Gourami Breeding by ipmillichip (14/08/11)

This brief article on breeding gouramis is aimed at the smaller to medium sized bubblenest building gouramis (eg honey, pearl or lace, dwarf, giant Indian, and croaking gourami etc etc); the mouthbrooders (such as the Chocolate Gourami) are not included here.

In general, there are similar trends within the bubblenest builders.

Breeding Tank:
1. Set-up a separate tank for breeding. 
2. The tank need be no larger than a 24x12x12 inch (60x30x30 cm) tank for even the larger pearl (lace) gourami, and can be somewhat smaller for smaller species. 
3. The top should allow you to totally seal the tank (or you’ll need cling-film)
4. The water in that tank should be mature but clean (I’ll talk about water parameters later)….and preferably from the adult fish stock tank.
5. Add peat to the floor of the tank.
6. Allow the tank to settle for a few days (but a few weeks is best for breeding the small species such as croaking gourami) with some gentle aeration. That aeration may be via a small internal air-powered filter.
7. Place floating plants in the tank.
8. The water level should be 5 to 8 inches deep (5 inches for smaller species; 7 to 8 inches for larger species)

Breeding Tank Water:
1. As a general rule, the temperature should be about 80 degree F (27-28 C).
2. Ideally, soft acid mature water is required. But if the water is slightly hard then at least the added peat will help add some acidity and peat components to the water.
3. Gouramis do not live in filth. There is a difference between clean mature water and filth.
4. The added peat will also provide a substrate on which small microscopic creatures will proliferate: these will be very useful to the generally very small bubblenest gourami fry.
5. Aeration can be a problem as it will disturb the building of the bubble nest. So it may be best to not have any aeration during breeding.
6. If you have no filtration (recommended) then add some ammonia removing resins/zeolites/molecular sieves to the floor of the tank.
7. gouramis do not like sudden changes in water quality….so take care when transferring the fish to a breeding tank of differing water quality. Some species are very fussy about water quality changes.

The Adults:
1. They need to be mature enough to breed (and not have obvious deformities)
2. They should be conditioned on good quality flake food and frozen food (eg bloodworm) until the female is starting show a blumpness.
3. At some stage the adults will need to be separated for a period prior to breeding. (now, some may simply breed…but you often need to separate).

Introducing the Adults to Breeding:
1. You may need various tactics to tempt them to breed. Here are the general initial tactics for introducing male and female to each other:
a. Place Male in breeding tank on his own for a few days, and then add the female; or
b. Place Male in the breeding tank on his own for a few days, and then add the female behind a glass partition and watch for signs of interest from both fish (colour displays; body displays; head-up spinning behaviour; pointing ‘feelers’ at each other); or
c. Adding the female to the breeding tank for a few days and then adding the male directly works for many species.

Adding the female or male is best done towards the end of the morning light is an often useful trigger in spawning.

2. There should be plenty of hiding spaces for the female.
3. Do not remove the female unless she is being severely attacked by the male….breeding can be quite aggressive anyway, so you need to recognise what is normal breeding behaviour, and what is a pending dead female.

The Spawning
1. The male should start to build a bubble nest, and may drive the female away during the building. Then he may start to tempt her over only to drive her away again: that is normal.

2. Some breeding behaviour of gouramis is quite comical (I particularly like the honey gourami displays).
3. It may be a day or two before the male decides to build a nest: be patient but observant.
4. If the male doesn’t start building a nest, then try adding a piece of non-toxic floating plastic (yellow or straw coloured) or some bubble-wrap to the surface to encourage him to build (and maybe to impress the female a little more).
5. When ready to finally spawn, the pair will go through several embraces of the female releasing eggs and the male picking those up to place in the bubble nest.
6. When the male starts to drive the female away after spawning, then remove the female.

