Lots of Baby livebearers - How much extra maintenance can I do safely, ideas? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-29-2013, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of Baby livebearers - How much extra maintenance can I do safely, ideas?

I've been breeding livebearers for a few years now...and usually I don't get more than a handful every few months and had plenty of room to just grow most in the nursery and/or move some to the big tank later to finish. I keep them to sell, so I'm not going to just let them get eaten at birth, those I don't have enough room for are usually sold on craigslist, which is very iffy and rare that people answer, or go to petshops for free. Hurts my pocket a bit for care costs.

Anywho, I have a 55 gallon tank which is my adult tank with about 26+ adult fish in it(I'd say ten or eleven mollies, three adult platies and four younger ones who aren't full grown but are at breeding age and four swordtails, three young females not yet breedable and one adult male, three guppies(one is a young male endlers mix, the other male will be oing to a new home once his tail heals up, he got damaged from a male I had previously), as well as two rubberlip plecos and two three-spot gouramis), and a twenty gallon nursery tank. Both are older tanks, the twenty has been set up almost two years, the 55 since this last December...Since New Years Eve, I have suddenly gotten more babies in a mere two months(every month really) than I have in the last three years combined! I've been giving many away so I don't over-stock. Right now I have about three dozen extras in there who are about two or three months from sell-able. c.c Way over-stocking, I figure regardless of anything extra I can do to help, I'll probably still be giving away half of those, if not more. ^^; Ouch.

Well, I've gotten about three dozen babies that I want to sell that are big enough to be with the adults and are, my tank was just about at full stock before that and my nursery is in use with some new platies and rainbow guppy babies. Of the bigger babies it's mostly mollies and a couple platies, so the bioload can't be good. They're mixed gold dusts that are really pretty and I get quite a bit when I raise them and bring them in to a certain shop who...loves my fish. Anyways, I know I sound greedy but this is how I make my money and only when I bring in healthy kids. lol

I was wondering...how much extra maintenance can be done safely to lessen the bioload? I'm working on getting yet another large tank so I don't have to worry about this, but right now I have only managed these tanks. So being able to raise them all for another two months or so to sell size will probably get me just enough for another large tank. Which I both want and really need.

My tank is lightly planted and has one AquaClear 40-75 gallon filter with everything in it, sponge, filter cartridge and the bags with stuff to help with ammonia and cycling, which it doesn't need anymore...it was just some extra. I was wondering, would it be safe for a second filter for about a 30 gallon on the other side of the tank, or would that be too much? And how much extra water changing can I do without worrying I'm shocking the fish? Usually the nursery gets a 2% change every two days to go with my weekly 30% change and partial gravel vac(usually just under half the gravel in a different spot each week). Can I do a 2% change per day in the big tank along with normal changes? I have read that I could, but I'd rather have more info from others...

Yeah you can see I got slammed with kids, never happened before, I guess they like my tanks. LOL Used to be maybe ten every two months, now the females that used to not have any started dropping fifty+ per month. x.x I m probably going to lessen my stock as well, I have maybe five or six fish I can sell, but still, extra ideas will be good and that's not very much!

Once I can afford my new tanks I'll have room for this! LOL I thought I did before...nope, so maybe I should watch what I say. I intend to get at least another 55 gallon and another twenty or probably a thirty gallon for my guppies and possibly platies to lessen the adult tank stock with my mollies and swords, that should help greatly and I'll have more raising room. But obviously I need to save up first. ^^;

Any other ideas I can use to help out here?

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Last edited by Sylverclaws; 07-29-2013 at 02:21 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-31-2013, 01:08 PM
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Hey Sylver! You've always got armloads of woobie fish over there causing trouble, lol!

I was wondering, would it be safe for a second filter for about a 30 gallon on the other side of the tank, or would that be too much?
I've used two HOB filters rated above the size of my tank (then a 29g) when I had Live-bearers that I felt needed a little something extra. They didn't seem to mind the increased flow, I'd try it, just keep an eye on them to see how they react to the change - they'll probably be fine with it. The extra filtration will help keep some of the mulm out of the gravel bed, but it'll still be in the tank until you manually remove it, so be sure to clean those filters (in dirty tank water, of course!) regularly, or they'll do you no good!

And how much extra water changing can I do without worrying I'm shocking the fish? Usually the nursery gets a 2% change every two days to go with my weekly 30% change and partial gravel vac(usually just under half the gravel in a different spot each week). Can I do a 2% change per day in the big tank along with normal changes?
If it were my tank (its not!), I'd up it to two water changes a week, each water change vacuuming alternate sides of the gravel bed, and filter cleaning. I also wouldn't be afraid to up it to a 50% water change, if dual 30% don't seem to be doing the trick.

