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All posts for the month November, 2012

Colin opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and briefly covered the weeks announcements before reminding everyone that next week is Table Show No 1 and that the sheet for names for the KAS meal out on December 15th at the Amritsar Indian restaurant in Kirkcaldy is up in the club room.

Conversation then turned to a amusing discussion about the perils of electricity and water combining in the hobby with many members having stories of fish keeping related mishaps and stories of flooding various rooms of their houses on multiple occasions in the pursuit of fish keeping with Brian and Colin probably having flooded the house more than most much to the annoyance of their partners! Brian told the meeting about a recent problem he had with a external filter and received some very useful suggestions on how this issue could be prevented for reocurring. Discussion then moved on to problems with filters and changes in construction over the years and how effectively many modern ones are essentially built to fail in a far shorter period than used to be the case.

The members then talked about the last few years brine shrimp harvests and their effect on the pricing of brine shrimp eggs with one members bet on a further increase in price not going exactly as planned, this led to  an interesting discussion on hatching methods which revealed a wide array of methods being employed all with a reasonable success rate, Laurie mentioned the importance of bringing the PH up slightly as the eggs needed the alkalinity to properly dissolve their outer casings. Laurie, Mike and Jill mentioned their recent experiences of a number of varieties of brine shrimp eggs.

Please remember next week is the first table show of the 2012/2013 ‘season’ so please do come along and enter especially if you have not done so before !

 

 

 

Name          Microrasbora Erythromicron

Common    Crossbanded or Emerald dwarf rasbora

Location     South Asia, endemic to Lake Inle, Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Temp           72 – 74°F is ideal

Size            Max size 2cm to 3cm, females slightly larger than males

Food           Newly hatched brine shrimp, Grindal worms, or Micro worms. They will also eat some dried foods if crushed. Freeze-dried bloodworms, freeze-dried and frozen Cyclops, and     tiny pellet foods are all eaten.

Date Bred     21November 2010

 

Brief Description Of Fish

 

 

The Microrasbora erythromicron is a very peaceful fish. It has 15 emerald green bars along its side and a black spot at the base of the caudal fin. Males have reddish orange in their fins. Females are slightly larger and have clear fins and are a bit less colourful. They are best kept as a small shoal of 10 to 15 fish in a well planted 18″x10″x10″ tank with a dark substrate. They also prefer to be kept in a tank on their own.

 

Breeding

 

I found the Microrasbora erythromicron rather different than other rasboras in as much as they do not require soft or a lower ph. The ideal conditions are pH of 7.2 to 7.4, with moderately hard water (150 ppm to 300 ppm total hardness). I also found it necessary to do frequent water changes of 25 percent every 2 days with aged fresh tap water (nothing added).

 

The fish were conditioned in a 36″x15″x18″ tank with a strong power head filter & other small fish. They were bred as a group of 14 fish in a 6″x8″x24″ with a fluval 1 pump at one end & black sand as substrate with loads of plant (java moss & java fern).

 

They are continuous spawners that lay several eggs each day. They also enjoy eating the eggs & fry. Whilst in the spawning tank they were getting fed twice a day on brine shrimp. After 10 days I removed the plant into a large show jar & to my delight found approximately 4 eggs. At this stage I removed the adults & changed the fluval pump for a sponge filter and returned the plant into the breeding tank. I left the eggs that were in the show jar to watch their progress over the next 7 days. The eggs (1mm diameter) seemed to disappear 1 by 1 but as they are very difficult to see even in a show jar & using a magnifying glass they would then reappear a few days later simply because I had failed to see them.

 

As I found them I removed them with a pipette & returned them to the breeding tank. At this stage they are about 1mm in length for the first week they are fed twice a day on paramecium & given a 10% water change daily. Water should be removed using sponge from filter so as not to remove any fry. After the first week I started introducing ZM 000 grade fry food (very good food) I also added rams horn infusoria snails to eat any uneaten food.

 

The fry are now 3 weeks old and seem to be doing well even at this age they are growing at different rates. Will keep you informed on how they do.


Colin opened the meeting and thanked members for attending despite the particularly inclement weather and quickly ran through the club business. Colin mentioned that the date for the KAS meal at Amritsar in Kirkcaldy has now been changed to Dec 15th and that a sheet for people to put there names down was now up in the club. Gordon McLeod has brought in a sponsorship form for Movember which is taking part in anyone wishing to sponsor Gordon in his worthy efforts can give the money to either Gordon or a committee member to pass on to him.

