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Killifish breeding techniques

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Long term (fry appear with adults)

When to use this method This is an ideal method if you are short on tankspace, but certainly not the most productive. Leaving the fry to fend for themselves produces robust fish, and is the method of choice for a number of quick growing hardy species such as Fundulopanchax gardneri nigerianus which can soon fill a 2ft tank if well fed. Another group of killifish that do well in such a set up are the Scriptaphyosemions, which seem to be particularly non-predatory towards their young.

Tank setup This is best done in a larger tank. It should be full of plants; najas is ideal as it fills the whole tank from top to bottom, giving the most cover. Also indian fern, java moss, java fern, hornwort and riccia. It is also useful to have a shallow gravel or sand substrate, providing shelter (or at least an easier terrain in which to hide) for the fry, and a ready soure of infusorians.

What next? Fry can be fished out and raised seperately to avoid predation both by parents and larger siblings, or left to fend for themselves. Some species will be more affected by predation than others, and in many ways this is good, as it can prevent you being overun by the more prolific species

Typical breeding tank setup for a pair or trio of plant spawning killifish

Typical breeding tank setup for a pair or trio of plant spawning killifish

Spawning Mops

When to use this method If you intend to collect eggs of plant spawning species spawning mops are the ideal solution. Mops are made from strands of synthetic 'wool' fibre (real wool rots) attched to a float (a piece of polystyrene or cork). Fish deposit their eggs on the strands where they can be picked and stored in water or on damp peat, or left to develop on the mop.

Tank setup The tank should ideally be empty apart from the mops (and any filtration). Any kind of gravel or plants provides extra spawning places that are difficult to collect eggs from and will reduce the number layed on the mops.

What next? The mops should be removed carefully, and squeezed gently to remove excess water- sometimes there will be a fish hiding in there so be very careful! The eggs can be picked and water incubated (in tank water with a dash of methylene blue) or incubated on damp peat (place a small droplet of water/methylene blue on each egg). Either way, fungused eggs should be removed as soon as possible. It is also possible to move the entire mops to empty tanks or to place the damp mops in a plastic bag to allow them to incubate undisturbed. Some eggs are light sensitive, so this should be born in mind when storing them.

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Peat (or similar) spawning substrate

When to use this method A number of species prefer to spawn in some form of substrate such as peat. These are typically annual fish such as Nothobranchius, Austrolebias and Simpsonichthys species.

Tank setup The peat can cover the entire tank bottom or be placed in one or more spawning 'tubs'; plastic containers often with a lid with a hole, that the fish will spawn in. Some species (such as Nothobranchius) require only a small amount of peat (in fact they will spawn without it). These are sometimes referred to as ploughers. The purpose of the peat is more to prevent egg predation in these cases. I personally feel that the fish prefer a nice soft spawning media. Some species, however, (such as Pterolebias longipinnis) require their entire body length in depth to spawn, as they prefer to get right into the peat!. It is possible to use other substances to peat, and people have claimed success, however peat has remained a favourite for good reason. Coir; less powdery than peat but dries out more easily. Certainly not recommended for fish species with long incubation times. Silver sand; easy to collect eggs from, though sand may damage some eggs. Ground walnut shell; I have not tried this but it sounds like you'd need to eat a lot of walnuts!

What next? The peat is collected squeezed gently to remove excess water. Some people will store it just like this, and some will dry the peat further on newspaper for between 2 and 24 hours. The peat should be moist but not wet. There are no hard and fast rules here, but dryer peat seems to allow quicker development of eggs. It is perhaps best to find a way of working that suits, and keep an eye on the eggs for development.

Adult fish removed from tank

When to use this method This is a good method for prolific spawners that will eat their young. Obviously the eggs will develop in water, and generally the fry will eat each other so, as with the long term method described above, this is not the most productive method, but one of the least time consuming.

Tank setup This is best done in a larger tank. It should be full of plants; najas is ideal as it fills the whole tank from top to bottom, giving the most cover. Also indian fern, java moss, java fern, hornwort and riccia. It is also useful to have a shallow gravel or sand substrate, providing shelter (or at least an easier terrain in which to hide) for the fry, and a ready soure of infusorians.

What next? Fry can be fished out and raised seperately to avoid predation both by parents and larger siblings, or left to fend for themselves. Some species will be more affected by predation than others, and in many ways this is good, as it can prevent you being overun by the more prolific species


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US ebay listings

(1) 1.25" PAIR Gold Australe Killifish Aphyosemion live freshwater tropical fish

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Canadian ebay listings

60 EGGS NOTHOBRANCHIUS KILLIFISH KILLI EGG HATCHING TROPICAL FISH

C $12.51
60 EGGS NOTHOBRANCHIUS KILLIFISH KILLI EGG HATCHING TROPICAL FISH

C $12.51
60 EGGS NOTHOBRANCHIUS KILLIFISH KILLI EGG HATCHING TROPICAL FISH

C $12.51
60 EGGS NOTHOBRANCHIUS KILLIFISH KILLI EGG HATCHING TROPICAL FISH

C $12.51
See more results on eBay here