The minimum tank size that should be considered for this fish is 54 litres or a tank with base dimensions that are approximately 60cm by 30cm. It is important to remember that often base dimensions are more important than overall volume.
The Forktail Blue-eye is best kept in a densely planted tank, where its colours contrast well with the green of the plants. It also makes an excellent addition to carefully aquascaped setups as it is non-destructive.
The water should be well-oxygenated and a degree of flow is advisable. In a densely planted tank no extra oxygenation in the form of an air pump is needed as the plants will produce enough oxygen by themselves.
It is highly inadvisable to add this fish to a biologically immature system. A biologically immature system is any system that has been established and fully functional for less than 6 months. A biologically immature system is subject to changes in water chemistry and has not yet reached a state of dynamic equilibrium. As the Forktail Blue-eye is susceptible to changes in water chemistry, a biologically immature system may prove fatal.
The temperature of the aquarium water should be maintained between 24 to 28 °C at all times. Temperatures outside of this range may impact upon the fish’s long term health.
The pH should be maintained between 7.0 and 8.0, while the GH should stay between 268 and 536 ppm.
The Forktail Blue-eye is a shoaling species and should be kept in a group consisting of at least 8 to 10 specimens. This will encourage natural behaviour and limit aggression between individuals.
This is a peaceful fish that is suitable for the carefully researched community aquaria and may be kept alongside other fish with comparable size, disposition, and requirements. Tateurndina ocellicauda, with which it occurs in nature, is particularly appropriate.
The Forktail Blue-eye feeds chiefly on zooplankton, phytoplankton, and invertebrates in nature, and in the aquarium must be offered items of a suitable size. Ideally much of the diet should be comprised of live foods such as Daphnia, Moina, Artemia nauplii, micro worm, etc., although crushed floating dried foods are also accepted.
Males are more highly-patterned and colourful than females and the unpaired fins become noticeably extended as they mature.
In a densely planted tank breeding may occur naturally and some fry may survive to adulthood. The addition of fine-leaved aquatic moss, such as Java Moss, is advisable for those who are attempting to raise fry alongside the adults.
This species is an egg-scatterer which displays no parental care towards its young and will consume its own eggs and fry given the opportunity.
Spawning is more likely to occur in the higher end of the temperature range suggested above, with females capable of depositing a few eggs daily for a period of several days, these being attached to aquatic vegetation or other substrate.
An individual male may mate with multiple females during a single day, and spawning usually continues throughout daylight hours during warmer periods.
The incubation period is around 21 days depending on temperature and the fry are able to accept brineshrimp, micro worm, and similarly-sized foods immediately.
They can also be raised using good quality, powdered dry products of which some are available in incrementally-graded particle sizes.
Should eggs containing developed embryos fail to hatch they can apparently be stimulated to do so by putting them in a small vial or similar container with some water from the aquarium and shaking it vigorously, or placing it in your pocket and walking around with it. It appears the resultant change in pressure causes the eggs to hatch.
Small amounts of food should be offered at least twice daily. Uneaten food should not be allowed to accumulate in the rearing tank.
There are two popular methods whereby hobbyists have bred this species in the home aquarium. The first involves isolating a small group of 6-8 individuals or single male and two or three females in a container with an air-powered sponge filter and spawning medium in the form of nylon mops or aquatic moss. The spawning medium should be checked on a daily basis for eggs, which can then by removed to a separate container for incubation and hatching.
Alternatively, a group of adults can be maintained in well-planted aquarium and allowed to spawn without interference on the part of the hobbyist. While many of the fry will be eaten by the adults, a few will survive. The survivability rate will be largely dependent on the size of the tank and the number of suitable hiding places for the fry to retreat to.
Once the fry hatch, they will spend some time close to the water’s surface. It is during this time that the fry are most vulnerable. You can reduce predation by placing floating plants in the aquarium in which the fry are able to find refuge.
The relatively stable water conditions and the resident microbial life in a well-planted aquarium will prove beneficial in raising the fry.
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This article was sponsored by Nature at Work.