Accidental Endler--What to do?

AP1

Member
In a bit of an interesting quandry. After losing my betta~2 weeks ago, and with about a 50-60% chance (i.e. if covid allows) that I will be out of the country next summer for 3 months on a research trip, I decided that it would not be a very good idea to purchase more fish for my moderately planted 10 gallon at present. But as it would seem to be a good home for something, I decided that the thing to do was to purchase 8 Neocaridina davidi shrimp from a guy who sells them locally. I reasoned that if the trip happens I could either find a friend to watch them for the summer (us graduate students tend to help each other out with this sort of thing), or if that failed find someone to come by and change the water once a week, with an automatic feeder perhaps occasionally adding just a bit to supplement what the shrimp are foraging in the tank. Seemed doable.

Arrived back home with the eight shrimp...and discovered that an endler fry had been accidentally included with the shrimp as well. (I confirmed with the seller that it is an endler fry; he breeds them too) The seller is not very close distance-wise, and so I put the 3/8 inch fry (now named 'Iso'--I am pretty sure she is female) into the tank. I have been feeding her baby brine shrimp and she and the shrimp are all doing well after a week+. The question, though, is what to do with this accidental inhabitant? I have hard water (~300) and high pH (7.8-8.0), and so an Endler is actually perfect in that regard. A bit bummed that she is female (I had previously thought that upon return from the trip I might add male endlers), but a very minor issue overall. The bigger issues/questions are: 1. Will she be OK as/should I try to keep her as the lone fish in the tank for potentially a 9 month stretch? ; 2. Do you think the above plan for a weekly water change and feeding if I do go on the trip and can't find someone to watch the fish could be adapted to include her (and/or perhaps 2 other female Endlers if I decide that she is not OK alone)? 3. Or should I just try to give her back to the seller (though given her size I am a bit concerned about whether she would handle the 35 minute car ride back well)? Thoughts are appreciated!
 

NoahLikesFish

Member
Keep it!
 

SM1199

Member
There's no harm in keeping her. Livebearer fry look deceptively female when young, so it is possible you may have a male on your hands!
 

jkkgron2

Member
I would keep him/her. At that size it’s hard to tell what the gender is. I would just make sure it’s getting food 4-5 times a week, preferably every day.
 

Pfrozen

Member
You could always add more plants to make it more like a walstad tank... one endler will have a very small bioload so I'm sure it would be okay with someone helping out every now and then while you're gone
 

Pfrozen

Member
AP1 said:
A bit more on the tank: current inhabitants are 1 mystery snail, 1 nerite snail, 8 Neocardinia davidi, 1 endler, and some (10-20?) Malaysian Trumpet snails as well as tiny pest snails of some sort. Tank is cycled and has a dirted Miracle Gro substrate capped with sand. About 76-77 F for temperature. Picture is below.
Definitely add more plants, you'll need more for the inverts alone. if you do that you should be fine
 
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AP1

Member
Pfrozen said:
You could always add more plants to make it more like a walstad tank... one endler will have a very small bioload so I'm sure it would be okay with someone helping out every now and then while you're gone
Sorry, I added that second post after yours--it is sort of a Walstad tank already, at least in the sense that it is dirted. (water tends to 'yellow' 3-4 days past a water change as in the picture here, which I think is due to the spiderwood). I actually plan to start a journal soon on the forum to both detail progress and get thoughts on how to best prepare the tank for the summer. One thing that I know I need to do is to get more floating plants to suck up nitrates per the Walstad method. And thanks for the reply!
 
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AP1

Member
SM1199 said:
There's no harm in keeping her. Livebearer fry look deceptively female when young, so it is possible you may have a male on your hands!
Thanks! So my understanding is that female endler fry have a triangular shaped analfin, whereas males is longer and thinner--is this correct? If it is, mine is a female.
 

jkkgron2

Member
AP1 said:
Thanks! So my understanding is that female endler fry have a triangular shaped analfin, whereas males is longer and thinner--is this correct? If it is, mine is a female.
Not until they mature. All fry look like females when young.
 
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AP1

Member
jkkgron2 said:
Not until they mature. All fry look like females when young.
I see! Well that makes this even more interesting then...perhaps that more colorful tank is still a possibility.
 
