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Discussion Starter #1
I have had a summers long project using kiddie pools and stock tanks to breed fish in. I have 2 pools and 2 stock tanks, vats if you will.

I stocked the first stock tank with 6-8 Endlers females , pre-hit, and two males. I also threw in 4 female Laest Killie fish. After 9 weeks, I am pleased to report approximate 60 livebearers in stock tank 1. I also have two marble crayfish, won't know how that worked until Oct.

Stock Tank 2 has 7 -3 1/2"-4 1/2" Jack Dempseys -They went in last week and are still hiding.

Pool 1- Approximately 10 female Endlers and 6 Female Least Killies. These have been in since the end of May. Too many to count!!

I will update this weekly.
 

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You said you had two kiddie pools? what is the second one being used for? Also, what do you intend to do with all those endlers?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To answer your questions, the second pool is being used for Endlers and Least Killies. It only got started about 6 weeks ago due to a water problem. The fish are reproducing and doing well. Due to the large size 110" x 72" there are a lot of mosqueto larva. I skim about 150-200 of them each day for my fish inside. They love them. The fish in the pools are stuffed silly with them.

At the end of the summer I plan to sell, give away and feed off a lot of the Endlers and Least Killies. I'll keep a few colonies for next spring and because I like them. My best guess based on this summer is if you start with 25-30 pre-hit Endlers you can anticipate 500-700 fry at least. The Least killies take more time to take off but same set up 300-400 easy.

Next year I am going to do some swords and maybe platys or mollys. I'll till do a pool of Endlers and Least Killies. I will likely have a pool full of cory cats as I read it can be done. In another pool I might do CPO crayfish just to see what happens. The beauty of this is that the fish get all the live food and algae they can eat at no cost. You really don't have to feed them, but of course I do feed them once daily. If you have any cichlids, you likely will get large numbers of tadpoles from the local frogs. I have feed off way over 1,000 and likely will hit 2,000 by the end of summer. Before you get critical, I have made sure to raise up over fifty froglets so they survived in much greater numbers than in "real" nature. The only advice is if you bring them indoors keep a good eye on their progress. Because these are Barking Tree Frogs I found some strolling across the ceiling of my fishroom! Not cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
UPDATE:
Vat #1 It seems the crazy hot then cold weather cycle has slowed almost everything down. I did note more Least Killie fry this week and the Endler count looked the same. Still have not found baby crayfish.

Pool #1 Pool #1 never disappoints as far as strange stuff goes. I noted the fish reproduction slowed just like Vat #1. I did spot what I believe to be several albino Endler fry. I'll have to catch a few of them and check them out for sure. Well as nature would have it the Leopard Frog tadpoles grew out in mass and I got most of them for feeders. Then, just when I thought the tree frogs were gone for the year they came back for a one nighter. Must have been a heck of a party as there were Barking Tree Frog eggs wall to wall in the morning. The tadpoles hatched Friday and I am hoping get big enough to net out before the end of the week.

Vat #2 the Jacks, well they are acting very much the same. I'm getting concerned they may not pair up.

Pool #2 Here again reproduction seemed to be down, but there are approximately 40 fry in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
UPDATE:

Ok, I have been slacking, so here we go.

First off, Missouri has had a cold snap in August-Totally unheard of.

Vat-#1 the Least Killies have not missed a beat and appear to number close to 50 as do the Endlers. Moral of the story, Least Killies handle weather better than Endlers. Still no Crayfish babies-Gurrrrrrrrrr.

Pool #1 Well the last two weeks have been strange weather wise, but so have the local frog population. The Endlers are clearly way ahead of the Least Killies and despite the cool weather slow down still have a comanding lead. Likely 110-125 Endlers with 50-60 Least Killies. The leapord frogs have total numbers of six or so. Unlike tree frogs their eggs sink so there is no telling how many will hatch out. I hope the crayfish are eating the eggs. Still no crayfish babies.

Vat #2 The Jacks wekk nothing to report.

Pool #2 The Endlers are starting to number up, don't recall the count 10-15 more than last report. The Least Killies are at least 15 maybe more. Still no baby crays, but the adults are fine. Odd thing, the mosqueto larva seem to have vanished. The fish appear stuffed, so the numbers must be falling and the fish are taking care of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK, it has been about 2 1/2 weeks since I posted an update. I was out of town. While I was gone the weather continued to do very strange things. It got very cool at night 62-70 degrees the entire time. I just kept thinking I may come hone to the worst Ich out break ever, but the fish seem unphased. This week we have had temps close to 100 and are slated to continue that until next Tuesday. Go figure.

