10g Guppy/rcs Breeding Adventure

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So I've decided to start making a record of my experiences with a 10gal combo Guppy/RCS breeder tank. I've started this tank with the goal in mind of being able to breed my favorite guppies and pretty much any RCS in a bedroom setup that was as aesthetically pleasing as it was functional. About 2 months in now my tank is cycled, I have 3 batches of fry from 4 different drops so far (two were within 4 hours of each other so I have no way of telling their fry apart) and I've had two berried RCS have their eggs hatch (I've only seen two young in the week since I know they've hatched but I've been told they're almost impossible to spot)

In this original post I'll include a few pics along with my tank specs and what I started out with. I'll add additional posts as fry drop, the tank grows, after trims, basically anything worth updating on...

15/9 hour day/night cycle
pH: 7.5
Ammonia: .00-.5ppm depending on how much/frequently I feed the fry
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0-20ppm it's actually heavily planted enough that algae blooms (small ones) regularly wipe the nitrates from the water every time it hits low 20s in ppm
I usually do a ~%33 water change every week, sometimes twice a week

Here are some pics below of the tank, sorry for the blur

Also here is a link to YouTube with my tank right now, it's a nice little 2 minute adventure thru the tank, complete w my select breeding stock and their fry!

So yeah I hope I can address a lot of questions here and help a lot of other people wanting to go for the same kind of setup I have here to avoid some of the same problems I had. I love the community here so making the decision to really organize something I could contribute back to it was an easy one. I'm sure you all will enjoy watching the fish and shrimp grow and live out their lives as much as I have, and again I'm very excited at the opportunity to share my adventure with you all!

Happy Hobbying
- Cody
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  • #3
Thank you!! This was my first ever attempt at aquascaping, I'm super pleased with the results but I can't even begin to tell you how many problems I ran into, I plan on making a whole post dedicated to it.

But yeah, like I said I wanted a breeder that was as functional as it was beautiful, so really, I appreciate the feedback
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  • #4
Fry Feeding Time!
My apologies for the weird window the video is in, by the time I figured out how to fix the format my gf had deleted the original. I'd remake the video but the ammonia is so touchy in these things! Also it's already been SLIGHTLY elevated lately but this is almost certainly due to the increased feeding frequency and fineness of food that becomes necessary when new fry drop (as did this week)

But yeah you guys enjoy, I'll make another video with a better window tomorrow
Jessica J
  • #5
Nice thread can't wait for the updates!!
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That's a beautiful tank. Very natural looking.
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  • #7
Thank you again for the comments on the tank y'all.

I measured the ammonia a few hours later and it was already reading at half the amount it had been earlier, so I did one more small feeding. This one is done with a better frame so you can see the fry much more easily!

Consequentially I have also taken the old video down.

So anyway, as to this ammonia spike, it's causes, treatment and fallout? Well I know with 98% certainty the initial spike was caused by me effectively powderizing a large amount of fish food into the water 4-5 times a day earlier in the week when a guppy dropped her fry. She herself dropped probably 40-50, and while I knew a good majority would be eaten by the fish, stragglers picked off by shrimp and my dwarf frog, this is also necessary given that this is only a 10 gallon aquarium; if the bioload gets too high my more sensitive items (like the nearly $50 worth of cherry shrimp) will be toasted.

To combat this, I didn't add any ammonia neutralizer (this stops even your bacteria from using it) or anything else for that matter - I just cut back on feeding for a day now that the fry are a few days old, free swimming and able to scavenge about the tank, grazing on biofilm as they go. This is because I know my tank was well established, the biofilm could sustain the fry, and I could let my natural bacteria get a handle on the excess ammonia in the mean time. Sure enough within 24 hours I've gotten back to negligible amounts of ammonia and nitrite

Yesterday I had found one of my cherry shrimp dead on the floor of the tank which prompted me to check the water levels and found between 1.0-2.0ppm ammonia (this is way too high) SO I immediately did a 1/3 water change, went to the store during some free time and wound up with 4 more cherries to replace the ONE I lost by the time I was home that evening, I checked to ensure the ammonia was below 1.0ppm and began the shrimp on an 8 hour drip acclimation cycle. By morning one of the shrimp had died, but seeing as how my last batch had 2 DOA just on the drive home from the store (and part of why I was getting more from the same big chain - free exchange due to DOAs) 1 death I could live with. The tank was now below .5ppm ammonia, so I added the shrimp which have been doing fine. Keep in mind this entire time the other 6 RCS in the tank have been totally fine. By the time I measured the ammonia this evening and after resuming a normal feeding schedule (not light from ammonia buildup, not heavy for the fry, just normal) the ammonia levels were STILL down to between .00-.25ppm ammonia, hence the second feeding video

So yeah, small bit of my "Less is More" philosophy in action against unstable water parameters. So many times I've seen someone online freaking out about a spike, adding tons of chemicals, consequentially either killing your BB directly or changing water parameters so quickly and drastically they can't survive the new environment, and again the BB dies out, consequentially all the fish die, and the person is now left with a failed $400 chemistry experiment and a taste so bitter left by aquarium keeping that they'll never touch it again.

