Sonntag, 30. Mai 2010

Chromaphyosemion bivittatum "Funge"

Its time to introduce one of the most beautiful kind of killifish living at my place: Chromaphyosemion bivittatum - this is quite a big Chromaphyosemion species - don't think about keeping them in a tank smaller tan 60cm - my group lives in the tank in my living-room (200 litres) and if you give them lots of space, you will reach two goals: get big and beautiful fish and see lots of their action.

This fish don't care much about housing together with other species. Corys or other Catfish are a nice possibility, and - of course other Killifish - Epiplatys dageti monroviae or Aplocheilus lineatus where kept together with them at my place without any problems. Don't give them another Chromaphyosemion species as companion - I was told, that almost all Chromaphyosemion are hybridizing - so don't take this risk.

The females of Chromaphyosemion bivittatum are unique within the Chromaphyosemion-family: There are no others who show such coloration - so - if necessary, you can keep females of bivittatum together in one tank with other Chromy-females - I do this sometimes to feed them about one week before breeding to raise the amount of eggs.

The feeding is easy - most important thing is: never feed too much. They will go for almost every kind of food - even flakes. It's always better to feed them less, than much - and if you forget the bivittatum tank one or two days a week - it's not bad at all. They like insecs - try Drosophila, baby-crickets or any kind of flys - they go crazy for insects on the surface.
After feeding them with live food - you will see the males dancing - and this displays are just amazing. Here we talk about an old theme: never keep only a pair of them - this will be a sad sight. Keep at least three or four males and enjoy the sight of the spreaded fins.

The fights are harmless, sometimes the dorsal fin gets damaged - and interesting: the alpha-male won't spread his fins at all - he appears and all the others will accept his leadership - the displays are done between the low-ranked males.

Another interesting thing: the females too compete for the best place to lay their eggs - the strongest female is the queen of the mopp - I'll try to get pictures of this behaviour - it's similar to the males display - spreading the fins, showing off the operculum - so watch out to see this at your place too.

Breeding is fairly easy - the water has to be soft, the egg production is much better during the summer months - from may till september, but one can harvest enough eggs in wintertime too. Sometimes they make a break in laying eggs. An adult and good fed pair will bring about 25 eggs a day - sometimes more, sometimes only 8-10, sometimes only two or even no eggs at all. Especially in wintertime it's not easy to collect big amounts of eggs.
The key to lots of eggs is not too much food and food of good quality. Drosophila is excellent food to raise the amount of eggs.

I pick the eggs out of the mopp and store them on wetted peat for about a week - than I put them in a small box with water to hatch - after hatching I use a 30cm-tank to raise them - raising is no problem, baby-brine-shrimp is a good starter-food. The sex-ratio is almost equal - at the age of about three month they need more space - don't keep too much young fish in small tanks.
Young fish need live food or frozen food to get big and beautiful - you will never get a show-pair by using flakes as the only food.

In a well planted tank there is always a possibility for survival for some fry - its almost impossible to loose this species, if you have a hand for them. The most common cause of death is jumping out through a gap of the cover of the tank - so keep the cover closed and put some filter-foam in every gap, this are expert jumpers. Another dangerous thing are red mosquito larvaes - the frozen ones. Ths food caused sudden death at my place among Chromaphyosemions - and this food kills always the most beautiful fish. I removed red mosquito-larvaes from my food list for Chromaphyosemion - and put sometimes some green flakes on it - TetraPhyll or some other green Flakes seem to be a good choice to give the food some variation.

Samstag, 21. November 2009

Epiplatys dageti monroviae

This easy species was my second species - I started out with a pair which I fetched by car from Augsburg. This fish gave me lots of pleasure and I still like them very much. Maybe there are beginners out there reading this: this is definitely a species to start with Killifish, or even to start to breed an egg-laying fish at all. My only trouble at the biginning: I had just one pair. I f you want to have real fun with them, keep more males together. Every breeder should be happy to get rid of a few males , because there are always much more males int he offspring, than females. Only if you can keep more male together (go for 5-6 males!) - you will be able to see the small fights beween the males, and they show more action and more colours too.

