How many folks breed fish in their planted tanks?Is that more aesthetic than scapes?

Tom Barr

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I had a conversation with a long time planted hobbyists some months ago about my tanks when he stopped by from out of state. He was most impressed with the general look of the tanks, but the fish and plants and the gardening all equally so.

This got me wondering, why add a few small fish for a scape, that is suppose to be optimal for them..........., but really is not? I mean.....what us really optimal for fish as a Biologist's perspective? We all are Biologist in a sense.

In general, a good plant grower is able to reproduce the plants, you are a good "grower". I think this same metric applies to fish hobbyists. Can they and do they reproduce?

I have had numerous breeding events in the last month with fish species that many would like to breed. But there have been many others over the years, and I use to breed Cichlids before I got into plants so much. If the fish can and do breed, I think that is a good indication they are happy and doing well. If not......well.......then perhaps something else would be the problem.

In some of my tanks, the community of fish likely eats some of the fry, others? They do not. Looking at environmental parameters.....I find with increased water changes and good growth, and with good O2, particularly at night........fish in general......breed at higher frequencies.

This is correlation only, but I start there........I can say the conditions that cause fish to breed in my tanks and in the cases I've had, but it's hard to falsify this type of thing.

Breeding = happy fish
Not breeding= many many things could be why. Hard to rule out all of them

Still, if my fish breed and I have many species.......then I can say what is not causing the issues. Dosing ferts, NO3, or PO4 ppms etc.....CO2 ppm's, pH change or large water changes, etc.

I'd like to be able to say that excess CO2:O2 ratios inhibit breeding, or that plants help breeding etc.......nor sure if I can get evidence to support it though:mad:

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Matt F.

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I usually gauge the health of a tank by wathcing the shrimp...
If they become berried after a few months, the tank is generally healthy. I only have amanos in my 55 gallon, and several of them are berried (although the eggs will not hatch/larvae will not survive in fresh water).
In my previous 20 long, 13 of the 15 amanos became berried within a week after I stopped injecting CO2...basically all the females were berried. Maybe pH plays a part, too, in addition to O2 and CO2.
I had a low-tech mini-s with aquasoil, several types of mosses and needle leaf java fert and the rcs were breeding like crazy. I had some tigers in that tank, too.

I think as long as the water parameters are good and there is a stable food source, shrimp are good to go.

I've never had a fish reproduce, though. I'm leaving my 55 gallon alone and growing all the plants out, so we'll see in the next few months what happens.

I do see weird behavior for about an hour after the lights go out...a few fish seem to chase eachother and rub up against one another...anybody else notice this with tetras?

In general, I think planted tanks are healthier than non planted...I wonder if this is safe to say...
 
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Biollante

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Healthy Happy Critters

Hi,

I agree, I think breeding is perhaps the best indicator of system health. :)

Healthy happy Tetras will, squabble, feed aggressively and breed (at least attempt), sounds as though you have happy Tetras! The behaviors are what are important, in a community tank the eggs generally are consumed and should there be fry, the odds of survival are even worse. :gw

I agree that planted tanks are healthier and have greater stability and are generally nicer and more interesting, though I may be a tad prejudiced. :cool:

Biollante
 

SuperColey1

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My tanks have gone from full on (over 30ppm) pressurised with EI + some more, scaped and rescaped to non CO2 with no water changes for a year yet all the while keeping the same fish and I breed Corys and shrimp. No difference in behaviour with or without CO2 addition nor with high or no fert addition.

Fish first and plants second with scaping the last priority for me.

Here is my latest batch of Corys (10 survivors to this stage on this batch from 120 eggs retrieved):

Released from a net after 2 weeks into a 10ltr tank - (probs about 10mm nose to tail here and a month old here) :
CIMG4484.jpg


And 5 months later in the main tank and now an inch plus (females a little larger):
DSCF1688.JPG


The adult females will reach 3 " at 9-12 months, the males 2" - 2.5"

No point in showing the cherry shrimp. They will breed in the filter cannister and regularly do!!!

AC
 

Tug

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Not every situation is the same, but my Angelfish breed like rabbits in the planted tank. Snails and other things that feed on the eggs. That is an on going battle, attrition, but not from fertilizer or water changes, as far as I can tell.

