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Old 05-01-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
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Fry Control

I feel like a horrible person even asking this! However my fish are way more prolific than I remembered them being in the past and my tank is going to start suffering from overcrowding. It is a fully planted tank with many hiding places so I am not worried about losing them all, but is there something that I could put in the tank that might enjoy a few fry snacks without being so aggressive as to eat the adult guppies? I thought my voracious female swordtail would curb this issue somewhat but she did, and has recently passed away from old age leaving me with a tank full of guppies...which I love, but its a 10 gallon tank and I clearly cannot have forty guppies in there. I am averse to killing things and would rather not cull them myself...something more natural would be just fine with me as I'm sure it would induce natural selection too of the weaker or potentially deformed fry. There was recently a heater malfunction in my tank which has skirted the population explosion (not in a way I'd have liked, it was terrible and I feel like a jerk even though there was nothing I could do, by the time I got home to see this issue and fix it the disaster was full swing) and I am wanting to go more natural on everything. I would very much like to take this unfortunate happening and turn my tank into a more functional mini ecosystem and having a fish or two that would prey on some of the fry while not devouring my adults or killing each other would be right along the lines of this idea.

So, if any of you wonderful people can suggest something that will:

-thin out the fry
-not predate everything in the tank
-fit safely and comfortably in a 10 gallon freshwater
-suitable for the relative ph and temp needs of the guppies and plants already present
-preferably not hideous lol...though that's okay, I have had plenty of ugly fish that I adored in the past that people didn't want due to size or appearance

please let me know! Thank you all very much, as always.

-Shayla

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:49 PM   #2
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An Oscar or cichlid meets the requirements
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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Thank you! I was considering a type of cichlid. Are there any that would stay small enough for the tank? That was my concern there.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
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I think the dwarf cichlid grows to about 4 in which should be fine for your tank, what is your stock, just swordtails and guppies?
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:58 PM   #5
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Murphy's law....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenrisulfer View Post
I feel like a horrible person even asking this! However my fish are way more prolific than I remembered them being in the past and my tank is going to start suffering from overcrowding. It is a fully planted tank with many hiding places so I am not worried about losing them all, but is there something that I could put in the tank that might enjoy a few fry snacks without being so aggressive as to eat the adult guppies? I thought my voracious female swordtail would curb this issue somewhat but she did, and has recently passed away from old age leaving me with a tank full of guppies...which I love, but its a 10 gallon tank and I clearly cannot have forty guppies in there. I am averse to killing things and would rather not cull them myself...something more natural would be just fine with me as I'm sure it would induce natural selection too of the weaker or potentially deformed fry. There was recently a heater malfunction in my tank which has skirted the population explosion (not in a way I'd have liked, it was terrible and I feel like a jerk even though there was nothing I could do, by the time I got home to see this issue and fix it the disaster was full swing) and I am wanting to go more natural on everything. I would very much like to take this unfortunate happening and turn my tank into a more functional mini ecosystem and having a fish or two that would prey on some of the fry while not devouring my adults or killing each other would be right along the lines of this idea.

So, if any of you wonderful people can suggest something that will:

-thin out the fry
-not predate everything in the tank
-fit safely and comfortably in a 10 gallon freshwater
-suitable for the relative ph and temp needs of the guppies and plants already present
-preferably not hideous lol...though that's okay, I have had plenty of ugly fish that I adored in the past that people didn't want due to size or appearance

please let me know! Thank you all very much, as always.

-Shayla
It's a nice problem to have when you are an aquarist: Too many babies It means that you are doing something right.
The best way to deal with and prevent this overpopulation is to seperate the males from the females. Whatever females have been empregnated should be seperated to give birth in a controlled situation. This will slow things down and you can selectively breed how ever many females you want for population control.

One thing to keep in mind when trying to do this "naturally", you are dealing with a small tank which means that you are going to be limited in which fish you can use (The Oscar idea in a previous post is a bad one as this fish will grow too fast and is a glutton so the parents are at risk.) You also should keep in mind that when you put in any type of preditory fish (or animal) in the tank, they just take advantage of situations and don't neccessarily become selective of what they eat. Murphy's Law usually has them eating only the fish you didn't want them to eat
You can try to add another livebearer like a swordtail or Platy so at least the adult Guppies should be safe but there are no guarantees that these fish will only eliminate the "sick and weak". Any baby that is in the tank will be fair game.

