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Old 03-19-2009, 10:12 AM   #1
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Breeding feeders

I'm about to need a ready supply of feeder fish, and I'm wondering what the best thing is to breed.

Guppies seem like fun, but are they the fastest breeders? I already have mollies in a community tank, but I plan to make a separate setup. I need to know what species to start with, and anything I need to do to minimize losses of the fry. Ideally they should be easy too. Guppy fry can eat flake food immediately, right?

Am I better off getting Endlers instead? Any advantage of the wild types you see on Aquabid vs the heavily inbred petshop strains?
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:58 AM   #2
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I bought two males and two females from Petsmart, or Petco a while ago and they have bred countless times since then. They were producing fry like crazy. I have since separated them but they keep dropping more. I'd say I've had well over 100+ fry from the four I bought. The current guppy count is in my sig. I feed any new fry to my Angelfish whenever I spot them.

I have only fed my guppy fry flake food. I really don't feed them specifically, I just feed the tank and they nibble on what falls to them. Occasionally I will drop in a shrimp pellet and they go crazy.

Not sure about Endlers but I'm sure they are just as prolific as guppies are.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:19 PM   #3
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Endlers are more prolific than guppies, giving birth every 23 days on average. From what I hear this is 4-5 days faster than guppies, which tend to take about 28 days on average. However, you must look at the number of fry produced per brood, the size of adults, how fast they grow, etc. I've heard that some swordtail can produce 80 or more fry from a single brood and they are MUCH larger than either Endlers or guppies. If it were me, I'd go with something like swordtails as feeders or maybe convicts. What are you trying to feed? That will depend on what type of fish you should use as a breeder.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
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I'm wanting to feed a pair of redfin pike (Esox americanus). They're only about 3 inches long right now and I've been able to keep them in food, but as they grow they're going to need more and bigger fish for feeders, so fast growth and large brood size are both bonuses. I'm not familiar with swordtails or convicts really (I actually don't keep tropical fish at all). I'll try to look them up. I was hoping guppies would be the answer since I could get my broodstock for a dollar from the feeder tank, but that doesn't really matter since I'm probably investing in at least a 55-gallon tank for this project anyway, so I'll get whatever fish are best.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:07 PM   #5
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If you are trying to feed pike then I'd definitely go with something larger like swordtails. They have large broods and are a livebearing fish, so they are easy to breed and will have babies constantly. Convicts are going to be larger so they will be better when the pike get to 10" long or so.

Another thought...if you have some nice Endlers or guppies to breed, you can always sell them and buy feeders for the pike that way. I have wild stock Endlers that I sell for a decent price for trios (1M/2F for $7 or so) and I sell fry for $1 each. With that in mind, you can sell just a few and pay for food for them in no time at all. Not to mention, by going this route you could have a 20L or a 29g instead of a 55g saving you space and money. Several hundred Endlers of varying size could be in a 29g no problem. Just make sure that you have lots of java moss and/or guppy grass to soak up nutrients and to provide cover for the fry. The tend to not eat their fry unless they are hungry so it's a good idea to feed them frequently (2-3 times per day). Also some ramshorn snails will help to eat uneaten food and clean the glass of algae.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:33 AM   #6
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Feeders are cheap enough. The point of breeding my own is that you'll never convince me they're healthy enough. I wouldn't put a piece of flake food from the store in my tank without a suitable quarantine.

I'll definitely make good use of the tank to breed snails at the same time. I have a tremendous need for those as feeders too. I can never get enough pond snails. Are any of the fish you mentioned compatible with crayfish? I'd like to have those filling out the floor space if I could.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #7
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Endlers and guppies would be better, in my opinion, with crayfish since they are smaller and faster moving than swordtails, which would be eaten more easily (I think).
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:49 PM   #8
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What about Neocaridina shrimp? Are they safe with very small fry?
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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Neocaridina sp. and Caridina sp. will be fine with small fry. Neocaridina sp. are very easy to keep and breed.
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:39 AM   #10
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Shrimp and small crayfish seem to be highly preferred feeders for several other fish I keep. Wild ghost shrimp are appreciated, but they're some work to get and there's a limit to how many I feel it's ethical to collect at times. Breeding shrimp, snails and endlers all in the same tank would simplify things considerably.

Can you think of anything else I might add to further improve the carrying capacity of this tank? Requirements for feeders are fairly lax - it should wiggle some and not be too loathesome to handle.

I should have asked - the shrimp larvae are safe from adult fish, or do Neocaridina not have a larval stage?
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