I finally pulled the trigger! Pseudomugil Cyanodorsalis

HarrisonAquatics

Member
I finally did it! I've been wanting a breeding group of Psudeomugil Cyanodorsalis (Blueback Blue-Eye Rainbow) for around 3 years. I originally saw a glimpse of a male displaying for a couple of females in one of Aquarium Co-Op's fish room tour videos while I was playing hookie in high school. Been wanting some ever since - but they're rare. Not too expensive, just hard to find. They pop up relatively often on Aquabid, but I never had a tank free while I was looking for them. Until now!

I ordered 6 juveniles from Gary Lange - a well-known name in the Rainbowfish niche. They should be shipping to me next week! Here's why these guys are so cool:

They're the only available euryhaline rainbowfish. They're found in Northern Australia in salt marshes that can be almost freshwater during the wet season to saltier than the ocean in the dry season. I've seen it claimed that they can handle SG's of 1.000-1.040 for short amounts of time, and SG's of 1.004-1.030 for their life. They tend to thrive in high-end brackish/full marine, though, and they're coming to me at 1.017. I'll probably keep their breeding tank at 1.020, although I plan to keep them in a saltwater planted tank at some point, which is full marine.

This makes them a cool option for saltwater nano tanks. They stay relatively small, are a true schooling fish (which is a rarity in anything but the largest marine tanks), have some amazing coloration while breeding, and are relatively easy to keep, from what I hear. Just can't keep them with stinging corals, although I imagine less aggressive soft coral and SPS would do fine with them.

I'm just psyched to be getting some! I'll update this thread with the breeding tank once it's up and running in a few days - I'm using a 20 long, set up with a few pieces of cured dry rock and breeding mops. The fry will be raised in a 10 gallon. Can't wait!
 

Sweefu

Member
Excellent choice mate!

There's some good info on Aquagreen -
 

SnookusFish

Member
What a great fish, congrats. Only thing that has put me off pseudomugil is the short lifespan but they are so beautiful i would love to keep some. Thats awesome that they school, i wish we had more schooling fish in freshwater. Also i didnt know salwater plants were a thing until now!
Following!!!
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Glad you guys find this interesting!
Sweefu said:
Excellent choice mate!

There's some good info on Aquagreen -
Yeah, there are a few websites that have basic info on them - although I actually hadn't seen that one. Interesting that they say they can do well in alkaline FW - I've always heard it really needs to be at least slightly brackish long-term. Thanks!

SnookusFish said:
What a great fish, congrats. Only thing that has put me off pseudomugil is the short lifespan but they are so beautiful i would love to keep some. Thats awesome that they school, i wish we had more schooling fish in freshwater. Also i didnt know salwater plants were a thing until now!
Following!!!
Thanks! Yeah, they generally live less than two years, right? But, I guess that's the draw of a breeding colony. They breed so easily and quickly that I hope to have a big colony pretty soon, and any selective breeding you try should appear relatively quickly in comparison to some other fish.

Saltwater planted tanks used to be pretty rare! Still are. But they're coming into style a bit. They're lots of fun!

I'm picking up a cheap stand from Walmart today. I was gonna DIY one, but that sounds like work.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Got the stand. It's made by Aqua Culture - I got the 30" version and it was like $60. Not bad, actually. I mean, it's not awesome - but for $60, I doubt you could DIY anything this nice. I've got my 55 on cinderblocks on 2X6's, and that was cheaper, but it looks like ****. This one looks nice, if a little wobbly until weight is put on it.

The tank is a 20 long that I had been using for ghost shrimp breeding until I moved - it was going well, but I took in down in a rush and never cleaned it. There was salt, algae, and dead plants EVERYWHERE, along with some left over gravel and mulm. Ew. I took an old credit card to the algae, and cleaned the tank up with a siphon and vacuum the best I could. It's not perfect, but it'll do.

I also realized that the cured rock had dried out - I was doing a water change on it and forgot to refill the bucket So, I'm going to soak it overnight in tap water to try and get dead bacteria out of it, and I'll seed the tank with a bit of rock and cycled media from one of my saltwater tanks. Should be okay as long as I acclimate the bacteria in a bucket, but I'm still expecting a bit of shock... Hopefully, it'll be okay! The fish should be here on Wednesday or Thursday.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Okay, pics!

