Today I just wanted to take a second to talk to you about breeding. We all know spring is just around the corner and I am personally very excited because I will begin to start rolling out my breeding programs.
As some of you obviously know, I am OBSESSED with butterfly telescope goldfish, but there is a very small market for this breed. Most breeders focus on other breeds such as ranchu, orandas, ryukins etc.. Maybe that’s because there is more of a market for these breeds? Or that they are more popular in the hobbyist community. However, I am trying to break this mold by only selling BT’s. This way I can really dig deep into the genetics and solely dedicate my time to perfecting really nice body form, eye sets, and hopefully color patterns 🙂 -this will take a back seat to health of course.
With that being said, I wanted to give you a time line on what to expect in the upcoming months and where I see this project going/when I think I will have my first set of fry.
So, first and foremost this whole project is on hold until the weather is warm enough to set the fish outside. I could start now-and I have tried; but honestly it is incredibly difficult to simulate a change of seasons inside of an aquarium. Like I said, I have tried and did stimulate some chasing behavior, but it was short lived. I have respect for people who can do it inside all year round and naturally at that. Some breeders hand spawn their fish, I personally cannot do that because at the end of the day these are my pets and I don’t want to rush nature. I feel it’s a tad bit inhumane because you are not letting something natural occur naturally, and you could hurt your fish in the process. However, I will say that even if your ready to breed your fish, your fish may not be ready to breed and the whole process can be frustrating.
Another obstacle I am facing is the space. Right now we live in an apartment building, it’s in a country setting and I have the space to do it on my porch-however, we are trying to buy a house and I am not sure If I would want to pack up my fish, the tubs and however many fry to move them to a new home. Unfortunately, we have been delayed in the home buying process until at least August-I’m hoping sooner if we can get all of our ducks in a row. So I have to make a decision to start now and pick it up in the new house or to start mid season in the new house and potentially not produce anything.
With all of that being said here is what I am projecting for the months to come:
For the month of March I am planning on getting all of my equipment in order that I will need. This includes the breeding tubs, the fry tanks, the equipment for both.. feed that will be incorporated into the breeding program- I am planning on upping the protein, and figuring out the placement of where I think the tub would be best suitable for the fish. Also, this is where the safety measurements will come into play because that is the most important consideration when placing your fish outside. I do not want anything to happen to them and want to make sure that everything is secure so that predators will not come by for a late night snack.
I have been shopping for the best tubs for my plans and I have narrowed it down to one that I am most confident will do it’s job. That one is the Tuff Stuff 140 gallon tub:
I believe out of all the tubs, this one surpasses them all. I am not quite sure If I am going to get the 140 gallon or the 110 at this point. I will most likely head over to tractor supply, because they are sold at a pretty good price and I can actually look at them both to determine which size would work best for my fish and my space. I haven’t decided how I am going to go about filtration yet, but I am thinking the best and most efficient way is to use a few sponge filters and throw some ceramic bio filtration on top of that.
So for April, I am planning on (if the weather permits) getting my tub set up and started in the cycling process. If I start this in the beginning of April when it’s still somewhat cold out it should be done and ready to go by the beginning of may (plus I’ll be using the media from my main tank) so this will help speed along the process. I will have to place a feeder goldfish in the tank for a little while to keep feeding the cycle, and then I’m sure I can return him to my LFS when the time comes or rehome him to another person looking to add to their pond. April will also be the month that I plan on getting the top latch of the tank set up so it will be all ready to go by the time the fish come outside. I will also add most of the plants to the tank for shade/vegetation by the end of the month.
During the months of May/June I will have added the fish to the tub and shut down their indoor aquarium for the summer. The fish will now spend the rest of the year -until about the beginning of October- in this tub. Not only will this ensure their breeding patterns, it will also aid in the health of the fish tremendously! Have you ever noticed that fish kept in ponds/outdoors are much more colorful and large than fish kept indoors? That’s because the natural light from the sun and the variety of foods to eat are greater outdoors than they ever will be indoors. The fish will have daily vitamin C, but they will also have the algae growth within the tub to pick at and any insects that may get stuck in the water. I believe keeping your fish outdoors all year or half a year depending on where you live can really improve and expand their life.
