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Old 06-29-2013, 12:01 AM   #1 
Riverotter
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Vanishing fry?

I had just done my second spawn, and had to remove the male as the eggs were hatching, as he was eating the fry as they hatched and started to squiggle.

Only a couple of eggs dropped and didn't hatch, the rest hatched and I dropped the water level in their container to about 2 inches so they could easily surface when they fell. At last check late last night, there were about 20 - 30 little fry in there, in the remains of the nest and hanging at the edge of the container. The first few had started swimming, so I put in a drop of egg food and went to bed.

This morning, the fry are gone. I checked very carefully and only found 3 dead fry on the bottom, one still with a visible yolk sac. The rest are simply gone, vanished.
The obvious answer is that there is something in there that ate them, but after much searching, I found only a tiny planaria on the leaf. Nothing that could eat 20+ fry. No hydra. There was a little black beetle in there dead, but of a kind that fall into my tanks and drown constantly, drawn by the light.

Any ideas of what might have happened?
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:53 AM   #2 
thisismydesign
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Was there a filter in the tank?
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:22 AM   #3 
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Was there a filter in the tank?
No, I had spawned the pair in a large tupperware, floating in the tank. Myates gave me the idea. All that was in there was a tiny bit of anarchis, an oak leaf and a floating cup to nest under.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:48 AM   #4 
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did the tupperware tip over and they fell out? I'm grasping at straws because what the heck!?
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:44 AM   #5 
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Was it floating? I don't allow the container to float, I stop adding water once the container starts to move.. in which I will remove water until it's safely touching the bottom.. or my new trick is to put the container on top of a couple small plant pots so I can add more water lol..

But seriously.. maybe it did tip? Unsure.. they may be hiding and you don't see them, they are very good at that.

Did you have holes drilled into the sides of the container, and how large were the holes? I have yet to have fry go through mine, but mine are also very tiny and not as noticeable.

On a side note.. males will often times carry the fry around in their mouths. They will grab them when they start falling and will place them back high up into the nest. Sometimes they will carry them around if they feel threatened any as well.. one of my boys ended up taking nearly 30 fry in his mouth with him when I moved him back into his home after the fry had hatched.. he kept grabbing them trying to protect them from me. So in the future when you see the males grab the fry, make sure they aren't putting them back high up into the nest, nor are they carrying them around in their mouths. I think it took one of mine a week or more before he stopped carrying them. A good number of wild bettas are mouth brooders, so it's not too far of a leap for these guys to do something similar. The only way to tell if he eats the fry is if there are none within a couple days of hatching. But it's not that common, as it's instinct to pass on their genes and if they spend the energy on building, breeding and caring for the eggs it's not going to be common for them to start eating the fry right after birth unless something is wrong with them.

:( I'm sorry.. I would hold off and not pack up that spawn just yet.. offer some food still and see. You may be surprised that they are in there hiding or have moved to the main tank. After a couple days you can gently tip the container into the tank and you should be able to see them clearer then.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:10 PM   #6 
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It is a puzzler. Sorry folks, it was late and I wasn't thinking that most of the details are on my other spawn thread.

The Tupperware was floating in another tank (containing only 6 or so 2.5 week old fry, a 15G tank, filled to a depth of 5 inches). The water level in the tupperware had been lowered to 2 inches to let falling fry reach the surface without Dad there to help. If it tipped, I didn't find any evidence of it, no change in water level. Myates, I will use the plant pots for next time, to be certain about the tipping and to keep it in one place.

There were no holes in the tupperware. I thought about putting some teeny ones in there, but didn't for this go round.

The dad might have been just carrying babies around, but it looked as if he was chewing and swallowing. There had been at least a hundred eggs at a previous check, and only about 20-30 when I removed him. He was still faithfully tending the eggs, but when he saw a baby do it's herky-jerky back to the surface dash, he'd grab it and I never saw him spit one back out or into the nest.

There's no pressing urgency for me to move the tupperware. It can stay floating in there a week and I'll put some green water in there. I'd love if there were a few hiding in there. But without moving the sprig of plant or the leaf, I couldn't see any, even though the tupperware is clear and the night before I could clearly see little eyes and tails all wanting to cling to the surface. I even carefully picked it up to look up through the bottom and from every angle.

It is SO weird. If they died, I should have seen more then just the 3 bodies, right? Either they are REALLY good at hiding or whatever ate them is. I am totally stumped. Is there a kind of flying bug that hunts at the water surface? That's the only other thing I can think of. If it was a water beetle or spider, I'd definitely see it in there.

This is going to drive me nuts.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:15 PM   #7 
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Ok, NOW there is some urgency about the tupperware. And the fry tank.

I found a LEECH. It must have been hiding in the roots of my blue pickeral weed for heaven knows how long! It was in the main fry tank and not the tupperware, but I am going to isolate the tupperware for a week on a shelf - which will result in some temp changes to possibly too warm (all summer here, the problem is not heating tanks, but keeping them at less then 90) but I don't think there's anything in there anyway.

The crowntail fry will have to be very carefully caught and they will get a temporary bucket with their own water siphoned out through an airstone, so there'll be no real water change but hopefully no nasties will be able to follow them.

I'm torn whether to just toss all plants or to put them outside where they can get water changes with the hose several times a day. That should kill any hitchhikers in a week or so, wouldn't it? Or I can put them in a bucket and put in a mosquito dunk, which should kill all inverts on them.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:19 PM   #8 
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Oh ew.. leech >.>

Look up about bleaching plants.. some plants tolerate being placed in water with bleach just fine. I know many do that when they get new plants to help sterilize them. It may help rid of anything living on them that you don't want.

Your way is fine, I poke holes so that when it's time to transfer them to the 10g I can just easily tip them out without worrying about acclimating as the water will be the same in and out of the tub.

Unsure what happened.. have you used a flashlight to help look for the fry? Once they are mobile they blend in more.. my last spawn kept growing in numbers every few days when I counted because I would start seeing more and more lol.

These guys can go up to close to a 100F in temps.. I know some breeders who breed outside with water temps at 96. So it's possible they will survive.. I hope!

I wish you luck.. get that leech out and hope that things turn better for you.

Here is the plant pot set up I did to give you an idea - it's a 10g tank.
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