APHANIUS MENTO (Heckel 1843) B.K.A. Information Pamphlet No.27 August 1967
Habitat : A species that inhabits freshwater springs and pools. Sometimes also found in lakes where it prefers the quieter spots along the shores. It is found in Anatolia (Turkey), Syria and Palestine. They are peaceful amongst themselves and with other fishes, thus making them an ideal aquarium fish for the community tank with other fishes of their own size. Males, however, may fight with each other upon occasions in competition for females. Temperature 65F. to 75F. Requires very alkaline water, preferably hard, for successful maintenance. It is relatively long-lived (up to three years with good care) and due to its wide distribution in nature, is somewhat variable in colour and pattern. A synonym for this species is Aphanius cypris.
Description : Males : The body colour is olive brown: silvery blue spots throughout the body, sometimes in vertical lines, sometimes in horizontal rows, concentrated around the gill plates, ventrum very light tan, jaw underslung ( mento meaning 'one with long chin'). Dorsal, ventral and anal fins very dark bluish purple with distinct rows of light blue specks, caudal fin lighter and spots arranged in crescent pattern. In spawning colours, the male turns a very dark bluish purple overall ( almost black ) and shows an increase in the silvery spots throughout the body and fins.
Females : Light tan with rows of steel blue spots extending the length of the body, ventrum white. All fins are transparent.
Size : Males grow to two inches, with the females somewhat smaller.
Feeding : Will take dried foods, but live foods and raw meat are preferred. Filtration desirable with this species as they are heavy eaters.
Breeding : The males are fairly hard drivers and therefore should be spawned in trios, for which a two or three gallon tank is ideal. The spawning medium should be floating nylon mops. The eggs, which are clear and medium sized, hatch in seven to ten days at a temperature of 72 F. The species is very prolific, a good trio producing over 300 eggs per week at their peak. The fry are robust and take newly hatched brine shrimp immediately. Micro worms may be feed on the second week. They grow rapidly and are sexually mature in twelve to sixteen weeks. Alkaline water is advised for successful rearing of the fry.