by Lorne E Williams
After having been out of the tropical fish hobby for about ten years I bought two pairs of guppies at the PVAS auction and decided to give fish raising another shot. They were very healthy and seemed to be well taken care of, also at the auction I bought several nice Java Fern plants and some Water Sprite.
I had set up a ten gallon aquarium a week previously and used a inside corner filter. The substrate I used was small natural gravel. I tested the PH and it was about 7.1.
I planted the plants in the substrate and made sure the water in the fish bag was the same as the aquariums water and released the fish into the aquarium. The fish did well and about a month and a half both of the females were looking very pregnant and I removed the males to another tank I had started. I put the females in a plastic double hatchery that floated and about a week later one of them gave birth to about 30 fry. After about two more weeks without the other female giving birth I put her in the tank with the males. ( After 3 months she remained bloated and never gave birth.)
I fed the fry baby brine shrimp, OSI Brine Shrimp Flakes, and a Spirulina flake, alternating for three feedings a day. Also they grazed the plants constantly.
The fry grew rapidly with water changes one and two times a week, with about 30 % changed each time. A lot of the information I read suggested that I age and airate the water before I used it but I used freshly drawn water out of the tap and used a declorinater and had no problems. There were very few deformities . I wanted to separate them by sexes at 3 or 4 weeks but by me being a novice I was unsuccessful. They were about two and a half months old before you could distinguish the gonopodium of the males. Looking for color on the tails was no help because all of them had color in their tails.
After I thought all things were going good I was expanding in the hobby and bought an Ammonia testing kit and tested the water for ammonia and it was very high. I immediately changed the water (50 W) and tested again and it was still high but it eventually went down to nondetectable levels. I attribute the high ammonia level to overfeeding and the Water Sprite dying and me not getting the dead plants out.
In conclusion, some things I would do differently would be to use a bare bottomed tank and upgrade my lighting system or use plastic plants for the fry. I decided to change to another species of fish after I had aquariums in closets and other places and my wife started getting aggravated. The problem was I thought they were all so good and didn’t want to cull any of them because I didn’t know what I was looking at and didn’t want to get rid of possibly another strain. The process was very educational and I learned a lot.