 2002
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A bit of a jump into the future. it all started out with a proven breeding group of zebra plecos. In the past weeks I have had spawns from both my zebra groups, both of my L173 groups and both of my 236 groups as well as my first spawn from the super white 236. I currently have two sw 236 dads on eggs.

Covid killed my sales but it did not have any effect on the plecos, they just kept on spawning. I thought I was on a glide path to fewer tanks and was done with summer tanks. NOPE! I am getting ready to start up the bio-farm and will be setting up at least 6 summer tanks. I have empty and available a 50 gal. 2 x 40B, 20, 3 x 20L and 2 x 10. I considered buying a few more 20Ls and decided it would be more than I can handle. I may even have to et a FEDEX account to ship fish :(

I am excited about the SW 236 spawning. The cash I put out to get them was almost as crazy as what I paid for the proven breeding group of WC L173. I used to have a great connection for the B&W Hypancistrus complex and opther S.A. fish, but the person retired from the business a while back.

What has me on the horns of a dilemma are Altum angels. After many years I am down to a single altum. I know one of the very few people in this country who has succeeded in breeding Altums. In fact, I advised him an working with his zebras a few years ago. he is breeding one of the top strains of Altums- those from the Rio Atabapo. I can get a group of 5 for $75 each plus shipping. I really love altums and hate the ide of not having a tank with them. On the other hand I am struggling to keep up with the 20 tanks I have, then the 6 about to go up and I am thinking I need to use my head not my heart here. *sigh*
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I hear you on heart vs head tank decisions. I would love to keep a big tank of clown loaches again (like you have now) but they live a very long time & I'm sure I won't want to, or more likely, be able to take care of them into my late 80s (or longer!) It was heartbreaking to have to rehome them the twice already...my husband really wants them again too. (big heavy sigh)

I'm down to just 4 going tanks & only 2 with fish for now. But Covid has taken a toll on my shopping, fish buying & plant club interest. But I'm pretty sure there will be new fish in my future that live a shorter lifespan than 10 or maybe 20 years at most...The sad fact of aging...

Haven't we had this talk before? Maybe privately...
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
Haven't we had this talk before? Maybe privately...
Likely we have.

I am afraid of what I will find in the next few weeks as I set up selling tanks on the screened terrace. When I set up grow tanks as the virus was headed this way I moved 146 F1 L173 offspring to a 45 long, a 33L and a 20L; 46 TR L173 offspring to 1/2 of a 125; 13 larger TR 236 offspring to 1/2 of a 125; 31 Budrovcan 236 offspring to a 33L.

Since then all of my groups have been spawning and i have no place to move them. I now need to modify my planned retirement from the hobby. My first plateau is to eliminated 3 groups- TR 236 breeders and their offspring, TR 173 breeder and their offspring and 1/2 of my zebra groups. The goal is to end up with only 4 total groups: zebras, WC 173, Budrovcan 236 and also the his SW 236 group which only recently began spawning.

I consider on of my few fish keeping skill is the ability to overstock and maintain healthy normal fish. I am well aware of the fine line between this being a skill v.s, it being a way to stunt fish and other issues. I think I am already over that line. Spreading fish out will alleviate this but only as long as I can move out a ton of kids. These I can offer in groups at great prices. Selling the breeders is another story.

To use an analogy, one always sells the golden eggs but never the goose that lays them. Offspring are easy to sell, proven breeders go for a lot more and require buyers who can afford what they cost. Also, it takes a person with the desire and skills to work with rarer fish. Between this and the outlay for such fish, they are not so easy to sell.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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Back on track temporally speaking.

The first plecos I bought were the brown LF bristlenose on 2002. I went through albinos and LF albinos over the next several years. The tank strains of bn are fun to learn with. But they are like convict cichlids in that they spawn like crazy and with little effort and the offspring are only worth a few dollars. My first spawn was about 25 eggs. A dozen+ years later my final spawn was over 100. Along the way I got he first of the only two angels I have ever wanted, DD blacks.



By this time I had zebra danios born in a tank LF rosy barbs went through three generations and were moved into different tanks each time. I had threadfin rainbow fry that I could not keep alive and sterbai cory fry. Betta imbellis also went two generations before I lost them and they were one of my earliest wish list fish.