Vat #1
A few weeks ago Vat #1 sprung back to life and for one reason or another the fish were breeding like crazy. Once I return after two weeks R&R, I noted Vat #1 was still rolling along nicely. I estimate approximately 100 fish 2/3 Endlers-1/3 Least Killies. Yet again, no baby crayfish to report.

Pool #1
Pool #1 continues to out pace everything. I have to admit for a $17 kiddie pool I have got my moneys worth over and over. Best estimate, 150 Endlers and 60-70 Least Killies. Funny thing is hundreds of tadpoles that hatched out right before I left seem to have vanished into thin air. The Leapord Frogs are still living in the pool on atrifical, plastic coffee can lid, lilly pads. I did a feeble search and no baby crayfish there either. I'm beginning to think the only time I'll find the crayfish is when I begin the draining process in 6 weeks or so.

Vat #2
Well, while I was gone the Vat turned pea soup green and you can see nothing. Before it turned green the care taker observed what looked like two Jacks paired off and over the next 48 hour they killed two tank mates. The Gambusia are breeding rapidly and the Jacks don't seem to bother them too much. I suppose they can't see the Gambusia any better than I can see them. I'm going on a maintenance spree this weekend and deploying two cansiter filters. I've got two appropriate tanks ready for pairs of Jacks.

Pool #2
Well Pool #2 got a late start and is set up under a deck that is two storys tall. It doesn't get as much sun and that seems to have an impact. The fish bred slowly at first, but what a difference two weeks makes. I estimate at least 65-75 fish 2/3 Least Killies 1/3 Endlers. The two adult crayfish are fine, but I can't find any babys there either. Hair algae has taken over most the bottom, so if the baby crayfish are in there they are at the worlds largest salad bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well this week everything just stayed the same with the exception of Pool #2. My slacker Pool #2 took off and is producing a lot of fish say 20-30 over this week.

Our weather has been very, very strange this year. It has gone from the 70s to the 100s. We are back in a heatwave 100 + today. I'm looking forward to getting better counts at the end of the week as they say it could be in the 60s!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
UPDATE:
First off, the weather here has been crazy as usual and this week topped even what I would consider way strange. We went from dyas in the 100 range and nights in the high 80a to days in the low 70s and nights in the 50s. It should still be in the mid 80s daily and these odd temp swings have been occuring all spring and summer. Unfortunately, my plan to keep the fish outside will be cut about 3 weeks short as I don't want to chance losing everyone. Looks like next weekend the harvest begins and the real numbers will be in. I'll do a post or two on reacclimation to tanks and then a final one on what I have learned. My hope is that others would try this next summer and we can all learn from eachother.

Vat #1
The fish are reproducing, just at a slow rate due to the weather changes. I noted the fish are growing more rapidly as if to reach maturity faster? My count is 100 Endlers and 30 Least Killies. Still can not find baby crayfish to save my soul.

Pool #1
The Endlers are making the most of it, 150-160 while the Least Killies just stumble along at 50-60. Same thing on crayfish! I did throw heaters in this pool and the fish got smart fast. They typically hang in several distinct shoals in different areas, but when it got chilly, they all went to the heat. Here again te fish seem to be growing more rapidly than before.

Vat #2
Still green and no change. I'll be interested to see my Jacks again. Don't know the fate of the Gambusia once the vat is shut down. Lilely put them with the Jacks or Belonasox and kiss them good bye.

Pool #2
Well if pool #2 didn't do strange stuff nothing would be happening at all. Despite the explosion in fish population, the pool has turned green with long hair algea. It is hard to see know so havest should be fun-not!

Inside
I have two 20Ls and a 20H set up just for the outside fish. I also have 2 15gals and an extra 10gal. I'll be setting up a 55 next week and will quick cycle with my old whisper hanging filter. It should be ready for action in a few weeks. For sure I am going to locally fire sale a ton of fish. If you're anywhere near St. Louis and interested, just drop me a line.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
UPDATE:

The weather has remained as crazy as can be expected. Many of the nights are going into the 40s, but the water in the pools and vats stays in the low 70s. Amazingly, not one fish had demonstrated any sign of distress with the broiling hot and the freezing cold temp swings. I would have bet heavily against those odds. For the last two weeks I have been catching fish and bringing them inside. I did not think out that part of the project and have learned my lesson the hard way for next year. There are still fish in each of the four containers.

Pool #1
Pool #1 has been the top producer and just exploded with Endlers and Least Killies. Final counts will be next week, but I'd estimate 225-250 Endlers and 75-80 Least Killies. The fish are so healthy that they are reproducing and dropping fry during the three stage reacclimation process from outside to indoortanks. I have thinned the schoals down a lot, but within the next two days I'm going to have to bit the bullet and get in the pool to wrap things up. Still no baby crayfish despite seeing the adults.

