Breeding Severum (Heros Severus)

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Breeding Severum (Heros Severus)

Postby jlgeorge » Tue May 14, 2013 8:07 pm

The severum has always been one of my favorite fish. I had been out of the fish keeping hobby for almost 10 years and wanted to start back up with a show tank in my living room. My wife had found a 350 gallon acrylic tank that we purchased and began decorating. I knew at that point I wanted some larger fish, yet something peaceful. The Gold severum was the first thing to come to my mind. To my dismay, I found that they were nowhere to be found. I went to all the local stores, even to Tulsa and Little Rock, still nothing. In the back of my mind I was thinking, I have to start breeding these fish.
I had purchased about 20 fry from two different vendors on Aqua bid and began my long process of growing them out. Over the coming months I had managed to find a larger severum here and there and added them to my tank, greens, red shoulder, red spot gold’s and regular gold severum. I was thinking, maybe I can get a few of these to pair up. Months went by and nothing, I had talked to some breeders and learned that these fish almost have to pair up as they are growing up, that they are extremely picky when choosing a mate. To say the least, I was a bit disheartened. It was back to the waiting game of growing out the fry that I got just a few months old. Not that I was giving up on finding a pair, and finally one day I happened across a face book posting by one of the local fish stores, it was late Friday night and I was there when the doors opened, well so was another enthusiast from almost 60 miles away. I had called on my way in to inquire on them, so the owner gave me first shot at the purchase. I was more than thrilled; it was a mixed pair; a large super red male and a regular gold female.
I had a few 80 gallon tanks set up in the garage and put these two in one of them along with a breeding slate and a few inverted clay pots. It took about a week before I saw the first eggs appear on the breeding slate. Then about two days later I went back out and the eggs had turned white, a short time later they ate the unfertilized eggs. Three weeks went by and they had not shown any interest in each other I decided I had to jump start this process. I dosed the tank with blackwater extract, started feeding them frozen bloodworms and live meal worms. It took about two more weeks and I had eggs again, this time on one of the clay pots. Two days went by, and the same results. This process went on 8 more times and I was really beginning to get concerned. I started to do a little more research and learned that a pretty large percentage of the red spot males are sterile. I was more than a bit upset as I had paid a pretty good price for this “mated pair”. I thought to myself, well they will look nice in my big tank.
I was about to move them to the 350 when I noticed the new bunch of eggs on the clay pot and this time they were moving. Nine times it took them to get this right and my only thought was I need to get them out before they eat them, but decided against them since they had already hatched. There were so many, I thought if I can get 50 to survive I would be happy. I ran to the local shop and bought some brine shrimp eggs and started making hatcheries. I was in no way prepared for this spawn and got a thirty gallon long up and going to put the fry in. It was funny watching these two trying to keep up with the fry; chasing them all over the tank and spitting them back out at the base of the clay pot. It was nonstop action all the time. I thought after a month I would move them, but the parents were taking such good care of them I hated to disrupt them, and to my surprise, there were very few that didn’t make it. I would venture to say that the spawn was about 80% live after the first month. I moved them to the 30 after 2 months. One more month and I had to start up a 55 gallon and split the fry between the two tanks. I sold half of the fry at the spring auction and moved the remaining fish to another 80 gallon tank and in 5 months they are over 2 inches and will soon be moved to my 125 grow out tank.
The original severum I bought are already 4-5 inches in about a year, I have a few of them starting to pair off now and need to do something with them. I can’t handle more than one breeding pair of these fish, I’ll have severum everywhere. I keep the water temperature about 82 degrees and pH about 6.8 in the breeding and grow out tanks. The fry were fed newly hatched brine shrimp and microworms for some time. I mixed in some finely ground flake food and slowly took them off the live foods. I don’t know if they will be red spots or gold, I have yet to find a good source on when these fish start showing their colors. There is a noticeable difference in the gold coloration of the Red Spots and the standard gold’s when mature. I have another young pair of red spots; the male is more defined as far as spotting and the amount of red in his coloration, so I would believe that this is common in males to be darker and more brilliant than the females. I’ll keep everyone posted on my future progress with these fish and if anyone has any experience on the time frame for the coloration of this fish to mature please let me know.
Last edited by jlgeorge on Wed May 15, 2013 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
John George
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Re: Breeding Severum (Heros Severus)

Postby mewickham » Tue May 14, 2013 11:39 pm

I know that the local shops are probably not going to be interested in your excess, due to the glut of severums already in the area, but I bet that their closest local wholesaler would be interested-- especially if the price is right. Perhaps you could get Seafari or Worlds Under Water to call up the wholesaler and make a deal for the fish, and give them a percentage of the sale as a finder's fee. The wholesaler could then pick up the fish the next time they deliver.
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Re: Breeding Severum (Heros Severus)

Postby Jackielee » Thu May 16, 2013 7:52 pm

I cannot sell mine int KC area but they are beautiful fish. Mine are super reds crossed with golds and many get very red as they grow and mature but the market for these fish is very limited. Good luck. Jack
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