Finally, if you are trying to maintain a particular strain of Guppies, you'll need to selectively breed them. Too much interbreeding will eventually lead to your fish looking like their wild ancestors. If that isn't what you want, you'll have to do some culling. If you can't bring yourself to euthinizing the culls, set up a tank of Cichlids to feed them too. It will be a natural and purposeful ending this way.

Hope this helps...
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sager
One thing to keep in mind when trying to do this "naturally", you are dealing with a small tank which means that you are going to be limited in which fish you can use (The Oscar idea in a previous post is a bad one as this fish will grow too fast and is a glutton so the parents are at risk.)
Very true, sorry I don't know a whole lot about Oscars I deal with guppies, after a bit of reading I realized that the Oscar will no doubt be WAY too big for your tank when its max size. When I my guppies have fry most of them are lost due to a battle with the filter or my balloon mollies get them.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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I have had peacock gudgeons that would seek out endler fry. They didn't get them all but they got enough to where I had to rearrange tank setups.

The native killies I've kept are all good fry eaters also.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly_koi View Post
Very true, sorry I don't know a whole lot about Oscars I deal with guppies, after a bit of reading I realized that the Oscar will no doubt be WAY too big for your tank when its max size. When I my guppies have fry most of them are lost due to a battle with the filter or my balloon mollies get them.
Please don't take this the wrong way and I say this with the utmost of respect but this is what's wrong with sites such as this one, (where anyone can offer advice), as a qualified place to learn. I've seen too many people offering the wrong solutions to a number of problems. If you don't know what to do, you should not be advising someone what to do. Leave that to the local pet stores (and by that I mean Mom &Pop stores and not the box store chains) or other qualified people on the site.
I know it's so tempting to offer advice and I applaud your willingness to help but lives ( and money)are at stake. Do you want to be responsible for the outcome of your advice? That's what it comes down to. I've lived every piece of my advice. I've also been at it for a lot of years. This is what I've learned about advice: " No advice is better than bad advice."

If you can, take some time and spend it at your small local pet store (if there are any in your area) and talk with the people who are doing the fish keeping. Ask questions, look at and study the fish. Maybe do what I did and get a job there. Gain the knowledge necessary to properly advise people how to care for their fish. It's a very rewarding feeling when you know you have saved a life (even a fish's life ) because you knew what to do. It's why I am on this site.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:25 AM   #9
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Who is to judge which person is qualified? The great thing about sites like this, is that you get a wide variety of answers, some better than others. You can pick and choose which one works best for you.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:32 AM   #10
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Who is to judge which person is qualified? The great thing about sites like this, is that you get a wide variety of answers, some better than others. You can pick and choose which one works best for you.
Picking and choosing doesn't really help much because sometimes people just want to be told what they want to hear.

When a person new to the hobby comes in here how are they to know who is giving accurate advice and who isn't? Being as accurate as possible and answering with "I don't know" when necessary is one of the most important parts of having a good advice giving group.

Sometimes it looks confrontational when you see one person calling out someone else on their advice, but in many cases it's necessary because a person (no one in particular) may be doling out inaccurate advice with impunity.

I have faith in the community we have here and that we will hold one another accountable for what kind of advice we give, none of us are perfect and need corrected from time to time.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:53 AM   #11
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The reason I recommended that is because I've learned from experience with guppies, there was a point where I was overrun with fry, both in my nursery tank and in my main tank. When my guppies first started dropping I was wanting to save them all. After getting overwhelmed with water changes and upkeep with them, I just started letting nature take its course. I am by no means a "qualified" person and am still learning from this site everyday. just was passing along information that was recommended to me by people on this site and by my lfs
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:54 AM   #12
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I am relatively new to the hobby (1.5 years), but I did suffer from the same problem of population explosion.

My resolution was some buenos Aries tetras. Nice looking, and a voracious appetite. However, they did not get all of them. So, I think they may it your requirement.

I also have an Angel as population control in another tank, but not sure if they fit in a 10g.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:20 AM   #13
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Wow...

