Raising Rainbows (Threadfin)

Demeter

Member
I’ve never owned rainbow fish until I bought a group of 8 threadfin rainbows off ebay. Unfortunately all were male so I did some digging around and inquiring online before I eventually ended up finding 3 females at my local petstore. Snapped them right up for nearly the same price as my 8 males (yikes). After adding them in with the males it took ~2 weeks before they got busy and surprised me with little ones

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I’ve raised bettas so they can’t be as hard as that right?

Side note: special thanks to Fishstery for a bit of experienced advice!

So far there looks to be about two dozen inside a breeder basket in the main tank. The spawn mop has more eggs on it so I’d expect more in the coming days. I’ve seen the fry pecking at HikarI first bites and micro worms so they’re probably eating enough.

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Geek note:
1. Eggs are very sticky, trying to remove them from the mop with a pipette is near impossible as they stick to the end of the pipette via tiny adherent threads
2. Eggs are laid over the course of a few days so fry hatch out in batches
3. Males are quite gentle with the females so having more males than females doesn't seem to cause issues for this species.
4. I've been feeding grindal worms and BBS every couple days so perhaps this helped induce spawning.
 

RobM

Member
1 You can just use your fingers. The eggs are fairly robust.
2 They generally spawn in the morning. Best time to check the mop is early afternoon, especially if there is anything in the tank that might eat them.

HikarI first bites may be a little large for newly hatched werneri. They usually need food in the 50-100 micron range. There is usually some infusoria floating around in a planted tank that will get them through to the bbs stage.

Great job! These are not the easiest of rainbows to raise in the early stage. Once they get to bbs you are usually in the clear.
 

qldmick

Member
I don't know but I would of guessed rainbows needed infusoria, there's a few people breeding local variants in ponds in Australia.
 
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Demeter

Member
Well, I've abandoned the first attempt at raising rainbows. I just wasn't prepared for fry and the little buggers ended up dying on me. Since then I've had a lot of time to reassess the situation and I'm trying again. I've added 2 new species of dwarf rainbows, forktails (2M4F) and a trio blue eyed gertrudes. They are absolutely lovely and I don't know why I didn't get into rainbows sooner.

The newest additions were the forktails, they were quarantined for about 3 weeks and I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 little fry in the quarantine tank after moving the adults to the display. They are very cute and eating BBS like champs. The 2 mops I had in the tank were also moved into the quarantine after I noticed the fry, hopefully there are some eggs on them but time will tell.

I started a new feeding schedule with decapsulated brine shrimp eggs and fresh BBS. I've seen the males showing off, especially the blue eyes. Hopefully they find their way to the spawn mops rather than the tangled roots of the anubias. I currently have a group of fireline danios in a 29gal in hopes of them spawning but so far no luck as far as I can tell. I'm debating on moving the rainbows in there for a couple weeks and then moving them back, hopefully eggs are laid and I can rear them in that tank.
 
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Demeter

Member
I’ve picked eggs twice and there should be ~20 good eggs. They are all at different developmental stages, which is cool to see. There are different sizes so it looks like at least 2 species are spawning.
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3-4 new tiny fry hatched, I’m not entirely sure they are eating but I’m feeding micro worms and BBS with occasional First Bites. The 2 forktails are very active and almost 3 times the size as the other fry.
 
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Demeter

Member
Picked another dozen or so eggs today and did a small water change in the fry tank, counted about 2 dozen fry of varying sizes. I’ll have to try getting pictures of the bigger ones.

Finally got some still photos of the adult rainbows. I’ve noticed the threadfins really like to hang closest to the top level and away from all the other fish. They are very dark colored compared to the others.
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The Gertrudes are very chill too, the only time I see a bit of aggression is when the forktails get too close to the male or his ladies.

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The forktails are crazy, they love to be right in the filter output current, they eat stuff off the substrate and the males are pretty territorial to each other and even the females. Glad there are only 2 males.
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Demeter

Member
Soooo many babies, right now I have ~16 fry in the 7.5gal cube with black shrimp. All seem to be gertrudes and forktails, no threadfins. The threadfins are so tiny I feel they can’t eat micro worms as first foods so they starve to death. I decided to buy a variety of fry food cultures and micro pellets off aquabid. Hopefully I get a better survival rate out of them.

Side note I think I have choprae danios and maybe least rasboras breeding, might have some fry from them on the way.