That said, a smaller change every day is always going to be the BEST way to keep things as consistent as possible in any tank - and that shouldn't do any harm, either - but if you're going to do it that way, I'd say to up the little changes a bit, and vac a smaller area while you do them (personally, I'd probably go 9% ish on the 55 - more or less a 5g bucket every day, and up the weekly 'large' change to 50%. (did that make sense?!!) Not the only solution, for sure - but both are things that I've done in the past with no issues (though the dailies KILL me, I've been there and done that when it was necessary! )

I'd be more inclined to go with the 2 larger changes on the 55, and the many smaller changes in the baby tanks, (if this is something you can manage). As long as you're consistent with it, the fish will easily adapt to cleaner water - since it will be steadily coming in, it won't be a shock to them - Livebearers adapt fairly quickly to adapt to change, and they will thank you for the cleaner water - no doubt about that!

Just pay close attention to your water parameters, and the fish. I'd do daily tests for the first week or so, and if things seem off, dial it down a bit - but in my experience, your tank should be fine with this amount of cleaning at this point - all of these tanks have been setup for some time now, and if I'm remembering correctly from your other thread, the parameters are pretty well established in there. With this many fish in these tanks, you're really going to want to watch the nitrates - especially with babies being born and moved from tank to tank, do your best to keep things even among the tanks, if at all possible - so the lil' fry don't get a shock when moved from place to place. You know this stuff :) Trust your instincts, girl! You know your live-bearers very well at this point!

Any other ideas I can use to help out here?
Suuuure! MORE PLANTS!!! Floating plants are WONDERFUL for helping in keeping water clean, as are fast growing stem plants. You'll probably have to create a coral for them so that they don't get eaten by the HOB filters, lol. Here is a great thread that DKRST was kind enough to post up, in which several members shared their own unique ways of making floaters work with the filtration. Do you still have any of that duckweed left that I sent you some time ago? If not, send me a PM - I have some Frogbit that I can share if you need it ^.^ As far as stemmies are concerned, I can't help with those, but recommend Anacharis and Hornwort. Hornwort is MESSY stuff, but worth it's weight in gold in situations like this (again, in my experience) there are others, but these are the two that I've found to be super cheap, and do a fantastic job! OH! GUPPY GRASS!!! I've never used this plant in a situation like this - another messy plant, but I'm betting it would do a good job, and also provide great cover for the fry. I have a *little* bit of this that was given to me as a RAOK - I can share some with you if you need it - just let me know, hon.

The other suggestion I have is probably not something you'll want to consider until you get that bigger tank, but in my experience it is SO MUCH EASIER to maintain high-waste fish like live-bearers over a sandy bottom tank than gravel. Reason being that the gravel becomes a "nitrate factory" as all that yummy poo and extra food (ha! Not that there's much extra food after those greedy live-bearers are through!) easily sink through the gravel and accumulate on the bottom of the tank. . . with sand, the uggies tend to sit on the surface of the substrate, making it MUCH easier to siphon out (just the hose, no vacuum) and clean up. I'm not sure which of your tanks are sand and which are gravel anymore (sorry!), but I also seem to remember that your experience with sand is somehow opposite of mine. Either way - it can't POSSIBLY be worse than gravel for keeping clean! Can it?!!

Your tanks ARE overstocked, it makes me happy that you realize that, and I'm proud of you for looking for ways to keep things stable until you can afford that shiny new tank - and your willingness to add the responsibility of another tank to those you have now. Hopefully someone will be along soon that can offer better, more experienced advice to help you out - but that's what I've got to offer - a Cheshbook in reply to a Sylverbook! I hope you find something hidden in all those words to help out!!! Good luck, Girly - you know you'll always be Fishmom to me ^.^!!! Let us know what you decide to do, and how it works for you, please - this is a problem that a lot of people have, I'm sure many people will be able to benefit from your experiences!
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-31-2013, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ohh, there's so much I have to do. lol Yes, it all made sense. I think I might be able to...beg and plead ma for a bit of help on a new filter right now. Slightly larger extra changes, and PLANTS! Plants...I lost a great many of my plants when I treated the tank for internal parasites a few months ago, some just could not recover. I think I've saved my big anubias, but it's muuuuch smaller than it used to be. I'm down to a couple small anubias and four or five stem plants. Buying plants is really costly here. =( I'd love to go buy a huuuuge thing of those stem plants I like so much, and those Umbrellas...oh I love those. But it costs about $18-$20 just to get two little plants! Stem plants are usually a bit cheaper, I can usually get five or so for about six bucks, but still. lol Sure, break them in half and replant them...however, I've forgotten which of those I used to have that grew like weeds, the ones I have don't grow quite so fast, they're juuust getting to the point I might be able to clip and replant.

