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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 »
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.