Aquaponic Gardening

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can someone give advice on a tilapia breeding/hatching question.

my tilapia breed about once every couple months but fail to get thru the entire process.

they lay the eggs, they are fertilized, they keep them in their mouth for 7 to 8 days as eggs, but around day 9 or so they seem to all be gone. no eggs in the mouth no fry in the tank.

don't know if they are eating the eggs or what. have tried multiple methods to get them to survive such as removing the female to a solitary tank. removing the males to leave the female alone, removing the eggs from the female at the right time in hopes they will hatch on their own, but nothing works.

any ideas?  the natural way of life seems like they would become extinct if allowed to naturally breed.


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I am no expert but what I finally did to solve that same problem was to create an artificial reef with a roll of plastic fence.  I put it in one corner of the tank and secured it there.  That gave mom a place to spit the babies when she was eating.  Then once the babies are on their own I move them to a separate tank.

Watch for mom to start getting aggressive with the other fish, that's when I know the eggs have hatched and she will be shitting them out.  I have an old 100 gal tank and when the hatchlings are ready, mom stake out about 1/3 of the tank, then I start watching for fry and scoop out what I can.  I will often just let things be because the fish are mating about every 6 weeks an I just don't have the room for hundreds of fry all the time.

Julie's tip on hiding places is helpful too. Even when I don't get to the fry in time, it seems like a couple from each batch survive

I have this happen a lot with certain females but some are worse than others.  I guess just like humans some are better mothers than others.   It may be possible that the eggs did not get fertilized.  

But in any case, I always remove every other fish as soon as i find they have eggs, and keep the environment consistent, no stress, no events, same temp.  When i remove the other fish, i do so by inserting a fence, so that even the removal doesnt stress the female.  I have one female that has carried to term 4 out of 5 times.  Another would never get there so she became food.

As far as eating goes,  I've also found that i can feed them goldfish flakes (food)  and they seem to be able to get it down without spitting out the eggs or swallowing eggs.  Seems to help.

Also, I remove the mother fish after 7 days.... and raise the fry in the birth tank.  For some reason they start growing twice as fast as when i remove them to other tanks which is bizarre to me but i've seen it multiple times.

PH is key as well... if too high or low the females will swallow the eggs. Here is what I do.... Make yourself a DIY Egg Tumbler (check youtube for vids on it) pull the eggs from mama and tumble the eggs your self. One either the female is too young to let them go all the way because of hunger or 2 PH is off. Cant really narrow it down to those two but that is normally the main reason for swallowing eggs


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