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Tilapia zilli/Oreochromis aureus cross?     ‏            11/10/14
Tilapia/Oreochromis Cross

Greetings Crew, Hope you are doing well. Do you think there is any possibility of Tilapia zilli crossing with Oreochromis aureus? I wouldn't think it is possible, one is a mouthbrooder and one is a substrate spawner
of two separate genus. None the less, I have been raising these species together and am noticing offspring resembling the two. They are in outdoor aquaponic ponds, so I have yet to noticed the actually breeding, just
offspring. If so would their offspring be sterile? Thanks for any input.
Aloha Brandon
< In the small confines of a pond, it is entirely possible that sperm from one species could fertilize the eggs of another. Both are extremely closely related and are only technically separated by the spawning

Benthochromis tricoti fry
Feeding Benthochromis Tricoti fry     4/28/14
I rescued a Benthochromis tricoti fry from my tank today. I also stripped six eggs from one female. What do you recommend for food for the fry? Thank you. Mark
< Congratulations on successfully spawning this very challenging species. I would go with baby brine shrimp and finely crushed high quality flake food after the yolk sacs are absorbed. Chuck>

My Cichlid eggs... Child?     3/23/14
My Electric yellow Cichlid eggs have been in my tank for 2 weeks
<.... hatch in less time by far... Were these stripped from a female?>
and then I got new Cichlids on Friday and Saturday morning they were gone. do you know what could have happened to the cichlid eggs?
<IF these were eggs or not; likely consumed or decomposed. Bob Fenner>

FAQs on African Cichlid Reproduction 2

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 1, 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,


female peacocks spawned no males present   2/9/16
Hi I put 1 male and 2 female peacock cichlids in a cycled 30 gallon tank. I didn't vent them because I was pretty sure of the sexes. All seemed OK and one female turned up holding. I did not witness it and I assumed all was OK. I put her in her own cycled 20 gallon tank to brood.
It turns out the remaining "male and female" are 2 females and they spawned. One is holding what seems like a big mouthful of eggs and I can see a few eggs tumbling in the mouth of the other one. Is it normal for both spawning females to hold eggs?
<Not abnormal>
Now I guess I have 3 females holding infertile eggs.
I am sure that the female which was placed in her own tank spawned once before unsuccessfully (the eggs disappeared around day 10) and now I know why. I also learned I need a confirmed male.
<If you want them to reproduce; yes>
My question is should I just leave them be so they get the experience of holding eggs or strip the eggs so they can get back to eating?
<I'd leave all as is>
How long
before they spit or swallow the infertile eggs?
<A week or so>
Thanks James
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tilapia zilli/Oreochromis aureus cross?     ‏            11/10/14
Tilapia/Oreochromis Cross

Greetings Crew, Hope you are doing well. Do you think there is any possibility of Tilapia zilli crossing with Oreochromis aureus? I wouldn't think it is possible, one is a mouthbrooder and one is a substrate spawner
of two separate genus. None the less, I have been raising these species together and am noticing offspring resembling the two. They are in outdoor aquaponic ponds, so I have yet to noticed the actually breeding, just
offspring. If so would their offspring be sterile? Thanks for any input.
Aloha Brandon
< In the small confines of a pond, it is entirely possible that sperm from one species could fertilize the eggs of another. Both are extremely closely related and are only technically separated by the spawning

Electric Yellow Cichlid Holding 1/21/13
Hello. I was wondering if you can tell me a little about the mouth brooding African Electric Yellow Cichlids and if you can tell by the picture if it is brooding. The other Cichlid in the tank dug a large hole (appx. 3'w x 1'd) in the gravel and then the two Cichlids chased each other in circles for a little while. Now the one Cichlid's face is fat looking and it's not really eating. It hid for about 5-8 days after what I think might have been their mating ritual and now it's just hanging out in the open like it did before. As of this email,  it has been approximately two weeks since it's face has looked like this. It doesn't seem to have any problem floating or swimming with the exception of the first 3-5 days where she seemed to lean more on the plants or back by the heater. I'm hoping that it's brooding vs. falling ill. I searched for illnesses that may affect the face like this but didn't find anything. I did find some pictures that are not really clear of Cichlids brooding. If it's not brooding, I would really like identify and treat any illness before it's too late. I also checked the water quality and it has been within the proper parameters. Thank you  Sue
< Your cichlids have bred and it appears that the female is holding. The eggs take about three days to hatch and then another three days for the fry to absorb the egg sac. Then they are ready to eat baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food. It looks like she is desperately looking for a safe place to release her fry so they don't get eaten by the other  fish. I think if you catch her you can strip her of the fry.-  Chuck>

electric yellows and babies
Electric Yellow Lab Fry – 12/13/12

Hi, My Electric yellow has just had 8 fry. I left her in a floating breeder nursery. I have just removed her back in to the main tank. but my question I wish to ask is, how soon can I move the fry to another tank?
< When a female Lake Malawi Cichlid releases her fry they are usually ready to be on their own and need to be fed finely crushed flake food and some baby brine shrimp. They can be moved to a fry tank.>
 Do I need to put them in a bag and slowly mix the water as I would do if I just purchased a new fish from the shop?
< I would recommend  moving them to a small fry tank with water taken from the main tank that the mother came out of. I that is not possible then try to adjust the water temp and the water chemistry to be similar to the main tank. You can do the new fish procedure if you are not sure.>
Can I also put these fry with other fry that are about 1-2 month old?
< I would try and match up the size of the fish. Bigger fry will dominate the tank and eat more food. Malawi cichlid fry usually don't eat other fish. If nothing else is available then try it out by placing the fry into the tank at night and then letting them get established in the morning.
 Thanks, Kim.

Baby  Electric Blue African Cichlid    11/17/12
We have a mother cichlid who spit out her babies, they are alive, but are on the surface belly up, when they try and swim they go in circles or spirals, very few are swimming normally, some have died.
<Sadly common. Was the mother in the aquarium with the males? How big was the tank? It's very, very common for males to harass females, to the degree the females effectively miscarry. Isolate her in a quarantine tank for a good couple of weeks so she can fatten up before returning her to the display tank, otherwise she'll be "carrying" within a few days, and long term, will starve.>
Any possible causes and or solutions to help the babies survive?
<Try removing the fry to a floating breeding trap, ensuring lots of oxygen and quick removal of waste, but honestly, they're unlikely to survive without very great care on your part.>
The mother is fine and there is no apparent problems with water quality or tank conditions. Thank-you
<Welcome, Neale.>

Question about breeding - aggressive behavior; African cichlids 10/20/12
My  5 yr old son has a 29 gal tank with one 'firebelly' cichlid and one 'electric yellow' cichlid.
<Too small.  The electric yellow (Labidochromis caeruleus) needs 35 gallons and the firebelly, if I'm correctly identifying it as Haplochromis obliquidens, needs 45 minimum.>
I don't know anything much about these fish- we have them almost 2 years and they do fine with little care (except for cleaning tank and feeding).
Recently, the firebelly has gone crazy piling up all of the gravel on one side of the tank- to the extent that she buried the other fish inside the rocks. I dug him out and fixed the gravel, but she did it again and has now laid THOUSANDS of eggs all over the rocks. She is guarding the eggs, running other fish off
<I suspect the Hap has become very territorial and has claimed most of the tank, if not the entire tank as its territory while trying to spawn. It might also be a little frustrated with not finding a male.>
- can two different types of cichlids breed?
<These fish are from different genera, so no. Also, these fish evolved in different lakes, so they don't even come into contact in nature.>
Or is she going through some kind of hormonal false pregnancy thing and the eggs are infertile?
<It's not false pregnancy. She did spawn normally, but she has no male to fertilize the eggs, so they will spoil. Once they do, I suspect things will go back to the way they were. But, she might produce eggs fairly frequently and have repeats. In that small tank, the lab has nowhere to go.  You very well may have to move one fish, and I'd suggest moving out the firebelly as the tank is closer to the size that fish needs.  Or get a bigger tank. As I said, overall, the tank is too small for these fishes.>
If so, is it okay to go ahead and clean the tank and get rid of the eggs?
<Well, the eggs will never hatch without a male, but the fish will probably defend the eggs against your hand, also.>
<Do please research the fishes you have. Not only will it be better for them, but you can use it as an opportunity to educate your son as to what's going on and why his fish are behaving the way they are.>
Thank You,