Not many pictures of the fry, they move way too fast. Here’s the tank instead. So far the largest ones are about half and inch, others in this tank are about new born guppy size and growing fast.
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Flyfisha

Member
Hi all, Demeter I don’t claim to have all the answers but can share my story. I have had some success raising a couple of batches of rainbow fry ( praecox) and other tiny mouthed fish ( pencil) . I have dropped them straight into a green water tank that had an air stone using a turkey baster . After a week or so I changed out some green water for more green water from outside fire buckets. I did not add much additional food on the later batches of fry for 3 weeks. I started adding dry foods and micro worms. brine shrimp etc at around 3 weeks so the fry learnt about other foods.

To make green water just leave dirty old aquarium water out in the sun without any floating plants.
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Second photo is what passes as a fire bucket down under.
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Demeter

Member
Flyfisha said:
Hi all, Demeter I don’t claim to have all the answers but can share my story. I have had some success raising a couple of batches of rainbow fry ( praecox) and other tiny mouthed fish ( pencil) . I have dropped them straight into a green water tank that had an air stone using a turkey baster . After a week or so I changed out some green water for more green water from outside fire buckets. I did not add much additional food on the later batches of fry for 3 weeks. I started adding dry foods and micro worms. brine shrimp etc at around 3 weeks so the fry learnt about other foods.

To make green water just leave dirty old aquarium water out in the sun without any floating plants.
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Second photo is what passes as a fire bucket down under.
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That's certainly one way to do it! I figured I'd be alright with just micro worms and BBS as that is what I used for several betta spawns, I'm guessing the micro worms sink too fast and are on the large side for the tiny rainbows. I'll be getting a starter culture of paramecium (basically green water if I remember correctly) along with walter worms, banana worms and vinegar eels. Also wanted to try the same sellers "fry crack" so I have 3 different sizes of that on the way too.
 

Flyfisha

Member
Sounds good. Yes I agree the micro worms probably sink to fast.?
Vinegar eel certainly swim at the surface/ the right place. I have only one culture of vinegar eels but have never feed them to fry. I should start more cultures of them and start going through the siphoning off routine to be ready for the possibility of more fry.

I have tried to make an Infusorea/ paramecium culture but believe I just didn’t see it if I had anything. Or I had way to much plant and vegetable material and poised anything . Sure did stink.

I like the laziness of green water but what I did not say is mine has hydra in it. No big deal but it was the first time I had seen Hydra.

Good luck.
 
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Demeter

Member
I’ve started feeding paramecium to the young fry, hopefully I will start seeing threadfin mixed in with the other species. I also have a handful of glow light danio fry so we’ll see how they do. I’m also trying “super fry” which is basically powdered green water, looks like they are eating. It also works great to feed brine shrimp.

I moved 6 of the largest fry into the adult tank. 4 gertrudes and the first 2 forktails that started it all. They’ve been in there for a few days with no issues, I plan to up the school or Gertrudes to at least 6 so we have a good start.

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A batch of smaller fry were moved to the 7.5gal cube and are doing well. I hope to start selling some in a couple more months.
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chromedome52

Member
Isolate the threadfin eggs and fry, or you will never get any. The other two species' fry will eat them. I managed to raise a couple on vinegar worms/eels. I almost always had green water in the fishroom somewhere, except when I needed it for these fish! I have fed green water to other species of fish by just putting a few drops in the fry container. Two advantages, you can still see the fry, and as algae, it helps keep ammonia down.
 
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Demeter

Member
Still getting loads of fry. Moved some to a 10gal and moved most of those ones to another 36gal today. They are doing great and the male forktails are becoming apparent. No pictures as they are way to fast for me.

Here’s some pics of the main 36gal with the adults and some juvies. Got some good photos of the two male forktails having a spat, I personally prefer the boy with orange tipped dorsal fins.


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As for the threadfin progression, I’ve just moved some of the smallest eggs/fry to a specimen container with mulm from the last water change. I noticed some non-rainbow fry and wanted to see if any more tiny eggs were in the mulm. Looks like I have ~4 rasbora fry (least or dwarf emerald) and another 3 tiny fry I believe are threadfins. They are hard to tell apart but I am certain I have rasbora fry as the little guys were not free swimming until 2 days after hatching. Rainbows are free swimming right away from my experience. All feeding well on paramecium and I am leaning towards moving them into a 10gal with tiny koi betta fry.
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And here are the incredibly shy dwarf emerald rasboras. The male is the darkest one. I rarely get a good look at them.
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Demeter

Member
Many juveniles are ready to be sold but I won’t be shipping till the holidays are over. I may trade some in at the pet store if I feel the tanks are getting a little too crowded.

