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How to wean carnivores off of live food

ichthyogeek

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Due to a lack of live brine shrimp, and an excess of molly fry, my banggai cardinalfish is still stuck on live foods. However, when I've tried offering mysis/brine alongside the prey items, it doesn't really go after them. The cardinal is currently living with molly fry (as prey items), firefish, and a randall's prawn goby, of which the firefish go after spirulina brine shrimp + sometimes mysis, so there's some amount of training that's also happening as well.

I'm trying to figure out how best and most ethical way to wean the cardinalfish onto frozen food, and I'm running into a roadblock here. Does anybody have tips on how to get it off of molly fry and onto mysis?
 

Jay Hemdal

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You’ve spoiled it rotten! I’ve never fed live fish to a Banggai. One option would be to starve it into accepting other foods (not really suggesting that). If you had enough of them, you could kill/freeze some molly fry and transition the cardinal to them as a bridge to mysids.

Weird though- it eats live brine but not frozen brine?
Jay
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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You’ve spoiled it rotten! I’ve never fed live fish to a Banggai. One option would be to starve it into accepting other foods (not really suggesting that). If you had enough of them, you could kill/freeze some molly fry and transition the cardinal to them as a bridge to mysids.

Weird though- it eats live brine but not frozen brine?
Jay
I didn't want to spoil it! But it went on one of those silly hunger strikes, and it was already emaciated as is. The area above the lateral line was incredibly sunken in, so my first thought was to get as much food into it as possible. The molly fry were more incidental than on purpose...but once it was eating, who was I to starve it yet again?

I've debated freezing the molly fry, but the whole "living with parents" thing is a fairly good deterrent about what things get stuck in the freezer....as horrible as it sounds, I could freshly cull the fry, and the parents wouldn't be the wiser for it...or injure them so the fish gets used to food items that aren't "healthy" fish? I just don't know what to do while remaining ethical here...maybe I should try mixing in a scent cue?

The fish will eat live baby brine, but it's very lazy when it gets fed that. It gets far more active when fed molly fry. I've tried using spirulina brine shrimp (Hikari), and it does show some interest, but it's a very lazy fish when it comes to frozen. I've also tried growing out my own brine shrimp as well, so I could provide something else, but all the cultures have crashed and I'm having a really bad time with feeding non-live foods to the brine shrimp (phytoplankton, spirulina, etc.)....and the only hatcher I have is dedicated to hatching BBS....
 

Jay Hemdal

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Ah yes, that takes me back 50 years and my mom yelling at me because a chunk of frozen brine got into the ice cube tray....

Oddly, freshly culled mollies won't work as well, the freezing process seems important to bridge the fish over to frozen food. The mollies LOOK like live, but taste like frozen, that seems to be the trick to get the fish to start accepting frozen food.

I didn't realize that this fish had a history of anorexia, so none of my advice may apply, since I don't know what was going on there....

Jay
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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I wouldn't say it has a history of anorexia? More like, this is what happens with wild caught banggai cardinalfish. And yes, I know, wild caught BC bad, captive bred BC good, but it's a pandemic, and I was gonna take what I could get. And the partner up and died a few days after I bought it as well...so now I just have a single banggai cardinalfish.

Okay, so no freshly culling mollies. I am actually incredibly fine with that. But...how do I ethically kill the molly fry? I don't have clove oil, (but I do have olive oil?) nor MS2-22, the only things that I know are relatively ethical when it comes to anesthetizing fish. And...sticking a bag of water in a freezer seems like a lot? I know it was popular around 10 years ago, back when clove oil/MS2-22 weren't as popular...but is it okay?
 

Jay Hemdal

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Definitely do not use any chemicals, it makes the fish unfit to eat. Freezing in a small volume of water is the way to go. Note that this is killing, not an approved method of euthanization. But really, is it any worse than being swallowed and digested alive? Can you tell I give a college lecture on fish ethics?
Jay
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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Well given that the information/tone is far less soporific than that of my professors in college....no?
 

BloopFish

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I wouldn't say it has a history of anorexia? More like, this is what happens with wild caught banggai cardinalfish. And yes, I know, wild caught BC bad, captive bred BC good, but it's a pandemic, and I was gonna take what I could get. And the partner up and died a few days after I bought it as well...so now I just have a single banggai cardinalfish.

