is a condensed range of tip's & advice mainly taken from my articles
(Fish House Diaries & Fish House.net cowritten with the help of Alan Green) in the BKA Newsletters & Website.
|Fish Have Stopped Laying
If your fish have been laying but suddenly stopped you might like to check these things out:-
Check both fish are still in the tank. One may have died or jumped out.
The male may have driven the female too hard & killed her.
What's the cure?
a water change with soft water with a pH of around 6.
It's a common occurance with Killifish breeders to find eggs turning bad in the egg container. I have listed some reasons you can explore -
Are your fish too old? Fundulopanchax
for example should be bred young for maximum fertility. Old fish commonly
lay infertile eggs. It should be noted here that I have observed eggs
turning milky white but this was a normal part of their incubation.
Some breeders threw these away thinking they were infertile but in fact
they do start to darken & eventually hatch.
Aphyosemion elberti we found, layed best in water of pH5.5
sand is an excellent media for annuals. We use it for Nothobranchius
& South American ploughers. To harvest eggs from it first take out
fish, plants etc. Stir up the sand & allow to settle. Pass a fine
mesh net in a figure '8' movement through the water & put the eggs
into a small tub such as a soap powder measure. Repeat 3-4 times. Hold
this over a weak light to inspect for eggs & store in either water
or straight into peat/coconut fibre.
Fred Wright in BKA newsletter No.101, January 1974 reported observing a faster growth rate of A.ahli fry when placed with an adult female of the same sp.
Delicate eggs from top spawning sp. which are known to repeatedly go bad when handled can be handled by hanging up the mops (without squeezing or making contact with eggs) with clothes pegs by a single strand on a 'clothes line' set up in the fish house. These then 'drip dry' until semi-dry or very moist & stored in a plastic bag with sufficient air for the usual 10-14 days (or longer depending on the sp.). This method as used by Mr.J.Trigg esquire.
eggs which are eyed up & refuse to hatch can be forced in a number
of ways. These methods are not always successful but worth a try.
Eel's seem to do best in red wine vinegar mixed 50/50 with water. To
feed them, put some in a small container with the vinegar/water mix
& add a small amount of Bicarbonate of Soda to neutralise the acid
& put it into the fry tubs.
To clean Tubifex worms put them in a cat litter tray & trickle water through it. Place a few pices of raw potato in the middle of the worms. The starch is ingested which cleans the worms out.
A children's paint brush is most useful for controlling the amount of newly hatched brine shrimp & micro worm to fish/fry.
Infusoria - forget crushed baked lettuce leaves & grasses I have never had any success with them. I use beef heart leftovers which have been fed to the fish. Some is always left to turn fungussed which is dip tubed out & put into a jar. Within days a culture will become established.
Infusoria can be cultured with dried cubes of Turnip. Try a few cubes in some old aquarium water. After a couple of days infusoria can be observed. This is considered a good way of growing Paramecium which can be observed in 7-14 days.
Another good suggestion from a BKA member is to use Gram flour which is obtained from Asian food stores. Mix into a slurry & add a few drops to a culture jar containing water.
A BKA member advised using yellow dog biscuits to feed to White worms. He also uses a sprig of stinging nettle to keep flies off the cultures. To add multi vitamin supplements to be bio encapsulated to white worm use SA 37 (a dog/cat multi vitamin) added to Ready Brek.
Hydra is a common nuisance which can be eradicated before feeding by putting 2 crushed Campden tablets into a 5 gallon bucket of Daphnia/pond food & aerating. Another method is to use ammonium chloride available from chemists.
To find a good Daphnia pond look for cattle/pigs etc which drop there faeces into the water or in a field that drains into a pond. Daphnia feed on Zooplankton which feeds off decaying material.
larvae is undoubtedly one of the best live foods around. I made a useful
discovery/observation recently in the absolute best way of getting a
bumper crop. Gardeners know the benefits of collecting sheep manure
to feed tomato plants etc. I set up a 10 gallon vat with about 4 gallons
(volume) of sheep manure & filled the vat with water. This was set
up in April & by July had settled down so you can imagine it's brewing
nicely to a dark liquid. The top is completely covered in mozzie egg
rafts with a thick population in the mixture living quite happily.
