Popondetta Blue-eye - Pseudomugil connieae
The Popondetta Blue-eye was described in 1981 by Allen and its scientific name is Pseudomugil connieae. It is named Popondetta after the capital of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province (also known as the Northern Province). The fish was first collected in 1978 by Allen and Parkinson.
The Popondetta Blue-eye can reach a length of 6 cm (2.4 inches), but most specimens stay smaller than 5 cm (2 inches). The body of the fish is grey or olive coloured on the back, while the lower half is semi-translucent or whitish. The mid-lateral stripe is greyish. On the basal half of the anal and both dorsal fins, you can see a black stripe. This stripe is more prominent in males. The middle caudal fin rays are blackish. A contrasting yellow colour is present on the outer half of the dorsal fins and on the lobes of the caudal fin.
The male Popondetta Blue-eye will normally develop yellowish breast coloration and a thin yellow stripe that runs along the lower edge of his body. The adult male can also be recognized on his elongated first dorsal fin, which comes with a filamentous tip.
Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Popondetta Blue-eye lives in eastern Papua New Guinea. It has only been located within a 50 km (31 mile) radius from Popondetta, which is the capital of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province (also known as the Northern Province). Oro is a coastal province situated in the south-eastern part of Papua New Guinea. The region where you can find Popondetta Blue-eye is located close to the Solomon Sea.
The Popondetta Blue-eye seems to favour small and fairly fast flowing tributaries where the water is clear, but more research is necessary before anyone can know for sure. The environment in which the Popondetta Blue-eye lives is dominated by a lowland river plain which is dissected by an abundance of winding streams. A lot of the region is still pristine rainforest, but significant areas have been turned into cleared grassland. The Popondetta Blue-eye is listed as “Lower Risk: least concern” at the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Keeping Popondetta Blue-eye in aquariums
Keeping Popondetta Blue-eye is not very hard. It can be kept in a species aquarium or be combined with other small and peaceful species in a community aquarium. A 40 litre (8 gallon) aquarium is large enough to keep Popondetta Blue-eye, provided that you know how to keep the water quality up in a small aquarium.
Try to mimic the natural Popondetta Blue-eye habitat when you set up your aquarium and include areas dense vegetation and plenty of hiding spots. Floating plants are highly recommended, since they will make your Popondetta Blue-eyes feel more at home. Keep the water alkaline, from pH 7.7 to 7.9. The recommended water temperature is 24-28 degrees C (75-82 degrees F).
Feed your Popondetta Blue-eyes a varied and nutritious diet. You can for instance use dry prepared food as a base and supplement with daily servings of live meaty food like brine shrimp and larvae. Natural algae growth in the aquarium is also beneficial.
Breeding Popondetta Blue-eye
Popondetta Blue-eyes are bred both in pairs and groups and will reach sexual maturity when they are roughly 3-4 months old. If you want to breed Popondetta Blue-eye it is advisable to keep your fish in a well planted aquarium where they feel safe. Include dense java moss, since this an appreciated spawning medium. Spawning mops can also be used.
If the male becomes really aggressive towards a female, they are probably not a compatible pair and you should separate them before the female sustains serious injury. Normal courting behaviour consists of the male swimming rapidly around and showing off, with his dorsal, anal and pelvic fins fully erected.
Popondetta Blue-eyes normally spawn during the early morning hours and the female will release a few eggs each day throughout the breeding period. In a well planted aquarium, at least a few fry will survive if left with the parents. If you want to higher survival rate, it is best to move the eggs to a separate container. The eggs need quite a long period of incubation before they hatch. Even if you keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, you should not expect them to hatch until after at least two weeks. Sometimes the eggs need to incubate for over 20 days. You can feed the fry infusoria and powdered flake food until they are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp.
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