The Eggs and the Young:
1. Make sure that cling-film is sealing the top of the tank. !!
2. The male will tend the eggs for about 1 to 2 days until they hatch.
3. After the hatching, the male will look after the young for about 3 to 4 days (again, that does depend upon species).
4. After that time, or when the male obviously starts to lose interest in looking after the young, remove the male.
5. Add gentle aeration by means of a small internal air-driven sponge filter.
6. The young are very small and require small food.
7. The infusorians or rotifers in the mature water and around the peat will form a great first food for the fry. For some species of gourami, that is the maximum size of food that the fry will take.
8. For larger species, the first food can be freshly hatched brine shrimp (but if that is the only source of food then you will stand to lose most of the fry and apart from the bigger individuals).
9. Commercial Liquid Fry Feed is good for all newly hatched gourami. An additional supplement is frozen rotifers.
10. Within a week of spawning, many fry will be able to take finely powered dried food.
11. The cling-film seal must be kept in-place for at least 2 weeks after hatching (it can be removed for feeding of course).
12. Water changes: 10% every day is ideal, but you need to be careful of sucking out young fry. If the water is mature in the first place, then there is limited need to do water changes until after about 10 days. 

This is almost identical to breeding Siamese fighting fish, and so follow this for breeding them (the difference being how you introduce the male and female).

When selecting adults for breeding, be selective: 
do not just chose any crap parent just to get some fry. 

Avoid parents with thin caudal penduncle (the base of the tail); avoid parents with deformed gills or deformed backs; be careful of breeding from fish that clearly have a viral infection.

Damages done to a fish during its life (eg ripped fins) are not a particular problem to worry about. It is the deformities that may be passed down through generations that should be avoided.

The quality of gouramis has somewhat decreased over the years: this is an opportunity for selecting the best parents in order to help perpetuate the best quality traits being passed down to the next generation.

Breeding from wild-caught fish is an ideal, but not all wild-caught gourami are as easy to plonk into any old tank as you would find with their captive-bred cousins.

And as an end note (for now), if anyone thinks that I recommend a tank no bigger than a 60 litre for breeding the true giant gourami……then you’re misreading the first line !!! …plus I have no experience whatsoever of breeding giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy) and am not qualified to say what size of tank you need (if someone knows then let me know….with photos of the spawning as well, and they must be of your own spawning and not something from a zoo !!!).
Addendum 1 : Another tipIf the pair need more tempting then let the tank receive a small amount of morning light....or mimic that by having a light shining from sideways onto the top of the tank for a few hours.
Addendum 2: When do Gouramies reach sexual maturity ?
Gouramies will often breed at about half size; the smaller species need to be bigger than that though.
But, a half-sized adult may be a stunted 'full-grown' adult one as well.

If the male is starting to show signs of breeding (eg colours and behaviour) then they are ready for breeding.

Pearl (or Lace if you wish to call them that) grow to around 4 to 5 (or 6) inch body length (excluding add an extra inch to that for the tail). You tend not to find too many at that size. 
So they will breed at about half that length if they have come to sexual maturity.

I think that many people simply walk by pearl gouramis in the shop as they are small and look drab (the gouramis, not the people  ). That is a great pity as they are one of the fish that built the hobby.

What does a gourami cost? 3 to 5 euro (maybe a bit more for some)...that is nothing for a great fish (if you watch out for some pretty duff virus laden ones though). 

Maybe the Chocolate gourami breeding article is next, but I wanted to do a piece for people starting out in fish keeping to have a go at breeding fish that need a little work (as opposed to kribensis or guppies) but are pretty easy to keep. Chocolate gourami are not easy to keep, not easy to breed, and not something I'd be tempting someone starting out to try.
Article was originally published on our discussion forum.


Care And Breeding Of Aphyosemion Australe

Hi to all killifish fans,
Below is a concise article that I have put together pertaining to the species of Killifish commonly known as the Cap Lopez Lyretail (Aphyosemion australe) It should have some content that will be of interest to both novice and ardent enthusiast alike. It is one of the most common species available and the novice will surely own and breed these little beauties at some stage.