I was very fortunate on fish sites in my early years and the first weekend fish event i went to was the 2003 OCA October event. Don Zilioz, aka Zman, who was a well know Apisto breeder among other things was leaving the hobby and that OCA event was his last. He gave me my only African Cichlids, a pair of Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi. I am interested in how different fish reproduce and these were my shot at watching mouth brooders. I called them nickle fish because pronouncing their name can sprain one's tongue. I have been yold these fish are, inch for inch, one of the nastiest cichlids out there.


Can you see the fry in the moss? She had just begun letting a few out and not letting them go far.

The male hounded her constantly and I had to pill him to another tank. then came the day she let them all out. I was happy a pig and you-know-what. 3 days later there was not a fry left in the tank. She ate them all. And the whole thing went again. The next time i pulled him, then made her spit the fry and kept then on their own. I lost the mom and replaced her with a daughter, got one more spawn, lost the male when he got entangled in a mas of java fern roots. I then gave them all away.

By the time U had been in the hobby for five years I had 12 tanks in my bedroom and bathroom and another 4 in the guest house. I was also running summer tank on the screened terrace. It began with four tanks and the max. I ever did was 8. The most tanks I have ever had up at any one time was in the summer and that number was 28.

The smallest I have had running were planted 2.5 gal. with a male Betta splendens and 3 panda corys and the largest is my planted 150 with clown loaches and redline barbs. I have two clowns that are large and have been with me since 2002. When I got them they were about 4 inches TL. Today, they are close to a foot and part of a group of 11 total.The smallest is about 3.5 inches. They are my favorite fish and will be the last to go when I am done with the hobby.

During my first decade keeping fish I had a thing for swordtails. I thought the male's tail was pretty neat. And then I discovered X. montezumae


I will stop here and pick things up re these fish when I next post in this thread..
 
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Apr 2, 2002
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Detour- I found this

A Blast From the Past

I set up my first tank at the end of Jan. 01. I did my first live plants around the middle of Jan. 02. Before I did the first plants I found this site. It was not hugely active in the chat which interested me the most. I was sitting there alone one day when Tom of tom' s place (link there but owned by somebody esle- Tom died some time ago). People like Barbie, RTR (aka Robert T. Ricketts), Zman (aka Don Zilliox- Google hi name + apistos), Pam Chin floated by now and then and I met Frode Roe and Jared they and others gaught me live plants. They had me go right to pressured rather than start with DIY.

Back then there was no FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram etc etc. it was all individual websites. They were the social media of the day. Forums like this one and a zillion more. AquaBid was around then and you will see it on the site below on the site below.

Anyhow, I was cleaning up old links by trying them and deleting the ones no longer active. I came across this page. It was last updated in 2006. At the very bottom it says this: "This compliation of links Copyright �1999-2002 by Jared Weinberger"
(Not my typo) Most of the links there may be dead, but imagine a day when they were not. Scroll down the page. A lot of those links became my earliest Favorites and some, or, their revised/name and/or link are still in my Bookmarks today. On my Favorites the name of this link was:

Aquatic Plants: Planted Tank Resources
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,979
497
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New York
I am supposed to be an a path to exiting the hobby in an orderly pre-planned way. Part of the plan is supposed to be not getting new fish. I have not even been replacing losses of long help fish. My S. denisonii are full grown adults and have been with me for a number of years. Every few months I lose another one.

Over the past 24 months my Altum tank has gone from 5 to 1 and there is only one rummy nose left. This tank was always a lot of work as it has pH 6 water and botanicals and rooibos. But here is the problem. The is a fishkeeper out in Vega who is one of the few folks who has managed to spawn altums. He has some tank raised fish from Rio Atabapo parents, My head keeps saying no, but my heart keeps saying grab 6 to 8. They are young and will be growing out for some time. I have seen a vid of a few and they are nice looking.

I am not sure I can resist.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Ugh, TTA, I thought I answered you yesterday but I may have deleted it...I know we've discussed the aging thing & needing to downsize...& I'm younger than you...by 9? years or so. I have "dream fish" it may be too late for...clown loaches you have, but I may be too old to start over with them...you've had yours a long time.

My realist side says your remaining altum is old...& not likely to last too much longer or breed with a new batch...but...if that's your last dream fish, just go for it!

