Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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satwood 04-25-2008 10:36 AM

Keeping Tuffies alive for my Pictus
Hi Folks,

Here is another dilema I am working through. I have a fairly mature pictus (4 inches) who eats almost his weight in food when he wants to. I was feeding him shrimp pellets, then crill, and now he seems to only go after live food. He might eat an occasional cleaned shrimp but I think he gets tricked by the way it sinks to the bottom.

So, I've been buying tuffies at the local LFS for $0.12 each. However, many of them die within a few days of bringing them home and introducing them to a tank. He seems to only want to feed every week or so and therefore they need to live long enough to become a meal. Hence, I have to keep the tuffies alive or make frequent trips to the LFS.

What do you think? Why don't the tuffies last in the pictus tank and is there a better live food I can use that isn't such a hassle? The pictus tank is 10 gal and is around 78 degrees.


fish_4_all 04-25-2008 11:05 AM

Tuffies (rosey red minnow, right?) might be getting beat up by the pictus a night. Also, being they are feeder fish, they are often kept in absolutely terrible conditions being they feeder fish. My LFS buys hundreds of feeder Comet goldfish at a time and they often recieve 2-4% of them DOA. Then another 2-5% die before being sold.

My best advice would be to take a little more time adding them to the tank. An isolation tank for them is also a good idea just to keep them from giving your pictus a nasty infestation.

herefishy 04-25-2008 11:15 AM

Rosy reds are a cold water fish. The temp in the tank probably kills them. They also like highly oxygenated water. My suggestion would be to buy feeder guppies.

satwood 04-25-2008 12:15 PM


Originally Posted by herefishy
Rosy reds are a cold water fish. The temp in the tank probably kills them. They also like highly oxygenated water. My suggestion would be to but feeder guppies.

Where would I get feeder guppies? Is it possible to raise them fast enough to supply my carnivore?

satwood 04-25-2008 12:21 PM

Yes, these are most likely rosey reds as you call them. They are about 1 inch long, narrow with small fins, some are orange and some are red. They tend not to eat from the surface but huddle near the bottom of the tank and scare easily.

I do have an isolation tank I have been using for them as well. I get about 12 at a time and feed a few to the pictus each week.

Maybe I can make the isolation tank a cold water tank instead. I didn't think of that before because I wanted them acclimated to the warm water. Not that it will matter much as we're getting into summer and the tanks will all be in the 75 - 80 degree range anyway. We don't have air conditioning in the house.

fish_4_all 04-25-2008 01:43 PM

Why not switch to a different fish for feeding? White Clouds, guppies, and other fish are warm water and won't need to have colder water. Feeder guppies are also extrememly easy to breed so that leaves the option of raising your own and supplying a much healthier food for the Pictus assuming you feed them healthy flakes and a varied diet.

satwood 04-25-2008 01:46 PM

Feeder Fish
I really like this idea of breeding my own food. How do I get started? How many pairs would I need and how fast do they reproduce? I was never into guppies before. I've raised mollies, red wags, swordtails, etc.

fish_4_all 04-25-2008 02:02 PM

Let's see, two 10 gallon tanks with 8 females and 2 males in each will give you a ton of fry. Just make sure to take good care of them. A good HOB filter, some easy plants like elodea and keep their water clean. Should have enough babies to feed to the pictus, maybe 8-10 a week. Remember to get new adults once in a while to keep the gene pool steady and prevent deformities and low birth rates. I would say getting new stock every 3 months will keep them in good shape.

If you have room, two 20 gallon tanks would insure plenty of room and a ton of quality food to feed to your pictus.

another option, although I don't know much about them as far as breeding is White clouds minnows. They are supposed to breed really well and given enough plants and room should also provide plenty of food.

satwood 04-25-2008 02:46 PM

Well, thank you for all your help! That's what I'll do. I have one unoccupied 10 gal tank that is running now. It had some tuffies in it until this morning. Three of them died. Should I be worried about the water in that tank? I hate to take it all down or I will need to re-cycle it again. I can do a 50% change before adding the plants. If I don't wait too long it should still have a biological filter going in it.

I'll set another tank up in a few weeks and get it cycling. I'm running out of space. I have one 20 and three 10s already in operation.

Can guppies and red wags live together? I'd like ot move some of my immature red wags to this 10 gal tank also to let them mature and reduce my population in the 20 slightly.

fish_4_all 04-25-2008 03:08 PM

Should not be any worries about the tank unless it has ammonia, nitrites and/or high nitrates. Just make to add fish quickly so the bacteria have something to feed on.

As for getting along, if they are the same size and red wags don't fin nip then I don't see why not except for the temperature thing again. Guppies prefer higher temps, I kept mine between 78-82F.

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