Unfortunately, I missed an opportunity at the LFS. A hobbyist was telling me they used black worms to encourage there fish to bread. I wish I asked if he had them in a planted tank. What could be the harm in providing a little ambiance to go along with some good food.
 

fjf888

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In my 72G I keep a school of Diamond Tetras, full EI, water changes at 50% weekly. I don't try to breed them, but I find a few fry a minimum of monthly in the sump of my wet dry, when I have the time I raise them and add them to the tank when they reach about an inch long. The males are frequently displaying so I am sure they breed very regularly in the tank, but between them and angels fry that remain in the tank have no chance. This has occurred pre and post CO2 additions to this particular tank, so CO2 addition and plants seem to have no effect on the breeding of the diamond tetra.

I have added 24 Dwarf Neon Rainbows recently, I will let you know if they breed (they should).
 

nipat

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Just when I'm upgrading to a 345 litres tank, to be my first serious planted tank...

coryfries101013.jpg


I'm facing Cory overpopulation problem, 23 total now.
Last year there were just 3 of them.

Plants help the fries to survive better, more hard to reach places
for eggs and fries.

Thinking about how many there will be next year, I think I have to
dedicate a separate tank for them, with less plants. So that most eggs
will be eaten before hatching.

Black Neons have been breeding often too, but just one fry survives so far.
blackneonfry.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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It does seem few folks breed in planted tanks that are really into scaping and pretty pictures.
Every client I have has had some rather nice fish, that even plain old aquarist without plants would love to have said they bred.

Is this due to a focus on the scape or the fish?
Perhaps this is mere correlation............but..........perhaps not.

I have no answer nor expect there is one really.
One can gain skills as an aquarist and be terrible at scaping, but the reverse also seems true..........good with scaping, lousy with fish.

This begs this next question:
Do we still listen to good scapers about fish then when they lack much fish skill and experience?

Many seem to. I think breeding with shrimp is a good metric as well, but.......shrimp breed really easy, comparatively.
Still, if this occurs, and we can measure their environmental parameters well and confirm them, then we can rule out old myths pretty well , even with the rarer more so called sensitive fish and shrimp species.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

fjf888

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If I'm really trying to breed something, the focus is on breeding and not the scape. What I do, and probably a lot of others as well is setup a 10g or 20g with whatever moss on rocks I currently have plus hornwort, water sprite, hygro, and moneywort plants that are truly hard to kill. I think having a rudimentary knowledge of plants is very helpful for breeding. It takes some pressure off the water changes and helps provide some microfauna once up and running for awhile. I can just throw in an adjustable powerhead for gentle water movement and let the plants do the work. This setup works well for spawning and raising for the most part. And a lot of these plants are fine with a bare bottom tank.

I tried to do a scaped guppy tank with no CO2 via the walstad method (I didn't want to deal with CO2 and didn't want to use excel either), i figured why not try one of the easiest to breed fish. The tank took off and did real well initially, but I found maintaining it a a pain. Practically speaking if you need to move your fish, fish out the males or just cull and you have a heavily planted tank with sand/soil mix its hard not to make a mess. After 9 months I dismantled it due to lack of time and motivation to keep it up.

So its probably mutually exclusive. I don't think most of us (unless perhaps you can show us the way) have the ability the manage scape and breeding simultaneously. At least I can't.
 

Hallen

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Hmmm I wont say yes, or no on that subject. Very interessting one tho! In general it's easier to get a succesfully growing planted tank in comparison to breed(some) fish. It's very much possible to breed fish in a planted tank, far more easy than getting plants to grow in a average breedingtank.

However it differs alot from trying to get fish to breed by doing large water changes, making specific demands (for as far as those are assumptions are accurate). I've seen fish breed in very poluted tanks, does that make the assumtions about their demands wrong? Are the fish trying to survive as a species by reproducing? - How about the size of a school, would they breed until the tank is full of will it stop at a certain level if the conditions are right?

I am a planted tank fanatic, however my fish show active behaviour, eat well and have nice colors. They show mating 'dances' but do not breed. Does this mean they are unhappy? I dont know,I cant speak with fish. My main focus is on growing plants, shortly followed by scaping. However if my fish show any sign of bad health I say to hell with the plants animals go always first.

In my opinion if the conditions are normal and they breed it can be used as a signal that they are happy. On the otherside: Are non breeding fish unhappy in 'good' conditions? I dont think so myself.

Just raising some questions and thoughts that pop in to my mind. :)

BTW: New guy here, will subscribe and introduce when my paypal is sorted out.
 

