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Micropoecilia, rareness thereof and killifish
October 3, 2013
2:21 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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I've always had a somewhat soft spot for livebearers and have been wanting to keep Micropoecilia branneri for some years now, since I saw them at Aquarien Meyer in Berlin where they were on show only, not for sale. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any breeders in UK, nor anywhere else in Europe for that matter, and am at the point of giving up on ever seeing them again.

I am setting up a 60×30×35 cm tank this weekend which I originally wanted for the Micropoecilia, but I am now considering Fundulopanchax gardneri instead as this is one of the few groups of fish that I have not kept before. There is a lot of information about breeding these fish out there, but I have been having trouble finding stocking recommendations primarily for keeping them… what are the recommendations on numbers for a tank that size? It will be planted with floating plants and a cover. While some resources seem to imply 1m 1f, others say that these fish can be kept in groups. What are your thoughts?

 

(As a side note, the information on here is a bit lacking on the species and it would be great if it could be filled out a bit.)

Kat
October 3, 2013
5:53 pm
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mikev
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I keep three lines of them now...

Groups are just fine. Easily a dozen (this is a 15g tank, right?)... if you use plants like najas that separate the fish. If you have enough plants, the chances are that you will have some fry eventually, albeit mop breeding will get you much more (and easily too).
Fp.gardneri come in many flavors... choose an attractive line and don't mix different lines if you intend to breed.

October 3, 2013
6:54 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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Around 15 gallons, yes. I'm planting up the tank this weekend, so will be sure to get a few photos for you to have a look at.

 

I was planning to go for the bog standard colour morph, but any suggestions are welcome. The tank will be primarily for two kids to view, so I'm sure they'd appreciate the gaudier varieties. I will make sure not to mix lines as I expect that they will breed!

Kat
October 3, 2013
7:14 pm
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mikev
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Make sure that there are places for weaker fish to retreat to and this way you can have more.... and more means more pleasant look.

The three I keep btw are Lafia Gold, Innidere, and Albino (not entirely clear which wild line they came from). To me, Innideres are the prettiest....

Also: on sex ratios: not all that important, but I prefer somewhat more females in a group...

And good profiles and lots of photos on West African killies can be found on the AKA site, http://www.aka.org/wak/Ref_Lib....._Index.htm
look under fp.nigerianus also, the exact classification is not clear, nigerianus may or may not be the same species as gardneri.

"bog standard colour morph" is probably an aquarium hybrid strain?

October 3, 2013
7:32 pm
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mikev
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Oh crap.... I should have not replied to your post. :(
It got me to check on Aquabid, and I see something listed there I really wanted for a couple of year (another similar fp. species)..... no space.... darn... darn ... darn.... :(

On the other hand, you may want to check the fp.walkeri listing on AB now... the listing is from the UK... it is actually another fish I want to try one day too.

October 3, 2013
9:04 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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Oh crap, you shouldn't have reminded me that there's more and more sellers on AB from Europe! ;)

'Innidere' are quite stunning! I think we might also have been looking at the same seller, I was looking at their fish on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/m.ht.....fish+-eggs They do have 'Innidere' in stock as well.

I'm probably giving away how little I know about Killifish, but here are the F. gardneri : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/310721084405

Kat
October 3, 2013
9:27 pm
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mikev
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Yeah, almost surely the same vendor.

I'd choose one of the "real location" gardneri's he lists... simply no point imho to keep an aquarium strain when real things are also available.r His innideri's are a fine choice, jos plateau too, and walkeri is another fine choice (except for the more work breeding)... and actually he has more good stuff... black oryzias would be interesting to try...they did not make it into the US yet, unf.

BTW, he also lists "my" albino gardneri...definitely the same fish, but I'm not sure about them being Akure... I heard them being Misaji (fp.clauseni is a subspecies of fp.gardneri).

October 4, 2013
9:58 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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KittyKat said
(As a side note, the information on here is a bit lacking on the species and it would be great if it could be filled out a bit.)

Added to the list for updating shortly. ;)

Never kept these either, but they sound pretty similar to Aphanius in terms of maintenance?

Cake or death?
October 4, 2013
3:14 pm
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mikev
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Similar. Higher temp range, malignant jumpers (Aphanius are not at all), but fp.gardneri at least can be maintained on flake food (not a good idea).

Just do not generalize, even similar West African species may have striking differences. Walkeri, for instance, need to be bred with peat, Scheeli seem to need quality diet (and probably should be bred in pairs for best results).

October 5, 2013
1:05 am
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oaken
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I realise this thread is probably more about Fundulopanchax gardneri than Micropoecilia but I thought I should write a few notes on them. Micropoecilia being rare is probably due to the fact that most species are hard to maintain over several generations. Micropoecilia picta is pretty easy to keep. I have kept Micropoecilia sarrafae, M. picta and M. parae. I only got a single fry of M. sarrafae and by the time it was mature the parents had already died. M. picta was fairly easy to keep, but saying that I gave mine away after raising only one generation. I never managed to get any fry from multiple pairs of M. parae, not even sure I had M. parae females at all. A friend managed to breed them quite succesfully though, but again, not over several generations. I think M. picta and M. parae are the most common species but the other species do show up every now and then.