Less is More
- Cody
Jessica J
  • #8
Just had a guppy drop last night awoke to atleast 4 more babies that we can see!!
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  • #9
Just had a guppy drop last night awoke to atleast 4 more babies that we can see!!
Hey, alright!! I promise if there's 4 there's even more you don't see. Congrats on your new found guppy mom! I'm sure you'll love watching them grow up and start to get their traditional guppy markings

Just curious do you know what morphs the parents are?
Jessica J
  • #10
We brought the mama already prego she is the deformed one with the yellow tale, we got her because of her deformity makes her unique.
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  • #11
Just a heads up guys, my red cobraskin female is dropping her fry right now (this is more to catalog the date for myself than anything else). I'll try to get some video of her giving birth, will update everything later this evening.

I know the pic is terrible but at least you can see the new little guy, not even a minute old here. Notice how you can still see the yolk sack - they can live off the energy stored here for several days, USUALLY until they can start eating powdered fish flakes. If these yolk sacks are overly large, that's a sign your fish likely dropped her fry early and you should check water parameters. Young fish will sometimes drop early their first time, but don't worry! With guppies you'll quickly find yourself with way more fry than you need!
Jessica J
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We had a lemon cobraskin male but it only lasted one night, it was dead when we woke up with the snails eating him lol. The lps hasnt had any since.
Jessica J
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I was gonna upload a vid of Frank and ollie our mystery snails eatting him but cant? How do u upload a vid?
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  • #14
OKAY! Here we go y’all, so yes I ended up having my red cobraskin female drop ~35 fry today, I’m %80 sure the yellow cobraskin is the father, so these should be some REALLY interesting babies. I have another fish that should be due to drop here in the next couple of days, so this busy tank will not be slowing down any time soon! I’ve uploaded a lot of pics, the limit actually (so no shrimp pics just yet) so enjoy, the colors have not been enhanced in any way nor were any filters used! All natural light and color here y’all

Now a few questions I had that start with these first few pics - so the fry that are 5/6 days old? I got fry from 2 different males in one drop from a female, both displaying recessive trait qualities displayed by the fathers (one was a golden-amber glowing body color, the other is half black body; both are known recessive traits) I was extremely lucky in respect to the mother carrying both of these recessive genes (some of the fry are neither morph, just a normal grey color) but this is the first time I’ve successfully bred a recessive trait clutch of fry, and go figure I got two at once from one fish (lucky me!). I wasn’t expecting these guys to show half black coloration so soon though. Usually even my most colorful fish won’t even start to show HINTS of black until 4wks, yet here these guys are at 5 days... anyone else experienced this before? Or have I bred SuperGuppies™️?? (really guys, I’m fine if it’s SuperGuppies™️)

So yeah I’d appreciate some help on that front, otherwise y’all enjoy the pictures! I love getting to share this adventure with you guys!

Thank you ALL!
- Cody

Here is one of the half black fry. This guy is 5/6 days old and already showing color. One of the fry from today, just several hours old, is center left.

Another of same, half black father in foreground w peacock tail

Little fry actually following his 5 day old cousin out into open water. These pictures really help to highlight how quickly these guys grow off of the yolk those first few days. Mine are always eating finely ground flake food by day 2 or 3.

Two fry from the same drop, you can already see the difference in size due to natural variation amongst the clutch.

Another of the same fry. Notice the visible yolk sacks. As long as these are visible your fry need not feed! Watch carefully as overly large yolk sacks often indicate a premature drop, and special care must therefor be taken if there’s any hope for them at all.

This is my African Dwarf Frog his name is Froggy Boy, when I got him he was actually missing an arm that has since obviously grown back. I moved him in from a small 1.5g where he was by himself and he seems to love the upgrade. He helps keep the fry population in check from both the Cherry Shrimp and the Guppies. No joke he stays fat and I haven’t even noticed the dent he puts in the population.

Here are my two Nerite Snails, they had been feasting on an old Cherry Shrimp carcass. By the time I noticed it and pulled it out, I couldn’t have been blamed for thinking it was a molt carapace!

Another shot of the Nerite Snails. I bought these guys as a beautiful addition that would help clean algae around the tank. Unfortunately I rarely (if ever) see them and have noticed ZERO SLOWING in the growth and spread of algae. Huge disappointment with these guys.

