Aquarium Bible

Suitable Food for Fish Fry

Suitable Food for Fish Fry
Regardless of how good the qualities of dried foods nowadays, they are not good enough to condition fish for breeding. Spawning will be improved by feeding your breeding stock live food, or they’re frozen equivalents, or recently killed meaty type food. Live food that is fed to your fishes should be bought, or cultured if you know how too. Live food that has been caught from the wild, a garden pond for instance, could introduce diseases into the aquarium. Also be sure to fully thaw out frozen food before offering it to your fishes, and never re-freeze any food. Various live foods can be obtained from aquatic stores; these include Daphnia (water fleas), Bloodworms (the larvae of flies or midges), and Brineshrimp, to name but a few. When bringing larger fish into breeding condition offer them chopped earthworms and Bloodworms, and conversely, if you have fish that need vegetable matter in their diet give them blanched lettuce and spinach leaves, or soft peas.
When bringing fish into breeding condition feed them three times a day at regular intervals. Ensure that any uneaten food is removed after a few minutes, although live food can be left in the aquarium for your fishes to browse on.

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Food for the Offspring

The offspring need special care and attention if they are to grow and be healthy. They need high protein content in their diet if they are not to become stunted, therefore adult fish flake, even when ground up, is not at all suitable. Foods that are specially produced for rearing fry, which also promote growth, are available from aquatic stores; these can also be supplemented with certain live foods that will be particularly good for your fry. The fry should be fed more often than adult fish, probably four to five times a day. Be careful how much you put in at any one time.

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The fry of egg-layers are usually first fed on “Infusoria”, this is by enlarge an obsolete term, but is still used by fishkeepers to represent a variety of minute or microscopic animal and vegetable organisms, which develop in an infusion of decaying organic matter.
Infusoria cultures can be prepared quite simply; the spores are airborne so there is no need to obtain starter cultures. All you need is an open jar three quarters full of aquarium water, to which you add either a small amount of potato (lightly boiled may be of benefit), banana skin, dried lettuce leaves, or hay, allow this to stand for about a week, after which it will become cloudy with Infusoria. When it is time to feed the fry just pour a little of this cloudy water into the aquarium, then top up with aquarium water again.
If you have a few of these cultures on the go at once it will give you a constant supply of Infusoria.

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As your fry grow the next food after Infusoria is newly hatched Brineshrimp. Unlike Infusoria, to cultivate Brineshrimp you will need to purchase the dried Brineshrimp eggs from an aquatic dealer. They will be supplied in sealed airtight containers and it is imperative that they remain in a dry and cool place; otherwise, if they get damp they will fail to hatch.
Some species can be fed straight away on Brineshrimp, but it is always a good idea to include Infusoria as well, just in case some of the smaller fry can’t manage the Brineshrimp, that way none of the fry will starve to death.

Take a one litre plastic bottle and half fill it with tap water, the water should be kept at 75ºF (24ºC), add to it one and a half teaspoons of salt (aquarium or sea salt preferably), then add a quarter of a teaspoon of the eggs. You will then need to place a piece of airline into the bottle and attach the other end of the airline to an airpump. Run the airpump, which will circulate the eggs in the bottle, after about 36 hours the eggs will have hatched and the shells will float to the surface, at this point you can remove the airline. Wait for a further 30 minutes and you will see the newly hatched Brineshrimp at the base of the bottle, place a plastic tube into the bottle and siphon the minute shrimps through, either clean dry linen, nylon, or paper towel. They can now be washed in fresh water and fed to the fry.

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This minute worm is also bought as a culture; you may be able to obtain a starter culture from another aquarist. Microworms feed on the surface of cereal-based foods, therefore you will need to mix up some oatmeal with a little water (porridge), be sure to only use water. Let the mixture cool then spread a layer of it, about 1cm (0.4inch) thick, onto the base of a container or saucer, take a small spoonful of the culture and place it onto the porridge, put a lid or cover (which must have a few small air holes in it), over the container, and keep it in a warm place 70º-75ºF (21-24C).

After a few days the worms will have multiplied and will be climbing around the sides of the container, you can wipe these off with a small brush and feed them directly to the fry.
You will need to start fresh cultures after about five days, after that it starts to turn foul. All you need to do then is make a fresh porridge mix, and place some of your old culture on to the top of your new porridge mix. If you use about three containers you will have a succession of cultures for continuous use.

Microworms make a good second are third food, you can also start to introduce good quality fine dry foods in small amounts, as well as sifted daphnia, to get them used to variety.
Many fishkeepers evolve their own variations and techniques when culturing live foods, experience leads to individual preferences.
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