Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

Something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time is to get into fish breeding.  Well fish, invertebrate, and the favorite invertebrate: corals.

Why fish breeding?

Although there is the possibility of making a little extra cash (for a lot of work), mainly it’s because of the advantages of tank raised, farm bred animals.

They are used to being in an aquarium environment, generally healthier, eat more of a variety of foods, disease and parasite free, and stress less because they never went from big ocean to little bitty tank (relatively speaking).

Oh sure, depending on the aquarium keeper some of those things could not apply.  A careless, or inexperienced, person could do something to introduce a parasite or disease, or an aquarium pest that eats the livestock during the night.  But the careful person, who takes the proper time, steps, and educates themselves can avoid most if not all of that.

The other thing that drives me in this is just in the devastation in the oceans.  Coral reefs are dying, collection methods can be harmful to either the reef or the fish they are capturing.  Tank raised may not only be a great way to reduce the environmental impact, but the day may come when tank raised may very well be all we have left.

My personal feeling is that wild-caught should only happen on rare occasion to help keep the genetic diversity going in the captive bred system.  Every once in a while adding to the gene pool can be a good thing, but overall that shouldn’t be the norm.

Feeding them

Anyway, one of the biggest problems is feeding the little buggers.  They are SO picky.  I hadn’t quite decided what to start breeding first, but I thought about what to feed them.  Obviously live foods would be good (mandatory) and brine shrimp (Artemia) (newly hatched nauplii of course) is often what is fed.

Brine shrimp trivia

Did you know that brine shrimp do not live in the ocean?  I didn’t know that until I started researching live foods.  So how do those baby seahorses get all that nutritious brine shrimp in the wild?  Do they saddle up, grab the covered wagon and make the perilous journey from the ocean to the salt lakes where the shrimp are?  Then after giving birth and letting the young eat until they are old enough, they pack up camp and wagon train back to the ocean to live until the next mating season?

I don’t think so.

Though that would be awesome to watch.

What they really eat

So I started researching copepods, rotifers, and others.  These are more along the lines of the nutritious fare they’d get in the wild.  Of course I can’t afford to buy a steady supply of these critters at this point in time.  So what’s the alternative?  Give up you say?  HA!  No.  No my friends, I’m not that smart.

What fish food eats

I looked into raising my own.  Some of them eat other critters, many of them eat algae.  Yep, the very scourge of fish keepers everywhere is now what I would have to deliberately grow in order to raise the feedstock for my livestock.  Sounds more like fish ranching than fish breeding.

So I looked into raising my own algae, to feed my own copepods, rotifers, and the other foods that aren’t coming to mind at the moment.  Not only are there several different types of algae, and each one of these little living fish snacks eat only certain kinds of algae (in the wild), but each algae has it’s own different requirements.

So now I’m looking at several different tanks of algae for several different tanks of live foods for several different tanks of fish and invertebrate.  Oh my aching head.

Why go to all the trouble?

It’s not that I’m a control freak, but I want quality control.  After all, making sure that I have the foods they need, when they need it, regardless of how much cash I have in my pocket is beyond important, it will mean the difference between life or death for whatever I’m raising.

And having the most nutritious foods makes for healthy livestock.  And it’s important that they not just survive, but thrive.

So I’ve bounced around with various ideas, modified versions of ideas, thrown away and revived ideas, etc.  I need to start on the best possible path, not just the one that gives the fastest-yet-poorest results.

I have other issues to overcome as well.  Like it’s been several years since I’ve been in an environment where I’ve been able to have an aquarium, so I no longer have any of my stuff from my reef-keeping days.

I miss my 85 gallon tank.

But those issues are for another post.

– Jeffery

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