Fish House.net July 2000
A useful bit gleaned from the AKA Killietalk Newsgroup to start this month's column off. The question was raised as to what the 'F' means regarding a fish's name (i.e. A. australe Mayumba F2). The 'F' stands for the Latin Filius or Filial meaning Son. This coding is added to show how many generations the fish have been kept in captivity. A wild fish for example would be 'F', its first generation would be 'F1' and the generation issued by these offspring would be 'F2' etc. The example A. australe Mayumba F2 would be the 2nd generation of fish bred in captivity. Incidentally, 'F' is a corruption which should be 'P' standing for Parentis. Biologists use 'P0' as the term used to describe wild stock and 'P1' for the first generation raised in captivity. Apparently Cichlid keepers started using 'F' and it's stuck.
Alan's moved house & as a prelude to this dropped all his fish into my fish house to look after. He duly arrived with boxes, bags tanks etc & I spent an enjoyable (?) few hours fitting them in. I mentioned A. sp. Oyo before which are doing well now & Alan brought up the resulting youngsters from the eggs I gave him previously. They seem to be producing more males. Ruud Wildekamp calls these A. aff. lujae Oyo in his book 'A World of Killies' Vol I. A. lujae inhabits the southern side of the Zaire River & the affinis form the northern side. This fish may be distributed as Aphyosemion spec.Oyo or A. aff. lujae Oyo. The book is presently up to Volume III with the fourth on Nothobranchius coming out next. They are very useful works with loads of line drawings & useful information.
Incidentally, according to the AKA, to date (8/7/2000) Vol IV is still in compilation & should be in print as soon as possible. These works take a lot of work & only one person is doing it I understand.
The Aplocheilus panchax Exame are laying well now & fry are starting to appear. They lay large eggs & care is needed in collecting them from the mop. If you squeeze them too hard the eggs burst. Fish house construction is a serious business especially when you have a slab of concrete 18 feet square waiting for something to happen.
I have built many fish houses over the past 30+ years & have made many mistakes. The new fish house will take in new technology with old lessons learnt. Lesson #1. For the roof put on a sheet of Polycarbonate Triplewall (There is now a Quadwall available). This stuff is the best. In snow you will find it only turns to slush so very little heat gets lost through it. The extra light is very beneficial to plants & fish alike. In summer you will need to shade the roof as it will get too hot. I have frames of double layered greenhouse shading material which I put on in the summer and take off in the winter. The disadvantage is the price, which is a little high, but the benefits far outweigh this. For the sides we are going to use a PVC cladding filled with foam. This has a long life & doesn't rot or need constant creosoting.When constructing your fish house always put it on a layer of bricks to stop the wet rotting the base.
I am keeping my adult brine shrimp in large tanks outside & it seems to be doing well. Also the culture of marine blue/green algae is doing OK. The tubs of mosquito larvae are doing well also & here is another tip. Get some Cattle/sheep etc manure & put it into a tub. Fill the tub with a few inches of rainwater. The mosquito's favour this set up and lay their egg rafts in it. Take a small twig and transfer these rafts to cleaner tubs containing green water where they will hatch out and grow on.
An alternative to brine shrimp was sought after and this can be filled with the humble rotifer which is easily cultured by putting some old gravel/sand previously used in a tank containing fish which has been dried out. Put this into a tank and fill it with rainwater. Put the tank into the light and wait for algae to start growing up the sides. After a few weeks you will find small rotifers. Not to every fishes taste though but worth a try.
Barometric pressure affecting egg production. I have long held the opinion that air pressure has an effect on egg production and a recent thread on the AKA Newsgroup gave me a chance of putting my experiences out for discussion. I find that just before a storm no, or very few, eggs are layed and during or just after, a rush of breeding activity occurs. Other Killie keepers have noticed a similar occurrence. Anyone care to put there 2p in?
A few issues ago I mentioned photo's taken at last years convention and promised to put a couple more in the column. Here are some pics of C. flammeus and C. zonatus -
Aphyosemion caudofasciatum. A beautiful sp. which is much sought after and makes a good price at auction. One of the Manchester lads (no names no pack drill) gave Alan a vial of eggs from this sp. Eggs developed normally but started to die off in the egg just before hatching. In a previous column I mentioned the layers of chorion in the egg shell and how this breaks down prior to fry emerging from the egg case. The final layer seems to be the problem. Alan incubated the eggs in an inch (2.5cm) of water which should be saturated in oxygen diffused from the atmosphere. On putting microworm into the container the fry started emerging and everything was OK. The question arises - does Co2 play a role in breaking down that final layer in the egg case? If the water depth was increased would this affect hatching?
Alan found 2 Epiplatys in a shipment from west Africa a few months ago. They were small, very near death and one had a cyst on his side. After a great deal of nursing he kept them alive and now they are a pair of E. barmoiensis, a sp. I kept 20 years ago. No great colour in them but they are a beautiful fish for their finnage alone. We hope to put fish into auctions probably early next year as we are just starting to get a decent number of viable eggs.
The Aplocheilus panchax Exame I mentioned earlier are now doing well. As I write this they are struggling through a sea of Daphnia. Fry on hatching are black and seem to take newly hatched brine shrimp and microworm OK. Very few eggs are layed daily (1-2) but they are very large. This one is worth looking out for next year when we hope to spread them around.
The Fp. mirabilis intermittens Etuku are laying. Eggs are small and we are collecting from bottom mops. I moved them yesterday into a tank with a layer of coconut fibre as a base. They are now showing themselves & the male is chasing the female. Perhaps the increase in temperature started things off. Today I found they had really kicked the fibre about suggesting they might have been laying eggs in it. I checked the sand in the tank I moved them from but failed to find a single egg. Nice to see an article on them from the valleys Rob.
Last month, problems arose in transferring the column to Dick and photographs were dis-jointed or failed to appear. One photograph in particular which I would have liked to see in the Newsletter was the new form of Ps.annulatus with yellow dorsal and anal fins. Although this pic appeared on the website it was not available to non-computerites so I have put it in here-
Pseudepiplatys annulatus Yellow
They are still too young to lay eggs but they are in rainwater with a base of coconut fibre and a good top cover of floating Indian fern (Ceratopteris). The tank is on the top row in full sunlight. The fish show up well in this set-up with the chocolate stripes really standing out.
The Fp. kribianus we distributed whilst apparently no longer around in the UK are still being kept in Scandinavia and the USA. Also after giving eggs away to the US of E. fasciolatus Conakry it seems at least 2 contacts are doing well with them and should spread them around. I'm not in the AKA any longer but I have contacts through the Newsgroup and the Internet breaks down all barriers. Membership becomes irrelevant as like minded conservationists get together and keep Killies alive in our tanks.