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FAQs on the Aplocheilid Fishes

Related Articles: Aplocheilids, Rivuline Fishes, Killifishes: Part 1 by Dr. Robert J. Goldstein, Killifishes, Part II- The Nothobranchius Family  by Robert J. Goldstein, Ph.D

Related FAQs: Killifishes,

Part of SabrinaF and Dario's Notho breeding facility at Stanford.

Golden wonders in a semi-subtropical setup, FW stkg., Corydoras sys., Aplocheilus sel.     6/19/08 Greetings! I hope you don't mind my asking a few questions. I was hoping for Neale, since his two articles (on subtropical tanks and top dwellers) have been very inspirational... <Kind words!> Here's my story. I have a 30 gallon tank that been sitting empty for six months. I've been so busy, I just haven't had time to do anything with it. I keep two other 29 gallon tanks and a 55 gallon African cichlid tank, and I felt that was all I could handle for now. However, after rearranging my bedroom, I now have an empty wall that is tank-sized! <I see where this is going...> I am hoping for a low maintenance setup, so my plan is to stock lightly and minimize the equipment. Usually I am a nut about filtration, with 2-4 filters on my tanks to give me 6-10 times turnover. However since this is my bedroom, I am striving for a quiet tank, so I opted for just one filter...a H.O.T. (hang on tank) Magnum filter, which is much like a canister filter that hangs on the back of the aquarium. Supposedly 250 gph, so seems adequate. <For bedroom tanks, I usually find either internal canister filters or external canister filters the best. They produce almost no noise, and because they circulate the water from the bottom of the tank to the top, there is no need to worry about adding extra "splashing" or aeration. Hang-on-the-back filters are devices I don't use (they just aren't popular in the UK) and I'd be concerned the "sluice" as the water is pushed into the tank would make quite a bit of noise. I'm one of those people who doesn't like the sound of splashing water in a bedroom.> My house is usually 78 degrees F in the summertime, so I am going to try skipping the heater in this one. I have the decor just the way I like it, and, silly as it sounds, I would rather not see a heater. Also, I am planning on keeping some species that I believe would delight in the (slightly) lower temperatures when winter time comes around. <Certainly 78F would be good for many species, even allowing for slight cooling at night.> I have leveling sand as substrate (very smooth, feels like beach sand - took two days and a bag of Purigen to clear the water!), two big lava rock boulders, rocks from a brook in Maine, and some plastic plants. I set the tank up on Saturday. The filter was originally on my mature 29 gallon community tank, and it has been running since Sunday. <Very good.> Yesterday I added two Corydoras, which were residents in my community aquarium. They are both kind of old, 5 years at least. One is Corydoras metae the other is Corydoras julii. I have always felt guilty for keeping these guys in a tank with gravel, just the two of them - so I was happy to finally put them in a tank with sand. (They seem to be loving the sand! They are making huge leaps and bounds everywhere and nosing around.) Soon, they will have four more Corydoras in there with them, either C. aeneus or C. paleatus. I never have been able to find other metaes or juliis, these came from an LFS that went out of business. <Corydoras + Sand = Happiness. You really don't appreciate how good a combination this is until you see it, and then every time you see them in tanks with gravel you feel sad!> I am planning on getting 4-5 blue platys, because the "original" blue is my favorite, and it seems to be making a comeback around here. I was planning on getting a dozen white cloud mountain minnows, but when I was at Wal-Mart getting gardening supplies, I noticed a tank full of golden wonder killifish - there must have at least two dozen of them! They were young, maybe about 1.5" each. Here are my questions...finally: <Platies, particularly Variatus Platies, are good in subtropical tanks. Minnows even more so.> a) Are golden wonder killifish hardy as youngsters? I know some fish, such as angelfish, are delicate when they are immature, and do not acclimate too well. <Aplocheilus lineatus is extremely hardy, regardless of age. They travel well, and provided they are feeding well, you really don't have much to worry about.> b) Would they do well in a (barely) subtropical set up? This tank would never get below 70 degrees, since this is the coldest I let my (Florida) house get in winter. <It's a little cooler than they'd like; according to Fishbase their preferred range is 22-25 C, that's about 72-77 F. That said, they are hardy and found in very varied habitats, and I would fully expect them to tolerate brief periods of cool conditions without complaint, perhaps as low as 20 C/68 F. What I'd do is see how they fare, and if you notice a certain lack of appetite (always a good sign fish are too cold) add a heater to the tank for the winter months.> c) Would they keep the platy fry population in check? That would be an added bonus! Although netting them out and trading them in would not be out of the question. <Aplocheilus lineatus will certainly eat Platy fry, and quite likely White Cloud Mountain Minnows too.> I have read that they tolerate cooler water and harder, more alkaline water well, but the source was not 100% reliable. I have been hoping to find some interesting top dwellers (thank you for your article, Neale!) and was going to go with silver Hatchetfish, but am wondering if golden wonders are not a better choice, considering my Florida well water is liquid rock...and I don't plan on cutting it with RO or rainwater, for now. <Aplocheilus lineatus is very adaptable, and really anything suitable for tropical fish generally is acceptable to them. Neutral, slightly soft to moderately hard is perhaps the ideal, though many aquarists find they appreciate a little salt as well (they're commonly found in brackish water).> I know they love treats of live foods, but unfortunately, this semi-rural town has limited LFSs. The only things I can find here are brine shrimp and ghost shrimp, and I am not sure if it's worth it to maintain a setup just to gut load them. I am hoping I will get away with frozen foods (mysis shrimp, bloodworms, whiteworms if I can find them) and ants. I have a little bowl outside that I put a few pellets of cat food in...the Argentine ants just flock to it, and whenever I remember, I take some in for the fish. They love it! I had to make do, since our extreme drought has made digging up earthworms nearly impossible, as of late. <Feeding Aplocheilus is rarely a problem: they will eat anything. Frozen foods are fine, but balance with good quality as well.> Thank you very much for any input you can provide. Oh, one last thing...since the young killies are so small, would it be safe to start with five of them and then keep three? It is difficult to handpick three healthy specimens out of a thankful at Wal-Mart. As long as a generous chunk of floating hornwort is provided, I hoped that they would not be too conspecifically aggressive...(just thought I'd toss out that 50 cent phrase) <Aplocheilus are fairly territorial once mature, but if you have a tank with lots of floating plants (e.g., Indian Fern) then it's very much "out of sight, out of mind". So I'd get a bunch, and see how you do. Often such fish are worst when kept as twos and threes, in groups of six or more, they never get a chance to set up a territory, and so there's a sort of grudging truce between all specimens.> I will keep reading voraciously, and heed any and all of your recommendations. <Very good!> Again, thank you! Kindest regards to all of you. As I always say -- and I'm sure you hear it often enough -- I would not be the fishkeeper I am today, were it not for your site! <Again, more kind words.> <Cheers, Neale.>

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