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Breeding Boraras questions

louis_last

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23 Nov 2008
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Edinburgh / Dunbar - Scotland
I have seven Boraras maculatus that I'm trying to breed without any success so far. The group actually managed to produce a single fry that grew to maturity once before without any effort on my part but now that I'm doing everything I can to get them to breed I'm not having much luck and I have a few questions for anyone that's bred any Boraras species before.
The tank is about 13 gallons and heavily planted, I've recently added Pistia stratiotes floating plants, temperature is 26c and I'm not injecting co2 or providing any liquid carbon supplements. I'm using an eheim pickup 60 internal sponge filter with the output turned back on itself to minimise turbulent flow. I've added some oak leaves and have been using rooibos to create a blackwater effect. I've increased feeding and offer them finely crushed aquarian brand fish flakes as well as frozen copepods and have finally established several extremely productive cultures of Moina macrocopa to also feed on a daily basis. The males have coloured up and the females have all plumped up nicely. I'm located on the west coast of scotland and have naturally very soft water, I don't have any precise measurements but when I run it through a water distiller almost nothing is left behind whereas at a previous location huge amounts of mineral sludge and iron would be left in the evaporating chamber. There are no other fish in the tank but there are red ramshorn snails and cherry shrimp as well as a few very large amanos but these were all in there before when they produced fry.
the things I'm looking for some expert input on are following.....
Would actual blackwater extract or peat be better than rooibos tea? There's some conflicting infromation online but the fish and plants seem to have responded well to rooibos although this may also be due to the recent change to much softer water. The fish certainly show better colour when there's rooibos in the water but would real blackwater make them more likely to breed or affect fry survival?
My fish don't seem too keen on livefood? I give them moina daily and they do eat them but they're not very enthusiastic about it whereas they go wild for finely ground aquarian flake food. Do they just need to get used to the livefoods? my understanding is that the higher protein content of livefood helps bring them into breeding condition but if I don't also add flake food I can't keep the females looking as chubby as they simply don't eat as much of the moina for some reason.
The males are regularly displaying towards each other, there are two males and five females, and I've seen them chasing around the females before leading them into the plants but I've seen no sign of any fry whatsoever. Is it possible that the females aren't producing eggs for some reason? or should I assume that 100% of the fry are being sucked up by the filter? It doesn't have a particularly powerful draw and even tiny moinas seem able to swim out of the current that would pull them in but maybe I need to put some womens tights over the intake?.
Will shrimp and red ramshorn snails be eating the eggs that are produced? They've always been in the tank and the fish produced fry once before but I have noticed that the red ramshorn population has increased in proportion to the extra feedings for bringing the fish into breeding condition. Information online about whether they eat fish eggs is conflicting. I'm removing as many as I can and have ordered a couple of assassin snails but does anyone know whether they actually would eat fish eggs this small? Some people claim they clean fish eggs and don't eat them but I'm fairly suspicious.
I'd be grateful for any input from people who have bred these or other Boraras.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I've not kept these, but I would guess you need to get the water very soft and acidic, too soft for either your shrimps or snails.

Alder cones might be better than Rooibos and I'd get a microworm culture, they will definitely condition the fish.

cheers Darrel
 

sparkyweasel

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Snails will defintely eat the eggs. Could you set up a seperate breeding tank? It would be easier to exclude snails than to remove them all from the existing tank.
 

louis_last

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Snails will defintely eat the eggs. Could you set up a seperate breeding tank? It would be easier to exclude snails than to remove them all from the existing tank.
I think that's exactly what I'm going to do, maybe just in a plastic box with a heater and plenty of leaf litter. There's way too many red ramshorn in there, if they really do eat the eggs they wont stand a chance. I want rid of the ramshorns anyway, I'm hoping that in the longer term, if i manually remove enough, then adding a couple of assassin snails will get them under control.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Any idea whether the snails and shrimp will eat the eggs?
Cherry Shrimps and Ramshorn snails won't eat the eggs. They are both actually used as egg janitors with Corydoras eggs etc.