I threw ~20 into another 36gal a couple weeks ago. I’ve seen some male Gertrudes displaying but I’m not sure they are old enough to spawn. This tank is a shame tank, full of cyano bacteria and staghorn/brush algae. Working on getting it set for some small angels who hopefully won’t try to eat the rainbows.

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Also threw some more into a 10gal with shrimp and pleco fry. There’s also a little glow light danio in there, the orange blur in the second pic.

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Last water change yielded several more rasbora eggs which have started to hatch, the older ones are just barely large enough to take BBS.
 
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Demeter

Member
I’ve stopped collecting eggs except those siphoned out during water changes. Too many fry and not enough tanks to put them in!

Blue eyed gertrude family, dad with his son and daughter.
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It’s looking like my 3 females are getting old and slowing on egg production, good thing I have more than enough replacements.

Main tank, lots of anubias and still has the ugly breeder basket for baby shrimp.

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The fish going vertical is a male yellow belly metallicus, he is alone but infatuated with the male forktails as he often tries to breed them.

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Tried to get a photo of a threadfin, they are the hardest to photograph.

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Demeter

Member
I’ve sold a good amount of rainbows in the last couple weeks. Only a couple dozen small ones left, I’ll continue raising some for a while. I will say I am down more than a dozen juveniles because of either the angels or the upside down catfish. The rainbows were fine for a couple weeks with said fish and then suddenly I noticed there were only 7 juveniles left in that tank. Oops!

It looks like my original female gertrudes are dying off. I know they don’t live long (one breeding season in nature) and they were already adults when I bought them. As for the forktails, there is one female that always looks very plump and sometimes acts a little lethargic. Not sure what’s up with her.

Then there’s the threadfins, down to one female and 3 males with one looking thin. I wormed the entire tank with Praziquantel flakes which they did not like very well.

I kept a male of each and a couple females of each, they looks to be trying to breed so that’s one upside. I tired picking eggs today and found a whopping 3 eggs.

Here’s the tank today. It contains 7 gertrudes, 9 forktails, 1 yellow belly metalicus, 6 dwarf emerald rasboras (who are breeding and I have a few growing out), 1 betta, 3 pygmy corries, ~10 least rasboras, 4 threadfins, some shrimp, 2 adult long finned BN, 2 juvenile BN and a new spawn of BN fry that just left the cave yesterday. Plus loads of rabbit, rams, and trumpet snails.

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Sounds pretty over stocked doesn’t it? I keep up on water changes pretty well. Nitrates are about 20 today and water changes are done on Sundays. Seems ok to me!
 

RelaxingBettas

Member
Flyfisha said:
Sounds good. Yes I agree the micro worms probably sink to fast.?
Vinegar eel certainly swim at the surface/ the right place. I have only one culture of vinegar eels but have never feed them to fry. I should start more cultures of them and start going through the siphoning off routine to be ready for the possibility of more fry.

I have tried to make an Infusorea/ paramecium culture but believe I just didn’t see it if I had anything. Or I had way to much plant and vegetable material and poised anything . Sure did stink.

I like the laziness of green water but what I did not say is mine has hydra in it. No big deal but it was the first time I had seen Hydra.

Good luck.
Wait, you siphon vinegar eels? I've just been getting a shmear from the glass, lol
 
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Demeter

Member
Not too much to update on. Some of the eggs I picked are hatching, fry are in a ~1 liter specimen container for now. It works surprising well for a few fry at a time. These are some dwarf emerald rasboras I moved out if the specimen container and into a 10gal with guppy fry. The smallest fry is actually a Gertrudes rainbow.

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Then there’s these 5 dwarf emerald rasboras I moved into the main tank. They are a little smaller than adult least rasboras. The first batch of juveniles to go in with the adults. They grow much slower than rainbows IME.
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I will say I’ve noticed one juvenile male forktail is missing pelvic fins. Could be genetic, could be due to poor keeping as tiny fry. Not sure which reason it is.
 

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