Here's the tank before cleaning - caked in algae and salt. Yuck!



Here it is after quite a bit of cleaning, along with sand, water, and rock all thrown in:



Now, a few things:

1) Almost all of the equipment on this tank will be switched out before the fish get here, or shortly after. The Aqueon filter will be replaced with an Aquarium Co-Op sponge filter, the crappy Top Fin heater will be replaced with a Fluval heater, and the oversized LED light will be replaced with an appropriately-sized LED bar (just for viewing, I think).

2) The tank will get a second deep-clean soon. I'll finish the algae scraping, straighten the sand, and make sure the rock is good to go. This tank probably won't be pretty, but it doesn't have to be ugly!

3) I'll be sitting up the fry tanks on the bottom level of the stand. The stand isn't necessarily meant for that, but the bottom piece is just a copy of the top, and I can't imagine it impacting stability. Unless, of course, you guys disagree, and you know more about stands than I do! If so, speak up, please!

The fish should be here on Wednesday, and I'll pick them up after work. Having them shipped to my parents house so they don't get stolen off of my porch while I'm at work.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
This tank has a super temporary inhabitant - an arrow crab from my 40 gallon. I caught him trying to murder a chromis, and he's been suspected of murdering some of my saltwater guppies and other critters. I threw him in here, as it's my only empty SW tank. Ugh. I'll take him to my LFS before the rainbows come in. Just hate that I had a feeling this guy was bad news, but gave him another chance. Super cool critter, but just not for me.

 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
They're here!

Acclimating in a bucket:



The seller told me that they were coming in water with an SG of 1.017 - I lowered my tank to about 1.015, as it's easier on most fish to drop in SG than it is to raise. The water in the bucket that the fish came in was at 1.016 - so I just poured a small amount of water from the tank into the bucket, poured them into a bag, and let them float for 30 minutes. Then, they were let loose.

I can NOT get a good pic of these guys in the tank. The largest of them is still under 1", and the color is subdued due to stress and age. Hopefully with time they'll grow and I'll get some good pics! These are all unsexed, but there's 12 of them, so I'm sure I got some males and females.

The best pic I could get of them in the tank... yeah:

 

Fishcat

Member
Looking forward to seeing how this goes! Deeply cool fish.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Thanks! I'm loving them so far.

Looks like he sent me 6 males and 6 females - cool! The males are already getting a pretty intense blue coloration on their bodies, with just a tinge of yellow on their dorsal fins. That should intensify once they hit sexual maturity in a few weeks. Can't wait!
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Here are a few more pics of them:






Still not great, and I need to clean the glass, but this gives you a bit more of an idea of what I have. The seller said that I won't see any eggs for several weeks to a couple months, but the pictures I took here were of 3 males following a female around. I didn't see any actually egg-laying occur, but it makes me hopeful to see interest.

Oh, and these pics don't capture any color, sadly. The females are basically just white, and a bit see-through - they stay like that, mostly. The males, though, already have a bit of blue coloration on their bodies, and that'll intensify as they age. They should also get some darker black on their extended dorsals, and then, they'll develop yellow on their tails and torsos. Beautiful fish, especially when displaying.

Here's a school of males and females while not breeding:



And here's a trio of males in breeding mode:
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Fed these guys some Baby Brine today. They've been doing well off of crushed flake and Aquarium Co-Op's fry food, but I haven't seen them gorge themselves like they did with the BBS. Heck yeah!

I think their tank needs to find a groove. I'm considering a slightly stronger light to get some algae to grow, and then adding in some pods for them to pick at (or, just to help keep the tank clean). It's a rather sterile environment right now, and I don't like that.

