Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers https://louisvilletropicalfish.org LTFF Sun, 01 Mar 2020 23:22:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://i2.wp.com/louisvilletropicalfish.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers https://louisvilletropicalfish.org 32 32 168419982 John Krepper https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/john-krepper/ Thu, 13 Feb 2020 02:54:43 +0000 https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/?p=27826

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John Krepper

John Krepper

I first started keeping fish at age 12 (1968) and was quickly introduced to the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers and participated as a junior member. I moved from high fin green molly’s to Rift Lake cichlids in a short time and then settled in Lake Tanganyika in the early 1970’s and have keep them ever since with the exception of a break from 1994 to 2005. While in Santa Barbara California I founded the Santa Barbara Aquarium Society in 1979 and in 1985 returned to Louisville I rejoined the LTFF club and was later elected president then served for a few years and was the active president when LTFF sponsored the 1992 ACA convention. I have been a member of the ACA during my years in the hobby and regularly attend the ACA convention. Over the years of keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids I have photographed my fish as well as my friend’s fish and will present these photo’s and share my experiences in the hobby in keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids feather fins and sand dwellers in the aquarium. Topics include feeding, territory requirements, water conditioning, general maintenance and good fish pics. I look forward in seeing soon.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-03

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Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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Dre Alvarado https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/dre-alvarado/ Sat, 04 Jan 2020 13:00:05 +0000 https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/?p=26652

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Dre Alvarado

Dre Alvarado

Aquarium Plants

I have been an avid hobbyist over the past 10 years.  I kept fish as a kid and in college but about 10 years ago I dove deep into the hobby.  I joined my local club, Tampa Bay Aquarium Society (TBAS) and within a couple of years I was running for President and organizing major events for the club.  I am the past Vice-president of the Florida Fancy Guppy Club and am currently the President of TBAS.

My involvement with the clubs lead me to a job with the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association’s Coop Store.  I managed the store for about 2 years from 2011-2013.  While working there I developed connections with many tropical fish farms in the area.  I then went to work for Nautilus Marine Wholesale as a sales rep.  My love and knowledge of fish exploded there as I was introduced to species from all over the world.  At the end of 2015 I left to try to pursue web development and website design.  After 1.5 years I came back into the industry working at WaterScapes Aquatic Plant Nursery where I am currently the Sales Manager.  I am in charge of all imported items, sourcing new local plants and some dry goods such as driftwood, and working on special projects.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-02

Sponsors

Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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Jim Cumming https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/jim-cumming/ Sun, 29 Dec 2019 23:48:27 +0000 https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/?p=26449

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Jim Cumming

Jim Cumming

South American Cichlids

Jim Cumming hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and has been keeping tropical fish for over 65 years. Other than a fifteen-year sojourn into the world of killifish (his online name is ‘notho2000’) he has kept and presently keeps Central and South American cichlids, and currently devotes about one third of his 40 aquarium fish room to Madagascan cichlids and the Etroplus genus from India.
Jim has given presentations to over 100 cichlid and generalist aquarium societies throughout the US and Canada over the last 6 years and in the Spring of 2018, was invited to Berlin and Dresden, Germany where he presented on Madagascan and South American cichlids to the German Cichlid Association (DCG). Other speaking engagements included the International Cichlid Conference in Brisbane, Australia in November 2018, the Nordic Cichlid Association in Uppsala, Sweden in March 2019, the East Anglia Cichlid Group in Newmarket, UK in April 2019 and the ACA Convention in Cromwell, Connecticut, in July 2019. In 2020, Jim has been invited to speak in France at the French Cichlid Association’s Convention in Lemans, and in Lausanne, Switzerland as well as a return to Australia where he will be presenting to four groups in November. Jim has never turned down an invitation to speak other than for a conflict of dates.

Over the last 10 years, Jim has become captivated by the magical cichlids from Madagascar. They have certainly ‘supercharged’ his passion for the cichlid keeping hobby. Jim has had extensive collecting experience in Mexico, Belize, Cuba, and Brazil as well as the Southern U.S. He maintains a very active YouTube channel with around 700 videos as of January 2019, highlighting the fish he keeps or has kept. The emphasis is on maintenance and breeding, along with social interactions, both con- and hetero-specific. Jim has been a moderator for several on-line forums and several Facebook aquatic interest groups and maintains a Facebook site solely devoted to fish and their conservation. Jim has had articles published in Amazonas, Cichlid News, Buntbarsche, and the Swedish Ciklid Bladet magazines. He is also an American Cichlid Association sponsored Speaker, as well as a Madagascan Cichlid Species Specialist and speaker for the CARES Preservation program. On Facebook he administrates the group Madagascar Endangered Fishes and is a Moderator of Geophagus Keepers. He also has been actively involved in the local Aquarium Society of Winnipeg, where he served for many years as Program Chair, Journal Editor, and President. He enthusiastically looks forward to spreading the word on Madagascar and its cichlids, as well as on variety of other hobby-based topics wherever and whenever he can.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-01

