The term "Killifish" comes from the Dutch word "Kill" which means a small body of water. Most Killifish come from small streams or ponds. Killifish are identified by their scientific name including the Genus, species, and sub-species (if any). If known, a collection, location, or population code is also included in the name. Keepers are encouraged to keep the known full name of the fish and to not cross breed fish. Hybrids are not acceptable in the Killifish hobby. If a fish's collection code is not known, then they are considered an aquarium strain and can be enjoyed as such.
The following are some notes on my fish keeping. Check the AKA beginners guide for basic information (available on their web site or in print). I am relatively new to keeping Killies, and still learning myself. If you have any specific questions or helpful suggestions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I keep the breeding pair in a 2.5 gal tank with a brown yarn mop, floating or bottom depending on experience with the species, sometimes both. I routinely collect the eggs and developed them in water in a petri dish. I have experimented with different methods to prevent egg fungus. Currently, I use a 1 to 1 mixture of the parents tank water and new mixed water. I change half the water every day or two with new mixed water and remove the bad eggs as they show themselves. I find this works, if I have egg fungus problems with this it is usually because the parents are too young and the eggs are not viable to begin with. Most species take 2-4 weeks for the eggs to develop. When they hatch I move them into a small container, as they grow I move them into larger tanks. I try to keep the container size small enough that they do not have to search for the food.
I put a small fish bowl partially filled with peat moss in the tank with one or several pairs. After a week (or a month, as time allows) I pull the peat out, drain and dry it on newspaper. When dry enough I put it in a zip lock, for a couple of months. When some eggs in the peat show full development of the fry's eye ball, put the peat in enough water to cover by about 1 inch. The fry should hatch in hours or a couple of days. You can re-dry the peat and check it again after another month. Sometimes the fry don't develop at the same rate, and you can get some more in a second hatching.
Dry enough is a term that you have to get some experience with. Some people say it should be like pipe tobacco, not wet, but not dry either. I think of it in terms of, not having any water drip out if I squeeze it in my hand, but moist enough that it clumps together when I release it. Basically, you don't want the eggs to wet rot, nor do you want them to dry out and die. It is probably better to error on the side of too dry, as you can always lightly mist the peat to add humidity to the bag if you decide it needs it.
The plant spawners tend to produce in cycles. From a few to a dozen eggs per mop check. Most species will eat the eggs after a while, so mop checks every day or two will get you more before they get them back. The annuals can produce a dozen to a hundred fry per hatch, depending on length of collection and number of breeders.
Newly hatched fry are fed with baby brine shrimp (bbs), microworms, vinegar eels, and paramecium. As they grow I shift to the larger foods. Juveniles get a base of bbs with occasional larger food, some crushed flake or other dried foods. I usually keep them on bbs until they get so big that it is impractical. Adults get a base of live or frozen brine shrimp and dried foods, with occasional other stuff, fruit flies, grindal worms, yard collections, etc.
My tap water runs greater than 8 pH and 400 micro-Siemens. Most fish I mix RO water with tap to 200 micro-Siemens and add diluted Hydrochloric acid (Muratic acid) to a pH of 6.5 to 7. (Follow all safety precautions when working with acid!) If I have specific information about a species requirement, I try to match it.
One specific exception is the Nothobranchius species. These I use tap water and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of marine salt per gallon of water. I do this as a preventative of Oodinium (Velvet disease).
I try to change half of the water weekly, but this slips to a longer time period on established tanks. If I do not over feed this works okay.
On fry and juvenile tanks that are intentionally over fed, I change water as needed, up to every day. I add rams horn snails to these tanks to help eat excess food and some plants to help with water quality, to keep the fish entertained, and to give the smaller ones some hiding places.
My fish room is both heated and air conditioned. It usually stays 76 to 78 degrees F.
© Copyright 2007 ProfCookSez Update: 2007.06.28 twc