Re: Mbuna (Acei, specifically) question Mbuna (Acei, specifically) question II, repro./sexing /Chuck      3/14/12
<Chuck's take>
Thanks Bob. The tank is heavily planted and I've provided lots of caves using the cheap flower pots from home depot & sanding the edges down after cracking the sides off w/ a hammer and chisel.
You may (or may not) also be interested to know that the aceis were flashing quite a bit, without any signs of parasites, but when the flashing spread to other fish I pre-emptively treated with a form/malachite green Ich treatment and it appears to have cleared up the flashing.
As with anything I'm sure early treatment of parasites is the most effective.
Would you know of any way to gauge the sex without venting? I'm not sure  if egg spots are a reliable indicator - everything I've read says that aceis are difficult to sex.
< In the lake they are found in large schools feeding on algae attached to floating logs so they are not nearly as territorial as most Mbuna that scrape algae off of rocks. Both sexes look exactly alike. If you are not going to try and vent them then adult males may have longer fins and be slightly larger than the females.-Chuck>
Re: Mbuna (Acei, specifically) question /RMF     3/14/12

Thanks Bob.
<Hey Eddie>
The tank is heavily planted and I've provided lots of caves using the cheap
flower pots from home depot & sanding the edges down after cracking the sides off w/ a hammer and chisel.
<I see>
You may (or may not) also be interested to know that the aceis were flashing quite a bit, without any signs of parasites, but when the flashing spread to other fish I preemptively treated with a form/malachite green Ich treatment and it appears to have cleared up the flashing.
As with anything I'm sure early treatment of parasites is the most effective.
Would you know of any way to gauge the sex without venting?
<Behavioral clues are best, more prominent egg dummies... size (all else being relative)...>
I'm not sure if egg spots are a reliable indicator - everything I've read says that aceis are difficult to sex.
<Not when behaving "sexually". Cheers, BobF>

African cichlid mouth brooding    3/5/12
Hi there. I have a red zebra who is currently holding eggs. I have 8 different Malawi cichlids in a 55 gallon tank. I have had this set up for almost 2 years. I have never noticed any of the cichlids to hold eggs until
now. My question is do Malawi cichlids cross breed?
<Oh yes... a mess>

Or is she likely holding unfertilized eggs? I have no other zebras for her to breed with.
<Can will/ interbreed w/ most any Mbuna of the same genus, even other genera at times>
The species I have are as follows:
Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow lab) (MALE)
Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (blue johanni) (MALE)
Metriaclima estherae (red zebra) (FEMALE)
Pseudotropheus socolofi (pindani/powder blue) (MALE)
Melanochromis auratus (auratus/ golden Mbuna) (FEMALE)
Pseudotropheus crabro (bumblebee) (SEX UNKNOWN)
Maylandia lombardoi (kenyi) x2 (1 MALE and 1 FEMALE)
Thanks for your help!
<Bob Fenner> 

Pregnant Blue Hap?    2/9/12
Hi I have a 55 gal cichlid tank and I believe my blue hap ahli might be pregnant, however she`s the only blue hap I have. She`s about 4 inches long and her belly is swollen and pale. Could it be that she`s pregnant, or is there some sort lf disease she could have?
<Perhaps an internal infection (bacterial) or protozoan...>
Also, should I isolate her in a smaller tank till she has the babies if that is the case?
<Mmm, won't have babies w/o a mate to fertilize the presumed eggs... See WWM re the use of Nitrofurazone and Metronidazole. Bob Fenner>
 re: Pregnant Blue Hap?

Is that something I should worry about spreading to my other fish?
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisf8.htm
and the linked files above. B>

Salt Treated Tank  5/6/11
Good Morning Crew,
I am happy to say this is the first time I have had to write in regarding poor fish keeping on my part. I recently set up a new 55 gal tank in my basement and much to my surprise during the spring thaw we had all sorts of water problems coming up through the floor and walls in my basement.
<No fun for sure>
During my panic to try to save the rest of my tank stands I neglected the new tank because it was not in dangers way, which is no excuse but it happens. After the danger was over and started the clean up I realized that the heater and filter had not been plugged in for a couple days and the 2 out of the 3 Aulonocara Lwanda that are in there had what looked like a white fuzz on them. So I did a 40% water change and added some aquarium salt (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) and turned the heat up to 80 degrees.
Left it run for 3 days and did another 40% water change and treated with salt again. The fungus its gone but one of them has a bad cloudy spot on his eye which I doubt will ever go way but I am hopeful.
<Will likely go away in a few weeks time>
This weekend I will be doing my regular maintenance without adding the salt.
<Mmm, rather than "Aquarium Salt", see Neale's formula here for these Great African Lakes fish:
I am getting a breeding set of 3 4"-5" Mpimbwe Frontosa
<Need more room than this...>
pretty soon and I would like to put them in this tank. How soon should I wait before I can move these fish around?
<A few weeks>
And when/if I do move them should I do almost a complete water change or will the salt have no lasting effects in the tank?
<I'd change the "saltiness" out over time... no more than 50% changes in a week>
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Salt Treated Tank  5/6/11
Thanks for the fast reply! I should of looked into what the salt was going to do to the water but I needed to treat these fish with something other then harsh chemicals.
<Mmm, well, actually, combinations of metals and non-metals (salts) can be very harsh indeed>
Thank you for pointing that out to me. I know that the Frontosas should be in a bigger tank but I have 4 Synodontis multipunctatus in my 125 gal that from what I have read can interrupt cichlid breeding and I have high hopes to get them to spawn.
<Perhaps another system? You don't need that sofa! Cut that bed in half length-wise! Shower in the sink and fill up the tub! Cheers, BobF>
Re: Salt Treated Tank, African Cichlid Repro./Breeding   5/6/11

Believe it or not I have had this discussion with my wife and she feels that the tub should be off limits. No sense of imagination I say.
Should of seen the look on her face when I first said that a 55 gal was too small. I might have to put my Aulonocaras in the 55 with the Synodontis.
<A better use of space; yes>
They take to<o> long to grow
<Lots (daily) water changes and frequent (several times daily) small feedings...>
and color from fry and I'm running out of floor space for grow-out tanks.
On a different note I have a 72 gal bow front tank that currently holds 12 Tropheus Ndole Bay that I am trying to get to breed, so far they haven't spawned yet (not for lack of trying on the males part). Is it safe to let these release them on their own in the tank?
<I would not... IF you're desire is to optimize/maximize "output" you'll need a separate grow out system>
There is to much rock work in there to try and catch the holding females for me to even think about trying as well as the stress it causes on the whole system.
<Mmm, well...>
I also have a 90 gal tank that holds 12 juvenile Tropheus Ikolas, 12 Eretmodus cyanostictus and 4 Cyprichromis Leptosoma with a gravel substrate. I would dearly like the Eretmodus to spawn but I am afraid that there is <number> to <again> many other fish<es> in the tank as well as the wrong kind of substrate (sand I read is preferred). What do you think the odds of successfully spawning and the survival rate of the fry would be?
<With a bit in the way of provided habitat: http://www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=222 easily enough>
Thank you
<Velkommen, B>

African Lake Malawi Cichlids-Are we in the "Mood"?   3/24/11
I have question about my Malawi's that I just can't seem to get an answer to.
I have a 90gal and I have Electric Yellows, Red Zebras, Demasoni, Acei, Kenyi (these were bought under mistaken identity), and kimpuma. Now I haven't been so lucky in the female department, but I do have some. They have been in my tank for about 2 weeks now and range in the 1.5-2.5" inch range. I have noticed in the last few days that some have squared off swollen bellies.
Kind of like Guppy or Molly bellies before they give birth. Now, I know that they are egg layers and lay over-sized eggs. I also know that they are mouth brooders. I know males, and sometimes females, display breeding colors before spawning. But what I don't know is what are the signs before the courtship for the ladies.
<Mmm, well, at the size range listed, these females are too young to reproduce; but there are definite behaviors associated w/ such acts>
From what I can tell all the ones with swollen. square bellies are girls(at least by anal fin) There is no vent tube. Is there one?
<Yes... larger, more blunt...>
I know Convict ladies get a might bigger and get a vent tube before they spawn.
How does this go for Malawi's?
<Mmm, yes... but not for long ahead of actual laying>
And one last question. If the ratio per species of male-female is too low, will the species that I have crossbreed?
<Oh yes... Even if the sex ratio is "good" (more females to males...) Mbuna of many/most species can/will cross breed. The only way to assure "purity" is to house the species separately>
Like I said I keep getting mostly men :/
<I'd do a bit more reading... books are better than the Net by far here...
Especially worthwhile IMO, the Tetra Press series by Paul Loiselle. Bob Fenner>
Thank you very much
Re: African Lake Malawi Cichlids-Are we in the "Mood"?

