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Mar 312020

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sitting in some sort of self-isolation – mainly because I live somewhere remote anyway.  Yes, I have left the house to shop for food, but not much else.  COVID has only hit our area in the past couple of days – a total of 8 infections.  Where we live, hopefully it will not become a major issue.  The strange thing about it, is I probably would not have done much more anyway. In some weird sort of way, I have become a bit of a hermit without making any conscious decision that way.  Of course, my wife is here too, but she gets out a little more than I.

We did spend a week or so in Florida in late Jan/early Feb. and had hoped to get together with some of our friends during that time, but somehow it just did not happen. Maybe next time or when we finally sell our house up here in the cold north and move to Florida.

The situation and at some minor urging of a friend or two, I have forced myself back into the fish room.  Sadly, my legs do not enjoy it at all – stairs and standing have become difficult to say the least. HOWEVER!  I was able to check my tanks and found a couple of thriving populations.  It’s nice when the fish can feed on algae.  I did start my BBS system and I do have plenty of frozen brine shrimp.

I dumped some overdue N. foerschi eggs in water yesterday, but have seen no fry today, so I expect they were just too far past the date to hatch.  I have some N. guentheri eggs in the same situation – over due, but who knows.  I’ll probably wet them tomorrow.  There are also a couple of tanks with peat still in bowls – I’ve actually found eggs in the past many months later. Perhaps I will luck out again.

In September, I’ve been asked to give a talk on Live Foods to a group in Danbury, Connecticut (DASS) and I am looking forward to it.  I was supposed to talk  a few days ago, but we postponed it because of the corona virus issues.  Essentially, this gives me time to get my live food cultures really going so I can provide the folks there plenty to play with.  I know I can find daphnia nearby as the water gets a bit warmer in the pools and at the same time I can nab some mosquito larvae.

I’ve bee chatting with Len Futterman the last few days and we are definitely waiting for a while to hold the next UNYKA meeting.  I am looking forward to seeing my killie friends soon.  With that thought in mind I am planning to do some collecting here in northern NY as soon as the weather is good for it.  There are a large number of interesting native species in both the St. Lawrence watershed as well as the Lake Champlain watershed.  Many are quite attractive and some might eve be unique to this area. So maybe I’ll get some decent pictures during my sampling (catch and release).  Hopefully a few of my friends (hint hint Mike and Scott) will join me.  I’ve become aware it is possible Fund. luciae might actually exist near Lake Champlain, ( a single report – might be a misidentified F. diaphanus?) so you know I have to look.

Yes I know its been a long time since I posted anything.  Hopefully this will be the re-start of my hobby and web presence.

Please take care of yourselves during this difficult time.



 March 31, 2020  NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »
May 292019

This year’s AKA Convention was well run and the Columbus club really worked hard and did a great job.  Congrats folks!

I think my only real disappointment this year was the number of entries in both the Fish Sale Room and the Fish Show.  I don’t know the exact number in either, but there was no doubt the entries in both were lower than I can remember in the past.  We, the hobbyists, really have to work harder for next year’s convention.  While no one knows what will happen in a year, I know I have committed to bringing as many pairs for the show as possible and definitely want to have at least 20 pairs for the sale room.  Now admittedly, a million things can change that wish list, but I have a year to accomplish both.

Heinz Ott definitely brought some great fish for the “New & Rare’ class. Prices went well over $300 for several pair of A. maculatum, herzogi, and mimbon.  It was almost scary as the bids from Charles McLamb and Tom Dean kept going higher and higher.

In terms of the show, I was disappointed in the annuals, both Africa and South American.  Both were very small classes and there was nothing of real note in either.  I did come away with some N. rubripinnis, but that was it.

The main reason I love to go to the National Convention is the opportunity to spend time with old friends and make a few new ones.  I was very successful in both pastimes this year and got to know Sarah Walker a bit. She was fun to chat with and has lots of great ideas to enhance the AKA.  She is already doing that with the Killifish Lounge on facebook.

