So you bought a fish, it had babies, and now you’re hooked? We’ve all been there. Be careful. You’re addicted now!
I don’t think anybody sets up a fish tank with the intention of breeding their fish. I certainly didn’t but when my platy first had it’s babies, I was hooked. Then I saw mum eat one of the babies, and I was horrified. I fished them all out and put them in separate tank. I put in a heater, and was shocked the next day when I realised that I had boiled them all. Opps!
What type of fish breeder are you?
Don’t go away just yet. I know “fish breeder” sounds kind of intense. But you’re fish had babies so now you’re a breeder, of sorts!
There are three types of breeders:
1. Mother Nature – you are happy for Darwinism to take it’s course, survival of the fittest, you’re not really into babies, you are trying to kill off your fish to switch to gold fish etc. (ps if you are the last type you do realise you can mix tropical and golf fish as long as you cater to the tropical fish water temperature needs right? Or maybe instead of neglecting them hoping they die why not put them up for sale of Gumtree and use the proceeds to buy the fish you want?).
2. The fish are there to look good, it’s not a day care – you don’t enjoy watching mum gobble up her newborns but nor are you going to set up a whole new tank for the babies. They are fish, not puppies.
3. Fish lover and amateur breeder extraordinaire – you are going to do everything you can keep the little ones alive so you never have to buy fish again. You start dreaming about swarms of babies and selling them to pet shops.
I used to be a No.3, now I’m a No.2. Here is what I learned along the way.
Fish Babies 101
1. Natural selection – yes mum has just given birth to swarms of fry but remember that only about half will get to adulthood. Being eaten, disease, survival of the fittest, that’s just how it is. If you keep it in mind now, then you’ll be less upset down the track.
2. You may have picked up on it by reading up till now, but fish eat other fish. If you want your babies to survive they need to be separated until they are too small to fit into another’s mouth. If you’re not sure, don’t put them with the adults. It’s gut wrenching when you are on your knees desperately trying to locate the baby but knowing it was probably someone’s breakfast. I actually remember introducing one baby and the angel fish ate it in about 10 seconds. That was jaw dropping moment.