mikev Posted on: 2011/4/18 12:43
I'm having a load of issues breeding/raising them and would appreciate suggestions on how to deal with them.
A young pair of red australes was acquired one year ago; it took until October for the first eggs to appear in the mop and some eggs were found regularly since.
1. Eggs are very few, averaging to less than one per day.
2. Perhaps half of the eggs are infertile (fail staining test and then don't develop at all).
3. Half of the rest fail to hatch anyway (usually die when fully developed already) -- I can salvage some with forced hatching, but not all.
4. And the strangest: the fry grows at very different speeds, some rapidly (and these survive) and some barely (and then die usually). This is the strangest part for me, because the fry is not crowded -- I have very few of them; they are not starved (I make sure to feed more than they need); and the runts are eating. This is my only killie breeding experience so I have nothing to compare with but with other fish I bred (loads of rainbow among others) runts correlate to the overcrowding, insufficient food, or obvious genetic deformities and none is the case here. Yet stranger is that even fast-growing fry grow at different speeds.
This is not a total failure but after all this time I am still below ten offsprings...
The desire is not to mass-produce them, but to learn how to tune the process. Items 2 and 3 seem to be the issues described by the WAK profile on this site and the situation improve somewhat after I lowered the hardness and decreased oxygen; the only other thing that was helpful was to use very shallow and covered containers for hatching. But the runts remain puzzling.
Thanks for any help and sorry for the long post.
Two more australe questions:
1. Am I correct to think that Red and Gold are the same strain?
2. Is any particular strain of a.australe is known to be healthier?
(I'm going to compare to the trio of the oldest offsprings which should breed in 2-3 months... but also to get another strain eventually for more comparisons...perhaps it is simply that I have not a very good pair or line?...).
#2 Re: A.Australe
lharper Posted on: 2011/4/18 14:47
I have kept and bred australe of different strains for over 40 years. I have had very prolific breeders and very reluctant breeders, like yours. You can maximize the yield by collecting eggs 3 times a day, changing massive amounts of water daily and lowering the hardness of the water by diluting with rain water. What you cannot do anything about is those breeders which are not good breeders. I suspect that like any other animal - some are good breeders and others are not. If you are collecting eggs and they disappear, without fungussing, try tap water containing chlorine, it helps. The most prolific strains, in my experience have been the "schwarzflosse" strain.
#3 Re: A.Australe
wshenefelt Posted on: 2011/4/19 7:29
If you can get a second pair do it. If they do not produce, swap mates and see if this helps. Most people think that a male and a female killie = a pair. They have preferences for mates just like cichlids(mostly the female decides, just like with people!)
If she does not approve of the mate you provided, breeding is real tough. If she has another choice for a mate, it may work out well.
#4 Re: A.Australe
mikev Posted on: 2011/4/19 12:01
Thank you -- I'll try to follow the suggestions... some problems here as well:
1. I tried checking the mop multiple times.. did not increase the yield, and I was hitting soft eggs too much.
2. No fungused eggs indeed, just spontaneous disintegration. The tap here has no chlorine in it (no chloramine either). Possibly something like a drop of bleach per bucket would do? Or switch to acriflavine (I use meth blue now).
I'll definitely get another pair, but another strain --- I'll try to find schwarzflosse.... I don't see the female rejecting the male, the problem may be that he is too peaceful (never saw him chasing her away, even snapping on her, and they tend to hang together)? In the trio of their offspring juveniles, the male is very aggressive, maybe this is better?
Any comments on the reasons for non-growing fry? this is the main puzzle for me. I am growing fry of A.margaritum now too (not from my fish), and these grow uniformly, just as it should be, in identical setups.
#5 Re: A.Australe
mikev Posted on: 2012/5/26 12:05
One year later... in case this is interesting to anyone...
I decided to continue working with this line even if I have serious doubts about the quality, just to see if I can get anywhere... the hope was that the 2nd generation might turn out healthier, if they are properly fed from the beginning and the environment is not changed...
As of now, the original pair is still alive but not producing for months; the 2nd generation is 4m/3f -- this is all I could do with daily mop checks for nearly a year! As mentioned above the eggs were few, most disintegrated, and more than half of the fry died young (unable to grow).
The next generation (this time bred as a group) solved the problem with eggs: the yield per female is about double of what it was with the original pair. The quality of the eggs and fry, however, did not improve... still I'm raising a dozen now, which is much better than I could manage before (but of course still embarrassingly few). I'm pretty sure that there is nothing else I can do with them other then obtain an identical strain and mix the bloodlines.
On schwarzflosse: I got the eggs from the current AKA auction (Bmeyer)... the difference is huge. My strain's newborn fry tends to linger on the bottom for days before making it to the surface (and half die in the process)...whereas schwarzflosse go to the surface instantly, all are viable, and all develop at the same speed... nice and easy. :D
Most people think that a male and a female killie = a pair. They have preferences for mates just like cichlids(mostly the female decides, just like with people!)
Interestingly, I had the opposite problem... I tried to keep the pairs from the 2nd gen separately at first.. in one pair the male absolutely hated the female and attacked her on sight, she spent all the time inside moss afraid to come out and eat, looked really skinny... Moving them to the group a couple of months ago solved the problem, the male is no longer aggressive (he tried to be...did not work against other males... he stopped trying), and the female looks normal now.