 May 29, 2019  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
May 232019

For the first time in five years I am headed for the A.K.A. National Convention very early tomorrow morning (about 4am)  It is roughly a 10-11 hour drive so I expect to arrive sometime in the early/mid afternoon.  This will be the first time I go to a convention without Dan Nielsen as my cohort since the early 1990s.  My wife, Phyllis, will join me this year.  I do appreciate someone riding along as I get older.  It becomes more and more difficult to travel long distances and stay awake *laugh*.  This from a man planning to drive to Florida next January.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit of collecting on that trip.  

My last convention was in 2014. In a more serious vein, I have missed the conventions and I am looking forward to renewing old friendships and perhaps making a few new ones.

I have been working in my fish room over the winter and have added a few species of killies, but nothing is old enough to show this year.  I hope to become more active that way before the next convention.  I have roughly 50 tanks of various sizes set up and running, about 20 are currently occupied, so I hope to find a few pairs either in the Sale Room or the Auction that I can bring home and breed.  In addition, I am looking for a male Riv. cryptocallus and a female Riv. derhami.  If anyone has either or both, I would appreciate it if I could purchase them.

I do have a couple of the easier Nothos (foerschi & guentheri) breeding and have some peat I expect to hatch early this fall.  I hope to begin selling some killies in the BNL next Spring.  I do have a few fry coming up now, but I suspect it will be 2020 before they are large enough to sell (I don’t want to offer barely sexed out fish).  Right now there is nothing rare – some Riv. tenuis, Epi. dageti Monrovia and a few Chr. bitaeniatum Lagos red.  I have picked a few eggs from a newer Epiplatys (sp. Akio).

 May 23, 2019  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
May 232019

Dr. Wilson J.E.M. Costa has described two new species of Nothobranchius related to N. melanospilus based on museum specimens.  The article was published in Vertebrate Zoology (6(1): 73-82 – 27.2.2019 .


During a revision of material identified in museum collections as Nothobranchius melanospilus, two new species were recognized: N. kwanlensis, new species from the Ramisi River Basin, southeastern Kenya, and N. prognathus, new species, from the upper Wami River basin, eastern Tanzania.  Both species are distinguished from N. melanospilus by the relative position of the dorsal-fin origin in females, presence of dark spots on the whole flank in females, the two sections of the anterior supraorbital series of neuromasts well-separated, and the presense of fewer mandibular neuromasts.  Nothobranchius prognathus is distinguished from the other species of the N. melanospilus complex by the shape of the snout and eye, frontal squamation, and basal portion of the pelvic fins medially united in males. Additional morphometric characters were found informative to diagnose species of the N. melanospilus complex.

EDITOR COMMENT:  Dr. Costa separated these species based primarily on physical meristics.  There were no DNA studies noted in the article.  Both of these species may well have been in the hobby at one time or another but the collection locations are not found as a listed species.  Both species were collected by Lothar Seegers in 1997.  Photos of several location/populations of N. melanospilus are found in Seegars Aqualog “Killifishes of the World: Old World Killies II” .  While not specifically identified from the localities noted in the Costa paper, a couple may be fish Costa has used for his research.

ORIGINAL PAPER:  http://www.senckenberg.de/files/content/forschung/publikationen/vertebratezoology/vz69-1/02_vertebrate_zoology_69_1_2019_costa.pdf

May 132019

Six new species of Chromaphyosemion have been recently described in the European Journal of Taxonomy 471: 1–28.  All were found in the southern regions of Gabon and are related to Aphyosemion alpha.