Not even sure where to start here, since this kind of ran off...firstly much thanks to everyone for replying, all of your suggestions have been helpful in providing me with ideas to research.

Butterfly-I knew the Oscar wouldn't fit haha...I've taken care of several while pet sitting and they all had fifty gallon tanks or larger and ate everything they could put their mouths around. Good suggestion for a commonly available fish that would take care of the problem though! A lot of people have a habit of suggesting fish that, while excellent otherwise, are impossible to find without shipping so I appreciate your taking a common approach. After you suggested a cichlid I had a momentary lapse of memory in the fact that they are dwarf varieties! I have added them to my research list. Your mention of the mollies made me think of perhaps just some more platies or some mollies, that would be easier likely since I am familiar with them already. I'm not sure why my sword was never into eating the fry...its the oddest thing, she devoured her own but always left the guppies alone. She'd swim right through them and not do anything.

Alright, I started typing this with the intent of being organized but was disrupted so please forgive me for not addressing all of you individually.

I would absolutely love to do angelfish...however the poster who suggested this is right, my tank is not big enough for even one angel to fit in comfortably or safely. I look forward to being able to have them one day with the right tank!

As for killies, I don't know anything about them other than recalling randomly seeing them. I added them to my list to check out to be on the safe side with the tank size and other such important factors.

As for the murphy's law...it kind of rules my entire life. If I had good luck like I had bad luck I'd have won several times at the lottery by now! I do feel quite good at actually having gotten to the point of having an overcrowding issue like this as opposed to constant death. I have actually never kept guppies before, I've always had much larger tanks and therefore had what I thought were "serious" fish. Its just funny now, I'm very glad I gave them a shot as they are certainly some of the most enjoyable fish that I've ever kept and are challenging, interesting, rewarding. I'm not working on any specific breeding and don't really mind how many of the fry are snacked on or which ones are snacked on so long as I do not end up with literally fifty fish in my tank! I do not have the money to properly pursue any directed breeding programs, I just have them because I enjoy them honestly. I did begin separating them by gender, but quickly realized that there were far more of each gender than would fit in this smaller tank safely. I would prefer that a significantly smaller amount of them became adults and that it would be relatively unusual for the adults to be eaten.

I wish I could set up a tank for cichlids only! I have never had these, aside from angelfish a very long time ago, but would very much like to. However I don't have the money or space for another fish tank and I certainly wouldn't do it if I couldn't do it right, I don't care for killing things because of being incompetent.

The suggestion of the Buenos Aries Tetra is interesting. I had not really considered tetras due to the possibility of fin nipping and that they are usually schooling fish and there we are again with the size of tank issue. I have added that to research list too, thank you! I very much appreciate all of these great suggestions, so many of them are species I didn't consider and I feel like I have more options now. Especially since several of you are speaking from guppy population explosion experience!

All of that being said...let me repeat; I appreciate ALL of these suggestions. As I stated above, I am making a list of options to research before making any decisions. As a large community of fish keepers having different types of experiences and specialties-there are many people here who have serious breeding and hobby experience, and there are just as many who have more experience in low key, lower scale fish keeping. I wanted both options as they both have applicable merit.

I realize that I am not everyone, and that not everyone takes the lives and well being of fish seriously as I do, however it is just as bad in its own way to give advice in a way that is potentially offensive or to single out the advice of others in such a way. Many people will look at that advice as negative, too forceful, or even possibly condescending. If someone took your advice with this feeling...it would probably be ignored, or the advice of the other person in the future may be ignored, both despite any worth they may have. I have kept animals my entire life, from fish to pigs to horses to lizards, and I have spent over a decade working with dogs...the one thing in common with keeping all of these animals is indeed that people seem to have an aversion to researching care, species, cost, effort and much more. That is always bad for the animal and I have watched it many times! I therefore understand how passionately a knowledgeable and caring person would feel about preventing the death or neglect of the creature(s). I'm just saying that it isn't a very good idea to come across as pointing out people in a negative way when they are wrong. The basis of the suggestion was in the correct vein, and I am not an idiot who is averse to research I make my money (what little amount that is haha) doing so!

