In their historic homeland, in Australia, the iris, or melanotene, live in shallow rivers and streams with a rapid flow. The iris prefer to keep a flock in the upper layer of water, where they actively pick up small insects that accidentally fall into the water, which make up the lion’s share of their diet.
Melanotenias live in both fresh water and lightly salted (up to 3 ppm). If you plan to keep the fish in the home aquarium, it is best to confine fresh water.
Although at the same time, adding salt to the aquarium is recommended based on the proportion of 1 teaspoon salt per 10 liters of water to improve immunity and color of fish. In addition, salting of water has a positive effect on the development of young iris and maturation of caviar.
In natural water bodies, water hardness can reach up to 30 degrees, which is due to the high concentration of dissolved salts in water that enter from the soil. If you plan to keep fish in an aquarium, tap water is usually used with a hardness of no more than 18 degrees.
For reasons unknown to me, melanotenias did not receive wide popularity among domestic aquarists. Unfortunately, fine representatives of iris iris Iryatherina Werneri, which were first brought to us in the 60s of the last century, practically disappeared from pet stores.
As a rule, several types of iris irons are often found on the market: neon, melanotenia of trifasciate and boesman.
The fact that atherins (melanotenias) could not settle down in some regions of our country can still be understood, because not everywhere the hard water flows from the tap, because they do not like soft fish. But it was the first bell, because now you can meet them very rarely.
The saddest thing is that even in the territory of European states these fish have fallen into oblivion. Although some 30 years ago they could compete with African cichlids in popularity.
In fact, it is a shame that such beautiful and interesting fish have such a sad fate. And this is despite the fact that there are no difficulties in the breeding and maintenance of these aquatic organisms.
Beginners aquarists and lovers of brightly colored and not complicated in the maintenance of aquarium fish, you can safely recommend melanotenii.
Today in nature there are a huge number of color variations and types of melanotenias. Almost every year, ichthyologists discover another population in nature with an interesting color.
Quite often, these populations are closely adjacent to each other without inter-specific hybridization. Most likely, fish have some kind of genetic barrier.
In artificial conditions, full color fish reach, if they are contained in a spacious aquarium, with a volume of 100 liters and a thick planting of water plants and swimming glades. Very effectively melanotenias look under the bright directed lighting.
It is best to keep these fish in flocks in the amount of 8 – 10 pieces. Males have an order of magnitude brighter, unlike females. Accordingly, in order for the pack to possess great decorative qualities, a greater number of males must prevail.
In addition, a greater number of males will contribute to active pre-spawning games.
Under the conditions of proper conditions of maintenance and feeding regime, melanotenias in the aquarium can grow up to 20 centimeters in length, everything depends on the species that you contain. Unfortunately, in a small pond fish are not able to reach maximum sizes, but the bright and attractive color does not suffer from this.
Similarly, limited space cannot affect the fecundity of females.
Since in nature, fish prefer to dwell in waters over, it is possible to imitate such conditions in an aquarium only if a powerful filter is installed. Melanotene prefer fresh water, which must be replaced every week in the amount of of the total.
If the concentration of chlorine does not exceed the permissible norms, then water can be poured directly from the tap without prior sedimentation.
The only problem with the maintenance of the iris is the liveliness of the fish. They can easily jump out of the aquarium, therefore, the jar should be covered with a cover glass and a lamp.
Melanotene grow excellently on any type of feed. The only point in the diet should not be present in fatty foods (in particular, the tubule), because from it in fish, obesity of the internal organs begins and the fecundity is lost. The best food for melanotenia is considered the corelet with the addition of bloodworms.
The iris is excellently developed on artificial feed.
For breeding melanotenii, a separate aquarium is needed, where water is added from the common aquarium where the fish were kept. The main condition – the water must be clean and fresh.
As a substrate for spawning, you can use small-leaved aquarium plants (Javanese moss, Christmas moss, Canadian Elodies), but the best option would be a bunch of synthetic thread.
Fish are planted for spawning in a group dominated by males. The volume of spawning will vary depending on the number of fish selected for spawning and their size, but on average, 10 – 50 liters.
During spawning, fish must be fed with bloodworms and other live food, which quickly settle to the bottom of the aquarium.
Spawning can occur almost every day, the maximum number of eggs always varies, since their number affects how many days the fish spend in the spawn. But, on average, a week a group of fish consisting of three males and two females brings up to 300 eggs.
Eggs in melanotenias are small, but swells with time and reaches 1.5 millimeters in diameter. Manufacturers suspend the eggs with the help of threads to the substrate. If you look closely, there is a small black peephole in each egg.
In young iris, there is one interesting feature: the larvae of the fry pass through being in an egg and the fully formed fry are born. The ripening period from caviar to hatching is about 10 days.
Producers can be kept in spawning until the first fry are born. Eggs they do not touch, but with the fry, they will not pank and can easily eat all.
The newly hatched juveniles gather in dense piles near the surface in places where the brightest light is. This is due to the natural instinct that tends to hunt for insects that have fallen on the water.
Fry enjoy eating artificial feeds, but as a starter feed it is better to use a mixture of the Micro Min type. According to numerous observations of aquarists, it was concluded that on fodder the fry grow better, in contrast to the starting feed in the form of microplankton.
The reason for this anomaly is that at this age the fry are very picky in feeding, unlike adult fish, and there are cases when the youngsters completely refuse feed, if you give them the wrong species of nauplii.
After 3-4 days the fry can be fed with artemia. As the fish grows older, it is necessary to transfer to larger types of food and diversify the diet with larger types of food (daphnia and adult cyclops). Young melanotenias are growing extremely unevenly, therefore, in order to avoid cannibal moods, fish will need to be sorted periodically.
Due to this reason, it is not recommended to keep in the same container fry belonging to different generations.