Hatching Notho eggs

The first thing that one have to do when deciding to hatch these species of fish, is to be sure that the eggs you are going to acquire comes from  a reputable breeder. It is very important that the eggs are all of the same species and location. Fish hatched from mixed species of eggs, will either not produce any eggs or else the few fry that survive are hybrids and do not produce viable eggs.
          As hobbyist, we boast to be conservationist  and our goal should be the conservation of the species. We should strive to breed and distribute the species we have as much as possibble so that our children and grandchildren will have a chance to enjoy these lovely little fish too, which so far, are only available from hobbyists. As at the time of writing, these fish are not commercial bred.
          When you receive the eggs, the first thing to do is to take a look at the hatching date. Eggs that are dry incubated at a temp.of 28-30C. are usually ready for hatching after 6-8 weeks, while those that are stored at a lower temp.20-24C. will be ready for hatching after about 12 weeks. This is the rule of thumb, but there are also exceptions.
          When wetting the eggs, there are 3 main events that might happen. First that all the eggs hatch-out.This is very rare. Second, is that a few fry will hatch-out and the third is that no fry will appear at all. If after 3 days, few fry or none  appear, collect the peat, dry it and store it for another 4 weeks. This does not mean that the vendor have cheated you. It might be that all the eggs you received  are resting or hibernating ones. Technically, we call these eggs as being in diapause. There are 3 main diapauses states. Some of the eggs that are fertilsed, as soon as they become dry, will start to develope and when these  eggs are wet again, the fry are released from the eggshell. Some other eggs, start to develope and then go into dipause 2,  and will need another dry and wet period to complete their developement.  Many times, the second wetting produce more fry than the first one. Other eggs will remain dormant for several dry and wet periods and might take as long as 22-24 months to fully develope and hatch. This is the reason that these fish are still living in the wild. Their eggs can survive very long periods of draught.
       So, when the hatching time comes, put the peat and eggs in a small container (see attached photo) and add water at a temp. of 22-24C. Filtered rain water give the best results but tap water, unless it is extremely hard, and filtered for a couple of days so that the chlorine is cleared, will also give a good hatching. These fish tolerate a wide range of temp.from 20-30C. but when kept in the lower 20sC. their lifespan is longer. The same applies for the type of water, the adults do well,in any type unless this is in any extreme.   Add a drop of microworms. This will help increase the microscopic life and induce the hatching process. In about 60 minutes, the fry begin to appear. These are very small and a magnifier is needed to see them. The microworms are the first food for the fry but after 3-4 days, they should be fed on newly hatched brineshrimps. No airation is needed while the fry are in the tub but a daily water change is a must. A very small apple snail can be added to eat the uneaten dead shrimps. After a week, move to a larger tank.
           If fed on a good diet and kept in clean water, growth is very fast and many species start to produce eggs after being only 4 weeks of age. These fish are carnivouros and eat only live or froozen foods. Finely minced beefheart, is a good substitute. Breeding these fish can be achieved in very small tanks measuring 8"x8"x8", covering the bottom with boiled peat and the top with a glass cover. If left uncovered or with wide gaps from the covering glass, they end up on the floor. In such a small tank, a trio consisting of 1 male and 2 females can spend their entire life spawning as long as their water is changed once a week. No filtration is need but an airstone blowing gently is  bonus.
          These are my own experiences of over 40 years in the hobby. What might be good for me, does not mean that there are no other ways and each individual developes the best method that works for him. We all live in a different habitat and while I live at sea level, in a hot summer and a mild winter others live at high altitudes and cold winters. These all play their part on the behaviour of these eggs and fish and the above should only a guideline for beginers.
Charles Zammit.
BKA 520
1 day old N.korthausae Mafia fry highly magnified.