Everyone of you that replied helped me-and therefore ultimately my fish-in your own ways and I thank you! Maybe next time when someone is incorrect you could just cite why and make another suggestion, perhaps a link to a helpful species profile or something to encourage the poster to easily look up the fish. Not trying to keep the debate going, just saying for the benefit of others who may not be able to look at only the helpful things said.

Keep in mind that sometimes when we are extremely experienced in any area we can unintentionally treat others like their advice isn't valid...often because one or two points were not correct. I know I am guilty of this when it comes to dog training and grooming! I've had to chill out many times so that I could figure out a helpful way to tell my clients that doing some insane and harmful to the pet was a bad idea without offending them or shutting off their attention or trust immediately. Its hard! I have to step back and realize that some things are not as extreme as I make them, like I literally make my own dog food and I therefore have a bad habit of being extremely snippy about people literally killing their pets with bad store bought food (and yes, I am looking into raising brine shrimp and such for the fish too lol) but then I realize that not everyone is so extreme. In the last decade that I was privileged enough to have a large sized tank I often got this way with people with smaller fish tanks-or god forbid those stupid betta vases-before I realized that not everyone could own a room dedicated to fish tanks for various stages of fish life etc. etc. etc....

Anyway, again I thank you guys for the great ideas! I'll be sure to let you know what I go with. If there are any other ideas I should add to my list to check out I'd love to know. Based upon this matter and my being really tired of my limitations with the size, I think I may very well wait until I can buy a 20 gl tank. If nothing else, you all helped me decide that this isn't an option anymore! Now...if only I can decide whether I want to keep searching for a 20 long or not haha!
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:19 AM   #14
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If you don't want to cull them , then ask around your LFS to see f they would buy them. ( my LFS takes them at an inch.)
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:57 AM   #15
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I had some glowlight tetras in my tank they seek out the fry quite, maybe cut some plants back aswell, limit the amount on hiding spots
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:02 AM   #16
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Sounds like you've got lots of options. Let me throw a non-fish option out there, get another tank!

Seriously though, if you are on the fence about culling just get another tank and separate the males and females. The only thing I found to keep my guppy fry population in check was an angelfish. However, once she grew out more she began eating adult guppies as well.

Diamond tetras would pick off a few fry but nothing like my angel. She would constantly be picking at the java moss to get the fry out of it.

Depending on your LFS (most don't want guppies as they can breed their own as easily as you can) you may be able to get a credit or just donate them. Another option would be put them on here in the classifieds section or on craigslist. When I wanted to get rid of my guppies I posted on here and a local guy found the ad and picked them up the next day.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:47 AM   #17
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If you have any other tanks, or friends with tanks, you could offer the excess fry as a live protein food source.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:42 PM   #18
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I understand :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly_koi View Post
The reason I recommended that is because I've learned from experience with guppies, there was a point where I was overrun with fry, both in my nursery tank and in my main tank. When my guppies first started dropping I was wanting to save them all. After getting overwhelmed with water changes and upkeep with them, I just started letting nature take its course. I am by no means a "qualified" person and am still learning from this site everyday. just was passing along information that was recommended to me by people on this site and by my lfs
Please understand that I was in no way trying to demean your contribution. That's the problem with typing, you can't always tell a person's voice inflection which, as you may tell, can change an entire conversation.
I spent a lot of years in the retail Pet trade and know that when a customer asks a question and you give the wrong answer, you reflect poorly on the store you represent as well as your reputation. There is no retribution like that on websites. I was fortunate enough to have been trained by a certified expert at a very young age and put that knowledge to good use. However, I've watched the hobby change to the point where the people that should be the ones with the answers have more questions than answers and I've listened to VERY BAD ADVICE come from their mouths. It's why I prefer small Mom & Pop shops because their livelyhoods depend on their being correct. I seriously doubt they would have recommended an Oscar for fry control. They would have done so for total fish control and that's the difference

So I'd like to end this restating that it's great when one shares their experience(s) but they really should not offer advice about things they have not tried themselves or have first hand knowledge of the results. It can only help the hobby by following this advice I'd like to see a day when everyone is "Qualified" to answer the questions. I know a lot of fish would too. Keep learning
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:55 PM   #19
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Thanks again for even more options! I'm having fun researching candidates, way better than political ones :p had to toss a lame joke in there. I'd wondered about terra varieties but was uncertain if they'd harass the adults. Again, I really wish it could be an angel! I've not had one in twenty years and can't wait until I can...but I'm worried about killing the poor thing since its been so long honestly, in addition to the obvious size issue.

