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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.

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 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 »