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#1 Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
jaidexl Posted on: 2009/12/4 21:58
What is considered enough food for one feeding, say in numbers of bloodworms or brine shrimp? I've read that allowing them to gorge can cause health issues.
#2 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
rtoland Posted on: 2009/12/5 13:04
It depends on the size and metabolism of your fish. This is a very hard one to give an exact answer to as most of us probably don't measure out our food in precise amounts. When I kept this species it appeared that it could eat quite a bit compared to other species of the same size. Some experimentation on your part might reveal the answer. There are several rules on the feeding matter, one is to feed only the amount of food your fish can consume in a minute, I think this might actually be too much with a fish like this. Another, which I like, is to feed the fish about the amount of food to equal the size of its eye. Your best bet, if you have time for it, is to feed the fish 4 or 5 small feedings throughout the day.
#3 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
jaidexl Posted on: 2009/12/5 17:52
Thanks for the response. I have always used the eye method you mentioned on my other fish, tetras etc, but nothing with an appetite like this other than an angelfish. I have a separated pair, both about 9 months old and maybe half grown lengthwise. The male seemed sick last week with a possible cloudy eye, he would not come to the surface for food and would turn away anything but bloodworms and brine shrimp. Aside from multiple water changes and a good tank vac, I decided to step up feedings, I now have the lights on in the mourning and evening, before and after work for two or three feedings a day. Also substituting any dry food for all enhanced frozen, in case there's a nutrition issue. So far so good, he is looking and acting normal again, I just don't want to overfeed him and cause constipation or bloat. I'm in the process of hunting down live food.
#4 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
jaidexl Posted on: 2009/12/5 17:54
Forgot to mention I used to feed him more than an "eye's worth", usually once a day and often dry food. I figured it's also possible I was causing digestive problems this way.
#5 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
scottdavis Posted on: 2010/1/6 12:18
Well done on the water changes and varied feeding. So many maladies can be headed off and the killies' immune systems strengthened that way. I think for many of us, doing more partial water changes is still the most important thing we can do for our killies.
Multiple feedings are usually better than just one a day. And that affords the chance to vary the diet, also beneficial.
I was pleased to hear from a high school student recently who had inquired about using fish in a science fair project. He had a lot of pretty elaborate and involved ideas. Given his time and financial constraints, I suggested he secure two or more batches of fry and raising them separately. Thanks to the suggestions of other killinuts, I also mentioned that same sized quarters and keeping them right next to each other should cut down on some other variables he would have to deal with and if extra "tanks" became a problem, he could buy those sterite storage containers (well rinsed)and also have tops to prevent evaporation and jumping.
Using guppies (rather than gardneri) from the same drop, he weighed out a set amount of food for each day. One "tank" was fed everything at once and the other received at set pattern of several feedings. After a couple of months he was able to demonstrate that the fry fed several times a day were measurably larger than their siblings fed once a day. He did well in the local science fair and last I heard, was on his way to a regional competition.
Lots of aquarists have anecdotal accounts supporting the idea of multiple feedings and I'm sure that there are aquaculture journal articles advocating multiple feeding. Still it is nice to see another person supporting a conventional wisdom that we rather blithely pass around.
Speaking of conventional wisdom, shelled foods such as live or frozen Daphnia or brine shrimp is supposed to help clear a fish's digestive system. (In college we read Innes suggesting that as a way to clear up constipation. Some very helpful housemates suggested watch for fish grabbing onto plants with their pectorals and straining. Never though to look for long, trailing feces.)
Many livebearers and some killies will take material from shelled half peas, well cooked in water with no butter or seasoning. That should clean out Fundulopanchax, Fundulus, even Pachypanchax - though the latter may not be able to digest much - and even some lampeyes if the pea half is really crushed into little pieces. Pupfish relish cooked half peas.
A couple of killinuts locally (Northern Illinois, the southern Lake Michigan region) drop by bait shops and pick up a carton of "red worms" from time to time. Their blue gularis do relish those worms and lay more eggs.
I've taken in worms unearthed while digging in a garden or leaf compost pile. Worried about choking killies, a knife is taken and the worms are cut to size. That can be a little messy.
Rosario LaCorte and later Gene Sladek have mentioned using an eight wheeled herb mincer to cut up red worms and black worms to size for assorted sizes of killies. A discussion of that arose a year or so ago. This will get you to the link to the herb mincer:
Jim-Bob Graham, using several pizza cutter blades to assemble his legendary worminatoer.
Heck, that worminatoer could take on the Australian Giant Gippsland Earthworm, which grows to 2 cm in diameter and about 2 or 3 meters in length. Of course then one must find a killie that could eat that stuff. ;)
The tropical African red worm doesn't seem to be in the hobby any more. Visiting that archives mentioned above will produce some insights into culturing other "red worms". Most killie people that feed worms would rather put their time and space into their killies though and just buy the worms - which keep a long time, if slightly damp and lightly sprayed every couple of days, in the refrigerator, maybe hidden under the cold cuts drawer.
