The male, Haplochromis
philander, would lie sideways tipped at about
45 degrees to the bottom of the aquarium with one
of his fins spread out on the glass bottom. The
female swam around picking up the eggs as she laid
them, and occasionally she'd get a little confused
and apparently mistake the pattern of spots on the
his fin for one of her eggs, and she'd peck at the
pattern on the male's fin.
We weren't smart enough
to figure out what was going on, but later we learned
that when she pecked at the males fin, he would
release his sperm and fertilized the eggs right
in her mouth. I first saw this a long time ago,
but I remember it like it was yesterday.
The mother fish eat
nothing at all or very little, while they brood
the eggs in their mouths. Really the females eat
practically no food at all. Sometimes actually no
food for three weeks. After about 21 days the female
would release babies that had hatched from the eggs
in her mouth. The babies were easy for us to raise.
They were much bigger than Killie Fish babies, grew
faster, and were much easier to care for than the
baby Killie Fish.
We began to make money
selling them. Quite a bit of money. We could afford
to buy Burtoni Fish, but this time we got 10 or
12, and they began to spawn immediately. The only
thing we had lacked years before was more than 2
fish. If we'd had 6 or 8 Burtoni, we'd have spawned
them. But we had to learn how to spawn Killies,
and do this, and do that, before we could come back
and spawn the Burtoni just like snapping our fingers.
Really it was very easy, after we could do it.
Series of Accidents
We gained lots of experience, money, and equipment
by breeding the Killie Fish, the fish we called
Philander, the Burtoni, and some other fish. Looking
back, it all seems like a long series of accidents
that gave us just the right conglomeration of techniques
and equipment to begin breeding the famous Mbuna
Cichlids from Lake Malawi, when they were first
exported from Africa and exploded into the aquarium
hobby. But that's another story. Click
here for more about the Mbuna Cichlids.
here to read about the mouth brooding Mbuna
Cichlids in Giselle's Restaurant.
About Killie Fish
Recently Tony Terceira
found our web site, and when he sent us an email,
we recognized his name as someone we'd known long
ago, when we were just trying to get started breeding
a few fish. We exchanged email with Tony and reminisced
with him a little about the old days. We told him
how much we appreciated the good advice and help
that he and other experienced aquarists had given
to us a long time ago.
Finally, Tony said
he just couldn't stand the fact that this web site
didn't have a single picture of a Killie Fish. So
he sent us the picture shown above of a beautiful
Killie Fish for all of us to enjoy. The fish in
this picture is a male of a species that was called
Aphyosemion australe, when we bred them, but scientists
learn more about fish all the time, and sometimes
they agree with each other that a scientific name
needs to be changed.
So this fish may have
a different scientific name now. The fish in the
picture is probably between 1.5 and 2 inches long.
Tony says he'll send us some more information about