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Hello board. This is my first official update of schooling experience of spilos. As many of you may know I got my 10 Gold Spilos about a month ago at about 1.25-2". For most of that time they were housed in a 65-gallon temp tank while their 180-gallon cycled completely. They have only been in their 180 for a week now, yet they seem to doing fine. Although schooling spilos is not regarded as an impossible task, it is quite time consuming and very nerve racking. They seem at some times to be happy in a group, while at others they seem to flip out on each other. Kind of like they are having mini "pms" sessions where they can totally flip out on each other without warning (sorry if I offended anyone). I will attempt to grow them out to adulthood, at which time I would be perfectly happy if I end up with 3-4 (hopefully more) breeding full sized adults that establish a working school.

Thus far I have had a few observation worth noting. The first is that they do exhibit pygo like schooling behavior when in a group this size and in a larger tank. I owned reds before, and the spilos remind me of what reds are like at small sizes. They do in fact "most" of the time swim as a school. Most of their activities are amazingly school-like, which was on my part, very unexpected. I really expected them to always be in their own staked out territories. They come to investigate food in a group, they attack in a group, and when it's dark outside the tank, I can see them swimming the length of the tank as a group. Kind of like a small school of sardines or something. When they do decide to chase each other, I find that it is also much like small reds. Usually when one gets to close, a short chase ensues, lasting only a few seconds. It just seems for some reason that when one does catch another, the effects can be potentially more catastrophic. I have already had to hospitalize 2 because their tails were all the way down to the flesh. The first only re-grew half of his full tail (he's doing fine now). The one in the hospital tank at the moment has yet to grow his fins back and I'm starting to get worried. I guess we will see.

As far as eating, again they are very pygo like. I can feed pretty much anything to them and they will take it. Thus far I have offered goldies, chicken heart, krill, chicken gizzard, catfish, patrale sole, salmon, shrimp, prawn, squid, chicken breast, and mealworms. I have got them trained to recognize when they will be fed, so that they all come to the acrylic when its feeding time. They will try to steal food from each other, so I try to break a piece of meat into smaller pieces so that everybody can grab a small mouthful and take off. This seems to work out best. They are sometimes reluctant to pick unlive food from the sand, however I think they are starting to learn the "5 second rule".

As far as tank set up you can see what I've gone with in my pics. I have sand as my substrate. I think that my reasoning for this is quite valid. I thought about all the times I have ever went to either a lake or river, and all those times there was always a sandy bottom. I have never seen a lake or river were the substrate was this pea sized gravel. Thus my reason for going with sand. I also decided not to go with a power head. I thought that somewhere I read that spilos when small are found in lakes. Where there is little to no current. For that reason I figured that my return wet/dry line would suffice for current and water aeration. It seems to me that with a wet dry, aeration is not really needed.

Since I have had them, the biggest few have put on more than an inch. That's an inch in less then a month. That's actually pretty good. I don't know if their growth rate will continue like this in the 180. Since they have been in there, it seems that their aggressiveness toward each other has decreased dramatically. Prior to the move, I didn't see the schooling behavior that I see in the 180. I'm sure that it has to do with more space, which I assume is proportional to less aggression due to less stress. I do try to keep a gold fish or two in the tank to keep them occupied, but recently I have noticed that they seem to be "okay" with out a constant live goldfish in the tank with them. I think that I got lazy in keeping up with that because 10 minutes after I put a few goldies in, I am fishing out a few pieces of what's left. They don't stay alive long enough to present an aggression reliever. We will see how this goes though. I would like to not have to constantly be putting goldies in there.

I will continue to keep you all posted with my experience of attempting to school and hopefully breeding spilos. I have included a video that shows just how they swim in the tank setting. It is a little different from their normal behavior because I rarely turn on the tank lights. There are also new pics. Just click on the "new spilo" folder in my yahoo photos link.

http://hareball.20megsfree.com/images/videos/Spilo.MPG <-- Short Video of My fish.

http://photos.yahoo.com/insinuasian <-- Pics of my fish. Check "New Spilo" folder.

~Dj
 

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Great post InSinUAsian.....Sounds like you are doing very well at getting these fish to school..... Do you think the "method" of schooling spilos can be written as a series of steps and instructions or so you think it varies from tank to tank, fish to fish? If it can be deduced to a method, it would rock in the end if you could write a short little blurb with what you think needs to be done to get these buggers to school. Great job though, love your tank and your school of spilos.

-X
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the kind words all.

X - Im not sure exactly, at this point, if schooling spilos as a whole can be summed up in an all incompasing "how to". Perhaps so, but at this point it is quite early. I will keep track of all observations and note water pyrameters on a regular basis in order to give the next guy a little bit more info on the topic. My reason for this is that when I decided to try this, I found virtually NO info on schoooling spilos on any board. Im not even saying that my little experiment will work, but I believe that if it doesnt, then perhaps my observations can in that case, allow the next guy to try something different. All pretty much in an attempt ultimately, to try to break into captive breeding of Spilo, although probobly not on the same level as reds. I have heard that it has been done, given that spilos are very common in some areas at small size, so I know that some guy has a working school somewhere. I just wanna bring that level to the hobby. I dunno . We will see how it goes, and I will continue to keep you all up to date.

~Dj
 

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Just wanted to add that I seem to have a steady PH of about 7.7 or so. Although this is a bit high, P wise, my fish don't seem to mind. I have kept the spilos, as well as the rhomb and medinai, in this PH for as long as I've had them. I am a firm believer that a constant ph (as long as its acceptable) is much more important then a "correct" ph. When trying desperately to reach a "correct" level, the PH can sometime fluctuate more then plus or minus one whole PH unit. I found that this adds un-needed stress. Instead I prefer to accept the water how it is from the tap. At least its constant, and my fish don't seem to show any ill affects.

If only I could do something about all the chlorine found in the LA water. My only cure for that is allowing the water to sit out for a week prior to water changes. I usually set out about 40-45 Gallons of water in order to do the 10-15% water changed weekly on all my tanks.

On the big tank the temp is still not at a constant level that I'm happy with. Since there are 2 heaters I have to figure out where exactly both need to be set to get the temp to be about 80-82 degrees. Right now I'm at about 83-84, which I feel is too high. Higher water temps can be the cause of over aggression also.

~Dj
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No No... I am not new to the hobby. I have been keeping P's for about 6 years now.

~Dj
 
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