Sponsors

Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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Amphiprion ocellaris https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/amphiprion-ocellaris/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:11:03 +0000 https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/?p=25563

Amphiprion ocellaris

Clownfish

Breeding Amphiprion ocellaris

Introduction

The genus Amphiprion is a group of saltwater fish housing most of the common clownfish available to marine hobbyists. The genus consists of approximately twenty-nine recognized species. The subfamily (Amphiprioninae) housing Amphiprion also contains the genus Premnas, to which the only other ‘common’ clownfish species (Premnas biaculeatus, the maroon or spine-cheeked clownfish)
belongs.
The genus Amphiprion is found in shallow, warm water throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans and in the Red Sea. Species distribution tends to be fairly small; this is likely due in part to their breeding strategy and limited mobility. In nature, they will relate to a single anemone, spending their time in very close proximity to the stinging tentacles of the anemone, to which they are either immune or have adapted to not trigger a stinging response (there are several theories regarding how they live safely within the tentacles). Removing the host anemone of a wild clownfish will leave the fish
vulnerable to predation and typically proves deadly. Fortunately, the anemone hosts are not needed for clownfish in the safety of aquariums and they do very well in tanks without them.
Most marine species, clownfish included, have a period during which they naturally drift among plankton in nature. During this time they are at the mercy of the ocean’s currents and are restricted
to eating other planktonic animals. The length of this planktonic stage is, in many cases, related to the difficulty of raising marine fish, with those having a shorter planktonic stage being, in general, easier
to raise. Clownfish have a short planktonic stage, usually lasting between one and a half to two weeks. After this planktonic stage the fry ‘settle’ out of the open water and begin to relate to
structure.

Clownfish Gender

Clownfish, like many other marine fish, change gender at different stages throughout their lives. Most clownfish are born without a determined gender, and are able to remain gender neutral throughout
their life, in some cases. Typically, a group of young fish will settle on a single anemone and the two most dominant fish will mature into a breeding pair. The most dominant will become a mature
female, which will be larger than the rest of the group, and the second most dominant will become a mature male. The remaining fish will remain in an immature state. If the mature female dies, the
male will often mature into a female and one of the immature animals in the group will mature to take his place. This structure (immature to male to female) is known as protandrous
hermaphroditism and is the gender pattern of most Amphiprion species, including A. ocellaris.

Ocellaris Clownfish

Amphiprion ocellaris, commonly known as the ocellaris or false percula clown, is one of the more common clownfish species in the marine hobby. It is also said to be one of the easiest to breed, and
my experiences are consistent with that. The body of the fish is bright orange and there are several (usually three) vertical white stripes on the body that are outlined with thin, black margins. There
are many color patterns that have been selectively bred for the marine hobby. These include nearly solid orange, white, or black, and many variations and patterns with each base color. There have
also been breedings of ‘balloon’ types and long-finned varieties, although these don’t seem to be popular at this time.

The ocellaris clown stays relatively small with males reaching around 2” and females around 2.75” – 3”. All clownfish are relatively poor swimmers and relate very strongly to a single piece of structure
in an aquarium. The ocellaris clowns are notable for being even worse swimmers than most; swimming is accomplished by ‘wagging’ the back half of the body and the pectoral fins and is
comical to watch.

Housing

My breeder clownfish were housed in 20 gallon (long) tanks with bare bottoms and minimal decoration. Each tank held two 8” by 8” ceramic tiles, one flat on the bottom and the other angled up
to the side of the tank (at approximately 45°). Each tank also contained a 6” terra cotta flower pot that was laid on its side. The breeding tank for the ocellaris contained one mature female, one
mature male, and one immature fish. The immature fish was largely ignored except when the adult pair was tending eggs, at which time it was kept away from the nest, but not bullied if it remained on
the far side of the tank.

The breeding tank was part of a rack of eight tanks that were plumbed together. The system had a 90 gallon sump that housed a multi-stage filter system and the life support equipment for the
system (circulation pumps, heaters, protein skimmer, etc.). The water was maintained at 80° with moderate water-flow and a salinity of 35 ppt (1.023 specific gravity) and a pH of 8.2. Water changes
of approximately 25% were performed once a week and evaporation was topped off at least twice per week.