Aphyosemion australe (Cap Lopez Lyretail)

A. australe is a beautiful little fish from West Africa, it is one of the most popular and commonly available species of killifish or egglaying toothcarp within the hobby today. Its natural habit is Cap Lopez and surrounding areas in Gabon. In the wild the fish inhabit marshy areas and shallow waterways. Within the confines of the home aquarium this fish is very peaceful, somewhat undemanding and is able to adapt (within reason) to a wide range of conditions which make it an excellent candidate for the community tank. Its lifespan in the aquarium can be up to 3yrs. I keep my Australe in breeding setups but if you wish to keep them in the community tank then they like the lighting to be subdued (use floating plants such as Salvinia) have a dark substrate (light substrates such as sand washes out the colouration) and have the tank heavily planted, this setup will show the species off to it's best advantage. They will withstand a wide pH range (5.0 - 7.0) Their water should be soft to medium hard and a temperature range between 64 to 80 degrees F. can be tolerated. but for longevitity I would suggest a temp of around 72 -74 degrees. They adapt well to any form of commercially prepared foods, flake or frozen but Livefoods, in variety, they really realish. (always feed your fish a varied diet)

Aphyosemion australe comes to us in a wide range of colour varieties but the most common you will hear of are Chocolate, Orange and Spotless Orange with the Chocolate colour form being my favourite. You will often see a fish advertised in this fashion Aphyosemion australe (Chocolate) here you have the name and the colour. Another way you will see a fish advertised will be something like this: Aphyosemion australe EBT 96/27. First you have the species name, the Bold letters indicate the surnames of the people who found it, then you have the year and lastly you have a geographical location number. Quite techie I know but it has to be that way for the purists amongst us and for future reference.
The males of the species will attain a length of around the 70mm mark and the females remaining slightly smaller. The female are much less distinctly coloured than the males, the body colouration of the females will be a fawn colour with an undertimined number of small reddish/brown spots on the body her fins will be predominatly clear and rounded as opposed to the long flowing fins in the male.
Describing the male of the species in words I feel would do it a gross injustice so I urge you to look up pictures of the species and see for yourselves.

This species of Killifish is fairly easy to breed given proper water parameters, for greater success and subsequent larger batches of fry then I would suggest using RO water rather than municipal tapwater. You will still get eggs and fry with tapwater but a lot will fungus and fail to hatch, I do not use any form of artificial lighting when breeding this and most other species of killifish, Killifish eggs are in my estimation light sensitive. A temperature of around 74 degrees F. is ideal.
This species is commonly known as a mop spawner. I use a breeding tank of 18"x8"x8". A lot of books maintain that you can breed this fish in smaller tanks but I would use the size that I have given as an absoloute minimum. In this breeding setup I would place 2-3 floating thick synthitic yarn mops.,7/id,72173/
The tank is totally void of decoration sept for the heater, a small airdriven sponge filter and a very tight fitting cover glass or hood. ( I cannot stress the need for tight fitting lids as these fish can and do jump). Only fill the tank about 2/3 full of water and try to achive a pH of around 5.4 to 6.0. To this water I like to add a teaspoon of Blackwater Extract. This darkens the water somewhat and acts as a kind of conditioner. If you are planning to keep this fish in the community aquarium then a pH of 7.0 or neutral is just fine. I like to seperate the sexes prior to breeding (conditioning) and feed them well on a varied diet of live and frozen foods. The females soon fill with roe (about 1 week) and than they are placed with a large highly coloured male in the breeding tank.
Since the male is very amourous in his courtship and is what is commonly know in killifish circles as an "avid driver" I would include 2 females to one male as a sex ratio for this size of breeding setup. This way I am assured of good egg production whilst it gives one female time to rest as the male chases the other.
Spawning usuall takes place in the mop close to the surface of the water the male will entice the female to a chosen spot in the mop and will wrap his dorsal and anal fins around the female and adopt a charactistic "S" shape then you will notice a sharp jerk, at this point the male will release the female and a single egg will have been deposited within the strands of the mop It will remain there attached to the mop by an adhesive thread.. I usually let this cycle of events carry on for about 5 days (hand picking the eggs off the mops daily) untill I have enough eggs that I know I'll have the room to rear subsequent fry. The sexes are then split up once more and conditioned seperately. If you leave the fish together indefinately in the confines of the breeding setup then they will wear themselves out and become thin and there is a great risk to the mortality of the females, so if you are planning to breed this species in the aforementioned fashion then please "DO" seperate the sexes after you are satisified you have enough eggs to cope with.
The fish (if kept well fed) usually do not eat the eggs, but to be sure I collect the eggs on a daily basis, I would expect to find between 20-35 eggs daily from the above setup. (Note: I still perform waterchanges on a Bi Daily basis within this breeding aquaria with the same water parameters as previously discussed)

