Madagascar Killifish Pachypanchax patriciae
After joining the American Killifish Association and their local North Florida branch, the Suncoast Killifish Society, I have become involved in finding and breeding rare Pachypanchax genus of isolate Madagascar killies. Once common in the hobby, their stocks have dwindled and several of their native habitats have been killed by severe droughts, strip mining flooding whatever waters are left with silt and mud and predation from introduced livebearers and other invasive species. Unless rare and undiscovered pockets of these fish exist, several species may have gone completely extinct.
To my delight, I was able to find a breeder that had a pair of Pachypanchax patriciae. I reached out to him and he sent me a pair to help with the A.K.A.'s preservation program. These fish were originally collected by Dr. Paul Loiselle in the 2000's. They occur in two different color morphs, one a red color morph endemic to northern parts of their home river basin (Mahavavy du Nord basin) and a blue color morph at the southern end in creeks and ponds near Itasy & Ampandra Creek (Loiselle, 2016). Please click the green link to watch a presentation by Dr. Loiselle on Madagascar and the plight of their native killies. Dr. Loiselle feels like Pachypanchax killies make the perfect beginner's killifish, as they're undemanding about water parameters and can withstand extremes in temperatures from the mid 60's f. (18c.) to 114+ f. (48c.). They're hardy and long lived and are accepting of live, frozen and prepared foods. They are also apparently prolific plant spawners and are ideal for permanent setups in a 30+ gallon species aquarium. They appreciate cover plants like daphnia, salvinia, watersprite and Amazon frogbit but also love thickets of najas grass and mosses like java moss. Spawning mops are also welcomed by this species. They have a pleasant, easy going disposition and do not consume their young (although older fry do predate on younger fry). They can also be quite long lived, with some of Dr. Loiselle's fish living in excess of 10+ years per his observations.
So, these are my first pair. They're currently living in a 10 gallon tank with a dual sponge filter and a small heater. The tank is packed with acrylic yarn spawning mops, najas grass and a giant lump of java moss. The couple have been leisurely exploring their tank and had their first meal of live California blackworms last night and have found out how good bug bites from fluval taste this morning. They're acting completely normal and are curious about their new owner and calmly watch me from time to time while I putter around the fish room. Killies are one of those smart fish species that will pause and give you the once over, evaluating you and what you mean to them in that moment. Eventually, I expect that to turn into the shimmy-shimmy-feed-me dance when I walk into the fish room eventually. We'll see how many days it takes.
Now that i've been able to establish that I have a pure line and know the lineage of the fish that I have, the plan is to allow these guys to breed for a bit in the 10 gallon tank over the spring and collect the eggs for water incubation in separate aquariums. This will prevent older fry from predating on younger fry for the first few clutches. Once the fry are of sufficient size to avoid being eaten, I will put them into a larger permanent planted setup. As of this post, this species is an IUCN and C.A.R.E.S. preservation species that might now be extinct in the wild. The A.K.A. is encouraging any breeder members with access to a population to set up breeding programs for not just Pachypanchax genus, but also several other threatened to extinct species. So, since these killifish seem like ideal killies to re-introduce back into the hobby, I am now going to attempt that with these guys. If i'm successful and they breed for me, i'll have Charlie Nunziata at the A.K.A. add me as a breeder maintaining these fish.
I plan to make this thread sticky and provide regular updates. Hobbyists can still perform good aquatic husbandry skills to preserve threatened and extinct species around the world. Even the ones in your own backyard. Whatever fish you love (or inverts, plants, herps, birds, etc..), it doesn't hurt to try and save what may be an extinct species. The only real failure is not trying.
** Update **
Good morning. Here's a recent video. The male is starting to color up a little.