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AP1

Member
Update: Isa (pretty darn sure a female now, as gravid spot has developed) is doing well. One thing that wasn't answered above that I would still appreciate comments on is whether I should add more Endlers. Would be female only as don't want to worry about what to do with extra fry. As mentioned above, the chief worry is this upcoming summer when I will likely be abroad, with only a weekly water change by friends and automatic feeder. I am torn between keeping things as they currently are and adding one or two more females to keep her company. So any thoughts are appreciated!

(long term I will probably upgrade everyone to a spare 20 in the fall)
 

erinw347

Member
I think keeping her is fine but I wouldn’t risk adding any more if you’re going for females only. Females in store are likely already pregnant, and getting them as fry it’s very possible that you may sex them wrong and end up with males. Personally I wouldn’t add anyone else to the tank.
 
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AP1

Member
erinw347 said:
I think keeping her is fine but I wouldn’t risk adding any more if you’re going for females only. Females in store are likely already pregnant, and getting them as fry it’s very possible that you may sex them wrong and end up with males. Personally I wouldn’t add anyone else to the tank.
Thanks! I should have added that I would only buy another 1-2 with an agreement with either the store or seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.

But btw, are endlers really so hard to sex at a month or so? The 'triangular anal fin= female' theory sure seems to have worked well with mine.
 

erinw347

Member
AP1 said:
Thanks! I should have added that I would only buy another 1-2 with an agreement with either the store or seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.

But btw, are endlers really so hard to sex at a month or so? The 'triangular anal fin= female' theory sure seems to have worked well with mine.
I’m not sure as I’ve never dealt with livebearer fry. I’m just going off what others have mentioned.
AP1 said:
Thanks! I should have added that I would only buy another 1-2 with an agreement with either the store or seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.

But btw, are endlers really so hard to sex at a month or so? The 'triangular anal fin= female' theory sure seems to have worked well with mine.
 

jkkgron2

Member
AP1 said:
Thanks! I should have added that I would only buy another 1-2 with an agreement with either the store or seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.

But btw, are endlers really so hard to sex at a month or so? The 'triangular anal fin= female' theory sure seems to have worked well with mine.
They can be. All endlers start with a triangular analfin, so until the males start maturing all will appear female. Yours definitely is a female, I’m just saying that you wouldn’t see any change unless it was a male anyways.
 
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AP1

Member
Thanks to both of you! So then it is the development of the gravid spot that is the real indicator?
 

jkkgron2

Member
AP1 said:
Thanks to both of you! So then it is the development of the gravid spot that is the real indicator?
Pretty much, the females will also get bigger than the males, so usually if you have a big endler with a gravid spot it’s almost always female.
 

Flyfisha

Member
What are the ingredients in the dry food you feed the shrimp?

If one of the ingredients is fish as it seems to be in every dry food product you have your answer.

I do not understand how we are not responsible for the death of the creatures in the food we buy.
Please explain how the living endler fry is any different morally from the wild fish in our dry food ?

To put it as clearly as possible.
Feed the endler to your shrimp now.
Or let it take it chance in the future of a slow and painful death in the hands of an inexperienced helper looking after YOUR shrimp.
Who would be responsible for the death of the fish then?
Would the shrimp care?

One thing is certain a small number of day old shrimp will be part of the diet of the fish.

Your only solution if these hard facts do not sit easy.

Return the creature you were solid something you did not ask for.
 

goldface

Member
Flyfisha said:
What are the ingredients in the dry food you feed the shrimp?

If one of the ingredients is fish as it seems to be in every dry food product you have your answer.

I do not understand how we are not responsible for the death of the creatures in the food we buy.
Please explain how the living endler fry is any different morally from the wild fish in our dry food ?

To put it as clearly as possible.
Feed the endler to your shrimp now.
Or let it take it chance in the future of a slow and painful death in the hands of an inexperienced helper looking after YOUR shrimp.
Who would be responsible for the death of the fish then?
Would the shrimp care?

One thing is certain a small number of day old shrimp will be part of the diet of the fish.

Your only solution if these hard facts do not sit easy.

Return the creature you were solid something you did not ask for.
It's been a little over 2 weeks since this thread was made, so I'm assuming the endler is here to stay.

Your arguments are a bit confusing. You might have to clarify some more.
 