Tonight’s guest speaker was Mr Terry Scott who provided a fascinating and well received talk on reptiles. Terry brought with him a number of Snakes including Boa’s Pythons and Corn Snakes and reptiles such as a Bearded Dragon and a Skink. Terry’s comprehensive talk  covered subjects such as setting up a environment for the reptiles where he cautioned against the use of barks containing sap as well as the importance of ensuring the temperature is stable and does not rise excessively as the reptiles can tolerate cooler temperatures but are at risk if it rises to far.

Terry then moved on to discuss diseases and general husbandry of reptiles and answered questions. The meeting then adjourned for refreshments. Tonight’s meeting was very well attended and KAS would like to thank Terry for a excellent evening and look forward to him returning next year.

 

Next week is a round table meeting.

 

 

ODESSA BARB (PUNTIUS PADAYAMA)

OR TICTO BARB.

As someone who had been away from the hobby for 20 years or so due to working away from home, I was looking forward to my first breeding project in a long time. Don`t get me wrong, I wasn`t a prolific ‘breeder’ before, sticking to the easy stuff like cherry barbs, which was my first ever breeding. As far as I`m concerned, the Odessa barb and male in particular is one of the most beautiful fish in the world of fish keeping.

Set-up stage.

Odessa barbs prefer a cooler temperature and the UK has good ambient, Summer temp`s to breed these fish without using a heater. I installed a heater just in case though but never used it until mid-September and set it at 21c. I set them up in a 15″x12″x12″ bare tank, except for lots and lots of spawning medium, and approximately 2/3rds full of water. I used java moss, artificial spawning mops and feathery man-made materials. There were very little open swimming areas. I also used a sponge filter with just enough air and positioned to provide a gently broken surface. I used an Interpet AP4 pump, pushing out 2×300 ltrs per hour of air at full capacity.  We have naturally soft water where I live and the Ph was 7.2.

The water temperature was 20c during the day and as this was July, the overnight temp`s would barely drop. Ideal I thought.

I used water from my community tank so the parents wouldn`t get a shock when introducing them to the ‘matrimonial home’. My fish are always very well fed with flake, frozen and as it was the right time of year, an abundance of live food. Daphnia, mosquito larvae and glassworm I caught myself. There was no need to bring the parents into breeding condition separately (as is often the case) as the female was plump and obviously carrying eggs. The males (especially in the morning, at first light) were showing an intense red bar along the side, more than usual, so that told me they were ready ‘to go’.

 

Breeding stage.

I selected my most promising looking pair from the 4 males and 4 females I had in my community tank and put them into their new home on the evening of Tuesday, the 27th July 2010. I waited until the weather forecast said a nice sunny day was due as Odessa barbs usually spawn in the morning, and as the breeding tank was below a window, I wanted them to have a good sunny morning. This is not imperative but felt it would help. I was also going to video record the event for posterity, so this was another reason for wanting good light.

So……. the next morning, the pair were observed doing their courtship ritual of chasing each other in and out of the spawning medium, shimmying together and coupling up side-by-side while swimming frantically around the tank. It was typical courting behaviour. Being the gentleman that I am, I left them to it.

 

 

By the afternoon, the female was a lot slimmer and was kinda hiding. Not the same behaviour I`d seen in the morning so assumed they had finished spawning. Odessa’s will eat their eggs so removed the parents and returned them to the community tank. Bad mistake. I lost the female the next day, possibly due to stress. In hindsight, she should have gone into a tank on her own to recuperate. I`m guessing that`s what killed her anyway.

 

Of course I began looking for eggs and couldn`t see any. In my mind though, I knew they`d spawned. Next day (Thursday) I got up to see around 50-60 eggs and they were forming embryos. I also removed the man-made spawning medium at this stage but left the java moss. Quite a few eggs were in it but most on the tank floor. I retained the medium in a bucket of tank water for observation in case there were eggs amongst it. There were not.

Success for the first part.

 

Hatching and rearing


The eggs began hatching on the Friday afternoon and into Saturday and the only reason I knew was because I thought the eggs had fungussed and I tried to siphon them out with a pipette. I saw a little wiggle so left the tank alone. Maybe they weren`t fungussed after all. It transpired that some had though. The newborn were VERY difficult to see. I went out and bought a magnifying glass. A tremendous help if you`re breeding fish. By the Sunday, they`d all hatched and most were hanging on the tank sides. Some were on the floor.

By Tuesday the 3rd August all of the fry were free swimming. I also introduced an apple snail at this point to start an infusoria colony in the tank. 1st food for the fry was on its way.

On the 4th I started to feed the fry on Paramecium, a microscopic food. A starter culture was very kindly given to me by a fellow club member. After only 3-4 days, you can already start to see the fish`s organs and fins form and take on a ‘barb’ shape.

