Last summer I recreated a project I did from over 20 years ago. Just for fun I set up a few cheap kiddie pools and filled two stock tanks and moved some of my livebearers outdoors. I started with around 50 breeders, Endlers and Least Killies, and hoped to get a couple of hundred fish if I was lucky. I made a number of mistakes along the way, was invaded by tadpoles, managed through a couple of back to back to back... 100 drgree days yet the project was a success. I decided from the beginning to leave all the fry in the pools and count my total at the end of the summer. That proved not only a mistake, but caught me off gaurd with the number of fish produced. When it was all said and done, I had over 1,200 and that created an issue indoors during the fall.
This year, I am going to chronical the entire project so that others can follow along and repeat it if they like. This year I am going with higher end fish. First during December, I obtained 10 pumpkin orange and black Painted Sword females. These were pre-hit so I split them between 2- 20L tanks and loaded them with plants to preserve fry. At this point I have approximately 8 more females and anticipate having at least 20-25 by the time they go outside in May. I also have 8 female RREA Swords and aound 10 female KOI Swords-all will be ready to throw fry by May. I am also planning on purchasing 40 female platys, 10 of four different colors. I will also be stocking Endlers, but this time I will stock an entire pool with the Blond Endler line I've developed. I should have 20-25 Blond Endler females to start with. Additionally, I'll be stocking regular Endlers and Least Killies. As far as regular Endlers, I should have 50 breeder feamle and Least Killies 20-25 females.
This year instead of simply pond breeding the swords and platys, I'll be using large breeding traps to max the number of fry that avoid being eaten. All of the swords and platys will go into breeding traps made of large Rubber Made containers with rows of holes drilled in the bottom and sides. I'll stock in some java moss and plastic plants to help the fry hide until they swim out. I also plan to siphon and pour 5gal of pond water through the traps every evening to flush out any remaining fry. Endlers and Least Killies will be stocked in the pools with the breeding traps and act as the clean up crew along with some cory cats.
Unlike last year, I plan to pull fry out of the pools and place them in growout pools. The growout pools will be easier to control and will speed the growth rate significantly. I plan to begin pulling fry weekly after the first 3-4 weeks. All fry will be counted and graded for color and finage. Most fry will go directly to growout pools dedicated to either Painted or REEA and Koi swords or platys. Each week, I'll pull 20-30 of the nicest looking fish and move them indoors to quick start on live baby brine shrimp for two weeks, then it is back outside into segragated smaller growout pools. I plan to have fish ready to sell by week 6. Additionally, I 'll be selling off the majority of the males as only a few will be needed once all females are hit.
Last year I used 1 -10' x 10' x 14" pool, 1 - 110" x 72" x 18" pool and the two stock tanks listed below. This year I plan to have the following pools: 2- 10' x 10' x 14" deep kiddie pools, 1 - 110" x 72" x 18" deep kiddie pool (might get another if needed), 3 - 6' around by 10" deep hard plastic kiddie pools, 1 - 125 gal stock tank and 1- 175 gal stock tank. Seeing that I have 2 pools and the stock tanks from last year, my total cost for pools should be around $100 max. I'm also setting up 2 temporary 55gal tanks just incase they are needed. I plan to set up the pools and stock tanks in early March and let them cycle just like a tank. I did manage to save around 200 Oak leaves this fall and will add some to each container to help with micro organism growth. The Least Killies will be first into the pools as they can handle a wide range of temps. Next Endlers then in very late May very early June swords and platys.
More to come in the next week or two. Later I will go into filtration, water changes, food sources and locations of pools. If you have any ideas, suggestions or breeder trap ideas please let me know.