Blueback Blue-eye - Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis
The Blueback Blue-eye was scientifically described by Allen & Sarti in 1983. Its scientific name is Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis. It was first collected in 1981 by Larson, the Curator of Fishes at the Northern Territory Museum in Darwn.
The Blueback Blue-eye is a small fish that can reach a length of 3.5 cm (1.4 inch). The body is semi-translucent and the fins are clear.
The male Blueback Blue-eye has a neon blue back and the second dorsal and anal fins are yellowish. These fins also feature dark anterior edges and this dark colour can also be seen on the upper edge of the pectoral fin. The pectoral region is brassy orange or yellowish, and so are the gill covers. All colours will intensify dramatically during the breeding period.
Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Blueback Blue-eye is a marine and estuarine fish that can be found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It lives in swamps and creeks in mangrove environments strongly affected by tidal changes. The bottom is normally muddy and the water depth can rapidly go from several metres (1 m = 40 inches) to just a few centimetres (1 cm = 0.4 inches). The water temperature will normally stay within the 22-31 degrees C (72-88 degrees F) range. The Blueback Blue-eye is sometimes found in hypersaline waters, i.e. waters where the salinity is higher than the average salinity of sea water.
The Blueback Blue-eye is not included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Keeping Blueback Blue-eye in aquariums
Since the Blueback Blue-eye is a marine and estuarine species you must learn about how to maintain a brackish aquarium before your decide to keep this fish. The fish can adapt to nearly fresh water, but it is not healthy for it in the long run and brackish conditions are definitely recommended. In the other end of the scale, the Blueback Blue-eye can adapt to a salinity of up to 40 ppt. (On average, seawater has a salinity of 35 ppt.)
A 30 litre (8 gallon) aquarium is large enough to house 20 Blueback Blue-eyes, provided that you know how to keep the water quality up in a small aquarium. ust like many other sea- and estuarine living animals, the Blueback Blue-eye is sensitive to high levels of organic waste products and you must therefore keep the amounts of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate really low in the aquarium. Changing 20-25% of the water each week is a good rule of thumb, but you must be prepared to modify it to suit your particular aquarium. Keep a lid in the aquarium, since Blueback Blue-eyes are powerful jumpers.
Many normal aquarium plants can not cope with brackish conditions and it is therefore easier to use stones, wood and other types of aquarium decoration in order to create hiding spots for your Blueback Blue-eyes. You can also choose plant species that live in brackish environments in the wild or are exceptionally sturdy and adaptable.
The Blueback Blue-eye needs a varied and nutritious diet. You can for instance use dry prepared food as base and supplement with frequent servings of live food, e.g. insect larvae and small crustaceans.
Breeding Blueback Blue-eye
The Blueback Blue-eye has been bred in aquariums. If you want to give it a try, you should provide your fish with a suitable spawning medium, e.g. spawning mops. The Blueback Blue-eye normally spawns during the early morning hours and the female will release only a few eggs (up to 12) each day. The safest course of action is to move the spawning medium with the eggs to a separate container to avoid predation. The eggs will hatch after roughly two weeks. You can feed the fry egg yolk and infusoria until they are large enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp. If kept on a nutritious diet, the fry will normally be large enough to sex within two months.
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