To cull or not to cull

jetajockey

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What do you guys do? With most batches of fry, it's inevitable that some don't make it, and sometimes there are a few that have serious issues. I've had fry that looked like check marks and > signs. Some of these fish end up straightening out , or fixing whatever their perceived issue was, some of them die, but after a few months the ones that do survive are the runts of the group and get picked on if kept with their siblings.

I have a little orange wag platy that has grown around but not in length, and seems to have some spine deformity. I can't bring myself to put him down. He usually just lays in the corner of the tank behind some cover and at feeding time he gets excited and starts trying to swim to the top. He doesn't swim straight at all, he does this twirling spinning thing counter clockwise but he seems to use it to get where he needs to go.

So what do you guys do when you get fish like this? It's hard not to take extra care of the ones that have special needs, I don't really look at it as a burden because it sparks a level of compassion in me. This could be due to my personal life though because I have a special needs child, so maybe I am subconsciously relating or personalizing things.

I'm going to post a short vid a little bit later, I named him Lefty since all he does is make left hand turns.
 

platy ben

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I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do it I don't think. I would try and provide him with a small tank of his own, with not too much tall decor for him to bump into and a slow and weak current
 

Freefallgazza

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I used to feed fry that was not needed to my oscars, it's harsh but it's the circle of life and they enjoyed the protien.
But i agree with the above comment, give him his own small tank or if you spot other weaker fish, group them together and put them in a seperate tank.
 

Shawnie

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im awful at culling...and have a few "funky" fish ...I dont cull unless they look to be struggling or not eating etc...otherwise, they live with me and the rest of my misfit family ;D LOL

ever thought of setting up just a 10 or 20g misfit tank? I just love those for sure
 

sirdarksol

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My opinion is that, if you're going to cull, Freefall's method is best, if you can swing it. However, when I actually manage to start breeding fish, I'll likely end up with a bunch of little tanks with malformed fish.
 

Marc M

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I am with you. The only fish I have put down are neons who were on their way out and were being nipped by other neons. My most recent group of fry had a high incidence of spinal deformities. The mom's died of old age shortly after they were born so that could have something to do with it. Anyway, they are all thriving and competing in the fry tank and while they may not be as robust as the others, they seem OK. I just hope the LFS I give them to decides to sell them and not use them as food! But then, there is little I can do about that.
 

Meenu

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I don't have any breeding going on in my tanks, but I think I would cull. I feel kinda bad for saying that. I would feed the fry to other fish.
 

Aquagirl1978

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Im like Jettajockey, I also have a special needs child and when my one guppy had fry and one had two heads I tried like heck to get him to eat and be happy, but alas he died anyways. I would also have a tank of special needs fish, my heart just goes out to them.
 

TedsTank

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I don'tl ike to cull but when I was hatching 100's of koi it becomes a necessity. So I have learned to deal with it. Many of our fish today are/were developed from genetic aberrations. Serious deformaties should not be kept IMO....or at least not bred. In nature these fish would never survive but instead go into the food chain....even with my experiences with koi, ugly or even bad color should not be kept... I didn't want to produce Walmart koi..a fair amount of the offspring actually revert back to looking a bit like the wild original carp....I guess it sounds a bit cruel and trivial, but personally I think we should keep the strains or species clean. There are constantly breeders developing new strains and color patterns (guppies a good example)...they are culled heavily.
 

Kunsthure

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I agree with TedsTank on keeping the species line as clean as possible. I don't like interfering with natural selection (though as a paramedic, I do it all the time ).

But with that said, I couldn't bring myself to feed fry to bigger fish. I don't know if that's the vegetarian in me or what, but sending an animal to its death, even if that is what nature intended, is something I couldn't do. That's why I've never had a snake even though I want one.

But then the question is, when do you draw the line? How many special needs fish can you keep before you no longer have room?

Then that also begs the question of a sort of pre-emptive death. You know their lives will be rather miserable and probably short so do you save them the suffering and put them to death before they'd die naturally? And then what would be the criteria for these "mercy" deaths?

-Lisa
 
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jetajockey

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This one in particular has a neat story behind it. I didn't, and still haven't separated him from the much larger fry. His batch was actually born in a community tank and he hung on long enough to get netted out, so he has some survival skills.

It's funny because I've thrown a 10 foot cast net for years, sometimes catching dozens if not hundreds of fish at a time, and have no issue putting a hook through the back or head of live bait to go after game fish, but one little fish the size of a pencil eraser gets my sympathy.

When fishing I don't usually consider the ethical implications of the treatment of the fish, at least not in an extreme way. I throw back any fish I've always thrown back fish that I didn't intend to keep, or anything that survived a day in the bait bucket gets a pardon. I've also been known to get into the water to revive an oversized red drum for release after a long 30+ minute battle.
 

LyndaB

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...but one little fish the size of a pencil eraser gets my sympathy.
and this is wrong how? :whistling:

If he's not being bugged by anyone, perhaps the fish gods have given you this gift to share with your special child.....
 

Rhan

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Ooooh, a touchy topic for debate we have here

I think its a personal decision. Myself; I would only cull if the fish was deformed to the point where it couldn't eat, swim, or live basically. I hate the idea of feeder fish - even though I know that fish do get eaten in the wild. I just don't want to have to deal with it. If other people choose to cull/use as feeders, fine, that is their choice and I respect that The only potential issue I see is people allowing their deformed fish to breed. I believe it is best to allow them to live out their natural life without allowing them to breed (difficult with livebearers, but still possible).

Oh, and being a compassionate person is something to be proud of. I used to feel it was almost a weakness in my case, but I have learnt it is a strength
 

sirdarksol

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Jetajockey: It's not all that odd. You're only causing harm when there's a purpose (i.e. when you're catching fish to eat.) I'm similar, though a bit more squeamish about hurting things.
 
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jetajockey

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Jetajockey: It's not all that odd. You're only causing harm when there's a purpose (i.e. when you're catching fish to eat.) I'm similar, though a bit more squeamish about hurting things.

That actually makes perfect sense. Maybe it's just subconsciously justified due to circumstance. I can't imagine how my parents and grandparents lived on a farm with pets that were eventually eaten.
 

redlessi

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I tried to thin out my guppy tank by using the fry as feeders for my 72 gal tank but felt so bad after I put them in, I quickly netted them all out and put them back in the guppy tank. I felt so guilty putting those babies in the tank for food. Now I give them away.

If I had deformed fry and it could eat and swim and seem happy, I would let it be. I am thankful that I have not had to make the decision to cull............
 

SFwriter

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The only special needs fish I have at the moment is a black molly fry who survived vicious attack from four adults, but lost a lot of parts in the process. Much of the tail is gone and most of the right pectoral fin was eaten. The dorsal fin was also eaten.

This little guy developed a fungus the first day, but I moved him into a small tank and killed the fungus. He's getting stronger now, swims very poorly, but can still eat. He';s growing slower than his littermates, but I expect he has trouble getting to the food. I have to scatter fry bites all over then tank so he can graze it. He is permanently pointed downward because he's front-heavy. This guy is a fighter for sure. He wants to live. I dont know if I can get a decent picture of him because he's still quite small.
 

Marc M

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I culled 3 fry today due to spinal deformaties. They were doing OK in the fry tank but I sucked it up and gave them to my angel. I am trying to keep in mind that it is better they didnt make it to reproductive age and pass on any genetic defects they may have had. I guess I could live with the fact that I save just the healthy ones.
 

Treefork

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I have a corydoras that's about 3 years old that has a spinal deformity and some messed up fins. My daughter named him Haha. He's cool and he schools with the rest of the cories even though he can't swim as well, he manages.
 
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