Eggs and Fry Rearing
To remove the eggs from the mops, I remove one mop at a time from the breeding tank remembering to cover the tank as I do so ( a great many killifish have been lost by jumping fro the aquarium, even top breeders have lost prize fish because of this) Squeeze out all excess water and place the mop on a piece of kitchen roll. The mop will be damp and you will be able to see the eggs quite clearly. Next I would get a small plastic margarine tub and fill it with around 2" of water from the breeding tank. Now it is time to pick the eggs from the mop. Using my fingers (most top spawning killifish eggs can be harvested form the mops using your fingers but be aware that some cant and you should do some research on the species you are dealing with at that particular time and to the alternitive methods of harvesting the eggs).
The eggs of Aphyosemion australe are around 1mm in diameter and are opaque to slightly amberish in colour. I pick them from the mops one at a time and place them in the margarine tub as described previously. I would place no more than 30 eggs in this tub and then prepare some more tubs in a similar fashion. When I have harvested all the eggs the margarine tubs are floated in the parent tank and are observed on a daily basis for any signs of fungus and abnormalities. ( I personally do not use any form of fungus inhibitors in the egg tubs, a great deal of killifish breeders would use such forms as Scheel's formula, acriflavin and mythelene blue but I get great results without any of the aforementioned chemical preparations). Fungussed eggs (totally white and covered with hair like filiments) should be disgarded immediatly using a pipette for fear of contaminating healthy eggs within the tub.
Over the comming days the eggs will begin to darken, the cells will split and sub-divide until a fully formed fish embryo can be clearly visible (most noticable part will be its eye) Most fry usuall hatch out within 14 - 21 days.
As the fry hatch I move them to a larger 1lb plastic ice-cream tub (using a glass eyedropper or pipette) again with water from the parent tank and this time increase the water depth to around 3". I now begin to feed the fry, They will take Newly hatched brineshrimp straight away coupled with microworms. A word of warning feed fry little and often a do not overfeed any uneaten food should be syphoned off after 1 hour and waterchanges of 30% should be administered on a daily basis. On or around the 4 week mark I like to introduce the fry to a tank of their own (24"x12"x12") with a water depth of around 3" (same stats as before) and using a heater stat. I then, on a daily basis perform waterchanges and add a little more water than before. I also add a litte bit of tap water to this mix as when it come to selling my surplus stock it makes it easer for the recipient to aclimitise their new accquisitions to their tank stats. The fry tank of this size should be around half filled with water at around the 6th week and the fry should just be begining to sex out. ( the males will be starting to show signs of colouring up). I keep filling the tank up slowly untill it is almost full (cover on the tank at this stage) and a sponge filter is added. The fry or juviniles are then introduced to some frozen and dry flake. Don't worry if they disregard this food for a couple of days as it will be foreign and lifeless and they will tend to leave it. Syphon off any uneaten food as always and keep persisting to offer this type of foodstuff. Eventually they will all be eating it. Still remember to contine using the livefoods though as a varied diet is essential.

I think I have covered most of the husbandry of both keeping and breeding this beautiful species of killifish but if there is anything you feel I have omitted then feel free to contact me. A good number of killifish breed in the same style as Aphyosemion australe and the above method can be used for them only difference being is the water quality and stats. If you decide to use the above information in breeding your Australe then I know you will have a great deal of sucess which will give you the confidence to delve deeper into the fascinating world of KILLIFISH!