SuperColey1

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On the blackworm front I've hears of lots of people letting them colonise the substrate. That is the Cory's fav food and they will root around for a treat all day long. Can't get them in the UK but turning the heater off for 4 days and then dropping frozen bloodworm seems to do the trick.

On the can you scape whilst breeding question I'll let you guys judge. This is the tank that the Corys breed in. There is actually one 5 month old juvy on the far left of the foreground. As you can see I'm more of an actual 'aquascape' than an 'underwater landscape' kind of scaper. I like my setups to look like natural underwater setups :)

I think its the same argument as those who say you can't scape using the Walstad or Tom Barr ;) Non Co2 methods.

You can do whatever you want if you put your mind and skills to it.

DSCF1686.JPG


As for catching fish in a planted tank. Use syphons of different diameters. Squeeze the pump before putting the hose in the water, lower it over fish and release pressure on pump. One fisgh from tank to bucket instantly :)

For bigger fish its still easier to use the bottle trap trick.

On the subject of are fish happy if they are not breeding I would ask this - How do you know they aren't breeding? If they are showing the behaviour as in dancing then they may well be breeding but they or others are disposing of the evidence :)

I used to have a pair of Bolivian Rams in this tank and they bred however they would eat their swarm of wrigglers after a few days. lol. Waste of a few days protectind them before. Ahh to hell with it, gobble gobble. lol

Maybe the fish are breeding but there is nothing to show they actually are.

AC
 
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shoggoth43

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Cory eggs abound in my planted tanks. Can't tell which ones, but they rarely make it. It only takes a few here and there over the months to end up with LOTS of corys though. Rams haven't yet, but they're juveniles and there's no chance any eggs will survive with all the corys in that tank. No discus breeding yet. Angels are too young yet. Yamato shrimp usually have berries. For some reason I can't keep cherry shrimp alive, but the bamboo shrimp do really well. So who knows?

-
S
 

freshwater guy

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My 3 tanks are not scaped as nicely as most of yours but they are all heavily planted. In all my tanks I have fish that are breeding. I use the EI method in 2/3 of my tanks and do not use pressurized CO2 (although some day I'll surely do so). I do dose with Excel daily. In one of my tanks my Pelvicachromis taeniatus breed regularly. They dig caves under the drift wood and are very content protecting their small territories. Barbs have bred in another one of my tanks. Somehow the fry survive in their community tank. My third tank contains Platys and all one has to do is add water to allow them to breed. The fry do love pecking algae off the plants.
All in all I am a firm believer that a planted tank is a healthy tank. In a healthy tank the fish are happy and happy fish breed.
This is a truly wonderful hobby.
John
 

pepetj

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I just can't keep my tanks without plants. Only the ones for in-transit and medicated bath are truly unplanted. My hospital tanks are bare bottom but I do place submersed floating plants in them. Besides the easy to breed Cichlids, I've manged to breed one species of Rainbowfish (M. lacustris) in my densely planted tanks. I'm keeping a somewhat large school of Iriaterina werneri in a heavily planted tank, got them as juveniles about a year ago so they should reach maturity in a few months.

My latest breeding project: I have three Planted Discus tanks as I'm in the process of forming breeding pairs. I have a recently formed pair of Blue Snakeskin throwbacks in a planted Aqueon 26; two Marlboro Reds and four Red Melon Discus in a planted Resun CM-630 (waiting for pairing up); and one Turquoise with three Blue Diamonds and one Cobalt Blue (also waiting for pairing up).

All of these tanks run with semiautomatic pressurized CO2, enriched substrate (e.g. Eco-Complete) and a mixture of plants that tolerate both upper temps (28-30C) and soft/acidic (1.5 to 2 dKH; pH 5.2-5.7) water. I use somewhat bright lighting but allow surface floating plants to dim the tank for the comfort of my Discus. I let some algae grow in driftwood or rocks on purpose. Water change regime is roughly 75% weekly. I use RO processed water (TDS
 

pepetj

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I just can't keep my tanks without plants. Only the ones for in-transit and medicated bath are truly unplanted. My hospital tanks are bare bottom but I do place submersed floating plants in them. Besides the easy to breed Cichlids, I've manged to breed one species of Rainbowfish (M. lacustris) in my densely planted tanks. I'm keeping a somewhat large school of Iriaterina werneri in a heavily planted tank, got them as juveniles about a year ago so they should reach maturity in a few months.

