Doin' the CO2 Dance

GaryE

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I recently bought some killifish eggs online, from a species I have been trying to get for a loooong time.

They came from Eastern Europe. A couple of weeks ago I had a great hatchout with Polish origin Aphyosemion ocellatum eggs, collected by a really careful breeder. This lot, Aphyosemion coeleste from the same breeder, were equally well packed and shipped.
But the mail is a cruel environment.

I had three fry hatch three days ago, which gives me a chance of an eventual pair. A slim chance. But among the basically cooked eggs were a few I thought showed signs of life. They were well overdue though, and weren't hatching naturally. And so, I went to work.

Killie keeping can have aerobic benefits. I transferred the eggs to a small jar, via my high tech turkey baster. I took a deep breath, held it til it was spent and breathed the CO2 into the jar, sealing it quickly after. Then I put on some good dance music. I confess, I have been known to dance walk around the fish area.

So I stumbled gracelessly to the music, swishing the sealed jar for the length of a 5 minute African hip hop run. The old killieguys used to put the vials in their pockets and go for long walks, but it's pouring rain and cold out there. Plus I like music. Burna Boy-I can't imagine such a cool artist dealing with his music being used to hatch African ditch fish eggs....

As I write, with the shaken, rattled and rolled eggs in a tray beside me, 2 tails have popped out and 1 fry is trying to figure out what is happening. If I get these 3 , I've doubled my odds. Some overdue eggs produce deformed fish, but it looks like I got these ones in time. I actually thought only 2 were viable, but all 3 just swam when I shook the tray, seconds ago.

Welcome to the world, beautiful wee killies.
 

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That One Guy
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You know what ? I've read about that method and wondered if it really worked or if it was just a Killie keepers legend. Very cool to finally know that it's true.
You mentioned possibly deformed fry. Don't get rid of them ! I read a thing somewhere where a guy was using belly sliders as breeders because they were all he had and it worked out.
 
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GaryE

GaryE

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I think part of the problem is these fish come from moving water, while most Aphyosemion don't. We have that "let's make a rule" thing in killiekeeping, like in the rest of the hobby, and rules seldom apply to all cases.
When annuals have problems you get belly sliders.
With these cool, high oxygen water guys, you might, rarely, get fish that can never put on weight and just sort of linger through short lifespans, never managing to breed. But since I posted, these ones are out and about exploring, in good shape. Now, the wait for both sexes starts.
The "going walking" or "twinkle toes" techniques with CO2 will force hatching for over due eggs. So will another trick, adding microworms to the incubation dish.

As I rebuild the killieroom before winter (I have to take advantage of the good weather before it's too hot, too) I have eggs from 6 more species coming - 3 Aphyosemion from a friend, and 3 Nothobranchius I bought. The Nothos will be my first ones in probably 10 years, but there are a lot of newly described species that look quite different from my old favourites, and the only way to see them is to raise them and have a look. It's kind of fun as the egg trade gives you access to very rare species on an equal footing with people who live in larger centres. I get to live here in my "I used to be a contender" rusty old city while hunting down the same sort of fish I got in a city of millions.
 

davros

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Will killies always lay eggs? A short lifespan must make them determined breeders
 
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GaryE

GaryE

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The short lifespan is a myth, for the group. My Aphyosemions can go about 3 years, and I have had Fundulopanchax that probably went longer.
A lot of killies are annuals, and they can only live a few months. Still. conditions have to be right for them to breed. There is learning involved.
The plant spawning non annuals I keep can vary, some are really easy and others can become really serious projects, with a lot of work involved.
It's like any fish - we can drop a group name on them, but if we want to keep them around, we have to learn how they live species by species by species.
I love killiekeeping, and it is unfortunate that the short life myth scares so many people off. They're fun.
 

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