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Nov 082020

Not that I am newbie in all this, but the past few years have really limited my time in the fish room.  Thanks to a generous hobbyist (Barry Durst) who sent me some white worms, there was a packet of N. guentheri eggs in his package.  They were picked in June and normally I would only hold them for two months, these were ready to pop at 3 months.

So I placed them in water last night and this morning woke up to small hatch of N. guentheri fry!  Thankfully I use BBS for my adult fish as well as babies, so food-wise I was in good shape.  I added some Java moss to the container for microscopic foods and think I am off to a good start on getting some annuals going again.

It kind of reminds me that I want to work with South American annuals as much as Nothos.  I just need get hold of some eggs or pairs.  Sadly we are at the start of our winter season up here in northern NY, so I will have to be patient until I can get to a show or meeting (post-COVID) to buy/trade for much.  I am hesitant to use Aquabid much this time of year, but who knows … impatience can breed stupidity 😕 .

 November 8, 2020  TOM'S BLOG, WEBSITE NEWS No Responses »
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 »
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 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 »
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.

Jan 182019

… if I will ever be able to really keep killies again.

There is no doubt I truly enjoy keeping fish and like to work with them, but unfortunately it is becoming more and more difficult to make the effort because of my legs.  Sadly I can’t stand for more than 5 minutes with my calf(s) becoming very painful.  It’s not exactly cramping, but much more like shin splints (if you have ever had them) and a burning ache.  I literally have to sit with my legs up for 5-10 minutes for the pain to subside. It is very frustrating in many aspects of my life – for example, I cannot walk around Walmart, I have to use a scooter.

Sadly, I still go down to the fishroom in my basement and look at the many empty tanks (yes I do have a few fish) and wish they were full of breeding pairs (or sometimes some dwarf Cichlids and Livebearers.

Despite all of this, I am planning a few show trips in 2019 – the AKA National Convention is #1 and a week later, a trip the the Tropical Fish Club of Burlington (Vt) 50th anniversary convention.  I expect to return to the KillieKlash in Pennsylvania in the fall.  Outside that, I really am not sure.  I wish I could have some fish to take with me to support the shows, but for the past couple of years its been very difficult to even care for the fish I have, much less breed them in numbers to take with me.  But who knows, maybe I will start taking pain meds or something that will allow me to do the work.

I still have the same fantasies about my hobby – to breed difficult fish in decent numbers to provide them to the hobby.  I still look at large buildings for sale and imagine building a real facility where I could work with endangered species in an effort to maintain them until they could be returned to the wild (among other things).  I’m not really in it for money, but simply for my joy of doing something of value for this hobby.  At one point I considered a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to build up the available money to invest in that project until it reached the point where government grants could become available.  But the truth has become much more realistic the past few years – I don’t have the energy to the necessary work.  Heck I’d even go on that silly show where millionaires fund projects and see if I could convince them to advance me a few dollars.  Truth is, none of this is likely to happen, but its a nice fantasy (just like being able to go to Africa or South America and collect).

Now I mostly enjoy getting together with other hobbyists and shooting the $h1t.

Sorry if this is a bit of a downer, but sometimes its just helpful to whine a little and then pour a glass of wine.

May 162018

For whatever it is worth, I’ve put in a few more hours working on my fish room and I am now ready to add a few killies.

Essentially, I have my brine shrimp hatcheries up and running, about 20 tanks cleaned and filled with fresh water and my work bench (egg trays etc,) ready to go.  It takes me a little time to do this stuff now. I need to sit for a few minutes after each task is accomplished.  It’s probably in part my legs hurt because of cardiac insufficiency – its like when you run and the legs become fatigued.  I know that the heart itself is fine, but there are some issues with the blood vessels – mainly partial blockages.  So my only excuse is to whine and push on as best I can.  I’m just lucky that diabetic neuropathy hasn’t set in enough to cause problems with me feet.

Currently I am planning on seeing what’s available at the UNYKA meeting as a start, then I will spend some time on Aquabid and hopefully the AKA BNL will start having a few more fish available with better weather.

Unfortunately I won’t be available for the AKA Convention as much as I would like to attend.  It’s been a few years, but this year things just won;t work out with some other obligations I have.  I am not sure where it will be next year, but I am hoping things work out then.   I expect to go to the KKG/Chesapeake Show in Pennsylvania this fall.  It would be nice to see old friends again.