Abstract. During a survey of the fishes in the region of the Wonga-Wongué Presidential Reserve, 14 new populations of the subgenus Chromaphyosemion Myers, 1924 were found. These observations extend the previously known distribution range of the subgenus 120 kilometres southward. None of these populations could be related to any described species. Based on the colouration of the males and females, together with a genetic marker (mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b sequences), the populations studied are grouped into six new species which are described in this article, all close to Aphyosemion alpha Huber, 1998 with which they share the presence of a black alpha-shaped mark on the pre- and post-opercular region. The group composed of A. alpha and the six new species is referred to here as the A. alpha species group. All the new species, A. aurantiacumabon Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov., A. barakoniense Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov., A. flammulatum Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov., A. flavocyaneum Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov., A. pusillum Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov. and A. rubrogaster Chirio, Legros & Agnèse sp. nov., are further unambiguously diagnosed by unique combinations of colour patterns, making it possible to generate an identification key for the A. alpha species group. It is likely that the coastal dunes of Wonga-Wongué that form a sandy relief, could have led to the fragmentation and then isolation of the hydrographical networks that flow into the Atlantic
Ocean, making possible a significant number of allopatric speciations.


May 122019

The past few weeks have been somewhat productive for me in the fish room.  I’ve been picking eggs from several species of killie mop spawners including Riv. tenuis Taco Talpa, Epi. dageti Monrovia and Chr. bitaeniatum Lagos Red.  Fry have been popping out.  In addition, I’ve gained a number of young from both Moscow Purple Guppies and a Red Deltatail as well as Xenotaca eiseni.  Admittedly the livebearers are more for something to play with than breed seriously.

I’m glad to have a few species of Nothos back in the fishroom and I have packed away peat from N. foerschi.  It looks like the N. guentheri are breeding also, but I have not found any eggs yet.  They are young.  I recently picked up a young pair of N. capriviensis and N. kafuensis.

It looks like my fish room will hold about 50 tanks and most are set up and running.  What I really need to do is find the time and energy to put in PVC pipe and tubing to run my blower.  Right now my aeration system is running on a few pumps and a small linear.  It’s really not enough for everything, but it does suffice for the 20 tanks now active.

I am looking forward to this year’s AKA National Convention in Columbus, Ohio on Memorial Day weekend.  I am bringing my wife this time.  I need the company for the 10 hour drive (that and a bag of popcorn). The last one I attended was in 2014.  I have missed the shows, but as most of you know I left the hobby for a few years due to some health issues, so its good to be up to the hobby again.   I look forward to renewing old friendships and perhaps making a few new ones.

I hope to find a few interesting fish at this year’s convention, whether in the show/auction or the fish sale room.  I admit I will be looking for Nothos, SA Annuals and Rivulus primarily.  If anyone has a female R. derhami or a male R. cryptocallus, I would gladly take them off your hands.  I don’t have anything to bring to this year’s convention, unfortunately, but hopefully down the road that will change.

Well, that’s about all for this week …

 May 12, 2019  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Apr 292019

Phyllis and I had the pleasure of making it to this year’s CNYAS Spring Auction in Syracuse for the first time in several years.  They hold a great auction with hundreds of items every year at about this time.  I came home with several fish and one huge surprise pair.

I was shocked to find a young pair of N. capriviensis from an ‘unknown’ vender (yes I know his name)  from the Albany NY area.  Apparently, he has been existing right under the UNYKA noses all this time.  He provided several species of killies for the auction.  There was no way I wasn’t going home with those fish, but the price ended up quite reasonable.  They now sit in a 10-gallon tank in my basement.  They are a bit young to breed yet, but I am looking forward to having the species for some time into the future.  I’ve always loved N. capriviensis.

With this all in mind, I’ll update you on my fish room.  As you may know, I finally took a serious step in the right direction over the winter and have worked diligently to get the room up and running at a decent level.  Right now I have about 2 tanks fully up and running with most of them holding breeding pairs of killies and livebearers.  I do have a few nothos (guentheri, foerschi and kafuensis over peat and will be pulling the eggs next week.  My R. tenuis Taco Talpa and Epi. dageti Monroviae are producing eggs and the first fry should be hatching in a matter of hours or days.  BTW I am looking for a male R. crytocallus and a female R. derhami.  I just picked up some Epi. fasciatus Totome, and am expecting Epi. sp. (fasciolatus?) Akio and A. calliutum Ogun this week.

As for my livebearers, I have added some Moscow Purple guppies and a Red Delta Tail (from Dr. Dan’s) to my goodeids: X. eiseni and S. multipunctata.  I have a bunch of young X. eiseni and plenty of the Moscow purples.