Ah, well, I had myself settled for a while there with plenty of time to put into a new tank and then BAM, financial issues because of a lung infection. =(

You know me, extra work is part of owning a pet to me, I'm more than willing to hit those buckets! But I will admit...some days doing all that manual labor is a bit painful, but hey...getting a bit of muscle in my back and arms again. xD

What I'm going to do is see if mum will pay for a new filter for me first off and let me pay her back later, save up also for some more plants that are easy and grow fast, and don't cost an arm and a leg, and I think I'm going to suck it up and give away a few babies anyways, and a few adults, the adults I can get money for...but you know, a lot of those fish I've had for a couple years, it's so hard to even think about. >< And surely it'll only be a few months until I can afford a new tank, maybe I'll ask for one for my birthday again. LOL If I find I can't keep up with the work...I probably have no business getting another tank and will have to lessen my stock. =( The basement is now free...so I can get a much larger tank if I move down there. A nice 125 gal sounds about right for me. ^^; Hahahaha. Oh boy. I'll be dragging myself back from New tank syndrome, you may have to hold me down. =p Maybe you can set my rules for me, Chesh! If I say I want something, you can tell yes or no and tie me down. lol
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-31-2013, 06:54 PM
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HAHA, well. . . three cheers for a 125, for sure. I know it kind of sucks, but I'm glad that you're considering giving away at least some of them - you are overloaded, in ALL tanks, for sure. :/ Always sad, but hey! If your ma is willing to help you out *crosses fingers* you'll have a much better chance of rearing those fryguys to healthy adulthood and selling them off to get that big tank! As far as tying you down? GIRL! I've TRIED that before - never seems to work out that way!!! *giggle* Sheesh, I've followed the Saga of Sylver from day one, or nearly. . . you've learned so much since then - we both have. :)

With the stemmies, remember that you can leave them floating for a time, and they do an even BETTER job of absorbing excess toxins from the tank that way. So yeah! Grab some stemmies, cut 'em in half, and let them float!

Haha, my husband says I have 'guns' cuz' I have lil' muscles in my arms from hauling ALL those 5g buckets - up and down flights of stairs, even! I still feel a bit like Bugs Bunny, tho. Yanno how he makes a muscle and then it droops. *giggle* ESPECIALLY after a 50% water change on the 55!!! DEFINITELY looking forward to getting a Python when I finally get my 125 set up! ^.^

Hopefully you'll get someone else to chime in with some other ideas/advice/opinions - that's about all I've got for now. . . good luck, girly - you're gonna need it! *hugs*
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-31-2013, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Oh my, I don't have it THAT bad thankfully. I just go down the hall to the tub. But it is harder to carry the water I change out, I syphon it into a big trashcan I use just for this. lol Sometimes I have to do two or three trips because my weekly changes are about 30% if I can make it that much, and that's what? 20 gallons of water? Not quite...

Ah and, I've actually gotten my other three tanks to perfectly stocked. One is understocked, the nursery is now at safe ranges for now, and of course the five gallon with only a betta is just fine. lol My ten gallon I have revamped into a shrimp tank, it's my new project. A little less to do than with fish, they're not even close to as dirty, have a very low bioload, breed pretty quick, pretty, funny as all else to watch...yeah. Bit less work, just as much fun!

As for floating the stem plant, I tried that...they started rotting after a day because my fish will chew on them, so I moved them to the net, same issue with the babies, and on their own they seem to get either too much light up top or not enough, not sure. x.x; But yeah, can't float them with fish, they eat the roots. lol Stem plants and Umbrellas grow perfectly in the big tank though without that. Not so much on the other plants, so I think I'll just do all of those types in there. My other tanks grow just about everything just fine, but I am having trouble with my anubias plants lately, five of my eight just aren't perking up! And I can't use fertilizers anymore since I do have snails and shrimp and that may kill them. >< But I'm hoping now that everything is perfectly settled that they'll perk up. They just look the same as when I got them, as if they refuse to take in the water. I had the kind that you get in the gel...last two times I got plants that were IN tanks, I got nasties in my tanks I didn't want, even after I rinsed and soaked them. =( Those umbrellas I got on a whim though, wow. They perked up right away after going in my tank and have absolutely flourished more than any other plant I've ever had, including stem plants! I LOVE THEM!

But yes, I seem to be doing ok, it's just the stock of babies. I have nice kids that people will really be wanting, I want to give them a good chance to hit maturity before I sell them, people do really like them. I've figured most are creamsicle/dalmation lyretail mixes and they're kinda like gold dusts, but they have the creamsicle shape and tail and have some white, they're white orange and black, some are just gold and black, others are gold with speckles. =) They're quite pretty and aren't as small, or lanky looking as the normal gold dusts with all of their issues it seems, or the lyretail ones that always have messed up tails. x.x

As for my 125...grandma said she'd think about that herslef for my birthday when I mentioned I was saving for one. O_O;; But then she yelled at me when I was eating and didn't give her a rag, and I told her she could wait, I'd been working on a piece of pizza for an hour keeping track of my baby nephew and tired from trimming her bushes. @_@ She said something along the lines of "Ask ME for an expensive 125 gallon TANK, FAT CHANCE!" I was like sheesh, I just wanted a bite of my pizza. It's one of those days though, she'll get over it...maybe. ^^; They sat and ate while I watched the kid, totally wasn't fair. lol I didn't ask her for it anyways. >>; Just told her I was saving up for one. xD

I am gonna go update my BOOK now. x) I have some interesting babies to talk about!
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