Vat #1
Vat #1 was a late bloomer. and due to the weather changes has actually started to turn over, the process the bottom debres go through in fall and spring. The counts in this vat are likely higher than I estimated with 125-150 Endlers and 50-70 Least Killies. You guessed it, no baby crayfish yet. I'm not sure why, but some of the female Endlers are huge over 2". I will quick drain this vat within the next two days and pull the rest.

Pool #2
Pool #2 is still thick with hair algae. I did discover that I can get the fish out although it is going to be a process. I will start this week. It should be a slimmy mess, but I put them in there so it looks like have to deal. Not happening next year.

Vat #2
Vat #2 has been pea green since the first week in August. I got the Jacks out today and was dissapointed that they only grew about an inch. I could ahave done better leaving them indoors. Keep in mind this vat had to be scrapped and got a 5 week delayed start. I also have removed about 20 Gambusia. The fry survived because the adults could not see them in all the green. Just observing in the tanks tonight it appears I have two pairs and an odd female.

Over the next two weeks I'll wrap up the thread and give final counts and a list of what I learned the good, bad and ugly. The project endured two different frog invasions, weather that was really unstable, deer drinking out of the containers nightly and my trial and error process. I'm also planning next year and would really like some suggestions on stocking.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
UPDATE:

Just pulled about 50 more fish from Pool 1 and Vat 1. That brings to a total well over 350 fish and there are still more. Vat 2-Jacks are out and seem happy inside. I have gotten about 35 gambusia out of the vat, it was so green nothing could see well enough to eat the fry!

Another update coming Sunday!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE:

I worked hard Friday evening and Saturday pulling fish like crazy from Pool #1 and Vat #1. I removed approximately 100 more. I think most the Endlers are out, but I can't be sure as I just kept catching additional fry that were no more than a week old. There are still more fish and I have yet to pull the adult crayfish.

Pool #2, I found a way around the jello like green moss and pulled about 100 Endlers and Least Killies out of there. I'd say there are at least another 100-150 and likely more. Vat #2 -I did find another Jack, so what ever the caretaker thought was a dead fish while I was away in August must have been something else. I completely drained the green water and will clean it out some time this week for another winter project.

The bad News, the temp fell into the 40s last night and it only got to 62 with clouds and wind today. They predict the low 40s tonight and only 60 by noon. I believe that this may have tipped the scales into a bad place for the remaining fish. I will attempt to recover more Monday and Tuesday and treat them for ich and what not when I get them inside. I'll update late next week and let you know how it turns out. I've been really lucky so far and hope to dodge one more bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has been a few weeks and I have been harvesting fish from the pools non-stop. After starting with around 40 breeders total Endlers and Least Killies combined, I figured I had enough tank space to handle this harvest from my summer project without a problem. In my fishroom I prepared 4-20L and 3-15 and a 40gal Brooder. Well, I now know that given the success of the project my tank space is not enough. I stopped counting when I had approximately 620 fish and five 5gal buckets full ready to tank up. Those buckets contain another 100 (+) fish total. I got caught off guard as the weather changed to cold 3-6 weeks earlier then it should have. The entire summer was plagued by strange weather ranging from 100s-60s. 3 weeks ago the weather got cold for a few days in a row-Lows in the low 40s at night. I figured if stock did not get in doors they would die. I worked hard and guess what??? Nothing died nor did any get sick! Last week, temps dropped into the low 60s-High 50s during the day and in the very low 40s at night. I filled the buckets again and again no sick fish, just another 100 or so including newly born fry. It has now stayed in the 50s-60 day time and very low 40s-high 30s at night. After two or three days in a row I was worried. I also got very busy with work so a week went bye with only one harvest pull in the buckets. Tuesday I went out to look at the ponds as I just knew all the fish remaining would be dead or on their way to dead. I was stunned, not only are the fish still healthy they continue to breed! I will get the remaining fish out Saturday and Sunday, although they will be in buckets for a while until people buy some, my Belonasox eat them or I set up the 60gal brooder tank and chemically filter it.

If I had to estimate, I'd say I am closing in if not at 900 (+) fish indoors and there are at least 200 more out there. Keep in mind I estimated I had about 400 fish when I began to harvest, so there are likely more. The next update will be a summary of how I did it, it was not hard or expensive, and what I learned besides the fact I suck at estimating fish in kiddie pools! I really hope others will try this next years as it was an adventure. I have learned a lot and figured out how to over come some of the problems for next year. If you would like some Endlers or Least Killies, p.m. me and I will cut you a deal that will put Aquabid to shame.
 
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