Gourami Fries!

Since we introduced our three Gouramis (see Gouramis are back), they appeared to be busy mating, with the aggressive male Gourami chasing after the two females.

Things got worse this evening when we observed the tank, where the bubblenest had been destroyed and the male Gourami turned even more aggressive, chasing any of the fishes in the tank. Most likely, it was his aggressive behaviour that destroyed his own nest.

Unable to bear seeing the fishes suffering and hiding in corners of the tank, I netted the male Gourami and kept the net floating in the tank, so that he was separated from the rest of the inhabitants. He continued to be aggressive and attempted to break out of the net by dashing and poking at it.

Meanwhile, I noticed the two female Gouramis started coming up to him, trying to get close to him and looking concern about his plight. It was quite an amazing sight as the females did not seem to blame him for his aggressive behaviour towards them.

After a while though, one of the female Gouramis started moving towards the bubblenest (broken but still where most of the plant materials were at) and appeared to be hunting for ‘food’. Having some experience from our previous Gouramis, I quickly suspected the presence of Gourami fries, thus explaining the behaviours of these fishes.

Indeed, after quite a while of scanning the water surface, I managed to discover one tiny fry hiding beside some leaves. Understanding now why the male Gourami was so aggressive (to protect his offsprings), I let him out of the net, while preparing a small tank to transfer these fries over, so that they will not be eaten up.

After half-filling the small tank with water from the main Planted Tank, I used a small bowl to scoop up the nest and the water surrounding it. Since the bowl has a white base, it made it easier for us to determine if we have successfully scooped up any fry, since they are so small that it’s hardly noticeable to our naked eyes.

We continued scooping up the waters until we were satisfied that almost all of the fries have been rescued. There were probably about a dozen of them. The vegetation used for the bubblenest was also transferred over to the fry tank as a shelter.

The next thing we needed to do was to provide the fries with a source of food, since they are so tiny that normal food pellets can no longer apply to them. According to what I’ve read, only Infusoria could be small enough to fit into their mouths.

Simply said, Infusoria is a collective term for minute aquatic creatures like ciliate, euglena, paramecium, protozoa and unicellular algae that exist in freshwater pond water.

Upon seeing the Gourami building the nest, I read up on how to cultivate infusoria in case the eggs are fertilised and hatched, and started preparing:

I took a small countainer (the bigger the mouth, the better as better air circulation enhances infusoria growth) and filled it with the tank water. Then I took some pieces of leftover vegetables and two slices of cooked potatos in it, and left it near a window.

According to the article, the water will turn cloudly in a few days, signifying that the bacteria that infusoria feeds on is present. We are supposed to wait a while more till the clouding of the water diminishes, which would mean that the infusoria has consumed the bacteria and started to grow.

Though the current water is still cloudly, I have no choice but to put a spoonful into the fry tank in case they get starved.

Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the fries and the cultivating container.

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Guppy Fries Dying

Three more guppy fries were found dead this morning, two blacks and one red.

There are still around ten others which are still staying on the gravel, seemingly barely able to swim normally. There is an equal distribution of the blacks and reds. Looks like the natural ailments that they were born with are starting to take the toils on them. Very sad, but since it’s a genetic issue, there will be nothing much we can do.

These genetic defects should either be due to the genes present in their parents, though we don’t see any peculiar about them physically. Another possibility would be in-breeding, meaning bearing babies within the same family. I’m not too sure about the latter though, since each of the five adult guppies we have (three males, two females) have different physical traits.

We are expecting more fries to make their ways to the other world; it’s unfortunate but that is how nature works; only the fittest will survive. On the bright side, the rest of the healthy guppies will not be so congested and have a higher chance of proper survival and growing up.

Meanwhile, we are still looking for the SUPERBaby fish food by OceanFree. Checked out a few local fish shops but to no avail.

End of an Unfortunate Life…

There had been a few guppy fries which were born with weird body shapes or ailments, and though most of them have been living fine, there are one or two unfortunate ones who could not survive after weeks of struggle:

This unfortunate fry’s body was curved up like a letter ‘C’ since born and he was still able to swim quite normally. It was only until recently that another fry with a similar condition started swimming strangely, spinning in circles, and died shortly after that.

I wonder if it was because of coincidence that both fries died shortly one after another, or was there other problems with the water conditions etc? One of the Otto that we bought had also recently passed away. I will continue to perform our weekly water change nevertheless.

On the other hand, there were quite a number of fries that had slight deformations on their bodies (e.g. croaked spine) but they appeared to be living fine so far.

My First YouTube Video!

This is my first attempt to put up a Youtube video clip on a blog so it might be somewhat blurry and shaking slightly, while I casually tried to take an 11-second shot of our guppy fries using our digital camera:

Previously, as I’m always having difficult capturing good photos of the guppy fries in the tank, simply because they are swimming so fast that my camera couldn’t catch them in motion properly. With video capturing, they at least become ‘viewable’.

I will continue to explore more onto video capturing (we do have a proper digital video camera but it is kinda troublesome to download and render it, as we are using the older kind of videocam where you still need to store the videos in tapes, download to my laptop via Firewire cable, before capturing it realtime and rendering it.

Growing Up

It has been slightly more than two months since our first batch of guppy fries came to this word (see Our first Guppy Fries!) by Pretty.

A few unfortunate fries have passed on during this period, but most of them made it through pretty well, having gone through several migrations, from their original tank they were born in to two separate, slightly bigger tanks at the age of 21-day (see New Tanks for the Guppy Fries). Another migration was made when they were 1-month old, when we transferred them back into the original tank, which was bigger in size but cleaned thoroughly and with a filter added (see Housing Upgrade for the Fries).

