Name: Aphyosemion splendopleure
Origin: Cameroun (Africa)
Aphyosemion splendopleure, which belongs to the subgenus Chromaphyosemion, is a relatively easy, yet beautiful killifish. This species is quite variable - colors and other characteristics depend quite a bit on the locale they came from. The most obvious feature of the males is the fins. The long fins are often patterned with spots and the tips often look like they've been dipped in yellow paint. On old males these may eventually form long streamers. The males will raise their fins and flare their gills, in attempt to show dominance over the other, but seldom do any damage besides an occasional nip and split or missing streamer. A large male showing off is a spectacular sight, sure to catch the eye of anyone lucky enough to be viewing the tank at that time. The sides are a mix of colors, again depending on location. Usually consists of greens, yellows, reds, and blues covered with shimmery iridescence. The females, while they certainly can't match the males, are nevertheless quite attractive fish. The two lines running along the sides are much more apparent in the females. Besides perhaps faint patterning on the dorsal fin they share little of the males color. But they are beautiful fish in their own way, and of course necessary for breeding.
These fish are usually easy to please. They do best in warmish water - around 21-27°C is about right, but cooler to 18°C or so won't do any harm. Water hardness or pH is usually not of concern and often the preferred parameters depend on the locale the fish are from. Softer water is usually preferred. If you happen to have lots of problems with infertile eggs, mixing in RO water to soften the water may help. Like most killies, they can be picky eaters. They will take high quality fish foods meant for carnivorous or insectivorous fish. Mine will take Hikari Micropellets and some flakes. Frozen foods are accepted eagerly. My fish are fed regularly with frozen bloodworms. Live blackworms and home-grown grindalworms are a favorite, but care must be taken with them and they should not be fed solely, because they are very rich foods. From what I hear these guys love fruitflies. Killi keepers often culture many kinds of live foods and this is a good thing to get into if you are keeping picky fish. Be sure that you do not overfeed - especially with dry foods.
With healthy and established fish of both sexes, breeding should follow. Feed them lots of foods like frozen bloodworms, blackworms, etc. to plump up the females. Variety is good. People deal with plant spawning killies in two different ways (but many variations of any theme...as they love to say, your mileage may vary). The most common is to allow them to spawn in mops, which are then removed and the eggs collected for incubation. Eggs can be incubated in water or on the surface of peat. The water should be from the parents tank. The water should be changed as often as possible. Some people add a tint of methylene blue or acriflavine to the incubation water for the first few days, believing it reduces the number of fungused eggs.
Aphyosemion splendopleure eggs can also be stored on peat, but they are not true annual killifish. The most common method is to use something like a Petri dish with damp peat or coconut coir on the bottom. The eggs are placed on top of this a good distance from each other and checked daily. One problem with this is that, if the eggs are left too long, they will either die or hatch out in the peat. The spawning mop can also be removed and stored in a similar manner. In both methods fungused (white or fuzzy) eggs are removed immediately. To tell when the eggs are ready to wet, look carefully for eyes inside the eggs. Unlike many other killifish eggs, these eggs do not appear to develop the golden iris to tell you when hatching is near. Eyed-up eggs are then placed in the water and hatching will occur when the tiny mind inside feels it is appropriate.
Yet another method is to simply leave the eggs where they are. Sometimes people will remove the adults or move the spawning material to another empty tank. In other cases they may remove the fry or leave the fry with the adults. The fry are large enough to take brine shrimp nauplii on hatching and also microworms and moina. Compared to, say, Nothobranchius or Fundulopanchax, these fry grow quite slowly and also are not quite as aggressive with food. Should begin breeding themselves at around 6-8 months of age. Juveniles will prey on smaller fry, so if you want more fry it is necessary to remove them. Overall a very fun fish to keep.
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