The information below is designed to help our customers convert their Ausyfish Sleepy Cod fingerlings to artificial aquaculture feeds. There will be other successful methods, this is probably the easiest method for non professional customers. This method has been used by Ausyfish customers with high results.
To wean sleepy cod fingerlings we have had very high success with the following method which results in virtually 100% success. You will need some frozen blood worms and a sinking pellet food of suitable size, about 2-3mm. The area should have subdued lighting, similar to dusk, as the sleepy cod is most active at this time of day.
Place the fingerlings in a small glass aquarium or in a floating cage in a recirculating system or pond. Be sure to have good water flow through the cage, or very good aeration if in a glass tank. The fingerlings should be very crowded. If possible they should crowd up in one area of their enclosure facing the open water within their enclosure. The crowding is necessary to suppress the territorial behavior of the fish and to encourage a competitive feeding environment.
Defrost enough frozen blood worm to give each fingerling a good feed. To defrost the blood worm place the frozen cubs in a jug of water taken from their tank. This is important as the smell of the food should not be contaminated by water taken from another source. Mix the defrosted blood worm gently enough to separate the particles without breaking the individual worms up too much. Frozen blood worm is about 1cm long, an ideal size for fingerlings. Do not expect them all to feed. The relative large amount of food is to allow a the fingerlings to become exposed to the smell and movement of the blood worm as it passes them.
Slowly pour the contents of the jug into the enclosure where the fingerlings are. You should pour the contents so it passes in front of the crowded fingerlings. The movement of the sinking blood worms will encourage an attack by the bolder fingerlings. The action of a few bold fingerlings will encourage the more timid fingerlings to also attack the sinking food. There is also a competitive component to this method, as they will try to get to the food before each other. The rate you pour the contents of the jug should be very slowly to allow the fingerlings to become exposed to the supply of food for the longest possible time.
Movement of your hand and body should be as slow as possible to avoid scaring the fingerlings. You should also approach the enclosure slowly to avoid scaring the fingerlings.
At first only a few fingerlings will investigate the food, but eventually they will start to eat. Each time you repeat this process more fingerlings will take food. Eventually most of the fingerlings will eagerly take the food, but some may still be a little shy. You can choose to continue to feed frozen blood worms until all are feeding well but this can become expensive. This step in the process will take a few days, about 3 to 10 days, depending on factors such as lighting, activities around the tank, and the hunger of the fish. It may be a few days before the fingerlings are hungry enough to try this new food in strange surroundings.
Once you are satisfied enough of the fingerlings are settled in to their new surroundings and are feeding, move to step 3.
Mash some defrosted blood worm into a past. Add some water to the past to make a watery suspension. Place enough pellet food to feed the fingerlings on to a long, thin, flat surface, such as a plastic ruler. You may need to use several rulers to hold all the food.
Slowly pour the blood worm suspension over the pellets. The pellets must absorb the liquid. The aim is to have the pellets smell similar to blood worms and be soft to the touch. It is important the pellets are soft to the touch but not disintegrate once in the water.
Hold the ruler over the fingerlings and push some of the pellets into the area the fingerlings are used to being fed. If you have placed the soaked pellets in a bowl they will break up too easily when you try to add them to the water. It is easy to keep them from disintegrating if you push a few at a time off the ruler.
The rest of this step is much the same as step 2. Repeat the process for as many days as necessary.
Once the fish are feeding on the soft pellets soaked in blood worm, begin reducing the amount of blood worm used to soak the pellets. The aim is to have the pellets soft, but with no blood worm. This will not take long, about 2-3 days.
Once the fingerlings are taking the pellets with out blood worm, move to step 5.
Begin using less water to soak the pellets until the pellets are completely dry. The weaning is complete.