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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some info please. So I'm super excited, my first successful pair of breeding cichlids, my new rainbows. I bought 3 from one of my lfs cause they were getting beaten up in a tank full of jewels and I had a spare 29g I decided to set up for them, never kept rainbows before, must say these fish are amazing. Well in less then 2 weeks I have hundreds of little wigglers. A pair formed immediately (but they did kill the loner male to my surprise), she laid them on one of the fake plants in the tank and now they have all fallen off the plant and are now little wigglers on the bottom of the tank and are very protected by the parents, they will attack the glass when we come up and look. I'm stoked about my first breeding pair ever. Now can someone help me out and give me some info on how to care for them. I'm setting up a little fry tank tomorrow, I went and bought a new sponge filter and currently have it running in the existing tank to gather bacteria. When do I take them out and place them in the fry tank and are they're any other special precautions to take? Like I said this is my first time with breeding fish. I don't know what I'm gonna do with all of them but would like to try and preserve as many as possible, maybe some of my lfs will take some. I took pics but am having trouble posting them, kind of a pain.
 

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As a rule rainbows are pretty good parents so I would not attempt to take away the kiddos for quite some time. Let them stay with the parents until the parents begin to lose interest and then siphon them out. Feed them baby brine shrimp (most lfs' carry frozen if you can't raise your own liv bbs). Rainbows are quite prolific, so if you don't get many fry from the initial spawns you will get them from spawns down the line and pretty soon you will wish that they would just stop breeding. Congrats and best of luck!
 

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I looooove my rainbows.

I agree that you should leave with the parents at least for a while. The wrigglers will hatch into free swimming fry in about three days (if my memory is correct). Both parents are supposed to guard them, but with one of my rainbow pairs, one parent usually drives the other away and takes over the babies completely. sometimes this is the mom, but more usually the dad. (One time they actually split the babies and had their own swarm in different parts of the tank.)

However, two of my now grown-up babies recently hooked up and they did a great job of guarding the fry together (better than their parents).

Anyway, you never know.

I feed the babies First Bites and frozen BBS, using a plastic bulb syringe to get the food down to them. Personally, I'd remove the lone male. Once the babies hatch and start moving around the tank (they're completely clueless and there will be hundreds of them!!!) I'd expect the parents to really start pushing around the other rainbow, particularly in only a 29.

The babies are relatively easy to raise on your own, if you're interested. After about a week, you'll find the swarm of babies to be quite a bit smaller and often the dad will lose interest at that point. You can use a brine shrimp net to scoop some up and raise them separately. I used a 10 gallon to do this once. then I ended up with so many rainbows that I didn't want to part with that I had to get a new tank just for the babies!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The lone male was killed before they even bred, he was off'd when they first paired up. Didn't realize they would get that aggressive towards him. The parents have moved the wigglers to a nice big hole they dug, I have my sponge filter going to get seeded for the fry tank. How do I set up the fry tank? Should I put a substrate in it, or any decorations or anything?
 

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What I've done and had great success at is take the fry when they start to look like fish...maybe a week or so after, so they are fairly strong and are getting more independent and move them to my livebearers tank (guppies and platies). There is plenty of cover for security, the tank is well seasoned and it is easier to feed them in that tank then a separate one. I have virtually 100% survival rate doing it this way.

I have put fry in bare tanks with a well seasoned sponge filter and had 90% mortality rate. I think it is too stressful to have no where to hide and have all that light and reflection. I have put fry in a 10 gallon tank with some substrate and fake plants and still have close to 90% mortality rate. More than likely due to water going bad after feeding. Keeping the water clean and the nitrates down is crucial and is (for me anyway) very difficult in tiny tanks. Try siphoning the bottom of a tank with little substrate and you will see what I mean.

I don't know what it is but when I put young fry that are (too big to be eaten by the platies and guppies) in an established tank with other fish I have great luck.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
 

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I'm a bit surprised about the death as well. but it might be due to the small tank. Right now I have four males and two females in a 40 gallon breeder, with two of them partnered up and raising fry. There has been chasing away from territory but not even a shredded fin. (I'm removing the extra extra males as soon as the babies are either dead or grown a bit more. I don't like chasing fish around with nets when there are babies around.)

Anyway, I raised the babies in a 10 gallon with a little bit of substrate (gives them room to hide) and a few plastic plants and rocks arranged to form caves. I used a small HOB with foam attached to the intake. I got seven babies to maturity that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well my fry are slowly disappearing, I'm wondering if the swordtails in the tank are eating them. And how often should I be feeding them? I feed normal routine and then once a day I feed the fry baby brine shrimp, will that work? and also will it hurt my sponge filter to be running on top of a sand substrate.
 

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If you are only feeding once a day then perhaps they are starving. I feed babies at least 3x a day with bbs and practically none die when I leave them with the parents. It's possible that the swords are getting a few, but likely only a very few. Rainbows would chase them away pretty fast. Your sponge filter will be fine--no worries. Just make sure the babies are getting enough to eat and when you feel they are ready to be taken from the parents; go for it. Mortality is part of raising fish, but it's possible to keep it at a minimum. Best of luck.
 

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My experience with rainbows raising fry in a tank with other predators (cories, tetras, BN plecos) is that there are fewer and fewer each morning until they are all gone. I assume they get eaten during the night. I do feed the fry twice a day with First Bites or frozen BBS.

BTW, I once had two rainbow cichlid fry live for a MONTH without food. It was my first attempt to raise them on my own and they disappeared after a few days, so I kept the "empty" tank going, but didn't feed. A month later, I put some fish in the tank temporarily and during feeding two mystery fish appeared. They had gone a month with no food . . . both lived to maturity although both has small defects i.e. top fin didn't grow in properly on one and the other had a wonky gill cover.
 
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