Presentation on theme: "American Cichlid Raceway Propagation Don Conkels Florida Farm."— Presentation transcript:
American Cichlid Raceway Propagation Don Conkels Florida Farm
Riverine or reopholic cichlids Cichlids which inhabit the rivers of North & Central America require concrete vats or raceways in which to breed. The mineral content of Florida earthen ponds is too high for their eggs to hatch from their casings. The ph levels in these concrete structures are also higher then in the outdoor ponds, more closely mimicking their natural requirements.
Constructing Breeding Facilities These concrete structures range between 1500 gallons to 5000 gallons in size. They are constructed of steel reinforced concrete, plumed with pvc piping and coated with a waterproof sealer. The hatcheries are covered with plastic during the winter season between November and May, maintaining a minimum temperature of 75 degrees F. Optimum breeding temperature is 82 F.
Raceway Infrastructure and Maintenance These breeding raceways are seeded with fertilizer in order to grow abundant amounts of diatom algae on their floors and side walls. Cichlids continually graze upon this algae ingesting copious amounts of phytoplankton and zooplankton. This natural food source is essential for commercial production. Artificial condos or reefs are set up for breeding sites.
Feeding Specially formulated pellets and flakes of high fiber and low protein are fed on a twice daily basis to all fishes. A homemade supplemental cichlid salad is also fed every other day to insure healthy growth. In addition, the diets of juvenile fishes under 2, are supplemented with Artemia or brine shrimp.
Siphoning Weekly siphons are done to eliminate cichlid waste by-products and unwanted or excess detritus. This reduces the amounts of ammonia and nitrates in the water as well as letting the sunlight penetrate the vats walls and floors to promote algae production.
Gathering New Spawns Cichlid spawns are gathered shortly after hatching so that the breeders might not consume them. This also encourages the parents to rebreed quicker than if they were left to raise their fry over a longer period of time. The vat produced fry are individually tanked for a couple weeks time until they are large enough to be introduced together into a mixed grow out vat or earthen pond.
Raceway Break Downs Concrete raceways must be broken down, sterilized with bleach, rinsed and refilled every 3 to 4 months. If they are left on line much longer than this, the algae grows out of control forming filamentous strands which the cichlid breeders cannot ingest as the walls of this algae are too thick to be crushed. If this happens, their natural nutrition is lost.
Holding Hatcheries These smaller hatcheries contain smaller coffin vats of approximately 200 gallons in size. Some of them are used for holding and growing juvenile cichlids. Others are used for holding and larger specimens caught in the outdoor ponds. Here, all fishes are prepared and readied for shipments around the world.
Tank & Shipping Building Fishes are readied for sale in glass aquaria. Here they are counted and prepared for shipment with the use of anti fungal and protazoan medications. They are purged for 48 to 72 hours before shipment depending on their perspective transportation times.
Shipping/Pack Outs Sales for American cichlids are year round with increased volume during the cooler months when aquarists spend more time indoors. Florida raised fishes have grown to a good size by the fall and winter months. Fishes are counted into plastic bags, filled with oxygen and then placed into styrofoam boxes. Domestic shipments require 8-12 hours transport while International shipments require 36-48 hrs.