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Jul 052017
 

First Fry!

It’s been a few years now since I was actively working with my killies, so I was almost like a kid at Christmas when the first fry appeared magically this morning.

I was surprised this morning when I went down to feed my fish and found a few A. australe (orange) fry in the egg tray.  All I had planned to do was check my mops and hope for a few more eggs, but the surprise is even more interesting because I have only had the young breeding pairs a couple of weeks.   I think they arrived around the 20th of June and while I did find eggs a couple days later … not many, but eggs anyway … I really did not expect them to be viable.

   It’s now July 5th and the first of those eggs hatched … in about 15-16 days!  Normally I would expect A. australe to be 18 days to 3 weeks, so it was a great start to my day.

I have Fp. gardneri Makurdi eggs that are developing and even a couple from Pachy. sakaraymii.  I picked some peat from N. guentheri yesterday and lo and behold …Notho eggs to package up and incubate.  I do have a couple orders of eggs scheduled to arrive this week, so I should be adding to the fry totals shortly.

Now if only I can have a good round of golf later today.

 July 5, 2017  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Jul 032017
 

I’ve had several species of killifish for a few weeks now and it is fun again to spend time in my fish room.

In the past week, I have begun to harvest a few eggs from my A. australe (orange), Pachy. sakaramyi and Fp. gardneri Makurdi.  I haven’t pulled the peat from the N. guentheri or any of the other annuals I have set up, but there looks like there has been some activity.  It’s been a long time since I was excited about my fish breeding.  I have eggs coming from a couple of sources, E. dagti and N. foerschi.  I hope to have both those species up and running shortly.

My white worms are producing just enough so I can harvest a few for my breeders, but I am still searching for a daphnia starter culture.  I used to be able collect daphnia locally, but I will have to find a new source for them to get a starter going in my tubs at home.  I definitely would like to do this.  Fortunately, I have brine shrimp eggs from the past and even though the hatches have not been great, they are enough to feed fry when they come and have enough left over to add to my adult fish’s diet.  Surprisingly, several of my fish are taking dry food better than I remember.

I am going to have to find a small, inexpensive refrigerator and/or a freezer so I can get a few starters of microworms (or banana worms, etc.) and I need to find some vinegar eels.  Once I have all of those in place I will really be ready for the fry I know are coming.  I know I can get most on Aquabid, but, C’mon … those prices are ridiculous.  I live too far from any aquarium clubs to make the trip without a better reason than to ‘maybe’ find some cultures … I guess I will simply need to wait until an auction is within reach.

I still have to take a number of ‘sit-down’ breaks while I work in the fish room, but I am getting a bit better.  It has been a learning process for me – just how much stamina I have, etc.  I had a nuclear stress test this past week and have not heard from my doctor’s office yet, so I am thinking that it showed my situation is good or maybe even improved.  I am playing golf today and Wednesday and starting to push myself a bit more to walk.  I really need to get back to decent health.

Until next week!

 July 3, 2017  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Jun 242017
 

As I work on KillieNutz Online, I have come to realize just how much work I have to accomplish to make the website into the best it can be.  I have a hope KillieNutz will become the primary site  for killifish hobbyists around the world to seek out information about the hobby and the latest news on conventions, shows and club meetings.  I do not want to restrict this to one region, but to encompass the entire hobby worldwide.

Is this a huge undertaking – yep!  Fortunately, I have time on my side (well as much time as life offers me).  

Currently I am working in two areas – developing a decent database of all killies and adding a secure membership system.  As for the database, I am generally adding more species pages on a daily basis, but I have not yet begun adding the information about each species to those pages.  That will come in time.  With over a thousand species and populations of killifish, it just takes time.  My goal is to have solid information including the status of each species in the hobby as well as care and maintenance information.  In addition, I intend to include the ‘scientific’ information to the pages.

My long range goals include a News Section which will make announcements of the latest research and descriptions of killies as soon as it becomes available.  In addition to that I want to provide regular announcements of all shows and conventions worldwide that are coming up as well as club meetings and gatherings.  In the long run, I am hoping to obtain permission from most of the clubs (local and international) to provide space to link their hobby-related articles to the KN Library.  In essence this will be a clearing house for users to find information.  I will not copy those articles here, but will provide an abstract for each.

I certainly will accept submissions of all types from anyone who wishes to write.  Perhaps in the future I can offer a quarterly magazine (in PDF form) of what’s happening worldwide in the hobby, but that is a long range concept.

If anyone is interested, I am looking for writers, photographers and assistants in operating the website.  Please feel free to volunteer (I ain’t rich, so I can’t pay anyone).

 June 24, 2017  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Jun 112017
 

I was looking at the May BNL and when I reached the Fish & Egg Listings I was deeply disturbed.

There were no killies listed for sale.  In April there was a single seller.  I don’t expect much during the winter, but usually we are back up in numbers by April.

