All species from the genus Cynolebias hail from South America and are true annual fishes. They live in regions subjected to seasonal droughts and all the adult fish will die each year as the dry season caused their puddles to dry out. The species will survive to the next rainy season since the eggs produced by the adult fish has been buried in the soil. When the rainy season begins, the eggs will hatch and the fry can feast on the multitude of animals that multiply at the start of the rainy season. Cynolebias will grow fast, since they must reproduce and burry their eggs before their home dry out. Cynolebias are normally ready to breed when they are around six weeks of age.
Different Cynolebias species prefer different conditions, and it is therefore important to research the particular species that you are interested in. The various Cynolebias species come from very diverse parts of the South American continent and are therefore used to different environments, even if their habitats do have a lot in common as well, such as the seasonal droughts. In the Bahia region of Brazil you can for instance encounter Cynolebias albipunctatus, an interesting Cynolebias species that prefers a water temperature between 26 and 30 degrees C. In the lower Parana basin, around Rio de la Plata, in Argentina and Uruguay, you can instead come across Cynolebias bellottii, the Argentine Pearlfish.
Cynolebias fish are quite similar to Nothobranchius fish, but with a few notable differences. One noticeable difference is how they deposit their eggs. In captivity, Nothobranchius fish will place their eggs on top of any substrate that they can find in the aquarium. It can for instance be sand, peat moss or similar. Cynolebias species on the other hand wants to bury their eggs really deep down to ensure their survival when the puddle dries out completely. You should therefore give your Cynolebias fish a spawning container filled with a deep layer of peat moss. During spawning, the couple will swim deep down into the peat moss and bury the eggs as deep as possible.
If you want to breed a Cynolebias species, you will need a plastic container and some peat moss. Cut a hole in the lid of the plastic container, just large enough for the fish to swim through. Fill the container with peat moss and secure the lid. Place the container at the bottom of your aquarium and wait for the fish to notice it. If the container floats, you can put some pebbles inside it to weigh it down. When the spawning has been completed, remove the container and gently squeeze out the water from the peat moss. Store the peat moss in a dry place at room temperature for 3-6 months, depending on which species you are trying to breed. When you want the eggs to hatch, place the peat moss in a dish and pour over at least 2 inches of 15-20 degree C water.
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