Breeding success for endangered fish

Posted: 21st April, 2019

Behind the scenes our Aquarists not only work to conserve the large animals, but the smaller, lesser known creatures too. These little killifish are an endangered species. Isolated to the remote lakes in Madagascar, they can be found nowhere else on the planet. 

A pink-tinged, rounder tummy is a sign that a female is gravid (has eggs) and is ready to mate, so our team have created separate nursery habitats to offer a safe and robust spawning site. They have developed small floating blocks, complete with thick cotton tendrils that trail deep into the water column to act as artifical spawning site. These replicate the root systems of floating plants – a preferred egg laying spot for this species. When ready, a male is introduced for spawning to take place.

After a couple of days, the female is removed and the eggs left to incubate. With continued monitoring and water care, the eggs will hatch after just a few weeks. Despite only being millimetres in size, they are fully independent.These habitats will act as a nursery until the juveniles are big enough to move into the main display.

The Deep is working with ZSL London Zoo to raise more awareness around the importance of killifish to their natural range, with an aim to help safeguard them for the future.

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