Days 2 - 4 | Siamese Fighter Spawn Log | HMPK Mustard Gas Female x Blue Veil Tail Male
The existence of a second installment of the spawn log is a strong indicator that the spawning documented in the first installment went well. Within 36 hours, (almost 36 hours on the dot) the fry had hatched. Numbers were difficult to tell then, and are still difficult to tell now, though this appears to be a relatively small spawn, I would estimate around 30 fry or so.
I am writing this on July 8, four days after the parents spawned. All fry have been free swimming for around 24 hours at this point and are ready to find food on their own. The father fish is still very protective, and although the bubble nest has all but evaporated, he continues to use the plastic hairgrass as a nursery for his young, who, for the most part, seem likewise inclined to stick to the safety of the 'vegetation'.
At this point it is still too early to tell if the JBL NovoTom is a successful food source. I feed a very small amount 3 – 4 times a day. Perhaps as a result of this, I have noticed an oily sheen to the water, and have started doing small water changes to freshen the water. I have also added a gentle sponge filter to the tank which should not only convert ammonia into nitrite and nitrate, but also add a gentle current which will encourage even heating in all parts of the tank. Ideally this probably should have been added sooner, prior to the hatching of the fry, but I wanted a completely still water source for the eggs to be laid and the 'danglers' (fry that are not yet free swimming) to be born in. It makes the father's job a great deal easier.
It is often recommended to remove the father when fry become free swimming, however in the wild the father does not abandon the young immediately and the blue male is an especially attentive parent. On numerous occasions I have seen him scoop up fry making their way out from the protective sanctuary of the hair grass and return them to their nursery. I am therefore going to leave the father with the fry for a while longer, though this does carry risks of him eating the young, that was always a possibility, and as he showed no inclination to eat his eggs or his 'danglers' and as he has not consumed any of the small free swimmers (whilst I have observed him) I shall give him the benefit of the doubt.
The coming days will be very telling on several fronts. On the one hand, the fry may refuse to eat the NovoTom and die of starvation, on the other, they may be eaten by the father, and still on another, they may find the water changes too much and simply give up the ghost. Many breeders do not do water changes until the second week, however past experience has taught me that poor, dirty water is far more hazardous to fry than water changes.