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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Usually, I strip my females at about two weeks after they spawn. This typically led to zero casualties, but I've been busy lately, forcing me to wait another 4-7 days. At 3 weeks, the fry are fully developed, but the stress on the female has been too overwhelming for them... lost 2 otopharynx lithobates and 2 Protomelas Taenioatus :( I try to use a soft cloth instead of a net to hold them while I try to guide the fry out of their mouth, thinking this would REDUCE the stress, not make it worse!
After I stripped my Red Empresses, I put them in a DIY floating basket to temporarily recover...obviously it didn't help-they got blood red streaks all over, with greyish-black stress marks on the fins. Shortly after, they went belly up. (Aggression is limited while they are holding, lots of other fish to "take one for the team") Even though I've successfully stripped the fry from every female, I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do to prevent deaths like this, other than removing her to a holding tank? Gotta know quick, got a Lethrinops Intermedius, Sciaenochromis Fryeri, and my last Lithobates holding :thumb: BTW, I do have an egg tumbler, but I prefer to use it only when I have to.
 

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It seems to me that a soft cloth (or any kind of cloth) wouldn't be great for the slime coat on the fish. I'm not sure what caused the red streaks or the stress marks, but that could be it.

Any time I've stripped fish, I've just held them softly in the net. I've used one of my softer nets to do it, but I just try to be as quick as possible. Have the fry bucket right next to the tank, net them, hold their mouth open with a toothpick or paper clip, give them a few quick dips to let everyone out, and then immediately drop them back in the tank.

In my experience, this was quick enough that barely anyone noticed, and the mama was lost in the mix before everyone else calmed down from me swinging a net around in the tank. I've never lost a fish this way.
 

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I stripped my yellow lab this weekend, first time for me. I held her with a net and stripped the eggs into a cup. Put her back into the tank and it's like she never noticed. I didn't keep any eggs though, they were hybrids.
 

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I normally just keep my hand wet and hold onto them. I have not had a problem hurting the fish or stressing them out to bad. I use a tooth pick to open their mouth's and then dunk them in a bucket of water.
 

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i'd say the cloth is what did them in, to be honest. that would definitely disrupt their slime coat (read: immune system) a lot more than a gentle, wet hand.
 

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It seems to me that a soft cloth (or any kind of cloth) wouldn't be great for the slime coat on the fish. I'm not sure what caused the red streaks or the stress marks, but that could be it.
I agree that this is likely the culprit. The only other possibility is that the fish were already starting to get sick before you stripped them and the stress tipped them over the edge.

Here's how I strip females:
1. Set up a bowl with about two inches of tank water
2. Net female into the bowl.
3. Wet hand and grab female. Being careful not to squeeze around the gill area.
4. Use toothpick to open mouth and let the fry swim out. Sometimes I move the female back and forth a bit to create a slight current of water into/out of her mouth.
5. Return mom directly to the main tank.
6. Dump bowl full of fry into fry tank.
 

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I use the same steps that Kanorin uses. I've never lost a fry or female using the exact same steps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone, will try that next time! :thumb:
 

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The paper clip method and all steps above are well documented and considered good practice.

Just wanted to let you know that a couple of months ago I have read about a slightly different method of extracting eggs from the female. All steps (get female out, wet hands, hold gently etc) are the same except the paper clip. This guy uses a 10 ml plastic syringe full of tank water without the needle of course. Basically what he`s doing is that when holding the female in the bowl used for extraction he gently pushes the syringe a couple of millimetres in her mouth and then gently takes out the water from it. This creates a current and the female opens her mouth and all babies are out. I have asked him why would you use the syringe instead of the good old paper clip and he said that sometimes if you push too hard with the paper clip you could damage the female`s teeth. :wink:
This guy is a reputable cichlid owner in our area.
I have never tried this method nor the clip one as I have just gotten into this hobby, started with juvies and now have a couple of females holding and couple of fry-survivors in the tank.

Hope this helps somebody.
 

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I use small syringes daily for my kids meds, and I'm trying to figure out how I could draw back the plunger one-handed while holding the female? I do use the handle end of a 1mm syringe as my "paper clip" though. And if I have to get individual fry out of a group, I'll use a 10mm syringe to suck up my target.
 

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I think the idea is to fill the syringe with tank water before you grab the female. You then use the syringe to carefully inject a slight stream of water into her mouth.
 

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I see a lot of threads about stripping fry. Is there some advantage to stripping rather than just letting the females spit naturally? If I decide to keep fry, I just remove the holding female to a plastic breeder box with a partition on the bottom in a separate tank. I also throw in a few stems from a plastic plant in the breeder basket. After about three weeks, she will spit them out and they hide below the partition among the plant stems and the female goes back into the main tank. I don't get the hassle of trying to pry their mouths open to get the fry out early.