Okay, so no freshly culling mollies. I am actually incredibly fine with that. But...how do I ethically kill the molly fry? I don't have clove oil, (but I do have olive oil?) nor MS2-22, the only things that I know are relatively ethical when it comes to anesthetizing fish. And...sticking a bag of water in a freezer seems like a lot? I know it was popular around 10 years ago, back when clove oil/MS2-22 weren't as popular...but is it okay?
I hope you are also aware that BC are listed as a threatened species by NOAA and endangered by the IUCN red list. I really don't see why there would be such a rush to get it during a pandemic (especially when online sources are still available) that you would get a wild caught specimen of one of the most widely captive bred species in the aquarium hobby, unless I am misinterpretting something from your post. There is also a good practical reason, and not just moral reason, why people prefer captive bred BC, and I'm sure you could guess why.
 

Jay Hemdal

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I hope you are also aware that BC are listed as a threatened species by NOAA and endangered by the IUCN red list. I really don't see why there would be such a rush to get it during a pandemic (especially when online sources are still available) that you would get a wild caught specimen of one of the most widely captive bred species in the aquarium hobby, unless I am misinterpretting something from your post. There is also a good practical reason, and not just moral reason, why people prefer captive bred BC, and I'm sure you could guess why.
While I agree that CB is always better than WC, in this case, it is mostly due to the viral issues the WC have (which is likely what is wrong here). I’ve heard that BC have been translocated to new areas, and are being collected there, so no different than capturing invasive lionfish. Also, my understanding is that CITES declined to list them. The IUCN has some listing issues- I manage some Victorian cichlids that the IUCN changes their listing on every few years, based on what they “hear”. That does not instill confidence in their process!
Jay
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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While I agree that CB is always better than WC, in this case, it is mostly due to the viral issues the WC have (which is likely what is wrong here). I’ve heard that BC have been translocated to new areas, and are being collected there, so no different than capturing invasive lionfish. Also, my understanding is that CITES declined to list them. The IUCN has some listing issues- I manage some Victorian cichlids that the IUCN changes their listing on every few years, based on what they “hear”. That does not instill confidence in their process!
Jay
I'm actually doubtful about it being BCIV . I've had the fish since...I think April? While it does match the "going off food" symptom, it's still going after prey items, which from what I understand about BCIV, is an indicator of the disease. It also fails to match the other described symptoms: the gills are not noticeably pinker or less pink; while the fish does not have trouble maintaining balance; and there is no long thin white string of feces.The other fish I had, I'm fairly positive may have had it, due to them dying incredibly quickly after purchasing them. But barring a tissue biopsy (of which I do not have the equipment to deal with), I'm relatively convinced it's just a case of picky wild caught fish, which is something I know I can work with. I've just never worked with a predator fish like this before.
 
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ichthyogeek

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I hope you are also aware that BC are listed as a threatened species by NOAA and endangered by the IUCN red list. I really don't see why there would be such a rush to get it during a pandemic (especially when online sources are still available) that you would get a wild caught specimen of one of the most widely captive bred species in the aquarium hobby, unless I am misinterpretting something from your post. There is also a good practical reason, and not just moral reason, why people prefer captive bred BC, and I'm sure you could guess why.
I understand where you're coming from. And I do agree that CB is better than WC. But sugar pie, I also do not appreciate your snooty and condescending tone. If the point of your post was to make me feel bad about purchasing a wild caught fish, you did a crap job of it; you just made me mad. So let's go through all of the topics you listed.

BCs listed under various lists: Yes. I actually am aware (wow, it's like I'm an actual human being as opposed to a random text you read on a screen!). They do the same thing for seahorses, but I don't see you writing up screeds in the syngnathid section. Or at every person on this forum who says they want to buy a pair of BCs. Unless of course, you're planning on popping into every new to fishkeeping thread that lists banggai cardinals to tell them they should buy captive bred and accurately and unbiasedly explain why, instead of snootily telling them.

A rush to get the fish during the pandemic: The fish were ordered to my LFS from another customer. That customer then failed to pick up the fish. I spent three weeks coming into and out of the LFS with the fish still there, bringing in my cherry shrimp colony as I set about dismantling most of the systems in the house. During which, the 6 fish ended up creating two distinct pairs of fish and two extras. And continued to become very emaciated from not eating what the LFS was offering. The guy at the LFS has known me for too darn long over 13 years. We both knew I was going to use the fish for captive breeding efforts. The fish individually retail for $30 as wild caught individuals (captive bred sell for $60). He offered a pair to me for $45. At the time LiveAquaria's last Diver's Den offer was $90 for an established fish, not including shipping costs. So for about a third of the price of what LA or a captive pair would sell for, I could get the fish. So of course I got the fish. As somebody with the faculties (live baby brine, a molly fry population, willingness to stare at fish until it eats, willingness to do all the emergency water changes needed, and meds), I felt prepared to take them on. It was a gamble, and of course it didn't work out for one of the fish, but that's how gambles work.