I'm also considering picking up a more powerful air pump, or possibly, a second sponge filter. The water doesn't move much.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Alright, so the tank is pretty ugly, but the fish seem pretty healthy. No losses, good growth, and good coloration out of the males. I'm moving ahead with my plan to give this tank a bit of a make-over, and I think I'm going to try and colony-breed these guys. I know it's pretty hard to do so with Pseudomugils, but I'm hoping that with all the macroalgae and no predators (other than the parents) the fry will have a chance. I'll be receiving a bunch of macroalgae on Thursday or Friday, so I'll be adding them in (and switching the lighting) then.

For now, I'm bumping up the salinity a bit every day. I've been keeping them in a pretty natural SG - 1.015. I'm going to take them to 1.023, which is probably about as low as most macroalgae can go.



 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Finally getting some adult coloration and spawning! Woke up yesterday and saw that 4-5 males had bright yellow bellies with their extended dorsal fins completely black - just like the pictures above! Seems that they're spawning daily in the morning, and calm down by mid-day.

No fry/eggs yet (to my knowledge), but I'll keep this thread updated!
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Excuse my poor camera skills.

 

Joshaeus

Member
GORGEOUS!! I too have considered keeping this species, though I have not bit the bullet yet. I hope you succeed in breeding them...reportedly they are not too difficult once you get them in something more saline than freshwater, though I have not heard of anyone colony breeding them before (I bet many corals would eat the eggs or fry, so keep that in mind if you get corals for the tank).

Just a tip...I was able to talk to someone with a gorgeous macroalgae tank, and he said that one of the keys to its success was dosing enough baking soda daily to add 1 degree KH to the tank. Since free CO2 is scarce in saltwater (courtesy of the high PH), macroalgae and seagrasses are able to split the carbonates in the baking soda and take CO2 from that for photosynthesis (that ability is fairly common in freshwater plants and algae, but essentially universal in saltwater plants and algae); in saltwater aquariums this tends to result in KH levels dropping over the course of the week, making photosynthesis more difficult for macroalgae, seagrasses, or even corals (which have symbiotic algae that also use carbonates). The aforementioned macroalgae keeper found that this regime dramatically improved macroalgae growth, causing the macroalgae to pearl during the photoperiod and requiring that he dose the tank with fertilizers like what one does in a freshwater planted tank.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Joshaeus said:
GORGEOUS!! I too have considered keeping this species, though I have not bit the bullet yet. I hope you succeed in breeding them...reportedly they are not too difficult once you get them in something more saline than freshwater, though I have not heard of anyone colony breeding them before (I bet many corals would eat the eggs or fry, so keep that in mind if you get corals for the tank).

Just a tip...I was able to talk to someone with a gorgeous macroalgae tank, and he said that one of the keys to its success was dosing enough baking soda daily to add 1 degree KH to the tank. Since free CO2 is scarce in saltwater (courtesy of the high PH), macroalgae and seagrasses are able to split the carbonates in the baking soda and take CO2 from that for photosynthesis (that ability is fairly common in freshwater plants and algae, but essentially universal in saltwater plants and algae); in saltwater aquariums this tends to result in KH levels dropping over the course of the week, making photosynthesis more difficult for macroalgae, seagrasses, or even corals (which have symbiotic algae that also use carbonates). The aforementioned macroalgae keeper found that this regime dramatically improved macroalgae growth, causing the macroalgae to pearl during the photoperiod and requiring that he dose the tank with fertilizers like what one does in a freshwater planted tank.
Thanks! They're truly beautiful fish.

I dose iron and Easy Green into my macro tank - I put a mini dose of iron into this tank when I added the macro. I've never heard of the baking soda trick, although it makes sense. I knew that dKH could be an issue, but honestly had never seen that being specified as THE issue for a macro tank. I'll look into it!

I won't be adding any coral or predatory CUC for that reason - to avoid eggs being eaten. There are a few pods and a bunch of mini ceriths, but I avoided all coral (even basic zoa's) and larger snails and crabs. If I still don't succeed in colony breeding, I'll pull eggs. Just wanted to try it the natural way
 

Joshaeus

Member
Here is the thread where I chatted with this fellow about his macroalgae methodology;
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Interesting thread! Beautiful tank, too.

