In the first installment, I showed you how I set up artificial incubation for my Angelfish spawns. In this second installment, you’ll see how it can turn out.
24 hours in
In the first 24 hours, you should be able to readily identify infertile eggs. If the entire group is dead by this point, I’m generally convinced that something is wrong with the pair that has resulted in infertile eggs. As it happens, I’ve typically discovered the cause to be that the “pair” is in fact, not a “pair”, but two females (this has happened in at least 3 pairings this year alone).
48 hours in
There won’t be much change between 24 and 48 hours, although you may see some fungal or bacterial growth on the dead eggs. Early on I laboriously tried to remove them with a pipette, but later on I found this typically wasn’t necessary and that problems didn’t seem to spread to viable eggs.
72 hours in
By 72 hours in, you’ll have a hatch; your first indication that the pair is truly viable. Wigglers take a few days to develop, and now is not yet the time to remove the tile even if it is rather gunky.
96 hours in
Another day and the larval anglefish tend to be off the tile for the most part. Their eyes are developing pigment and the juveniles are still feeding off their yolk sacks. If most of the fry are off the tile, I’ll try to remove it at this time, gently blowing any straggers off the tile with a pipette. In the case of our Haflblack X Silver pairing, this is what was left behind:
120 hours (5 days) post spawn
By this point there may be a few random decaying eggs that you can remove with a pipette if the fry aren’t attached to them. I have yet to have a failure with artificial incubation if I have hatched out offspring. As you can see, they are “close” but not ready, still driving development via their yolk reserves.
144 hours after the spawn
With warm water temperatures, the fry develop fast, and at 6 days in they are nearing free swimming and first feedings (I start them off with brine shrimp nauplii).
168 hours, 7 days post spawn
From here, it’s pretty easy to figure out where to go. Some breeders may not feed initially when the fry free swim, but I go ahead and give them their first baby brine shrimp. Not much gets eaten, but for those that do feed, all the better.
Typically from here I’ll transfer the fry to a 10 gallon tank that I’ve initially filled with RO/DI water; this eases the transition into the tank. Simply float the specimen cup in the tank to equalize temperatures, do a couple pours and fills to mix the water in the cup with tank water, and then dump them in.
After that, it is simply the grind of feeding and maintenance. I start doing water changes with tap water instead of RO/DI to bring them onto my regular water (no doubt mineral content helps with their growth too, as pointed out to me first by Frank of Indianwood Angelfish).
Wrapping it up
I have found this method to be pretty foolproof in the last year. I have tried it with other eggs, eg. Corydoras sterbae and Scleromystax barbatus, without similar success. I cannot say why that is, but apparently this methodology may, or may not work, with other fish species. I have found a certain level of security, however, in having this trustworthy protocol with my freshwater Angelfish.
Sure, I still let parents tend nests when I don’t need them for rearing, but being able to have confidence in this method allows me to use it with first time spawners to quickly ascertain more about them. For example, I recently discovered two new pairings in my fishroom that throw albino offspring; both a surprise since none of the parents are albinos, and I wouldn’t have known this had I left the eggs with the parents.