Re: Killifish and plants

Steve was wondering about killifish and plants and looking for comments
about adding salt to the water to inhibit parasites.

While I haven't kept killies for a long time, I did have a fair bit of
success with Nothos and several species of Aphyosemion when I was a
teenager. I always kept plants with my killies. I was especially partial
to Java Moss. The fish seemed to like it too (they laid lots of eggs so
I must have been doing something right).

Now, on the subject of additional salt , and all of the other chemicals
Steve is considering adding to the water, I would advise caution and
would like to refer him to a good book on killifish in their natural
waters. "Killies" occur worldwide, in a variety of habitats. If the fish
you want to keep comes from soft acidic waters in nature, putting
additional salt in the water is not, in my opinion, such a good idea.
Sure, they might TOLERATE it, but they wouldn't LIKE it (sort of the way
I feel about winter in Canada). The same goes for plants, which is the
subject of this list. Using salt long term as a preventative for
possible parasitic infestation sounds weird. Determine if the fish are
infested, treat the problem then do everything possible to prevent
re-infestation. But for heaven's sake, don't subject either the fish or
the plants to an environment which is hostile to their long term well

As for culturing daphnia, I used to do it in a 45G drum (when I lived at
home with my parents and we actually had a back yard). I just filled the
drum with water, added some hay (for infusoria). After a couple of weeks
I visited a local stagnant pond with a bucket and a fine mesh net and
scooped up what I needed. I put my collected daphnia into the infusoria
laden drum and waited a couple of weeks. The daphnia fed on the
infusoria and the drum was getting some sunlight so the water was green.
Within a couple of months I had more daphnia than I knew what to do
with. I used to throw a piece of dried cow dung (I lived in the country)
into the drum ever week to keep the whole thing going. 

Steve, if you can't get a pure live culture (they are available M/O) you
may have to wait until next spring and then just get yourself to Beaver
Lake in Stanley Park (you do live in Vancouver don't you?). When I was
there for a month last summer (Vancouver, not Stanley Park), I saw loads
of daphnia in the lake (I was taking photographs of the waterlilies).
You do have to be careful when collecting from the wild that you don't
collect any predatory bugs but a beginner's guide to life in ponds and
streams would point out what you should avoid. Daphnia are (like
killifish) almost universal - they live all over the world.

The importance of live food for killies is just another indication that
live plants should be kept in the same tanks. ANY tank that has plants
in it is going to have a whole host of micro-organisms which could
either be used directly by the fish, their fry, or other larger critters
which the fish can eat.

Tell Olga to put the killies in her paludarium. It's a perfect match. I
kept Fundulus sp. (wild killies native to Nova Scotia) in a paludarium
when I was a kid (it was more like a big terrarium with a plastic
dishpan sunk in one corner to act as a pond). Worked for me, although
the fish never bred as their natural adult size is almost six inches -
the ones I had were all around 2".    

James Purchase
Toronto, Ontario
jpp at inforamp_net