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Aphanius Mento, The Persian Killifish
October 12, 2010
10:16 pm
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N0body Of The Goat
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Hi folks,
I went along to the Festival Of Fishkeeping this last weekend, based in Hayling Island, Hampshire (UK). There were some great fish on display and in hindsight, I wish I had got there much sooner than 1400 on Sunday afternoon!

However, arriving late did have some benefits, as a TDC Aquatics stall had a last gasp 50% sale reduction on their excess breeding stock, where for £20 I picked up 11 Pangio doriae and 12 Aphanus mento!

These killifish fry, 1-1.5cm SL, are temporarily sharing a ~100l plastic tub with a "wife-beating" Steatocranus casuarius ("dad" is hopefully going to gradually re-introduced to "mum" and their 13 fry within the next few weeks). The temp is ~21C (a bit low for "dad" but hopefully he will be ok for a few days until I get a small heater) and I have a Koralia 1 powerhead offering some decent water movement, which I believe these fish appreciate along with my hard (gH 14) alkaline (pH 8.2) water.

From what I know about these killifish so far, a few things concern me...

    At what sort of size is the fiesty nature of the males likely to begin?
    Would I be right in thinking that any more than three males in the group of twelve is likely to spell trouble (read "a bloodbath")?
    Even though I have added numerous bunches of Java Fern; plant pot caves; bogwood with natural cave spots, I'm concerned about how big a footprint each male will need. Neale Monks, a resident guru at another forum I'm active in, has suggested 12 sqaure inches per male (which basically means I need to find homes for any males in excess of two in the group). Neale did say that I should contact Matt here for a more definitive answer /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />
    Intrestingly, Neale mentioned a fleeting thought of his about the possibility of a specialist community tank for fiesty A. mento with Ameca splendens (Butterfly Goodeid). This combo would be great if it is reasonably possible to work out, as I am intrigued by the A. splendens, albeit that Neale opened up my eyes to Lloyden species that would fit in with my 540l riverine setup.

My gut feeling is that because I am unlikely to be able to provide them with a tank bigger than the 100l, I am going to have to find a home for some of the group, ideally just rehoming excess males (but I may have to consider rehoming a hareem if someone wants to start a new group)... I just would really appreciate some experienced advice about how to prevent deaths through aggression, by knowing when I really have to sort out this group of twelve by, plus any tips of keeping these woderful killifish.

Thanks for reading the novel!
Steve

Constantly juggling mainly African riverine fish between 6 tanks, from 54 to 566l in size!
October 13, 2010
7:56 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hi Steve,

There are others here with more experience of this fish than me but I've been keeping it for a couple of years now. I have mine in a half-filled 80 l plastic tub and at one point had 5 males in there so I wouldn't worry too much about the space, more the amount of cover provided. The males only form temporary territories and I've found that as long as there are plenty of broken lines of sight then aggression isn't a huge problem.

To achieve that I literally stuff the container with nylon spawning mops which seems to work a treat. I guess that caves will prove less useful than mops or plants in this respect but have never tried using them to be honest. I also wouldn't add a heater until Spring - my fish are outdoors now and will stay there over winter, and like most Aphanius these do best when offered a cool overwintering period. Keeping them at a constant temperature seems to interfere with breeding behaviour/egg production/longevity which is maybe why they have a reputation as being difficult?

Your water sounds fine but do you have any idea on where your fish are from? Most populations do best with a little marine salt in the water. As far as keeping this species in a community is concerned you can try it if you like but personally I'd question the wisdom of attempting to keep endangered species such as A. splendens in a community, and the Aphanius are also best kept alone if you want to really enjoy, and breed, them. Also reckon the Ameca might prove to be bullies...

At 1-1.5 cm SL your fish should be sexable or very close to it - aggressive behaviour increases exponentially with temperature and is basically non-existent when they're not breeding.

Feel free to fire away with any other questions and good luck with them! /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Here's a species profile with some nice habitat images and additional info.

Finally a male of the 'Kirkgöz' form at around 1 cm TL - females lack the iridescent markings on the flanks.

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Cake or death?
October 13, 2010
8:34 am
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ricefish
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Hi Steve
The Mento are probably Zengen population.I got some eggs from TDC earlier in the year they were hatched in plain hampshire tap water,these are now breeding and aggression doesn't seem to be a problem.they are in a 50ltr tank with loads of mops.
I also keep Goodeids and would recommend species tanks for both.

October 13, 2010
3:18 pm
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N0body Of The Goat
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Thanks for the input guys!

The original trio that TDC used for their breeding program in the 6-footer were at the show, the male was a gorgeous bluey purple, even under the stress of the show and having already been bagged for the journey home. The male was ~5-6cm TL.

Its great to hear there is a chance of all 12 living together without me needing to find new homes, but I guess the real "pudding proof" will be next spring and summer, when their breeding hormones may start to kick in!

As for the caves (small plant pots), my bunch do like using them at times and I think Dave from TDC said the 6-footer has numerous caves dotted around for the males to use as a territory point.

I do want to get some artificial mops sorted out though and there is someone selling mops at what seems a good price...
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayI.....PI.dll?Vie...e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

I will e-mail TDC ([email protected]) to confirm which variety these A. mento are, the tank label mentioned Turkey but I've no ide if this narrows things down enough. They may well be Zengens, like yours, ricefish.

As for mixing A. mento with A. splendens, I promised Neale I would ask for opinions on such a mix, as he suggested the surprising community and I think we both liked the idea of giving it a try if Matt felt it was a reasonable idea! /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

Constantly juggling mainly African riverine fish between 6 tanks, from 54 to 566l in size!
October 13, 2010
3:42 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Not a good idea imo. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> Why don't you make your own mops btw? You just need cheapo nylon wool and a medium-sized book!

Interesting observation - I normally use dark-coloured mops because they seem to provide security for the fish but tried throwing a pink one into the A. mento container last year guessing they might find the eggs harder to see (the adults are avid predators of both eggs and fry) and it worked! I now use a single light-coloured mop for all the killis I have and tend to recover the most eggs from these.

Cake or death?
October 13, 2010
5:19 pm
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ricefish
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And i thought i was the only one doing pastel colours,more eggs recovered in the light mops bit harder on the eyes though

October 13, 2010
5:44 pm
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Graham Ramsay
Blairgowrie - UK
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July 24, 2010
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Just to add to the above - my A. mento were murderous. I probably had too few fish though. I had a Turkish strain.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

I ended up with a single fish per tank and introduced a pair only for a couple of hours at a time to collect a few eggs. Needless to say I didn't have them long. "Interesting" fish though.

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