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Small Foods for Fry

Tiny Red Neon Rainbow Fry (Pseudomugil paksai)


One of the most difficult problems for me over the years in breeding and raising different species of fishes has been keeping tiny fry alive, especially those who at first are too small to take newly hatched brine shrimp.  There are many fishes in this category, including some rainbows, tetras, gobies, discus, uaru, barbs, catfish, anabantoids, dwarf cichlids, killiefish, white clouds, and danios.  Once on the baby brine shrimp, most fry are easier to raise, but before they reach that stage, pollution, temperature changes, and adequate food (or too much food) can be a big problem.  Here are some types of tiny foods that might be helpful:


MICROWORMS---They can be slightly smaller than baby brine, but there are still many tiny fry that cannot eat them.  Also, they remain on the bottom and many fry require suspended foods.  Especially helpful for catfish and bottom feeding fry.


VINEGAR EELS---Most fry can accept them and they remain suspended, but they require attention to cultivation.


PARAMECIUM---Very tiny and remain suspended.  Also need cultivation.


NATURAL---Most all established aquariums with live plants contain minute organisms that will feed some tiny fry.  The key is to reduce filtration so they are not filtered out.  Food will have to be added if there are numbers of fry.  Attention will have to be paid to possible pollution.

SPONGE FILTER SQUEEZINGS---Cultures of organisms already exist in sponge filters and can be added to fry tanks in measured amounts.  A light air bubbler will keep it in suspension.

FLAKE FOOD DUST---I will crush flake food (50% spirulina) with a mortar and pestle very fine and put it in a squeeze bottle to blow small amounts on top for surface feeding fry (e.g. rainbows).  Mix a small amount of the dust with water and shake it up and it remains suspended for other fry.  Make sure to add snails to clean up the excess and use a slow bubbler to keep the particles suspended.

LEAF LITTER---Leaves are a “natural” in aquatic environments.  Quickly under water they begin forming films of microorganisms that some fry feed on, especially those in darkwater (think discus, apistos, catfish, tetras, or barbs).

LIQUIFRY---I used this fry food in a tube back in the ‘50s for egglayers and it is still available under the Wardleys name as “Small Fry”.  Use only a drop or 2 at a time, mix in the water, and watch closely for pollution.  It is very fine and will remain suspended.

Different foods will work better for different species.  Try some of these to give you more success!