Have a look at this picture - this is what you will get by keeping more than one male. The second thing is the tank: don't keep them in very small tanks, a small tank is nice for raising the fry, but for keeping a bunch of Epiplatys the tank should measure at least 60 cm lenght of the egde.
Put your group in there, with an airation or a sponge-filter, you won't need a heater, feed micro-worms and some artemia and you'll find some fry at every water-change.
The adult fish will eat every kind of food, but the colors will be much better, if you give them some live-food or some frozen-food, once or twice a week.
They like Drosophila very much and an other goody for them are small house crickets. You can get house cricket in almost every pet-shop - they are not very expensive, go for the small ones!

If you want to breed them, you can choose lots of ways to meet the target. Keep them in a group in a tank for themselfes is one way - but be careful to get enough females out. Keeping a group in a small tank for a few days, feeding lots of frozen food and put the old fish back in their tank - after about 6-10 days the first frys will appear at the surface, eating artemia from the beginning.
Anotehr way is to collect the eggs from a mopp and put them into a small box with water or into peat. Be aware: sometimes all the eggs go fungus, but you will always have lots of eggs, if you have a group of them. Breeding with just one pair is more difficult, than breeding in a group. I harvested most eggs from a group of three females and two males, using a mopp in a 25l-tank.

The fry is hardy, it's not difficult to raise them. The big problem at every place is the sex-ratio among the offspring. I never met somebody, who got more females out, everybody has troubles to get enough females to keep his tribe going.

At my place I find sometimes males with very small stripes or no stripes.
I don't breed with them, kept in a group with males of the right colour, they cant compete - they always get lots of bites from the other fish.

This male was one without any stripes, he did not live very long - usually my dagetis live about four years, the fish without stripes are beautiful, but I lost lots of them before they are fully grown, and the fish on this picture was found dead at the age of maybe 18 months.

One last story: I tried to find a way to send eggs of E. dageti monroviae to a friend abroad. I tested some egg-storage methods at my place. If I stored them in water, there is a fungus-problem. About 50% of the tests failed because of fungus (about 20-30 eggs in a small tube with maybe 10 ml of water).
Second test: I stored them on a wet cotton-pad in a plastic-bag. Same result: either fungus or very quick development - the eggs hatched after 4 days (!!). So till now: I did not find a method to send eggs, in my opinion the risks are too high.

Sonntag, 12. April 2009

Aplocheilus lineatus

Today I want to tell you something about the very first killi-fish-species, which I kept and bred at my place. As luck would have it I got my first pair from a young man, who is a big cichlid-fan - he was happy to get a good place for his pair and I was happy to get them. I did not count exactly, it has to be the fourth or fifth generation till then, which is swimming actually in my tanks - I got the fish back in 2005.
This guys need quite big tanks - best experiences where made at my place in quite large tanks, 160 - 200 litres and: best is to kepp a group. I never had troubles with this fish if there are up to 5-7 fish together. If kept as a pair or with less than 5-6 fish, one of the fish will be the last in pecking-order. I had troubles with a very self-confident female, which killed several males in a big and well planted tank.

This days I spawned them again, it is still fun to collect the really large eggs from the mopp and watching them spawn is interesting too. If you want to watch, just divede the male and the famale for a couple of days, when you bring them together, you will see them spawning for sure.

They like to spawn on the ground - they also lay their eggs willingly in a mopp, they don't mind if its a swimming mopp or one which is fixed on the ground.
To harvest the big eggs has always been a thrill to me - almost 2mm in diameter, and if the female was fed well, you will find at least 15 eggs a day.
You can store the eggs in water - the young fish will appear on the eighth day at a temperature of 24-25°C. You also can store the eggs in wet peat, I did not notice any diffenece in the development-time - I just observed, that at my place more eegs go fungus in peat - so my prefered method is water-storage.
Raising them is easy - they eat BSS without problems and soon you can go to larger food, even to dry food. Favorits are flys of any size and sticks for cichlids. Pay attention on the temperature: espacially the young fish like it warm - 24°C is a minimum, they grow better on a warmer place.

...and when they mature, they will spawn their own eggs...

Sonntag, 8. März 2009

Nothobranchius eggersi "TAN 05-43 Kigongo"

I was very lucky to get eggs of this species, it was not a big problem to hatch and to raise them.
They eat a lot and the water was sometimes not in the best conditions - no problem anyway - they grew up quick. I have to use salt and I also raise the GH of my water with "sera mineral salt" to avoid Oodinum problems.
They like water-changes - it no mistake to do their tank twice a week - and they need much oxigen in the water - the airation is strong at my place. Be careful with cold water - especially the young fish are sensitive.

