When it comes to breeding marine fish, Banggai cardinalfish are one of the easiest. But what happens if your male is a less than perfect father? Matt Pedersen looks at artificially hatching those eggs and fry.
You can raise your Banggai fry artificially, but successes to date have been limited. Air-driven egg tumblers, as used to rear the eggs of mouthbrooding cichlids, have failed to yield satisfactory results. Tumblers driven by adjustable water flows seem to work better.
Eggs tend to die and decay in artificial incubation and antibiotics may help. With incubation periods of 21-27 days, dependant on temperature, observations have shown that eggs collected after one or two weeks are more likely to withstand artificial incubation than those harvested immediately after spawning.
Natural incubation is best, but not every male is a perfect father and the ability to artificially incubate Banggai eggs has commercial implications. The less time a male has to spend incubating eggs, the more frequently he can be brought into condition and spawned.
With better artificial incubation methods, theoretically Banggai production numbers could be substantially increased.
Many have tried to feed juveniles prepared foods, but most breeders find there is no artificial or prepared substitute for first foods. You can’t simply feed the babies crushed flake foods as you might with the fry of some African cichlids.
Baby Banggais appear to need prey movement to stimulate feeding. Baby brineshrimp make an acceptable first food, as do some copepods. HUFA supplementation is necessary with baby brineshrimp until prepared foods such as minced Mysis shrimp and Cyclop-Eeze are accepted.
This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.