Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Welaka fry. Welaka fry? WELAKA FRY!!!
From: Bob Muller (michiganfish-in-wideopenwest.com)
Date: Tue Nov 30 2004 - 17:05:46 CST
Fantastic I have never tried either the bluenose or blueheads unbelievable
fish. Good luck with the Pteronotropis merlini all the petronotropis are
beautiful fish. I have a tank full of P. stonei fry growing out right now.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mysteryman" <bestfish-in-alaweb.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 9:48 AM
Subject: NANFA-L-- Welaka fry. Welaka fry? WELAKA FRY!!!
> WHOO-HOO!!!! I DID IT!!! YES! YES! YES!!!!
> Pteronotropis "enigma" no more! I figured it out, baby!!
> Hey, you guys down in Florida trying to breed this fish for your species
> restoration project might want to pay attention to this, for it might
> help a bit. ( I would like to commend you on your efforts so far, by the
> way )
> I'm not telling you guys anything you don't already know when I mention
> the confoundment that this fish has caused over the past 3 decades among
> those who tried to breed it. Lots of folks have tried and failed, and a
> very small few have even had some meager results, so I'm certainly not
> the first guy to have puled this off by any means. However, I might well
> be the first guy to have pulled it off on his very first attempt, which
> I have to admit makes this victory all the sweeter.
> Several months ago I had a flash of inspiration when I started to
> consider setting up a spawning tank for Rainbow Shiners. Bob Muller had
> just had some Rainbows spawn for him, so I was encouraged to give them a
> try. In conducting my research on the Rainbows, I came across a vital
> piece of information regarding their spawning habits. It was a very
> obvious bit of trivia indeed, and suddenly it occurred to me that it was
> one so obvious that it was easy to ignore.
> I wondered if it could apply to other fishes as well, and I figured that
> it almost certainly HAD to. Then I thought about welakas, and WHAM! I
> knew what I had to do.
> I went out and tried to get some Rainbows and welakas. No luck on the
> rainbows after 3 tries, but I did manage to score some Bluenoses. To my
> surprise, I lucked up and got some that were obviously male and some
> others obviously female. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad
> thing, considering the Bluenoses' irksome habit of dying soon after
> spawning and not looking especially sexually dimorphic until breeding
> time. I was sure that the few fish I had finally managed to find had
> already spawned and were soon to die, but they lived.
> By that time the people on the list had become strongly anti-welaka for
> some reason, with talk of moratoriums and getting the government
> involved and such, so I didn't think that telling everybody what I was
> up to would have been a very good idea. Besides, I didn't want to jinx
> it. I have to say that it feels good to finally be able to tell you guys
> about it after all this time, and I hope that since it worked you'll cut
> me some slack.
> Before I go into the details, I will have to say that my results, while
> good, are still far from spectacular. The truth is, I spawned these fish
> via remote control, as it were, by having my neighbor do certain things
>-in-certain times. You see, I am currently working as a truckdriver, and
> am rarely home. I had to set everything up and do the prep work when I
> was home, and have my neighbor, who comes over to feed my fish, keep me
> advised of all developments. Based on her observations, I had her
> undertake various steps for me via telephone, which was a royal pain
> since she's not an experienced fishkeeper, and as such I had to make
> everything as foolproof and user-friendly as possible. One downside is
> that things didn't go exactly according to plan. Hurricane Ivan nearly
> ruined everything, and pretty much trashed my whole operation. In fact,
> I had no intention of trying to spawn this fish until next spring, but
> the weeklong power outage and wonky weather forced my hand. The worst
> part is that I don't have a good supply of greenwater-in-the moment, and
> most of the fry have already starved to death. I just got home a few
> hours ago after being stuck on the road for a week longer than
> anticipated, and that in itself has had the most negative impact on the
> whole affair. I don't know how many times the fish spawned, or how many
> fry were ultimately produced. "A bunch" is how many mom says, but so far
> I can find only 4 survivors. The tank itself went bad with fungus, and
> some of my adult fish have died as well. I suspect that infertile eggs
> are what led to the fungus.
> The fungus really annoys me, too, considering how much trouble I went to
> in order to prevent it.
> On the other hand, if the remaining adults survive, I'll be able to
> overwinter them normally and possibly spawn them again next spring as
> originally planned. All in all, I guess things could have been a lot
> worse, and from here on they'll probably only get better. Thanks,
> Hurricane Ivan!
