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King Tiger Pleco fry not eating

2375 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Algae Beater
Hi guys.

Purchased some plecos from a LFS back in October 2015. They were classified as King Tiger Plecos.

I found fry early last week hiding in the community tank. Still looked like they had their egg sacs as some of their bellys were really round. Then starting on Friday, they started to die. I found 3 dead fry in the tank, 2 with round bellys and one that was thin.

I rounded the remaining fry I could find and placed them in a breeder boxes with an airstone and some java moss. I'm concerned that the fry are just not eating. I currently have 6 remaining in the breeder box and I would expect to see some entrails of poop if they were eating but no such luck.

They look thinner which makes me think they have used up their egg sack. What should I do? I've been trying to feed them Microworms/Shrimp pellets that I crush up/NLS spectrum pellets that are crushed up/Hikari algae wafers. Don't seem to be having any luck. They move around when I put microworms in the box, but I don't know whether they are moving because some of the worms end up squirming on them.

At this point I wonder if I made a mistake moving them to the breeder box. Should I release them back into the community tank and hope they will be able to locate food on their own? It is a 70 gallon tank. I've found another fry that I missed hanging out in the community tank and I'm going to leave him as is and hope he makes it.
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I have a breeding group and the fry are rather sensitive they seem to prefer blood and tubifex worms more protein oriented foods ideally the group gets a tank on its own and fry are raised with their parents
How strong is your water current? This fish required strong current? Less means you are suffocating them. Babies are more sensitive to lack of oxygen
Thanks guys.

Algae Beater, I read some accounts of fry choking on bloodworms. Do you cut the bloodworms up before feeding?

Rjjm, the tank current is strong. I've got an FX6 and an additional powerhead in it.

I moved the fry to the breeder box out of concern that they were being attacked by other fish in the tank (Although I have not seen this first hand even with fry that have stayed out in the open) or that they were not able to find food (Due to the thin one that was dead).
I'm now wondering if they are too stressed in the breeder box because of a lack of wood/dark background to hide against.
I have bred lots of King Tiger fry but mine were not wild caught but F1 parents so mine are F2 so YMMV.

1. Current. Like RJJM says, you should make sure you have current in the tank and lots of surface agitation either with an air pump/air stone or with an powerhead like a maxijet with a venturi.
2. Temperature. Make sure the tank is around 80 F or 27 or so at least. Fry are sensitive to being chilled and the warmer temp will get them through the delicate stage quicker.
3. Yolk sacks. Your fry might have come out of the cave (you do have a cave or 2 in there?) too soon. In my experience and the experience of another very experienced pleco breeder here, premature ejection from the cave sometimes causes them to not be able to consume the yolk sac and die. I had 3 L134 fry lost this way when I got too anxious and took them out of the cave from the father.
4. Food. Right after the yolk sac stage it takes them a day or 2 to get hungry and figure out what is food. Since they are plecos they can gnaw on just about anything. I feed mine golden pearls. Golden Pearls 500-800 Microns
I have heard decapsulated brine shrimp eggs are good too. Any sort of fry food will do but even finely crushed flakes will do. The micro worms should be ok too but I am not sure they can catch them (I don't have any experience with micro worms.

Finally, relax. If your King Tigers bred they will breed again. The parents generally are not very good until they have had several clutches. The key is you have parameters which have allowed them to breed so you just have to maintain it.
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Thank you Wheels.

I do have 5 ceramic caves in there and the piece of driftwood I use seems to have 4 or 5 natural caves that some of them seem to be using.

You're absolutely right. I started panicking after I found a dead fry in the breeder box yesterday and the same thing today. I'll hold back the urge to overfeed until I see the fry actually start eating something.

Do you normally keep the fry in a breeder box or leave them in the tank with the rest of the inhabitants?
I have done both. In my discus tank the fry are uncatchable because of the aquascape. Caves are in the middle of a 30" wide tank so I can't reach them or see them easily. I have bred L134, L129, L340, L260, L066, L333 and of course BNP and I have done both. If I don't have time I leave them. My discus cube is overrun with King Tigers juvies which I have thinned out by catching now and again when they sneak up on the glass. In other tanks, especially fish more important to me like the L134 I have taken out fry once the yolk sac is gone and they are still in the cave. But for my L260 I have never taken them out as I never realized I had fry until they were all over the place.
I find food in a bottle the best way to capture fry in planted/decorated tanks.
chop the bloodworms if you are concerned, mine dont seem to have issues
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