#6 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
jaidexl Posted on: 2010/1/7 0:14
Great bunch of Info, Scott, thank you! I do like to feed blanched, shelled pea to some of my fish at times, glad to hear it will help the killies too. :) I will definitely be on the lookout for some red worms. Thanks again. My blues are still receiving multiple feedings, making it easier to ration quantities and create variety, and they look better than ever. :)
#7 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
scottdavis Posted on: 2010/1/7 7:43
Intestine length is a useful indicator as to whether killies and other creatures need and can digest veggie materials. Unfortunately that info is not alweays included in the literature.
I was surprised when re-reading Loiselle's description of the new Pachypanchax. Their intestinal tracts are pretty short. They take parts of pea halves but I'm not convinced that they can digest and use them. Once dropped a set of pea halves in with a pair on lineatus on a Monday. While they were being adjusted to a show tank the following Saturday, they each spit up a half of pea, still whole. There didn't seem to be any digestion taking place on the peas halves! Never bothered Aplocheilus with veggies again.
By the way, a quick Googling for "human intestinal length" variously suggests a length of 5.2 to 10.7 meters or several times out body length. I love my hamburgers, but we prolly devour a lot more animal protein than we need. :)
I'm reminded of cleaning a walleye at a fishing camp. The stomach was filled with a large perch. There simply wasn't much digestive equipment after that point. A sign of a pretty exclusive carnivore.
One can read of young fishes of other species relishing vegetable material and switching to more animal protein in their diet later in life. One of the more notorious examples of course are the "Chinese" algae eaters that shift to becoming the large, territorial "Siamese slime suckers" later on.
Young Riv. hartii love peas. Their parents take then too. But there seems to be a lot of green poop in the adult hartii tanks later. Maybe an example of the maxim that "all things must pass."
Since algae grows best in mineral rich water, it probably isn't a surprise that so many Poeciliids nibble on algae and devour crushed peas. Pupfish and hard water/ brackish water Fundulus seem to line up there too.
Can't imagine that pupfish encounter many cultivated, cooked peas in their habitats. But they sure learn to home in on them fast in the aquarium!
#8 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
jaidexl Posted on: 2010/1/7 15:51
Interesting stuff :)
I've been looking around for some red worms, our bait shops here in FL are mainly offering saltwater critters. A friend has offered a culture starter of 'red wigglers' used for vermicomposting, I imagine these would suffice? I would try digging outside but with so much sand I doubt I would find worms like I did back home in Michigan. :/
#9 Re: Feeding tips for Blue Gularis
scottdavis Posted on: 2010/1/8 7:41
Yes! Try the bait shops! I don't think these are the now "legendary African red worm"
There is all sorts of info in libraries and on-line on composting, worm farming or vermiculture. One of the species mentioned often is Eisenia fetida. That surprised me because in addition to being one of the "red worms" that is also known as the manure worm.
As the manure worm, fed on composted animal droppings, those are not supposed to be very palatable to fishes. I'm guessing that if we are feeding those worms kitchen scraps of a vegetable nature, Purina worm chow (my feed store/ fish & dog food source got a kick out of ordering a 50 pound bag of the stuff for about $15 a couple of years ago) or composed leaves, the worms "should" taste different. Al Anderson has a wonderful presentation which includes co-culturing red worms and Grindle worms in old 55-gallon tanks set on a basement floor.
You will to have to see if your home or shaded corner of your yard is cool enough to raise those worms. (In summers our slab foundation makes keeping white worms impossible.)
If you have the space, perhaps in a basement, an old refrigerator is useful for keeping worms and extra beverages cool. If you live near a college campus, at the end of semesters (trimesters, whatever) look in the want ads for good deals on dorm refrigerators that students don't want to lug home. (Our daughter broke my heart by leaving her refrigerator where someone could back a truck over it.)
While it is possible to tie up a lot of aquariums to culture the some what related blackworms so useful in aquariums, even as a penny pinching retiree, I find it more efficient to just buy a portion, rinse them and leave them in two of those blue worm boxes, discretely hidden under the cold cut drawer. (Of course I drop off extra hornwort from time to time and mysteriously the back worm portions are a tad larger.)
You may find that purchasing a treat once in a while at the bait store is less bother for you than culturing them. One of our CKA people [granted he's independently wealthy before worm purchases ;) ] does that.
In the early spring, digging through leaf compost piles, I've encounter a lot of earthworms and have saved some for the fish. To my surprise, one can also find (in March, cool Aprils) white worms in there! Your Michigan friends could have had similar experiences.
After experimenting, many of us settle on just one or a couple of live food cultures, if we keep any. For instance, I find a couple kinds of Daphnia as little easier for me to keep, along with one or two of the nematode cultures (microworms, walter worms...).
David Ramsey, in the course of a terrific presentation, surprised us by mentioning that he keeps brine shrimp in his "barrels" outside (where I would have Daphnia) because the salt water discourages mosquito larvae or southern tree frogs from reproducing in there. (People near coasts might find they are hosting salt marsh mosquito larvae, so that only works in some places.)
There used to be a guy in Chicagoland who kept a bunch of food cultures. We used to tease him about getting killies just to have something to feed them to. ;)
Clearly though, live foods (or sometimes rinsed, defrosted formerly frozen foods) make a significant to essential difference for our killies. Try to raise annuals without them! ;)
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