Were I to get a twenty gallon would I be able to keep an angel in that for a few years? I want to keep upsizing of course, but I can't do anything bigger in my present location so this is something I'll have to consider. This may be good as I will likely get a tall twenty gallon, my stupid stand isn't sized for a long and I'd feel that an over hanging side(s) would be precarious...I have my own black cloud of doom, I don't take too many chances on things like that! Also, if I go with an angel are there any varieties that are more hardy, or are there other disaster preventative measures I may not know about?

In the 20 gl I will want to have a school of cory cats (I LOVE catfish...um, only in tanks not on a plate) like three and I was given a horse faced loach that I assume is communal like other loaches (I'll be looking that up too obviously) so at least one of those or two to three depending on their requirements. Based on that and the guppies I believe this size will be okay...if this is wrong please let me know! Or if any of these bottom dwellers would not do well with the options I've been presented with. I'm leaning towards the angel or dwarf cichlid, very open to the tetras or platy or mollie school. I may take a month or more to get enough for the new tank, so please do let me know if anyone finds this something that won't work-I have time to learn!

Would any of these species be alright to purchase now at a small size and then transfer to the new tank, or do any of you think I should just hold off? I'm thinking waiting since the move may be stressful.

Since it keeps coming up, just to let you guys know my lfs is almost an hour away. That's not a big deal when I can buy gas/my car runs or when I can drive...I'm recently disabled and in addition to only having the income I make from jewelry, writing, and graphic design I often cannot drive. I've contacted them and am waiting on a call back on them relieving me of some future excess guppies. It is a great idea and I appreciate the suggestions! I just wanted to explain why I hadn't done the obvious. For the record I love and support my lfs and do ask them questions often! I just happen to be a nocturnal species as well and it's good to ask questions here that I don't need immediate answers to when it's well after hours.


Thank you all so much again!
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #20
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For what it's worth...

Well it sounds like you've got a handle on things Fenrisulfer It's a rare thing these days that ones does so much research before taking action. Good for you
For what it's worth, my Mentor started me with 12 small angels in a 20 long to grow out and eventually breed so if you were talking about a 20 long, that would be your number of fish. Since you're talking 20 high (I'm assuming you mean the 24" x 12"x18"H tank and not the 20 extra high 20" x 10" x 24"H) I would think you can keep a couple of angels in there along with your other fish with no problems. You could start with a couple of smalls in the 10 if you plan on moving them in the not too distant future. If it's going to be awhile, I'd just wait until you have the other tank going. For the record, you could keep the angels in the 20 for their entire lives. All my breeder angels were kept in 10 gal tanks and were happy. The proof is all the spawning they did
As for hardier varieties, the basic Silvers, Marbles, and Golds would be the most hardy, some of the offshoots of these such as Koi, Platinum/Diamond, Gold Marbles and their veiltail forms should also be hardy. Primarily, the Blacks and their offshoots still seem to be more fragile even after all these years. Try to stay with domestically raised fish opposed to imports. One of my proteges is a wholesaler in Miami and tells me the imports he gets these days are not nearly as hardy as the stock I used to breed. (He's still breeding a bloodline I gave him almost 20 years ago.)

Basically, you need to remember that you can't stock your 10 gal as if it's the 20. It can and should only hold the proper amount of fish for the 10 gal. Once you upgrade, you can add to the load.


I understand your situation with the LFS being so far away. I'm facing that now myself. Thankfully, I make monthly trips to Miami (200 miles away) so I can go to my old shops and get what I need for my fish. The closest Mom & Pop for me now is 50 miles from me. The closer stores are the chains and the people working the stores really don't know what they are doing and only carry the items for the masses. (I recently went into one and asked for Methylene blue and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about. ) Keep supporting that local store. It will do you good in the long run Also, FYI, most stores will give you more for your fish if you take it as store credit for merchandise opposed to cash.

Hope all this helps..
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