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Why won't my angel fry survive?

1257 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  BillD
This is the pair' 4th spawn and the second batch that hatched since I moved the pair to their own tank. The first hatch withered away after about 36 hours after becoming free swimming. I tried feeding live bbs several times, but I never witnessed any of them eat. I assumed they starved. :-? I'm now on my second batch, which has been about a week since they have been swimming, but I am now down to about 3 single fry. This time i have been feeding decapsulated brine shrimp eggs about 5 times a day. I do see them eating some, but every morning I have a few less. I also have been doing a 20% water change every other day. The parent seem to be doing their job. It seems the biggest losses occur at night. My last feeding is around 8 p.m. and the lights go out around 9 p.m. The next feeding is usually around 7 am - 8am in the morning. Is this too long to go without feeding? Am I going wrong somewhere with water changes? Over feeding? Or is there something going on that is out of my control? I want to adjust appropriatly for the next spawn. I may try to raise the fry myself, but I would rather not, because it seems the parents are doing everything right. This is very frustrating! :-? :-?
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What is your gh and kh? Angels can tolerate a considerable amount of hardness as adults, but newly hatched fry tend to be quite sensitive to excessive hardness. Hard, alkaline water can cause the fry to waste away in the time frame you are describing. REALLY hard, alkaline water can even keep wigglers from ever becoming free swimmers.

Another consideration: what sort of substrate do you have, if any? Large types allow the fry to get in between the stones and get stuck, fine gravel, sand, or no substrate at all is best. They would be especially likely to fall to the bottom at night, when the parents can't see them as well.

What sort of filtration are you using? With fry in the tank, anything other than a sponge filter is, again, liable to suck up fry.

Not being able to feed overnight isn't going to kill them, I've raised many angelfish on two feedings of bbs or microworms per day.
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What size tank are they in ? I've always had good luck feeding them bbs and decapsulated brine shrimp eggs. What temp is your water ? I usually kept mine around 80-82. I successfully raised hundreds until we had a bad icestorm here in Oklahoma in Dec. of 07. Lost power for 7 days and no generator. Needless to sayI lost them all. Do they have have any hiding places ? I liked keeping a clump of java moss in with mine. If the parents are the only fish in the tank they could be eating them if you are not finding dead ones. I usually fed mine 3 times per day but that was because my wife did the midday feeding. Hope this is of some help to you. You may consider trying to hatch them without the parents if all else fails. I also would only change enough water to remove any uneaten food, usually every 3 or 4 days. This was dependent on how much I overfed though. I used an airline and half of a plastic check valve , sort of a miniature gravel vac.I would also siphon the water into a 5 qt. ice cream bucket.That way if I accidently siphoned any babies I could retrieve them with a bbs net back into their tank.
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Thanks for the responses. The tank is a 29 gallon witha sand/gravel mixture. Other furniture includes: A few medium round granite river stones, cottonwood branches (that have been seasoned in my tanks for 3 years), about 5 oak leafs, two amazon swords, some kind of chain sword, floating pennywort, and some floating pearlweed. I'm using a HOB power filter with a sponge covering the intake. The temp is right around 79 F. I have seen a few dead ones stuck to the sponge and a few swimming irregularly.

I'm beginning to think it is the hardness. I haven't tested it in awhile The last test kit I bought was useless. I haven't bothered to buy a new set since neither of the LFS in my area carries hardness tests. I guess I'll order one online.

If this is the problem, can I peat or will I need r/o water to reduce it?

Thanks again. :thumb:
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a friend of mine swears by a single peice of slate for them to breed on top of. try dropping on in there from a local shop and see what happens. my angels STILL suck at breeding 10 times later. some fish get it and some dont :p
You will have to use R/O to reduce the hardness, peat does a little, but not a significant amount. I know a hardness of 170ppm (about 10 GH) they can still breed normally, but at 500 ppm (near 30 GH) the fry will usually not even survive to free swimming. I have an electronic meter, but with a large fishroom it was a necessity for me.
Thanks again! It looks like I'lll have to bump the R/O filter up on the wish list. Do all of them need to be attached to the plumbing or is there portable units?
I finally got my hardness test in. According to results I have a kh 71.6 ppm and gh at 89.5 ppm. This doesn't seem that hard, so i think I may be throwing out this as a cause. It is also eliminates the purchase of an r/o filter for the meantime

I did have another spawn, but it appears that the mother is eating most of the eggs for some reason.
In my experience, if the parents aren't well conditioned, the fry will be weak. This seems to be prevalent with young pairs who breed with very short times between spawns. I raise mine in a 2 1/2 gal bare bottomed tank with 80% daily water changes and no filtration for the first couple of weeks. The tank needs to be kept clean and I feed live BBS 4 or 5 times per day. I decapsulate the cysts before hatching and have found that the fry don't seem to really like the unhatched cysts. If everything goes well, losses are minimal. The type of angel also seems to effect the survival rate as some strains are much hardier than others.
BillD said:
In my experience, if the parents aren't well conditioned, the fry will be weak. This seems to be prevalent with young pairs who breed with very short times between spawns.
I was think intially that there might be a genetic issue. The male is fairly old. I got him second hand from a guy who, I beleive, had him for 5 years. I've had him for 2.5 years. I thought he said it was sold to him as wild caught. The female is a marble I picked up about a year ago at about a quarter size. Kind of a dirty old man senario. :lol:

Is there a diet I can feed the parents that could help the strength of the fry?

Do you just siphon the fry out of the breeder tank to transfer them to the growout tank?

With my very first spawn I siphoned the fry out.after they were free swimming. The rest, I removed the eggs which were laid on a piece of slate tile, and hatched them artificially.
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