I believe these are Bladder/Pond Snails (Help ID)? They came in the form of some eggs (like those pictured below) that hatched, of which 4 survived and over 3 months have gotten about this big. They lay eggs EVERYWHERE but the guppy fry or baby shrimp usually eat them pretty quickly. Only 2 survivors so far in the 2 months eggs have been appearing

These are the snail eggs. Obviously my snails hatched from similar eggs since they’re going around laying clutches now. Hope these can help someone get me a positive ID on these guys. Thankfully the snails aren’t pests, they actually eat a lot of algae and are exceptionally active in general, not just for snails. Grown super attached to these guys actually!
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  • #15
I was gonna upload a vid of Frank and ollie our mystery snails eatting him but cant? How do u upload a vid?
The only way I've found is uploading to YouTube and posting a link. I don't think that video would go over well here though. I at least know I love raising guppies, I'd hate watching a video of one get eaten.
Jessica J
  • #16
Yea I wasn't happy to see it either, but its the circle of life just like your nerite snails feasting on a cherry shrimp carcass. We removed it once we seen it but video it to help research why they were doing it. We didnt know snails would eat dead fish and so fast. The guppy was alive and well at 9pm and was no longer with us by 6am. We been waiting weeks for a cobra male to come and haven't seen one since. But a lot of the fish we get at our LPS don't last long its sad to say but true. We test our water every couple days and do regular water changes. We do our research when we don't understand and try our best to make all our fish . I won't upload the video and hope I didnt affend anyone.
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  • #17
Haha no of course not, I just got Vietnam-like flashbacks of mystery snails eating old guppies lol

How long has your tank been set up? Ever hear of old tank syndrome?? Could be the culprit as to dying fish.

Lastly if y'all are interested I could hook you guys up with a cobraskin male in a couple months when my fry are mature enough to ship so long as yall are willing to cover shipping costs

I'll have reds, yellows, blues and hybrids of all 3 + some hybrid w half black strains
Jessica J
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Had our tanks since feb or march, and most of our fish and snails and plants do good but even the people that work at petsmart say they wouldnt buy their own fish but we don't have anyother choice, we do get some that do really good and have been in the tank since we got it up and cycled. Would love to have a cobra skin to add to our guppy tank. Never bought fish in the mail we are in NC. Hope we are close enough to ship them. We just got a 25g today gonna take about a month before we stock it so it should be good timing!
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  • #19
Yeah that's def close enough to overnight, just keep up with the pics and let me know who ya like! I pride myself on breeding strong fish that are healthy acutely as well as genetically, you'll love him and the hardiness of his offspring for generations
Jessica J
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Ok will do.
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  • #21
So 6 week update - I just trimmed up the tank. Waiting for Monday to ship out all this red bacopa to people here on the forum. As far as tank inhabitants there's a bit of good, a bit of bad to update on...

- lost the half-black peacock tailed male a week or two after the last update. He became increasingly reclusive and began hiding at the bottom of the tank. After about another week I found him dead. Fortunately about half a month after this one of the females dropped some half black fry, so he'll live on through them. The fry aren't quite old enough to sex just yet.
- at the beginning of June they were working on the roof of my apartment and damaged the AC unit. The tank shot up to around 82-83 before I came home to find what had happened. All of the fish made it but unfortunately none of the RCS survived. As you can imagine I was livid with the landlord. Frustrated, I went and dumped about $3 worth of ghost shrimp into the tank, and to my surprise they've already taken off. A few came berried but I never gave the larva a fighting chance. I guess it was heavily planted enough because there is now an established population of ghost shrimp that have actually managed to have a negative net impact on the ammonia cycle in the tank thru waste mgmt, which has been an awesome benefit.
- introduced 5 ramshorn's snails I received in the mail from another member here on the forum in an attempt to cut down on the algae. It worked like a charm and while the rocks/decor are by no means squeaky clean, they're not solid green mounds any more which has been extremely aesthetically satisfying for me. They've been in for almost 4 weeks and have already begun to breed and lay eggs. The competition for food also helped control the bladder snail infestation.
- from the original drop of fry, 5 made it without being eaten. One developed a deformity on the lip and I began to notice the fish losing weight and he eventually disappeared. I'm assuming he was eaten my one of the bigger guppies or simply died and the dwarf African frog got him (he does an amazing job keeping the guppies from going off completely. Enough so I'm debating getting a second frog to help slow guppy population growth)
- fry are usually dropping once a week to once every other week at this point. From the second round of fry there are two males and 3 females that have made it far enough that I'm no longer worried about their survival. These are also the first round that are a result of the breeding group I personally set up (the first was from a guppy that came pregnant) and the colors they are developing are amazing. They're a mix of a blue mosaic female and a golden cobraskin male. They're showing black spots developing along the sides and patterns on the tails around 5 weeks, as well as various blends of blue and yellow appearing in the tails around the 7 week mark.

I introduced some java moss at the same time as the ghost shrimp which I think has contributed to survival rates with fish and shrimp. I will have a video coming hopefully tonight, tomorrow at the latest, showcasing some of the fry. If anyone has any questions I'm always happy to answer as best I can.

- Cody

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