Breeding fish in kiddie pools and stock tanks-II
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.
Sounds like this will be a great thread. I'm putting a 8' round pool into my garden as a pond when spring comes so I'll be following your posts hoping to learn as much as possible before May. I look forward to growing aquatic plants outdoors in the sun instead of under a lightbulb so if you have any experience with that...
Keep your organic materials down and don't fertalize. Your worst issue will be a green algea bloom. I had one vat that did that. Just keep in mind you will need several hours of shade daily.
Thanks, I'm worried about too much sun. Maybe an awning or screenhouse? Or would that be too much shade?
I place mine near the house so it shades the pools part of the day.
i have a few trees in my garden i could use for shade, also access to lots of hornwort.
do you know... can you "cycle" a kiddie pool or small round pool. Or what are the water change procedures?
How many hours of direct sun should i have?
We have to talk about filtration/aeration...
You can and should cycle your pool or vats and the procedure is like large tanks, except outdoors they seem to be worse in the initial stage but clear up faster. I will be using 1 - 125gal rated sponge filter in each vessle. These filters have been running for 2-3 months in my 40 brooders, 20Ls. I also have 15-20 6" sections of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe in a cycled tank for 2-3 months for each pool. Here is how I do the entire shabang:
Place the pool so that it gets at least 4 hours of shade daily. If you can find a location that gets shade in the mid-morning and late afternoon that works best but is not a game changer.
I fill the pools all the way up and add a good handful, 15-20 dried Oak leaves and let it sit a day or two. I'll then toss in an airline with a regular size air stone and let it run another 5-7 days. At that point, I take a very long piece of airline to use as a siphon and cloths pin it to the side of the pool and lace it through a section of the PVC to weight it down. You need an emergency siphone in case of heavy rain. I crank the air and leave it run for a day. Two days later, I start the airline siphone and allow about 10%-15% of the water to drain. Repeat two days later. Wait another two days and place the rest of the PVC pipe sections along the walls of the pool and stack 4-6 next to the air stone. This starts the process of spreading the bacteria and the Oak leaves make a good accelerator. After another 4-6 days do another water change same size as before and add the sponge filter. I'll give it a week, do a 10% water change and add a small box filter filled with carbon and enough gravel to sink it-replacing the airstone. After that runs 2-3 days, pull it put the airstne back out there and you wil be ready for fish in a week or so. The test numbers seem to sit tight at first then fall into line with in a few days.
If you're going to plant plants, do that as soon as you put in the sponge filter. They will speed up the cycling process and there is nothing better than real sun light. If you think you will ever want to use a heater, make a gravel patch 2"-3" deep to place the heater on. If you just need a night time heat bump, turn on the heater for an hour or two then move the airstone next to it. I discovered the fish will find the heater no problem. You can use a canister filter or make an L shape out of 1"x1" place one end under the pool floor and you can use an HOB for water quality. The advantage is you can move it from pool to pool.
I do add solar salt to all my pools as livebearers don't mind. I also use pond and ramshorn snails to help clean up. Last year I had some corys in one pool and they got huge and I had more than I started with at the end of summer-Don't get excited it was just a few! I used crayfish in other pools and they did an OK job, but not that great.
This weekend I'll post up some photos of the fish I intend to spawn. I'll post the breeder traps and how to make them in two weeks.
Good news, I secured the rest of the brooder stock for the pools. When it is all said and done, I should have Showa, koi, blk& white, marigold, painted marigold,pineapple, pineapple tux and painted pineapple, RREA and albino blood red swords. Most of the last groups will only be 6-10 females, but they should throw enough to make them worth it. I will also have marigold and red Mickey Mouse platys and possibly red paints as well. I have secured 15-20 albino corys for cleaning and hopefully a little reproduction. The Endlers and Least Killies are all ready to roll. The rest of the swords and platys will be coming the third week in April and will spend about two weeks indoors if all goes as planned. I will post photos of all the stock when it gets here.
I plan to start building the breeder traps this weekend and if the weather cooperates the pools will go up. I'll photo the process.
I wanted to pass along some information from another pool breeder in the mid-west. He tells me that the cory fry will survive in semi-significant numbers if there is plenty of bottom cover and micro organisms. Last year I was trying to get rid of Oak leaves that fell into the pools on a daily basis. Then I find out they are fine and will not hurt the fish and act as substrate for bacteria. This fall I collected a couple of sacks full of dried Oak leaves to help launch the pools quickly. The other breeder said that is exactly what he uses. Now my only decision is do I go for long and put my pepper, Julii, pandas and green lightening corys in pools as well. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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