Aphanius fasciatus

Aphanius fasciatus Algeria

A pair of wild caught Aphanius fasciatus from Touggourt oasis

The broodstock of this species originates from the famous Algerian Touggourt oasis, where the species was collected in a small brackish lake together with Coptodon zillii and Hemichromis saharae. With about 2-3 ‰, I keep them at higher salinities then the other Aphanius. Initially, it seems to be difficult to keep this population under the conditions at FSJF and I was able to establish a good stock at the Zoo in Vienna. A part of the wild caught fishes and some juveniles have been given also to several other enthusiasts. While I had lost the species in 2013, I got some back in the same year and was able to breed many in 2015. This was the breakthrough and in 2016 and 2017, I have a very good and productive broodstock. This species preys strongly on its eggs, even when enough mosquito larva are in the tank. I use netted algae mops as spawning substrate successfully.

Valencia robertae

Valencia letourneuxi

Nice male of Valencia robertae from Greek Pinios River

I keep the two broodstocks of this Greek species available in the hobby. One broodstock is based on fishes originally collected from lower Pinios River on Peloponnese and the second stock originates from the Mornos delta on the Greek mainland. The fishes from Pinios have been collected already in 1994 and the stock is kept by several killifish enthusiasts since. The fishes from the Mornos come from a Czech broodstock and are about as long in captivity. The population in Pinions seems to have strongly declined in its natural habitat and is very small now. It might even already have vanished. The Mornos population is relatively large in nature and is definitively the largest population of V. robertae. From the Pinios captive stock, I received 12 juveniles in late 2012. This was my first contact with this wonderful species. Already in the wintering facility, they turned out to be quite sensitive and I added double lights and salt. The Mornos fishes were received in late 2013. My V. robertae feed mostly on life food, in contrast to the Aphanius, which feed on fish flakes without problems. In summer, they inhabit 100x100x40 cm tanks in the outside facility and lots of Cyclops, Daphnia and Culex larvae are added whenever available. My Valencias do best in a very sunny place. They love sunshine and high water temperatures and if sparsely set, they grow very well. In late May, harvest of algae with many of the large eggs starts and the species spawns between May and late August. My stocks are quite productive and I harvest eggs only in early in May and June, to have larger juveniles for the wintering. My Valencia start spawning being one year old and I still have some of the original fishes which are now four years old. My Valencia do always very well during summer. In early December, all are moved in the wintering room where they are sensitive to skin parasites and I always give them salt (not in summer) and double light.

Aphanius meridionalis

Aphanius meridionalis

Male Aphanius meridionalis from Sögüt

This species is often treated as a synonym of A. anatolicus, but molecular data strongly suggest that it represent a valid species. Aphanius meridionalis is immediately distinguished from A. anatoliae by the narrow black bars, which are narrower than the interspaces (vs. wider than interspaces in A. anatoliae). From the often lumped species A. iconii and A. maeandricus, it is easy distinguished by the narrow bars also and by having a completely black dorsal without a white band (vs. present). Interestingly, A. meridionalis is so distantly related to A. anatoliae, that hybrids of both are partly sterile. In late 2012, I received two males and one female of this beautiful species from a captive stock. They originate from the spring Kacapınar which is situated close to the village Mursal, close to Elmalı in Western Anatolia. In 2013 I breed only few young of this nice species, which - to my surprise - were all females. About 10 of these young females were added to the trio in 2014 and the group was very prolific. The broodstock has already reached saturation and 15 pairs inhabit a 600 Liter tank since April 2015. In 2015 I received few young from a second population, which was found in a reservoir south of Yeşilova, close to Lake Salda. Meanwhile I have also breed these and the stock has reached saturation.

Valencia letourneuxi


Two year old male of V. letourneuxi from Lake Butrint population

Valencia letourneuxi is know from several places in northern Greece and from one place in Albania. Most common in the hobby are fishes from the Greek island of Corfu. In summer 2013, I received two males and three females of V. letourneuxi from a Belgium broodstock. These fishes originally came from an unknown place, most likely a tributary, of Lake Butrint in southern Albania. They immediately started to spawn and I soon had about 100 juveniles. In the winter facility, I placed them together with some Phoxinellus, which ate many of the smaller juveniles. Also in this species, the juveniles mature with one year and I could fast expand the broodstock. They are treated in the same way as my V. robertae and this species seem to be less sensitive to skin parasites than V. robertae. I had never any problems with them in the winter and never needed to give them salt and extra light. Meanwhile this species has well established at FSJF and I have a very good broodstock.

Aphanius saourensis

A one year old male Aphanius saourensis from my broodstock

My broodstock of this Algerian species is based on fishes originally collected from Oued Saoura basin near Mazzer, the last known population of the species. They have been collected already in the 1990th and the stock is kept by several killifish enthusiasts since. Meanwhile, the species seems to be extinct in the wild. In 2013, the German Killifish Association in collaboration with me as the IUCN FFSG chair the European Region funded a small project to support Mahmoud Bacha from Bejaia Universityin Algeria to search again for the species at its type locality and other waterbodies in the Oued Saoura. Mahmoud and his team checked the type locality and several other water bodies but with depressing results only. Beside Gambusia holbrooki, only alien tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) could be found. There was no trace of the Aphanius. Naturally, a negative record is difficult to make and there might be still the chance to re-discover the species in the wild. But based on the actual results, we should treat the captive stock, which exist in some European countries, in a way as if the wild population would be gone. From the captive stock, I received three pairs which spawned without problems. But the species is not very fecund and the juveniles are very small and grow only slowly. Only very early hatched juveniles become mature in their second, others in their third year. In the first three years I had this species, I did not make it to breed a larger number of fishes due to several accidents and problems. Since 2015, I have a good broodstock of about 50 fishes and enough eggs and juveniles. This is the most sensitive Aphanius I keep and needs always a double check if all is fine.


Joerg Freyhofs Fischsammlung