Thus far, the Caulerpa has melted back in both tanks I added it to. Hoping to see some random new growth, but I'm not confident in it. The Halimeda and mystery red macro are both doing well, though.
 

QCAquaholic

Member
Well, I'm jealous. I've wanted them ever since I first saw them, but I'm not ready for brackish yet. My gertrudae and luminatus will have to do for now. Post many pictures of them often.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
I'm glad you like them! They've been a goal of mine for a long time. I just wish they weren't so hard to photograph!
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
I have a baby! Just the one. Maybe 1/2 mm long, max. I don't have a free tank to keep him, so I doubt he'll survive with the parents with the limited cover that's currently in the tank. That said, this proves that P. Cyanodorsalis aren't necessarily eating all of their eggs, and that they aren't necessarily constantly hunting down fry, either. I'm sure there's a lot of predation going on, but this is a good sign, IMO.
 

qldmick

Member
Hey do you think they would show up better with some kind kind of background?
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Possibly! I may try just a basic black background eventually.
 

Joshaeus

Member
Cool! I have heard conflicting reports on whether P. cyanodorsalis fry are large enough to take baby brine shrimp at birth...other Pseudomugil fry need infusoria for the first few days to a week, so I would assume you will need some small foods when you formally attempt to raise some of the fry.

From my research, I found that baby microworms are born no more than 290 microns (.29 mm) long and a mere .13 microns wide; the adults are about 50-70 microns wide and 1500-2000 microns (1.5-2 mm) long. Thus, I have developed a simple way to selectively harvest those tiny juveniles - I harvest my walter worms (which are slightly smaller than microworms but can be harvested and sorted in an identical manner) off of a moist paper towel I place atop the culture media (I use some tank water to rinse the top of the paper towel off into a container), and then pass this water through a 25 micron sieve (I am using a 25 micron rosin bag) into another container, leaving the adults and older juveniles in the sieve but allowing small juveniles to fall into the container. I can then harvest the juvenile worms from the container with a pipette and feed them to fish.

EDIT: Some further research suggests that P. cyanodorsalis is indeed large enough to take baby brine shrimp from day 1 (unsurprisingly, they also have a noticeably longer incubation period than many other Pseudomugil rainbows, which produce tiny fry that do need infusoria). Still, I hope the above info proves helpful if you ever raise smaller, more fragile fry than these.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
I've got a culture of microworms ready to go, but I had planned on mainly feeding baby brine.

Looks like I lost the fry - I found a second guy, and they lived until late last night. I don't see them this morning - ah, well, we'll have more tries.
 

Joshaeus

Member
Yeah, I think it would be best to spawn a small group of these guys in another tank with a spawning mop. Here's another tip...you can enrich the microworms by adding food to their substrate (I use astaxanthin and spirulina powder...you can even use fish oil emulsions, which would increase the fatty acid content of the worms).
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Joshaeus said:
Yeah, I think it would be best to spawn a small group of these guys in another tank with a spawning mop. Here's another tip...you can enrich the microworms by adding food to their substrate (I use astaxanthin and spirulina powder...you can even use fish oil emulsions, which would increase the fatty acid content of the worms).
You make a good point. I may set up a small breeding tank if I have no luck with colony breeding.

So far, I've spotted 5 individual fry. The first 2 were eaten (or, rather, they disappeared) while the remaining 3 have grown a bit and seem to be doing okay.

I've found that I can dump insane amounts of BBS into the tank and they'll live for several days - the salinity of this tank is well within livable range for brine shrimp, and I guess they can live quite a while off of their yolk sac.
 

Joshaeus

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
You make a good point. I may set up a small breeding tank if I have no luck with colony breeding.

So far, I've spotted 5 individual fry. The first 2 were eaten (or, rather, they disappeared) while the remaining 3 have grown a bit and seem to be doing okay.

