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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #1
so, i have been working on a project for a couple years now. i want to be the first person to successfully and consistently raise empire gudgeon(Hypseleotris compressa) fry to adulthood.

supposedly, it has never been done in captivity under typical captive breeding conditions. i have only heard rumors that the fry were successfully raised in captivity once, and one report of someone getting some fry to survive in an outdoor pond. the problem is that the fry are so tiny that they are just about impossible to feed. well, im going to figure it out. and i hope it takes me several years to figure it out. i like challenges that keep me on my toes.

my first challenge was finding the darned things... well i found them and they are now at breeding age. step one down. they spawned. now i just have to get everything set up for raising the fry(for future spawnings). that will take me at least a few months as i just moved back to north carolina and am still in the process of buying a house.

i intend to use insuforia... in a unique way. typical infusoria is way to big for empire gudgeon fry, but i know of some ciliates that are the right size. some of the species that i have cultured before are practically impervious to ammonia, so what i plan on doing is starting an infusoria culture and then shocking it with extremely high levels of ammonia and ill raise the temperature to purify it. that will leave just the ciliates that i want. then i intend to use my awesome hair algae to scrub the ammonia out of it while feeding the ciliates plenty of live yeast. that will get the ciliate culture boosted up to levels that are useful for feeding fry. once that is done, i will still have one more step: bio-encapsulation. ill need to "gut load" the ciliates with something that has the one nutrient that is notoriously difficult to provide in captivity: highly unsaturated fatty acids. there are a few micro algaes that have lots of HUFA that i intend to test out, the first of which is nannochloropsis. ill feed the ciliates the algae and then try out various ways of feeding them to the fry.

so far, i have already tested every step of this process(except actually feeding the fry), including bioencapsulation. but, i used different kinds of algae. at least i know how to get cultures of appropriately sized ciliates and that they WILL eat some kinds of micro algaes. so i have a pretty good idea of how long it takes to purify a culture, clean up the ammonia, and boost them to appreciable size and density. i have been testing all this stuff for the past couple of years in anticipation of the day that i actually get breeding age empire gudgeons. now i just have to get a house and get it all set up.

 

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They look like mine! :p


Good luck, I am sure you will get some fry raised. I must ask, how do you know they are spawning?
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #3
i saw them spawning. and if you look beneath the female, you can see thin squiggly white lines. those lines are double rows of eggs. they are all over the front of the tank. there were thousands of them.

they hatched in about 18 hours and all the fry perished, but that was expected.
 

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How awesome I shall keep an eye out for it. Mine are mad, I netted them from the 40 hex and tossed them in the 60 with the angels. Which is funny because those four little empires pester the heck out of the angelfish. They deserve it.
 
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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #5
Lol, if they spawn, you will see the male turn sideways and drag his male parts across the glass. The female will follow and do the same. The eggs are about the size of fine sand grains.
 
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When you guys come pick up the ornates and Ocellatas, You are getting my two little juvie angels too, so be prepared.
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #7
awesome! i cant remember the last time i raised angels... i think ill set up a tank for just them and some plants.

i plan on keeping just one or two types of plants per tank after i get set back up. that way i can just power grow the plants in the best condition for them. i think the angels will go in whatever tank i set up for crypts. i want a 55 full of crypts. the stuff we sent you was just a fraction of what we had grown in the three previous months...

of course ill need fish for my tanks :)
 

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Auban, Do you have any updates on this? I am going to be trying basically exactly what you're trying :)

(Hi Majerah, yes I'm trying it with your gudgeons. I guess you know who I am haha)

I am trying to figure out where I can get a starter culture of appropriately sized Ciliates in the US. I have an email in to that place in Canada, and another in to a guy in Aus who is apparently THE man when it comes to raising 10-20 micron foods.
 
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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #9
my update so far is that my empire gudgeons are HUGE!

so, you have bevs empires huh? well, its seems you really want to breed them. im glad she gave them to you. i had sent them to her as an insurance policy a while back... i was moving across country and really wanted to make sure that i had at least ONE colony survive the move...

anyway, my empires have been breeding regularly, but i have not been home long enough to devote any significant time to them. right now, my empires are being housed with some Madagascar rainbowfish, which have already bred. but, no empire gudgeon fry have survived. not that i would expect them to right now. their tank is set up as a natural pond, but i have not had the time to set it up as i would like to set it up for breeding them. that will have to wait until i have time.

when will that be? i dont know. i have five more years of constant deployments and TDY before i can really focus on them. in the mean time, ill try to set something up and ill continue to study the various nuances of ecology that may lead to successfully raising empire gudgeons.

i will say this... the dirtier the tank, the more likely the fry are to survive. that has been my experience with every fish i have ever bred. dirty tanks dont have to mean dirty water, however. i use 24 hour lighting to keep algae growing constantly. this keeps the water very clean. its not a good idea for a pretty planted tank, but its an amazing idea for breeding fish. the algae, paired with constant light, is king when it comes to producing good conditions for raising fry.
 