Thank you so much Bob,
<Welcome Mandy!>
I am happy to report that all bloating is gone now. I am deciding on a feeding schedule so it doesn't happen again.
<Ah good... small/er amounts more frequently, lots of "green content" are recommended>
It's just that pet store fish always look so skinny you just want to keep feeding them. I have learned my lesson. I didn't want balloon fish! I will also look up that book,
<Actually a few smaller volumes. Cheers! BobF>

Peacock Cichlids Breeding
Peacock Cichlids in a Mixed Cichlid Community, 1/16/11

Hello Crew, I have a couple of questions regarding interbreeding of my peacocks, I currently have a 125 gal tank which holds:
Protomelas taeniolatus
1 male
2 female
Aulonocara lwanda
1 male
2 females
Aulonocara koningsi - (Regal Blue)
1 male
2 female
My question is what are the odds that they will interbreed?
< The Aulonocara females will spawn with the dominant male in the tank. The dominant male will have the best territory so will attract most of the females.>
I know its possible since they are from the same family but they are of a different in color and not quiet the same fin shape. The reason I like to keep females with the males to try to keep them colored up and in a more natural environment. I also want to add a Aulonocara baenschi male to the mix and remove the two empress females. They are the worse holders I have run across, about 2 days after spawning they spit/swallow the eggs, longest I have ever seen them hold is maybe 1 1/2 weeks. Is this normal for this fish or are these 2 just bad holders?
< Young fish get better with age. Make sure they are properly conditioned and have a place to hide when holding.>
This is my first mixed cichlid tank and I have done some research online about it but I was wondering if there are any old fish keeping hints/tricks from the old pros that might be useful to keep these happy, healthy and breeding with the right kind? Paul
< The best way to keep peacocks is in a species only tank. It is very difficult to tell the females apart and they will cross. You can keep the blue peacocks in a Mbuna tank but the yellow colored peacocks will not do well in a mixed community.-Chuck>

Comprecisseps sumbu dwarf, Af. Cichlid repro.  9/3/10
Hello there how many eggs can this fish lay?
Thank you
<Hello. Supposedly up to 100 eggs, but mostly clutches are much smaller than that, a couple of dozen being typical. Cheers, Neale.>

African reproduction woes
Malawi Cichlid Aggression  6/11/10 

Hello, I have set up an African cichlid tank with 3 Aulonocara Stuartgranti
(German Red) and 3 Yellow Labs. I just got the second German Red female yesterday and the original female has not stopped harassing her since.
She spends most of her time hiding under a shell or behind one of the plants.
Do you know why this would be?
< There is a pecking order among the males and the same for the females for breeding rights. This way only the best males get to pass on their genes with the best females.>
Before I added her the peacocks seemed to have no interest in spawning with one another and now she (original) stays on the heels of the new female any time she shows her face? Could the original now be interested in spawning?
<If she was interested in spawning the males would be the aggressive ones in the tank and both females would be hiding.>
Also, the 2 smaller Labs appear to be attempting to spawn (looks like they are chasing one another's tails in circles in the substrate) but every time they start the largest Lab comes and chases them apart. I believe the largest to be a male, if I got another female or 2 would he leave them to their thing or would he still interrupt them?
< Once again the fish are expressing a pecking order. The two smaller yellow labs already know who the main lab is. They are fighting for number two spot.>
There is plenty of rockwork and plants around the edges of the tank and the middle is all open swimming area so everyone should be happy. I have 2 Tetra whisper filters, both rated to filter the tank by themselves, and a powerhead in the tank so there is a lot of current as well. I really want one of these species to spawn but have never bred fish before so I don't know if I'm missing something. Thank you for your time.-Joshua
< In the wild their territories are larger than most aquariums. When adding new fish you should re-aquascape the tank to provide all new territories.-Chuck>
Re African reproduction woes
Peacock Cichlid Breeding   7/10/10

After I have watched these fish more I have noticed that the original "female" has egg spots on it's anal and caudal fin, a dull yellow sheen to it's body and a purple sheen to the head, but is still grey over it's whole body. I believe that this fish is male. My question is this; are Aulonocara females capable of coloring themselves as a male in order to remain dominant? I have read that many species of African Cichlid can do this and that by removing a false male (dominant female) smaller specimens will come to color and spawn. The fish I think would be the dominant
female is about 4 inches and has no egg spots and seems to have absolutely no interest in mating but it is yellow and purple like the males should be. Does this sound possible? If not what could I do?
<In a breeding group, there is usually only one dominant male. Other males in the group try to mimic females so the dominant male doesn't beat them up. In an aquarium the nondominant males have nowhere to go to escape. So
they try to fool the dominant male and sometimes fool their owners too by resembling females. I recall a young friend with a group of 17 fish that would not breed. We took out the dominant male and a couple days later
another male colored up out of the group. Eventually we had 14 males and three females. The best looking male was left to spawn with the remaining three females. If there are no males in the group than a dominant female
can take on some male characteristics and she then dominates the group. These shemales usually don't color up as well as the males but may end up being able to spawn with females when they are very old.-Chuck>

Aulonocara stuartgranti "red shoulder" x yellow Labidochromis
Malawi Cichlids Maybe Crossed    3/21/10

Hello all, I have used this GREAT site many years, and now I have a question, that I would like an answer or thought on please. I have 1 female 4 inch Aulonocara stuartgranti " red shoulder" and a 2.5 inch, possible male juv. " it has egg spots on anal fin, reddish orange on shoulder and body has silvery blue tint recently". I also keep 1 male yellow Labidochromis 3.75 inch and 2 females.
Currently in a 37 gallon corner tank. They will go to a 75 gallon in a few weeks. Water is ph 8.2, dGH 15dkh, kh15+dkh, am.0, nitrite 0, and nitrate 10 or less. Female Aulonocara has been holding eggs three days, not eating as expected and only allowing male Labidochromis near her cave a " 6 inch clay pot". Additionally, the male Labidochromis is guarding area in front of cave. I have searched the web for this particular cross/hybrid with no
results. Has anyone heard of this cross, and what are the odds of this happening? I wont be selling/trading any resulting fry...but do plan on raising them to keep. Thanks for any thoughts or replies.
< An Aulonocara was crossed with a blotched Ps. zebra to produce the mottled peacock that is in the hobby today. It is possible to have a cross but I haven't heard of this one before. The yellow lab is just guarding a territory. It is possible that the young male was able to breed with a willing female. You will just have to wait to find out what really happened.-Chuck>

Tropheus Duboisi Not breeding.
Breeding Tropheus  2/10/10

Hi, crew great site. This site has helped me numerous time when I had a crisis with my tank, however this is my 1st email to you guys, can't find the answer anywhere else, Here's my problem, I've been keeping 9 Tropheus Duboisi
for about 1 and a half year, mixed with some Malawi Mbuna's, When first I acquired them they were all 1/5 inches, Now they have grown to about 4 inches long and still won't breed. My aquarium dimension is 48x24x24 with a 50 gallon sump which I think is sufficient. My total fish count is 21.And my water chemistry are as follows ,pH 7.8-7.5, kh4, gh5,and temp is 82F ,having sort of a roller coaster effect with pH due to the water being soft which I'm trying to correct and having real tough time because tap water in Malaysia is really soft, which make keeping African's really a challenge.
Apart from that Tropheus are rare in Malaysia!,but what to do. I'm really hooked wit this fish that's why I'm hoping they would breed, I tried venting them before but couldn't tell which is which. And I've observed this courting behavior shimmying and vibrating but still no spawning. And a very important question that has been bothering me, could they (Trophs) distinguish their sex or will they ever try to mate with same sex! Example a male vibrating and shimmying to another male imagine that! The reason I ask is because my Pseudotropheus Elongatus blue color does this dance to the Tropheus Duboisi, obviously they look very different, and my guess is he's doing this at every fish that he came across regardless of the sex. So I guess the same is happening with the Trophs, because I don't know the male to female ratio that I currently have in my tank. Hope you guys could provide me with some info on my problem. Once again this is really a great site that had helped me grow from killing my fish on monthly basis to
somewhat intermediate level had no casualty in more than a year now, keep up the good work guys, your feedback is really appreciated. With Best Regards, Suresh.K
< First lets get the water right. In a separate big container, use an aquarium buffer that will stabilize the pH and the hardness. When it is hard and alkaline and stabile you can use this water to change water in the aquarium. Never try to change the water chemistry in the aquarium. Much too dangerous. Buffers can be purchased online. The directions on the package are very easy to read and understand. You will need to check the chemistry very often until you get to know how much buffer is needed to get the water exactly where you want it. Next thing you need to do is make the Tropheus the dominant fish in the talk. Having Mbuna in the same tank is fine as long as the Mbuna a very small and don't compete with the Tropheus for the best spawning sites. At this stage I would recommend removing all the Mbuna and rearrange all the rockwork so new territories can be established by the Tropheus males. Add some floating pieces of plastic pipe so beaten males and holding females can find refuge in the pipes.-Chuck>

Re: Tropheus Duboisi Not breeding.
Sexing/Breeding Tropheus  2/11/10

Hi,Chuck, thanks a bunch for the reply. Sorry to bother you again, but about the courting behaviour, do you think that a male would do this courting dance to another male or could they distinguish their sex, i.e. - a male knows which is a female and which is male.
Once again thanks for your effort in helping fish keepers like me. Really appreciate it. Cheers, Suresh.K
<Thank you for your kind words. Usually males defend a territory. When another fish acts interested they are coaxed to try and spawn with them.
Males and non breeding females that don't act interested are quickly chased away. A female that is ready to breed will act like it and be allowed to stay awhile.-Chuck>

Epsom Salt Dosage - safe level for African cichlid fry
Rusty Cichlid Injured/Diseased   12/22/09

Hello Crew, I have a Iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty) cichlid that appears to have damaged it's eye - I noticed it a week ago - it was scarily swollen but he was acting normal and the swelling seemed to go down so I thought I
dodged a bullet. Over the weekend, he was appearing to not feel well - not eating, just hanging amongst the rocks and the eye, although not nearly as swollen looks cloudy. Today while feeding the rest, he got chased out of the rocks and ended up at the top corner of the aquarium - amazingly enough I was able to pop a hatch and get him netted. It's a 240g with 70 cichlids and full rockwork - netting him was incredibly lucky.
So I carted him over to my 10 gallon that has one inhabitant, a Astatotilapia latifasciata (Obliquiden Zebra) fry that is about 3/8" long.
His name is Lucky as I found him the day after Thanksgiving floating at the top of the tank (Oh Noes - dead baby) but when I netted him, he started doing back flips! I have lots of Pseudotropheus sp. demasoni (Pombo Rocks)
fry that are surviving in the main tank but the Zebra fry just don't seem to be smart enough to make it. Anyway,
I was thinking on using Epsom Salt on the Rusty but am concerned that a concentration enough to aid him might cause harm to the fry. (Could not find in the FAQ on Epsom salt and fry).
In observing the Rusty, he is seems to be gasping. He has a couple of areas on his side that appear to injuries to his scales (very very small but noticeable) His dorsal fin looks like it's been nipped in a couple of spots and he's currently got his head stuck in the stream of bubbles from the airstone! His fins are not clamped but he's not swimming very much and the tail fin seems to be curving up. He's not well. He is about 3" long.
What would you recommend for dosing level and for how long? Should I consider treating with Ethyromicin also? And if I did use an antibiotic, the same question comes up as to enough medicine to treat him could possibly be harmful to the fry. My well water from the tap is pH 8.2, KG/GH 12 so frequent water changes are not a hassle.
Main Tank: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate (time for the weekly wc). QT: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate
Thank You in advance. I LOVE this website and all the good that you do.
Dawn Gulick
< Thank you for your kind words. Forget the salt as a treatment. At this stage you need some serious antibiotics. I would recommend Nitrofuranace or another Furazone type antibiotic. The eye problem s probably a symptom of an internal infection as well. When you treat the tank, the antibiotics will probably not affect the fry directly. It will or may affect the biological filtration so there may be deadly ammonia spikes. Any nitrogenous wastes have an affect on the growth rate of young fish. Try and keep the water quality as good as possible after the treatment until the biological filtration get back up and going. It may be almost like starting from scratch.-Chuck>

Fat Cichlid
Fat Cichlid Without Eggs  11/21/09

Do female cichlids (Acei) get really fat with eggs before breeding or laying their eggs? Thank you, Teresa
< When female Mbuna are full of eggs they only look slightly fatter than normal. Usually an extended stomach is a sign of an internal infection that needs to be treated with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Re: Fat Cichlid
Internal Infection Contagious  11/22/09

Thank you. I will purchase the med today. I'm guessing this infection can be contagious?? - T
<It really isn't contagious but it does signal that something is wrong. It could be water conditions or diet. If the fish dies then remove the body right away so the other fish are not eating the diseased fish.-Chuck>

Z rocks... Af. Cichlid repro.?    11/18/09
Hello my female z rock is holding eggs in her mouth ....should I remove her now and separate her , or should I keep her in my tank...thank u
<No idea what a "z rock" is. Some sort of cichlid? Assuming that to be the case, depends on what you want. If you want to rear the fry, then yes, moving her to an appropriately sized maternity tank would make a lot of sense. Drive her into a jug and move her that way, rather than lifting her out of the water with a net. Doing the latter tends to cause mouthbrooding fish to swallow their eggs. Cheers, Neale.>

African Cichlid tank, breeding question
Malawi Cichlid Tank w/Babies 8/30/09

Hi! I've found your website very interesting and helpful!
< Thank you for your kind words>
I'd like to run our scenario by you, and get your input.
We have a 75 gal tank. We started it out with about 12-18 Danios to get the tank ready, added a Sailfin Pleco, and finally added 14 African Cichlids about 6 months ago. At that time, we had only about 6 Danios left as they had died off. We completely expected the remaining Danios to be eaten by the Cichlids, but we still have 4 that happily live at the top of the tank! We still have all 14 Cichlids and just noticed yesterday that we now have 3 or 4 babies. (that we can see). They look to be about the size of a pinky fingernail, and they are hanging out at the bottom of the tank under driftwood, rocks, and in other tiny places. How old do you think they are?
< Depending on the temperature and how much food they are getting they could be a couple of months old.>
From your website, we now realize that we have a handful of males with dummy eggs, does this mean that they are still breeding and we can expect more little ones?
< The egg dummy spots on the anal fins are not reliable indicators of sex with many Lake Malawi cichlids. If you have babies now there is a very good chance that you will have more babies unless the females have been killed or removed.>
Are there any changes you could suggest to make our tank better, or do we seem to be doing ok since they are breeding?
< Breeding is always a good sign that things are going well.>
Also, what is the maximum number of African Cichlids you would recommend for our tank size, as some are getting to be quite big!
<When the nitrate levels get above 20 ppm between water changes then you need to do more water changes or do bigger water changes or keep less fish in the tank. As your fish are still growing I expect the waste levels to rise. Some Lake Malawi cichlids can get up to a foot long depending on the species. If you have the typical Mbuna tank then this could hold up to 30+ fish with lots of filtration and keeping up on the needed water changes.-Chuck>
Thank you so much for your input ~ we look forward to hearing from you!
Amber & Dana

Where are the fry? 01/22/09 I am living in a dorm with my roommate, who decided we needed a couple fish for our tiny living space. We went to the pet store and picked out two cichlids: one electric yellow, and the other one is striped blue. We have had them for about 2 or 3 months. The electric yellow (female) is 2 inches, and the blue (male) is around 1 1/2. <I'm assuming the electric yellow is a Labidochromis caeruleus. Is the blue one a Labidochromis sp too? or is it a Sciaenochromis sp.? In any case, they will get a lot bigger soon.> About 10 days ago, we noticed that the female had a bulge under her mouth and had stopped eating. After some late night research, we deduced that she was probably mouth-brooding. We moved her into a small, 1 1/2 gallon tank with some breeding grass just yesterday. <Too small... please put her into a tank of at least 5 to 10g.> However, the bulge was gone this morning. Both my roommate and I have looked for the fry. The female is becoming increasingly energetic, but still won't eat. We were wondering if the stress of the move could have caused her to kill the fry? If she gave birth, would we be able to see the fry? What should we do now? <It's possible. But keep in mind that the female will hold the eggs in her mouth for over 2 weeks. You don't need to keep her in a separate tank until a few days before she's due to spit them out. Please read here: http://fish.suite101.com/article.cfm/mouth_brooding_african_cichlids And maybe browse these too: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/afcichreprofaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/afcichreprofaq2.htm> Thanks for your time, Katie and her roommate, Katie <Cheers, Sara M.>

Pregnant Yellow Malawi  8/26/08 Hi there Not too sure on the exact name of my fish, but they are yellow, with black fins. Think they are called Yellow Labs. <The Yellow Lab is Labidochromis caeruleus. Do check on Google Image or similar, because various other Malawi cichlids are yellow, and potentially so are certain hybrids.> Anyway I have 2 males and 3 females. Got the tank in December for Christmas. So the first female had babies two weeks ago, there are 17 of them, and I have put them in their own tank. She carried for about 3 weeks to a month, and released them the day after I put her in a separate tank, think she felt safe there (I returned her to her normal tank a day later, as I was told she was no use to them anymore and would end up eating them). <No, the females are usually pretty good and leave the babies alone. Your main problem is that the female needs a good month or so AWAY from the male to fatten up. Remember, for the 3-4 weeks she's incubating the eggs (and fry) she can't eat. For a small fish, that's a LONG time without food. Put her through that time after time and she'll inevitably starve to death. So you MUST keep the females in another tank (or at least isolated with a tank divider) for a few weeks so she can feed comfortably. And no, the male doesn't respect this, and will either mate with her or beat her up.> I did not strip her and let her release them naturally as I didn't know what stripping was. The guy at the Petshop said I left it too long, and she could have had up to 40 babies. <OK. Not a big deal. I'd tend to leave them to brood the eggs fully, at least for a few times so I could watch the behaviour. Who care's if you don't get the full number of fry? You can leave her with the fry, and fatten her up once the fry do their own thing. Scoop them into a breeding trap, leave her in the 45 litre/10 gallon breeding tank and kill two birds with one stone.> So anyway 9 days ago I noticed the second female was carrying. I put her in a separate breeding net inside the main tank and stripped her but babies came out looking like yellow balls with eyes. Luckily she picked them up again. I have been told to leave her for another week. <Hmm... breeding traps are not viable for adult cichlids. Put the fry in them certainly, but not the females if you possibly help it. She'll likely jump out at some point anyway.> Then this morning SHOCK AND HORROR!!! Noticed the first female is carrying AGAIN!! She only popped out the last ones two weeks ago, poor thing! So my question is, should I put the two pregnant females together in the breeding net to keep each other company for the next week? <No; this will end in tears.> Or better to put the next one into the net when the other one is finished with it? <Only put FRY in breeding traps. Adult fish, except perhaps tiny things like Guppies, have NO PLACE in a breeding trap. Period. End of discussion. Anyone who told you otherwise was misleading you.> And my other question is, can I put the new babies into the tank with the first babies? <Yes, mixing fry is not normally a problem. But do bear in mind big fry will get to the food faster. Adding more food harms water quality. So at some point you stop rearing fry. I'd recommending rearing one batch every 3-6 months -- you won't be able to rehome or sell vast numbers of these fish. It'll take 3 months to grow them to sellable size, and for that you WILL need at least a 45 litre/10 gallon tank. Trust me on this. Breeding traps are, frankly, a con.> The first babies are now 1cm big. I'm running out of space for all these fish! <I bet.> Also is it not bad for my fish to be pregnant again so soon? I'm concerned for her health. <It's very bad. One month breeding, two months feeding is about right. If that means you need to remove the male, then so be it.> Thanks for your help! Leigh <Hope this helps, Neale.> 

Mouth brooding cichlid, repro.  07/20/2008 my electric yellow has released most of for sure some of the fry. My question is how soon should the female be removed after she spits them. <As soon as practical.> Also she has held a few in her mouth for a few days and chases the others I haven't seen her catch one but she cant be eating them can she? <She won't have eaten for a few weeks, so yes, she'll be hungry. Her instinct is to protect the free swimming fry for at least a few days after spitting them out, but don't rely on this.> She is just trying to keep them safe yes. what should I do <With most Mbuna, it is easier to separate the female and the fry, rear the fry yourself, and then keep the female away from the males for at least 6 weeks so she can be "fattened up" again. Too many aquarists forget to separate the females from the males, so as soon as she's given up one brood, she's mouthbrooding again. The result is the females quickly use up their fat reserves, weaken, become more prone to disease, and potentially die. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Cichlid Fry �� 07/21/08 Hi Neale, Pleased to report I installed an Eheim Canister 2217 yesterday. German instruction manuals can use some improvement :) <Ah yes, "German English" is very, hmm, distinctive.> Question for you concerning 12 African fry I have in a temporary 10 gallon (I realize most fry tanks are 20 gallons). The fry are about 4-5 months old (I bought them). <Likely tank-limited; growing fish, particularly cichlids, produce chemicals that can suppress the growth of other fish kept with them. The effect varies from non-existent to severe depending on the species, but can be a major problem in aquaculture. In any even, more water changes will moderate the problem, but ultimately scaling up the aquarium is the way forward.> They are growing very slowly despite a very good diet of daphnia, Koning's shrimp/pea/Spirulina mix, Spectrum's red pellets and Spirulina flake; excellent filtration; 25-30% water changes weekly; and checking for ammonia levels regularly. I feed the fry 3x per day. I believe their confined quarters are stunting their growth? <Would tend to agree. At the least, 50% weekly water changes would be the order of the day.> I have three other tanks - one 29 gallon which houses "the terror of the deep," the big dominant male bumblebee African that I had to remove from the 55 gallon tank because he was killing everyone, one 30 gallon community tank, the 55 and the 10 gallon with the fry. I'm thinking for the fry's growth (and the opportunity to maintain one less tank), that I'd put up a temporary tank divider in the 55 and move the fry there. However some of the fry are still only about 1/2 inch in length and will squeeze through the divider. <Oh dear.> Any failsafe ideas? <None. Would tend to sit back first and ponder your long term goals. If the one Bumblebee Cichlid (assuming Pseudotropheus crabro) is "wasting" a tank to himself, perhaps he needs rehoming. Or else being placed in a system with *more* aggressive or super-numerous tankmates. Pseudotropheus crabro isn't really a fish for the small or even medium-sized tank, and really needs a home measured in 100+ gallons where he can cohabit with a dozen or more Mbuna-type cichlids of comparable size/aggressiveness. That way he can't bully any one fish to distraction.> Do you think the size restraint of the tank is limiting their growth? <Yes.> I can't possibly purchase yet another tank...! <Indeed not. Been there, done this. Actually doing this now, with my "big" (mere 50 gallon) tank that utterly underwhelms me at the moment with the random selection of fish I no longer want. But I digress. It seems to me that you want one thing but are limited by another. Establish your priorities here, and then move on. A lot to be said for keeping less aggressive Malawians like Labidochromis and Iodotropheus and Aulonocara rather than the more testy Pseudotropheus, despite their brighter colours.> Would appreciate your insight - thank you Neale. Lisa. <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Cichlid Fry Neale, just doing some research. The fry tank does not have lighting. Is this a critical factor to their growth also? Thank you. Lisa. <Hello Lisa. Lighting unlikely to be an issue. I usually raise fry on tanks close to windowsills rather than with aquarium lights. Doesn't seem to cause problems, and most fish prefer the gloom anyway! Cheers, Neale.> Re: African Cichlid Fry Thanks Neale. <Lisa,> Indeed "Honeycomb" is a Pseudotropheus crabro. I thought of rehoming him but I feel like I'm failing in my commitment. What if the person who takes him doesn't care for him properly? Alas being in "jail" all alone in a 29 gallon tank is not the best for him either. Perhaps I should consider rehoming him - my LFS has a 100+ gallon tank full of mbuna his size...makes sense to move him. <I sympathise with your dilemma. I suspect your fish will be happier in a large tank though.> I understand now about the fry. I have to give it some thinking. Some days I must admit I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the tanks and would prefer placing my energy into two tanks. Just as a side, I am one of the trustees on my condo association. During our last meeting, one of trustees remarked: "I don't know WHY the building's water bill is so expensive!!" I have not disclosed that I'm housing over 125 gallons of fish in my place - oh the water changes! <I wouldn't worry too much. One flush of the loo = 5 gallons; the average shower is about 10-20 gallons; the average bath around 40 gallons. Running taps for washing dishes or brushing your teeth use about 1 gallon per minute, and a typical dishwasher will get through 5-10 gallons per cycle. And so on. Aquaria are not major consumers of water in the big scheme of things. I have to admit though to being an advocate of using rainwater in fish tanks as a great way to save water, and marine tank water can be safely recycled in brackish water tanks after use. Nut these options aren't really relevant here!> The other day I was changing 30-40% of the water out of the 55. <That's what, 16.5-22 gallons? Equivalent to half a bath or a five minute shower. Big deal, especially if the water gets used on the garden, thereby helping your plants and reducing wasteful consumption of drinking water and fertilisers.> I do this by siphoning the tank water out the window. I had a knock at the door and it was a tenant downstairs "is your dishwasher broken??? Or are you watering one of your flowerbeds?" "Oh yes, that's it... I'm watering one of my errr flowerbeds." (I live on the 4th floor!) <Aquarium water is GREAT for the garden and houseplants. It's also fine for rinsing patios and so on.> Thank you for the info Neale! Lisa. <Glad to help, Neale.>

farming tilapia... At the bottom of a learning curve   6/26/08 I was asked for my opinion regarding a project to farm raise Tilapia recently and I was hoping to get your opinion on a few things. First, I made it clear to the interested party that maintaining a reef aquarium is a very different beast than farm raising thousands of tilapia in a massive tank. <In a few ways, yes> However, his idea was to construct the tank of concrete. <Nah! Has been done profitably, and much less expense, time, trouble in simple "Dough Boy" pools... If new to all this, go this route. Easier to remove later as well> The tank will be roughly 25ft X 15ft and 4ft tall. I'm thinking 4 inches of concrete should be sufficient for this. <? For what? Free standing construction? You intend to monolith cast this structure? I doubt it> What liner would you recommend? <What? Let's stop here... you need to read, not write...> Any specific concrete? <Plastic pool for you> As for filtration, there will be lots of food put in the tank so the filtration will need to accommodate this. <Oh yeah... Oh heck yeah...> Will a protein skimmer be needed, or would this be overkill for tilapia? <Heeeee! Won't work period...> Dissolved oxygen seems to be an important issue considering the volume of fish, would a series of overflows cascading the water down a material to break the water into smaller drops be sufficient or will additional equipment be required to maintain enough oxygen? <Please see the Net, books on freshwater aquaculture... perhaps works by Mike Sipes... Oreochromis/Tilapia culture is well-established...> In terms of total gallons, what should the turnover rate be for the filtration? <...> Instead of utilizing a sump, could a portion of one end of the tank be partitioned off for the water to overflow into ( a large 'false back' closed loop ) and contain the filter equipment? Also, I'm thinking the pump driving the system should be feeding an extensive PVC grid covering the bottom of the tank spraying water into the floor to keep detritus and other matter from settling on the bottom. Let me know any thoughts or experience you have with a setup of this size. Is there any other equipment needed that I'm not considering? Regarding the tilapia, is there a specific range of water chemistry that will be needed, ie pH, temperature, etc. Thanks for any help you can offer. <Stop wasting y/our time... Go to a large library, look on the Net re sellers of books, maybe (here's a plug for all who have wasted their time reading this thus far) (Argent Chemical http://www.argent-labs.com/) ... as they have a very nice aquatic science and tech. selection. Bob Fenner>

Red Zebra acting strange Red Zebra Female Possibly Holding Eggs 6/1/08 I have a red zebra along with 6 other Lake Malawi cichlids in a 30 gallon tank. It is set up with limestone rock. For the past week my zebra has been acting like it is holding eggs (though I always thought it was a male because of its egg spots). It has refused to eat and has been keeping itself to the many holes in the rock. One day I was watching and I noticed a large bubble in its mouth and didn't notice any eggs. It has also been holding its head down towards the gravel and seems to struggle to swim down. I have been feeding all of my cichlids a strictly vegetarian floating pellet. Is this normal behavior for cichlids who may be holding? Is there something wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated. < Eggs spots are not a reliable indicator of sex in Lake Malawi cichlids. You need to find out what is going on. I recommend that you catch this fish and pry her mouth open to see what is going on. Usually they are able to swim fine and even eat while holding eggs and fry. There may be something in her throat or else there may be damage to the mouth or pharyngeal bone.-Chuck> 

This started out about stocking fish... Jewelfish repro.  4/5/08 OK, I am sorry to bother you nice people again, however something new and exciting happened today... I asked about putting the Jewels in the 10 gallon tank and you said it was too small. <Indeed it is.> SO, I put them over in it to get them outta the 55 since they prefer the soft/acid water. I planned to go get a 30 gallon tank to set up since this fish thing has become so cool to us. I didn't plan to have them in the 10 for more than a month. HOWEVER! Today I go into my daughters room to check out the fish... it appears that they have left some kind of "seed" like material all over the little pink glass bubbles that she wanted to use as gravel in her tank. I am guessing that my fish have managed to lay eggs. <Eggs are about 1 mm across, dark grey to off-white in colour. The fish will be guarding them carefully, likely fanning them with their fins.> I thought that these fish were mouthbrooders and I never expected to see eggs really. <No, not mouthbrooders.> Not to mention I had no idea what either of the sexes were of these fish. Its kinda cool though, they seem to kinda take turns swimming gently around the eggs as if taking turns guarding them even though they are the only 2 fish in the tank. <Instinct is an amazing thing.> I am hoping that I have a male and female, but still really not sure. I can say this, the one that I considered petite looks like she lost quite a bit of weight in her belly area now. She looks like she called "Jenny" lol. Well the other fish is shaped a bit different than what I am calling the female, and the fin just under his tail fin is longer than the one that I am calling a female... also he seems to change color before my eyes like A LOT. Its crazy looking... <Sexing Hemichromis spp. is difficult, so don't worry about it. The main difference is the shape of the genital papillae, so if you look at those, you should see that one is short and rounded (the female's) and the other is long and pointed (the male's).> But the only question I have at this point is... NOW WHAT! I would like to give raising the babies a go but still learning about these fish... wasn't really expecting this. I saw on the site that it is a good idea to separate the fish once I have "wigglers" i think it said or else my babies may become food for the adults. I plan to get a new tank set up for the Jewel parents but getting a new tank established takes a bit of time. Is there anything I REALLY need to know about this now, is there any advice that anyone can offer me of what I should do next? <Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwbrdgmonks.htm > I gather that if the eggs are going to hatch it would be within the next 3-6 days? Is the water chemistry the same as for the adults? Can you drop the name of a good fish book to purchase? I search the web lots about these fish but I would prefer a really nice book if you know of one out there. Sometimes I find internet information about the fish changes from site to site. Thanks so much and as always you guys are great! <Rearing the fry is not especially difficult. Buy some liquid fry food (e.g., Liquifry) or powdered baby fish food (e.g., Hikari First Bites). Once the eggs hatch, the fry take a few days to use up their yolk sac. You'll see the yolk as a yellow blob. Eventually that goes, and the "wrigglers" start moving about, looking for food. This is when you add the food. When feeding baby fish, feed small amounts but often. Do multiple water changes, as the biggest killer of eggs/fish is dirty water. Changing 10% every day wouldn't be a bad idea. If you're after a book, I happen to like 'Fish Breeding' by Chris Andrews, but there are many titles out there on the topic, as well as regular articles on breeding in the fish magazines. Breeding cichlids is pretty consistent from one species to the next, so anything you read about, say, breeding Angelfish holds true for your Jewels. http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Fish-Breeding-Interpet/dp/1842860704/ref=pd_sim_b_title_3 Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Jewel eggs almost all gone. 4/5/08 Well, after writing in about unexpected egg laying... today I noticed that either the 2 fish in the tank ate the eggs, or the snail did. I forgot about the snail. I removed him just incase it was him, I only have a few eggs left. Oh well better luck next time ... if there is a next time.... I am still going ahead with the bigger tank idea for the Jewel cichlids only. Any suggestions on why the fish would have ate the eggs? They seemed like loving parents lol! Still guarding what babies are next... maybe I will end up with one baby and I can name it "Nemo" lol! Thanks for all the help! <Completely normal for cichlid pairs to eat the first few broods. They're "practising" perhaps. It is also the case that if something is "wrong" in their eyes, e.g., the tank is too small or there's some nearby disturbance, they'll eat the eggs as well. Since cichlids will produce eggs at least once every few weeks for their entire lives, there's no reason to be concerned. Sooner or later you'll get more than you can do anything with! Cheers, Neale.>

Ngara cichlid, repro. of Aulonocaras  �� 03/10/08 Hi all, I have a trio of NGARA peacock cichlid which I would like to breed. I have them in a 90 gallon aquarium. Is it possible to add additional cichlids to add life and color. I do worry about hybridization so I know other peacocks are out. If the answer is no, could I add additional NGARA to the tank? What cichlids would be appropriate based on the low aggression level of the NGARA's? Thank you in advance for your help. <Greetings. Hybridisation should always be considered when stocking cichlids, and I am very pleased that you are doing so! Aulonocara stuartgranti "Ngara" is only at risk of cross-breeding with other Aulonocara spp., so provided the other fish in the tank were from other genera, you'd be fine. Obvious choices for tankmates would be yellow Labidochromis caeruleus and Iodotropheus sprengerae, both peaceful and hardy Malawi cichlids. Avoid mixing Aulonocara with Mbuna; Aulonocara are simply not aggressive enough to do well. One possible exception might be Pseudotropheus 'acei', a reliably docile member of the Mbuna group. To some extent this would depend on the design of the tank -- the Pseudotropheus 'acei' like to hover above piles of rocks, whereas Aulonocara will utilise open sand areas. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ngara cichlid, sys.   3-11-08 One additional question if I may. I have eheim 2026 canister filter and still noticing particles in the water column. Do you suggest additional filter or am I just being overly critical?. Thank you and have a great day. Phil <Yes, you likely need additional filtration. For cichlids, anything less than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour is likely to be disappointing, and there's no harm in going up to as much as 10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Malawian and Tanganyikan cichlids both love strong water currents. It's a good idea to have a pair of filters, one optimised for biological filtration (sponges, ceramic noodles) and the other for mechanical/chemical filtration (filter wool, fine sponges, crushed coral). That way you can regularly clean or replace the mechanical/chemical media without worrying that you're losing biological filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Breeding Neolamprologus brichardi  12/18/07 What's up, WWM? I have a mix cichlid tank which has one Neolamprologus brichardi. If I added more will they all school or no? I want to have a little school of fish in my tank that are small cichlids. Any tips for schooling them and breeding them? Thanks Chris. <When you make a small school of these cichlids they will soon pair up. The single pair will dominate the tank and chase or kill the remaining fish. The pair will soon spawn and the fry will form a small school. If they are well feed the parents will continue to spawn and the older siblings don't seem to mind them being around. Some are eaten but many continue to grow. All these spawns produce a large school that gets along remarkably well.-Chuck>

Breeding Program, Malawi Cichlid facility  12/12/07 Hello Bob. <Ghulam> How are you? Hope all is well. <Yes; thank you my friend> I have sent you a few emails before regarding my Reef Tank and MAYBE starting up my own Aquarium Store here in Bahrain, and also emailed you regarding the best places in the world to go diving. Anyway, now I would like if you can help me out with my new project. Do you know what website or where on Wet Web Media I can get ideas on how to build my own freshwater (African Malawi Cichlid and maybe other easy and popular fish) breeding facility. <Ahh! I do not, but there is a friend/Crewmember here, Chuck Rambo, who is very well versed in such matters. I am going to send your note to him for separate response> I have a filtration system for 5000 Liters. The only thing I need is MORE ideas on sizes of tanks and what ever extra info I would need. Best Regards Ghulam <And to you. Bob Fenner>

Kribensis pair fighting Breeding Aggressive Krib Parents 11/19/07 Hi, thanks for the great site. I bought a breeding pair of albino Kribs about a month ago and put them in a 15 gallon, lightly planted tank with 2 cardinal tetras. I noticed when I brought them home that the female was quite bloated and red around the belly, and sure enough she laid her eggs in a cave 2 days later. The eggs hatched, but after a few days the babies had all disappeared. I assumed it was because they had been in the tank for such a short time. About two weeks later the female laid eggs again in her cave, everything was going fine and the pair was taking the fry around the tank, but 3 days after the fry came out of the cave the female started to show aggression towards her mate, nothing too serious until one morning when I found the male being chased around the tank relentlessly with most of his tail and lower fins bitten off. I removed the male for fear of him being killed by the female. My question is this: why would the female suddenly try to kill her mate? I have re-introduced the male twice in the past few days but the female continues to attack him. Thanks <These fish are probably young and are not very comfortable with each other during the breeding process. If you are interested in raising the fry, I would recommend that you remove the fry as soon as they are free swimming. They are actually quite large and can be easily raised on baby brine and crushed flake food. I would also remove the male at this time too. She may think that he ate the first batch of fry and he will do it again so she is being very protective. Next time they spawn try feeding them a couple of times each day so they parents won't get hungry. As the parents grow the male will become much larger and have an easier time defending himself. remove the fry and reintroduce the male as soo as he is healed from his wounds. She should be ready to breed again.-Chuck>

Melanochromis auratus 10/22/07 Sexing Mel. Auratus Hello, I recently bought 5 Melanochromis Auratus African Cichlids. They are about 2 inches long. I am wondering when the males will start to show their male colors or at least the "dominant" male? < Usually at around two inches the males start to darken up.> On one of them I have noticed a small black "speck" that seems to be getting bigger on the lower part of its tail. Also on another I have noticed a little black coloration on the fin on the lower middle part of the fish. Could these be signs of a male growing into maturity? < Male M. auratus males will usually change color in a couple of weeks when they are the dominant fish in the tank. Certain areas may darken before others. Females usually don't change at all.> If not when do you think I will start to notice the dominant male colors. Any other suggestions on breeding these fish or determining the sex would be great! Thanks! < In the wild males are usually fully colored by two inches. They grow slower in the wild and a two inch fish in the wild is actually much older that a captive raised fish the same size. Sexual maturity is usually a matter of age and not size. Raise the water temp. to 80 f and that should accelerate the change.-Chuck>