The variation in color and in bodyshape of this fish is amazing - some fish are more stretched out and some others are more compressed in their shape. And the colors! Every single fish has it's own pattern - beautiful sight - and at the end I've to say they are active as hell - dashing up and down the tank, always moving - and they move fast - it was a real challenge to get a few good pictures of them.

Two of my males are different from all others: there is no red in their coloration, only blue, a green shine on the head and white - this is beautiful - it would be interesting to seperate them and try to breed a completly blue strain, but in my case it's a matter of space, here is the picture of the bigger male:

It was difficult to grow up for him, because in his early days he looked much like a female for the other males - he had always to struggle and there where days when he lost a little bit of his fins.
Is this the fish which was called "Geysenbergi" in former times? Anyway. I'm looking forward to the next generation, wondering if there will appear some more completly blue fish.
The next generation should be no problem - they are laying a lot of eggs. I counted out some eggs for aquabid - I was really surprised about the amount of eggs. If you harvest only once in a month, you belive there are more eggs than peat in the box. The eggs hatch after 8-10 weeks of storage. Raising is easy, you need small artemia-nauplias and adding some winegar-eels in the first two days. Don't use fresh tap-water for the water-changes in the first week, I have best experience with water out of a running tank.

Sonntag, 18. Januar 2009

S.punctulatus - The End

News from the punctulatus-tank: The male has grown just beautiful. That's the only good news for today. He was very rough with his three females - I lost one female soon after I put the male into the tank. After this foto-shooting, this wonderful male killed the other two females - so all I got now is the poor harvest of about 70 eggs, divided in two bags of eggs.

Anyway: maybe you can learn from my experience. In the next generation I will keep the male and the females in two seperated tanks and bring them only together for spawning.

Montag, 29. Dezember 2008

Fundulopanchax filamentosus *Ijebu Ode*

African Juwelery, which came to me at a meeting in Augsburg in the year 2004. It was my first semiannual killi and at this species I had the pleasure to learn a few things about maintaining and hatching. The only difficult thing is to get them used to your place/your water - and the raising of the young can be a thrill too, sometimes.
They are quite agressive to each other - males and females are both no pacifists to others of their kind ;-) - but if there are enough places to hide away, it works.
In my filamentosus tank you find a pice of wood with lots of Anubias on it. This is the perfect environment to maintain a group of them.
I use a plastic-box filled with coconut-fibre to spawn them. They are quite profilic - the eggs are easy to detect in the substrat, if it's dried up a bit - the colour of the eggs is like honey and no substrate is adhering to the eggs.
This fish get their colour early - the males will develop the red line in their anal fin at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. I never had problems with bad sexratio, but problems with young fish passing away after a change of water. It's wise to use water out of a running tank, and it's wise too not to overcrowd a tank with young fish.
A tank with a group of filamentosus is a beautiful spot in every fishroom - this fish get almost exactly two years old.
The long filaments at the caudal fin will grow, if you keep a male for his own. I'll do this maybe, when I'm a retired person.

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2008

My way of hatching SAA's

At first I prepare my jug with water: I always take the water out of a running tank, and put it on the floor - to get it cooler. I don't use very cold water - at my place temperatures around 20° C are working very good. I add always about one gramm of sea-salt per litre water, so the artemia nauplias will survive much longer in this water. I never monitored any bad influence to the fry by using sea-salt.

Then I put the TA into a box - I put about half a pill of oxygen-tabs on the substrate - I make crumbs of this pill by using a scissors.
One important thing I had to learn during my killi-years: I never use a fresh box - my hatching box is filled with water, some leaves and sometimes a small plant and a few snails all over the year. Before hatching I put all the old water and all the snails out.

750 ml of water is just the rigth amount for my box - so the level will be at about 2,5-3 cm. Now I add one or two snails - and a little BBS (baby-brine-shrimp) - so the fish have something to eat from the very beginning.

I put the box always on a warm place - 24-26°C are a good idea, the raising temperature in the box and the falling oxygen-level in the water will help to hatch the fry - the oxygen-level is quite high, so one don't have to fear to get too much belly-sliders out.

I did not develope this method at my place - many thanks go out to quite a few Killi-Maniacs, who helped me to solve problems in hatching.