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nothobranch or othobranchius rachovii
belongs to the family Aplocheilidae.
These fish are natives to regions of Africa where lakes
and ponds evaporate and dry up in the dry season.
Because of their environmental challenges, the nothobranch has
become commonly referred to as a killifish or an annual.
If you are
familiar with gardening you will know that an annual only lives a
single season. They survive in nature by releasing their pollen to
insure subsequent generations.
Nature has equipped the killifish
to adapt to their hostile
environmental conditions in much the same manner. This species
flourishes during the wet season. As the wet season draws to an end
their habitat begins to disappear. They lay their eggs in the mud
before the last of the water evaporates. Then they perish for lack of
water. Their eggs, however, survive insuring the survival of the
species. The eggs baked in dried up lake beds until the rains return.
Undergoing this dry period has proven to be essential to the eggs
hatching. When the wet season returns and the ponds and lakes start to
fill back up the eggs hatch and the Rachow has triumphed over nature.
Killifish are found in every region of the world except northern
Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. There are several genera and
different species within each of these genera. A small number of
species will shoal while most are territorial to varying degrees. Each
has its own breeding habits and life span determined by it specific
environmental conditions. But the Rachow's nothobranch killifish is
known as an annual because it dies every year. Even in the relative
safety of an aquarium the Rachow's nothobranch is victim to its
evolution. They only live to 1-1.5 years.
These are small fish. A fully grown adult is only about two inches
long. They thrive in slightly acidic water; pH 6.5 with a temperature
range between 74-79 °F. They are considered a peaceful fish but
heavily planted mono-species aquarium is recommended.
Rachow's nothobranch are carnivores. They will readily eat live
food such as brine shrimp, tubifex and bloodworms. They will also eat
freeze-dried, frozen and meat based tropical flake food.
is done differently than just about any
other commercially available fish. Start by placing a 2-3 inch layer of
peat on your existing substrate. The peat is for spawning. The
killifish will bury their eggs in it. Once they eggs are deposited into
the peat remove it from the aquarium. Allow the peat to dry and then
place it in a plastic bag. Make sure there is no moisture left in the
bag to prevent mold growth. Store the bag for 3-4 months.
After the eggs have undergone an extended dry period remove the
peat from storage and place it in a breeding tank. Fry can be fed newly
hatched shrimp brine, powdered fry food, or powdered eggs. Allow them
to mature enough to hold there own before introducing them to the adult
population in the main tank.
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