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Zoogoneticus sp. "Tequila" - By Eric Bodrock

  I have seen these fish offered before in the hobby (usually at a sky-high price!) and had put them in the back of my mind as a fish I'd like to work with someday (my mind has way too many of those type fish in there too!).  I acquired a young adult pair, along with two youngsters, about a year ago.  As a couple of months pasted, the adult pair put on a little size and the two youngsters both grew out to be females, both sexes just reach two inches in total length when fully grown.  They were all housed together in a bare bottomed, 20-gallon aquarium, which was filtered by a large sponge filter.  A handful of marine-type sand was added to help buffer the pH up a bit to 7.6.  The outside bottom and back of aquarium was painted black.  A large clump of Java Moss took up a good portion of the area inside.  The aquarium was also covered well to prevent loss from jumping.  Overhead lighting low, but a bit of sunlight reached the front of the aquarium in the afternoon for a few hours. 

Their diet consisted of a large assortment of flakes, frozen bloodworms and live black worms once or twice a day. In addition, live baby brine shrimp fed once a day.  Fifty percent water changes were done about every seven to ten days.  Temperature maintained around 75F and the TDS reading averaged 248 ppm. 

It took a good while before I ever noticed that any of the females were getting exceptionally full-bellied to the point I was looking for fry to be born anytime soon.  Once I did see a heavy female, rather than remove her, I just checked the tank several times a day for fry.  The fry were spotted swimming near the surface along the back of the aquarium, against the black background.  I'm sure this provided them with excellent camouflage from the adults since the one-centimeter long fry are mostly black and dirty silver in color.  This first spawning was of ten live fry (that I found) and several DOA.  Spawns since have ranged from three to eight and I have noticed that there are often a few fry born dead with each spawning.  I would think that the adults are spawning more often than I'm aware, but I have never found a fry that has grown up in the tank with the breeders, which tends to make me believe that they will eat their own young if given the opportunity.  When moved to their own aquarium and started off with live baby brine shrimp, microworms and crushed flakes, the fry grow without problems.  Sex ratios in the several batches of fry I've grown out seem to be close to even.

Eric Bodrock
May 2003

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