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Brine Shrimp, Fish Photos, & True Love Stories

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A long while ago, in the golden age of coffee houses, I recall hearing about an author who set up a table sign reading something like, "I will buy you coffee if you will tell me your story of true love." I've always thought that to be a fascinating proposition.

Today, I made my fish a proposition . . . "I will feed you live baby brine shrimp if you will come out for a photo and let me tell your true love story."

Ok. So maybe I didn't say that. But I did feed my fish live bbs. And I did take some photos (you'll see brine shrimp in all photos). And I will tell you some some stories now.

German Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)


This Ram was spawned, hatched, and raised right here on the Forum! His bright colors owe to living in only one sort of water his entire life (mine, soft, mountain city water) and being fed ridiculously high quality foods. He's spawned already, and I'm enjoying raising up 75-100 of his fry -- a "2nd generation" from this line, also right here on the Forum. I fell in love with these fish as my son bred them for BAP. He's done a great job with them, and I've loved watching the process. We got interested in these when one LFS refused to order them in because of how poorly they did in their water, while another LFS sold us our first breeding pair and promised they were easy! Keep them warm (83-degrees) and keep their water clean (30% water change 1x / week) and they're just fine. I'll breed these as long as I'm interested in the hobby. I'm never bored of Rams!

Redtail Goodeid (Xenotoca doadrioi)


I think it was an interview Irene did with Greg Sage that first caught my eye on these CARES species from Mexico. Unless you've got a very special LFS, you may never see a Goodeid in your fish store. I certainly had never heard of them before. I filed it away in my mind. Some time later, I was taking a bunch of fish we'd bred to a fish store out of our area. Our Fish Club friend, the manager, offered cash or exchange for fish from his personal fishroom. "What do you keep?" I asked. "Oh, about 75 species of Goodeids" he replied. Woah! I immediately asked about these, and he prepared a starter colony of eight Xenotoca doadrioi. In our 20 gal. long, they have produced over 70x fry since then. These are from near San Marcos, but not exactly. They were brought into us by the Goodeid Working Group, and acquired by our friend. We sell these only to serious aquarists who plan to preserve the line.

Emerald Killifish (Fundulopanchax scheeli)


This also is a born-and-raised-here-on-the-Forum story. I started with a trio given to us by another friend from our Fish Club when we gave him the Brilliant Rasboras my son had bred for BAP. These males are stunning in good lighting. Little sky blue rocket ships. They grow about finger-length, can be jumpers, and are omnivorous. We've kept them in different contexts - 10 gal breeding tanks, 1 gallon grow-out jugs, 33 gal. long colony, etc. For someone who like Bettas, but is feeling like a new adventure, check out Killis! These are African fish (though Killis can be found all over the planet). They are not "annuals," living several years, and breed easily in Java Moss or sinking yarn mops.

Rainbow Darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)


Not to be confused with the Southern Redbelly Dace in the background, the young male blue-fringed and striped Rainbow Darter is a representative of my growing interest ing U.S. native fish. Common to a wide region of the midwest, I acquired these through a dealer who specializes in selling US native species. These guys actually came along as "extras" from a trade I arranged with the seller. At the time, this fish was too young to sex properly. But after months of good feeding and care, he's growing nicely and really coloring up! Darters in home aquaria can feed primarily on quality-sourced frozen blood worms. They have virtually no swim bladder, so they stay entirely on the bottom of things, much like a Goby. With two dorsal fins, they are in the Perch family. They live in temperate water -- requiring no heater -- and greatly appreciate heavy flow and lots of added air (e.g. Hydor circulars, or a powerhead). As far as I know, mine haven't successfully spawned yet. But I'm hoping to! I keep about six of them between several cool water aquariums of U.S Natives. They are friendly towards other species. Brine shrimp isn't really their standard fare, but he came out to explore!

Redtail Notho (Nothobranchius guentheri)


Now, this fella is an annual African Killi -- he'll only live a single year, and should be kept by aquarists who intend to breed and perpetuate the line. I've gotten into them right here on the Forum, and have just recently bagged up my first set of eggs in hopes of hatching out in about two months. I got him from a serious Killi enthusiast, who recommended these before I got into my ultimate goal:  Nothobranchius rachovii biera 98. I started with a trio that he bought for me from another breeder. I traded him some of my F. Scheeli for these. One female died, but the pair remaining still is goin strong, spawning each day in the peat moss cup I've got in their tank. They need quality but small foods to eat. They can be jumpers . . . though mine have not ever jumped out (yet).

Peaceful Betta (Betta Imbellis)


This tank is very hard to properly photograph fish in. I got this guy (and two females) while awaiting my annual killifish to be ready to hatch out. His story was very dramatic recorded on the Forum here, and I've named him CAREy in honor of this forum. He's successfully spawned two times, but I have not yet figured out exactly how to preserve the fry. He's a wild swamp fish originating from Thailand. Not perfectly peaceful, but reasonably so. His colorations remind me of a wild-form of the popular "alien betta."

Blue Diamond Discus (Symphysodon)


I walked into my LFS a few months ago, and here were these young Discus! Now . . . you need to understand that we live in the country. Folks out here don't want to spend money on fish. Discus simply do not sell locally. Period. So I ask the manager (a friend), "What??!! Where'd you get these?" He says, "Some guy spent a mint on them and can't keep them alive. He brought these in hoping I'd find a good home for them. You want them?" "How much?" I asked. "$20 each." SOLD! Their favorite food right now is blood worms, but I force them to vary their diet every day. They get on fine with Rams. The Electric Blue Acaras breeding in this tank can be aggressive. I love to grow these out over years, and then either see them, breed them, or add them to my larger Discus tank.

"Blazing Autumn" Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)


It was hard to get this guy still enough for even this shaky shot! I'm working on breeding out a group of these. The nick-name is my own. Though they're under yellow light, and their water is a bit tinted, the wild orange / gold / green is really remarkable. I do keep some updates on them here on the Forum. I hope we can succeed in transferring a batch of these outside to tubs for the summer season. Telling the truth: I got my brooders at a big box pet store!

Beckford's Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi)


I got a school of these on a lark at my LFS to act as dithers for my Apistogramma cacatuoides breeding project. But they're a load of fun to watch! The males are quite active, and darken up when in spawning mode. I have seen once or twice the nose-down vertical shimmy done by a pair in breeding posture. They love baby brine shrimp! Colors vary from golden to nearly black, depending on their mood, maturity, sex, spawning cycle, parameters, etc.

Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides)


This fella is part of a current breeding project I'm working on. My son kept a pair years ago, and we've always had soft spot for them. I got a trio on Aquabid from someone I learned was actually a Forum member here. They came in perfect, and have spawned at least once. Apistos are interesting. Sometimes the males bully females . . . but sometimes (especially if there's eggs) females will tail-whip much larger males. They get along generally fine with smaller tetras, and love nibbling on baby brine shrimp wiggling along the substrate.

Banded Darter (Etheostoma zonale)


Here's my second species of US native darters to keep! I do keep a journal on them here on the Forum. Their main fare, like the Rainbow darters, is frozen blood worms. But they have smaller mouths. Baby brine shrimp can be served as fine food supplements to their diet. Though this is not the most flattering photo, males in full breeding colors make stunning green-striped specimens. I bought 6x from a native fish seller in Ohio, and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring to try to see if they'll spawn. I've been corresponding with a NANFA contributor who has shared with me fascinating details about his breeding experiences with these species. I've got several spawning mops going... we shall see if they spawn this season or not.


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