Even on Aquabid, the number of American listings were minimal – only a couple of people offering anything for sale or auction.

I am really concerned with the state of our hobby.  I know we still boast 700+ members, but where are the sellers who supply new members and occasionally come up with some rare fish for whomever is interested.  I know my reasons … until this past month I was out of the hobby for health reasons, but has the rest of the AKA also fallen by the wayside?  I am hoping the June BNL has a bit more for sale, even if I am not a buyer of those fish.

Obviously we need to figure this out.  From the time I joined the AKA in the early 1970s, the one thing I could always count on were several vendors offering fish in the BNL even if I could not find killies elsewhere.  I realize many of the fish available in the hobby come through the various shows and conventions, but for those of us who have not been able to attend the past few years, the lack of breeder/sellers is concerning.

I am sure some of the people with killies available are much like I am – I hate shipping.  More than anything else involved with the hobby, packing and shipping fish is not something I am comfortable with, but I am beginning to see a need for a couple of us to step up, if nothing else than to provide some of the easier fish for beginners.  Personally, I do not have anything yet and it will be several months before I do – primarily because I just restarted my fish room and have nothing breeding to speak of (a couple annuals but no eggs available yet beyond my own needs).  Even once I obtain some mop spawners, it will be months before the young are old enough to sell.

I don’t know what the answer might be.  I am hoping a few of the members of the AKA are willing to step up and offer some fish for sale.  Could the AKA offer some sort of benefit to entice people to sell in the BNL?  Perhaps for those who sell a certain number of months (6-8) annually, their membership fee could be waived because they are offering a needed service?  Is there another benefit that could be offered?

We need to find a solution before it becomes too late.

 June 11, 2017  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
Jun 042017
 

Its a little humorous.  I got back into keeping killies with the simple idea of having a few tanks and maybe breeding a few pairs of fish.  I am beginning to think there is something seriously wrong with me (I know lots of other people believe I am nuts).

Happily, I now have a few species in the fish room and am looking for a few more.  I have set up an interesting community tank in my living room,  It contains Aplo. normanni and Epi. annulatus and some floating plants.  It would be cool to see fry down the road growing in this 30-gallon tank.  Downstairs, I am focusing on annuals.

A couple days ago, I decided to bring Killienutz Online up to date and add a few things to bring people by to see what I am doing.  What I didn’t expect was to start building the database of killifish again.  With the multitude of killie species now known to science and the hobby, it is a bit of a daunting task, but in my infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), I began.  I have completed a listing of all the different groups of killies with a list of all the species (known to me) and am in the process of designing the system to access all the data.  Each group is based on a region of the world (Africa, South America, etc.) and then further broken down into groups (genera/subgenera) such as Top-Spawners, Annuals etc.  If a specific group is selected, there is a listing displaying most of the known species.  I am still collecting data on the newer species and will be adding them as I gather the information or it is sent to me.

Photography is a problem.  I would like to have pictures of every species on their individual pages, but my skills are limited and access to most of the species is difficult.  I do take pictures at whatever shows I go to and any species I have in my fishroom, but I simply don’t have a good shot of the majority of killies.  I accept picture donations however.

I have no idea how many species for which I have to create a page, but I have completed a section on Nothos with a page for each species.  No, I have not entered much data for each individual yet, but that is underway.

Over the past few days I have wanted to scream about the status of killies.  The splitters have created so many new genera, subgenera and other groupings, it is very difficult to organize the data because the information out there is so fractured. Strangely I find myself going back to the JAKAs over and over trying to pick up little tidbits.  I do thank goodness for Google, although much of the info I find there is old and out of date.  I am working on it, but it is a time consuming task, particularly because so many of the “papers” are on websites that require substantial costs of one sort or another.  For me this is a hobby, not my life’s work. I receive no income from what I do and I simply can’t afford those costs, so I have to find the information from alternate sources or beg someone to part with a PDF.

Okay, so what is my ultimate goal?  As long as I have been in the hobby, I wanted to provide a solid source of information to killie hobbyists and for whatever it is worth, the scientific community.  My current objective is to list, provide information and photos of every species of killifish.  Will that happen. Probably not, but at least maybe I can fill in some of the holes that exist out there.  I want to help hobbyists understand how to keep and breed their fish.  There are numerous ways to do this and hopefully someday, the library will provide as much of that information as possible.

Right now, I am at an early stage of putting this all together.  Given time and the energy, I will add to KillieNutz ONline on a regular basis.

 

 June 4, 2017  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »
May 192017
 

Well, I spent a little time in the old cellar fish room yesterday and scratched my head quite a bit.  The first thing I need to do is come up with a better heating system.  I admit, the electric heaters I used in the past are still there and fine, but think I need something better.  We now have access to natural gas and I am considering converting the entire house to this option, which will include a new furnace and some work on the water circulation heating system.  I suspect with a bit of work I can find a radiator and a place to install it in the fishroom.  That may do the job.  *waves goodbye to a couple thousand dollars*  Yes, I have contracted a company to install what I need.

