SNOW AND BIANCA DO IT AGAIN!
The fry from the forth spawn between Snow and Bianca all ended up stunted and deformed due to being the subject of a vinegar-eel-only feeding experiment. But Snow's beautiful fins and Bianca's white opaque heritage were something I really wanted to combine, so I decided to spawn them again. This is her third and his second spawn and they seemed know all the moves. After a week of conditioning, which consisted simply of giving them each a third helping of Betta Bio-Gold pellets at lunch time, I placed them in the spawning tank with her inside a glass tube. Twenty-four hours later I released her. This is sooner than usual. I did it because their jars had been next to each other for the previous week so I figured they should be in the mood to spawn. Eighteen hours after being released, I witnessed their first embrace. Bianca's fin damage was very minor, I assume because they both knew what to do and had spawned with each other before so they didn't need a lot of dancing to get started. Bianca began dropping eggs two hours later. This is longer than I would normally expect for two experienced fish, but Snow is still slightly smaller than Bianca and I assume that created some problems. Five hours after the first eggs appeared, the fish were done and the bubble nest was packed with hundreds of eggs.
I was very impressed by the sudden increase in growth rate of the forth spawn once I switched over the baby brine shrimp. Therefore, I plan to feed the fry from this fifth spawn almost entirely on baby brine shrimp and see how their growth compares to the previous spawns. This will also enable me to test the rumor that fry raised on only brine shrimp will develop swim bladder problems. Please check back often for updates on how many eggs hatched, how the fry manage with the new Microbe Killer 3000 filter 75-gallon per hour filter, and how well they mature on a diet of only baby brine shrimp.
NEW!!! Spawn update All did not go well. For some reason Snow forgot how to blow fallen eggs back into the bubble nest. Twelve hours after the spawn, virtually all of the eggs were on the bottom of the tank. Snow was hovering over them in a daze. From time to time he'd pick a few up and spit them out in the direction of the nest but he wasn't enclosing them in bubbles or getting close enough to the nest for them to stick. I removed him and three days later the eggs hatched... all 14 of them. It seems that without the male to keep them clean, mold attacked many of them. Of the 14 fry, all but three died when a sudden outbreak of brown algae swamped the tank. Most of the fry died while cleaning out the tank. Three survived and have been going great since then.
This may have sounded like a failed spawn, but I learned something interesting from it: fry eggs are covered with a slime coating that seems to encourage to growth of mold and/or algae. This slime glues the eggs together. So, for my next spawn, assuming Snow again fails to care for the eggs, I plan to stir the eggs up every hour to see if this helps prevent mold and/or algae from attacking them.
NEW UPDATE!!! The surviving three fry continue to do well. The largest is one-inch long and the smallest is 3/4-inch long. The largest, whom I've named Killer for the agressive way he attacks Grindal worms, started showing a faint hint of red in his fins on 2 September. By 10 September the color was definite. It would apear he's going to have coloration similar to Flame Junior (From the second spawn and whom I've renamed Stripe) except he/she should be a veil tail.
Final update: The fish made it to maturity but the color and fin shape weren't what I was hoping for so I gave them to some friends.
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