October 31st, 2007
I initially bought a pair and a trio of Nothobranchius sp. Messalo River MZHL 05-12 from the BKA convention in October 2006 - they were were not small fish, but despite their size, had practically no colouration in the BKA show tanks (see picture, right) . Once set up at home, in a darkish tank with some floating plants, the males 'switched on' their colours.
The fish did well, laying huge numbers of eggs, many of which were distributed in the UK. When my first bag was ready I had a lot of tank space, and so raised a LOT of fry.
But what about the original fish? The three pictures above are of the same male fish, taken at the convention, Oct 2006, Jan 2007 and Oct 2007. They have spent their year in one of my warmer tanks, yet are still going strong. At the time of writing, some 13 months after the above photo I still have a magnificent (in size and colouration) trio, who although old and slightly gnarly looking, are active, hungry and still spawning.
The 'hump' evident in the middle picture is a typical sign of an old notho. But notice the red blotch that has developed at the base of the dorsal fin. Will this be a common feature in elderly males of this species?
These photos don't actually show the full extent of redness of this fish, as the flash tends to wash it out - in the body in particular, and also the blue of the eye. The final picture (below) shows the same fish, also photographed this month (Oct 2007), but without a flash.
This species is very peaceful - the more colourful males are certainly more shy than the females and subordinate males, so tend to lurk in the darker areas of the tank. They are also hardy and show no real tendency to eat their siblings.
Due to its peaceful nature, long life and bright colouration, this would make a good beginners Nothobranchius species.