Aphyosemion australe is a beautiful killifish from the Gabon in West Africa and is easily adaptable to the comunity aquarium.

Breeding Overview

Tank size: 18"x8"x8"
Decor: Adults - bare tank with floating mops, Fry - Java Moss
Water: Soft 50-100ppm - pH 5.4 - 6.0
Temperature: 72 - 77 F
Waterchanges: Bi Daily (10%) for breeders and Daily (30%) for fry.
Filtration: Air driven sponge filters set to a trickle.
Feeding: little and often especially fry, remember to syphon off uneaten food.
Lighting: no artificial lighting.

A tight fitting lid or coverglass is essential.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this long and informative article, I hope it will help someone starting out to keep killifish and also hobbyists who are having difficulity with this species.

I have put together another general care and maintenance information on Fundulopanchax gar. Nig. sp. This his a highly coloured Killifish from many locations in and around Nigeria in West Africa. It is one of the more common killifish sp. available sometimes from your LFS. Its care and breeding habits is shown in detail below taken from personal accounts within my breeding notes. It is quite easy to breed and anyone interested in killifish will encounter this species early on in their love affair for this niche sector within the hobby.

Fundulopanchax gardneri Nigerianum sp.. (Steel Blue Aphyosemion)

This species alone is one of the most amazing and highly colourful species of Killifish that the novice will first encounter. They are periodically available in your local aquarist establishments. IMO this species has generated a great deal of interest in this niche side of our hobby. It will probably be your introdction to Killifish, the first Killi you will have in your tank, mainly due to availability. This was the first Killifish sp. I kept.
This species, as with may highly coloured Killifish originates from West/Central Africa namely Nigeria and a little beyond. Gardneri is a fairly large group containing many Subspecies (sp and spp) that are seperated only by geographical location and colour variants. It is a species that is quite easy to breed and rear and in certain situations can be incorporated into the community aquarium. As with most killifish they shun bright lighting and light coloured substrates (washes out the colouration) So to see these beauties at their best then utilise floating plant material and choose a dark natural substrate. As for water conditions they arn't overly fussy but extremes should be avoided. For sucessful breeding these extremes will need to be narrowed somewhat. Their water should be slightly soft and acidic with a temperature range anywhere around 72-78'F will suit them fine. They attain a size of around 65mm, males being slightl larger than females, they can be quite boisterous at times but nothing to be alarmed about. Again they will accept a wide range of foodstuffs including flake, frozen and live. But you should always endevour to include as many different types of the latter for good overall fish health.

As I said earlier there are many subspecies of Gardneri from various geographical locations within Nigeria slightly beyond, all are predominately distinguished by their coulouration and finnage. Essentially the males flanks is an irridesence steel blue subfused with dark red blotches, its back is light brown and its belly region is silver in colour. The unpaired fins usually have a yellow trailing edge with a red stripe ( I use this discription loosly as I re-itterate that different locations have different fin colouration) The paired fins are usually a semi transparent bluish colour with red blotches.
The female as with most killifish species is drab by comparison taking on a brownish colour with dark brown spots. Her fins are clear with brown spots as you get closer to the body. Her abdomen area is lighter brown to silver

Sex & Breeding
As mentioned above the males are more strikingly coloured than the females so they are very easy to sex, I like to give Fp.gardneri a little more tank space when breeding and I use tanks aroung 18x8x8 for that purpose. (These are just for breeding purposes and not long term setups) A tight fitting lid is essential as I have found that apart from Rivulus, Fp gardneri are the best jumpers around, especially the females.
As is usually the case I condition males and females seperately bit in tanks that are next to each other. For breeding purposes I feed them mostly live foods (the usual suspects) and only a little bit of flake here and there. I condition the fish for one week.
I like to use a ratio of one male to two females and as they are an egghanging species I would afford them three fairly large floating spawning mops,7/id,72173/#72173
In most of my non annual breeding tanks I would utilise small air driven sponge filters set to a slow trickle and for Gardneri that is the case. As for their water for breeding the temperature should be maintained around 74'F, it should be mildly acidic, pH6.8 and be slightly soft.
The males will avidly chase the females in and out of the mops, performing spawining actions on most occasions and in one day you can expect to pick 60 eggs or more from well conditioned fish. I collect the eggs twice daily, morning and evening as this means that the fish themselves dont get the chance to eat too many. Depending on how many fry I would wish to rear at a particular time, the breeding trio would be kept together for roughly one week, after such time they are returned to much larger quarters.

