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Re: A australe
Some people feel that australe is a relatively hard killie to raise. Others
don't. I have always wondered if those who feel australe are easy do so
because they are blessed with water which has only mineral content.
When we moved from a place which had Chicago (Lake Michigan) water where we
had tanks and tanks of australe in both flavors to where we are now it was
amazing how few good eggs we got from the lyretails. On a hunch - one summer
day when I was home on vacation - we collected a couple of clean trash cans
full of rainwater at the tail end of a series of thunderstorms. Not long
after, probably too much of this water was added none too judiciously. It
was gratifying to see australe egg production take off.
One of the respondents here very articulately argued for lowering the pH. It
may be that that is the answer and that those of us bent on adding
demineralized water (by the nature of adding water with less buffering
ability and the natural processes of the tank where by fish waste is broken
down) are also lowering the pH.
However I also recall Bob Schwiegerath's prolific australe production in his
truly unique New Mexico water (50 ppm or about 3 DH, pH around 8).
The pH of 9 was mentioned. It may be that in any water that high a condition
is a no-no. And it may also be that lower mineral levels are needed too.
I would spend my effort, time and (if deemed necessary) money on lowering
the mineral content of the water. In most aquaria the pH will also decline.
> I get lots of eggs so my question to all is how do you get australe egg
not to fungus out?
suggests that (pardon the pun) solution is the gradual and partial addition
of rain water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water or water run through some sort
of ion exchange.
Several thousand years ago, when I was getting more involved in the killie
hobby, I was thumbing a garden magazine and was struck by the ads for R.O.
units in the back of the magazine. I called up a discus head I knew and
mentioned to him about this issue of Organic Gardening (although that
wasn't how we pronounced it when in a hurry) with the adds for R.O.s.
I related to him how the greater rains of the Amazon basin's rainy season
flooded the shores and plains. His discus and zillions of tetras, dwarf
cichlids and probably even my beloved killies took off into the flooded bush
to spawn. In the meantime, the flooded lands generated all sorts of foods
suitable for fry. Scheel, Loiselle and others have noticed similar
situations in some African habitats.
The discus enthusiast (his initials are Joe Gargas) ran out and got an R.O.
unit. In fact he became an R.O. dealer and I was his first customer. As time
went by, he noticed not only a lot more fertile eggs were laid, but the
batches of discus eggs were larger. Not only that but a larger percentage of
his discus began to properly care for their eggs after a couple of spawns.
(There were some dead beats that never got the hang of it. He was lucky
enough to have a female brown discus - the mucus maid - who would foster
I have a hunch that if your water is partially demineralized, more eggs will
be fertilized (more sperm will be able to enter more egg membranes).
Infertile eggs naturally fungus as they break down. As George Maier noted,
it is just nature's way of cleaning up the place. Our own Wright Huntley is
quick to point out that no amount of medicine or medicinal dye will help an
infertile egg. The medications are to keep funguses from spreading from one
infertile egg to a healthy one. And while at least one correspondent had not
noticed this egg to egg fungus spread in his water, in our mineral rich,
treated well water, and even back with the Chicago water, we saw some
impressive fungus cultures take out entire batches of eggs.
Duh! I learned, removed those while eggs (unless they were albinos.)
The medicines at best are preventing fungus spread (or coloring bad eggs so
they are observed). This is to give us time to remove the bad eggs. (Sounds
like personnel managers.)
A couple of other notes on water and eggs.... Charlie Nunziata and Jim
Gasior, back when, began beating the drum for changing the water of
incubating eggs. A number of us were noticing "mystery deaths" among some
eggs. Those gentlemen reasoned that eggs are living organisms and busy
dividing cells, metabolizing and producing waste material. There certainly
have been cases where eggs which were frustrating killie keepers have
developed in a much more satisfactory fashion when their water was changed
every few days (maybe half seasoned water and half from a modestly
populated, healthy tank).
Also, we noticed several winters back that local aquarists were experiencing
a number of mystery deaths in their tanks. While these cases were usually
more common among general aquarists, what was found was that they were just
topping off the winter evaporation in their tanks. Their water's hardness
tested 2-3 times that of their tap water. (Who knows what their TDS was!)
Microscopic examinations of some wasting and soon to be deceased fishes by
Jerry Lindquist suggested that their internal osmoregulatory systems (liver,
spleen, all sorts of stuff I can't recognize) were literally breaking down.
The fishes lower down in the pecking orders were wasting away and dying
first. In time, some people were losing a lot of fish.
So keep demineralized water in mind for tank topping if you have a dry house
in the winter.
Your killies will thank you.
All the best!
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