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Breeding setups?

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Breeding setups?

Post  Blither on Thu 04 Jun 2015, 18:55

So, after picking up my 6 gorgeous babies from Rob, I'm starting to think about my breeding set up. Pairing and spawning is still a fair way away, but I believe in being prepared. xD

My plan is as follows:

Once paired, I'll keep the best pair and rehome any additional pairs/singles.
The pair will live in my Juwel Vision 260 as a community display tank, alongside diamond tetras (Monkhausia Pittieri) and my peckoltia braueri (again, thank you Rob!).
When they start to show spawning behaviour I'll move them to a bare bottomed 20 gallon with a cone/slate/plant and sponge filter, and allow them to attempt raising the babies.
They'll be fed BBS for as long as possible and gradually weaned onto flake.
Once fry have been free swimming for a few days, I'll move the parents back to the community tank and give them a few weeks rest.

In terms of growing out tanks, I have a 4ft, but my mother is eyeing it up for some angels of her own. What are your thoughts on growing out tank size? What is ideal?

I intend to have breaks between spawns, so will only have one batch at once. It's more for my own enjoyment than a side business!

Ali x

Blither

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Pterophyllum on Thu 04 Jun 2015, 21:43

20 gallons is a good size for a breeder set up with parents.
I would usually be happy to leave a pair with their youngsters for several weeks in a tank that size.
Only feed baby brine shrimp once the babies are free swimming. I usually feed bbs exclusively for the first month, and then start introducing flakes, but continue with the bbs until they're about 3 or 4 months old.
Personally I use a fine quartz gravel substrate (rather than a bare bottom tank) and a few plants as well as a spawning cone (or upturned flowerpot with a marble on the hole) so that the parents feel secure.
I don't worry about gravel cleaning whilst the parents are guarding eggs or wrigglers, and whilst the parents are guarding free swimmers, I only do a water change if there is a severe build up of debris on the bottom & the tank is looking very bad.
When I do water changes, I never change more than 20% at a time usually a couple of times a week, depending how crowded the tank is.
I usually move the babies to a 40 gallon grow on tank when they're starting to look crowded, but 2x 20 gallons would be better, as it lets you sort them by size. The more space you give them, the faster they'll grow. For a large spawn you might need 80 or 100 gallons to raise them to saleable size.

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Blither on Thu 04 Jun 2015, 22:08

Thanks! Hmm, in that case I may keep an eye out for another cheap 20 gallon and see how it goes.

The low amount of water changes surprises me, that may be where I was going wrong before.. I was doing 10% changes morning and night, although I had no help from the parents as they apparently found the eggs delicious.

What are your thoughts on keeping the grow out tanks in the unheated garage with regular aquarium heaters? It'd be more convenient space-wise but I'm worried about temperature fluctuations, I'm not sure how much to trust a heater.

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Pterophyllum on Thu 04 Jun 2015, 22:40

In my opinion excessive water changes can cause more problems than smaller less frequent ones, I am in the minority on this, and I'm in the minority when it comes to using gravel bases. I think the two go hand in hand. The argument for doing frequent daily changes is to prevent the build up of debris which harbours bacteria and can cause finrot etc. My argument is that that's only a problem if the fry hang around the bottom, something they tend to do when nervous in a bare bottomed sterile tank. I use quartz gravel to encourage bacterial growth! My argument is that the beneficial bacteria will break down small particles of debris before it can harbour the pathogenic bacteria that cause infections, and that the quartz gravel provides minute crevices which keep the particles away from the fins of young fry should they venture to the bottom. Something they're less likely to do if they feel secure.

I suspect that a lot of the fin damage that people put down to bacterial infection is actually chemical burn due to chlorine in tap water or possibly even the chemicals added to it to try to neutralize the harmful chemicals. Personally I store water in an old tank with an airstone running for a few days before it's used for water changes, I don't treat it in any other way.

I know my methods aren't conventional, but it works for me, after all, you've seen the fins on my babies!

The main issue of running tanks in a garage is not keeping them warm or stable, provided you have adequate heaters, it's the running cost. for a 20 gallon tank, you might use a 200 watt heater, running indoors, it might be on for 25% of the time in a typical house, that works out to about a £1 a week. In a garage, in the winter, it will probably be on for most of the time, i.e. £4 a week.
Good insulation can reduce that, but having the tank in a well insulated room is much easier!

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Deans_Angels on Thu 04 Jun 2015, 23:25

Blither wrote:Once paired, I'll keep the best pair and rehome any additional pairs/singles.

To me Very Happy

That said, Postman Pat might bring me some, one day soon.

You might find that you can't control your fish spawning again and that can create a need for more tanks, not only because you have more fish, but because when they're of a young age they don't mix well due to size difference. Growth is so rapid that anything more than couple of weeks difference matters. As they mature a bit, they will catch each other up. So 20's will give you twice as much flexibility over 40's. 40's are obviously great once they're 2 to 3 months old, but time soon passes by after that stage because they're not so demanding.

Also... you know the really nice ones that you want to keep for yourself, well, they'll need a permanent tank too!

Of course it's not just about the amount of water a tank will hold, remember your young developing angels don't need a very deep tank, no harm in a deep tank, your choice, but you increase your capacity through water surface area. I have 3 x 40's but they're equivalent to having 6 off 48x12's because they are between 24" and 26" front to back. Now that's capacity, but it's not flexibility. Flexibility costs more, but you'll need a bit of both, in the end.