Eggs & Fry Rearing
The eggs from Fp.gardneri are fairly large as killifish eggs go, they are opaque in colour, any which are totally white or fungussed I discard immediately, so as not to contaminate the rest of the batch. I place the eggs into small margarine tubs (no more than a 12-15 to a tub) in an inch of water and a small piece of Salvinia natans is provided probably to supply some infusorians. The eggs of .gar will go through many processes until they hatch usually around 16-18 days can be a little longer though.
They are free swimming almost immediately and are fed the usual foods consisting of newly hatched brineshrimp and microworm. The get small feedings three times a day. All ways remember to remove any uneated, dead or decaying food immediately so as not to foul the fry containers this will keep fatalities to a minimum. I perform daily waterchanges to the fry tubs using water from the parent tank. I gradually increase the water in the fry tubs over a period of time as the fry grow until they are large enough to move onto rearing tanks of 12x8x8. As the grow they can be introduced to larger foods such as grindalworms and small whiteworms and also trying to introduce a little staple flake food. Fundulopanchax gardneri fry will take around 6-8 weeks before they show signs of colouration. I look at the fins and in the males you will see slight hues of colour. I dont seperate the sexes until any excessive signs of bullying become apparent. They should be sexually mature after a three to four months.

Fundulopanchax gardneri will be many folks introduction into the world of killifish mainly due to availability, they are a stunning fish in their own right and should be part of any avid entusiasts collection at some stage. They are relatively easy to breed and rear posing little or no problems to their owners.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this species to anyone starting out with killifish, as this is how I started.
So if your into tropical fish and looking for something new and exciting to breed and rear then why not give Fp. gardneri a go. You wont regret it!

Breeding Overview
Tank size: 18"x8"x8"
Decor: Adults - bare tank with floating mops, Fry - Java Moss
Water: slightly acidic pH 6.8 and soft
Temperature: 74 F
Waterchanges: Bi Daily (10%) for breeders and Daily (30%) for fry.
Filtration: Air driven sponge filters set to a trickle.
Feeding: little and often especially fry, remember to syphon off uneaten food.
Lighting: no artificial lighting.

A tight fitting lid or coverglass is essential.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this long and informative article, I hope it will help someone starting out to keep killifish and also hobbyists who are having difficulity with this species.

Almost all Killifish enthusiasts will be aware of how to make a spawning mop for plant spawning Killifish species.
For those who don't, then there now follows a step by step tutorial on how to make what is essentially an everyday part of a killifish breeders life.

The items you will need to make the mop are as follows;
A good sturdy hardback book of around 9 inches in length (229mm)
A pair of sharp scissors
A Cork Stopper
A ball of Acrylic Yarn

Some folks like to use coloured yarn, I personally have a preference for dark green or dark brown, I feel it looks much more like plant material.
Make sure that when you go to buy your yarn, you ask for 100% acrylic and not pure wool.

First off, cut yourself a length of yarn around 12 inches or so and lay it across the book as in the photo.
We are going to use this cross thread to tie off the mop later.

Now take you ball of yarn and start winding it round and around the books length for around 60 turns or so,
more turns will give you a denser mop but I find that around sixty turns makes for a good size and weight.
Remember to leave the cross thread in the middle of the book.

Now its time to tie the cross thread as mentioned earlier. You can make a few knots in this to prevent slippage.

Turn the book over and cut through the yarn at the books central point.