> Okay, enough prefacing... here's how I did it:
> It took me nine tries to get the Flagin Shiner to spawn, which I'm sure
> a few of you probably think is pretty funny. However, I learned a lot
> about spawning Pteronotropines in the effort, most notably what I had
> been doing wrong. When I decided to try spawning the Bluenose, I vowed
> to not go about it all willy-nilly. I knew that better men than I had
> failed with this fish, and while I really didn't think I had a chance, I
> knew that my chances would be greatly limited in number, so they had to
> The first thing I did was select pondlocked breeders instead of
> riverdwellers. I figured that fish living in a pond would be more
> willing to spawn in an aquarium than those used to strong currents. I
> also knew just how sensitive the Pterontropises are to water currents,
> so I wanted to minimize that factor as much as I could.
> The tank I used was a 30 long, in fact the the very one I used
> previously to breed Flagfins. ( my lucky tank now, for sure! ) I washed
> it out with muriatic acid to eliminate any leftover fungus spores and to
> try to get the hardwater deposits off of the glass. It didn't work, by
> the way, and now that tank is forever etched and ruined as a display
> THE SETUP:
> --- I got rid of the undergravel filter, since I knew the tank would
> have a muddy bottom. The substrate is pea gravel, with a little laterite
> mixed in it. ( I'm sure the laterite is not needed-in-all, but my
> original plan was to use real plants. ) On top of the gravel is a 1/2
> inch layer of plain potting soil, the kind with nothing added to it. I
> pounded it down into the tank and added the water very carefully. After
> the mud settled, I added a little bit more gravel on top, but just a
> little to help keep the mud under control.
> --- The filter is a simple aquaclear 200 mounted on the back near one
> end. There is also a slow canister filter (100gph) mounted with the
> return nozzle on the opposite end of the tank from the aquaclear. With
> the Flagins, I had this mounted to flow across the back wall of the tank
> about halfway down. This time I set it up to flow toward the opposite
> corner, and it's only an inch from the top.
> --- Decor is an array of fake plants of various shapes and sizes
> arranged along the back wall and ends of the tank, with the main area in
> the middle left bare.
> --- Lighting is once again the double strip from an old 10-gal eclipse
> hood, mounted on one end of the tank to keep one end dark. It worked so
> well for the Flagfins that I figured it might again.
> --- Chemistry:
> When I last left the tank, the water had a pH of 6.8, a hardness of 6,
> and a temperature of 66F. A little amazon extract was also used, but
> only a little. As usual, I mixed the water up by using about half
> distilled water and half "natural" water taken from the same pond as the
> fish. During the course of the experiment, the tank underwent several
> partial waterchanges with distilled water, and is currntly sitting on a
> pH of 6.9, a hardness of 5, and the temperature is 75. The most annoying
> thing about it all is that I wasn't able to keep exact track of these
> parameters over the course of the experiment, so I don't know exactly
> what they were when the fish finally spawned. I also don't know is
> post-spawning water changes will set off more spawning like they do with
> ( Oh, by the way, the summertime temp of 66F was reached by the use of a
> chiller. I was able to get one for cheap when my local Food World
> remodeled. I can't recommend these things enough to NANFAns who don't
> want to wait until winter to overwinter their fish. I don't know how I
> got along without one for all these years. I originally planned to use
> it on a reef tank, but now I'm glad I never got around to setting up
> that reef! ))
> Bluenoses live in deep water, hugging the mucky fetid mire bottoms they
> prefer. They like to hang out near heavy vegetation, but not in it. I
> wasn't sure exactly how to model these conditions in a tank, but
> apparently the way I described it above worked well enough to suit them.
> Luckily, they move to shallow water to spawn. I tried to give them the
> best variety of lighting and water current that I could so that they
> could pick their favorite. They tended to swim around the whole tank a
> lot more than the Flagfins did, which surprised me a bit, but still they
> seemed to prefer the darker side away from the strong current.
> For almost two months the fish were kept cool and under only 8 hours of
> lights per day. I had planned on 3 months, but Hurricane Ivan didn't
> agree. The fish were fed very well with daphnia, mosquito larvae, flake
> and frozen foods, and some spirulina stuff in case they wanted it. I'm
> not able to tell you what foods they preferred or disliked since my mom
> fed them most of the time. They are much daintier feeders than Flagfins,
> by the way, and weren't as easy to please. Oddly, they won't eat
> Was it hard to keep these fish?
> Not really. I will have to say that they are certainly more demanding
> than most other species, though. I couldn't possibly recommend them to
> beginners, and the ones I caught were in definite need of quarantine by
> the time I got them home. I guess that was the hardest part, since I
> wanted to be super-gentle with them due to breeding plans.
> Was it hard to make them spawn?
> You know, it really wasn't, once I figured out what to do. It DID
> involve a lot of planning and prep work, though. That prep work was the
> hard part since I had to set everything up for my mom to use later in my
> absence, but otherwise it wasn't much harder than breeding any other
> tricky species. The really hard part was preparing the "magic
> ingredient" needed to trigger the spawning. You guys are gonna kick
> yourselves when I tell you what it is. It really is so obvious that it's
> easy to ignore. However, getting it was easily the hardest part of the
> whole project.
