Holding Yellow Lab, Need Advice Please!

  1. Wendy Adams Member Member

    So, I have a 65 tall tank (more like the size of a 40g breeder) with 5 yellow labs (2 males and 3 females - I know LFS messed up sexing these things - long story). One of the females has been holding since about June 20th. Before she started holding (maybe about a month before) I had an outbreak of ich so I started setting up a Q tank. The fish with ich all died and I finally got rid of the rest of the ich in the main tank so didn't have the need to move any to a Q tank.

    Anyways, the smaller tank is almost cycled so almost a week ago, I netted the momma lab and put her in the small tank (doing water changes every day or two) to give her some peace from the others and allow her to spit naturally. So far in the big tank she's spit I think 4 fry. Three of these are swimming around. I accidentally killed #4 though when I moved a piece of the decor around and didn't realize the poor little guy was under it.

    Anyways, I am trying to keep these babies alive and don't want momma to eat them once she's done spitting them out. Before these fry appeared, momma had a small black mark under her chin area (if that's what it's called). Now that spot is gone. She still has a sunken belly though and still seems a little full in the mouth, though I cannot see inside to tell if there are any fry left in there.

    I had a breeder net thingy that attaches to the inside of the aquarium and I had gathered up the other 3 fry and put them in, just in case momma finished spitting and was starving when I wasn't around. Well the little fry found their way out of the net and are now swimming back in the 20 gallon tank with momma. So, yesterday I went to PetSmart and bought a 3-way breeder box (the acrylic kind where there is a tray for the fry to swim under momma after she spits them out. My thought was to scoop up the fry and put them in there for their own safety. Unfortunately they were fast buggers and wouldn't let me. So, instead I was able to scoop up momma and put her in the top portion. I figured at least if I could separate her from the fry already released should wouldn't try to eat them and if she released anymore they would go into the part below.

    Momma didn't like being confined either and about an hour later she was swimming in the bigger part of the tank with the little ones.

    I just looked and still only have 3 fry and momma in the tank, with none in the breeding box. So how long does it take this dang fish to spit them all out? I'm scared to death to try to strip her and she's one the smaller side herself so I don't want to stress either of us out. But I'm about ready to put her back in the main tank and just raise the 3 I have in there (if I can). However, my hope was to keep her in with the fry for a bit, and somehow separate momma from the babies once she was done spitting so that I could fatten her back up a bit before releasing her to daddy as he's pretty aggressive when wanting to mate and she seems to be the only female that he's been able to mate with so far.

    Also, it's time for a WC today and I'm not sure how to go about it with babies in the tank. I was thinking about putting some panty hose over the siphon to make sure I don't accidentally suck any up. Should I put more than one layer over the tube? The problem is that I also need to clean up some of the debris in the tank. I have been putting in a couple flakes daily or every other day, just to see if momma would eat yet. Still no luck there.

    So could someone please help me out. I need to know the best way to handle the WC of course, but I also have other questions. How can I separate them in the same tank? How long before momma will be done releasing? Any idea how I can tell if she's done holding - without grabbing her and stripping? Is there an easier way to catch these babies to put them into the breeder basket? I have the smallest net I could find and the metal piece doesn't allow me to get under them when they swim so close to the bottom or side of the tank.

    Any help I could get will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Katie13 Fishlore VIP Member

    It usually takes at least 3 weeks.
     

  3. Wendy Adams Member Member

    What takes 3 weeks? The time it takes for her to fully release all her fry? I mean she's been holding now for over 4 weeks.
     
  4. DIYhack Member Member

    Did you see her spit the fry at all?

    I bread Labs for a couple years. Usually they spit 20-30 at a time. If I didn't see it and she was in the main tank 70% of the fry would be eaten over night, couple days nothing but maybe 1-3.

    Also if they get startled/bad tank transfer she will just swallow.

    I bet she isn't holding anymore. Just use a little plastic bread tie and strip her.
     

  5. Wendy Adams Member Member

    I was just thinking the same thing. Since after I put her in the separate tank to spit, the next day I got 3 fry. So now I'm wondering if perhaps she might have already spit some before I moved her and they either got eaten or a hiding very good in the main tank. Sheesh!

    So right now I have 3 babies in the small tank plus her. Would she still not eat if she wasn't still holding some though? When I was trying to scoop the babies up she did chase them and took them back into her mouth so I would stop what I was doing. Then she would swim over to the corner where I have a couple air stones going and spit them out. Now the babies are hanging around that area and she's on the other side of the tank. I still haven't seen her eat anything though.
    Did I mention, I am scared to touch the fish with my hands? I just 1- don't want to hurt her and 2 -don't want her top fins to cut me either. When I was younger, I couldn't even take a fish off the hook when I went fishing with my parents because every time I tried their top fin would slice my palm of my hand up badly.