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"Roloffia" calabaricum part 2
Thanks for the offer of help. I don't have a scanner but I am a
pretty fast typist. I just got tired last night. If I get the urge to put a
bunch of stuff up I will take you up on your offer. Its a nice one.
Before I put up the rest of the article, I wanted to tell everyone
about a little change I made in my fruit fly cultures that has increased my
usable yeild 10 fold. I culture them using Carolina Biological Supply fly
food mix in old pint glass orange juice jars (allows for cleaning and reuse).
I use foamrubber stoppers in the pint jars. I have always lost a large number
of flies to the medium -- drowning. Once they hatch, there are so many of
them that they seem to push a layer of bodies down into the medium. I tried
many things in the jars for the flies to crawl on but was never really happy
with anything. A local aquarium cleaning service uses shredded PVC pipe as
the biological medium in their wet/dry filters. It looks like long, curly
1/4" pasta. I saw this stuff and thought it would be great in the fly
cultures as a surface for the flies to crawl on and keep out of the medium.
So I set up 10 new cultures with a handful of the "biobale" (as the stuff is
called here) in each. Wow! It worked beyond my wildest dreams. The flies stay
out of the medium. They lay eggs all over the "biobale." When you tap the jar
to dump the flies in the tank, the "biobale" helps hold the medium in the
jar. Also you can really dump alot of the flies out as the "biobale" always
holds a few flies for a new generation. My cultures are lasting longer
without all the dead flies in the mix at the bottom. But the numbers are
unreal. I have a tank of 100 one inch nezahualcotyl swordtails and as you
know livebearers EAT! I can easily dump over a hundred flies in the tank each
morning. I never had these numbers to indulge in before. Biobale is great
Ok the article.
by Franz Werner (Part
I usually use 1 1/2 gallon plastic tanks (plastic because
they can be easily manipulated). These tanks can be partitioned into 2
compartments. Stock the tank with 2 pairs of the fish without the partition,
and add a bunch of nitella, najas, or some other fine leaved green plant. The
tank is otherwise bare, no soil or sand. Feed live food, daphnia, mosquitoes,
some worms, whatever is available and observe the fish for a few days. If
there is no lively activity such as grabbing the food away from each other or
driving by the males, we must wake them up a little, make use of their
natural greediness. Now put in the transparent partition, with the males on
one side, females on the other and no food whatever for three or four days.
They'll get hungry. Then drop in a few worms right close to the partition on
the females' side. Being hungry they most likely will go after the worms as
they sink down, but so will the males on the other side, trying to grab them
away from the females. The partition of course prevents them from doing so.
Add a few more worms for the females, and further excite the males on the
other side. Now do the same on the males' side. This time the females will be
the onlookers and despite having a full belly they will try to grab. This is
making use of the natural greediness of the fish, will make them eat alot and
can be observed in another way. One or two fishes will hardly ever gorge
themselves (there are exceptions such as Aphyosemion arnoldi), but put
several or a whole bunch of them together and they'll fight for and try to
grab every morsel away from each other underneath the feeding tray. The
females will soon be fed well and filling up with eggs. Then comes the big
moment, and for this I have a round plastic container about 5 1/4 by 5 1/2
inches high. The lid has a few "buckles" inside to prevent a tight fit and
let the air circulate. Then I take one of Jack Scheidnass' excellent spawning
mops, slip on a ring of lead, cut off from a piece of lead pipe and soak the
mop first in water. Then taking the mop by its apex move it up and down in
the water filled container mentioned above and with a quick downward push let
it come to rest on the bottom. The quick downward push results in a fanwise
spreading-out of the strands on the bottom, the lower ends turning up on the
sides as the picture shows. The lead ring around the neck holds the mop down.
The pair selected is introduced in the morning and removed at the end of the
same day. Or put them in one evening and take them out the next, but do not
keep them together for a longer period. If it is a young and fully mature
female that is just going into the spawning period, she may have a dozen or
perhaps about 20 eggs. Return them to their separate tanks, feed them well
and then unite them again as before. You will probably find more eggs in the
second spawning and the third or fourth spawning may result in 50 to 70 or
(as I had them quite often), over a hundred eggs. At times it is almost
unbelievable. A heavy well fed female with a vigorous male will at times
expel several eggs in a cluster or string.
The advantage in the above procedure is that all the eggs will be
the same age and hatch about the same time, within 14 to 21 days. They are
not as hard as those of A. australe, and should be handled accordingly. I
keep up to about 50 eggs in small plastic trays 1 3/4 high by 3 1/2 inches in
diameter, and uncovered. I use rain water and to each pint of this I add 4
drops of a 1% solution of Acriflavin in an isotonic solution of sodium
chloride. White eggs must be removed daily, and should any eggs show fungus,
add 2 more drops of Acriflavin per pint. Within 5 days the eye will begin to
become visable and further development can be observed. During development,
especially at the beginning, the eggs are to be kept in darkness but
occasional exposure to light for short periods of checking won't hurt. After
the eyes show and the embryo is visable, change the water. The new water
needs no Acriflavin. Again change the water at the 12th day, this usually
facilitates hatching. Those eggs which show full development after 21 days
but don't hatch can be forced to hatch by adding a pinch of fine fish food.
The bacteria produced attack the membrane, helping the fry to emerge. As they
hatch, remove them with a medicine dropper to a suitable container, with 2
inches of water (half and half rain and tap water). Then immediately feed
Raising a large number of fry may present a problem to the
inexperienced. Right after they hatch they must be fed exceptionally well.
By this I mean with good infusoria, especially paramecium for the first few
days, after that when their bellies show the result, follow it up with plenty
of newly hatched brine shrimp. At certain times and locations tiny young
cyclops occur, the water is thick with them; and when available this is the
best food for fry I know of.
Experienced breeders know that not only the very first days but the
first hours of the young fish's existence are decisive. A few days after they
master the newly hatched brine shrimp, cleanliness becomes very imperative
and a bare tank will greatly facilitate matters. On the one hand they have to
have food always before them (shrimp are the easiest available), and on the
other, shrimp live only a few hours at the most. Those that are not eaten
form a source of polution. The normal waste and excrements from so many young
fish, together with the dead and decaying shrimp, accumulate as a fuzzy brown
layer on the bottom.
If it is not removed, it will create a dangerous mass of bacteria
which must be syphoned off. When neglected it doesn't take long for the fish
to be attacked and when only a few are discovered which have died it's
usually too late and the rest will follow. If, through use of any of the new
medicines, a few should be saved, they will be stunted and not worth the
effort expended on them.
Syphon off the waste daily and change with aged water twice a week.
Frequent changes of water are imperative depending on the number and size of
fish. Also remember that a given size of tank can support only a given number
of fish of a given size. Aphyosemion ["Roloffia"] calabaricum does not grow
as fast as most other Aphyosemions. It will take the better part of 5 to 6
months for them to reach maturity on a good diet of predominantly live food
and the emphasis here should be on variety.
Calabaricum ( or calabarica) is now considered to be liberiensis. Several
people (Roloff, particularly) did not except this lumping and I agree. My
calabaricum were a very different fish from the strains of liberiensis
available in the 70's. I hope people noticed that in this article, water
chemistry and exact population codes were not a big deal like today. What is
emphasized is the breeder's deep interaction with the species in producing an
excellent strain of aquarium raised fish.
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