BottomDweller

Member
AP1 said:
Update: Isa (pretty darn sure a female now, as gravid spot has developed) is doing well. One thing that wasn't answered above that I would still appreciate comments on is whether I should add more Endlers. Would be female only as don't want to worry about what to do with extra fry. As mentioned above, the chief worry is this upcoming summer when I will likely be abroad, with only a weekly water change by friends and automatic feeder. I am torn between keeping things as they currently are and adding one or two more females to keep her company. So any thoughts are appreciated!

(long term I will probably upgrade everyone to a spare 20 in the fall)
I would add a couple more females. I did keep an endler alone for a few weeks and thought he was fine but after adding some friends for him he really perked up and was a lot more active. They are not schooling fish but do seem to appreciate company.
 

Flyfisha

Member
Accidental = a mistake return the creature .

OR

Take the responsibility of what happens in the fish tank which includes the death of the creatures we feed to our pets.

This was written today goldface and is an example of not wanting to take the responsible.

quote
“seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.”
 

Kribensis27

Member
Flyfisha said:
What are the ingredients in the dry food you feed the shrimp?

If one of the ingredients is fish as it seems to be in every dry food product you have your answer.

I do not understand how we are not responsible for the death of the creatures in the food we buy.
Please explain how the living endler fry is any different morally from the wild fish in our dry food ?

To put it as clearly as possible.
Feed the endler to your shrimp now.
Or let it take it chance in the future of a slow and painful death in the hands of an inexperienced helper looking after YOUR shrimp.
Who would be responsible for the death of the fish then?
Would the shrimp care?

One thing is certain a small number of day old shrimp will be part of the diet of the fish.

Your only solution if these hard facts do not sit easy.

Return the creature you were solid something you did not ask for.
Woah there CHILLLLLLL... the endler is happy and healthy, and although an accidental purchase, is still doing well. If the endler is happy and growing currently, why return it? I can see the rationality of wanting to get the endler some company but not wanting fry. Endlers are social and like company, but if they breed to much the bioload will be too high. The easiest and best thing to do would be to either get more females and return any fry, to avoid the bioload getting too high, or just keep this one solo. If the animal is happy, there is no reason to remove it. Fry can be removed and still spend a happy life in somebody else’s tank. They haven’t had an opportunity to get used to an environment yet, and have their whole lives ahead of them to do so. The adult endler knows this place now, and removing it would most likely be more stressful. Btw, in that post, did you say to FEED the endler to the shrimp? That’s kinda messed up, especially if it’s healthy.
 

emeraldking

Member
If it's because of the wellbeing of the endler, no extra endlers are needed. They'll do well without extra endlers. But it won't harm neither if she would have company of other endlers. So basically, it's totally up to you what you'd like to do.
 
  • Thread Starter

AP1

Member
Flyfisha said:
Accidental = a mistake return the creature .

OR

Take the responsibility of what happens in the fish tank which includes the death of the creatures we feed to our pets.

This was written today goldface and is an example of not wanting to take the responsible.

quote
“seller to take any fry produced by an 'accidental' pregnancy prior to purchase. I too don't want to worry about what to do with fry.”
I see. An interesting point. I suppose my counterpoint would be that these (hypothetical) fry would not have been conceived in my tank and so a return to the LFS (after some grow out) would represent no real change in circumstance than had I (hypothetically) never purchased the mother. And of course the goal would be to purchase a female not pregnant in the first place.

As for the importance of considering the death that goes into feeding fish, quite an important point ethically speaking. Will continue to think on this one and may respond at some point in the future if I figure out a 'stand.' (though of course this is a much bigger issue--dog food would be another example of this and this ultimately connects to the question of eating meat, etc.) But I think this is a separate issue in many respects.
 

Flyfisha

Member
Thank you for considering the concept I raised AP1.

An additional point that only confuses the issue.
A female live bearer stores the males contribution for at least 3 batches of fry from one dance with a male.I am not sure if that changes the time and place of conception, ( technically speaking ?)

As a fish keeper myself that cultures multiply live foods and feeds these creatures while still alive I have had to face this issue in the cold hard face of day often.

As a teenager and into my youth I was a vegetarian.
Today I embrace the circle of life.


