03-29-2012, 02:20 PM
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Endler's Liverbearer Advice (inbreeding)
Background on tank
I have been keeping a 29 freshwater tank for 3 years now (wow) and for the last 2 my tank has been primarily populated by Endler's Livebearers. I currently would estimate I have 30-40 that range from juvenile to full adulthood and another 20-25 that are fry or slightly larger. I also have a bristlenose pleco and a peppered corydora. I use freshwater salt and actually probably keep the tank a bit hot for the cory at around 74-78. My water is pretty hard and I tend to have alkalinity problems as well although nothing extreme, I believe both are resultant from the tap water I get. Overall, I'd say that things could be kept better as I tend to have 1-2 endlers die between water changes. I used to do water changes every 2 weeks like clockwork but I have tended to hold off on them lately as it seems that death tend to occur directly after I do them despite my use of ample amounts of water conditioner and filter changes. I tend to go more off of water tests for nitrates when determining when to change to water.
I love my Endler's and would like to continue raising them as long as possible. However, like so many enthusiasts before me, I began way too early and without enough knowledge of what I was getting myself into. I had been keeping fish for a solid year before I happened across a tank of Endler's at a high end store in my college town. I immediately snatched up 2 males and 2 females (you can see my mistakes already) and by happenstance I accidentally was given a 5th fry that later turned out to be male. Those 5 fish are the genesis of what is likely 20+ generations by this point (a bit under 2 years). I have always been very hands off and only briefly in the beginning separated males and females and never engaged in culling the weak from the population. I figured I'd let nature take its course and to an extent it has been successful as I have a solid population of beautiful fish.
My males look almost identical to this with more vibrant oranges: Is my hands-off approach a recipe for disaster or cruel in any way? Have I put my fish on a crash course with disaster due to inbreeding? If so, what is the best way to rectify? Do you have any critiques or advice in general? Thank you