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Jul 072017
 

WHAT IS HAPPENING?  Work is being accomplished nearly everyday.  At this time, I am adding basic pages for every species of killifish.  These pages do not contain much more than the name of the species, but will be fully fleshed out when all have been created.  I intend to include information for hobbyists as well as taxonomic data.  Photographs will be added as they become available.  Anyone willing to provide pictures for KillieNutz (and later Vol. II of The Killifish Encyclopedia) please contact killienutz@killienutz.com .

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 042017
 

Doctor eye’s health of local creek home to threatened species

   The Alabama Department of Conservation lists the creek as the only marine habitat off the Coosa River for the stippled studfish, or the fundulus bifax. It says the species is native and restricted to the Mobile River Basin, with others found in the Tallapoosa River.

   A species of killifish, the stippled studfish is largely classified as near threatened due to population scarcity and decline in habitat quality by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN.

   Auburn University Water Resources Center also lists the species as imperiled due to its rarity and Alabama Water Watch states it can also be observed in the neighboring Lake Martin area in Hillabee Creek.

COMPLETE ARTICLE

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 262017
 

Nothobranchius streltsovi is found in central Tanzania in the Ugalla River Ssystem.  As described by Stefano Valdesalici, it is a close relative of N. ugandensis.  Apparently it has two color morphs found in the same waters.  

Exerpt: Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 153-161 October 2016

Nothobranchius streltsovi, new species, is described from specimens collected in pools associated with seasonal streams
in upper catchments of the Ugalla River, Malagarasi drainage, central Tanzania. It belongs to the N. ugandensis
species group based on male diagnostic characters comprising light blue scales with a broad, irregular reticulated
pattern on the body, vivid red or orange oblique bars on the head and dorsum, yellow or blue anal fin, large
vivid red spots on dorsal and anal fins, rounded head with a slightly concave to nearly straight dorsal profile,
predorsal profile convex from nape to posterior extremity of dorsal-fin base, and variable cephalic squamation.
Nothobranchius streltsovi has two sympatric colour morphs and is distinguished from all other members of the
N. ugandensis group by the following combination of characters: scale margins orange; caudal fin orange, spotted
proximally; pectoral fin spotted proximally; anal and pelvic fins with red dots, light blue proximally, yellow or
creamy white distally; seven branchiostegal rays; 31-34 longitudinal, 14-16 transverse, and 15-16 circumpeduncular
scales; supraorbital neuromast formula 2 + 3 + 4.

 

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 »
Jun 012017
 

I have begun to update the Killienutz Online “Killifish’ Database.  Most of the known species of Nothobranchius are in place with individual pages.  These pages are not complete, but will be filled in over time.  The ultimate goal is to create a system with both hobbyist and taxonomic information about every species along with photos of as many as possible.

As for the photographic end, I would greatly appreciate any and all submissions of pictures with the knowledge that these photos will be used in future volumes of the Encyclopedia of Killifish.  Unfortunately I did not start taking photos 30 or so years ago so my personal collection is quite limited.

Simply send them to killienutz@killienutz.com and include a statement of permission.

 June 1, 2017  WEBSITE NEWS No Responses »
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 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.