> After the hurricane, I went home. Things were a mess, and frankly still
> are. The water in the tank had been 59F, but had already risen to 66F
> and was steadily but slowly climbing. I decided to go ahead and try to
> spawn the fish instead of trying to chill them down again. The main
> reason for this is that the terminal finnage of the three males had
> grown quite a bit since I had last been home, and the colors and
> liveliness of all the fish ( 3 males, 5 females ) had likewise improved.
> I figured it was too late to go backward again.
> I took a little trip to a nearby fishfarm run by a buddy of mine. The
> hurricane had trashed him pretty badly as well, but he still had some of
> what I needed. After that I did my usual hometime stuff. On my last day
> home, I worked up a lighting and waterchange schedule for my fishsitter,
> and got a whole bunch of distilled water for her to use. Then I set up a
> 20H tank next to the bluenose tank, into which I put a longear sunfish.
> Then I did a big waterchange in the Bluenose tank, making sure to erode
> a spot of mud over the gravel. The result was a four inch pit of exposed
> gravel in the otherwise muddy bottom, somewhat resembling a longear
> nest, sort of.
> Then I left.
> A few days later I got a status report which said the water was again
> clear and that the shiners were avoiding the end of the tank near the
> Longear's tank. Excellent!!! I had her do a water change when the water
> got a bit warmer and the photoperiod was up to 9 hours/day.
> "Now, waitaminute," some of you are probably thinking, "this has all
> been done before. Why did it finally work this time?" Well, read on...
> A few days later the photoperiod was up to 10.5 hours a day and temp had
> hit 70. That led to another water change. The next day the males started
> flaring up-in-each other, Betta style, which indicated spawning was a
> A few days later I got bad news. The fishsitter somehow managed to break
> the thermometer. However, since a warm spell had hit, we guessed that
> the temp was still in good range. The fish seemed to like it, so I had
> her do another water change, and a few hours after that, I told her to
> go to the fridge and get the little vial of white stuff she'd find in
> it. My fridge was set for 28 degrees, by the way, so the stuff was
> nearly frozen. I told her to thaw it out and add it to the tank the next
> morning, and to put up the partition between the two aquariums a couple
> of hours afterward so the welakas wouldn't be scared of the longear
> By now a lot of you have probably figured out everything, yes?
> Well, sure enough, a few days later she told me that the tank was full
> of little baby fish, swimming-in-the surface along the sides of the
> tank. My jubilation didn't last very long, though, because it occurred
> to me that while I could get her to do water changes, getting her to
> feed the fry their greenwater, complete with aufwuch scrapings, was
> simply out of the question. A few days later the fungus had started to
> make a real mess of things, and now that I'm finally home I have one big
> mess to clean up indeed. I don't care, though; it was worth it!
> Okay, so for those of you who haven't yet figured it out, here it is,
> the big secret, the magical key, the mystery unraveled:
> LONGEAR MILT!!!
> When the Bluehead Nocomis spawns, the milt runs downstream, alerting the
> Rainbow Shiners downstream that it is finally time to spawn. This makes
> them rush upstream to parasitize the Nocomis nests in a frenzy. It
> occurred to me that this might likewise be the same thing the Bluenosed
> welakas have been waiting for in our tanks. Well, I guess you know the
> stories of past attempts and failures by now, so I won't bore you, but
> the hardest part has always been getting both the longears and welakas
> to coexist in the same tank and get them both in spawning condition at
> the same time without the longears killing the welakas in their spawning
> territory assertion phase. Fake longears have been used along with fake
> nests, and side-by-side arrangements like mine have as well. However, as
> you know, these methods just didn't work. My method, though did, and you
> can bet I'm going to have to gloat about it a bit for awhile. LOL!!
> The longear milt I got from the fishfarm was the missing ingredient
> which finally made it all possible.
> Of course, welakas have spawned, on rare occasion, in tanks without any
> milt or longears or nests-in-all, so someday someone will undoubtedly
> figure out an even easier way. For now though, my way seems to work very
> well, what with it's so-far 100% success rate! Okay, I'll be the very
> first to admit that getting lucky on a first try is only technically
> 100% success. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we'll just
> have to see how well it works in later attempts.
> The truth be told, I don't really know how well it worked this time. I
> don't know how many fry were produced before they died, or whether the
> fake nest was even used. I do know that welakas are avid egg-eaters, and
> any eggs sitting on the plain mud bottom would have probably been eaten.
> eggs which fell through the cracks in the gravel, however, would have
> survived to hatch, so I'm going to have to guess that the nest was
> indeed used.
> Well, that's about it, I guess.
> My next project--> Pteronotropis merlini!!!
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/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit http://www.nanfa.org . Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 12:42:57 CST