Friday, September 28, 2012

Angelfish Babies

About a month ago, maybe a little longer, the angelfish in my tropical tank laid a bunch of eggs on a plastic plant.  For the record I do have real plants in this tank.  In fact, about half the plants in there are real and I'm working towards increasing that amount.  The real plants are lush, healthy and on the complete opposite end of the tank from the filter, which is the safest area in the entire tank.  I only mention all of this so you can understand my consternation at my fish for deciding to lay their eggs as close to the filter as possible and on the spindliest plastic plant they could find.  As expected with a first batch of eggs, these were unfertilized and the parents ended up eating them within about two days.

Fast forward to a week or so ago and I discover another batch of eggs from my angelfish.  Of course, my fish didn't get any smarter in the interim and ended up laying them in almost the exact location.  I figured there would be about a 50/50 chance of these eggs not being fertile as well so I wasn't getting too excited about them.  But by the end of the first day I realized that none of the eggs was turning white (which would indicate they were infertile.)  Then I realized that if in fact any of the eggs actually managed to hatch into fry, I had nothing to feed them.  Which in turn caused me to make a panicked trip to various stores in the area only to find out that none of them carries brine shrimp eggs anymore.  What the heck? 

By the second day, still no white eggs and mom and dad are vigorously defending the nest.  I had given up finding any brine shrimp eggs locally and went online to order some.  It wasn't until after I hit the "buy" button that I realized that he delivery date wouldn't be until some time next week.  Awesome.  So back to the store I went to try and find something to tide my babies over on the off chance they actually hatched into something. 

By the end of day two I notice the eggs appear to be vibrating.  It's kind of cool to watch the entire batch shimmy, but I try to avoid doing it frequently as it gets the parents wound up.

By day three I'm seeing little tiny tails hanging out of the eggs.  They are still vibrating and shimmying and I can also see two little eyes on top of their heads.  I want to hug them they are so cute.

Yesterday I noticed a few of the babies starting to launch off of the leaf.  This sends mom (or dad, I honestly can't tell the difference) into a frenzy of sucking up the wayward baby and spitting them back onto the leaf.  Kind of like when you chase your kid out of the pantry and set them back in the room where all their toys are repeatedly.  Apparently kids of all species pull the same stunt.  Anyway, they're not completely free swimming at this point but I knew they would be by today.

I got up this morning to see a cloud of babies swimming around their parents.  I fed the other fish at the opposite end of the tank and then put a little fry food in over the babies.  They came right up and started eating, which was awesome and short lived.  Mom (or dad) decided I was trying to poison their babies and proceeded to swim around sucking up the babies and spitting them away from the food.  What the hell mom (or dad)?  Eventually they gave up and let the babies feed, but it's been a repeat of this same procedure each time I've fed them today.

I don't know if any of the babies will actually survive to adulthood.  Their chances are pretty slim considering they're in a tank with multiple members, all of whom have mouths big enough to fit a baby in.  But you never know, one or two might survive.  And in the meantime, it's pretty cool to watch the parenting of the adults. 

So I don't know which fish is mom and which is dad, but you can see they are both parenting the fry which I think is pretty cool.