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Pink Lemonade Killie

    Fundulus Cingulatus as an Aquarium Species
                         Robert Rice
                    2213 Prytania Circle
                      Navarre Fl 32566
                     robertrice at juno_com

Deep  in  the secluded creeks, ditches and pools in the  far
Southeastern  United  States lives  a  forgotten   relic.  A
discarded  Uncle of sorts, the "pink lemonade" killie  fish.
He  is small (less than 5 inches) beautiful ,durable and the
premiere of the Fundulus Clan. Yet he is a total unknown . A
few  odd  ball fisheries personnel know him, and even  fewer
collectors keep him. They and no one else know this star  of
the heavens that is the glorious killie fish I call the pink
lemonade killie. Which is a shame because he like many North
American species deserves a place in home aquariums.  For  a
variety  of  reasons American Aquarist always seem  to  look
overseas  befor  they  look  here  at  home.  Until   public
awareness increases this small fish will have little support
in the conservation community or with Aquarist.

His  colors  can be described as intense. His  fins  radiate
deep  pink  while his body holds deep stripes  of  the  same
color. All wrapped up in a golden background. Wow you say  ,
what's the downside of this  little gem ? There is but  only
one.  It's that North America's co habitators have virtually
ignored  this  little fish.  Thus it remains a life  history
and  ecological  mystery.  While ichthyologist  ponder  it's
supposed proper genus and species it remains a total recluse
in the aquarist, fisherman and general publics eye.

If  there  ever  was an easy to reproduce, easy  to  acquire
unloved  species this guy is it. There are NO life histories
published  anywhere. This little top minnow lives  in  total
ambiguity. He is tough ,colorful and unloved. I know  of  no
one  outside  myself who has bred this fish ! Which  if  you
know me is a pretty sad indictment of things. I keep a dozen
tanks  or  so  most  of them in my garage with  no  filters,
heaters or power toys of any kind. Inspite of my many  short
comings  as an Aquarist F. Cingulatus did the deed and  bred
in  my  nasty  ole  garage tank. So if a yutz  like  me  can
successfully breed this species imagine what would happen if
Serious Aquarist took up the torch !

I  typically  collect  F. Cingultus in  small   ditches  and
swamps with regular water flow. In locations with an erratic
flow  they don't exist. I believe that they can take turbity
and  temperature extremes but can not stand stagnant  water.
With  just  a small flow the water remains fresh  enough  to
support the pink lemonade killie. In it's range there  is  a
huge  diversity  in color. It goes from a  almost  colorless
green  to  the  radiant  pink  lemonade  version  I  collect
locally.  I have noticed that in locations with a red  algae
you  will  find the pink version. In locations  with  darker
water  you  get the green version. Obviously this adaptation
helps  them avoid predation. For the Aquarist this range  of
color promises to lead to other color morphs with just a bit
of  selective  breeding. In many locations I find  them  the
most common species .  So if you are near the Gulf Coast you
are within driving distance of the pink lemonade killie.

Once in the tank  they are very easy to care for. Being  top
minnows they spend the bulk of their time ducking in and out
of   floating  vegetation.  Chasing  each  other  around   ,
basically  disinterested in the other inhabitants  of  their
tank. So with their top minnow habits they make an excellent
community  tank  species. They feed  eagerly  on  flake  and
frozen  foods. They are vegetation spawners with  the  males
pushing the females into the weeds where a few eggs are laid
in  the  roots of floating plants. Watersprite, Nitella  and
Java  Moss make excellent choices for the job. You can  also
try  the  tried and true artificial spawning mop. The  young
are  very  durable as a matter of fact in my main  tank  the
trio  I  have has produced young. I know have a  handful  of
half  inch  Cingulatus  tussling  with  my  juvenile  Dollar
Sunfish for food.

Thanks  to  my  7  year daughter Erin who  named  the  local
variety  . Her name stuck with the local children  and  then
their  parents as they set up tanks for their  children  and
wanted  local  species.  Now all my collecting  buddies  are
calling  it  the  pink  lemonade killie  so  it  looks  like
Cingulatus now has a common name. Go figure from the  mouths
of  Babes.