May 262017
 

My first new killies have arrived and it is a thrill to see them in their new homes.  Thanks to Steve and all his crew at Wet Pets I am now the proud owner of a pair of Aus. nigripinnis and a small (10) shoal of Apl. normanni.  I am expecting a few more annuals next week.   The nigripinnis are in a ten gallon tank with a bowl of peat moss and some mops for cover.  The lampeyes are in a 30-gallon tank in my living room and seem quite happy with all the space.

I know it sounds rather trite, but I am just excited to go down into the cellar and piddle around with things again.  My brine shrimp hatcheries are up and running and I am getting a few of my old white culture boxes into shape.  All I need are white worms and Grindals if I can get them.

The real truth of things is that I let everything go after my heart attacks and it shows.  I am having to clean literally everything in the basement to get it to where I am happy.  I am rather limited in my stamina these days.  Do a little work, take a break … do a little more, take another break.  Of course the breaks set me to thinking about what I might change or do in the fish room.  I both hate and love the idea of having 100+ tanks again.  But do I really want to work that hard?

Fortunately, the fish are in a small side room (even with over 100 tanks) off the main basement.  Sadly, my old refrigerator did burn out and so I will have to replace it.  I suspect I will probably just purchase a small freezer since the main reason for it is frozen foods.

The other thing I want to do this time is build a decent incubator for my annual eggs.  I do not need a large one and goodness knows there are a hundred configurations I can consider.  Right now I am thinking about simply buying a metal cabinet and using tank water heater in a gallon jar.  The only negative to that is making sure I do not forget to add water most days as it evaporates.  I might come up with something else, however, but I not going back to the old stick a box near the ceiling.  I have a little time.

The other thing I really need to get my greedy little fingers on is plants.  I guess I will have to buy some Java Moss and water sprite on Aquabid to get started.  I was stunned to find some duckweed that appears to be green and alive in tanks that had seen no light in at least a year.  I moved it to a tank where the lighting system is up and working to see if it catches.  I don’t love duckweed, but it is a good cover plant to deter some fish (Rivulus) from jumping.

I did go to PetSmart yesterday (which is a 100-mile round trip) and picked up some frozen brine shrimp and found some hygrophila there, so I grabbed that.  I was considering some guppies, but found out they don’t carry females for the most part.  The few that were there were separate and they had no idea which color form they came from.  Sad state of affairs when most of their fish can not be paired up (gouramies and dwarf cichlids were the same way – no females).  I guess me and Aquabid were going to become close friends for a while.

Well, who knows what I will grip about tomorrow 🙂 .

 May 26, 2017  Posted by at 10:45 am NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »
May 212017
 

I spent some time in the fish room yesterday and today.  I was able to get all of my shoplights running (replaced dead bulbs etc.) and plugged in some of the pumps I use.  The bank of three brine shrimp hatchers are now up to par and all I need is add eggs.  Fortunately I still have a couple cans.

I stripped, cleaned and refilled a bank of seven 5-gallon tanks and will probably do another bank later today.  They are running, the filters in place and now just need to warm up to room temperature and I can add a few pairs.  I suspect I will chase down a few Rivs and a pair or two of Nothos just to get my focus back on those fish.   I also cleaned all of my fry tanks, trays and egg storage bins (plastic screw containers) as well as attacked my dried out bucket of peat moss.  I suspect the smart thing to do will be to boil all that old peat.

I have 7-8 styros filled with peat/dirt that used to be my white worm containers to reset.  I suspect mostly it will be a matter of wetting the peat moss until it is the right consistency and then adding some white worms to get the cultures started again.  It will take a good month to start harvesting from those cultures once they are up and running.

I’ve been looking at my electric heaters for the fish room and when the furnace people show up with my new natural gas boiler, I am going to see if they can place some sort of radiator system in the fish area.  I don’t know if they exist, but a nice fan operated ‘hot water’ radiator off the main house system would work nicely and help keep the electric costs down.  But that is a job still a week or two away. Until then I am using the old electric heaters.

I have six larger rubbermaid bins for a daphnia culture ready to go.  I am debating checking out some local ‘farm’ ponds to try and catch some daphnia pulex, but admit I am bit hesitant.  Up here in the wilderness, its likely the farmer would come out with a shotgun and shoot before asking a question.  We have a few (hundred) rednecks where I live.  I used to have a great spot to collect daphnia and … yes … mosquito larvae, but the village decided to drain that area and ruined the best live food source I was aware of.  Several years ago I literally collected a reverse trio of daphnia that initiated my original fish room cultures that I maintained for many years.  (Okay maybe it was more than a trio, but it was not a large number.)  In its own way it was fun to start a small culture in a gallon jar, watch it explode and split the jar into more and finally into the bins.  It took just a couple weeks to build a large active culture.

On a side note, I am looking forward to the middle of June.  My wife and I are holding a retirement party for a friend and Dr. Dan and Inkie Nielsen along with Len Futterman and his wife Mary Teelin are coming up for a few days.  It will be like an old UNYKA meeting for a bit.  Who knows what we will do other than eat and drink soft drinks.

I am sort of disappointed I can’t make this year’s AKA convention, but it’s simply not viable yet.  It’s not the trip, I’ve been to Disney World and travel fine since my health issues, it’s more along the lines I am just not ready to drive it.  I am seriously considering next year … I vaguely heard it might be in Tampa?  That’s a long drive, but by then I should be able to contribute.

Yes I am rambling … wife needed the hot water so I had to find something to do.

 May 21, 2017  Posted by at 9:36 am NEWS & INFORMATION 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 19, 2017  Posted by at 9:25 am NEWS & INFORMATION, OPINION PAGE No Responses »
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!

 May 18, 2017  Posted by at 6:54 am NEWS & INFORMATION, OPINION PAGE No Responses »
Aug 132016
 

Dr. Wilson J.E.M. Costa recently released a paper discussing Cyprinodon martae, a killifish from northern Colombia which has not been seen alive since originally discovered by Steindachner in 1875.  Based on Costas observations of photos of the perserved material, he has expressed the opinion the species is most likely a member of the Cubanichthys genus.

The paper can be viewed at http://www.senckenberg.de/files/content/forschung/publikationen/vertebratezoology/vz65-1/03_vertebrate_zoology_65-1_costa_27-30.pdf

 

 August 13, 2016  Posted by at 8:05 am NEWS & INFORMATION No Responses »