The genus Cynolebias is the largest of the genera found in the Killifish group. Cynolebias Killifish look a lot like the African Nothobranchius, but the Cynolebias Killifish has more elegantly shaped fins and is less colourful than the Nothobranchius. Wild Cynolebias Killifish are only found in South America, in a region stretching from Brazil to the north and all the way down to Argentina on the southernmost part of the continent.
Cynolebias Killifish species are often kept in aquariums, and will usually tolerate ordinary tap water unless the tap water is unusually hard. The do however prefer soft water and should ideally be provided with this. The water temperature should be in the 20-25º C range. Cynolebias Killifish will feel less stressed if kept in a planted aquarium where plants such as Duckweed provide a natural cover. Cynolebias Killifish is best kept on a live food diet, e.g. Daphnia, Brine Shrimp nauplii and worms. Cynolebias Killifish can be coaxed into accepting non-live foods, but will do much better on a live diet. Live food will usually make the Cynolebias Killifish display more striking colours and the fish will also show more natural behaviours when fed live food. One of the easiest and cheapest way of providing your Cynolebias Killifish with live food is to raise your own Brine Shrimp.
Wild Cynolebias Killifish place their eggs in the mud, where the eggs will stay protected during the dry season. When the rainy season begins several months later, the eggs will hatch. You can successfully breed many Cynolebias Killifish species in aquariums as long as you simulate a dry season for the eggs. You will need to obtain a plastic container or similar, and some peat moss. The moss should be boiled and then carefully rinsed until it is very clean. Put the peat moss inside the plastic container and close the container with a lid. The lid must have a small opening through which the Cynolebias can access the container. If your container tends to float or fall over in the aquarium, you can place some stones at the bottom of the container to give it stability. The peat moss need to be changed every few weeks to avoid anaerobic bacteria infestations.
When you have gotten your Cynolebias Killifish into breeding condition, the male will choose a spawning site, hopefully the prepared container, and try to convince the female to deposit their eggs there. The male Cynolebias will spend a lot of time hanging out over the top of the spawning site, while the female Cynolebias swims around in the aquarium and actually tries to stay away from the spawning site. When she is ready to spawn, she will swim close to the male at the spawning site and deposit her eggs. When the eggs are deposited and fertilized, it is time for you to simulate a severe drought.
When the eggs have been deposited and fertilized the container should be removed from the aquarium, and the peat moss be poured through a fine net. Try to remove almost all the moist by gently squeezing and pressing the peat moss. The peat moss should then be put inside a plastic bag. Choose a storage place where the temperature stays relatively constant, 20-25º C is ideal. For the Cynolebias eggs, this is the beginning of the dry season. How long you should keep the eggs in the plastic bag will depend on which Cynolebias species you are breeding. Try to find out the natural environment for your particular Cynolebias species and investigate how long the dry season typically lasts in that region. It is not possible to provide any general advice, since Cynolebias Killifish inhabit such diverse parts of South America.
Simulate the start of the rainy season by placing the eggs in a fry raising container. When the eggs are soaked in water they will begin to develop and eventually hatch. The fry raising container do not have to be very deep, as long as it has enough surface area. The ideal water quality will be different for each Cynolebias species. Try to imitate their natural environment as good as possible. You can put some anti-fungus treatment in the fry raising container to lower the risk of fungus problems, since Cynolebias eggs as well as fry are quite vulnerable and prone to fungus infestations. When the eggs have hatched you can feed the emerging fry baby brine shrimp. As the Cynolebias fry grow larger they will be able to eat bigger and bigger brine shrimp.
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