The rack had a (two bulb, four foot) shop-light mounted above the top row of tanks that was on for 12 hours per day (continuous). The rack also had blue LED rope-type lights strung over both rows of
tanks. The LED lights were on from about one hour prior to the main lights going out until about one hour after they came back on in the morning. I didn’t do extensive testing to confirm this but,
anecdotally, there seems to be a connection to the reverse photoperiod and breeding, as I never got viable eggs when the blue lights were not on all night, even if I turned them off during a time when
the adults were breeding very regularly.

Feeding

The adults greedily accepted virtually any food offered. The maintenance diet was a mixture of seafood that had been grated. This mixture included shrimp, clams, various white fish, and
occasionally scallops (if they were found on sale!). The mixture was soaked in a vitamin supplement prior to feeding. The adults also regularly got frozen Mysis, brine shrimp, beefheart,
bloodworms, and capelin eggs in addition to pellet, flake, and gel foods and anything that happened to flow into the tank from the sump (occasional copepods and amphipods mostly). In
short, the adults eat virtually anything that is edible to a fish, and likely some things that aren’t!

The fry are a completely different story. When they hatch they are very small and will typically only respond to live foods. They are also poorly developed and have little in the way of fat
stores, meaning they must be able to eat often and with little effort. Volumes could be (and have been) written about feeding larval marine fish. I fed mine with a steady supply of rotifers
for the first week and then transitioned them to baby brine shrimp. Some breeders start them on newly hatched small strain (San Francisco Bay origin) baby brine shrimp (bbs), which will give
a much lower success rate in many cases but is also much easier (and when you start with 2000 eggs a low success rate is not a huge problem). After 10-14 days the fry will begin to feed on
more variety, easily transitioning to non-living foods.

Breeding

When I started keeping fish, in the mid 1980’s, marine fish were still considered basically impossible to successfully breed in captivity. Fortunately this is no longer the case and many species are bred both
by hobbyists and on a commercial scale. The fact of the matter is that some, clownfish included, were easy to breed but we simply didn’t know the secrets to raising fry. That said, clownfish are actually
easy to get to breed, but there is a learning curve to raising the fry. The adults breed much like substrate spawning cichlids (think convicts of the ocean). They carefully clean a flat, hard surface with
their mouths then make alternating passes with the female laying rows of eggs and the male fertilizing them. The eggs are very small (just over 1mm) but numerous. My spawns averaged around 1000 to
1200 eggs, but spawns up to around 2000 eggs are regularly reported.

After the eggs are laid, the parents will guard them until they hatch. During incubation, the eggs are fanned by one of the parents (usually the male) while the other defends the territory. When the eggs
hatch, there is no further parental care exhibited.  The eggs will hatch at night and will turn silver in color the day of hatching. When the eggs turned
silver in my tanks, I would remove the spawning surface and place it in a 5.5 gallon tank that was filled with water from the breeding system. The 5.5 gallon tank contained a heater and several airstones
that provided gentle, but constant, circulation. The tanks were wrapped in black plastic to eliminate light entering from the sides as there is evidence that the fry orient towards light and, if it is coming in
from the sides, it can confuse them. The fry tanks were given water changes of approximately 2 gallons, twice per day, with the replacement water coming from the breeding system. The fry were
kept in these tanks until they settled, at which time they were divided and placed in 10 gallon tanks, with approximately 75 fry per tank.

The eggs hatch in around 10 days (at 80°) and the fry are small (around 3mm) and poorly developed.  They stay in the water column and swim in short bursts. They don’t store much energy and must eat regularly, with it being important to have a high density of prey items so they don’t need to swim far to get their next meal.  Fry As mentioned previously, the fry of clownfish go through a planktonic stage that lasts approximately ten days. During this time, the fry grow rapidly and most breeders cycle them through several different food items before they settle out. As mentioned earlier, some
breeders start clownfish fry on small strain bbs. These breeders often experience heavy losses for the first couple of days, but still end up with a large number of fry.
My fry were not started on bbs. Instead, I made the decision to culture rotifers and micro algae.  There is a great deal of information available on culturing these and it is beyond the scope of
this paper to explore this. I fed rotifers to the fry for the first 3 days, maintaining a high density of them in the tanks. After 3 days, I started introducing small strain bbs while continuing to feed
rotifers until it looked like all fry were eating bbs (usually around day 5). Around day 7, I started introducing normal strain bbs, feeding this until the fry settled. After settlement, I transitioned
the fry to finely ground flake food and pellets while still giving 1 daily feeding of bbs. The fry continued to grow quickly, reaching around 1” in 5 weeks or so.

Conclusion

Clownfish are, in my opinion, easier to induce to spawn than many of the substrate spawning cichlids with which they share several breeding characteristics. The adults will clean a surface
and protect the spawn until hatching, pair bonds are strong, and the adults zealously defend their territory. The fry are not easy to spawn, but they are certainly among the easiest of the
marine fish. The difficulty of raising clownfish fry lasts less than 2 weeks in most cases and, after that stage, they are as easy to raise as common substrate spawning cichlids. They are certainly a
challenge, but they are also one that most experienced fish breeders should be able to complete, and it is quite a rewarding experience.