You should now have something like this

To tidy things up a little I like to bind and tie a further knot about an inch down from the top of the mop

In order to make the mop float we need to attach some kind of buoyancy aide, which is where the cork comes in.
Now you don't have to have an expensive cork like mine any old untreated cork or polystyrene will do.

The finished product.

Finally boil the mop for a few minutes to sterilise and rid the yarn of any excess dye it may still contain.
Then your good to go!

I hoped this little pictorial was able to explain how to go about making one kind of spawning media for adhesive egglaying toothcarps.
Happy Fish-keeping

The following breeding article is one of the first since I have built my new killifish set-up.

Aphyosemion bualanum N'tui Ngorro Road
In the following article I will attempt to explain how I go about the day to day care and breeding of one of the more popular and colourful species of Killifish,
Namely the Ngorro Road population of Aphyosemion bualanum N'tui.

Although I have kept and bred this species before (possible different location) I had never put anything down on paper, re-acquiring this species again in August 2009 from a fellow BKA member (Donald Carson) has allowed me to address this.
This little jewel belongs to the Elberti/Bualanum grouping which consists of many locations in or around the Republic of Cameroon in Africa. The N'tui population originates from a town in central/western Cameroon north of Yaounde, and is found in areas bordering on rainforest. (see map)

As always many of these rainforests like others around the globe are being harvested for timber products without any care for indigenous flora and fauna. These commercial ventures will soon strip this and surrounding areas of their natural plant animal and fish species for which the world will be a much poorer place.

I find this species likes to be kept a little warmer than other populations going by the amount of eggs collected daily. As you can see from the above image their tank is furnished with some bogwood with Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) attached and the surface area is now completely covered with floating plant (Salvinia natans). The more dimly lit the aquarium the more vibrant the colours of the killifish become. The obligatory acrylic spawning mops are also included in this set-up as this particular species of toothcarp is a plant spawner by nature. There is no substrate as this make for easier cleaning of the aquarium floor area. I have found this species does not take too readily to prepared foods but this is not a big deal as I prefer to feed livefood over flake and frozen given the choice. Their dietary needs are taken care of with a mixture of the following foodstuffs; Whiteworm, Fruitfly, Grindalworm, Brineshrimp and newly hatched Brineshrimp occasionally I would feed frozen Bloodworm. I like to feed a varied diet to this and all my killifish species.

Male: In keeping with all Aphyosemions the male of the species is the most strikingly colourful fish of the pair. The main underlying colouration of the body is a deep shimmering aquamarine blue overlaid at the front of the body with prominent red blotches or dots. These blotches of red change to become irregular red vertical lines from just behind the pelvic fins all the way along the flanks, through the caudal peduncle and right to the end of the caudal fin.
The back of the male is dark tan in colour and the belly region is a silvery blue. The dorsal fin is pretty well set back on the elberti species it is coloured a greenish blue with red blotches or stripes the upper part of the fin is edged with yellow and red strip. The anal fin retains pretty much the same colouration of the dorsal with four or five vertical stripes of red and the outside edges laced with yellow and red bars. The pectoral and pelvic fins are reddish and edged with blue. The caudal fin has a very slight lyre extensions to the upper and lower lobes these are edged with blue and red strips.
Female: The female remains somewhat drab in comparison to the male On closer inspection you will notice that the overall body colouration is brownish grey. The back region being darker than the belly area which is silver. All her fins are pretty much clear but they are edged with an orange tinge. Under certain lighting the body of the female will posses rows of small red spots. The fins are more rounded in the female compared to the male.

Aphyosemion bualanum N'tui is a pretty much undemanding species of killifish providing its specific water requirements are met and good maintenance strategies are adhered to. They like to live in very clean water and 25% weekly water changes are one of the keys to success. I keep a pair in a small 18x15x9 glass tank complete with an air driven box filter. The water statistics are keenly checked and regulated to [ pH 7, dKH 2 - Temp 26'C ] Once these parameters are met they are what I would term as very prolific spawner's. Collecting 24-27 eggs per day is not uncommon from my well conditioned adult pair.
Spawning usually takes place in the mops and at all levels, the male will entice the female to a chosen spot in the mop and will wrap his dorsal and anal fins around the female and adopt a characteristic "S" shape then you will notice a sharp jerk, at this point the male will release the female and a single egg will have been deposited within the strands of the mop, it will remain there attached to the mop by an adhesive thread, until I harvest it and place it along with the many others into a small plastic tub.