 May 16, 2018  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
May 132018

I don’t know if it is the nice weather or just the infection taking over again, but I spent time in my fish room today and did some work to get it back up and in shape.  Strangely, I found a healthy female Notho (guentheri I suspect) swimming in one of the tanks.  She was just a little skinny, but I have no idea how she survived since I really haven’t done anything for many months.  It’s not that I had many fish over the past few years, but I completely ignored the hobby over the winter and well back into the fall.  Much as I hate whining, my legs simply were not well and climbing the stairs and standing long enough to care for the fish was exceedingly difficult.  Fortunately, my E. annulatus and lampeyes are in the living room and they take dry food readily.

So the last couple of days have been strange.  Actually got outside and did some yard work and somehow my legs seem somewhat stronger lately.  So down into the basement I went.  It actually is not in bad shape.  Yes the tanks are mostly dried out (those without a cover), but the covered ones were fine.  I actually have some java moss doing fine in one, so I guess I have a starter culture for that.  I started a brine shrimp hatcher in order to give the female Notho some live food and also spread some into the upstairs tank and make the E. annulatus happy.  We’ll see how long this older BBS eggs take to hatch and what percentage of hatch I get.

What am I going to do?  I am still a bit unsure of my plans – both whether or when we are moving to Florida as well as how my body holds up.  It drives me a bit insane not working with Nothos and I really would like to add some SA annuals too, but do I want to risk ignoring them in a month or two …  I just don’t know yet.  Some days I want to jump in feet first and run 200 tanks again and other days I consider that idea insane.  Realistically, I suspect a few tanks with some easier fish is probably the way to start again.

UNYKA is meeting this coming weekend for the first time in a couple of years.  I think I will see how it goes before I add any fish to the room.

Anyway … stay tuned.  I will let you know what’s going on.

 May 13, 2018  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Apr 172018

This past weekend was supposed to be a reformation meeting for UNYKA after about a 2 year break.  Unfortunately the weather decided to interrupt our plans.  SO now we have tentatively set the next date for a meeting on Sunday, May 20th in New Berlin NY.  Technically Dr. Dan Nielsen will be the host, but we will be meeting at a local pizza shop.

UNYKA has been on hiatus primarily because of the health of some of its members.  Several of us have had serious conditions ranging from open heart surgery, to kidney (failure) dialysis and major surgery for a variety of other concerns.  It’s sad so many of us are ‘getting old’ at the same time.  But the good news is most of us are improving – enough to want to get together again.

Personally, I am going through a difficult time on some other levels.  My wife and I are seriously considering a move to Florida.  Sadly, Winter is becoming hard on both of us.  For me, my heart condition limits how much I am allowed to do with shoveling, etc. and I truly hate the cold weather now – my joints ache more than I want to deal with.  I know, I know … whining ain’t gonna help.  The things I used to love doing – winter sports, skiing, skating are now things of the past. I can no longer do those things.  Basically, I am pretty much restricted to sitting in my office during the worst of the winter weather.

In early May, Phyllis and I will be in Ocala FL to look at homes we might purchase.  We are going there because our close friends Kim and Henry Boyd live there now and it would be nice to spend regular time with them again.  Of course the other reason is to have access to a great killie club, Sun Coast and the friendships I look forward to renewing once we are there.  I also realize I will never run a 200 tank fishroom again, but at least in FL I won’t have to pay out thousands of dollars in heating bills – yes some AC, but we would have that anyway.  My plan is pretty simple – whatever we use as an office will contain 20-30 tanks and everything will be good.  (At least until my addiction takes over and I convert a garage.)

But this is really about getting UNYKA up and running again.  Most of the members are looking forward to holding a meeting and that is what we are going to do.

 April 17, 2018  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Oct 292017

Well,  I am off to the first auction I have been to in several years – in particular a general fish club one.  I am primarily looking for plants, perhaps a pair or two of killies and maybe something that catches my attention – guppies, odd livebearers or who knows what.  It will be good to see a few old friends and generally chat fish.  I am bringing a few copies of The Killifish Encyclopedia to donate to their auction and perhaps sell.

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