By James Osborne

Written as part of the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers (LTFF) Breeder’s Award Program

November 2016

Sponsors

Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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Scleromystax barbatus https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/scleromystax-barbatus/ Sat, 01 Oct 2016 10:28:48 +0000 https://louisvilletropicalfish.org/?p=25617

Scleromystax barbatus

Banded Corydoras

Breeding Scleromystax barbatus

Introduction

The genus Scleromystax is a relatively small group , consisting of approximately seven recognized species and six distinct varieties that are not yet formally described. The genus was split from Corydoras in the early 2000s and members are relatively large (compared to cory catfish) and tend to be cryptically colored. They are found primarily in Brazil, along the eastern seaboard of the country.
Scleromystax barbatus has a limited natural distribution around Rio De Janiero, Brazil. While the species has a limited natural distribution, it is likely the most widely distributed species from the genus in the hobby (at least in the US). It is large (by Corydoradinae standards) reaching approximately four inches in length, but it grows and matures slowly.

My Experiences

I purchased a group of six small (approximately one inch) fish from a club auction in 2013. By early 2014 the fish were around 2.5 inches and the females had started laying clusters of eggs, none of which were fertilized. This continued through 2014 and into late 2015, at which time the eggs finally began to be fertilized. I was still several months before I would have more than one or two eggs per clutch hatch, and in mid-2016 I was finally able to produce enough fry (8) for me to consider the breeding a success. My research indicates that this is not the experience of everyone, but most agree that the species matures slowly and is difficult to breed successfully.

 

Housing

I housed my adults together in a 40 gallon (long) aquarium, with a sand substrate. Filtration was provided by a hang-on filter and a large sponge filter, and additional circulation was provided by a powerhead on one end of the tank that directed flow to the other end. The tank was near the floor of my basement and was kept unheated (typical temperatures were around 70 degrees F). I added a heater on two separate occasions and the animals became visibly stressed when temperatures reached around 76 degrees F so the heaters were removed. Water in the tank was Louisville tap water (HARD). Water changes were 40-50% once per week.

Feeding

The adults greedily accepted virtually any food offered. The maintenance diet was primarily one daily feeding of frozen food (spirulina enhanced brine shrimp, bloodworms, beefheart, or mysis shrimp) and one daily feeding of prepared food (flake, pellet, wafer, or gel). Occasional feedings of live white worms or live black worms were devoured.

Breeding Setup

Eggs were laid regularly in the main tank but were typically eaten within 3 days. Eggs pulled from the main tank rarely hatched. When eggs started occasionally hatching from the main tank I moved one mature male and two mature females to a 20 gallon long tank. This tank had water matching the main tank at first but was transitioned over a period of two weeks to very soft, acidic water. After the adjustment period the breeding tank was approximately 90% RO water with the PH adjusted to 5.8-6.0. The bottom of the breeding tank had no substrate but was heavily littered with leaves (oak and Indian Almond). It was filtered by a large internal box filter with very high airflow and there was an airstone placed on the opposite side of the tank for additional circulation.

Breeding

The fish spawned in a typical corydoras fashion. The females laid a few eggs at a time in their pectoral fins while taking on a typical ‘T Position’ with the male to fertilize them. The eggs were then placed on a solid surface (almost always on the aquarium glass). Unlike corydoras however, the eggs were rarely scattered around the tank. Instead they were normally placed in one or two large clusters. At 70 degrees F the eggs hatched in around six days, with the fry becoming free swimming around 24 hours later.

Fry

With Scleromystax barbatus, unlike many other species, the difficulty in raising them was in getting fry, not in raising them. Free-swimming fry were able to take baby brine shrimp from the start. In addition to the baby brine shrimp they were also given microworms, receiving a feeding of one of these approximately four times each day. After two weeks the diet was supplemented with ground flakes and ground pellets. After one month small grindal worms were introduced.  Small (10%) waterchanges were conducted daily for the first several weeks and the fry grew quickly. Within two weeks they were showing coloration similar to the adult females and within one month they were very similar in appearance. By the time they were two months old they were approximately one inch.

Conclusion

Scleromystax barbatus was a very frustrating species for me to breed. The adults were relatively hardy and produced eggs regularly, but it took many, many tries before I would be able to get a single viable fry, and many more before I would consider the breeding a success. The adults are interesting in appearance and tend to not bother any other fish kept with them. They would go good in many cool water tanks, but breeding them was an enormous challenge for me.

By James Osborne

Written as part of the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers (LTFF) Breeder’s Award Program

October 2016

Sponsors

Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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