Eggs and Fry Rearing
I believe that N'tui eggs are pretty robust and can be picked from the spawning mops daily and placed into small plastic tubs. I tried two methods of storage, they being, water incubation and incubation on a shallow layer of peat. Whilst the peat prolongs the incubation time a little I found no difference in hatching numbers or fungus problems from either method. I prefer to water incubate as after the first week it becomes pretty hard to see the eggs using the peat storage method.
The eggs of N'tui are pretty small being around 1.5mm in diameter. They are clear but darken in a few days as the embryo matures. The normal incubation time I found to be around 12-18 days, sometimes the fry are a little reluctant to hatch so the old vigorous agitation method has to be called into use. (Give the egg container a good shake)

A batch of eggs, some of which have just hatched

2 Hour old Aph. bualanum N'tui fry

Once the fry hatch they are transferred into small margarine tubs. I place no more than 6-10 fry in each tub. That way if you have an accident or a problem with one tub at least you don't loose all your fry.
In my opinion these little fry may be too small to handle BBS straight away and not at least for some hours anyway. I have observed them, using the microscope, and for quite some time after hatching their bellies are not coloured orange which you would expect if they were taking this kind of food from the start. So I provide them with some plant matter in the tubs and a drop of Liquifry egglayer to help the infusorians along. After the second day it's pretty much business as usual and they are feeding on BBS normally. The fry tubs are kept very clean and are swapped every other day. 20% waterchanges daily is normal practice for me to be doing with this and most species of killifish fry I handle. with a full 100% waterchange weekly. I'm a dab hand at catching fish fry with the old pipettes. Performing such frequency of waterchanges (from a separate barren holding tank, no fish) I find that the fry really do grow fast. I feed the fry three to four times daily on a mixture of BBS, Microworm and Banana Worm. This constant feeding regime means that the cleanliness within the fry tubs is paramount. I always syphon off any dead or dying BBS and worms before any more food is administered. After around four weeks the fry are ready to be placed in larger tubs (1lb Ice Cream cartons) and water changes can still be maintained as above always remembering to maintain a clean as environment as possible for the fry

This is a pretty nice fish species to deal with and does not provide too much of a challenge as far as breeding goes. Providing the above criteria concerning water conditions are met then I would consider this species to be very prolific mop spawners. The eggs can be water or peat incubated but I feel they prefer to be in water to be honest. Fry are easy enough to rear but may need smaller food than newly hatched brineshrimp for a day or two after hatching. From then on is plain sailing so long as you keep things clean and perform regular waterchanges.

Breeding Overview
Tank size: 18"x15"x9"
Decor: Adults - bare tank with floating mops (dk green), Bogwood with Java Fern and Java Moss attached and Salvinia covering the surface, Fry - Java Moss
Water: Soft, pH 7 Neutral, 36-40 TDS (2dKH)
Temperature: 26'C
Waterchanges: Weekly (40%) for Breeders and Daily (20%) for Fry tubs removing uneaten food. Also a total 100% waterchange weekly.
Filtration: Air driven box filter, floss with added peat and Indian almond leaf.
Feeding: little and often especially fry, remember to syphon off uneaten food.
Lighting: artificial lighting.
If the adults are well fed they don't seem to bother any fry that appear in the parent tank. I have noticed larger fry chasing their smaller siblings to a certain extent but have never witnessed the actual cannibalistic act.

Tight fitting lid is essential as with all killifish species.

Again...Thank you for taking the time to read through this long and informative article, I hope it will help someone starting out to keep killifish and also hobbyists who are having difficulty with this species.