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Stripping Fry - A Pictoral Tutorial
by Eric Glab

"Stripping a fish" means removing the eggs from a mouth brooding fish. This takes some practice to do well. I usually don't strip until the Frontosa has been holding for at least three weeks. This enables me to put the fry in a breeder basket without "tumbling" them. I like to strip on the floor, so that if I did lose grip of the female Frontosa, she won't fall far. My wife insists on the towel.

Make sure that your hands are wet before handling the fish, and try to cause as little stress on the fish as possible by having your bucket of tank water ready. Some people like to use a device to open the female's mouth, I prefer to use my fingernail.

Though it looks like I'm squeezing her, I'm not. Be firm but don't hold her too loosely that she flips out of your hand. Be extra gentle on the mouth, damage can be permanent.

The fry will start to fall out of the mother's mouth. In this instance, I am stripping at four weeks. When the fry are in an advanced development as shown here, they will actually attempt to swim back into the females mouth.

You may have to move the female's head around a bit in the bucket in order to get out all the fry. Look into the female's mouth when you think you are done to confirm there are no stragglers. Put her back into the tank gently with her mouth facing up so that she doesn't hold any air.

About twenty healthy fry were produced from this six inch female. You can see the yolk sacs are still there after four weeks. The fry will follow your fingers if you hold them together. They recognize the dark space as their mothers mouth.

The fry tend to huddle together for a day or two at this stage. I will now put them into their own breeder basket to give them good circulation. Keep the light off for a few days in the fry tank and then begin feeding. Turn the light off on the adult tank as well, for the rest of the evening. The less stress the better. Enjoy your new Frontosas! □


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