By the 7th I was feeding microworm 3 times a day. You could actually see their stomach turn white and bloated through feeding. When feeding Nauplii it would turn their stomachs pink


I also increased the air flow (to ¾  of the pumps capacity) and water turbulence here to make the fry swim harder to get their food. This makes for a stronger, healthier fish. In the next few days they were also introduced to newly hatched brine shrimp (Nauplii) and finely ground flake. Also, by this time I was doing a 10-20%  water change every day and shock, horror, I used straight tap water. No de-chlorinator, nothing. I just filled the bucket up the day before to allow the water to get to room temp` and de-gas itself. A few cherry shrimps were introduced here as a ‘clean-up crew’.

 

After 2-3 weeks, as they were now growing quickly, and I could check if there were any runts. Only one was deformed and I think that was because I accidently jammed it in the siphon tube when doing a water change when younger. Total success as far as I was concerned. I didn`t think I would lose them now. They were coming along ‘swimmingly’. You could see the markings start to form now too. First to appear were black marks running down the tail, beside the peduncle. After that, the black spot on the peduncle appeared along with the front of the dorsal being black. After 5-6 weeks, both black spots on the peduncle and behind the gill plate were evident and getting bigger. Without a doubt, these were Odessa barbs. At 4 weeks, they were getting live grindal worm and it was funny at first, watching them suss them out then eat something that was 2-3 times the length of themselves. Some of the bigger ones were also taking frozen AND live bloodworm along with crushed flake. Flake size gradually getting bigger as the fish grow. Below, you can see them feeding on frozen bloodworms.


After a month, the water changes were now up to 40% and a 2nd sponge filter activated. Both running full power and good turbulence. Sometimes I`d change the water twice a day, depending on what I`d been feeding.

 

At this time, they were moved up to a growing on tank of 24″x12″x15″ At 7-8 weeks, they really begin to colour up and get the dark appearance they have, though these barbs won`t really show their full colours until maybe 4-6 months. Also, they won`t show much in a bare tank. Stick them in a mature, well planted tank and see the difference, even at that age. I was selling them on at the club at 9-10 weeks old. They`ll soon be getting shown as a ‘breeders team’ at any upcoming open shows.

 

Up until around 2 months, the fish were still a bit shy and would try to hide in the java moss or behind the filters when you approached the tank. Then, all of a sudden, they realised what was happening and now even when you enter the room, they`ll come to the front looking for food. They knew when they were on to a good thing. Now, they are fed 4-5 times a day, mostly flake and live worms.


 

All in all, this was a very easy fish to breed. Just get the parents into condition first and plan ahead. Assume they will breed so after a week from setting up you will need micro foods. Get your microworm culture going so it`s ready to harvest when you need it. Brine shrimp Nauplii hatches in 24 hours but make sure you have a hatchery. Be prepared to do water changes EVERY day. I mean, one bucket out, one bucket in every day. How difficult is that. These fish need no special requirements in either, their breeding, growing on or general keeping. They`re always active and a wonderful addition to any community tank. Keep them in a group of 6 or more and generally, will not bother your other fish. Just don`t keep them with Betta Splendens (Siamese fighter) or similar. They`re too boisterous to keep with such like fish.

 

Acknowledgements

I`d  like to say thanks to my wife Mary for her help and support and for putting up with the clutter as I set this tank up in the living room. To a fellow club member and friend, John Reid, for his advice on all aspects of the hobby and for providing me with the starter cultures of all the live foods I needed during this project.


 

Andy Campbell

Kirkcaldy Aquarist Society.

October 2010

 

 

Limia Zonata

Common Name:- Striped Limia

Location:- Dominican Republic

Temp:- 72°C – 75°C

Size:- Male 4cm, Female 5cm taken from U.S.A standards

Food:- lettuce, spilurina flake, live white worms, brine shrimp various frozen food and flake.

These small Limia (Live Bearers) are a very active fish always on the move mid water. They are a community fish but don’t have a lot off colour about them. As they are the same family as Guppy, Mollies & other limia it is not a good idea to keep them in the same tank as they will cross (or try to). It is however safe to put them in with platy (livebearer) or any egg laying species (not that the male Zonata seems to care who he tries with). But at least you know that you are not going to get a crossed fish.

 

Breeding

I have found that the Zonata have fairly small broods of fry. One off  the reasons for this could be that they will actively eat the fry unless you have not supplied plenty of hiding spaces i.e. Java moss, Java fern, Indian fern, floating mops & large pebbles on the bottom.

Once you see the fry I always remove the parents & not the fry this seems to give them a better start.

The fry are large enough to eat fine flake, micro worm, and brine shrimp from day one. They grow fairly quick & by the time they are 8 weeks they start to sex out.

Closing note: if you notice that you have males in the tank, any females will probably be gravid.

 

 

John Reid