 

For what it's worth I can recommend the seller mentioned above. He packs the fish very well. 

October 6, 2013
4:58 pm
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mikev
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For what it's worth I can recommend the seller mentioned above. He packs the fish very well.

Not well enough to risk shipping fish to the US, unfortunately.

Now, here is a standing offer: if anyone gets his black oryzias I'll be glad to buy eggs from you... even willing to send you a deposit... (Matt, hope this is not inappropriate!). I would love to try the fish, but UK->US shipping may be easily five days... fine for eggs, improper for adult fish.

October 6, 2013
9:25 pm
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KittyKat
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I've had a very odd response from the seller when asking about the fish. They offered me the fish outside of eBay for more than they were listed on eBay. I asked about this and they just responded with their offer being the best price! Very odd, especially as I was trying to negotiate a delivery date for end of the month. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what they have available when I'm ready to buy fish.

 

The tank is set up, but the plants arrived in poor condition, and I was not happy with my decorating skills, so photos will follow a bit later, once everything is settled in.

 

About Micropoecilia, why do you think that is, oaken? I have kelp Girardinus metallicus and Neoheterandria elegans, both are similar size to the smaller Micropoecilia, but produced fry on a regular basis.

 

mikev, I visit the US about twice per year, but I'm not sure I'd dare bring fish over without proper paperwork. I know people who have brought fish back and "got away" with it, but it's not worth the risk. If you were to be able to get paperwork, then I do often have a few hours layover in one of the NY airports.

Kat
October 6, 2013
9:41 pm
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mikev
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KittyKat, I was only talking about eggs, these are much safer (I received eggs from the UK before, including another oryzias species). However, I can check on the paperwork with the importer I know... and perhaps I have some fry you would like too (but again, when possible eggs are simpler both ways).

My recollection is that proper paperwork (and vet inspection) is quite doable but the cost will be around $150... this is what makes eggs better. And as for smuggling fish, while neither the US nor the UK is quite this serious, check this.. :P

As for different pricing: weird but happens. I know some vendors who list on AB and Ebay and the prices are not always the same.

October 7, 2013
4:21 pm
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oaken
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@KittyKat There is a common misconception that all livebearers are easy to breed. This is definitely not the case! So, just because there are a lot of livebearers that are easy to breed it does not mean that all of them are. Not all of them are as hardy as Poecilia reticulata and so on. This goes for all families of fish, there are cichlids that are extremely hard to breed in comparison to the unstoppable convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata), for example. Same thing goes for killifish and so forth. There are obviously some requirements that the fish have that we have not yet (or cannot?) figured out how to meet in aquaria. One might speculate that we can't provide them with the proper nutrition, or that the water parameters are wrong in some way.

 

@mikev It is certainly possible to send fish to the US from Europe. In fact I did it twice this summer, however, I suppose it is not exactly legal. Five days is about the time it takes for packages to arrive when being sent inside Europe as well. It will always takes five days from France to Sweden, for example. But I guess it depends more on the fish you are sending. I don't know how well Oryzias fare during long transports.

 

October 7, 2013
8:47 pm
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mikev
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It might be possible, the legal danger is not great (unlike Au or Nz), oryzias tend to be very hardy, and the vendor is willing to ship, I simply do not like the idea of 5-6 day shipping torture when I can wait for someone to offer eggs (or the fish making to the US somehow).... given that they should be very easy to breed, this is bound to happen.

December 12, 2013
2:36 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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On @mikev's recommendation, I got some 'Innidere'… but I somehow managed to buy eggs instead of juveniles (it really was my own mistake!). Apart from feeling a bit silly, I've now got the spawning substrate in water in a small tank. It was collected on the 10th of December, so I'm expecting it to be a few weeks before I see any fry.

Food wise, I have brine shrimp eggs for hatching, decapsulated brine shrimp, spirulina powder and banana, Walter and microworms. Has anyone here tried completely replacing newly hatched brine shirmp with decapsulated brine shrimp for fry? What were the results like?

 

On the plus side, I also picked up a pair of Apistogramma commbrae at the same time, looking forward to keeping this little gem.

Kat
December 12, 2013
4:05 pm
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mikev
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Congratulations!

I don't think decap will work...killie fry really wants food that moves.... I tend to use artemia only for killie fry, but worms of either kind should be taken too.

December 12, 2013
5:59 pm
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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Well, the seller claims that some of the eggs were layed 2-3 weeks ago, so I can expect fry within a few days… better get those brine shrimp hatching!

Kat
December 12, 2013
6:51 pm
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coelacanth
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Commbrae seem easy to breed, unlike Micropoecilia sarrafae, where a few fry at a time has been the best results here, with a high incidence of deformities even with the F1s. Don't know what the problem is with them, picta are also slow, whereas wingei offer no challenges. 

December 12, 2013
10:15 pm
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KittyKat
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I managed to find one of the eggs when quickly digging through the spawn media earlier, before covering it with water:

Killifish eggImage Enlarger

Kat
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