The Black Ghost has returned to form. He is once again a rich velvety black color. He and one of the female Neolamprologus nigriventris spawned recently. You can see a young one in the video below.
I understand that this will come as bad news for some of you, but I am no longer attempting to fulfill the waiting list for Neolamprologus nigriventris fry. I still have the adult fish, but they have been extremely fickle spawners. Those few of you who managed to get some of the fry, rejoice. The last four or five spawns have had very minimal hatch out rates - and that for what are already small batches of eggs. Several of the spawns disappeared days after the eggs appeared. I suspect the adults ate them, though I cannot say why.
To make matters worse, one of the males gave his female partner a terrible beating following a water change in the tank. She nearly bit it, but managed to revive in a solo tank. She is now with the Black Ghost (pictured above) in a 75 gallon aquarium. Hopefully I will get some more activity out of them, but I can't say. If I do manage to raise some additional fry, I will post them when available. My apologies to those of you waiting patiently on fry. Sometimes things just don't work out. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.
I took a few photos today and had little success in getting the shots I intended. I did manage a few reasonable shots that were not what I was looking for. Above is a juvenile Neolamprologus nigriventris from the second batch of fry I have managed to coax from my breeders. These guys have a mixed bloodline - always a plus - and are the first offspring from the Black Ghost in quite some time.
Below is a shot of a rock covered in hydra. I don't know a great deal about these invertebrates. They are micro-predators, feeding on small live prey. That can include fry if they are unfortunate, though I haven't noticed any problems and this shot is from a tank housing breeding exLamprologus similis. The hydra thrive in tanks that get live baby brine shrimp feedings. I found an informative blog post on them that was very interesting.
I also updated the Currently Keeping page. At the last two swap meets I attended I moved some of my adult fish, including a breeding pair of Lepidiolamprologus nkambae and a breeding trio of albino Neolamprologus brichardi. Now I have a lot of young fish growing out. That seems to be pretty common for me. I enjoy watching young fish grow. They are rarely as beautiful as healthy adults, but there is always excitement in their activity. In contrast, some of the adult fish get very boring and complacent. Plus I can usually keep more fish when they are young than when they are full-sized adults. Makes sense.
Those of you who long to keep this species already know the answer to the title question. This is a male Neolamprologus nigriventris of Lake Tanganyika. He is one of two males I have and the father of the fry in the video below. I am happy to say that I now have two pair of N. nigriventris breeding simultaneously in side-by-side tanks. That means that I will begin reaching out to the people on my waiting list for fry. Of course, they produce small spawns and the fry take a little time to grow to salable size, so be patient if you are on the list. I will eventually get to everyone, God willing.
For now, enjoy a short video of the first batch feeding away on live baby brine shrimp. They have yet to attain their adult color and currently resemble N. leleupi, though much less intensely colored.
As a bonus for those livebearer enthusiasts out there, there are some Girardinus metallicus swimming around in the tank as well. I just love that species.
I am at that place where I wonder what the hell I am doing. I have all of these fish tanks with fish that I love, but they have become shackles. I can't leave the house for more than a day because the tiny baby fish simply won't survive without regular feedings. And, to be honest, I really need to be home to feed the youngsters between three and four times a day. To top it off, when I manage to grow the fry out to salable size without any hick-ups, I often don't get much of a return on my efforts.
I think maybe I am reaching that point where I realize that I have warped my hobby by trying to make money off of it - which I really don't. I used to keep fish because I was awed by them. I still am, but that used to be the only reason I kept them. Now it is just one of the reasons and hardly justifies the amount of effort and money I sink into my fish.
I would like to be a writer of fiction. That is a full time job. To be successful at it you have to write religiously. I simply can't manage it with the fish. When they aren't requiring my attention, they manage to steal it away anyhow. I can't be around a bunch of fish and not get distracted by them. They are naturally captivating.
Add to this the fact that I am still single. I would like to get married someday. Sooner rather than later. The fish are an obstacle. I can't just ignore them.
I am torn. Part of me cries out to leave them behind and move on with my life, fish free. Another part gazes at these beautiful creations and says, "Don't do it! You'll regret it!" I might. I probably will. I am on the edge. One step forward or two steps back? I don't know which way to go.
Included are two videos exhibiting reasons why I find it difficult to walk away.
Its a new year and the Black Ghost, a male Neolamprologus nigriventris, was on display with a new color combination I hadn't yet seen from him. It is a dark gray with the yellow highlights in his eyes and the fringe of his dorsal and caudal fins showing up brightly. I took a few photos. Try to ignore the scratches in the glass.
For those of you who were disappointed by the loss of my female breeder Neolamprologus nigriventris - I imagine some of you were, but God only knows - rejoice! I have acquired some new stock. The fish were sold to me as a trio (1M, 2F), but I suspect after initial visual inspection - I did not vent them yet - that it is in fact two males and a single female. I also received a juvenile fish that had survived in the tank with the parents. I am disappointed because I had intended to pair one of the females with my remaining male and therefor have two pairs of breeders. Instead I will likely end up with one pair and two extra males. Of course, I could be wrong. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I am often wrong about things.
These fish are slightly smaller than my male, he being between five and six inches long whereas the two larger newcomers are four inches plus and the likely female is about half an inch shorter.
In any case, I took a few pictures of the new fish. They were quite skittish, having just moved to their new temporary homes. Initially all three fish refused to show more than their snouts, hiding inside of clay flower pots. You can see that the largest of the three built a large sand pile in front of his entrance. I love cichlid personality. Eventually I managed to get a full body photo of the likely female and one of the suspected males.
I haven't passed on to the next life just yet. A lot has happened since my last post regarding my fish. If you take a look at what I am Currently Keeping you will notice that I have fewer fish than in my previous updates. I have sold off a significant chunk of what I had in order to make my hobby more enjoyable and less stressful. My dream is to be a writer of fiction and part of writing is sacrificing other time consuming activities, of which I have many. One of those is my addiction to fish keeping. I will be attending a swap meet of the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association this coming Sunday (Nov. 15th) and plan to move a handful of other fish as well.
For those of you who have contacted me about the species Neolamprologus nigriventris (and this is by far the species I get the most questions about), I have some sad news. I have long kept my male and female breeders separate in abeyance, waiting for a time when I could put them back together again in an appropriately-sized aquarium. Unfortunately, the female, Dainty Lady, died in August. I am now counted among the many who are searching for this species. I still have the Black Ghost, though he is more of a grey ghost without his lady around to spur him to greater beauty.
I intentionally eliminated the majority of livebearers from what I am keeping. I only kept three species: Limia perugiae, Limia melanogaster, and Girardinus metallicus. The perugiae and metallicus are probably my two favorite wild-type livebearers at this point in time.
My plan for the future - and I have no idea how near or far down the road this will be - is to put in a rack of six 40 gallon breeder aquariums which will serve as housing for my breeders. That means I will be limiting myself to between six and twelve different species of cichlid. I have to make some hard choices about what I want to focus on, but I know that I can't keep operating in the fashion I had been, which consisted of constantly buying more fry of species I like and forcing them in, somewhere, only to run out of space as they grew. That is a fool's way. I don't want to be a fool. It isn't fair to the fish. God did not intend them to live the way I have forced them to, all crammed together. Granted, everything about life in an aquarium is unnatural, but appropriate maintenance makes a world of difference. My plan is to keep fewer fish in better environments and spawn them for years. That way the fish I like will be around for awhile.