I found this article on my computer. I do not recall from whence it originated. It is written by Andrew Broome. I copied the photo from www.vectrapoint.com
to provide flavor for the eyes.
Lampeyes have traditionally been under-represented both in our tanks and in the hobby literature. The current species in New Zealand is the first I've seen here although in the past (10 years ago) there were rumours of other lampeyes being occasionally imported. They're quite a different fish to most killies and certainly wont appeal to everyone. I like them though and think they make a welcome addition to the fish species available here.
I first saw P. normani
in a fish shop in Napier in February of 1996 labelled as "Normans Tetra." Never having seen a lampeye before I didn't really know what these so-called tetras were but since they looked like killies to me, I bought them. Since then I've bred a few and learnt quite a bit along the way.
was described by Ahl in 1928 from fish caught in Northern Nigeria (Kiyawe River, close to Katagum). It was named after the British ichthyologist J. R. Norman. It's a rather widespread fish being found from coastal West Africa and through Central Africa to southern Sudan. They're a relatively deep bodied Poropanchax
species with fairly long unpaired fins especially on the males. Males get up to about 45mm, have a greyish-blue body sometimes with dark edgings to the scales. Variable at the population level is the colour of the unpaired fins, which may vary between shades of yellow, red, orange and violet. The fish we have in New Zealand seem to show some yellow in the fins typically. The female is a few mm smaller and lacks the extended finnage and most of the colour.
Both sexes have a striking light blue reflective spot on the upper part of the iris and it's from this that the group of fish, as a whole, get their common names. It is possible to literally see the eyes of these fish from across the room and it makes the fish quite an interesting addition to a suitable community tank. The blue eyes are visible on fry that are only a few days old.
MAINTENANCE AND BREEDING
R. Wildekamp says: "This species can be regarded as an easy aquarium fish which is best kept in schools in a medium to large aquarium with good filtration, aeration and sufficient plant cover. In such an environment it will reproduce and, if sufficient plant cover is present, some of the young will survive. Development time of the eggs is 12-14 days and the young are able to consume newly hatched Artemia nauplii
immediately on hatching. Growth is slow and sexual maturity will be reached at an age of six or seven months."
From a personal point of view I've found this fish to be fairly easy to keep alive and it seems eager to spawn. I do a 30% water change every week and feed mostly live foods such as daphnia, whiteworms and brineshrimp. I'd advise people to keep them in groups of 4 or more since they really are a schooling fish, lampeyes fill a similar niche to tetras or rasboras where they're found naturally.
I've bred them in a 16 x 8 x 8 inch tank, bare except for a sponge filter and a bottom mop. I paint the back, bottom and sides of all my tanks black since it shows the fish up well and allows me to not use gravel. The eggs of P. normani
are big for such a small fish (comparable to Aplocheilus lineatus eggs) and are moderately adhesive. I remove the eggs and water incubate them in a plastic container. This is where I have run into problems and it was quite some time before I could get any viable fry from the many eggs the fish were giving me. It would seem that the eggs are very intolerant of organic matter in the incubation water. Initially I was able to get a few fry by changing the water in the incubation containers every day. This system worked well enough until I moved house at the beginning of 1997. When I set up my lampeyes to breed in the new tanks I used a school of one male and several females, these gave me an average of 10 eggs per day but for several weeks I would lose the eggs just as they were ready to hatch. I knew that they were fertile as the embryos could be clearly seen. I tried the "daily changing water in the incubation container" technique and that didn't seem to help this time.
Finally, after exchanging ideas with Vitee Tao (an Australian hobbyist with an interest in lampeyes) and several other overseas hobbyists I decided to try just using straight tap water, directly from the tap. I mixed the water to the correct temperature using hot and cold water and then put the newly picked eggs in it. I kept a close eye on the eggs and they all seemed to be doing fine, even getting past the eyed up stage so that after a further two weeks I had actual fry swimming around. The fry, as before, are proving easy to raise and I look forward to having a decent school of these fish in the future.
As I mentioned above, I feel that P. normani
would make a good addition to a suitable community tank. You could have either a killi-only community or a more general community involving other types of fish. For a killi-only community you could use perhaps a school of 6 - 10 P. normani
as mid-water schooling fish, with some of the other small African killies like A. australe
or A. striatum
providing some colour in the upper parts of the tank with a male Nothobranchius
or two to live down near the bottom. I would use only males in such a set up since the chances of getting fry would be quite minimal.
A few African plants are available so it might be worth trying to obtain some of these to add some authenticity to the tank (even though the fish themselves would never all mix in nature). Try some Anubias
planted in the gravel and perhaps some Bolbitis
attached to some driftwood. Both are dark green plants and would show up the colours of the fish well. Some sort of floating plant would give the fish a sense of security. For a non-killi community I'd probably use some Rasbora heteromorpha
as another schooling fish to contrast with the lampeyes. Maybe it would be worth trying some of the lampeye tetras since their red eyes and silver bodies could cause an interesting effect.
There are plenty of other fish to choose from to use in the other sections of the tank but it'd pay to restrict yourself to small peaceful fish that wouldn't consider the other occupants of the tank as part of their diet. With this style of tank you also have a good selection of plants available to you. Some crypts, swords and Cabomba
would look good. Regular water changes and good food would see the fish in either set up prosper and would make an interesting display.