Marine/brackish blue/green algae can be fed to growing brine shrimp but you need vast amounts to feed a large quantity of shrimp. If you are just raising a few it's worth a try. The algae will need feeding though & I feed mine on liquid Tomato feed (about 100 ml to 20 gallons of culture water). For some reason our cultures die in tanks under direct sunlight but do well in a shaded darker fish house. I experimented with a 1 gallon glass sweet jar containing this blue/green algae and a few brine shrimp just hatched and raised them up without problem.
Next experiment, (and kids, you can try this at home) is preparing a high protein food for fry and adult fish alike. The base for this is good old cheap trout pellets which can be ground down using the wifes rolling pin. I mentioned this before but Im putting it in again just because Im using it more at the moment due to our Daphnia pools drying up and seeing what a great job it does in building up the bulk of young fish. At present (mid August) our Daphnia pools are starting to tail off. We would normally switch to our late summer collection sites but these are quite high and very small amounts of Daphnia are around. The small farm pools we use for spring/early summer collections normally tail off in June but this year have kept producing beautiful small red Daphnia until early August. Nothing for it but to go to an ancient collecting site we dont use very often because its a bit dangerous. Alan fell in once with all his gear and couldnt touch bottom. Being the hero he is he held his bucket in one hand and his net in the other and managed to get to the bank. This place smells really bad but supplies glass larvae all through the summer which should really only be around in spring and autumn. I have found that killies can ignore this food as it moves a bit quick unlike Daphnia but after a couple of days of fasting they really go for them. My Fp. gardneri eat so much they sink to the bottom.
The proper way of shortening Fundulopanchax I hear is Fund. What a great way to confuse it with Fundulus. I prefer Fp. and will always use it as an abbreviation for this genera. Fundulopanchax has sort of crept up on us overnight, although it has been around for a long time. I hate constant changes in fish names but this change does seem important and will be with us in future like it or not. So what do we call Fundulopanchax and what do we call Aphyosemion? This is a list of valid Fundulopanchax sp. according to Huber in Killie Data 2000:-
I was suprised to find the likes of oeseri and scheeli in this list as they dont seem to fit the mold of the typical chunky Aphyosemion (typically gardneri type). You will recognise many names in this list such as A. ndianum which has changed to Fp. ndianus and rubrolabiale and mirabile which have lost the e ending for us in line with latin naming of transferring a name to a different genera.
My apologies for not doing much on putting a seperate web column on the website with links. To be honest I have been channeling my time into re-vamping older articles where I have the original colour slides. These are being loaded into the site & they are coming together well. The Newsletter is limited in putting colour images on view to members but the website fills this hole. Its always been an old chestnut with me in putting a colour Newsletter out but finances dont go far enough.
Its nice to import eggs from far away countries and grow the fry on to adulthood You get a feeling that you are doing some good in maintaining sp. from extinction and also introducing a new sp./population into the country. Many people do this and it keeps our auctions alive with something new. So far this year I have brought in E.aff.hildegardae, A. raddai (which are 2 fish on the verge of sexing out), A. lamberti TDK, and Pantanodon stuhlmani (which is a new one for me). Only a few but time is a little short. Its amazing how easy it is on the net to find what you want and arrange an exchange/purchase. The current development is to develop International groups on focused areas or types of fish. The Kathetys (A. bualanum, A. exiguum, A. dargei etc) group and the Chromaphyosemion (A. bivittatum, A. bitaeniatum etc) group are now active with the later already comprising a large list of populations. Is this the way forward?
Alan presented me with a bin of Daphnia this week as my summer ponds were exhausted. This stuff was huge and I put it into one of my holding tanks with strong aeration. After 5 days of this strong aeration it was no suprise to me to find the Daphnia green which indicates they have been in oxygen rich water. The only problem was that about 2-5% of this large Daphnia turned out to be bright red suggesting an oxygen poor environment. How can these two colours be there after 5 days?
The fish house is doing really well at the moment. Despite my working away from home fry are surviving and growing on slowly. I gave up hope of ever being able to grow fish on in my job but I have proved myself wrong in doubting the survival of these tough little fishes. As an example I wet some coconut fibre from my Fp. mirabilis intermittens Etuku after 3 weeks of rather semi dry incubation. By this I mean it was a bit on the damp side. Its always a thrill to go down to the fish house the morning after a wetting to see what has hatched even after some 30 years of killie keeping. I went down the next morning to find nothing (I didnt really expect anything). I kept looking for a week after but couldnt see anything. I showed this empty tank to Alan and was about to throw it out on the beans when a slight movement caught my eye and to my suprise found a well developed young fish. How did it grow on? I didnt feed this tank at all thinking nothing had hatched out. It was pure rainwater on coconut fibre. Im wondering if they need a little longer to mature sexually. I found this with Fp. marmoratus Mundemba GS1 where I couldnt get an egg off them and after a while started getting regular eggs each week. Also, my GS2 seem to have followed a similar pattern. Sometimes fish will refuse to breed despite every effort with tank conditions and diet and then one day they start laying. Perhaps the moral here is to stick with it and dont write a pair of fish off because they arent laying.
Next month I hope to put some new photos in of the fish I have mentioned in the past couple of columns.
I recently watched a 15 minute video taken by a friend of mine where he took an old camcorder and took some footage of a 3 tank containing 2 pairs of E. infrafasciatus Dibang Orange and a pair of Fp. deltaensis ( all wild fish ). Its a fascinating video and a really enjoyable one to watch. Its only a rough film but it shows what can be done with an old camcorder. Has anyone tried taking a video of killies with a camcorder? Perhaps with upcoming technology we could put them out on a DVD.
Website Only.... Having had a good look through many web links this weekend I was amazed at how fast they change through re-designing or updating. It's well worth spending a little time re-visiting these sites. Marc Bellemans site at http://www.ping.be/nothobranchius/ has been updated since I last put the link up. If you are interested in Nothobranchius you will love this site. Information, maps and photograph's are quite comprehensive.
I am working on new/re-vamp material for the BKA website. I have two new articles almost ready but I am awaiting various permissions before going ahead. I originally thought it would be a simple case of putting an article online but copyrights pertaining to photograph's, line drawings, written text which are freely given to the written Newsletter don't apply to online use. Photograph's are easy to find but are often hard to track by origin. Nevertheless, this minefield should, in my opinion, be navigated in order to put material into our website. Older collections are very interesting with some collecting codes still in captivity and it gives me the chance to show photograph's not seen in the Newsletter, and for the first time in colour.
Has anyone tried out the microscope which can be linked to your computer? I understand it can be found in computer packages but don't yet know if it is available seperately. Now you can see the development of eggs for best hatching time and see the parasite causing your fish' demise and how best to treat it. I'm sure Alan will look into this now he's online.
A new Website by Olivier Legros is now online at www.chromaphyosemion.com The site covers the sub-genus Chromaphyosemion (bivittatum etc.). Although the site is in French the photographic library is quite comprehensive and the thumbnail images can be clicked to produce a larger image.
These focused websites concentrating on a specific sub-genus or group of fish are on the increase and in my opinion are well put together. I am sure they will continue to build and provide a mine of information. If you like a particular group of fish try typing it into your browser and follow up a few links.