The island of Madagascar has over the past few years yielded a number of new species of Bedotia. Conservation of all genera of fish from Madagascar is vital as so many face a very real threat of extinction. This is due to the incredible amount of often illegal logging that has and is taking place. Fortunately there are aquarists around who are dedicated to keeping, breeding and doing everything possible to ensure the future of these species. Alex Saunders of the Denver Zoo is one such individual and Christophe Malliet of Berlin is another. Both gentlemen are breeding many of the species and distributing them to other aquarists who are prepared to maintain small populations of them. In 2006, I was very fortunate to obtain some sp. Namorona from Christophe and since the New Year, have been successful in breeding them. The young fish are now being made available to UK aquarists.
Bedotia sp. Namorona is a very undemanding species and must be considered one of the easier ones to breed. The young fish bred by Christophe came to me via Fischaus Zepkow and good friend Stefan Van Der Voort in Holland and were about 5 to 6cm S.L. Even at this size (approximately half full size) they were ready to spawn. The tank was a small 45 x 30 x 30cm aquarium. Water was very hard and alkaline – untreated tap water. The only plant used was a large clump of Java Moss. I had four males and six females and they were soon all spawning in the moss. Good feeding on plenty of live food such as Tubifex and Daphnia ensured they kept in good condition. No attempt was made to harvest the eggs as I wanted to find out if the adults would eat the fry. The time between egg laying and hatching appeared to be in the region of eleven days. The fry were completely untouched by the adult fish but for ease of growing on were netted out and placed in a small 25 x 20 x 20cm tank fitted with a sponge filter. They were quite large in terms of Rainbow fish fry and it was only a few days before they were able to consume newly hatched brine shrimp. Again, surprisingly for Rainbow fry, they grew quite rapidly and it was only a matter of a few weeks before they had to be moved to much larger tanks. In just about three months, they have reached about 3.5 to 4 cm S.L. Colour development is quite slow. Only when they reached around three cm did they start to show any colour. At four cm they have some colour in the caudal fin and the mirror like scales along the flanks are evident.
Strood and District Aquarist Society run a fry rearing competition each year. This year, members have been provided with four young fish each. At the end of November, at least one pair from each member will be brought to a club meeting and judged according to the FBAS judging criteria. Members have been asked in addition to provide details of how they kept the fish, what food was given and as many details of care as possible (water change frequency etc). It is hoped to photograph all entries and the data made available to Christophe and Alex.
Alex has a web site which features the fish of Madagascar. It can be found on www.madagascarfish.org It is a treasure of information.
© P.W.Cottle & SDAS 2007.