I've found that I can dump insane amounts of BBS into the tank and they'll live for several days - the salinity of this tank is well within livable range for brine shrimp, and I guess they can live quite a while off of their yolk sac.
Yeah, that makes sense - brine shrimp eggs will hatch in a salinity as low as 5 ppt (in fact, they tend to hatch faster at lower salinities than at sea water strength mixtures). I use a hatching mix - per 1 liter of water - of 2 teaspoons canning salt, 3/4 teaspoon epsom salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda; assuming the baking soda does not contribute anything to salinity, that gives a salinity of about 15.5 ppt, and I have had no problem hatching and enriching brine shrimp in it. (Side note...brine shrimp are very easily fed. They develop mouths about 8-12 hours after hatching, and I enrich brine shrimp by simply feeding them some spirulina and/or astaxanthin powder; there are also commercial feeds available that increase DHA and EPA levels in the brine shrimp, but since you are working with rainbowfishes and not a 'genuine' marine fish that cannot synthesize its own DHA those are not as important).
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Alright, so I've lost a few of these guys due to a faulty heater - I'm down to just two females and four males

But, I have set up a dedicated hatching tank, and have been seeing regular eggs on some macro algae I have in their main tank. How can I move the eggs to the hatching tank? Should I move them in a cup so they aren't exposed to air? Or can I just pull the macro and drop it into the hatching tank?
 

BigBeardDaHuZi

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
Alright, so I've lost a few of these guys due to a faulty heater - I'm down to just two females and four males

But, I have set up a dedicated hatching tank, and have been seeing regular eggs on some macro algae I have in their main tank. How can I move the eggs to the hatching tank? Should I move them in a cup so they aren't exposed to air? Or can I just pull the macro and drop it into the hatching tank?
Noooooo! That sucks

This has been a great thread. I'll be rooting for you
 

V1K

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
But, I have set up a dedicated hatching tank, and have been seeing regular eggs on some macro algae I have in their main tank. How can I move the eggs to the hatching tank? Should I move them in a cup so they aren't exposed to air? Or can I just pull the macro and drop it into the hatching tank?
Maybe you can suck them up with a turkey baster or some other type of large pipette?
 

Joshaeus

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
Alright, so I've lost a few of these guys due to a faulty heater - I'm down to just two females and four males

But, I have set up a dedicated hatching tank, and have been seeing regular eggs on some macro algae I have in their main tank. How can I move the eggs to the hatching tank? Should I move them in a cup so they aren't exposed to air? Or can I just pull the macro and drop it into the hatching tank?
That stinks

As for the eggs, I do not know if they are sensitive to air. If you are worried, the easiest method would probably be moving some macroalgae laden with eggs in a cup.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Yeah, it was sad. It was an old heater - I should have known better.

I've got some urine sample cups that some of my LFS's sell coral frags in. I'll probably move them in one of those. No babies in the tank yet, although it's only been 5-6 days, and I know the hatching time for a lot of the Pseudomugil species is much more than that.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Beginning to wonder if these eggs are going to hatch - I know the incubation period can take a while, but I haven't seen a single fry. Might have to try again.
 

Joshaeus

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
Beginning to wonder if these eggs are going to hatch - I know the incubation period can take a while, but I haven't seen a single fry. Might have to try again.
Seriously Fish gives an incubation period of 2-3 weeks for P. cyanodorsalis eggs. Don't give up yet
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
I almost wonder if amphipods haven't gotten the eggs. I've got a few pods in here that are almost 1/4" long - I can see 7 that are that size right now. Guess they came in on the macro :/
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Still no activity in the breeding tank, and it's been more than three weeks since the adults have been in there. I think the pods I found probably ate the eggs - so maybe in the future a sterile breeder tank with no macro would be a better choice. Time to rethink this!

I'm also going through some fishy changes right now - building new aquarium racks, watching for new tanks to pop up on sale, etc... the hope is to get these guys into a true display rather than an ugly FOWLR that I threw together. We'll see what I come up with! Until then, I'll just keep on conditioning these guys with BBS.
 

SnookusFish

Member
Any updates?
 
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HarrisonAquatics

Member
Unfortunately, I ended up losing the rest of my females, so I gave the remaining males to a friend. I'll try it again someday, but for now, I'm gonna let it go. I'm not sure why I had so many not do well - they grew quickly, were breeding, and then fell apart. Too bad!
 

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