Enlighten me! :D
 

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Freaky Fish said:
I see a lot of threads about stripping fry. Is there some advantage to stripping rather than just letting the females spit naturally? If I decide to keep fry, I just remove the holding female to a plastic breeder box with a partition on the bottom in a separate tank. I also throw in a few stems from a plastic plant in the breeder basket. After about three weeks, she will spit them out and they hide below the partition among the plant stems and the female goes back into the main tank. I don't get the hassle of trying to pry their mouths open to get the fry out early.

Enlighten me! :D
You usually get more fry when you strip. If you strip the eggs day 1 and tumble, you can get the most. Some are naturally lost to rot or die in the mothers mouth after hatching.

Separating a female can sometimes be more stressful for the female. First, she has to get used to the new tank/box and feel comfortable enough to let the babies out. Then, she has to be reintriduced to the tank after being separated - automatic drop to the bottom of the pecking order if she's gone long enough. Stripping lets you get the babies out and put mamma back in before the other fish even notice. I do it during the middle of a water change.

Those are the 2 advantages I know of.
 

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Another big advantage is that you get the babies out sooner, so the mama doesn't have to go quite as long without food.

Translation: healthier mama fish who can breed again sooner.
 

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I will also say that I use Kanorins method and it works like a charm. IMO, getting her right back into the main tank so she can take refuge is the right way. Mine always eat right away after stripping and show minimal stress.
 

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I'm still a novice, but a month ago I had two holding labs and decided to strip them. One of them had spawned just two months prior and looked under weight so I wanted to get her to eat. I didn't actually want the fry.

Anyway, I used the basic procedure discussed by others. I just put the fish one at a time into a container and held her with my bare hand in the water while opening her mouth. Both of these fish were young and on the small side so it was hard to get the fry out of their small mouths. The only negative was that I apparenly got too rough with one of them and the toothpick left a dent in her lower lip. It is gone now, but I could see it for about 2 weeks after stripping.

Next time I will look for a wider tool to avoid a sharp point of contact, but with a small fish that does not want to open its mouth, I'm not sure what I can get in there that will be wider than a toothpick.
 

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When I strip, I keep them submerged, and horizontal (Normal swimming position). Open their mouth with a pen cap and allow the fry to swim out. If you have to dunk them in water and to other tricks to get the fry out, you might want to think about waiting a little longer.

She never shows any ill effects.
 

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Rhinox said:
You usually get more fry when you strip. If you strip the eggs day 1 and tumble, you can get the most. Some are naturally lost to rot or die in the mothers mouth after hatching.

Separating a female can sometimes be more stressful for the female. First, she has to get used to the new tank/box and feel comfortable enough to let the babies out. Then, she has to be reintriduced to the tank after being separated - automatic drop to the bottom of the pecking order if she's gone long enough. Stripping lets you get the babies out and put mamma back in before the other fish even notice. I do it during the middle of a water change.

Those are the 2 advantages I know of.
Thanks to all who posted on this thread. Just successfully stripped 2 of my females for the 1st time, 1 was holding only for 2 days, but the other was so thin that I wanted to get her eating again. Wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but the one with the fry was not giving it up easily. And I was not expecting there to be 40 eggs, especially at that size :eek:
 

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I no longer breed, or salvage fry, although I expect many to survive whether I want them to or not as we have many smaller rock piles in the tank for the demasoni.

Stripping was a two person job at our house. We NEVER stripped before day 18, usually around day 21. Egg sacs were gone and the fry were ready. Stripping early can cause the mother to release early, IME, and tumbling is a pain. We would prepare a bowl of tank water and my husband would remove the female from the 'maternity' tank we had her in. I would use either my little finger nail or an ink pen cap to lightly pull her lower jaw down, he would dip her in the water while I was doing it, and the fry would swim right out. We always put the female back in a holding tank to recuperate - not in with the fry, but we had 14 tanks set up so we always had a place to put her. We would power feed her for a few days to help build her strength back up, then put her back in the main tank at lights out for the night. Never lost a female...
 

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At this point in time, we're not looking to salvage either. My main focus is on keeping my adults happy and healthy. I have 3 female peacocks and since January there have been 6 clutches with another one on the way. We kept the 1st 2 clutches. The 2nd 2 clutches we let them go naturally in the tank, with 1 survivor. The eggs that were stripped last night would have been the 3rd for the 1st female and I just felt this was the responsible thing to do, as I said, for their well-being.
 
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