Widely captive bred species in the hobby: Yeah, it's hard to give credence to that statement, since it's relative. In a hobby where only a select number of people are breeding the more exotic fish (pelagic fish are the hot thing right now), clownfish breeding is quite possibly the most asked question when it comes to breeding saltwater. And when it's usually only two species of clownfish (ocellaris and percula) that are commonly bred in home aquaria, it's easy to toss banggais in there as well, since being the third most bred species makes it one of the most "widely captive bred species in the hobby." Unless you count seahorses, which also outcompete banggais as well in terms of fecundity. So maybe 4th/5th/6th most commonly bred (H. erectus and reidi, as well as zosterae).

That good practical reason you're talking about: here's a fun fact for ya, captive bred fish are also hard to get to eat. Even in a high flow high temp environment, sometimes captive bred specimens (as bought from LiveAquaria) don't want to eat as well. I bought a pair of captive bred fish from LA around 8-9 years ago. They wouldn't touch anything except fish eggs. They wouldn't look at mysis or brine shrimp. So what did I do? I bought fish eggs. Family had gone deep sea fishing? I asked for the snapper roe. DrsF&S sold fish eggs? Cool, I'll take three. And that's how it went until the fish died 5 years later, 2 years more than the standard lifespan of 3. And of course as a college student, I missed out on all of the spawns.

Or, of course, you're talking about the fact that buying wild caught fish also helps fuel economic development in low-mid income countries like Indonesia? Which also helps by people not choosing to get income as food fishermen which tends to destroy reefs? And promotes tourism? While I agree that mindlessly harvesting from the BC population will most likely result in an extinction event, promoting a sustainable fishery is far better. The fish have also been tossed into the Lembeh Strait as well, so there are now two (albeit too small for comfort) populations in case one goes extinct.
 

vetteguy53081

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Ive owned banghai well over a decade and have only known them to eat frozen foods.
They eat everything frozen that I offer
 

BloopFish

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I understand where you're coming from. And I do agree that CB is better than WC. But sugar pie, I also do not appreciate your snooty and condescending tone. If the point of your post was to make me feel bad about purchasing a wild caught fish, you did a crap job of it; you just made me mad. So let's go through all of the topics you listed.

BCs listed under various lists: Yes. I actually am aware (wow, it's like I'm an actual human being as opposed to a random text you read on a screen!). They do the same thing for seahorses, but I don't see you writing up screeds in the syngnathid section. Or at every person on this forum who says they want to buy a pair of BCs. Unless of course, you're planning on popping into every new to fishkeeping thread that lists banggai cardinals to tell them they should buy captive bred and accurately and unbiasedly explain why, instead of snootily telling them.

A rush to get the fish during the pandemic: The fish were ordered to my LFS from another customer. That customer then failed to pick up the fish. I spent three weeks coming into and out of the LFS with the fish still there, bringing in my cherry shrimp colony as I set about dismantling most of the systems in the house. During which, the 6 fish ended up creating two distinct pairs of fish and two extras. And continued to become very emaciated from not eating what the LFS was offering. The guy at the LFS has known me for too darn long over 13 years. We both knew I was going to use the fish for captive breeding efforts. The fish individually retail for $30 as wild caught individuals (captive bred sell for $60). He offered a pair to me for $45. At the time LiveAquaria's last Diver's Den offer was $90 for an established fish, not including shipping costs. So for about a third of the price of what LA or a captive pair would sell for, I could get the fish. So of course I got the fish. As somebody with the faculties (live baby brine, a molly fry population, willingness to stare at fish until it eats, willingness to do all the emergency water changes needed, and meds), I felt prepared to take them on. It was a gamble, and of course it didn't work out for one of the fish, but that's how gambles work.

Widely captive bred species in the hobby: Yeah, it's hard to give credence to that statement, since it's relative. In a hobby where only a select number of people are breeding the more exotic fish (pelagic fish are the hot thing right now), clownfish breeding is quite possibly the most asked question when it comes to breeding saltwater. And when it's usually only two species of clownfish (ocellaris and percula) that are commonly bred in home aquaria, it's easy to toss banggais in there as well, since being the third most bred species makes it one of the most "widely captive bred species in the hobby." Unless you count seahorses, which also outcompete banggais as well in terms of fecundity. So maybe 4th/5th/6th most commonly bred (H. erectus and reidi, as well as zosterae).

