FSJF

Aphanius apodus

 

Three year old male pure A. apodus

My broodstock of this Algerian species is based on fishes originally collected by the Dutch aquarist Rob Vonk in 1990 from a stream south of Ain M'Lila, east of Fourchi (about 36°00'N 6°34'E). This stock is kept by several killifish enthusiasts since. The population in Ain M´Lila might be extirpated but nobody seem to have visited it again. During our expedition to Algeria in 2011, we were not able to find the species. Algerian colleagues told us that it still exist in nature, at least at one site in the area of Batna. But other colleagues (from Batna) strictly rejected the idea, that if might still occur in that area. Indeed, the fishes of the area have been studied and the species might be extinct in the wild meanwhile.

From the captive stock, I received several juveniles but was not able to raise them. With a second attempt to get this species, I received two adults which then spawned in 2011. But eggs did not develop and I expected to have a sterile male. In summer 2011, I got another two males and four females which I added to the pair I already had. With the new males, I breed about 60 juveniles which sadly turned out to have pelvic fins. This, and the sterile male are clear indications that hybrids with Aphanius iberus had been involved. It is well known, that these hybrids are fertile in females but sterile in males and their offspring has pelvic fins. Excluding the hybrids, a new attempt to breed the species was successful in 2012 and since I have a very nice broodstock - always without pelvic fins. While the juveniles start spawning in their second summer, they are only fully grown in their fourth summer. This species grows relatively large and is very prolific. The only challenge are sudden outbreaks of Ichthyophthirius in this species - what never happened to me in the other Aphanius. Since I experienced this again in 2014, I keep them at higher salinity.

Aphanius farsicus

Aphanius farsicus

In 2000, this tiny and very nice species was known from 10 independent springs in Lake Maharlo basin in Iran. Since, all but one spring has dried out and in late 2013, even in the last spring, no Aphanius could be found anymore. The species is Critically endangered but might even be extinct in the wild now. I started to breed it with two wild caught pairs collected in early 2007 from Pirbarnoo spring close to the Iranian city of Shiraz. In 2008 Pirbarnoo spring dried out and the population is now extinct in the wild. In the first summer, I breed about 200 juveniles but spawners and all but two males and one female juveniles died by an accident in early winter. Since these bottlenecks, I was able to keep a broodstock of about 10 pairs and since 2015, the permanent stock has been increased to 20-25 pairs in a 600 Liter tank. Since 2012, few juveniles have been excluded from breeding due to malformations of the vertebra column, maybe an effect of inbreeding? Also, I always breed more males than females. Juveniles have been given to several enthusiasts already.

Aphanius similis

 

Aphanius mento Eregli

Wild caught male A. similis from Ereğli

Aphanius similis belongs to the A, mento species complex. It was originally described from Ereğli in Central Anatolia and is also found in the lower Seyhan, where it is quite abundant. The original three pairs of A. similis came from Ereğli where the species only exist in a very tiny spring flowing into a terrible polluted lake. In the spring, millions of Gambusia occur and few Aphanius. Since many years, there is a broodstock of this population in Europe. This species is the last surviver of the interesting fish fauna of the Ereğli marshes. Still in the 1990th, there were nice populations of many fish species in the marshes. These marshes have since dried out and all fishes are lost. We found a population of A. mento still in 2009, but this population might have vanished since. There is also a second population from the area of Ereğli, from Zengen, in the hobby. At FSJF, it breeds very well and juveniles have been given to several enthusiasts. I usually placed about five pairs in a 70x70 cm tank and since 2015, as all Aphanius, they inhabit a 600 Liter tank, where 15 pairs are based. They prey little on their young and number of fishes in the tank continiously rise during summer.

Garra culiciphaga

Garra culiciphaga

The broodstock of this south Anatolian species was collected in Adana city and is with me since many years. The species is endemic to the lower Seyhan and Ceyhan drainages and is locally quite common. It is not threatened in nature. My stock is in the sixth generation in captivity; the original individuals had lived for four years. Garra culiciphaga matures with one year and most individuals spawn only two or three years and then become senescent. Therefore, I make some efforts to breed this species every year. It is really easy o breed. They spawn in dense vegetation and predate little on their eggs and larvae. Usually I do not separate the larvae from the adults. Each female spawn 2-3 times during summer between late May and September. Juveniles grow fast and when hatched early and feed well, they start to spawn in July or August of the next year. Juveniles of this attractive species have been given to several enthusiasts.

Garra festai

Garra festai

Wild caught male Garra festai

The broodstock of this Lebanese species was originally collected in the Ammiq marshes, where the species is endemic. Garra festai is strongly threatened in nature as water abstraction is a serious problem in small Ammiq marshes. A broodstock of six fishes was collected together with Michel Bariche from AUB in December 2011. After the winter they were placed in a 140 x 70 cm outdoor container full of plants where they turned out to be fractional plant spawners. Starting to spawn in June, last larvae were found in early September. In 2012, about 50 juveniles could be raised without many efforts as adults only modestly prey on their brood. Juveniles were already mature after the first winter and the year 2013 started with the original spawners and additional six pairs in a second spawning tank. In both tanks, they spawned again in early June. In early November I harvested a good number of juveniles. Since, I breed this species without problems in various tanks and juveniles could be given to several other enthusiasts who already have build up new broodstocks. This species turned out to be quite sensitive to poor water quality and much appreciates regular cleaning of the tanks, which I now do each two month between May and December by removing the mud from the bottom.

Outside tank to breed Garra festai


Parts of the broodstock and 2012 juveniles of Garra festai caught in early December 2012 in the outside tank

FSJF

Joerg Freyhofs Fischsammlung