Assassin Snails definitely will, and my guess is that Amano shrimps will as well.
or should I assume that 100% of the fry are being sucked up by the filter? It doesn't have a particularly powerful draw
You definitely need a sponge on the filter intake, and ideally quite a chunky one.

cheers Darrel
 

sparkyweasel

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Corydoras eggs are tough-skinned though. I never get any baby Boraras if ramshorns get into their tank. Which they recently have, grrr.
 

louis_last

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So today I've set up a roughly 20L plastic storage tub with mixed aged oak and beech leaves covering the bottom, some live Sphagnum cupidatum that has been growing submerged and Pistia Stratiotes floating plants. There are no shrimp or snails and I've filled it with distilled water. I'm currently boiling some leaves and bark to make a blackwater extract to darken the water a bit more and I'm going to add the adult fish as well as a small amount of infusoria culture and some Moina macrocopa and leave them for a few days. We'll see how it goes, if I get any fry I'll document it here.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So today I've set up a roughly 20L plastic storage tub with mixed aged oak and beech leaves covering the bottom, some live Sphagnum cupidatum that has been growing submerged and Pistia Stratiotes floating plants.
I wouldn't add fish to pure distilled water, it needs to be remineralized with some tap water!
My guess is that if the water stands over the leaves and sphagnum it will pick up enough ions to be suitable for the fish.

Do you have a conductivity meter? That would give you a good idea, and I'd aim for about 50 microS (30 ppm TDS).

cheers Darrel
 

louis_last

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I wouldn't add fish to pure distilled water, it needs to be remineralized with some tap water!
Distilled water is void of any oxygen/minerals.
Can you not use rainwater?
So I've added to the plastic tank 5L of fresh dechlorinated and naturally very soft tap water, 8 litres of distilled water, and I'll add the fish along with about 5L of their tank water and obviously acclimate them slowly.
Hi all,


My guess is that if the water stands over the leaves and sphagnum it will pick up enough ions to be suitable for the fish.

Do you have a conductivity meter? That would give you a good idea, and I'd aim for about 50 microS (30 ppm TDS).

cheers Darrel
It's all going to stand for 24 hours before I add the fish and there's quite a deep layer of sphagnum and leaves, the fish are adapted to particularly soft water so I think they'll be OK. Before I add the fish I'm also going to dose it with the blackwater extract I'm cooking up.
Plenty of infusoria and moina cultures on the go and microworms should arrive tomorrow.
The fish seem to be pretty well conditioned so I'm hoping I might get some fry fairly quickly. I'm pretty sure based on what sparky weasel said that the ramshorns have been eating the eggs. The only thing that's different in the main tank than when they bred without my intervention is the number of ramshorns. Assassin snails arrived today and one was sucking out a ramshorn within 20 minutes of going in the tank so hopefully they keep them in check. I know they might eat some of the shrimp too but they've got an awful lot of snails to get through first, I may remove them once they've done their job.
 

louis_last

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If anyone is curious, and for the benefit of anyone reading this and planning to attempt something similar, here are some videos of what I've set up as well as some of the cultures I'll be using for the fry.
 

louis_last

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If you watch this one 480p and full screen you can see the clouds of individual infusorians fairly well. I have no idea whether they might be rotifers or paramecium or something else entirely, they were extracted from water vacuumed from the main aquarium and cultured here on hay sold for use as small animal bedding.
 

louis_last

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No luck with the adults in a seperate breeding tank so I'm going back to the drawing board. they're back in the main tank and I'm going to condition them for a couple of weeks with the microworms I bought then try them in the breeding tank again. I've also reduced the temperature in the main tank back down to 23c from 26c as it seems to me like they were happier at these temperatures and the males would perform their courtship displays more often. Micro worms for a couple of weeks and then I'll try them again in the breeding tank at 23c and see how they do.
If anyone has any other ideas they would be gratefully received.
 

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