#1 New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
Dasher Posted on: 2010/3/26 10:35
My name is Dan and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I am pretty much brand new to the hobby of fishkeeping and am very interested in Killifish; they are so beautiful!
One question I do have, however, is what is the general lifespan of a Killifish? From what I've read, it seems they live to a maximum of 2 years. Is this generally correct?
I have a 55 gallon tank, a 37 gallon tank, a 29, a 10 gallon quarantine tank, and I just recently ignored my moratorium on tank purchases by getting two 20 gallon tanks (one tall, one long) and another 10. I'm running out of space in the basement!
At any rate, I decided to buy some Killifish off eBay and I got (or, paid for) "killifish Notho.rachovii Beira 98,60 eggs,killie eggs".
I believe it is 60 eggs, and I got two batches, so I expect a total of 120.
Everything I've read about raising Killifish indicates a beginner can do it, hence my jumping in on this new part of fishkeeping.
Ok, I think this is the part where I turn it over to everyone else to tell me what I did, or am doing, wrong or right, and what I can do to keep things right!
Thanks for your advice!
#2 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
bcooper Posted on: 2010/3/26 11:30
welcome. You have chosen a somewhat challenging species to begin with because N. rachovii fry are small. I'm sure their beauty was what made you choose them.
N. rachovii tends to have a fairly long incubation period of 4-6 months, but this can vary greatly depending on conditions at spawning, storage, etc. Ideally you should check the peat periodically to see, first, whether eggs are present and, second, whether they are ready to hatch. When they are, you should be able to see a clear "eye ring", that is the iris of the eye will be visible. When you see that, wet the peat. I'd suggest wetting one batch at a time rather than both.
An alternative approach is just to wet the peat at the appropriate time. If no fry hatch, redry it to a damp state and store for a few more weeks. Even if fry do hatch, once you get them off the peat, redry it because you'll almost certainly get more fry next time you wet it. BTW, it's unlikely that you'll get all the eggs to hatch at the first wetting.
For those fry you'll need a small first food. Ideally have some infusoria ready plus some newly hatched brine shrimp. When I say newly hatched I mean you want to feed them right after the brine shrimp hatch. That's when they are smallest. They soon undergo a molt and will be considerably bigger, especially from the perspective of an N. rachovii fry. So, you would want to set up some brine shrimp to hatch at about the time you wet the peat, or maybe 8-12 hours before. The time required for brine shrimp to hatch will also vary with temperature, etc.
Finally, make sure you don't overfeed those fry. At first just a drop or two of brine shrimp is enough. Nothing kills fry more quickly than dead brine shrimp in the container. Most Notho keepers add 1 teaspoonful of salt per gallon to the hatch water and, in fact, to the water that the older fish are in, to prevent the disease known as velvet (Oodinium). I also recommend getting the fry off the peat as soon as possible. Usually I move them 2-3 days after hatching. There are various methods, but I like to use a small plastic box, which I push down, on an angle, until water rushes in over one edge, carrying fry with it. It's easier to do than to describe.
Regarding life span, that varies with species but most Nothobranchius live for only about one year. That is their natural life cycle in nature.
If you have more questions, let us know.
#3 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
Dasher Posted on: 2010/3/26 11:56
Hi Barry -
Thank you for your reply. Awwww, why do I always make things more difficult for myself??
I am eager to cycle my 10 and one of the 20 gallon tanks while the eggs mature.
I do need to find the foods you recommend, and I don't think I'll have too much trouble with that, there are a TON of LFS here in ATL.
Thanks again for your reply, I'm going to print it off and read it as many times as I can before the little critters get here.
#4 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
bwatters Posted on: 2010/3/26 12:22
There is also a short article on Nothobranchius on the AKA website that may be useful to you. Look for the item "About Nothobranchius" in the left-hand panel of the site under "The Library". If you are not already a member of the AKA you should consider joining as that will give you access to to other sources of information such as JAKA. The AKA's Beginners Guide is also an excellent resource for those starting out in the hobby and, I believe, that would be provided to you as a new member.
#5 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
bwatters Posted on: 2010/3/26 12:24
It just occurred to me that there is also a version of the Beginners Guide on the website. Again, look in the list of items in the left-hand menu panel.
#6 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
Dasher Posted on: 2010/3/26 12:42
Yee-hah, I just realized you are the author of that article. Thanks for the heads up on that! Actually, I have already printed off the beginner's guide and your article and am doing my best to read them numerous times in order to better understand what I'm getting myself involved with!
One thing that I must say will be a challenge for me is using the proper scientific name for these guys. I am so used to just saying "Tiger Barb" or "Neon Tetra" as opposed to their scientific names, which I don't know anyway!
Onward with my education!
#7 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
scottdavis Posted on: 2010/3/26 14:52
The way you are routinely mentioning cycling a tank suggests that you are not quite the rookie aquarist you
indicated. (You probably know that if you move a sponge filter. 1/2 of the water and maybe some plants, maybe some gravel (if gravel is used) from an established aquarium, that your cycle is pretty well imported, especially for fry that do not bulk much.) Your growing number of tanks suggests as case of MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome) something shared by a lot of serious aquarists and certainly by killie keepers too.;)
Since you are rather starting at the top with the rachovii, you can use whatever incubation time the eggs have left to read things like the section of the AKA Beginner's Guide, which can be found down the column to the left on this
page, under Resources . (In time you might wish to join the AKA, but that seldom happens with the first few killies
one keeps.) Ask away here, a lot of talented members are under-used by newer killie keepers.