I'd keep it 'in house' for now, keep it tidy and revisit it in 12 months. No harm, you could have some in the house and if needed some in the garage, summer months won't be as harsh in the garage, but I know what becomes of things relegated to the garage Suspect

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Blither on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 08:16

Haha Dean, I'll happily send the spares your way should you want them!

My problem is, I live in a bungalow that I share with my boyfriend and my disabled grandma, who I care for. Because she uses a wheelchair and a hoist thing, the halls and routes through the rooms have to be unobstructed. This doesn't leave a whole lotta space for tanks, I was lucky to get the 260l in. My other half won't have a tank in our bedroom as the noise from the filter annoys him, so I'm left with the kitchen breakfast bar, which fits a 20 gallon but cuts down on cooking space!

The garage, however, is enormous, with floor cupboards running all the way around that I could have tanks on. It's not particularly well insulated but I could look into that, and an extra few £ a month to heat them won't bankrupt me. I hope. xD

Blither

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Deans_Angels on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 13:29

I'm always looking for more angels Very Happy

Well the answer is obvious, put your other half in the garage and tanks in the bedroom! Twisted Evil

It's a bit of an engineering project to put a tank(s) in a room without taking up floor space for access. In future you could insulate part of the garage (a room within a room) but if you're buying new materials the setup costs will run into the hundreds and then you'll have the dilemma of: If I'm spending hundreds, how big should I make it.

That's the thing, there's always LOTS to think about - that's the challenge and it all takes time. Most people would do it differently if they had to do it all again, so don't worry about getting it 'right first time', because you won't.

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Blither on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 14:36

I'm wondering whether it'd just be better to seal up any draughts/gaps in the garage and put some kind of insulation foam panels around the actual tank, with one side being removable as the viewing access. That way the tank would hold heat better and could be heated with a regular underwater aquarium heater. Since it'd just be a growing out tank before I sell on the babies it could work. I don't plan to start a huge breeding factory anytime soon, I just enjoy raising the babies. And I SAY I won't be keeping any of the babies, however nice, but.. If I made enough spare pocket money from selling a few batches, I could think about getting a slightly more professional solution for more tank capacity in there.

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Deans_Angels on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 15:48

Yes you can insulate a tank in the garage and heat the tank from the inside. Of course they need some light and you wouldn't want to make an airtight seal, because the fish need oxygen.

If your only source of heat is in the tank and you're insulating the tank. The only constant reliable heat source is that which escapes from the gaps in your insulation. Which will be a fraction of 200 watts of energy.

By insulating the garage itself, you're seeking to preserve that 'fraction of 200 watts', that will be next to nothing in the scheme of an uninsulated garage. So yes, block out the drafts and try to keep in whatever slightly warmer air is in there so that there is no chill factor, but doing it that way, the garage insulation would be very 'light touch' because, it's not the garage you're trying to heat, it's the water in the tank.

More correctly, the aim is to keep the water temperature in the tank from dropping. The way to look at heating is more 'how can I keep in the heat that I have' rather than 'how can I heat'. So by insulating the tank, the insulation of the garage becomes fairly (but not totally) irrelevant.

As you'll have guessed, heating the garage is totally uneconomical - it would take about 5kw (5,000 watts) to keep an entire garage anywhere near the temperature you'd need it to be without any insulation around the tanks. If you insulate a garage really well and section it off, you can bring this figure down.

I suppose many hobby fish houses get downsized when the fuel bills start making the decisions.

Deans_Angels

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Blither on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 16:36

That seems like a good solution, then. It may even be possible to construct some kind of insulated MDF box around the tank as it sits on the units, complete with lighting, but I think I may be getting a bit ambitious now. xD The garage will be somewhat insulated whether I have a tank in there or not, as my other half has claimed it as a man cave, but he's only having a small wood burner and chimney in there for when he's using it in the colder months. Smile It does have some natural light as there are windows along the length of the building, but I'm not sure how useful they'll be if there's insulating foam around the tank.

Blither

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Re: Breeding setups?

Post  Deans_Angels on Fri 05 Jun 2015, 22:54

If I were to attempt what you may attempt, I would:

buy insulation boards, like Celotex / Kingspan / Ecotherm - buy the thickest you can afford, it's normally cheaper to buy the thickness you need, rather than doubling up a smaller size.
sit the tank sideways, insulating both the long sides and one back end, so that the viewing window was smaller and could be left off during the day.
sit the tank directly on the insulation board too.
use a cover glass to keep the moisture in.
make all sides taller than the tank, to allow access within the top area (incorporate lighting), on top of which would be a lid, which stays in situ.
use some form of thermal metal tape to hold the structure together.

- not sure about air-holes, you'd need some, however... if you're using an air pump attached to an airstone, and the air pump is mounted outside of the structure, this would replenish the air at the rate of whatever your pump can pump. The lower down your air holes are, the better (heat rises)... thinking about it, a simple 6mm hole drilled 45 degrees up to the top (from outside to in) of the tank edge would be all that was needed, to allow air to escape.

There you have it, fish in a box!
If you're doing two tanks, still sit them sideways together, put them in the same box, with no insulation between them. I suspect that this would make it more thermally efficient (cuts down surface area for heat loss).

You will need to view your fish, which is better from the side, you won't spot problems just looking overhead. So a removable front panel is most likely necessary.

Well, I've created it in my head, let me know if it becomes a reality / modifications.
I've just picked a pair of angels up today, a marble and a silver zebra, I'd better see how they're getting on...

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