My latest breeding project: I have three Planted Discus tanks as I'm in the process of forming breeding pairs. I have a recently formed pair of Blue Snakeskin throwbacks in a planted Aqueon 26; two Marlboro Reds and four Red Melon Discus in a planted Resun CM-630 (waiting for pairing up); and one Turquoise with three Blue Diamonds and one Cobalt Blue in a Fluval Osaka 155 (also waiting for pairing up).

All of these tanks run with semiautomatic pressurized CO2, enriched substrate (e.g. Eco-Complete) and a mixture of plants that tolerate both upper temps (28-30C) and soft/acidic (1.5 to 2 dKH; pH 5.2-5.7) water. I use somewhat bright lighting but allow surface floating plants to dim the tank for the comfort of my Discus. I let some algae grow in driftwood or rocks on purpose. Water change regime is roughly 75% weekly. I use RO processed water (TDS
 

Tom Barr

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Hallen;56701 said:
Hmmm I wont say yes, or no on that subject. Very interessting one tho! In general it's easier to get a succesfully growing planted tank in comparison to breed(some) fish. It's very much possible to breed fish in a planted tank, far more easy than getting plants to grow in a average breedingtank.

However it differs alot from trying to get fish to breed by doing large water changes, making specific demands (for as far as those are assumptions are accurate). I've seen fish breed in very poluted tanks, does that make the assumtions about their demands wrong?

Good point, I too have seen similar cases, I would say yes to your assumption of falsification. We need to know more about the tanks, but if it's justa case of pollution, then perhaps yes.
Falsification certain brings into question the issue.

Perhaps it is just the fact aquarist have the right age and sized adults, and feed them well for breeding?
I take good care of my fish this way, and many breeders find good feeding results in breeding events.

Are the fish trying to survive as a species by reproducing? - How about the size of a school, would they breed until the tank is full of will it stop at a certain level if the conditions are right?

The carrying capacity will likely be reached, but if the tank is nelgected........the entire tank might crash as a result.

I am a planted tank fanatic, however my fish show active behaviour, eat well and have nice colors. They show mating 'dances' but do not breed. Does this mean they are unhappy? I dont know,I cant speak with fish. My main focus is on growing plants, shortly followed by scaping. However if my fish show any sign of bad health I say to hell with the plants animals go always first.

In my opinion if the conditions are normal and they breed it can be used as a signal that they are happy. On the otherside: Are non breeding fish unhappy in 'good' conditions? I dont think so myself.

I agree with you there.
Breeding behavior is a function of age, proper cohorts, feeding etc..........not just plan tparameters like light/CO2/nutrients, but many claim that nutrients are so detrimental to fish...but the evidence is really lacking, and many who claim these things seem to lack much in the way of Breeding ability and have confirmed any of these assumptions/hypothesis, or have tried to falsify them.
This is particularly..and frankly....painfully true in the Planted hobby.

Few plant aquascapist tend to focus on fish and breeding siutations.
I wonder if it's just this human factor and choice, vs the nutrients or other environmental claims/hypotheses.

Seems more as you suggested with your observation: polluted or not, fish still breed, and even if not, they still can exhibit breeding behavior or perhaps there are no opportunities for breredign to occur due to age, cohorts etc?
Maybe food etc?

Still, if you seek to improve and learn your skills as a plant aquascapist, then it should include top shape plants, correct?
Should this not also extend to fish? We reproduce plants, should we not also be doing the same things with fish where possible??

Thank you for the input!!