Kribensis27,
In answer to your question in post #23 . You read my statement correctly.
In fact feeding a healthy meal to our fish is what we all try to do each time we open that container of dry food. I hope none of the ingredients are from less than healthy creatures.
 
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AP1

Member
Well today was quite the...comedy? Tragedy? Hopefully the former, though has the potential to be the latter.

While out for a pandemic park trip with our young toddler son (basically the only thing we can do now that cases are high here is the park), I decided that 2 more females was the way to go and gave the LFS a call to ask about female endlers. I was connected with a worker who said that they had lots of different types of female endlers and that they would take back any fry. I was quite happy about this, and went to do a curbside pickup (bc our son will not wear a mask). Was even happier when they charged only 77 cents total for the two females; I even asked the person taking the payment whether they charged different prices for males/females and she said 'must be' or something of the sort.

Took the fish home, took a couple of mild barbs from my significant other regarding another aquarium purchase but came back proudly with 'but they only cost 77 cents'. Managed an OK acclimation while feeding lunch to young son. The fish were quite a bit bigger than Isa, but it looked like they couldn't eat her. Saw a bit of aggression in the bag from the larger one to the second, but figured it was just stress. Then it was time to put young son down for a nap, so turned the lights off.

Turned lights back on around 3:30. One of the new fish was hiding and the larger one was really chasing Isa around. Tried feeding but this only made things worse. So I decided that the thing to do was to swap out the larger fish for a smaller one. Catching it was an interesting process disrupted only slightly by: young son tearing open the ziplock bag containing waiting water for the fish; wonder dog jumping up on the kitchen table to eat leftover scraps; and a 30 minute search for the net. During all of this I took young son out to the car to warm it up for the fish and looked at the receipt for the first time. "Feeder Guppy". Interesting. Called the LFS and was connected with the fish boss, who said that I could bring the fish back and swap it for another.

Finally got young son and the fish in car, thinking that I had just enough time to do the swap and get back to make a promised dinner for young son and significant other. Four minute drive to the LFS, and was met by fish boss, who told me (after I mentioned that I had seen fungus on the fish's mouth while catching it) that they actually do not carry female endlers and that this was not a female endler as I had been told but instead a feeder guppy from a tank with lots of disease. Great. Obviously did not swap for another.

Instead went back to the house to get and return Feeder Guppy #2, whose hiding now seemed much more sinister (disease?). Son plopped down on couch, hurried rush to clear off the remnants of lunch that I had thought I would have plenty of time to clean, five minutes spent looking for hiding Feeder Guppy #2, then finally fish and son in car and only needed to run back inside for the phone--but of course accidentally locked out and had to ring the door bell. A glare from significant other upon opening the door, who on coming to the door saw the scene of chaos left behind by the rush and realized that the promised 5:30 dinner was not going to happen since wonderful husband and crying son were leaving to go to the (now hated) LFS at 5:27.

The glares upon our return from the store were also memorable.

So Isa remains the one and only fish in tank. I hope the disease was not spread to her--they were only together a few hours. Will wait and see, though if anyone has ideas on something to treat the tank with (remember that there are inverts) I might think about treating.

(and on the off chance that the LFS employee reads this--do realize that the above chaos is actually not that unusual in the life of two grad students with a toddler, so nothing to get down about and no hard feelings (I have made much bigger mistakes in my professional life and I did/do appreciate the help). Just let others know that these are feeder guppies rather than Endlers in the future!)
 

SM1199

Member
As soon as you mentioned curbside pickup and "lots of female endlers," I knew how everything was going to play out. Ugh, that really sucks, I know what it's like picking up fish that don't end up working out. If I were you, I'd do a good sized water change (50%, probably) right away in hopes of warding off disease.
 
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AP1

Member
SM1199 said:
As soon as you mentioned curbside pickup and "lots of female endlers," I knew how everything was going to play out. Ugh, that really sucks, I know what it's like picking up fish that don't end up working out. If I were you, I'd do a good sized water change (50%, probably) right away in hopes of warding off disease.
Yea, and if it had even been female fancy guppies ( or well kept feeder guppies) I probably would have kept them since basically the same species.

I think I will do a water change as you suggest (thanks!), though perhaps more like 30-40% since I don't want to take out the very healthy shrimp with a sudden water change while trying to save the endler.
 

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