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I have three gut feelings about premature hatching of A. australe
1. Incubation medium (water) is contaminated - probably due to
summertime high temps resulting in more rapid bacterial growth
than in winter.
2. A lack of salt in the water - I add a teaspoon of salt to ALL
of my water. My australe eggs hatch in a week at 75F. I don't
normally see preemies or bellie sliders. Preemies are left in
the incubation tray until the egg sack has been absorbed and the
fry are free swimming (I occassionally see this in Blue gularis
which I also water incubate).
3. Egg incubation temperature much above 75F.