The last major, and probably the last, migration was performed on 23rd June 2007, when they were 44-day old. After ensuring the water have been cycled sufficiently for 2 weeks plus, we transferred all our guppy fries into this new Guppy Tank (see The Great Immigration Completed).

Everything has been going well since they were in their new home (not that there was much problem in their previous homes anyway), and there was no casualty caused by environmental concerns.

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They lived together peacefully despite having different parents, except the occassional shoving when they saw Cat or I getting close to the tank, expecting food to be dropping in. At these moments, they would all rush to the surface and push against each other, desperately wanting to be the first to get the food, which will be in quite abundance. This is their nature survival instinct I guess.

170707_redguppyfry2.jpgOut of all these fries, one of the most prominent ones would be the ‘Big Brother’. As his nickname implies, he’s the largest (in size) of the pack. He can almost always be found near the surface of the tank, not wanting to miss out any opportunity to gobble up all the food given to them. This is probably why he grew much faster than his fellow siblings and friends.

Over the past few weeks, the changes on his body are getting obvious, starting with some reddish tint on his tail, followed by the rear part of his body and dorsal fin. It was on the past few days that we noticed some red streaks started to appear near his eye area, identical to that of Hong Bao, our adult guppy in the Main Tank. Also, his gonopodium (a long anal fin for reproduction) has also appeared.

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It sure is a sensational feeling to check the fries everyday to see how they are growing and what are the changes to their bodies. The fries are getting more colourful by the day, and it’s always a nice thought of seeing a tank full of colourful guppies.

Of course, there’s still the worry of overpopulation and mass production (i.e. the young female guppies getting impregnated) in the near future.

Overpopulated Guppy Fries

The Guppy Fries have been with us for a few months now, with them settling down in the Main Tank and Guppy Tank, a majority in the latter.

Since the first batch of fries belonging to Pretty, there were already some of them with some in-born deformities. Some of them had a ‘curved-upwards’ spine, some had bloated stomachs and some had unknown organs/parts sticking out of their bodies. Despite these ailments, we continued to keep them with us, treating them equal with the other fries.

However, it might have come to the time when they would have to say goodbye to these fries, as the bioload on the Guppy Tank is getting quite overloaded. It was until recently that we noticed the wastes produced by the 100+ fries in the tank are increasing substantially, and the gravel is partially covered by them. This is despite my weekly water change which includes siphoning out the debris on the gravel.

Previously this was not as much of a problem since the fries were still quite young, but as they grew up now, the quantity of their wastes also increases.

Therefore it has come to a point whereby we have to perform the selective process to remove some of the unfortunate souls. Sadly in this case, we will have to choose those with the ailments mentioned above. Some of them might have parasites in their bodies, which could cause problem for the other fries in the same tank too.

For example for this fry (offspring of Fei Fei), he has some unknown body parts protruding of his body, and recently we have noticed he has really long poop (basically a few times of his length!), which might mean some intestinal parasite problem with him.

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We have not decided what to do with them, but transferring them into some other locations would be the most viable choice. We would not be so cruel as to cull them through say, freezing or flushing them down the toilet, or whatever methods some hobbyists do to end the lives of their unwanted fishes. It’s not viable to give it to people or fish shops, since these deformed fishes would probably be unwanted or land up as feeders (i.e. food for other fishes).

It’s sad to let them go, but sometimes these decisions have to be made to ensure the healthy growth of the other fries.

Guppies and Their Fries

It’s fascinating how fishes thrive generations after generations, as the way they bring up their descendents are very much different from us humans, who are mammals.

030707_prettyhongbaofry.jpgTaking guppies as example, after nurturing the eggs in the ‘womb’, the mother guppy will release the eggs in large numbers (ranging from 20 to 80 eggs), which will immediately hatch into fries (aka guppy babies) upon release. From this point onwards, there is no longer any responsibility on the mother towards their children.

The fries will seek for hiding place for their survival, and plants will be the most suitable place for them to seek refuge. That is also why the mothers will always try to give birth amongst the plants.

In their natural habitat, most fries will not survive, most likely being eaten up by other bigger fishes, including their mother. That is why the mothers often give birth to large number of fries, making sure that there will be still a small number who can make it.

050707_frywrongdirection.jpgFortunately for our guppy fries, we do separate them from the other fishes in a special tank which we called the Guppy Tank. It is in here where all the guppy fries grow up towards adulthood safely.

Also fortunately for the few fries who were left in the Main Tank (see Pleasant Surprises!), they seemed to be free from predators, although big fishes like our Fiesty gourami are present. They did not seem to be interested to serve these fries on their meal tables, probably they are also well-fed through our daily routine. The fish food are probably a lot more tastier anyway.

All in all, we have the Four Musketeers (see Missing Fries), and now an additional of a small black-coloured fry left in the Main Tank. I’ve intended to net out all the recent batches of fries, but have missed out the black fry, as he is always swimming tactically among the plants near the bottom of the tank. Anyway he seems to be doing perfectly fine in there now, so there’s no reason for me to stress him by bringing him to a new environment.

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The guppies in the Guppy Tank are doing very well too, though they now seem to react overly to our presence. Everytime Cat or I get close to the tank, they will immediately swim up to the surface, nudging the others away, opening their mouths and waiting for the food to fall from heaven.

Well, they are young fishes and nutrition is probably very essential for them to grow up fast, so I will feed them quite regularly anyway. They will always finish up all the food within minutes, and that still amaze me.

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