See everyone at the AKA Convention.

 April 29, 2019  NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »
Mar 152019

Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak at the Tropical Fish Club of Burlington (VT) and it was a great time.  I want to thank the warm and knowledgeable hobbyists for inviting me to talk about killies.  I think at least a couple came away with an interest in trying out the fish – demonstrated by the prices the two pairs I donated took in at auction.

The founders of the club, Dave and Jeanine Banks invited my wife and I out to dinner before the meeting. We hit a ‘Thai’ restaurant and really enjoyed the food.

TFCB is planning a 30th anniversary convention in early June and we look forward to taking part in the event.  I suggest that if you can make it – do so.  The info is on the web and can be found by going to https://www.tfcb.org/30th-anniversary/


 March 15, 2019  NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »
Mar 082019

I am scheduled to speak at the Tropical Fish Club of Burlington (TFCB) next Thursday – March 14th – and I am looking forward to it immensely.  I am in the process of building a brand new program designed for new and intermediate killiekeepers – A how-to program.  I am going to focus on a couple different ways of breeding mop spawners, but to be honest, you know I have to stick something about annuals in there.

For the first time in years, I am planning a couple trips to shows – the NEC annual convention and the AKA National show.  I’ve missed several years of both – mostly because after my heart attack and the after affects, I stopped keeping fish except for a couple display tanks in my living room (which are now empty due to old fish dying off).

Once UNYKA reformed last year, I could feel my desire to breed killies come roaring back and I have now a few things going, but very little reproducing yet.

I began working on a redesign of the fish room this morning.  While there are still easily a hundred tanks down there that all I need to do is clean, I decided I wanted to move several 10-gallon tanks to a higher level and move the 5s elsewhere.  Of course to make this work I need to go get some 14-in wide planks that go across the sitting 10-inch wide 2x4s that held the 5s.  This is so I can slide the 10s out from beneath the level above or I won’t be able to get into the tanks.  Oh well – its only a 10 minute drive.

What I really want to do is breed Nothos in the 10s and my mopspawners in the 5s against the back wall.  (I know no one really knows what my fish room looks like but …) In the pic to the right, you can see a 10 set up the way I want it and several 5s before it.  I want to replace the 5s with three 10s.  After that I can work on some other sections.  Of course I do need some fish.

What I really need to do is revise my blower system.  I’v been using a varierty of pumps for some time now, but I have a perfectly fine 1/8 hp blower sitting idles.  I need to take the time to install 2-inch PVC pipes around the entire room and then hook the filters to that system.  I have everything I need except the pipe.  I guess I need to head to Home Depot very soon.   I suppose I will need a bunch of new plastic tubing also.

Sadly, amongst my fish I have several singles which I will need to grab partners for.  Maybe with a bit of luck I will find them at one of the shows before I have to start begging.  I am mainly after Rivulus and annuals.  I might do a couple popular species (gardneri, etc.) to sell in the BNL simce there does not seem to be much activity there anymore.

Feb 282019

FEB. 28, 2019 – For some reason, I decided to take a look at KillieNutz today and see what I needed to do.  Obviously a lot.  I have been slacking off and I know it.  It has always been my hope to provide the best possible killifish website possible, but sometimes I just seem to drift off in other directions.  While I still have my fish room, it is not overly active – yes I have fish, but am not actively breeding them.  I hope this will change this Winter and Spring.  I am planning on going to a few shows this year including the AKA National, probably NEC and the Killie Klash.  Be nice to bring back a few pairs to add to what I have right now.

Anyway …

At this time, my plans are to reorganize the current design of the “Species Database” and bring everything up to date.  I need to make this area easy to navigate and provide as much information as I can for each section and ultimately each species.  Reality of this is simple.  It will take time and serious effort.  One of my weaknesses is a limitation of photographs.  If you wish to provide some sics, please feel free.  I will give complete credit to the photographer.

Hopefully, between the website and my future books, I will be able to obtain a serious library for your use.

 February 28, 2019  NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »