Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on African Cichlid Reproduction 1

Related Articles: African Cichlids, Malawian Cichlids: The Mbuna and their Allies By Neale Monks, The Blue Followers: the Placidochromis of Lake Malawi by Daniella Rizzo, Cichlid Fishes

Related FAQs: African Cichlid Reproduction 2, African Cichlids, African Cichlid Identification, African Cichlid Selection, African Cichlid Selection, African Cichlid Compatibility, African Cichlid Systems, African Cichlid Feeding, African Cichlid Reproduction, African Cichlid Disease, Cichlids of the WorldCichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Cyphotilapia frontosa male from Lake Tanganyika. He is an old male well past his prime.

Will big Pleco eat baby cichlids? Plecos and Cichlid Fry Hello -The eight year-old Oscar that I kept in a 90 gallon tank along with an equally old and large Pleco died a couple of days ago. I am not certain what I am going to replace him with, but it will be a cichlid, or a pair of cichlids, of a large and beautiful variety. It will not b an Oscar. My Pleco eats not only algae but cichlid food. I am wondering if it would also eat baby cichlids? Thank you, Bill < All Plecos will take advantage of any food source available. Cichlid eggs and or fry will be eaten in a heart beat when the parents are not able to defend them.-Chuck>

New To Mouthbrooding Cichlids  9/10/05 Hello, I enjoy reading all your FAQ's about cichlids, but still haven't figured out what is up with my cichlids. I started with 4 cichlids, and I don't know what variety they were.  Two were bright yellow, two were gray with black stripes. After about a year the two yellow ones had died and one of the remaining two striped fish has changed color and is now yellow.  I have determined that the yellow fish is a male, and after discovering the other fish to have a mouth full of eggs one time, I realized she is a female.  Anyway, the male is extremely aggressive and I have to keep the two fish separated in my aquarium.  Every once in a while the male escapes into the area with the female and attacks her, leaving her hiding near the back of the tank at the surface with torn fins and loose scales.  All day long the male picks up gravel and moves it around, gyrates and makes open mouth gestures at the female who he can see through a piece of Plexiglas separating him from the female. I have often found my female to be laying eggs, putting them in her mouth.   Since the male cannot get to her, they are never fertilized and I assume she swallows them after a few days.  I know she's got eggs in her mouth when she stops eating. Today I got a shock when I saw about 10 babies swimming near the female!   Obviously the male had escaped at the right time last week and had spawned successfully (before abusing the female, and me discovering the escape--followed by returning him to isolation). A little while later I looked and saw that the fry were missing!  I kept looking into the female's mouth and ultimately saw that they are in there!   Amazing! Okay, so if I want to save these babies I guess I have to get them out of the tank, or as you've mentioned many times the female will probably eat them within a week. If she's keeping them in her mouth, how can I induce her to release them so that I might suck them out? < Put her in her own aquarium with some plastic plants and rocks. She will release them when she feels that they are in safe spot. When she spits them out it would be easier to catch the female first. Leave the fry in the tank. They should be fed baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food. Remove the plants and rocks and the fry can be netted out at any time.> Are these cichlids normal (so aggressive) and is it normal for the male to completely change color like that? < Many Lake Malawi cichlids are sexually dimorphic. Fry may resemble the females and as they grow and mature the males will change to their male coloration. Many years ago when these fish were newly discovered they were considered two different species.-Chuck>Thanks!

Jewel Cichlid Questions 7/7/05 I've seen you get a lot of questions about Jewel cichlids, but they tend to be about raising the young. My question is this-- do jewels tend to school or at least stick with those of their own breed? < It is called schooling. Fish, including cichlids, often do this for protection from larger predators.> I have two jewels, both about 2.75", who appear to be identical. I do not see any difference in coloration or shape of their dorsal fins. They are both a dark pinkish gray with vibrant turquoise coloration. These two stick together almost 24/7-- they follow each other around, "sleep together", and will pick on the 3 other fish (2 red zebras and a Cory) together. Basically, I would just like to know if this means that they are a "pair," as I am new to Jewel cichlids. I have two rustys, two adult and four juvenile yellow labs, and two brichardis in another tank and those fish, none of which have ever spawned, really keep to themselves, unlike these guys. If schooling and sticking together is common, I want to introduce a few more in hopes of creating a pair. < You have quite a collection of cichlids from all over Africa. Your rusty's and yellow Labs are actually from Lake Malawi and are mouth brooders. They never really form a pair bond. The N. brichardi from Lake Tanganyika are very secretive substrate spawners. Your Jewelfish come from west African rivers. If this behavior is not typical of same-sex or non-breeding pairs, could you be a little more descriptive of the "non-paired"  fins and of the "rays" at the tip of the dorsal fin, as previously described? Or, possibly, could you lend some advice to help me instigate a spawning? < With 2 fish you have a 50% chance that they will be a pair. Males tend to be slightly bigger and the fins are only slightly longer than the females. Sometimes the males have more spangled scales on the body and face. If you end up with 6 fish you have almost 100 % chance that you will get at least 1 pair. Look underneath at the ventral areas. There are two small openings. If they are the same size then the fish is probably a male. If one is larger than the other then the fish is probably a female.-Chuck> Thanks in advance for your help, Shannon

Mixing Lake Malawi Cichlids Hi, I have a 30 gallon aquarium and you told me before that it would be okay to put johanni in there. My question is could I put ps. saulosi along with the johanni? I am worried about hybridization.  Thanks again, Katie < You could put them together and they may hybridize. The only way they will not cross for sure is to keep one species per tank.-Chuck> Cichlid Breeding Hi Preliminaries: My name is Gideon Griebenow, from South Africa. I started with a standard 3 foot FW just over 2 years ago - basic guppy and small community fish; built a +-60g a bit later with a friend, got some Malawi Cichlids; bought and set up a 45g marine just over a year ago. I moved 4 months ago and decided to get a 5foot 145g tanks for Malawi Cichlids and 2m 180g Marine (as you can probably guess, started earning a better :) salary). Of course, I've found your site very informative and useful since discovering it about 3 months. I set up the marine first, still have the 2 starter tanks at my old home, being looked after by a friend. My Question: My question is fairly simple: I would love to have a "dig-a-pit-and-keep-the-fry-in-it" substrate-spawning pair (saw it in LFS once). Am I right when I say, although Lombardoi, Auratus, etc. care for their young, it is not in this special "hundreds-of-fry-in-pit-way"? And, could I get something with this breeding method to go with Lombardoi and Auratus? Thanks for all your help in all my "research"! < The Mbuna you have are maternal mouthbrooders and the females carry the eggs and the fry. The substrate spawning cichlids you refer to are not found in Lake Malawi. Many Central American cichlids will give you the effect you are looking for.> The following info about my setup may be informative: Since I already have a mature Lombardoi male and I love the blue juvenile colour, I decided to go that route. Lombardoi plus 3 or 4 females, Melanochromis Auratus male plus 3 or 4 females, maybe a few Demasoni or some other compatible Mbuna and a Plec (which I already have) in a 145g tank. I started the tank cycle with about 10g of "mature water" as well as substrate and rocks from my "old" tanks. I also planted (not jungle proportions at all) the tank (a few Java fern, Vallisneria, Anubias and - hope they last - Amazon swords), packing small rocks around the plants. I have *lots* of rockwork with about 4 big possible lower "cave"-territories and smaller "caves" and hiding places fashioned on top. The plants were alone for about 2 weeks, then I added a 3-4 inch Nimbochromis Venustus which I also had for quite some time. It has been in there for 2 weeks. It seems very happy, feeds ferociously and, yes, have taken a few bites out of the Amazon leaves, but haven't tried uprooting anything. Brown algae (not hair-algae) has started covering everything about a week ago. A mixture of crushed coral and various pebbles for substrate. I have an "overflow-to-sump-350g/h-power-head-return" (about 25g) filter with still only a bit of mechanical filtering and carbon - I still have to add some material for bio-filtering before adding the bulk of the fish. Will a layer of plain crushed sandstone (3-5mm) be OK if I use plastic "hair curlers" in-between for some "open space". Another 1400l/h power head for circulation. I have never had any test kits - they're not as common here - so I can't give you any chemical specs. I guess I should get some... 4x 36W fluorescent tubes (2x "day glow" type with spikes at blue, green and red, 1x actinic blue and 1x 10000K) on 12-hour cycle. < When you get the substrate spawning cichlids they should not be kept with the Lake Malawi cichlids.-Chuck> Breeding Lake Malawi Cichlids First of all, are Johanni's ok in a 30 gallon tank? I am new to this hobby. I have a 46 gallon bow front also but I don't think I can add anymore cichlids. I want to use my 30 gallon for a breeding tank for Mbunas but I don't know what kind would do well in there. I was thinking Johanni's and electric yellows. How many can I put in there? Thanks a bunch I am really confused, Katie <Mel. Johanni or Labidochromis cerealis would do fine in a30 gallon tank. A dozen would work well. Keep in mind that they like to be crowded. Check the nitrates so they don't go over 25 ppm. You also need a very good outside power filter that pumps at least 100 gallons per hour. Clean it often and vacuum the gravel occasionally.-Chuck>

Spawning Mbuna Hello WWM Crew: You guys have been a great resource for me and the many tanks strewn around my small NY apartment. I have had a lot of success breeding red zebra (or should I say minimal success slowing down the red zebra breeding). I am trying now with some other Mbuna. I have 3 wild Cynotilapia afra, Mandalawi region, 2F and 1M of course. After days of coaxing the male finally got one of the ladies to consent. I was very excited and was debating how soon to move her out. The next day I noticed bites on her side near her face and she was opening her mouth more than the previous day. At feeding time, she swam up with the rest and seemed to be gathering food in her mouth a bit without really grabbing like normal. I feared the continued aggression of the male caused her to eat or release her eggs. I then noticed her actually spitting out little round things (I can only assume the eggs) and grabbing them back in her mouth in open water. Why is she doing that? < Probably has too many eggs for her mouth.> Carrying or not, I decided to move her into a 10 gallon to recover from the bites and maybe save any eggs left. It took me a bit to catch her and I probably didn't help the stress factor, but leaving her in didn't seem like a great option either. How can I tell if she is still carrying? < The fry should be free swimming in a week from spawning. I would net her out of the tank and strip her of the fry and eggs.> I dropped a singular flake in the 10 gallon this morning and she swam up, took it in her mouth and spit it out!?! I am not sure what to make of this. What would you recommend next time I see an afra carrying? <Note the day of the spawn. At 80 degrees the eggs will hatch in three days and the fry will become free swimming in another three days. At this time see can be stripped of the fry and the babies cab be feed finely crushed flake food.> Also, one of the aforementioned zebras has been carrying for what I thought was about 2 weeks. I attempted to strip the fry and when one came out it was not completely out of the egg, but fell to the bottom and was sort of hopping/swimming around on the bottom. The mother scooped it back up fortunately. How much longer before they are ready to be stripped? Thanks much for your valuable expertise!! < Sometimes the female will pickup sand or gravel with the spawn and hang on to them forever waiting for them to hatch. I would still strip them after a week and place the babies in an egg tumbler until the egg sac is absorbed.-Chuck>

Cichlid Fry Dying Thanks Chuck. Ammonia and Nitrites are both 0, and nitrates show barely a trace. Temperature is 78-80 depending on the day. I had the bottom third of the crinum plant buried, as Aquariumplant.com directed. It didn't really have many roots with which to work. I am only feeding once a day and haven't had any problems for months up until the last couple of days. The signs of stress witnessed by the fish that went were a little lethargy, hanging near the bottom of the tank and, at times, resting but still swimming. Also they stopped eating. I don't see any fish with these symptoms right now, I just don't know what to do to fix the problem. If you get a used tank, what is the safest way to clean it? I was worried at first that it may be the tank even though I scrubbed it with hot water and rinsed it thoroughly. I am at a loss for what to do next, I guess just try and do the right thing and hope the problem goes away? < Your fry have come down with an internal bacterial infection. This is caused by stress. I would guess over feeding or bad food that may have gone stale. I would recommend a change in diet and treat the tank with Metronidazole as soon as the fish stop eating. I clean used tanks with a saline solution. Others have used a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to sterilize tanks but I find this unnecessary.-Chuck>

Cichlids sexing question I recently got a job where I have access to cichlids relatively cheap and am working on a 65 gal tank for them. We had an experienced guy come through the store and told me a bunch of male peacocks would do well with maybe a couple other "peaceful" cichlids. He also said to go with 2 males of each kind I wanted. I forgot to ask how to tell the difference between juvenile peacocks from male and female. Are they dimorphic? If so please tell. Also will a Pseudotropheus zebra go well with peacocks? Thanks, Mike >>Peacock cichlids begin to show their sex at around a size of two inches, at that time you can see the white margin becoming more obvious on the male, and some blue colouration on the flanks. Before then it is a bit difficult to tell, but if the fish are the same age and species the dominant fish in the tank is likely to turn out to be a male. You can keep Pseudotropheus with them, but as they get older they may dominate the peacocks, and the peacock cichlids will not show their full colour. But for now I would not worry about it. Enjoy your tank, Oliver << Mollies and Breeding Kribs I have a community fish tank, 4ft by 1.5ft by 1.5ft fairly crowded at the minute. What about pregnant mollies? How long do you have to wait before they drop? She's been in a breeding net on and off for the past week since we purchased her a fortnight ago. Tell us if we are doing this right, we are amateurs! < It is sometimes harder to tell how close livebearers are to giving birth because of the dark color of the fish. Typically you look very closely at the dark area under the tail. When you are able to see little eye balls then she is getting close and should be put in a breeder net.> Is there an easier way to breed Kribs - do they necessarily need to be the size (apart from being one of each - and how can you best tell that?) Please help. < Pelvicachromis pulchers can be easily sexed by looking at the pelvic fins. The females have a paddle shaped pelvic fin while males have longer more pointed fins. You can even determine the sex on very small fish. Females will court the males by approaching them in an s-shaped body motion. When a pair bond has been established the female will lay her eggs usually under the roof of a cave. These substrate spawners are very good parents and the fry are easy to raise. Clean warm soft water with a flower pot turned on its side will usually get a well conditioned pair to spawn.-Chuck> Spawning Electric Yellow Cichlids Hi, I have 2 Electric Yellow Cichlids, they are very beautiful fish. I have 1 male and 1 female and I think they are spawning because she is overly plump compared to what she was before. I cleared a spot for them to spawn and covered that area with plants. I don't have a small tank to move her into after spawning, would it be alright to leave her in the tank with the mal and a male leopard algae eater? And both my male and female cichlids are developing black marks on their moths and underbelly, the male more than the female. Could this be a disease or is it just the maturing of the fish? <These fish come from Lake Malawi from very deep water and are actually very rare in the lake. They are mouthbrooders. The male will establish a territory and defend it from other males while trying to attract a female. The female will lay an egg at the spot and then pick it up in her mouth. She will then pick on the males vent and he will fertilize the egg. As these fish get older they may get darker. It is not a disease but may be due to heavy feeding of Spirulina. The fry are pretty good survivors if their are lots of rocks to hide in.-Chuck>

Electric Yellows Spawning Oh.. So I shouldn't be too excited about getting any mouthfuls out of them eh? Well I might wait a few months and see how they go. As I said, they are around 3 - 4 years old. So dropping off after a couple of years, you mean once they reach the maturity or when they are two years old? < They can start breeding when they are around two inches. From the first six month up to two years they breed rather frequently. After that they may breed once a month up to once every couple of weeks. Commercially breeders replace them after two years because they don't spawn enough to pay for themselves.-Chuck> 

Re: Maximum breeding age for Electric Yellows Hello!! Once again I was wondering at what maximum/average age do yellows stop breeding? I recently acquired a 3-4year old colony of breeding yellows, and I was wondering if they still will breed. Also, how long will they live for? If properly cared for? Thanks champs! < Most Mbunas ability to breed drops off rapidly after a couple of years. You may still get some spawns out of them but they will not be large spawns or very often. Commercial breeders swap out their breeders at least every other year.-Chuck> 

Breeding Ps. crabo Hi Bob, I have two bumble bee cichlids and I would like to breed them. I am sure I have a male and female. My problem is that they don't ever get along. The female is the dominant fish in my 60 gallon aquarium and I have had her for 4 years, and she is 5 in. long. I've tried keeping my male in there but every time he's at the top of the tank with his fins nipped up in 24 hours. So, I take him out and put him in a 20 gallon tank with no other fish to let him heal up. He is about 4 in. long and I have had him for 3 years. Is there any way to keep them in the same tank together and eventually breed them. Great  website!!! <These Lake Malawi cichlids get big and mean. They are better spawned in groups. One male to at 4 or 5 females works best. The males are the big black fish while the females remain smaller with more color. Try to obtain more fish to keep the tank crowded. This helps cut the aggression from one fish to many by the dominant fish. If you want to try it with just the pair then put them in a tank with a glass divider next to each other. When the female looks fat and ready to spawn then pull the glass divider. If the don't spawn in twenty minutes then separate them and try again in a day or two. Eventually you may get lucky.-Chuck> 

Sexing Pseudotropheus demasoni Hi, I want to start keeping some demasoni but unfortunately I am not sure how to tell the sex of the cichlid. I have heard that keeping males together can cause a fight and I want to avoid this by buying one male and a few females so he can be occupied. Please help.  < Males are mostly the darker, larger fish. Their barring is wider. So look for a fish that is black with light blue bars vs. a light blue fish with black bars.-Chuck> Cichlid Cross - Capitalize, Please! Hi, I have a pink convict and a jellybean parrot fish in a tank, is it possible for the two to breed together? I got small fry in the tank, about 8-10. This is the first time I had these two types of fish. I called the place I bought them from but they couldn't help me either. Thanks, Tina < Sure. In the wild the parrot fish and a white convict does not exist. So you have two man made fish. The convict is a true species that is line bred for being white and the parrot fish is a cross of three different species. When you put these two together anything can happen.-Chuck> 

WHEN WILL SHE SPIT? Hello, I have a Johanni who is holding in her mouth. She is not eating. She goes to the food and then goes away. at time, she chews and flares her gills a bit here and there. I have separated her into a smaller tank by herself to spit. Now.. how long before she spits out? And I assume she no longer needs the male right? Thanks. < Your mouthbrooding female Melanochromis johanni will hold the eggs for three days. After that the fry will be wiggles for another three. After one week the fry will become free swimming and be looking for food. Sometime between the first and second week I would look for her to start releasing the fry at short intervals.-Chuck>

Spots on African Cichlid Anal fins... Thanks for the help with the cloudiness. It's starting to go away. 4 of those cichlids that I have, have 1-3 white dots on there anal fin. It doesn't look like a disease, but I've been trying to figure out what it is. I also attached a few pics. On the first pic of the electric blue is the white dot I was talking about. Thanks for all help.- Mike <Mmm, these are most often called "egg dummies"... a mechanism for attracting spawning females to fertilize the eggs they've laid... Bob Fenner>

SEEING SPOTS ON CICHLIDS Thanks for the help with the cloudiness. It's starting to go away. 4 of those cichlids that I have, have 1-3 white dots on there anal fin. It doesn't look like a disease, but I've been trying to figure out what it is. I also attached a few pics. On the first pic of the electric blue is the white dot I was talking about. Thanks for all help. Mike <The egg dummy spots on the anal fin of you Lake Malawi cichlids are used by the males to show the females where to spawn. Some females have these spots too. But they are usually more pronounced in males.-Chuck> 

Electric yellow cichlid pregnant....now what - 2/10/05 Hi, boy-do I love this website- <Me too!> My 1-1/2 African electric/yellow cichlid looks very pregnant...  <Is that right?>  I did not think that a fish could get pregnant at such an early stage.  <1 1/2 inches is just at the cusp of being sexually mature (for lack of a better explanation)>  Its stomach is white and swollen it is being protected by the other cichlid in the tank.  <Hmmmmmm......not so sure this is related to pregnancy unless we are talking of a different fish.... are we talking about Labidochromis caeruleus. It sounds like it could either be a fat fish or maybe some sort of disease.>  It seems to be cleaning off the sides and protecting a very porous rock that I recently added (I think that is what egg depositors do).  <Well....yes....if this were an egg layer, but if we are talking about the Labidochromis caeruleus it actually holds the clutch of eggs in its mouth and even after the fry hatch out they remain in the mouth of the mother for some time (for protection) The male is likely trying to get her to spawn and not defending her. Males tend to be belligerent towards females. There are some wonderful articles on the Electric Yellow Labidochromis: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/l_caeruleus.php  http://www.gcca.net/fom/Labidochromis_caeruleus.htm >  It is very active and keeps kissing the other cichlid.  <Not likely kissing but a display (a challenge so to speak) Usually it is how aggression begins>  I thought that there was only one kind of fish that does this (I believe the kissing gourami, and it does this to compare the amount of algae on its lips or before mating.)  <I don't think your "cichlids" are kissing, mate. It is usually an act of aggression> If the fish is pregnant what should I do?  <Breeding occurs in the typical Mbuna fashion, so provide a piece of slate or other smooth surface for the "act". (they circle around each other "chasing tails". The male will writhe/shake back and forth) After breeding, I remove the female to a well-planted "maternity" tank. Females are generally good "holders" and will refuse food for up to four weeks. Because going for food for so long can critically weaken the female, I generally strip the eggs from the fish. At two weeks, the babies will be at the "heads and tails" stage. After three weeks, the babies are nearly fully formed. My preference is to strip 1214 days and bubble them in a commercial egg tumbler. Small females will produce 10 to 15 babies. Larger, fully-grown females will have 25 to 30.>  I know that they protect their babies, but their only other tank mates are two small spotted puffers and I know that they are very aggressive and may eat the fry.  <Some fry will be lost if left in the tank. You could provide more cave cover with various sizes so that smaller can hide and or escape from predators. Do more research as this is all well documented on the web, cichlid clubs, forums, even books. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Breeding Jewel Cichlids Hello, I have 3 red jewels in a 2 by 1.5 by 2 foot, and two of them are bright red with distinct blue spots. They are the male and the female. The other male is still normal colour and sort of hangs in the corner by himself. However, the female jewel has been pregnant for around 4 weeks this coming Sunday. They have caves, and a flat rock and I have also put in a coconut shell in there. The male tries to woo her over, by coming over to her and shaking his body next to her. He sometimes digs around in the gravel. She has not laid her eggs. What could be the cause of this? She is eating fine and looks very health. Water is fine, and I have been doing water changes twice a week. What can I do to simulate her and get her to lay the eggs? I have taken the electric yellow that I had in there out, so its only the three jewels in there at the moment. Shall I remove the other male? What should I do? Thank you! Will you be replying to this email or shall I check the FAQ? Where would I find my answer? Thanks once again. <These are stunning fish when in breeding colors. Enjoy them! But get the odd male out. I'm surprised the pair has not killed him yet. They can become very aggressive when breeding. Water conditions for this West African fish are about the same as for South American cichlids. Soft water with a pH around 7. They are very different than the Rift Lake fish. They will breed on a flat surface, either the rock or the glass. I always considered them the West African version of a Jack Dempsey. Water, care, breeding about the same for each. This is a very prolific fish. Keep the pair alone, correct the water if needed, and feed meaty foods. You will have more fry than you can deal with in no time. Don>

Breeding Jewel Cichlids part2 Thank you. But how long is she supposed to be pregnant for? Is 4 weeks OK? Does that sound right? <She can hold the eggs for a very long time, waiting for the right conditions. A little trick to trigger a spawn is to stop all water changes for about two or three weeks. Then do daily 50% water changes for a week. Use water about 8 to 10 degrees cooler. Allow your heater to warm the water back up between each water change. But quite honestly I've never had to trigger Jewels. If you remove the odd male and feed well you should see a spawn very soon. If she continues to reject the male in breeding colors take him out and give the other a try. I would try switching males before a cool water trigger. Don>

Question about electric yellow cichlid Hello, I have a question about my yellow African cichlid.  A few days ago I have noticed her with a strange mouth and kind of gasping.  I decided that she probably ate something, so I got out of the tank, opened her mouth and out came a strange round thing.  Can she be brooding?  By the way, I have two of them.  I know one is female but I don't have an idea what the second one is.  I am new to keeping cichlids and I have no idea how they breed.  What do I do if there are eggs in her mouth?  At first I thought she was sick and waited for her to die, I almost put her in the garbage today, but decided to check her mouth out first.  Now she is back in the tank and I have no idea what I should do. Please, help me with this question. < Labidochromis "electric yellow" is indeed a mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Malawi. They breed by the male establishing a territory and then the female lays a few eggs in the center. The female then picks up the eggs in her mouth. She then picks at the male's vent with her mouth as he releases sperm and fertilizes the eggs. After all the eggs are laid and fertilized she is chased away. The eggs turn into fry in about three days and are free swimming in about a week. Sometimes the female may pick up a piece of gravel that is the same size as her eggs. She may carry this piece of gravel around for quite awhile before spitting it out. This is there way of protecting the eggs and fry from predators in the lake.-Chuck> Thank you Lina

Gold Severums & German Red Peacock I am so glad I finally found a web-site that really has answers and detailed stuff about breeding, good job. I have a pair of 3 yr old Gold Severums (6-8 inches long) that are developing black lines across their bodies and black marks like fin rot on their dorsal and abdominal fins and tail. I have them in a 29 gal. tank sharing with a 7 inch Bala Shark and a Malaysian snail (3in diameter) which do not appear to be ill and an onion plant and seem to all get along well. There is no under water gravel filter, I use a bio-wheel penguin 170 filter with carbon and the tank temperature is set at 75F. I don't allow the Nitrite levels to get passed 0.25ppm or the ammonia to reach 0.5-1.0 because I have a frequent water change out (and I scrub the walls and gravel) regiment of 1/3 tank every week or two depending on the test levels. There are two clay pots in the tank that have been there for months that are now developing a light fuzzy surface. Is this fungus? < Could be but more likely a film of organics precipitating on the flower pots.> Could you help me diagnose what is happening to these fish and recommend a treatment. < Check the nitrate levels before you do a water change. You have large fish in a relatively small aquarium and I assume that the nitrate levels may be exceeding 25 ppm. This would lead to some bacteria to start attacking the fishes fins. Vacuum the gravel on the next water change. You may need to change more water or more often to keep the nitrates down. Treat the fish with Nitrofuranace for the fin/tail rot. Watch for ammonia spikes because some medications affect the good bacteria that break down the fishes waste.> I have several other tanks. In a 15 gal tank I have 4 German Red Peacock, 3 females and 1 male and average 2-4 inches in length. The tank is setup with an under gravel filter that has been disconnected so I can breed them, I run a whisper 20-40 filter with carbon and have the inlet wrapped with a fine mesh screen to prevent fry from being sucked in. I have two lava rocks with plenty of nooks for them to use. I have regular water change outs and never let the nitrite and ammonia levels rise above what's expected for the fish's environment. After reading some of your articles I have since raised the tank temperature to 80F. Since I have never bred German Red Peacocks before I have several questions. Since these peacocks are mouthbrooders and it appears that one female has eggs in its mouth (first time spawn 1 week ago), does it mean that the eggs are already fertilized? < Yes the eggs are almost fertilized the minute that they are laid.> How long will she have the eggs in her mouth? < At 80 degrees F the eggs will take three days to hatch and another three days for the fry to absorb their egg sacs.> Will she be picked on by other tank mates? < The male will usually leave a holding female alone but the other females may harass her in an attempt to get her to spit out the fry.> Will I need to separate her into another tank? < There are two ways to go. After a week you could strip the fry from the female and return her to the main tank while rearing the fry in a separate tank, or you could put her in a separate tank and she will release the fry into the tank when she is ready.> Will she eat during this period? < She may try and eat after a few days, even while holding fry.> How long until the fry hatch? < About three days.> Should I remove the fry into their own tank? < If you don't then they will be eaten.-Chuck> Any suggestions and or recommendations is greatly appreciated. JohnB

Pelvicachromis pulcher Spawning Questions Dear Bob, <Don here today> Id like to start by saying I am a big fan <me too> and would like to say thanks prior to you helping me out. <Your welcome> Here is my situation. I currently have 5 Kribs (the 6th didnt make it) in my 65 gallon heavily planted tank. I have two pairs and a rogue male. Both pairs have spawned, but one pair lost the eggs. I boil it down to their inexperience.  The other pair was very successful and I have 20-30 fry that range from ¼ to ½.  The parents are still extremely protective, its awesome to watch. <Agreed! But it will end soon.> My first question is when do you recommend removing the fry? <ASAP> Secondly, as I have mentioned the tank is heavily planted, how do I remove the fry and not upset my happy couples or the plants? <A problem and why I suggest getting them out now. If they are still schooling, try to siphon them to a tank filled with water from their home.> My last question, which I dont like to admit, is I havent done a water change since July because my Gold rams have also been breeding and I dont want to mess up the good chemistry. <After 3 months it may no longer be good. All the plants help, but you need to test> I am not a water tester <Please become one!> and have been successful for a number of years going on instinct. <Me too, also for many years. But now I consider a test kit as important as water to the health of my fish.> I watch the plants and the fish. So should I do a water change or just follow my gut? <I would start doing small water changes until we get some test numbers. We need Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Tank and source for pH.> I keep the tank topped off and have regularly changed the filter carbon. My main concern is the fry and the increased bio-load. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. I also attached a picture. Thanks, Mike Mural <Mike, A couple of points. It's not usually good to mix Kribs (West African) and Rams (South American). It may be that all those plants give the rams a place to hide. If you see a lot of aggression between them, please remove the rams to there own tank. Also, you said the rams are breeding. Did the fry hatch? If so, a flash point for aggression as the Kribs try to prey on the ram fry. If not, your water may be too hard. Include hardness to the tests listed above. Great job on breeding your Kribs, and nice tank.> Mouth Brooder holding eggs I have a large cichlid  (called a jewel cichlid by the  fish store  but yellow with electric blue tips to the fins).  I've had her 3 years and she is around 6 inches long.    I call her "she" because she  has been carrying around a  mouthful of unfertilized eggs for three weeks now. She has had previous shorter periods (days, not weeks) of not eating though looking hungry after which she snapped back to normal  behavior patterns. We know they are eggs because when offered a worm the other day, she kept nosing it and eventually a few eggs slipped out of her mouth, which she quickly and carefully retrieved.  This was when  we  realized that MR. Splashy (for obvious reasons, associated with enthusiastic feeding and attention demanding)  is really MS. Splashy. She is beginning to look a bit thin, though otherwise healthy, and briefly nosed a pellet today before rejecting it. She stares at us mournfully through the tank walls as if to say, "Help me, what is going on here?"  Yes.  This is a fish with a lot of personality which under normal circumstances demands company.  She seems particularly fond of my husband. My question:  How long will she continue to carry these eggs around? Will she eventually just spit them out or swallow them?  Should I worry as long as  she otherwise appears healthy? C. Kase. >>>Hello, Mouth brooders do this, no worries. They also tend to lose weight, again, no worries. It takes a few weeks sometimes for them to spit infertile eggs. You can catch her, hold her over the water in a net, with just her mouth touching the water, and gently pry open her mouth with a toothpick and release the eggs if you wish. This will speed things up. Otherwise just let nature take it's course. Regards Jim<<<

Breeding Haps The haps are in a different tank a 30 gallon to be exact. What do you recommend for them???? <You would be better off with 3 or 4 females with the one male in about 80 gallons. Read here. http://www.fishzine.com/articles/april2000.html Many recommend live food to condition these fish. I would advise against feeder fish unless you can QT them first. Try small pieces of human seafood. Clams, mussels, shrimp, etc.. Hope this helps Don>

Red Jewel Mouth Brooders or not?? I have read on another web site that some female cichlids are mouth brooders.  Is this the case with red jewels as mine laid eggs yesterday and by this morning they had nearly all gone. <Jewel cichlids are not mouthbrooders (are substrate spawners), though some African cichlids are> I know jewels are normally good parents and this is their first time but did they possibly not read the raising babies handbook?? <Hee hee! Not uncommon for the first batch or three to be trials... do keep trying. Bob Fenner>

African Cichlids Breeding 8/2/04 Hello, I was thinking of breeding Electric yellow cichlids. I was wondering if you had any info on there breeding habits, how to tell a male from a female and if it would be better to overcrowd the aquarium?< < Males and female electric yellows look very similar. You can look under them at the vent areas and see  difference in the sexes as adults. One male will spawn with a group of females. They are maternal mouth  brooders from Lake Malawi so they like their water hard and alkaline.  Lots of rocks and clean water are appreciated. They are secretive spawners and don't do much displaying.  Females will hold the eggs and fry in her mouth for a couple of weeks. The spawns aren't very large.  maybe up to 20 for a good size female. Other Mbuna from the lake like Ps. saulosi or Ps acei  would go well with them since they are not very aggressive. A Aulonocara (peacock) species would also work.-Chuck>

Red Jewels Repro. I have a 75 gallon cichlid tank.  I have fire belly's, electric yellow, green terror, parrots, electric blue, red jewels etc.   Over the past several months a pair of jewels have been repeatedly reproducing. Although i have tried to raise the fry i have not been successful. Today the fry are free swimming once again.  I took a quick glance and noticed that one of the fry seemed quite larger.  Grabbed the flashlight and i have no idea where this baby came from.  It is three times the size of the new fry and bright yellow!  Could this be one of the fry from previous that has managed to survive?  I have no idea why it would be yellow.  I haven't seen any other of the cichlids reproduce.  I am so excited but i am unsure if i should try to catch him and put him in another tank. I can't believe the other cichlids haven't eaten him yet.  Any advice on if jewels fry turn yellow or on if i should try to catch this guy would be greatly appreciated. < Wow, you have quite the tank. Normally cichlids mixed together from all over the world don't do too well together. I suspect that if you have more than one electric yellow that they probably had spawned. They are mouth brooders from Lake Malawi. The female and males look alike and are secretive spawners so you may not have noticed. When the fry are old enough the female spits them out. I suspect that this larger baby is one of them. You should try and catch him if you can or else he will continually feed on the new jewel cichlid fry. -Chuck> Thanks, ( A proud mom)

African cichlids I have a multi-question. I need to know if Bumble bee cichlids would cross breed and if they lay eggs or if they are live bearers. I'm not sure of the name of the other pair of cichlids, they are almost a navy blue with yellow tips on their fins and a similar body style to the Bumble bees. I've had the pair of Bumble bees for about a year and just found 3 babies, not sure if there were some that were eaten or if there are more on the way. The 3 I found have barely visible stripes and are still semi-transparent, not sure how many days they have been hiding. Thanks in advance. < If you have both male and female bumblebees then the fry are most likely bumblebees too. They are mouthbrooders. The male attracts the female to a nest area. The female lays the eggs and picks them up in her mouth. The male releases the sperm in the nest and the female picks it up as the eggs are fertilized. The eggs will stay in her mouth for three days and then the eggs will hatch in another three. After a week then the fry become free swimming and she will usually spit them out after the second week. After that the female will probably will not care for them anymore. If there were no males available then there is a very good chance that they would hybridize.-Chuck> 

Some fry's & a shake! Hello Crew! I have previously e-mailed you for some insight regarding my African cichlid collection and have been quite impressed with your rapid response and helpful information. Since then a few new issues have arisen and once again I need your help. I have a red Kenyi (Pseudotropheus estherae) and a peacock (Aulonocara jacobfreibergi) both holding fry's. The red Kenyi's fry's are pretty big already and she looks like she's ready to spit any day now! I have actually caught a glimpse of them in her mouth! WOW! Both appear to be in good health, the red Kenyi is the largest in the tank. I have only had them for about 10 days, so they must have already been pregnant (there are no males of either species in the tank) Currently I have 4 yellow labs (M), 3 mainganos (M), 3 blue ahli (M), 1 rusty (U), 3 red Kenyi (F), & 1 peacock, (obviously female). I also have 2 Synodontis eupterus, I pleco, and 6 giant Danios! My main concern is the safety of the fry. I don't have the ability to separate them because <If you net them out and the fry are that far along then there is a good chance that they will spit out their fry when netted.> I don't have another tank. I would like to see some of them make it to adulthood though, any ideas? < Your fish will all eat the babies if they are found. Sometimes the female will release in the tank and a couple may survive if the tank is well fed.> By the way, my tank is 35 gallons with a lot of rocks! (Some onlookers complain that it is too much because they can't always see the fish, too many places to hide!) I appreciate any help you have to give on this situation! Now on to the shake! I have read several articles that state the "shakes" may or may not be any concern. I have another red Kenyi that has some black spots randomly all over her body and fins. It looks like she has been peppered or something like that. She is relatively small, maybe 2" - 2.5" in size. I have just recently noticed these spots. It almost looks like you could wipe her clean. I have seen other photos of the same kind of fish with the black spots but the spots seem larger. I am not sure if this is a normal change in coloration or not. She has displayed the shakes twice in the past 10 days, but other wise is eating well and is very aggressive and very active like all the others. Is this something to worry about or not? Other than the shakes and the peppered spots on her, I have not notice that affecting any of the other fish. The water quality is excellent, good PH, temp maintained at 76-78 degrees, and weekly water changes (25%) and plenty of filtration. A local pet shop will test the water for free, I get it done weekly before the water change. Is there anything else I can or should do? The last thing I want is to e-mail you about a disaster. I certainly do appreciate your help! Thanks in advance for your advice! < Lake Malawi fish do occasionally come down with ich. I would add a teaspoon of rock salt per gallon and treat for ich using a product called Rid-ich by Kordon. If has been found to be the most effective treatment. Follow the directions on the bottle. It is not suppose to affect the biological filtration but I think it does. So watch for ammonia spikes during treatment. You will have to follow up with a few water changes to get things back on track. I would also increase the water temperature to 80 degrees. Some may say to raise it even higher but the usual African cichlid tank is pretty overcrowded and when the water temp. is raised then there is less oxygen in the water and may further stress the fish.-Chuck>

Electric yellow cichlids i have recently bought a mating pair of electric yellow cichlids <Sorry, they really don't pair up. They get together when they are ready to spawn. After they spawn then the "pair" bond  is broken> and added them to my 5 gallon aquarium < This is way too small.>. i have plenty of rock work and plants to add to the territory. i want to know if this is alright cause am getting my brand new 15 gallon aquarium tomorrow may 9 < This will be better but if you really want to get into African cichlids then eventually you will need a even bigger tank. if i need to move them in to there can you please tell me and also can you tell me what type of cichlids i can also put with my 2 5 inch Oscars and Sailfin pleco thank you , <Eventually your Oscar and Sailfin Plec will get large , 12 inches for the Oscar and up to 20 inches plus for the pleco if properly cared for. also i want to start getting into the "aquarium business' of selling and stocking and breeding fish. can you please give me help of how to set this up thank ----------- < Sean I think you need to get a couple of books and read them very carefully if you want to get into cichlids. The first is "Enjoying Cichlids " by Ad Konings. It can be bought online at CichlidPress.com. The other is the "Cichlid Aquarium " by Dr. Paul V. Loiselle. Published by Tetra Press. Between the two you will get an excellent overview of cichlids and realize what is required to properly take care of and breed these great aquarium fish. You could also join the American Cichlid Association. They put out some great publications on cichlids as well as offering a trading post bulletin that lists all kinds of cichlids for sale that may not be available at your local store. After you have mastered the art and science of breeding cichlids then I would recommend work on the ones you love to keep and breed. I learned a long time ago that when you are in the fish business you are breeding fish that other people want, maybe not what you really like. -Chuck> Sean *cichlid* (for loving cichlids) Brown

Re: electric yellow cichlids hello again crew thanks for all your help.  i also am returning that 15 gallon and getting a "Wal-Mart" aquarium for them that is 29 gallons.... < I think tank would be the minimum size to work with.> will this still be to small for them and also what other cichlids that are bright in color would be good for them thank you very much < Try Ps. Acei, Ps. saulosi and Mel. parallelus. When you get the book then you will see many others to try. Make sure that you move the rocks around when adding new fish and that the filter moves at least 100 gallons an hour.-Chuck> ps....:thanks I'm ordering the enjoying cichlid book right now off Amazon thanks (wouldn't know what i would do without the help you are giving me (am 14 and i want to get into the aquarium business thank you) < Ask the local store what fish they would pay you to breed and how much. Then you could decide if it was worth your while.-Chuck>

RE: Pseudotropheus lombardoi Thanks a lot for your reply, pretty much answered every question I can come up with =) Ya... I did the pot idea, I took my time and broke them into nice half-pots for cave areas... and sanded the edges down, but it does look pretty unnatural. I do have one more lack-of-creativity question for you: What are the best kind of rocks to provide cave areas for a large amount of cichlids (ten or so), and how much ground area should they cover in a 30 gallon tank -- should I leave small passages to each cave opening and an area in the front of the tank free for swimming?  < Stay away from sedimentary rocks that may leach chemicals into the water and stay away from rocks with rough surfaces. As the fish may dash against them while they are being chased and they will be less likely to hurt themselves. Round river rocks will work fine. Make sure that they are actually on the bottom of the tank and not just in the sand. As the fish excavate the sand then caves may collapse on them. Try some floating plastic plants too for color.-Chuck>  Thanks again for taking the time with my annoying questions!  -Nick

Blood parrot fish hormone I have four blood parrot fish in a 200 liter tank although two are still very small but the adult pair are lovely the problem is that the female every two weeks keeps laying eggs but the male is not fertile I have heard that giving them a hormone they become fertile can any one help me These fish are not very common here in Portugal, my vet friend ask me to make some research about this so I don't make any mistakes or harm my lovely pets hoping to hear from you soon < Unfortunately your fish may never have fertile eggs. The parrot fish is a man made hybrid between a couple of cichlid species. They have mainly been bred in Asia The female may have ovaries and generate eggs but neither the male or the female may be fertile. Hormones may get them to breed but does not increase the fertility. If these were a true cichlid species, I would first vent them( Turn them over to compare the vent openings, Males are different than females) to insure that I truly had a pair. I would then fatten them up with some live food and do a big water change. If they male did not participate after a few times then I would assume that he is not interested or not capable of spawning and I would get a new male and try again.-Chuck>

Jewels with enflamed passions! hi i couldn't find this answer in any of your other articles so i thought id give it a try. I've got 2 jewels and they've been together for about 3 weeks now and for the first time I've ever seen tonight they started putting their tails at 45 degree angles and fluttering their dorsal fins rapidly at each other.  am trying to figure out if war is going to break out and i need to separate them or if they're dating and i need to take out the other 2 African cichlids i have in there.   also they changed color from pale beige to bright pink to a reddish grey now, but they go back and forth all the time.   usually they just swim around the tank and sort of play with their reflections, but tonight they just sit on the bottom of the tank and sometimes come out of their house or plant to flutter at each other.  also this is the first night i gave them a treat of frozen bloodworms.   lol I've spent like 4 hours now watching them while being on the computer trying to figure out what's going on so any help would be greatly appreciated.   thanks!  ~Erin < Your jewelfish may be getting ready to breed. The new frozen food may have stimulated them. Watch them close. They are substrate spawners. They will lay their eggs on a flat rock and defend the eggs and fry for awhile from the other fish. The bright pinkish red color is their breeding colors-Chuck>

Cichlids Breeding Like Rabbits! Yes I am having some trouble with my cichlids right now; they keep breeding like rabbits.  The other day I had a demasoni have babies and I don't know how because I only have one of these and the rest are all zebras. Please write back. <Your fish are cross breeding. In the wild Ps. demasoni comes from a small reef in Lake Malawi and probably does not come in contact with any Metraclima zebra types. If a female is ready to breed she will probably accept any suitable fish that closely resembles her or her breeding habits. The fry then should not be distributed to any of your friends or traded to any fish stores. If your tank is large enough you could get a Dimidichromis compressiceps or a Nimbochromis venustus or N. livigstoni. These large Haplochromines feed on small fry in the wild and would soon make a meal out of any fry your fish could be producing. You bring up a very good point when keeping Lake Malawian cichlids , that breeding stock should be kept in a single species tank so crossing does not happen and strains remain pure. -Chuck>

Re: my cichlids keep breeding like rabbits how do I stop them I don't think I will be feeding these babies to any other fish as a matter of fact I already have found like 6 fish stores that are willing to actually pay for the fish and that is unusual < Stores are a business and they will try and sell whatever they can to make money. Parrot cichlids and Flowerhorns are a couple examples of these "Designer Cichlids". Usually when two species interbreed their fry are rather unattractive and refer erred to as "mutts". Occasionally there is a combination that generates an attractive offspring. You may have stumbled on to such a combination. There are other crosses out there such as a mottled peacock, that is a cross between a Aulonocara and a mottles zebra that has become commercially available.>   I swear they are the most beautiful I have seen yet they actually came out with cobalt blue stripes and some totally white with black spots but yet they kept the body form of the demasoni rather than the zebras < I would hope that the store actually labels these fish as a cross so unsuspecting buyers can decide if they want this fish or not. What are they going to be called?

Jewel Cichlid Fry Hi.  I just came across your website and have found it to be a wonderful source of information.  Thank you. <Thank you for visiting!> Seven months ago I began my adventures in cichlids.  Inexperienced I have a wide variety in my tank.  I currently have 1 Bala shark, 1 danio, 2 red devils, 2 Pacu (new to the tank - 2 weeks in there) 2 jewel cichlids, 3 orange cichlids (don't know type), 2 orange spotted peacock cichlids, 2 silver dollars, 1 Banded Leporinus, 1 electric yellow cichlid, 1 Melanochromis auratus, and one other one that is yellow with vertical stripes on it, I don't know the name. <Be sure to check out our cichlid area on WetWebMedia. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afrcichlids.htm has many different sites and pages to help you learn more about your fish? These are in a 135 gallon tank.  When I first set up my tank my friend said that I should not expect to have all the fish live, but they have, so do you think that is big enough? <Not with 2 Pacu in there... They get anywhere from 3 to 4 feet long as adults. > My jewel cichlids that have had fry 4 times and none survived, they have eggs laid now, and I am going try to save them.  When can I separate them from the parents? In the cichlid area of the site we have breeding info as well for many different species.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichreprofaqs.htm many cichlids have similar breeding habits that you can adopt to match yours.> They are so protective - I am not sure how long it takes for them to hatch, the other times, I have just noticed the babies in the tank, but they slowly disappear as each day passes (I am sure they become food for others).  Someone else laid eggs and had fry in the tank, but I don't know who.  I have managed to save two of the babies and put them in a "baby holder" inside the tank, they are about 1/2 an inch long now and eating flakes and just introduced to frozen plankton and shrimp. <Congrats on breeding successfully!  Keep it up and you might get a nice side hobby by breeding and selling young to your LFS> I love the red devils as they love it when I come to the tank.  The male is a lot more curious about me and social than the female.  He seems to watch me watch the tank and won't eat until I am moved away from the tank although he still allows me to watch him eat - His favorite are the floating pellets, but they both splash the top of the water (hit it hard) when they eat - sometimes before I can get the lid closed and get me all wet!  Is that normal?   <Yeah, they are hungry little critters.  Very excited with food, and they are competitive in nature, so they have to really be fast as to get their food in the wild.> I feed everyone 2-3 times a day - once in the morning 5:45am and when I get home 5:30/6:00 and a "snack" before bed 9:30ish usually just a few cubes of frozen food. <good feeding schedule, just make sure not to over feed and have food rot in the tank.> I have noticed the Pacu are getting friendly when I approach them as well, rubbing the tank with their bodies.  Very cute.  I know these get large, but I think that my tank is big enough?   <no, these will be big boys.  Do a search online you will find many sites and people offer "Pacu's Free to good home".  And you can see how big they will get.> I have one algae eater in there and one loach as well. <Make sure to not forget them when feeding time comes around.  Algae wafers and sinking pellets> No problems yet, the two red devils chase each other sometimes but the female (I think) has a pot to go in that she can fit in and the larger male can't get in.  I have tried to give them lots of places to hide in, but have noticed that I have diggers!   What do you think about hand feeding, <hand feeding is fine, just make sure you don't have any chemicals/soup/nasty stuff on your hand that can get in the water.> I have seen several people comment that they hand feed their red devils and Pacu - my red devils are about 4/5 months old - is it too late to start that and are they using cichlid sticks? <No, give them food and they will eat it.  They are easy to train to feed by hand.> I give my fish cichlid flakes, cichlid pellets, brine shrimp, tube worms, and plankton (shrimp, worms and plankton are all frozen).   I do a 25% water change every two weeks.  Am I doing the right things?  Any advise, comments, etc. would be greatly appreciated.  Great website!  Thanks,  Michelle <So far you are doing things fine.  As the fish get bigger you might need to bump up the water changes to once a week.  But, so far it sounds like you are doing things well.  Keep up the good work, and research research research and you will really enjoy your fish! -Magnus>

Re: Jewel Cichlid Fry Magnus,  First, thanks so much for getting back to me!  I really appreciate it as I am fairly new at this and love sharing with someone!   <The net is a great place to start.  There are many forums you can check out and learn a great deal.  Not to mention make some great new fish friends.  I suggest you start looking around and join a few of the groups. I'm sure you will have loads of fun.> What size tank would fit two Pacu?   <I have a friend in PA that has a 750 gallon tank home to two Pacus, and they seem comfortable.  But I doubt my wallet would be that comfortable with something that large.  The problem is that you need a tank that is WIDE enough will accommodate their size.  A tank 8 feet long is nice, but if it's only 2 feet long, then the 3 foot Pacu won't be able to turn around unless it does a back flip.> I have seen so many comments on websites that have Pacu in tanks smaller than 135 gallon - <most likely they aren't full size, it takes a couple years, so many people say "I've had mine for years with no problem"... when that's not the issue, the problem is that these fish WILL get bigger and not many people want them.  Zoos are full of them, and people are starting to let them go in the wild... which isn't good at all!>   without all of the other fish would my tank be big enough?   <Provided you have plenty of territory for them, then a 135 is a nice size for cichlids not for full grown Pacus> Do people really breed and sell their fish? <I doubt that many of Pacu are bred in home aquariums.  But the pet trade sells lots of Pacus every week.  Mainly by mislabeling their size.  Next time you are in Wal-Mart and they have a fish section see how big they say they get.  Usually they say around 12 inches.> I would not even know how to go about that - I think for now I am just trying to keep a couple in the tank that were born there - kind of neat to have "families" if you know what I mean. <There is breeding information on WWM websites.  if not there are some great online sources for breeding cichlids.  Once you learn how to do it and care for the offspring, then all you have to do is wait for the fish to "get in the mood" to spawn.> -Michelle <Take Care -Magnus>

Kribs Galore - and How to Move 'Em Hi Guys, <One o' the gals today - Sabrina here for ya> I am proud to say that my Kribs (Pelvicachromis pulcher) have bred for the first time and I now have about 40-100 fry (they are hard to count)! <Yay!  Congratulations!> Not bad for fist time parents I think. <Not at all, sounds great to me.> They became free swimming today and are about 3 mm long (1/8th of an inch for you guys :)  ). <Oh, how I *wish* we would just switch over to the metrics system, rather than measuring in units of a dead man's foot!  *Sigh*> I have all ready started boring my friends with how it all happened and the courting displays of the parents. <Heh, I totally understand....  I am blessed with the most tolerant of men for a husband, who at the very *least* will smile and nod, and sometimes actually listen, to my happy fish moments!> This all sounds good ... and it is but I'm moving house in 11 days! <Agh!  Had to go and complicate it!> I had planed to just catch my fish, bag 'em and put them in Styrofoam boxes for the ride to their new home. What should I do with the parents and the fry though? Also, how do I catch all the fry? Can I "vacuum" them up with a gravel siphon? <Yes, though it would be better to use just the hose, not the big vacuum tube.  I'd siphon them into a bucket, then bag them from there.  You may have to catch the parents out first to be able to do this.> Should I put the mom and dad in with the fry for the trip? <Honestly, I'm not sure....  I would be afraid that they would "freak out" and eat the fry....  But being that this is their first brood, it might be worth the risk.> At least we don't have to travel far (only about 10 min.s). <Whew!  Temperature change is going to be a major issue for these delicate little babies, please be very attentive to that.> Moving sucks at the best of times and a beautiful tank full of fish doesn't make it any easier but I'm sure you guys can put me on the right track :) <Ooh, I hope so.  If it is at all possible, is there any chance you can have a tank set up and waiting at the new place, using some gravel and some spent filter media to "jump-start" the cycle?  Water quality is of the utmost importance here, too, and having a tank all set and ready to go would certainly ease the move for you, too!> Many thanks and seasons greetings,  Adam Langman, Australia <Good luck on the move, and Happy Holidays to you, as well!  -Sabrina>

Sexing African Cichlids 11/24/03 I have two African cichlids that I recently bought One is a male Pundamilia nyererei and I are not sure of the other. Originally I thought they were a pair but then as I watched them I wondered if they were both males of slightly different species. <Possible. Being that sexing African cichlids is not an exact science, things you should look for are egg spots on the anal fin (again does not necessarily mean a male), most males are brilliantly colored or actually have a physical difference in body type, behaviorally (chasing around the tank, creating a nest ((digging out a hole in the substrate)) these are a few things to look for. See here: http://www.cichlidae.com/askpam/p075.html. Also some use the anal vents as the de facto scientific way to tell male from female. See here: http://www.fishhead.com/articles/ventsex.htm>I put one in an in a floating breeder tank to isolate him and they began trying to attack each other through the plastic. <Not necessarily an indicator as these are typically an aggressive fish regardless of male to female, female to female, or male to male>When I looked at them this morning I noticed that the other one had become slightly fatter and had a white tube like thing sticking out right behind the anal pore. <This is likely fecal matter. I hope you are quarantining these fish, as this clear fecal matter is sometimes a sign of a possible gram positive or gram negative infection or even a possible internal parasite? Please watch the fish carefully for thinness and lethargy.>Does this mean that one is a female? The male Pundamilia has not changed at all (no white tube). Thanks, Laedi. <I personally like to gather information through this forum: http://cichlidforums.com/forumdisplay.php?s=f65b858c7b40f63516eb69e09d414f31&forumid=3 Very smart folks with a good philosophy and polite demeanor. A great place to look for questions and answers. ~Paul>  

Restless Maylandia estherae Hello again wet friends, <Hello there> I finally took the 36 Sciaenochromis ahli <Electric Blue Hap's> fry to the LFS. I had 38, but 2 of them were blind and didn't last very long. I had 4 that didn't grow really, they were about to become food for their sisters/brothers. What might it be that prevented them from growing? Could I prevent this? I fed them only Sera and Tetra baby food and crushed flakes. Could I improve on this diet? <Mmm the first item that comes to mind as a cause is the large group of environmental factors... this species enjoys high pH and water hardness... in the eights, and upwards of a dH of 20... is your water like this? Could be genetic anomalies with the parents... Diets of both breeders and young can be improved... with more meaty, fresh material> My actual question is about the 5 Maylandia estherae <Red Zebra, actually a Pseudotropheus> I traded the fry with. I had promised myself not to buy anymore fish, but I just couldn't resist the colors, once more, as usual. They are about 1.5 inches, 4 orange females and 1 blue male. I transferred them in a thermostatic bag, gave them a 45 minute dip with Seachem Paraguard and placed them in the fry tank (only extra tank I have), which also houses 1 small (0.4 inch) Pseudotropheus acei that appeared out of nowhere in the dirty water bucket while I was vacuuming the gravel in my main tank about a month ago <?!>. The acei is in a breeding net, separated. May I release it to roam around with the estherae or would it be food for the estherae? <This Malawi cichlid ought to mix with the Red Zebras just fine... given enough room, food> Water parameters: around 15 dKH, 8+ pH, 26 degrees Celsius, 20-25 % weekly water changes. <Sounds good> Same parameters for the main tank and the fry tank. I've got the little ones spawning continuously in the main tank, so I believe everything is in order. The fry tank has an internal Eheim Aquaball filter, with substrat pro inside. <I wish I were your LFS! Perhaps a breeding room, job in our industry is in your future?> Since I put the estherae in the tank, they are just restless. Continuously swimming up and down the glass, back and fort in the aquarium. They only concentrate a bit on the food and slow down while I'm feeding them. Lights on or off, they just dart around as long as they have enough light to see around. Is this a sign of stress or is it the nature of the beast? If it is stress, what shall I do? <Sounds like they're just curious, healthy. I would not be concerned. Cultured African cichlids often exhibit these sort of "imprinted" behavior... in response to feeding training> I was planning to put 2 of the females in the main tank once they grow a little more, but would they cross breed with my acei, in the absence of a estherae male? <A possibility, and one I would guard against, by removing the acei.> I had intention to ask just one short question, but questions seem to reproduce faster than both tanks and fish. <Not with your fishes!> Many thanks, Husnu <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Breeding Jewel Cichlids  To whomever it may concern,  I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 Red Acaras, 1 Dempsey, 1 African, 1 Managuense, and 3 Jewels. Two of my Jewels have mated and I didn't know, and on Nov. 3 they released their live young from their mouths. I heard that they keep the eggs in their mouths. But anyway, when they were let out I took a small tube and siphoned as many little babies out as I could... I got almost all of them. Over night the two gathered about 20 up and put them in their mating area and are now caring for those few. They are very aggressive but they don't seem like they are going to kill any of my other fish they just won't let the other fish too close to their few babies. Should I take the babies out or not. Also with the ones I collected (Which are probably around 1000) I put them all in a 10 gallon tank with no filter, many fake plants, some rocks, a long tube about an inch in diameter, a heater, and some bubbles to keep the air oxygenated.   They are all swimming around fine. Could you please do your best to give me as much information as you know about Jewels mating and what I should do with the ones in the 10 gallon tank and how I should care for them. I would deeply appreciate your help if you would tell me as much as you know. Thank you very much.  <Steve, it sounds as if you're doing a great job thus far. Having fish breed is the ultimate compliment to a fishkeeper. There is a wealth of information about breeding Jewels, and similar species. Start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlidreprofaqs.htm - but if you're really serious there are some great books that can help even more. Good luck! Ryan>

HEY BOB (breeding peacocks German reds (Hormonal Manipulation ) Hey bob <Herrn Glen> my name is glen  I am just start out a breeding set up for Aul. German Reds  . <Very nice fish/ Kaiserfische!> I have 14 females 4" and 2 full sized full colored males , and some hap ahli + hap moorii to get started. I want to sell the local pet shops as the pet shops we have here don't have   top quality fish . pet shop's here mainly have pond raised fish witch are deformed and VERY ugly (like lelupies that are brown and no longer yellow) . <Should be destroyed IMO> all the fish I bought were F1 's and very nicely colored . ok  now that u know what  my set up is  here is my question . these Hormonal Manipulation you speak of will induce breeding right ? how do I get some ? and is it a good idea to give these shots to AUL PEACOCKS? I don't want to make deformed fish or discolored off spring . I have 3 females holding eggs at the moment  and I have only had the fish for 2 weeks .   please give your input on this thanks for your time bob.... Glen Chenoweth <It's unnecessary and not-advised to use injection/hormonal manipulation with these fishes. Aulonocaras are easily bred with just regular maintenance of a breeding colony (a male, few females) in a large enough system, regular good feeding, maintenance. If yours are not spawning as yet, I would look into adding protein to their diet, possibly elevating temperature. Please do look into books (in German, and English) on this group of fishes. There are some excellent accounts of their captive care including breeding. Bob Fenner>

African Cichlid behavior - 10/14/03 Hi, <Helloooooo> I have a 55g African cichlid tank set up for a year with about 15 fish, most around 3". <Uh.......too many fish in my opinion, friend>  I'm not sure all the exact species; I know I have a bumblebee, two chipokas, a brichardi, a jewel, <African right?> a rusty, <A typically aggressive fish. Iodotropheous sprengerae> an auratus, a Kenyi, a red peacock, <Careful this fish will end up the loser if a war breaks out between the Tropheus species> a Haplochromis, <Usually a very large adult fish> and several varieties of zebra types, some male-female pairs. <Aggressive> They are doing fantastically well; aragonite substrate, lava rock and former marine "live rock" host lots of beneficial bacteria.  Ammonia and nitrite are zero, Ph about 8 and temp is 75. <All good there> The male of one pair of zebra types (gorgeous mottled blue and black on a gold background) has gotten very high strung and more aggressive toward all other fish in the tank; <No surprise here. They (African cichlids) typically are very aggressive when they meet sexual maturity> he has staked out a territory near the center of the tank and has burrowed a cave in the aragonite and piled up a 6" mountain nearby, one mouthful at a time. <Again, nothing new here> He seems less aggressive toward his same-species mate (?), <Mmmmmm. Not sure..... They usually beat the hell out of the females while chasing to mate. I guess it is possible for them to try and entice the female to the breeding nest without being aggressive.> who seems to hang around near this cave.  They do a lot of twitching at each other (the male does more), <Do they circle (chase tail) just above the nest? Likely they are copulating> which I understand is mating behavior. <You would be correct, but I have seen this male against male occasionally.> The other fish seem less active than in the past and stay in the fringes of the tank. <Because they are getting "rocked" (not a technical term....I know) every time they move within a range of the nest. This is natural behavior and I would expect more of it as other fish start to scrap for what is left of the territory. You are shortly going to have an all out war on your hands soon, my friend> Here's my question: I'm not sure what to do. <Get rid of a lot of your fish, in my experience> Can they breed in this community tank of Africans? <Possible>  Is there anything I could/should do to either promote or inhibit this? <Species only tank? Otherwise there is a great website on African Cichlids: www.cichlidrecipe.com Do some research about your inhabitants (species) and aggression dispersal> It would be VERY difficult to catch any of these fish without tearing apart everything in the tank; <May need to be done if needed right??> there are lot of good hiding places. <Hiding places are good only if not within or near territorial boundaries set up by the other inhabitants in the tank.>  What suggestions do you have? <Jeff, I think the best possible solution is to pick your favorite couple of fish and the rest should...well....go. I have a ninety gallon tank, Hap and Aulonocaras of different colors (a total of 5 adult fish) that is it. Again, in a ninety gallon tank and there is still a great amount of aggression. Just be aware of it. Breeding should be the least of your worries right now, mate. It really is the best advice I can offer. Thanks for the question -Paul> Thanks, Jeff

African Cichlid response - 10/15/03 Thanks Paul, for your insight. <No problem> I too was questioning why the female of the apparent pair was not getting as badly beat up as I thought she would, and you concur with the same question. <Well, may be getting beat up, but just not noticeable. Watch for aggressive chasing and bashing. May happen when you are not in the room or even at night. Still very stressful. One will eventually lose out> Thanks for your tip on overpopulation. <Not so much a tip, but a reality my friend>  When I set this tank up under the guidance of a store specializing in cichlids, I was told 12 to 15 fish would diffuse aggression. <In a 55 gallon?? I rest my case>  Seemed like a large number to me, but I went with it; I just made sure to filter the tank well (Emperor 400 plus lots of lava and formerly "live" rock for bacteria hosting) <I wouldn't rely on this as being filter media per se. When a tank is overstocked it is overstocked> and do a 10% water change weekly. <For this many fish I would be doing 15% to 20% weekly> Obviously things have been fine till now, the water quality is great and they are exhibiting healthy behavior. <Uh....> I have been watching it carefully and after your comments will be ready to act as soon as your warning begins to come true, which you seem to feel is inevitable. <OK> I'm not surprised.  Having  densely populated tank of such interesting and good-looking fish is too good to be true! <Not true. You just need to be sure that they are like and compatible inhabitants with a foundation based on habitat. Be objective, Jeff. You can have a tank with beautiful fish as long as fish types that would not normally cross paths in each other's territory are in the same confined space. Maybe set up two tanks with two different biotopes. I would love to go into it, but alas, there is a lack of time. I would start looking into writings from Ad Konings to start. In any event, research is the key. There are a great many who have kept these fish before you or I that offer their accounts at various clubs and forums as well as books and websites. What did you think of www.cichlidrecipe.com? I love that site. Good luck -Paul>

Re: What's wrong with the eye of the cichlid? Thanks a lot Sabrina, <Sure thing.> The bubble is gone! and he is very well. I watched him closely for a few days, the bubble disappeared in about three days. <Awesome!> Is it possible that he got into a fight and got hit on the eye and got a fish version of a purple eye? <Frankly, without having seen him, it's hard to tell.  It is a possibility.> Anyway I'm happy that he's OK.  I got into this hobby about six months ago with a fish bowl and I have three tanks running now. <Hmm, funny how tanks multiply so rampantly, isn't it??  I'm running out of space, myself.> My ahli had 12 babies on Friday, she already had 4 last month. Another ahli is about to have her babies in a few weeks <Wonderful!> and one of my Aulonocara nyassae has her mouth full again, I hope she doesn't swallow them this time. <There is a practice of 'stripping' mouthbrooding females - but it requires a lot of care/maintenance of the embryos afterward - do a google search, lots of info out there.> It looks like this is getting out of control. :) <Man....  I'm TOTALLY in control of my addiction.  I know when to quit.  Really, I do!  After the next few tanks, some time....> If I decide that the fry population is growing more than I like, may I leave the females that have their mouths full of fry in the main tank and let nature take its course? I am afraid they may get dangerously harassed by the males. <If necessary, perhaps remove the males, or reduce the number of males in the tank, or remove the females individually to separate enclosures, or strip the females.  Good luck to you, sounds like you've got a fun thing going on!  -Sabrina> Thanks,  Husnu

Silver Scats #2 <Hi-Ryan Again> Thank you so much for getting back to me. <Ahh, the pimpled scats, right?> I do a 25% water change every 2 weeks. <Nice regimen> For filtration I use a Fluval 304. I test the water weekly and there is rarely even the slightest variation. Right now I have a PH of 7.8 ,  0ppm Nitrite & 0ppm Ammonia. The only variation I might get is a fluctuation in PH between 7.8 & 8.0. <Normal fluctuation> I keep the temp at 78. I haven't tested the hardness recently but that is usually the same also KH=8 & GH=6. This problem has existed for about six months. I've spoken w/numerous pet stores & spent countless hrs. on line & reading books, but haven't seen anything like this. It started as a pimple on the top lip (for lack of a better description) and now looks like top part of the jaw is just wasting away. I will try to get a picture to send you.<That would make this easier!>  I have one other question pertaining to my cichlids. I have what I believed was a Johanni & now think is a Maingano. <A picture could clear this up too> I believe she is holding eggs since 6/12/03. I do not have another tank & tried the net breeder but could not catch her. <tough, but keep at it.  You've either got to remove her or all the males...which sounds easier now?  2 nets makes should help.  The recommended time to move the female is 14-16 days after she develops the brood.  You're right on time.> So I opted for a divider. <Fry may be able to swim to their own deaths through the circulation holes> I'm worried because she hasn't eaten in all this time. <If your mouth was full of babies, you wouldn't dare eat either!  Totally normal, she'll eat like a pig once this is over.> I've read about stripping but would rather go the natural route. <Either way works, I like natural too> I've read that the incubation period is anywhere from 10-21 days. <Yes, about right.  Catch this fish without stressing her too badly.  Go get yourself a 10 gallon quarantine from Petco or Wal-Mart-best 10 bucks you'll spend in this hobby.  This fish is in a vulnerable time right now, and will need time to recover without being harassed.  The fry will need a space to grow!  This doesn't have to be fancy, and a sponge filter is your best bet with small fry.  You can even seed the filter by setting it inside your display for a few days, then transferring it to your QT.  Hope this helps!  Ryan> This was all rather unexpected so any info would be helpful. Nevertheless it is exciting. Thank you again <anytime-Ryan>