That good practical reason you're talking about: here's a fun fact for ya, captive bred fish are also hard to get to eat. Even in a high flow high temp environment, sometimes captive bred specimens (as bought from LiveAquaria) don't want to eat as well. I bought a pair of captive bred fish from LA around 8-9 years ago. They wouldn't touch anything except fish eggs. They wouldn't look at mysis or brine shrimp. So what did I do? I bought fish eggs. Family had gone deep sea fishing? I asked for the snapper roe. DrsF&S sold fish eggs? Cool, I'll take three. And that's how it went until the fish died 5 years later, 2 years more than the standard lifespan of 3. And of course as a college student, I missed out on all of the spawns.

Or, of course, you're talking about the fact that buying wild caught fish also helps fuel economic development in low-mid income countries like Indonesia? Which also helps by people not choosing to get income as food fishermen which tends to destroy reefs? And promotes tourism? While I agree that mindlessly harvesting from the BC population will most likely result in an extinction event, promoting a sustainable fishery is far better. The fish have also been tossed into the Lembeh Strait as well, so there are now two (albeit too small for comfort) populations in case one goes extinct.
1. I'm not popping into every thread heckling people about their BC because most people don't explicity state that they are wild like you have. Also, comparing BC to seahorses is not an apples to apples comparison. Seahorses are not only threatened by collection for aquarium purposes, but also "medicinal" purposes, whereas BC are exclusively threatened by collection for the ornamental fish trade.

2. These BC are also captive in Asia, and contribute to a more sustainable economic system in these developing countries. It's not just Western hobbyists who breed them. They are also captive bred to a large enough number wherea person isn't actually forced to buy a wild caught individual unless they wanted to just save some money.

3. I never said captive bred fish were bulletproof, they are just more likely to eat than wild caught specimens are less likely to harbor harder to treat diseases or illnesses than their WC counterpart.

4. Don't act like our hobby in buying wild caught specimens is doing a service to the world, its not. There are also already existing alternative economic ventures, like BC being captive bred in Southeast Asia, that one doesn't need to specifically purchase a BC from the wild to contribute to the economic growth of those countries. Also, even if your statement is true overall, why is there a need for you to purchase individuals they caught that are threatened species, rather than more sustainable fishes they can catch, when you always technically have the option to support them by buying captive bred specimens from that same country? Don't pretend that your purchase of your BC was a net positive to the world and that you did it to promote the growth of a developing country, you did it to save some money. You are also by definition not promoting a sustainable fishery if you choose to buy fish that are in low population levels, rather than fish with healthier population levels. I hope you don't go into every thread, like I apparently should be about wild caught BC, and tell everyone you are helping to save the coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific by buying wild caught BC.
 

BloopFish

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While I agree that CB is always better than WC, in this case, it is mostly due to the viral issues the WC have (which is likely what is wrong here). I’ve heard that BC have been translocated to new areas, and are being collected there, so no different than capturing invasive lionfish. Also, my understanding is that CITES declined to list them. The IUCN has some listing issues- I manage some Victorian cichlids that the IUCN changes their listing on every few years, based on what they “hear”. That does not instill confidence in their process!
Jay
I'll have to conceed that you seem to be correct about the CITES, and I do somewhat agree that IUCN doesn't seem to research as much into their listing as they should be, but unfortunately that's the case for most things when it comes to conservation. Unfortunately many listings or non-listings into lists are also fueled by a mixture of politics, money, and sometimes the desire to list iconic species... some species that have the potential to be listed are also never listed since they pose no economic value or are not charismatic and thus never have thorough population studies
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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I can tell I'm not going to get anywhere with you, not when you're convinced that I'm in the wrong. Unless you actually have an idea on how to help instead of being a giant negative presence, please just go away. Members like you that police other members like me are why I've left other forums. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go be an evil presence that cackles and saves coral reefs by buying wild caught fish. And yells it at the top of my lungs.
 

Cstar_BC

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Hey !
Just wanted to share my experience - not with cardinal but my dwarf fuzzy

Now I followed the protocol of him eating live and we only got as far as dead - live fish (so taking the molly out and putting it in the freezer for a few min)

However , that lion fish (*******) absolutely demolished a cube of Mysis (that was meant for my puffer) when I added garlic and now he will eat anything.


So long winded way of saying - try soaking in garlic
 
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ichthyogeek

ichthyogeek

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Hey !
Just wanted to share my experience - not with cardinal but my dwarf fuzzy

Now I followed the protocol of him eating live and we only got as far as dead - live fish (so taking the molly out and putting it in the freezer for a few min)

However , that lion fish (*******) absolutely demolished a cube of Mysis (that was meant for my puffer) when I added garlic and now he will eat anything.


So long winded way of saying - try soaking in garlic
Thanks!
 

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