I need to clean pretty much everything in the fishroom from the tanks to the fry raising trays and egg containers.  I have 6 daphnia tubs which are of course emptry adn need to get starter cultures of daphnia, white worms and microworms at a minimum.  I counted the tanks available to me in this room and came up with ninety-nine 2-1/2–5–10-20-gallon tanks in the smaller room. That does not count the 1-gallon fry tanks and other things I have held fish in.  Everything needs to be cleaned.

My old refrigerator seems to have died.  I will be looking at that before I decide what to do.  A lot of melted stuff in there, but it might just have been shut off at some point to defrost it and now I need to clean it out.

It’s really strange to be looking at all of this after two years and remembering what it once was and how it looks today.

I guess I better get to work.

May 182017
 

A little over two years ago I underwent a quadruple bypass after suffering through a couple heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction).  During the surgery, I also suffered a stroke which has affected my vision slightly.  Fortunately the stroke did not affect anything else (as far as I know).  In terms of my killifish hobby, it all but destroyed it.  I no longer had the desire to spend hours a day in the fish room or do any of the related activities that were so much a part of my hobby for the previous 45 or so years.  Last fall, while on a vacation, my last tank of killies, some Panamanian Rivulus was hit by an unexpected cold wave and since I had no heat on in the house, those fish died.  I am down to one live tank in my house and it contains some tetras and loaches.  A sad state of affairs.

Today, as I sit here writing this missive, I am weighing a number of options on what to do.  I own over 200 tanks ranging in size from 2-1/2 gallons to 100-gallons (mostly 5- & 10-gallons).  I have a completely empty fish ready room in my cellar and an upstairs room in my house which I could easily convert to hold a number of tanks (somewhere around 50).  I just have to find the energy to do the work.  (Trust me, it took this long to really feel good about things again despite whatever I have done the past two years.  For example I am finally playing golf again after 2 years away from the game.)

In recent weeks I have been really thinking about the hobby and what I miss about it.  As a life member of the AKA, I still read every issue of JAKA from cover to cover and I check the BNL when it comes out.  Occasionally I drop by Aquabid to see what is available.  Over the past few days I have been really wanting to work with some killies again and I guess that is where I am headed.  It’s time to make a few decisions and in essence, order some fish.

Today I am going to go down in the cellar and start cleaning a few tanks and making some real decisions about what direction I want to go.  My real love is Nothos and I also really like Rivulus.  Actually I like just about any killie, but I do not want to go overboard.  I think as soon as the fish room is once again in order, I will make a few orders and see how it goes.   I doubt I will become a breeder selling fish online or in the BNL, but I am sure a few extra pairs will flow from my fish room, perhaps to shows and conventions.

I am always glad to hear from my old friends and am looking forward to seeing many of you again in the future.  I will not make the convention in Chicago this year, but who knows about the next one.  It would really be nice to go to a convention I do not have to work.

Wish me luck!

Aug 072016
 

Over the past few years I have watched the slow decay of our hobby, the ending of regional shows and the loss of membership in the AKA as well as the overall tropical fish hobby.  It saddens me greatly.

I don’t believe there is any one reason for this, but without a doubt our aging membership as well as the passing of some of the great hobbyists is a part of the problem.  That, along with the new generation of younger people focusing on different aspects of entertainment (computers in paricular), our hobby has been hurt considerably.  This is not specific to the tropical fish hobby, but instead affects nearly all forms of collecting and building interests have seen the same slide in membership.

Is there a cure for this?

I do not believe we can stop the current loss of interest in hobbies that actually require a combination of self-education and physical effort, not when there are alternatives as simple and silly as Pokemon Go which is literally the most popular activity out there today.  Who knows what is next for young people to invest their time in.

What can we do?

I think the only way any of these hobbies can continue to exist is through education of very young children.  We need to find a way to access their minds while they are still young enough to be fascinated with tropical fish.  In the past a few of our members have been teachers who set up biology programs in their rooms as a tool to teach children about various topics.  It is my opinion we need to find ways to become “educators” — to find places where we can talk about out hobby that are not inside clubs, but instead to approach the outside world.  We may also want to contact local newspapers and see if they are willing to do an article on our ‘fishrooms’ or hobby.  Clubs need to make appearances at local and/or regional events, fairs or commercial shows.  Get a booth, set it up and simply promote to whoever might be interested.

Having a monthly meeting is no longer enough, but instead we need to take what we do to the public.  The AKA needs to find someone seriously committed to advertising, but not in the traditional ways (fish magazines and maybe a classified ad in a newspaper), but instead proactively get out there and find people.

Is this the answer?  I don’t know, but I do know if we do not make an attempt, 10 years from now there will be no A.K.A., very few clubs and the hobby will essentially be dead.

 

 August 7, 2016  TOM'S BLOG No Responses »