Compressed Organic Coconut Fibre Brick – Killifish Spawning Substrate
Most of the killifish species prefer to spawn in some form of substrate such as peat or coir. These are typically annual or semi-annual fish such as Aphyolebias, Austrofundulus, Austrolebias, Callopanchax, Campellolebias, Cynolebias, Cynopoecilus, Fundulopanchax, Fundulosoma, Gnatholebias, Hypsolebias, Leptolebias, Leptopanchax, Llanolebias, Maratecoara, Micromoema, Millerichthys, Moema, Mucurilebias, Nematolebias, Neofundulus, Nothobranchius, Notholebias, Ophthalmolebias, Papiliolebias, Pituna, Plesiolebias, Pronothobranchius, Pterolebias, Rachovia, Renova, Simpsonichthys, Spectrolebias, Stenolebias, Terranatos, Trigonectes, Xenurolebias, and Yssolebias species.
The coconut fibre (coir) can cover the entire tank bottom or be placed in one or more spawning tubs; plastic containers often with a lid with a hole, that the fish will spawn in. Some species (such as Fundulopanchax, Nothobranchius or Papiliolebias) require only a small amount of coir. These are sometimes referred to as ploughers. The purpose of the coir is more to prevent egg predation in these cases. The fish prefer a nice soft spawning media. Some species, however, (such as Aphyolebias, Gnatholebias, Micromoema, Pterolebias, etc.) require their entire body length in depth to spawn, as they prefer to get right into the substrate! It is possible to use other substances to coir, and people have claimed success, however coir has remained a favourite for good reason. Coir is less powdery than peat and dries out more easily.
What next? The coir is collected squeezed gently to remove excess water. Some people will store it just like this, and some will dry the coir further on newspaper for between 2 and 24 hours. The coir should be moist but not wet. There are no hard and fast rules here, but dryer coir seems to allow quicker development of eggs. It is perhaps best to find a way of working that suit and keep an eye on the eggs for development. Coir-substrate spawning killifish do best in a dimly lit tank – this reduces aggression, allowing a group of fish to be kept together.
Coir is also ideal for seeds and cuttings. It can be used as a base for homemade composts or added to aerate garden waste composts. Coir is known by many different names including coco, coco coir, cocopeat, coco peat, coir fibre, coconut husks and coconut fibre.
Each block is about the same size of a house brick. The compressed coir will expand to three times its size when rehydrated with water. It makes approximately 9 litres of coir.
Coir’s Key Features:
- Re-wets easily
- Good water retention qualities
- pH – between 4.5 and 6.5
- Does not blow away in the wind
- Pleasant to handle
- Made from the renewable resource of coconut trees
How to Reconstitute Blocks:
- You will need a large bucket/bowl or preferably a watertight wheelbarrow.
- Add 3 litres of water (warm water acts faster) per block.
- Leave to stand for 24 hours. This will even out the water content of your finished material.
- You will find the blocks will expand to as much as three times their original size.
- Break up the material with either a small spade or fork or by hand