Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

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Joliet Jake created the topic: Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

OK, I've heard the cons of offering too many (if any at all) live feeder fish fron the pet store in fear of introducing disease to your Oscars, but do any of you raise your own feeder fish at home for said purpose?

Lets face it, in the wild other smaller "live" fish would make a big part of your Oscar's diet I'm sure and I am thinking of setting up a small 10-15 gallon aquarium to breed and raise feeders. That way you can control the health and quality / quantity too. What would be the best choice to breed / feed though?
I'm thinking common Guppys as they are pretty care free, breed like mad and stay fairly small. Anyone else have experience doing this? I'm probably also going to nurture my own live worms like grub or meal worms too. I'd like to hear from others who have experience with either feeder fish or live worm breeding.

Ken

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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OFL replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

I haven't bred feeders or worms but I do have a 20 gallon tank that has six guppies and three lemon tetras in it. Now, up until three months ago, I had never kept guppies before. They have all grown up and are quite big now but they haven't bred. Some of the females look like they are pregnant but they have done for over a month. They are live breeders but I would have expected the young ones to be born sooner than now. I think that if I was going to breed live feeders for my Oscars, they would have gone hungry by now.

Personally, I think there's more to breeding live feeders for Oscars than most people think. You often see people writing a lot about breeding live feeders but there aren't that many people who say they do it. I think you would have to become pretty adapt at breeding guppies before you thought about using them as live food. You would also have to decide how many you are going to feed and how often.. Guppies aren't very big so you would need a few in one meal to satisfy a large Oscar. So, you would have to be breeding on a regular basis. I reckon you'd need quite a big tank if you are to keep up with a regular feeding basis. Guppies Fry are quite small and will take a few weeks to reach a size that would be suitable for feeding.

Going by my own 20 gallon tank, you couldn't get that many guppies in there. If you were to cram lots in, the water quality would go downhill very quickly which could make the guppies susceptible to disease which would then be defeating the object of breeding your own live feeders for health reasons


Personally, I think it's an awful lot of hard work when there is more than enough good quality food commercially available, or in your back garden. You mention worms, just get yourself a compost bin. Not sure if you have them in the United States, they are very popular over here and when established are absolutely packed to the hilt of worms, a never ending supply.

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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

Oscarfishlover wrote:

Personally, I think it's an awful lot of hard work when there is more than enough good quality food commercially available, or in your back garden. You mention worms, just get yourself a compost bin. Not sure if you have them in the United States, they are very popular over here and when established are absolutely packed to the hilt of worms, a never ending supply.


Now that IS a good idea! A compost bin for worms. I like that! BTW, I've raised guppies before and its really quite simple, yet I may not for the time being and see what varied diet I can come up with instead. In reality, I would like to raise live crickets instead and am reading about that right now.

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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Elsabe replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

I would really like get some tips on breeding those crickets - last year we had a plague down here in SA, this year they are all gone! I also like that compost tank idea...
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pooky_84 replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

before I had done more research on Oscars, I had a rather large blue danio in the same tank when my Oscar was small, within a few weeks, I noticed it was missing, then another zebra danio went.??? I couldn't figure it out. I thought they must have jumped out and wedged itself somewhere, or the dogs or cat ate it after it jumped out. Not until I cleaned the filter and tank, did I find.....THE BONES AND LITTLE BIT OF MEAT from the danios!!! I then thought they must have died, because I could never blame my little Oscar. He was just so placid, and never chased the fish. BUT, I caught him a little while later trying to catch the last two danios...grrr. Well, it was my own fault. Uh, how stupid you say...:blush: :blush: :blush: hehe. well, they got removed to my goldfish tank, and luckily Osh leaves my catfish and shark alone. But now I know, that Oscars EAT danios, or their other name, feeder fish!!! haha. I should have asked at the pet shop why they were called feeder fish. Really, I'm not as dumb as I look. Well, I don't think!:blush: :blink:


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c_etude replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

Raising crickets is easy. All they need is some sterile soil (with NO fertilizers in it--you can get commerical peat moss...or even Bed-A-Beast works.) and keep it moist. I keep two VERY SHALLOW bowels for the adult crickets--in one I put good quality dry kitten food, and in the other I put small carrots for moisture Just keep the sterile soild slightly moist and they do the rest :-) But it takes WEEKS to reach any reasonable adult size! The baby crickets manage to get to the shallow dishes and eat and eat and eat.

You can go to the bait stores and buy crickets. Gutload them then put in a baggie and freeze them. Thaw before serving. No mess, no fuss. You can dip them in a very small amount of vitamin powder before serving.
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c_etude replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

PS I'm not a fan of giving live feeders to oscars. Even if raised in captivity, they can get sick.. which means your oscar can get sick.

Crickets, earthworms, etc are easier. And cleaner.
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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

There is no reason you can't maintain a seperate aquarium full of live breeders such as common guppies that you can draw from to feed your Oscars.

Sure, you have to pay as much attention to the guppies as you do the Oscars but that is not difficult to do. Guppies are faily hardy, breed like rabbits and you can put a bunch of them in a small 20 gallon tank. Start off with about 3 males and 6-8 females and soon thereafter you will have more fry than you can count. Pick 2-3 very pregnant females from the store (Guppies are always pregnant) and you will have fry within weeks. Then the tank will grow with fish at different levels of age and a few weeks to a month or so you can begin to offer the guppies as treats once a week. I just picked up a 20 gallon tank off ebay with a stand, hood, light, filter etc for $16 US. I'll add a heater and put in a small canister filter to allow for a high bio load (lots of fish) and soon will have clean live feeder fish.

Guppies are easy (very easy) to keep and especially breed. You need to provide some floating plants for shelter of the fry as guppies will eat the fry too. From my past experience with them, you can easily save more then half of the fry if you provide some cover for them. Or, you can remove the fry and raise them seperately too. Other smaller fish would comprise a good portion of the wild Oscars diet and you should try to replicate this as best possible.

YES buying feeder fish from a pet store is dangerous but people take that concern to the extreme by shying away from raising their own feeders at home. In fact, I'm going to throw some guppies into the new tank I am cycling to help it get going and those may get eaten first by the Oscars once introduced.

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:Raising your own LIVE Feeder Fish?

I have to laugh about this. My two Oscars are in a tank by themselves now, except for one very small (1-1/4") Otocinclus algae eater whom I often forget is even in the aquarium.(He's tiny!)

I have seen my Oscars take notice of him several times in past weeks and both have chased him repeatedly, but neither have managed to catch him for lunch. Its funny to watch because the Oto sits still sucking algae off the glass and the Oscars pay him no mind. But wheh the Oto decides to move, he sometimes gets noticed and the Oscars go after him. But the little Oto knows they are coming and he is darn quick when he needs to be and then they forget about him again. (One of these days he's going to go missing I think...)

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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