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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #10
as for ciliates, to be honest, i think you might be better off trying to create your own culture from scratch. just collect water from as many sources as you can. a microscope helps.

eventually, you will probably hit on something that works. i have cultured hundreds of random wee water critters... and the most useful ones came from roadside ditches full of water. from all over the country.

if you have anything worth trading, find someone who wants what you have. offer to send it to them for free if the will send you a little dirt from their local ephemeral water hole. or local stream. or pond. or whatever water source they have. then just drop the dirt into a sterile tank, add water and a light and see what grows.

thats how i have found most of my live food cultures.
 
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Yep, the angels started to pester back, and there was no room in the hex due to the renata. The empires stayed hidden and so Cori and I had talked. She expressed interest and I figured the two of you could get more on par with the spawning and get some actual results :D
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #12
So... we ended up with a nasty dinoflagellate that created a little red tide event in our empire gudgeons tank. It's a local bug that we have encountered before...

It killed everything. Pretty sad...

I won't be getting any more while I am in the army. I'm not home enough to catch these things in time. I'm only home for a quarter of each year...

Oh well. Only four or five more deployments and I'll be done. :)


In the mean time, Im raising triops. :D
 

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Nooo! OMG I am so sorry to hear that! When you get out of the army or decide to get more, let me know. I owe ya two pairs LOL. Ill buy.
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #14
You don't owe me any fish bev. I sent you those just in case mine died in transit. They didnt, so I ended up with exactly what I wanted: two healthy pairs. I never said that I wanted them back if my fish did fine, so you were free to do with them as you wish. They were your fish! :)


I'm still dreaming of the day I get out of the army though. I have a sixty foot wide pond, a well, two barns that are wired for electricity...

You better believe I'll be raising some fish! :)

And on top of that, my pond is capable of producing several pounds of blackworms a day. I haven't had time to really explore what all is living in the pond, but so far, I have found a lot of interesting things. Including a small worm that seems to survive dessication(cyst form maybe?). In my triops tanks, it's the main item on the menue. Add water to them and they spring to life in about 24 hours.

So many things I want to explore...
 
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That sounds like a great pond! Mine has tadpoles.... LOL


If you do start raising black worms, I have some macs who would love to be customers . Please let me know, and I will surely buy some.
 

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Some folks have all the goodies, there is no better food for your fish than what they get in nature.
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #17
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iOlDrSyfis

this is the pond.

i really need to upload some of my later videos... my pond is completely overgrown with duckweed and water meal. the black worms have migrated into the duckweed.

this is really cool because i can scoop the stuff up and swirl it around in water and the worms drop out. add just a tiny amount of voltage and they scramble to the bottom of the tank while the duckweed stays at the top. i can collect a pound in a matter of minutes. after i harvest the worms in a bucket of duckweed, i feed the duckweed to my chickens.
 

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Share?!?
 

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Master of Algae (THE MOA)
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Discussion Starter #19
ah, one problem...

i think the bug that wiped out my tank may have come from my pond. so, i have been playing around with the worms and seeing if i can get a tank to go nuclear again sans fish.

i have already sent some out to a few people who are going to attempt to culture them while i am in deployment land. so far, i have found these worms to survive in absolutely putrid water, hot water(close to 100 degrees) and i have seen them survive their substrate freezing over. they are pretty tough worms.

until recently, i thought they were simply awesome. now, i think they are awesome, but im suspicious of them.
 
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I'm so sad you lost your colony :(

Mine are still housed with some M. ansorgii until I move, along with, unfortunately, a very large bladder snail population that really has enjoyed eating all of the gudgeon eggs that have been laid in the tank. They've spawned a grand total of three times but I never even saw a fry lol.

Now that you mention the collecting water idea, that would probably work. There are some cattle ponds near me that I could collect from, and they're just rain water/spring water collection spots so the risk of contamination would be pretty low. I could probably do that easily and throw a light on the tank/put a tub of DI water outside with a few cups of the pond water. Then when it's good and nasty, add it to the spawn/fry raising tank :p

My best idea for raising the fry at present is to move the youngest male and the female I have to a 10 gallon tank that I'll set up to convert to brackish. Then when they spawn, start slowly adding salt. Live rock with algae, duckweed, and live reef sand are all going to be musts. My girl seems to really like laying eggs on crinum leaves, so I may add a plant or two to the tank to give her a place to lay.

Plan B is to get a permit from the city and keep an above ground "pond" in a big black tub on the back porch, with an external filter and try it that way, but that will involve no salt water, which the few people who try doing this seem to think is key to success. So I dunno.
 
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