7/7/11

Fish Fry

Do you know how small baby mollies are? About 1/8 of an inch long. Percival dropped her babies earlier this week without my knowledge. I'm assuming Sunday or Monday. I didn't realize it until Tuesday, when I was messing with the filter and found a try swimming around in a quiet corner.
This is a record of my thought process.
Hello, what are yo--Ohhhhh, it's a baby fish. I guess one of the mollies dropped their fry while I wasn't looking. Wonder when that-holy crap, there's another one.
So I hastily prepared a container with some water for them, knowing that they would likely get eaten if left alone. So, I pulled the big fish out and removed the plants and large rocks, leaving just the little glass pebbles on the bottom. The fry were hiding under these, in the tiny spaces the large fish couldn't reach. I scooped one out, and promptly found several more.
It took about half an hour but I found about 14 fish, and one or two got away from me. Two of them were dead when I caught them, and since then two more have died. I was waiting anxiously for my paycheck to go through so that I could purchase the correct apparatus for caring for the tiny fish.

That would be this.
This is a "breeding net", which is just netting on a plastic frame with some cheap plastic plants that attaches to the side of the tank. The idea is to put the pregnant fish in a day or two before she is ready to drop (apparently, you'll start to learn the behavior changes after the second or third batch?) and let her have her babies in there. Afterward, remove Mama and leave the babies in. This keeps them in the tank with steady water flow from a filter while still letting them have a safe place to stay where you can keep an eye on them and they won't get eaten.
I transferred the fry and it may be my imagination, but they seem more active. The water in the main tank is warmer than it was in their little container (mollies and platy are tropical, they like their water around 80*F) so that may be part of it. The tiny bits you see floating on the surface of the water is their food. Mollies bear live young, and they are so tiny when they're first born that they can't eat normal flake food. The preferred method (I did lots of internet research) is to take flake food and put it in a small ziplock back and crush it until it's as powdery as you can make it. From there, take a toothpick, dip it in the water only a little bit, wipe off the excess, and dip it in the powder. That's about the right amount to feed the fry, and you can do so by dipping the toothpick with the food back into the water.
Fry need to be fed every five or six hours. Patrick feeds them for me when I'm at work.
So, all things considered I think my first fish babies are all right. We'll see how many live to be given away, when they've doubled their size they'll be safe to put into tanks with other fish, provided they still have plenty of places to hide. They'll also be able to eat regular flake food.
Meanwhile, I've been preemptively giving them away. Elanor said she'd take one or two, Kelly would like one or two to take to college with her (it depends on how big of a tank they'll let her have in the dorms), and Colleen hit on the idea almost instantly, depending on how expensive getting aquarium things will be. I'm going to try and give out same-sex pairs to people, though, because Mollies are prolific in their reproduction, and I don't think Kelly wants to try and give away fish to her dorm mates.

I picked up some extra hours tonight, because hell, it's money. I'm averaging 30-35 hours a week, so I'm not doing too badly, but last week my hours and bills fell in just such a way that I've been scraping by with $12 in the bank and eating the crap at the back of the fridge. By the time my check cleared this week, I was down to peanut butter sandwiches two meals out of three. But the shopping got done today and it's really a comfort to know that even if I just spent an entire paycheck restocking my cupboards and freezer, I know I have paid all my bills, and there is food fit to eat. I'll have spending money next week.

Knitting along on a light little wrap of my own basic design (triangular, probably with an eventual edging), in Halloween colors. I think it was an Artwalk Sock Yarn Club yarn, but I don't remember. It's all oranges and blacks, plyed with some gold glitz. I'll have pictures up eventually. In Dreams is coming along very, very slowly. I need to have a good deal of patience and focus to work on it, and I've been really busy lately.

We're going down to Wildwood Sunday afternoon because some of Patrick's family has come up from Louisiana for the week. I'll be working 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., so we'll leave shortly after I get home. I'll probably nap on the way down. I hope I'll nap on the way down.

Well, I have to go get ready for work. Hope you've got an easy Friday coming up, and a nice weekend filled with comfortable summer activities.

"Photons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic!"
~bad joke from a robot in Fallout 3

3 comments:

Roxie said...

I love your little boullibase, but finding homes for fry is worse than finding homes for kittens! Good luck.

And have a great weekend.

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