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Singtoh

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Hello All,

I also have a heavily planted 20g tank, co2 injected and EI auto dose every day, %50 water change every week. It seems since I started adding Indian Almond Leaf a few months back, that my fish are breeding often. Maybe it is just coincidence with the IAL who knows. Anyway, I just sold a batch of 40 Bushy Nose Longfin Plecos and I read here that some of you are having success with Cory Cats. Again, it "seems" that after the addition of IAL my Albino Cory Cats are putting eggs out at least once every two weeks(I have two females and one male), I have had these Cory's for 3 years and only once prior to adding IAL in that three year period have I ever seen eggs, and I allways look. My Pleco's have been in the tank for only 6 months. I was wondering if you guys with the Cory's could give me a tip on how to get these cory eggs to hatch? I have had only two actually hatch out of 1000+ eggs. I move the eggs to a 20g shrimp tank and bubble air and good flow over them and have also tried Malachyte Green to keep the mold away, but they always go moldy, with or without the Malachyte Green. The two cory's that did hatch out, I did nothing but throw the eggs in the shrimp tank. I moved the two that did hatch to another tank to quickly and they died, but they did live for a couple of weeks. The Pleco's were dead easy, not the case with the Albino Cory's. Oh, one more thing. About a month ago I put one of those air curtain things in the tank for night time airiation(before that I was using a airstone. It had what I think is a lead bar so to speak going thru the middle of it and now I am getting no breeding activity at all?? I removed the lead bar thing going thru it two days ago and am using it without and will see if the breeding begins again. Do you think the "lead" would cause things not to breed?? That is the only that has changed in the tank in the past months, so I guess I will see if breeding starts again. Maybe this is posted in the wrong area to ask these questions, sorry if this is the case? Thanks for any tips you all could pass my way.

Cheers,

Singtoh
 

SuperColey1

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I think you're trying too hard.

I take the eggs from the main tank a few hours after laying to give them time to harden a little and then put them in a little 'catching' net which hooks over the rim of a 10litre tank. About 250 eggs):
CIMG3050.jpg

full%20front.jpg


No chemicals nothing. Just the flow of the tank water. No need for fungicides etc.

When they hatch I feed them a very fine crumb. like 'Hikari first bites'. I just drop it into the net and leave it. small amounts a couple of times a day. Shrimps keep the net clean from the outside. I carry on the usual dosing and weekly 50% water changes and empty the net into a 'takeaway' tub whilst cleaning. About 120 'hatchlings there'
fryday1.jpg


After 2 or 3 weeks. I tip the net into the 10ltr and let them swim around freely. They learn about flow pretty quick. The filter on the 10ltr (not the old DIY one above) is a 200ltr external.
coryfry.jpg


From th 4 week stage I will crush up flake and drop it in the tank

So 250 eggs, 120ish hatched, 10 survivors to 5 months. Need to improve my 1 month to 5 month ratio but no problem for the first month

AC
 

Singtoh

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SuperColey1;56782 said:
I think you're trying too hard.

I take the eggs from the main tank a few hours after laying to give them time to harden a little and then put them in a little 'catching' net which hooks over the rim of a 10litre tank. About 250 eggs):
CIMG3050.jpg

full%20front.jpg


No chemicals nothing. Just the flow of the tank water. No need for fungicides etc.

When they hatch I feed them a very fine crumb. like 'Hikari first bites'. I just drop it into the net and leave it. small amounts a couple of times a day. Shrimps keep the net clean from the outside. I carry on the usual dosing and weekly 50% water changes and empty the net into a 'takeaway' tub whilst cleaning. About 120 'hatchlings there'
fryday1.jpg


After 2 or 3 weeks. I tip the net into the 10ltr and let them swim around freely. They learn about flow pretty quick. The filter on the 10ltr (not the old DIY one above) is a 200ltr external.
coryfry.jpg


From th 4 week stage I will crush up flake and drop it in the tank

So 250 eggs, 120ish hatched, 10 survivors to 5 months. Need to improve my 1 month to 5 month ratio but no problem for the first month

AC

Hello SuperColey1,

Thanks for the reply. Ya, I have basically given up on the fungicide stuff after the first couple of times that it didn't work. Putting the eggs directly in the flow of a filter with air bubbles doesn't seem to keep the fungus away either. You sure are doing alot better than I am, I can't even get past the fungus stage on the eggs, never mind having any hatch except that fluke of having two hatch out. These past few scattering of eggs i just left in the main tank and had no survivors. The female that deposits the eggs eats them if I don't remove them about 5-10 minutes after she deposits them. I'll keep trying and see if I can get some to hatch, but not so easy so far. Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

Cheers,

Singtoh
 

SuperColey1

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Try adding more males to the tank. They will distract her and pester her during the laying and then she should forget where she lays.

My female cory doesn't go after the eggs, nor does anything else, Rasboras, shrimps, snails etc. I live them an hour or 2 and then start rolling them all off gently into the net and then transfer them. 3-5 days later wrigglers appear.

You could try and hang a net in the main tank. It just nedds to have good circulation and then you'll be ok.

If not try some Cajeput (teatree) oil mixed with water 1ml:500ml (Melafake) which is a fungicide and bacteria killer.

AC