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Bantam Sunfish Getting Ready to Spawn


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#1 centrarchid

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:14 PM

Fish I am watching getting real close.  Male and two females now in 40-gallon breeder.  Females stay near air diffusers eating plankton.  Male moves back and forth between where I think nest will be constructed and females where he bullies them a bit.  Male is becoming more aggressive with each bout.  Other changes also underway.


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#2 centrarchid

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 08:54 AM

Abdomens of females extending even more.  Male working hard to exclude them from area his nest appears to be in.  Before leaving for work I placed a pre-fabricated nest in location I think he has sites on.  Hopefully broods will be present when I get back home from work.


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#3 centrarchid

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:21 AM

Still no brood.  40-gallon breeder tank may not be large enough to permit more natural social interactions that lead to proper courting and final ripening.  Male still not dancing.  Partition may be installed shortly.


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#4 centrarchid

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:33 PM

First brood deposited by largest female I have spawned to date.  Actual deposition occurred between 0700 and 1500 so may have to get some embryos out and look at them under microscope.  Male made nest site about 10" from location I expected him to use.  It was fun explaining to a 6 and a 4 year-old what daddy was doing and why he kept the mother away.  The male puts a lot of effort into fanning.


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#5 centrarchid

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 09:45 PM

Nest site again demonstrating my camera skill level.  At first I had major trouble seeing any eggs, until I realized the entire nest bottom is solid with with them.  To my eyes nest bottom is decidedly golden and all particles are held together by the eggs.  Brood is huge for a Bantam sunfish.  I will attempt to get a count on prolarvae.  I am betting count will be higher that estimates in literature.


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#6 centrarchid

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 05:45 AM

Area in center of light almost solid eggs.  They are stuck together so tight they hold the substrate in place.

 

EMBRYOS+LUCKY+TO+BE+IN+FOCUS.jpg


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#7 centrarchid

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 09:28 PM

Prolarvae already hatched when I got home at 2000 but were not when I left for work at 0700.  That means hatching occurred 23 to at most 36 hours post-fertilization.  I think time closer to middle of that range.  Yolks are incredibly orange.  Diet related.  The toy microscope I got sucketh big time for imaging the prolarvae.  Still shows color that I will post tomorrow.


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#8 centrarchid

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 03:31 PM

Another female about to produce eggs.  She is blanching loosing her dorsal spot.  Male courting her like a mad dog.  First brood still prolarvae.  All but male and broods will be pulled out today.  Going to try and rear 500 fry.


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#9 centrarchid

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 08:25 PM

The female indicated above produced a brood.  Brood and nest that contains it in a different location from from the first.  First brood still as prolarvae with exodus likely tonight.  Female producing first brood getting ready to spawn again.  Current arrangement not natural as male able to eat enough to keep putting weight on.  Normally male would be loosing weight while engaged in brood care.


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#10 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 09:07 PM

Golly, These were junk fish near death a couple weeks ago. How did they bounce back so fast? Have you seen this in other Lepomis? Obviously you have some skill, but it cannot all be attributed to conditions. They must have some ability to deal with feast/famine and come back quickly. Is this at all unique to the species or is this fairly normal?


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#11 centrarchid

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 09:13 PM

I do not know.  These fish were not spent reproductively at onset of starvation.  With exception of largest female, breeding size not realized until immediately before food deprivation began.  I have seen Bantams in relatively poor condition in the wild for most of the summer.  Growth during summer also seems rather slow.  Therefore they may be well adapted to limited nutrition much of the time.  They are also easy to keep for up to four years before kicking bucket.  I have a hard time keeping other fish around that long without them putting on a lot more growth.


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#12 JasonL

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 09:49 PM

FWIW I have caught wild male Bantams not much more than an inch long in full breeding colors. In fact, I've rarely ever caught any wild Bantams more than 2 inches and I've caught a good number of them recently.

That said, I have found them to put on serious growth in a fairly short period of time in an aquarium setting once transitioned to pelleted foods. Have a couple now that are pushing 3.5 inches and were only a half inch a year or so ago. So the potential is there for fast growth if given the chance.

#13 centrarchid

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 06:07 AM

Many Bantams I see do not reach breeding size until they are age-2 which can be as little as 1".  It appears the habitats supporting Bantams are extremely limited in their productivity of the sort that supports sunfish growth.  The Bantams small size may allow the fish to complete life cycle with reduced need for food intake relative to larger sunfishes.  In my haunts, Fliers and Red Spotted Sunfish only seasonally occur in abundance where Bantams occur.  The larger species may move about more to follow eats.


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#14 centrarchid

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:49 AM

Female that produced first brood produced another yesterday.  Refractory period 7 days, about as short as I have ever seen in Bantam Sunfish.  Second brood mostly supported by drawing down fat and muscle tissue rather than just by feeding up.  That is OK because I lost entirety of first brood by her.  Male needs to nest in my prefabricated nest so brood can be transplanted into a better larval rearing setup.


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