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Old 03-07-2014, 07:59 PM   #1
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What to do with runts of the litter?

For those of you who have been breeding fish for a while, I'm sure that you have encountered runts in a litter. You know, those baby fish that end up being only 1/3 the size of their sibblings of the same age despite being well fed. These are the fish that nobody wants even if you gave them away for free.

What do you do with your runt fish?
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mattcham View Post
For those of you who have been breeding fish for a while, I'm sure that you have encountered runts in a litter. You know, those baby fish that end up being only 1/3 the size of their sibblings of the same age despite being well fed. These are the fish that nobody wants even if you gave them away for free.

What do you do with your runt fish?
It depends on the type of fish you are talking about. I've had "runt" Bettas that once separated from their siblings, came to grow to normal size. Other fish like Tetras or Barbs I would feed to my other fish. (There's nothing WRONG with these fish, they are just genetically made up differently so they are safe to feed to other fish.) Unwanted and deformed fry were also fed to other fish.
The last thing you want to do is set these fish loose into the wild. Besides it being illegal in most (if not all) states, they can really mess with the genetic lines of the natural fish of the area should they survive and breed with them. You must euthanize them in whichever way you feel most comfortable.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:55 PM   #3
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I couldn't agree more. I occasionally get a deformed fry and will feed it to my bigger fish. If it's just small I'll leave it in the breeder box a couple of extra weeks and see what happens
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:10 PM   #4
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I guess I feel kinda sad to kill the fish this way (feeding them to other fish), even though it's what happens in nature and pet shops even sell feeder fish for this purpose. I used to give away runt fish for free, by just adding them as a bonus to their siblings which people have purchased. Something just seems wrong about disposing really cool fish like Rams or Discus just because they are runts. Maybe if I selectively breed the runts I can end up with a new variety of "mini Rams", fish that breed while only 0.5" size... Ha ha
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:49 PM   #5
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I guess I feel kinda sad to kill the fish this way (feeding them to other fish), even though it's what happens in nature and pet shops even sell feeder fish for this purpose. I used to give away runt fish for free, by just adding them as a bonus to their siblings which people have purchased. Something just seems wrong about disposing really cool fish like Rams or Discus just because they are runts. Maybe if I selectively breed the runts I can end up with a new variety of "mini Rams", fish that breed while only 0.5" size... Ha ha
I understand where you are coming from. It's one of the hardest decisions a breeder needs to make. Sometimes, it's not just runts. It could be fish that are disfigured, discolored, sickly, etc. How do you decide?

I offer you the advice I was given by my mentor when I started breeding fish. He told me " You have the ability to play GOD, so use it wisely. In the master plan, all life that exists, exists in the forms they are in for a reason. If you change them, do it responsibly and respectfully. " I was told this back in the 1960s, before many of today's fish existed. He later went on to say that we might change a color of a fish , or a shape of a fish but we should only change things for the betterment of the hobby, not because we can. Because, WE CAN CHANGE ANYTHING!

So as I see it, runts are made through a genetic coding, the same way the "perfect" fish used a genetic code. If these "runts" couldn't handle the "good" genes, the gene pool for them shouldn't be perpetuated. Obviously that's my opinion as many have sold off these fish for the money, not necessarily the betterment of the hobby. I go with what I was taught
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