But I also wasn't expecting you to go all out on the porch pleco breeding tanks this summer...I think getting Covid vaxxed has made you very much more positive for the future :D That's nice to see my friend!
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
Here is the problem. I all my years of keeping fish I have only ever wnated and only every kept two angels. Double dark Blacks and Altums. The problem with Altums is they are extremely difficult to spawn in tanks and those from the wild are difficult to keep alive as imports. it took me a few tries to get them to grow and survive. Reasons are simple. They live in water in the 4.0 range and many bacteria (the nasty ones especially) cannot survive in it. It is hard to develop immunity to things to which a one is never exposed.

But these are really amazing fish. They really are different than all other angels in a few ways. I could never spawn altums if I tried for a decade. But I was able to keep them for a bunch of years. They go into a display tank. The thing is when Altums are tank raised. they become much hardier for keeping in tanks. The breeder has them in pH 6.2 but his TDS are higher than mine. But not seriously so. This makes it much easier to keep them alive. I have an email all drafted ordering 7 of them.

The summer pleco project is not to spawn fish but to sell them. Should have 100s. I have some so long I am creating proven breeding groups or trios as well as grouped that should be ready to spawn. I have offspring sellable from every breeding group[ except the super white 236. They only began spawning about 6 - 8 weeks ago. I Had a single spawn then two dads went. I am waiting to see if they get into a rythm.

While zebras plecos are all pretty similar, 236 and 173 are varaible across several dimensions. Firstly they morph. They will change over time. This means that, when young, one cannot determine how they will look when older. This leads to gradations for valuing them. And then as they age they may change again. Because I have been forced to sit on my offspring, they are becoming more indicative of how they should look. I need to pull and sort them by age/size, look and if they are spawning. That is why I need 6 tanks, 5 of which will be divided.

I just ordered a dozen Poret foam cubes. An airpump for up to 16 outlets and manifolds from Jehmco. I have to cylce the filters and get the tanks going. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks. Got my Dr. Tim's in the fridge, got my ammonium chloride on the shelf, got heaters, crushed coral and some filter squeezing to boot. I have not run the bio-farm since I was a vendor at the 2019 NEC.

Am I having fun yet? o_O
 
Apr 2, 2002
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Got the Poret cubes- 14 filters now arrayed in a 40B. I am waiting on a central air pump from Jehmco good for up to 16 outlets. 6 tanks are on stands and leveled. 10 wpg in heaters for each tank. The 3 x 20L have a 2 inch thick, 20 ppi Poret foam divider. The 50 has a 10 ppi divider.

The plan is to get that 40 to be the bio-farm for the filters for all 6 tanks plus I have another 2 x 10 gal. that I am not sure where they will go. But there will be cycled filters for both. The 6 tanks will each get 2 cubes. the bigger tanks get 5x5x5 and the rest are 4x4x4.

I think the fish with which I work are too pricey for most folks. But I will still post them in the AC classifieds. The more fish I need to move out, the better I will makes pricing on many things. I spotted 4 super white fry this evening cleaning that tank. That was 4 all at once. There are more :)

I am getting a bit excited. I never know what I have for sure in a breeder tank. I know I have an assortment of sizes, but I have no clue how many fish. Normally, I do at least two fry hunts a year and some times more. The goal is to get head counts and to pull fish to selling tank where they are easier to catch for shipping. Because Covid basically shut down the sales I do myself, nothing was going out.

My set-up has no place for more tanks inside. the terrace tanks can only go outside the end of may/Early June depending on night-time temps. they can only remain there until late Sept/early Oct., again, based on temps. Last summer there was no point to putting tanks out there as I could not bring things back inside.

So with any luck in about two weeks I will be able to start breaking down breeder tanks and pulling out fish. I will finally see what I actually have. On one hand I am excited on the other hand I am scared I will either find too few or too many fish.

I just came across pictures of 13 L236 offspring from my TR breeding group. I was very surprised by how amazing most of them looked. The pictures were taken about 2 years ago. I put them into 1/2 of a divided 125 gal which is only filled to about 75-60 gals. The other side holds a load of TR L173 offspring. (over 40 went in). I wonder how these 236 will look when I see them all in a few weeks?
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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SF Bay area, CA
Oh, I hear your hard sell my friend, lol...I'm tempted but I'm not sure I want to intentionally breed fish these days...I think you may be evil but I like it!
 
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