Red-finned Blue-eye - Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis
The Red-finned Blue-eye was scientifically described by Ivantsoff, Unmack, Saeed & Crowley in 1991. Its scientific name is Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis. The species was first collected for scientific purposes by Unmack in 1990.
The Red-finned Blue-eye can reach a length of 2.5 cm (1 inch). The body is chiefly semi-translucent, but the head and the abdomen are silvery. The species is called Red-finned Blue-eye since the adult male develops red fin margins.
Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Red-finned Blue-eye lives in western Queensland, Australia. It lives in pools that get their water from springs. It has only been found in a handful of pools and none of them are very large. The average water depth is just a few centimetres and the surrounding environment is really arid. The bottom of the springs consists of clay.
The spring-fed pools where you can encounter Red-finned Blue-eyes normally have grassy tussocks and similar growing in and near them. Since the surrounding landscape is so dry, there are no trees to shadow the pools from the intense sunlight. During the summer season, the air temperature can go up to 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) and the water can become almost as warm. Since the pools are small and have a low water depth, rapid changes in water temperature will occur as soon as the surrounding air changes. During the winter, the water temperature can drop down to 3 degrees C (37 degrees F).
The Red-finned Blue-eye is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Grazing sheep and cattle have had a negative impact on the habitat, and the species is also threatened by the introduced mosquitofish.
Keeping Red-finned Blue-eye in aquariums
The Red-finned Blue-eye is not a common aquarium species, especially not outside Queensland. Try to resemble the natural environment for Red-finned Blue-eyes when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of hiding spots. The recommended water temperature is 22-32 degrees C (72-90 degrees F).
Little is known about the natural diet of this species. It as been observed picking particular from the substrate, from underwater plants and directly from the water and the species is believed to be an omnivore. It will sometimes take substrate into its mouth, expelling matter and then picking particles from the expelled matter into its mouth again. Since the exact dietary requirements of the Red-finned Blue-eye remains unknown, it is best to provide it with a varied diet in the aquarium. Give your fish both vegetable based and meaty food. You can for instance combine dry prepared food for herbivores and omnivores with meaty food such as small brine shrimp and daphnia.
Breeding Red-finned Blue-eye
The Red-finned Blue-eye becomes sexually mature when it is roughly 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) long. It has normally bred in groups consisting of roughly a dozen fishes. There should always be at least two females for each male.
If you want to coax your Red-finned Blue eyes into spawning, decrease the water depth down to no more than 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) in the aquarium and feed your fish plenty of live food, e.g. insect larvae and tiny crustaceans. Also include suitable spawning medium in the aquarium, e.g. floating spawning mops.
Frequently check the spawning medium for eggs, because the adult fish might eat the eggs unless you move the eggs to a separate container. The eggs are roughly 1-2 mm (0.4-0.8 inch) in diameter and needs to incubate for one to two weeks before hatching. You can feed the fry finely powdered flake food and infusoria until they are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and whole flakes.
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