These three months will be about the same, I am expecting a batch (or a few batches) of fry. Though, it’s hard to give an estimate on that because while I do predict a faster spawning rate, I cannot really predict how many I will end up with or how many will survive through the culling process. I’m hoping for at least one set of fry by June, this way anything else that comes after will just be an added bonus. Another thing I have considered if the breeding gets too out of hand, is purchasing a separate tub and separating the males from the females. We all know that a female can produce 200 eggs at a time and I’m sure we can take that number and cut it in half immediately after the unfertile eggs are ruled out of the equation. Also, between culling and basic survival rates, you may end up with 50 out of that 200. Still though, 50 babies times 4 spawns.. you get the idea lol. I think it would be best that I cut the fish off after I hit a certain number, plus it would give the fish a break and they can live out the rest of their summer in peace.
This brings us to October, the end of the breeding season. The fish will make their way back inside and the babies will continue their grow out process. The next few winter months will be spent monitoring and caring for the baby fry as they grow into young juveniles. The remaining babies that have survived will be evaluated and I will be selecting about 5 good, strong and genetically suitable babies to add to next years breeding program. I am predicting that these batches of fry will not be the best as far as genetics only because their parents are not from the same lineage. Once I am able to breed this years babies back with my original stock then I should start to see some great color patterns and body type. I don’t see anything being wrong with them as far as health, etc.. They will still be great fish overall 🙂
After I select some juveniles for my own collection, I will begin making updates to my site to show the available juveniles for sale. I haven’t decided if I am going to upgrade this site to a full on business and sell the fish from here or to go a different route. I was thinking of adding a video and a few photos of each fish to my IG and having a first come- first serve system. Either way, I imagine by then I will have a better idea of what will work best for everyone.
I am planning on waiting at least 4-6 months before I plan to ship any of the fish, just because I want to make sure they are large enough and healthy enough to go through that process. I have been going back and forth about what shipping to offer and it’s been a hard one. I am leaning more towards only overnight shipping because I do not want to run the risk of having them be lost in transit for 7 days on end like what happened to me. Also, If they are ready around the time of Christmas and New years I will probably wait until the new year to ship them, because..holiday mail 😛
So as of now this is my plan of action. I know I keep saying there will be fry and I haven’t really expressed my plans to get to that point. So I hope this will clear things up on when I expect new fry- to how they will be grown out-to shipping them to you. The only thing left at this point is to wait for some exciting updates! I plan on posting here every step of the way to give you sneak peeks at the babies and to give updates on them through this whole process. I am also keeping you updated because I want you to see what goes into this and how much love and work are put into these fry. I want you to feel comfortable purchasing from me because you know what you are getting, know where your fish came from and the extensive screening they went through to get to your tank 🙂
I also would like to point out that I have carefully selected the parents from notable breeders. I wanted a very good base to pave the way for the future generations to come. I know you all have already heard my PetSmart/Petco spiel if you read my previous blog about big box pet stores, so to answer any questions about that-all of my breeders are from either Dandy Orandas or Water Pigs USA-except for Otis and Lucy, they came from my reputable LFS. I am still not satisfied with the amount of breeders I have to start with, I have 5 fish currently. I did have 8, but I ended up loosing two of my chocolate/lavenders to a bad salt dip experience. Right now I am only using 4 of my current fish because the one big white butterfly I have (Betty White) is not up to breeding standards -she has floaty issues. The ratio of girls/boys is currently 2-2, but I would rather have more males than females. So keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks for some new additions 🙂
Well that’s all I have on updates for now, thanks for reading and supporting Tubular Telescopes! I appreciate being able to share my experiences with you!
Talk to you soon,