Can't Stop Breedin’ ‘em
by Tom Wojtech

Killies started me on the path to fish geek. It kinda crept up on me. Before I knew it I was speaking in tongues, usually Latin. I found myself peering into little tanks with a flashlight, washing peat moss, buying yarn for mops, mailing fish around the world, waiting for Killie Notes; I was hooked. I had to get the monkey off my back, but how? Every time I tried a new Killie showed up. I had to have it. It finally happened. I had every Killie in "Rivulins of the Old World", that I wanted. I did it all. But was I sated?... No.

Cold turkey, that was the only way. I gave away all my two-and-a-halves. I even moved 600 miles away. Free at last. Temptation far away. I still kept up my membership in WAKO and even in the AKA. I felt safe to return back where it all started, and I was. I didn’t have a need for Killies; I even occasionally bought a pair or two. Nothing. I didn’t even try to breed them. I started to take an active role in MAS and even helped out at WAKO’s shows and went to their meetings. I talked about plants. Killies are puttsey. Even the most gorgeous brown Rivulus couldn’t sway me. I was truly free.

Then I got involved with MAS’s breeders award program and bought fish that I wanted to breed and some that I had bred before just to make points. I even got Killies. Oh, I started small just one here and there, not really wanting them, just needed some "easy" points, I thought to myself. At last November’s' WAKO show, prices were lower than I had ever seen them. Fish that should have been $20-30 a pair went for $3-4. I resisted. "Nearly the end of the auction, and I don’t have a fish. Gonna make it through another auction free and clear." I thought. Then came a pair of Epiplatys lamottei. I never had this fish; it had a reputation for being tough. It wasn’t even available during my foggy past addiction. They’re so cheap. I felt a shudder. My paddle went up. Oh no! Help! Stop me! $12 later I was putting the pair in my fish box. I can’t have one pair. Four bags later, I was done. No More. Except for a pair of A. bivitatum "ijebu ode".

I had a ten that was empty. I had a sponge filter and a growth of pink Hygro floating in the bare tank. The tank had tap water and was about 74 degrees. The lamottei were shy and stayed near the bottom and looked scared. Lamottei are a bright rusty orange with a baby blue body speckled with red dots in rows along their sides. I put them in the ten on the bottom so people wouldn’t be able to see them well and ruin my brown reputation, since they were so colorful. They hid. I hardly saw them. They lined up and looked at me when I fed and never seemed to eat much. I had some extra baby brine a couple weeks after I brought them home and added some to their tank to see if this would stimulate their appetites. Out popped 6 fry. Damn, enough for the Breeder Award Program, I’ll have to take care of them. More baby brine yielded more babies. I found myself thinking of mops, peat moss, Killies with color!!!! It’s back...OH NO! Please help me before I killie again! ...(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)