Also use the search function here to look for questions, especially if you need them in a hurry. The useful links
under Show and Tell will give you access to a number of other wonderful sites. URLs come and go, so if one doesn't connect, Google the name of that group and see what is offered. Other national killie groups will offer other terrific links too.
One of these links is http://tgenade.freeshell.org/
I think that you will find his on-line book very useful.
Another source of lots of information can be had by searching the archives of the late, oftrn great Killietalk e-mailing list.
to search for questions and answers on live foods, raising Nothos and the like.
You might also search for mention of killifish books and/or live foods books. I'm not suggesting that you buy
them, but copy down or copy, paste & print a list of likely suspects. When convenient, drop by your public library.
You may be surprised in searching the library holdings computer to get responses to killifish, Rivulins or
topminnows or those titles. Some general aquarium books like the Baensch Atlases (Vol 1 and the rest) can be very helpful. When you have checked out what seems useful, ALSO find a reference librarian who works with the Inter-
library Loan program. If your libraries in the Atlanta area are pretty much like ours in the Chicago area, they will
need a little time but will amaze you by what they can find somewhere in their universe. Here that service is still
free - our local tax dollar already at work.
I'm real pleased to hear that you have some fine pet shops and fish shops to buy from. That is less common around the country than it used to be.
You also have a great aquarium society there. I'd check that out too.
ASAP go to their site
and look among their links for David's Nature House. That will open up and you want to click on Davids Tropical Fish. That blue gularis is a hint as to one of David's strongest interests.
He is a very experienced aquarist and is much in demand around the country as a presenter on live foods, especially for killies. I think you will find him gracious, incredibly able to talk killies with you and a great resource when it comes to feeding and caring for your fry.
I hope those suggestions are of use for you.
Now as to the age potential of killies, the Nothobranchius are true annuals and at a certain point in time (made
sooner if we don't do pretty nearly weekly partial water changes) it is almost as if a switch was thrown and they may age and die within a week.
However some of the annuals in South American don't seem to have such tight parameters on their futures. Indeed
there are cases where a pond or body of water nearly dried up and after the next rainy season collectors have found young killies and some big older ones that seem to have survived from the previous year. In captivity, as with so many other captive animals, their life spans may be even long.
The genus Austrolebias, from way south in South American, inhabit waters that are down right frigid in winter. Lee
Harper has mentioned that he has seen them spawning under the ice!
Killies and many other fish will age faster if kept in temperatures that are warmer than in their habitats. If we
purposely or accidentally keep them closer to what their species is "used to" they may live longer.
I once received a female Austrolebias nigripinnis (Cynolebias back in the 1980s) from a friend. Space considerations lead to me keeping her in a tank on the basement floor. After I had her, she lived another four years.
I have not been the militant water changer that many of the better killie raisers and show people have been. My fish room is rather cool in the winter too. It may take Rivulus or A. bivittatum Funge, Fundulus or even a Fundulopanchax a couple of years to get big enough to do themselves proud. I don't have a lot of winners in local killie shows, but some of them are 3 or 4 years old. The Aplocheilus lineatus (the golden wonder of the shops is a color sport of that species) certainly will live to at least five years of age if I haven't let them jump out of their tanks.
Glen Collier wrote of an 11-year old Rivulus in his labs. I have a female North American native that I entered in a show in 1997. She is still gobbling up whatever I feed her.:)
This is true of other aquarium fish too sometimes. In the wild the cardinal tetra is considered essentially a one year fish. A friend asked me to adopt her loan cardinal. then 6 years old. She (the cardninal tetra that is) lived another couple of years in our living room community tank.
So what the age of a particular killie is may depend upon their species, who they are kept with (see mating aggression), the size of the tank (larger tanks are more stable chemically, allow for more plants and may dissipate
aggression), the temperatures they are kept at, what they are fed at different times in their lives, how careful we
are in their tank maintenance and whether the tank was covered. Terminal dehydration it too often a cause of
death (though less often with Nothos), especially of fish we have become tired of or of a pair we have promised lots of eggs of to friends.
I hope your rachovii hatch out and thrive in your care. Their odds are pretty good because of your tank space, your
interest, your efforts at seeking help.
All the best!
(I want to apologize for overlapping with recent comments by Brian and Barry, guys much more appropriate as Notho resource people. This was plunked out a couple of hours ago. The phone rang and I've been on for those couple of hours in killie related conversations. By then the response here froze and died in the queue. Fortunately it had been saved as a document and is now pasted back.)
#8 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
Dasher Posted on: 2010/3/27 22:45
What a fantastic reply...thanks so much!! I'll keep y'all posted on what I do.
#9 Re: New To The Hobby (Aquariums and Killifish)
lharper Posted on: 2010/3/29 13:00
In response to the question How long to killifish live? the answer is "it depends". It depends on the species and it depends on the conditions. I have a Rivulus species I collected in Peru in 2001 - a single male. I have had Austrolebias alexandri I collected in Uruguay in 2004 live for two years when kept outdoors in a cool area. Indoors at warmer temperatures that same species will live 6-9 months.
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