Forktail Blue-eye - Pseudomugil furcatus
The Forktail Blue-eye was scientifically described by Nichols in 1955. Its scientific name is Pseudomugil furcatus. The species was first collected near the village of Pumani in 1953 by Van Deusen who was a part of the American Museum of Natural History's Archbold Expedition. The second time is was collected was nearly three decades later, when Allen and Crockford found it at Safia.
The Forktail Blue-eye can reach a length of 6 cm (2.4 inches) but will normally stay smaller than this. The Forktail Blue-eye features yellow pelvic fins and the upper edge of the pectoral fins is also yellow. The fish looks similar to its close relative the Popondetta Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil conniea), but does not display any black striping on dorsal and anal fins, and the margins of these fins are yellow instead of white. The caudal fin has narrow black upper and lower margins.
The adult male Forktail Blue-eye has an elongated first dorsal fin with filaments at the tip.
Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Forktail Blue-eye lives in lowland streams in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea. You can find these fishes from Dyke Ackland Bay to Collingwood bay. It seems to favour clear and densely grown rainforest streams, but more research is necessary before we can know if this is the only type of water where you can find Forktail Blue-eyes.
The Forktail Blue-eye is listed as “Lower Risk: least concern” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Keeping Forktail Blue-eye in aquariums
Try to mimic the natural Forktail Blue-eye habitat when you decorate the aquarium and include plenty of hiding spots. Floating plants are highly appreciated. The water should be alkaline, preferably around pH 7.6. The recommended water temperature is 24-26 degrees C (75-79 degrees F).
You must provide your Forktail Blue-eye with a varied diet if you want it to stay healthy. You can for instance combine high-quality flake food for omnivores with live food such as insect larvae and brine shrimp.
Breeding Forktail Blue-eye
The Forktail Blue-eye can be bred in pairs or groups. It will normally become sexually mature when it is around 3-4 months old. A planted aquarium is recommended for breeding purposes, since it will make the fish feel more at home. A dense clump of java moss can be used as spawning medium and spawning mops are also known to be appreciated by this species.
Before any spawning happens, the male will show off by swimming back and forth in the aquarium while keeping his dorsal, anal and pelvic fins in an erect position. He can be a little aggressive towards the female, but if he becomes really aggressive you should separate them because they are most likely not compatible and the female might get hurt if she is forced to stay with him.
Like many other species of blue-eye and rainbowfish, the Forktail Blue-eye normally spawns in the early morning. The female will release a few eggs each day. If you want to increase the survival rate, move the spawning medium with the eggs to a separate container to avoid predation.
Forktail Blue-eye eggs will normally hatch after 2-3 weeks. The fry can be fed infusoria and crushed flake food until they are large enough to devour newly hatched brine shrimp and un-crushed flakes.
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