Kribs compatibility >Hi! >>Hello! >I just got a pair of Kribs in my 25 gal tank. This is my first time with Kribs. They get along marvelously with the rest of the tank: 2 Angels and a Clown Pleco. Since it is minimally stocked, everyone seems to have enough space and there are plenty of caves and plants. >>Excellent.  If things are as good as you allude, expect them (should you have male and female) to begin breeding preparations. >The problem is the girl Krib. She is absolutely stunning, but very aggressive to her male counterpart. He is even larger than her, but she won't tolerate him. This is the second male I have put in with her without success. The good thing is he's smarter and faster than her, so he manages to eat and survive. I have never heard of Kribs being aggressive towards their own species. >>I wonder if the fish have been sexed incorrectly, the female is definitely less "impressive" than the male, as well as showing other sexual dimorphism, including smaller finnage.  Are you positive you've got a female and not a male? >Is this just a phase? Or some kind of mating display? Will he eventually get significantly bigger than her and stand up to her? Why does she hate him so much? Thanks so much for your help and your great site! >>Alas, without seeing the fish in question, I'm hard pressed to do anything other than venture a guess.  Is the tank very thickly planted?  This will help.  If the male is significantly smaller than the female, this, too, may be a problem.  I'm sorry I can't offer you much more in the way of definitive answers, except that I would also consider pulling the *female* out, letting her set for a day or three somewhere else (along with providing lots of hidey holes while she's gone) and then try reintroducing her.  It's done often with African Rift lake cichlids with good success (although they're awfully smart and you have to rearrange everything!).  Good luck!  Marina Lindy

Fish Dating Game <Hello Angela. You caught me, Steven Pro, during my shift of answering the daily questions. Bob is out of town for awhile, so you will get either me or Anthony Calfo for the next couple of days.> I have a 55 gal tank with assorted African cichlids and I don't know the difference in male and female? I recently found 3 babies in tank while cleaning the tank....are the females the ones that carry the eggs in mouth are is it the male? I had a friend tell me the male picks up the eggs .... is that true? <No, the female carries the eggs with most African Malawi cichlids.> I you could please tell me which carry the eggs I will know which are male and female....the long slender one is carrying the eggs... the lager ones don't... fat in midriff that is.... the picture that you have posted on the freshwater aquarium articles looks like the fat in midriff that I was talking about... what type of cichlid is that? <I looked around but could not determine which picture you were referring to. In general, male Malawi cichlids are larger in length and darker colored (not all the time, but in many species). Females are usually fatter particularly when ripe with eggs.> please help.... I have other fish I need mates to so I need to know the difference .....thanks Angela 

African cichlids Maybe you can help me. I'm starting to get into African cichlids. Well I think I have a fish that may possibly be pregnant. How can tell when they are and what are the signs? <African cichlids are a large and diverse group of fishes, but most people are referring to Malawi cichlids when they say African. Most of them carry the fertilized eggs in their mouth. The female lays her eggs, the male fertilizes them, and the female picks them up in her mouth for protection and incubation. They usually are expelled in two weeks.> and if she is do I have to isolate her meaning put her in a separate tank. <If you have enough decorations/hiding spots some will survive. The young are fairly large at this point, about 1/4" long and capable of eating crushed flake food. Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afrcichlids.htm, and follow on through the linked pages. -Steven Pro>

Both Spawning and Algae Problems I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank with a pair of jewel cichlids. All has been fine, but recently I went into the hospital for a month and then things started going wrong. Up until then, the pair had been laying eggs every 2 weeks. Now they haven't in quite some time. I have been doing all the scheduled maintenance on the tank and nothing will spur them on. They also seem to have become very very shy. They no longer avidly swim about the tank. What could be causing this? I change the water the same as I always have and nothing seems to be making a difference. Also I have an abundance of algae growing in the tank now that was never there before. I have live plants but they are being smothered now. I am seriously at a loss here. Anything will help please! Thanks! <Quite likely some seasonal variation in your tapwater is causing both of your problems. It is very common for tapwater to get worse in the summer months; increases in nitrate and phosphate caused by more runoff and then the utility company adds more stuff to combat the nutrients. Increasing the frequency and/or amount of you water changes may help along with use of activated carbon. -Steven Pro>

I need some help with some jewel cichlids I wonder if you could help me or tell me about someone who could <Okay> I have a 55 gal. tank with 15 2"mbunas, plus a pair of jewel cichlids that just laid eggs I wonder if I should wait until the mother picks them up in her mouth to take them to a separate tank or if I could try to take the rock where the eggs are and then the mother without any consequences for the future babies. <Good question... If it were me, and I intended to raise the Jewels AND keep my Mbuna safe, I'd either separate the Jewels with or without the eggs ASAP. This may traumatize your Jewels for a while (weeks), but this species typically handles such actions well. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.

Jewel Cichlids Must be my lucky day, have aprox 100 fry that were born about 2-days ago. Just wondering how long the parents should be in the tank with them. Please Reply if you can. <I have some in a customer's 55 gallon tank that breed regularly and I leave them for a month or some, until they begin to crowd the tank. Usually, they are all over an inch at that point. They all do not make it, some get eaten, but a lot less work. If you have the room (as in another fully cycled tank with no one that will bother them or that they will bother) and wish to maximize their growth and numbers, take them out at 1/2".> Thanks Rob! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Jewel Cichlids have five jewel cichlids in 15gal tank. Wondering you can help me out. Trying to tell which ones are males or females. Please help! <the males are unmistakably the brightest red color with often elongated soft rays on the tip of the dorsal fin. The females are quite pale...almost pink and do not have such exaggerated features>

Jewel cichlids I have a mated pair of jewel cichlids and am wondering which is the male. Both fish are very brightly colored red with the blue speckles along their faces and bodies. But there is a difference; one has definite yellow anal and caudal fins. Is this the male or female?  I never am around when they are actually spawning, but there are always eggs in the small flowerpot I have in the tank for them. Thanks for the info! <This is one of the African Cichlid species that can be hard to sex... Males are typically more colorful, with slightly longer unpaired fin lengths... Have the eggs ever hatched out? Sounds odd, but it may well be that you have two females here. Bob Fenner> -Donovan

Re: jewel cichlids I have also thought of this, but I presumed based on the differing coloration that I have one of each gender.  But when the eggs are laid one fish fans them and the other patrols the tank and has even built a depression/pit in the gravel substrate.  <Mmm, the color difference may not be indicative... and two females of many cichlid species can, will spawn together.>  This sounds like the doings of a pair, but you are the expert.  <They may well be a pair... have you had any of the young develop beyond eggs?> Maybe with this added info you might be able to help me out more. To answer your question, no the eggs have never hatched out to my knowledge,  <I see> but the fish are still young and relatively inexperienced, I would think, They have avidly laid eggs on 6 different occasions, but I am never there to witness the event. Perhaps I will check to see if one lays them and the other follows by to fertilize them. Thanks for a great site and all the help over the years!!! -D <A pleasure my friend. Perhaps you will write up your experiences with these fishes (and others) and submit same as a for-pay article... and after it's run, allow us to post it here. Bob Fenner>

Cobalt Cichlids - mating Hello, <Hi> I just found your site:)<wonderful> It is great. I have a 30 gallon long tank with an electric blue johanni, a bumble bee, a yellow lab, a Kenyi, a pseudo elongatus, a Brichardi, an obliquidens, two cobalts, three clown loaches, and a Bristlenose. All fish are doing well and vary in size, the smallest being the Brichardi and Kenyi (1-1 1/2") , the largest being the bumble bee (3-4"). It appears I have a male and female cobalt. One is definitely male with bright intense coloring and well defined fins - he has grown at an incredible rate. The other cobalt I have had for a longer period of time, has remained smaller, is leaner in length, and does not have as intense of coloring - particularly in the fins. The smaller cobalt consistently tries to be by the larger cobalt. However, the larger cobalt always chases it away and does the shaking thing around it. Every now and then they will swim in circles around each other but mostly it is the smaller one trying to be near and the larger one chasing it away. I had them in the same tank once before - when the larger cobalt was smaller and new - and the larger cobalt almost killed off the smaller older one. So I separated them for about two and half months (allowing the smaller cobalt time to heal and grow)<good idea> and just put them back together to see them doing the behavior described above. What do you think about all this? Is their behavior some sort of courtship or will the one end up being killed off like it almost did last time? Thank you Nicole U. <I would keep a close watch on this tank, the aggressive behavior is normal, but if the small one starts getting hurt I would remove it again. The shimmy shimmy shake is part of a courtship display, but does not necessarily mean they are going to get hitched, they big boy may just be asserting his dominance. The tank sounds a little to crowded for successful breeding. Best of luck, Gage> 

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: