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Oct 192020

 I recently was asked to do a program on Live Foods for the Danbury Aquarium Society.  Originally we (my wife and I) planned to travel to Danbury, but unfortunately COVID put a kibosh on the trip.  Instead we tried to do a ZOOM meeting. 

   It went wonderfully!  I was able to attach my   Power Point program to ZOOM and do the same program I would have done live.  I was really impressed with how many DAS members showed up in the ZOOM room and how smoothly it all went.  Several members had really great questions and I hope I was able to answer them to everyone’s satisfaction.  Hopefully someday down the line I will be able to give a program in person to these great hobbyists.

   I want to thank in particular Barb Romeo and Joe Masi for their help in setting this up and Joe’s knowledge of ZOOM.  Thanks to them I now have a decent working knowledge of the ZOOM program and how to use it both as a host as well as a client. 

   The Central New York Aquarium Society has approached me to do a program for them.  We are still working out the details.  I suspect it will be another ZOOM show, but that’s fine.  Perhaps Gov. Cuomo will relax the rules a little in time for me to attend the meeting instead of it being a ZOOM show.  Either way, I look forward to returning to CNYAS where I have given a few presentations.  I always enjoy the group there.  

 October 19, 2020  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Oct 182020

As I work to get my fish room into tip-top shape, I’ve come to realize how much I miss keeping Nothos.  I’ve always been a major Notho fan from practically the first time I saw them during the 1975 AKA Convention on Long Island.  So now that I have a few tanks, I am beginning to think I need some Nothos.  Anyone want to ship me a pair or two, I’ll be glad to pay for them.

In other news, I did order a pair of Fp. amieti and expect them early this week.  I knew the moment I went into the basement I would have to fill every tank.  I am resisting the impulse to simply get everything I can, but its hard.  I am still quite limited in what I can do and I am not sure that will ever improve.

   Anyway, I have my brine shrimp egg hatchers up and running and am using some baby brine in my feedings.  I need to get to a fish store to pick up some frozen brine, but it is a 100 mile round trip and I need more than one reason (doctors appt, other shopping etc.) to do it.  I am a bit hesitant to order the frozen brine online, but I suppose that will be the end result.  My refrigerator in the fish room is frozen shut *laugh*  I can’t even open the door.  I guess I must risk a really wet floor and turn it off (unplug it) and clean it out.  I have no idea what I will find in there.  But I bet its been frozen for awhile.

Another thing I want to get going is white worms.  I suppose I can hit Aquabid for any starter cultures of live foods.  I will probably set up my daphnia bins again too.  *sigh* and grindal worms, vinegar eels etc.  Dang I am getting hooked again.

 October 18, 2020  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Oct 162020

10/16/2020 – I have spent some time this week getting my fish room back up and running.  I don’t plan on anything large, but unfortunately for me, despite my reservations, the room does have over 100 tanks in it.  My goal is to not overdue it, but goodness only knows how I get when I have the opportunity to buy some fish.

Right now all I have is a young pair of Fp. gardeneri Innidere and a colony of Xenotaca eiseni, but I do plan to hit Aquabid one last time today and see what I can get.

My health is doing well for the most part.  The biggest problem I have right now is the continuing pain in my lower legs (probably cardiac insufficiency).  Its just something I have to deal with – no one seems to have any answers.  I am looking at buying a ‘Zinger’ collapsible electric chair to be able to get around a little better when traveling (or going to shows).  I can walk fine over short distances (around the house type stuff), but I need to use a scooter in places like Walmart.  A bit embarrassing for me, at least to myself) since I used to think myself an athlete of some sort. Killed playing golf big time.

I have been in contact with members of UNYKA and we are in the process of setting up a Zoom meeting.  It has been too long since our last get-together of any sort.  Hopefully, either a vaccine comes out soon or, like so many others, we decide to try a face mask/social distancing meeting of some sort.  I know others seem to be somewhat successful with those meetings.  Its going on a year since our last meeting of any sort (Nov 2019).

 October 16, 2020  NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »
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 »