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NFC: Killie article

                                               Observations on the
husbandry of Fundulus cingulatus

                                                     By Bill Duzen

     The Banded Topminnow was first described by Valenciennes in 1846 . 
This fish has had synonyms of Micristius cingulatus, Zygonectes
(Micristius) cingulatus, Zygonectes cingulatus, Fundulus cingulatis and
Zygonectes rubifrons.  

     The species name of cingulatus translates to provided with girdles. 
Normal colored fish have males with a olive green cast to the body with
10 to 15( depending on location) dark green-brown vertical stripes on the
sides of the body.  There are also light color red dots along the back
intermixed with the vertical strips.  The unpaired fins along with the
ventral fins have a light orange color that intensifies to almost a red
when in breeding condition.  In some males the throat area becomes a very
dusky charcoal black when in breeding condition.  Females tend to be more
yellow-green with small dark brown spots on the upper sides.  Some have
very faint bars similar to the males.  All unpaired fins are colorless
except for some faint spots close to the body.  There is a color morph of
this fish found in the panhandle of Florida that has a distinct pink cast
to the body and the fins have a much more rosy color, turning a bright
pink-red when breeding.  This color morph seems to  breed true , with
juvenile showing this coloration in F1 stock.  This is a medium size
Fundulus with the top size, for both sexes being about 5 to 8 cm.

     This fish is found in extreme Southern Alabama, lower Georgia and
Florida down to the Tamiami Canal.  This animal likes to frequent
stagnant or slow moving bodies of freshwater with extensive aquatic

     Fundulus cingulatus is very easy to keep and breed. Water chemistry
doesn't sem to be important as long as extremes are avoided.  Water out
of my tap has pH of 7.4 with hardness in the 130 ppm range   They will
eat almost anything from flake foods, frozen foods such as brine shrimp,
blood worms and turkey heart.  Live foods are always accepted.  When I
set up my pairs for breeding I will separate the sexes and feed both
heavily on mosquito larva, daphnia and chopped red worms.    I will set
two pairs up in a 10 gallon bare aquarium, at a temperature of 72 to 78
degrees.  The tank will have a sponge or box filter with natural
sunlight.  I will a have floating and bottom green nylon mop to receive
the eggs.  What I have noticed is that the vast majority of the eggs will
be laid in the bottom mop.  If 20 eggs are laid in a day , 18 will be in
the bottom mop.  These fish seem to be cyclical breeder.  I will recover
10 o 20 eggs per day from two pairs for up to 6 days.  Then there will
not be any more eggs for a period of 4 to 8 days and then the breeding
will start anew for another 4 to 6 days.  Feeding during this time has
not changed , nor has any other outside stimuli.  Predation seems to be
at a minium.  I don't know wether to contribute that to good feedings or
lack of interest on the part of the fish.  I haven't noticed any seasonal
tendencies to breeding.  That may because of the extreme southern range
of this fish.

The eggs are rather large, in the 2 mm range, and are removed from the
mop every other day.
I use to remove the eggs everyday, fearing egg eating by the parents, but
found no difference in the amount of eggs with either method.  The eggs
were place in a  pint container with clean aged water that has be tinted
a light yellow color using Acriflavin dye.  The water was kept at a
temperature of 76 to 78 degrees.  I looked for fungus eggs every day and
found very few of them.  At this temperature range the eggs hatched in
twelve days.  Newly hatched fry were removed with an eyedropper to a 5
gallon aquarium, half filled with aged water along with a small used
sponge filter.  I also like to stock the tank with Java moss from an
established tank.  The fry are already 3 mm in length and can take newly
hatched brine shrimp.  They also glean food off of the Java moss. This
seems to be a rather slow growing Fundulus species.     

     There seems to be a rather snobbish attitude amongst aquarist that
unless the fish comes from some other continent other than our own it
can't be any good and should be used for bait or feeders.  This is one
fish that will rival many of the most coveted killies in both color and
ease of keeping.  And if your criteria is only keeping expensive fish,
then this fish is for you.  Over in Europe this is a much sort after fish
and commands a very high price.  So please, try keeping some native fish
and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Ref: A World of Killies Vol. III by Rudolf H. Wildekamp

         Freshwater fishes, Peterson Field Guides by lawrence M. Page and
Brooks M. Burr

         Aquarium Atlas Vol. II  by Hans A. Baensch and Dr. Rudiger Riehl

Robert Rice
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the Native Fish Conservancy
 at our website  http://nativefish.interspeed.net/