Decapsulating brine shrimp eggs & many other tips can be found here http://www.cincikillies.org/fishroomfoods.htm
Beware those bottles of treatment lying unused for a long time. They can become very strong & concentrated through evaporation. A normal dose could end up being ten times as strong.
Shimmies or 'swinging sickness' can be cured with a 50% water change.
This parasite thrives in acid water. The answer is to control the pH
of the water. Peat is a medium all Killie keepers have used as a standard
thing - Dump it. West African fish don't know what peat is in the wild.
They use laterite mud, leaf litter, hanging bankside vegetation etc.
Oak Leaves in the tank give a natural look to the set-up, release tannin & colour the water like weak tea which helps to show colour in the fish. They also provide good hiding places for females.
If you are short of space in your fish house & there is nowhere to age/store warm water for water changes try filling strong plastic bags with water & hanging a couple from the roof supports.
Acid water can be made by setting up a deep tank & three quarters filling it with peat topped up with rainwater. After a while the water will drop to around pH 3 which can be diluted up to the required level.
To prevent egg fungus dilute this water to pH4 to pH6. This water should be brought up to at least pH6 as soon as development can be seen in the egg. If fry hatch at pH4 they will burn their gills out.
acid can be used to make the water acid & can be bought at around
35% strength. This is ideal for newly imported fish where the acid level
is high. Hydrochloric acid evaporates, returning the water to its original
Trout pellets crushed to a coarse powder with a rolling pin (the pellets need to be softened first by moistening) is a very good food where no live food is available. It provides some bulk to the fish. Fry can be fed a finer grade powder.
The plastic measures inside soap powder boxes after being thoroughly washed are very useful for feeding & egg inspection containers. Another use is for a daily feed quantity of beef heart which can be frozen in the containers & covered with a plastic film to prevent evaporation. Float the container in hot water prior to feeding to de-thaw.They also come in handy to inspect eggs over a weak light.
Ice cube trays can be used for sensitive eggs which fungus easily. Put one egg in each cube & if you get a bad one it will not infect another. These are also useful for storing beef heart in the freezer.
Another egg container which is useful is the black coffee sample jars which are small & virtually light proof.
|Fish Room Maintenance
dehumidifier is a useful tool in any fish house & takes out all the
moisture in the air which can form on colder surfaces. My fish house can
quickly form water which drops from the polycarbonate roof when the dehumidifier
To check your fish house to see if you need a dehumidifier leave a tray of salt out. If it collects moisture (does not remain free flowing) & sticks to the spoon you might consider using one.
I collect about 1-2 gallons daily which is used in killie tanks with a little tapwater to 'roughen' it up.
or Floating Fern is a great plant to provide surface cover which makes
the fish feel more secure. It can also be planted in the medium &
new plants will grow on the parent leaves. It is an excellant indicator
of water pH. If the water starts to become alkaline the plant dies back.
It thrives at pH 6 which is a good pH for most Killies.
Moss - Vesicularia
is a tough little plant & a vigorous grower. A good tip is to put
a piece outside in an old tank or plastic tub & leave it to grow.
It thrives in all temperatures, I've even seen it cased in ice in my
tubs. I put one piece in a 40 gallon rain butt all winter & had
a great harvest in the spring.
is a great floating plant but can prove difficult to keep with killies.
The great secret of maintaining this sp. is to do so in HARD water.
Soft water will not see it grow at the same pace & can kill it completely.
Salvinia. Good floating plant forming chains. I use it.
Duckweed. A real bain to any fishkeeper especially with floating plants. A most aggressive plant which is a real pain to get rid of. It can be useful though to suck out nitrates & help prevent killies jumping. Personally I try to eliminate it from my fish house & feed it to my compost heap. It does make good fertiliser.
brought to my attention as a small strand in a bag of fish. I let it
float & it quickly established itself. A very useful plant in killie
tanks which rapidly fills a tank. Don't bother planting it as it does
best floating in good light. Harder water is best for this plant. A
50/50 rain/tap water mix is just about OK. Pure rainwater (or soft water)
will kill it.
Java Fern. I let this plant sort itself out by just throwing it into a tank without planting it. Dick Cox gave me a few pieces which rapidly grew with young plants being distributed through the fish house. Grows well in light or shade in harder water but a 50/50 rain/tap water mix is OK.