Question: is there a writeup somewhere explaining all the A.australe strains that exist? I don't think I understand red vs orange vs gold, or schwarzflosse vs chocolate.
#6 Re: A.Australe
mikev Posted on: 2012/5/28 16:07
If I may ask one more question:
Just how would you classify this fish:
Red? Orange? Mix lines?
This is the best looking and seemingly alpha male in the ones I bred.. the rest lack the filament extensions and are lighter, similar to the parent male:
#7 Re: A.Australe
scottdavis Posted on: 2012/6/7 13:08
That is interesting that some feel that "schwarzflosse" strain is one of the easier australe to spawn. In the Midwestern US, where water supplies have a lot more mineral that in some municipal supplies in the Eastern US, that strain is not seen as easy.
The old chocolate & golden strains tend to be perceived as the easier australe. However, perhaps because the lyretails have gotten a lot of coverage in professionally produce & club produced articals, there is a perception that lyretails are "beginner's killies."
This is not to say that some people haven't done very well with "schwarzflosse" and the other lyretails. But in most cases more de-mineralized water (from RO units, clean rain water...) must be added than with some of the "easier" rainforest killifish. With rare exceptions we would never wish to approach the miniscule mineral level that exists in the native waters of australe. That stuff can be chemically very unstable.
Some newer aquarists are so enthusiastic about their fish that they put us to shame with their disciplined changing of 50% of the water with prepared water weekly. Others are not so aware of the benefit for such water changes. (In nature, at least in rainy seasons, water tables & precipitation can add 90% new water daily to ponds & headwater streams.)
I don't know how many of us actually can quote a specific hardness or (knowing the proportions of minerals in their tap water) a specific TDS. Numbers like 120 PPM hardness or 150 PPM TDS might be starting points in the discussion.
But if one is in the habit of cutting their tap water with demineralized water, try adding 20% more RO water to your mix. If that pair or a second pair still isn't productive, try using 10% more RO water.
During a period of heavy, frequent rainfalls, I finally raised the percentage of rain water added to our "liquid rock" well water to over 80% before viable eggs (actually any eggs) appeared. Yet when we had "Lake water" from the Great Lakes, lots of australe eggs were given & hatched when frequent water changes were made with water where the hardness was supposed to be nearly 160 PPM.
Newer aquarists also can get a fair number of eggs & fry from gardneri while feeding commercial dry foods. Feeding more live foods has always been another step useful in encouraging australe and problem killies to produce viable eggs & fry. Daphnia in tanks with sponge filters and blackworms (since the worms have a hard time climbing glass) placed in appropriately sized glass jars or bowls may be especially beneficial. They seem to be rich in lipids, substances important in the formation of eggs and proteins.
With one killie species, it seemed that after eggs were picked they died, even when kept in the dark. Finally, as per breeding tetras, the breeders were removed and fry appeared in the aquarium.
Kudos to you for staying with your australe. Keep trying new things or adjusting what you are doing. Chances are that you will suddenly happen upon a lot of eggs and fry.
"Good luck" with killie keepers is mostly where the hard work and innovation is kept up. :)
#8 Re: A.Australe
mikev Posted on: 2012/6/7 13:47
This gives me some perspective.
Just for the record: I'm 100% on R/O water (tap water here is not safe and kills the type of fish I like most quickly), but TDS is mixed to 150 (because this is a good setting for 90% of the fish I have). Water parameters were varied both for the tank and for the incubation container, going down to 75 did not have any positive effect. Hatching in tap water (TDS=40) was totally unsuccessful. Schwarzflosse were hatched at 150 too, and this might have been too hard for them: three eggs developed well but refused to hatch, I tried to force but succeeded only with one. I'll experiment with this when the fry grows up and breeds (no adults yet). Yes, developing eggs in semi-dark, this was important, otherwise I would not have any at all... 150 was not a problem for other ap/fp species I have, those for the most part breed problem-free (well, one -- ogoense -- would not produce any eggs at all, but this should not be water.)
I'm not planning any more experimentation with my strain... simply nothing else to try and I suspect it is just a bad line... I'm only going to breed enough of them to keep them going and try to find another line of the same strain to compare.
Water changes are indeed 50% weekly, but this does not seem to matter. Life and frozen food are fed regularly... I think they are the reason my 2nd generation produces more eggs, but they are still crappy quality eggs.
#9 Re: A.Australe
mkaufman Posted on: 2012/6/7 16:57
FWIW, I had much better success with A. australe eggs when I started wearing latex gloves to pick them. I wouldn't use any fungicide, just regular daily egg water changes until the infertile ones were all removed. Fertility ran about 30% in 2 generations so far. Methylene blue didn't seem to help and I know maracyn's a bit of a crapshoot so I avoid it.
Matt in the PNW where we have 50PPM out of the tap
#10 Re: A.Australe
mikev Posted on: 2012/6/7 17:28
Ah! Latex gloves is a new idea, something i did not try yet!
Meth blue indeed does not do anything.
But one thing I did test: water changes do not seem to matter. I tried changing daily vs collecting for ten days into the same container, saw no difference.
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