Sexing African Cichlids - 10/07/2007 I just bought 4 electric blue Johanni's from a local pet store. I was wondering how you can tell the sex of each. They are above an inch and a 1/2 long right now. <Melanochromis johanni is an interesting herbivorous Mbuna. As with other members of the genus, it displays colour changes as it matures. Only dominant males display the dark blue colours. Females and immature males are orange. Females often have fewer/no egg spots on the anal fin, but this isn't a reliable diagnostic characteristic. As with all Melanochromis, males are relatively aggressive, though by Melanochromis standards, this species is at the low end of the nastiness spectrum. Still, treat this fish with respect and provide ample space and hiding places. In a group as small as four, if there are more than one male in your group, the dominant one will harass and likely kill the other(s). For a stable community, you need AT LEAST three females per male. They are of course herbivorous, as you probably realize, but for the education of other readers, this species is very prone to bloat when given meaty foods. So do not mix with cichlids that need meaty foods (such as zooplankton or crustacean feeders). Stick to herbivore flake, algae (Sushi Nori is ideal) and soft vegetables like tinned peas and curette. Good luck! Neale>

Re:  Sexing African Cichlids - 10/07/2007 Hello, again thank you for answering all my questions so far! I returned the electric blue Johanni's and purchased 5 Melanochromis auratus from a local pet store. I am sure that is what they are. I did a little research finding that that the females and juveniles are yellow with some black coloration and the males get darker with a little blue. When do they show gender? Like what size would the males become mature to show the gender? Right now i would say they are about an inch and a 1/2. Also what size are they when they are ready/ able to breed? Thanks! <As is typical for the genus Melanochromis, they need to be around half size before you can reliably sex them. And even then, only the *dominant* male will show full male coloration. Subdominant males will look more or less similar to females. Actually, they will look like dead fish, because they will be dead fish, since the dominant male will kill them unless you have a GIANT aquarium (500 liters, or thereabouts). So you need to be alert and able to remove spare males at the first sign of trouble. What you want is one males to three or more females. With mouthbrooding cichlids, you want to delay breeding for as long as possible. Remember, the female is a mouthbrooder, and cannot eat while incubating the eggs. So, for a good couple of weeks she is going without food. It is really important to ensure she's an appropriate size before putting her through the process. Too many people "rush" things, and end up with a dead female. Melanochromis auratus is one of the MOST DIFFICULT cichlids in the hobby, so please read up on this species and make accommodations for its very specific needs in terms of aggression, water chemistry, and diet. Cheers, Neale>

Re:  Sexing African Cichlids - 10/07/2007 Ok that helps because when i <<PLEASE capitalize your "I".  Not only is it respectful to those of us who answer and post your questions, but it's respectful to yourself.  -Sabrina>> went to the pet store the guy told me that the electric blue Johanni's are all blue no matter what so I have 4 blue ones. They are only an inch and a 1/2 so I didn't think they are mature but I guess they are right?....because they have reached their blue state of maturity. That means I that all 4 i purchased were males right? <Your fish sound too small to have developed their male coloration. Wild-caught fish at least to be half adult size (i.e., at least 5 cm) before the blue starts showing. Furthermore, because of the extreme territoriality of this species, four males would not all develop blue coloration simultaneously unless kept in a huge (1000 litre) aquarium. Rather, you'd expect one male to be blue, and all the others to be orange. For these reasons, my assumption would be that you have some sort of hybrid cichlid. Perfectly pleasant perhaps as pets, but of no value for a breeding project. They might, alternatively, be misidentified. Species such as Melanochromis elastodema sometimes get mistakenly sold as Melanochromis johanni. If this is the case, you won't be able to identify the fish until they are mature, and even then, identifications can be difficult. Cheers, Neale>

Africans. Cichlid Economics-Which Ones to Breed  9/27/07 Hi, I have had convict cichlids for about a year. They have had babies and all that fun stuff, but when I went to get rid of them, sell them, or trade them nobody would take them because convicts aren't that "special". I talked with someone and they said that I could do African cichlids and be able to sell them. What I want to know is what would be the best in terms of sexing ability (like how easy), color, and how well I would be able to sell the offspring. Do you have any suggestions? I would like something with some color, and something that would look good. Along with that something that I would actually be able to find and buy, not something that is so rare I wouldn't be able to find. I have 20-30 gallon tank that I keep well maintained so an African about 4-6 inches would be good right? Thank you for your time and help! Kevin < There are many cichlids that are easy to breed. The difficult part is to find the fish your customers want. If your customers are going to be the retail stores then I suggest that you ask them for recommendations for fish that they want. Usually the best sellers are already being sold from local wholesalers or local breeders in your area. Selling a single species over the internet is difficult. The freight is very expensive and usually is too costly to be practical. Off hand I would suggest Ps saulosi. The females and fry are bright yellow. The males turn light blue with black fins and bars at about an inch and a half. Remember, when you are in the fish business you are working with fish that your customers want. These aren't always the fish you are interested in keeping.-Chuck>

Re: Africans, Cichlid Economics II �� 9/27/07 Do you have any more suggestions to popular Africans that would be good sellers? <Different fish are available in different parts of the country. Which ones will sell is a matter of supply and demand. In general look for fish that are sexually dimorphic. That means that the males and females look similar. Get fish in which the fry and the females have color. Fry with color are much easier sellers then fry with no color. For instance, take the genus Aulonocara, also called the peacocks. Adult males are very sellable because they are very attractive. Females and fry of this genus hardly sell at all because they have no color. A species that is not sexually dimorphic would be Ps Demasoni. These fish all look the same no matter what the sex or the age. This makes sexing them a challenge. Males tend to be a darker fish overall.-Chuck>

Re: Africans, Ps. saulosi Behavior �� 9/27/07 Thanks for your input. I am going to consult with some local pet stores to see what Africans are popular. Are these Ps saulosi easy to breed? < They are maternal mouthbrooders. A group of a male to 4 to 5 females will keep you busy with lots of fry.> What is there behavior like? < Not too bad. they are generally a smaller fish getting about three inches long. Males defend territories but they are not nearly as aggressive as some of the others.-Chuck>

Breeding Electric Blue Johanni �� 9/29/07 Hi again, I have another question. I was doing some research at the local pet stores and found out that electric blue Johanni's are popular. Are these fish easy to breed? Also, how can you tell the gender on them? Would this be a good choice for selling fish? Thanks, Kevin < These Lake Malawi cichlids are attractive and easy to breed. A good breeding group with be one male to 4 to 8 females. Males are typically blue with horizontal stripes. The females and fry are bright yellow. You may have a geographic variant called "Maingano". This is considered a separate species. In this instance the sexes and fry all look alike. Females are typically a lighter colored fish. Both breed the same and are maternal mouthbreeders. The eggs will hatch in three days and the fry will be free swimming in another three days. I usually strip the females after a week when the fry need to be fed.-Chuck>

Question about Mouthbrooding African Cichlid. Female Cichlid Keeps Holding Infertile Eggs �� 8/19/07 Please help me. I have owned a mouth brooding cichlid (Fossorochromis rostratus) for the last four years since she was very small. About a month or two ago she suddenly stopped eating for almost a week and I feared it was some gravel stuck in her throat. Imagine my surprise when I netted her and she bit me and spit out 29 eggs. There is no male in the tank so they never would have hatched. Some of the eggs were in the early stages of decay when I caught her. Unfortunately this has happened again as of yesterday, but when I caught her this time (big strong fish, not fun for either of us), she absolutely refused to let go of them, even with gentle physical encouragement. How long will she hold the eggs if I leave her alone? < Probably about a week.> Will she get sick starving herself so often and holding decaying eggs? < Your fish is in very good shape or else she would not be laying eggs.> Or will she eventually eat them and will that be healthy? < She will probably egg the eggs and be fine.> If done often enough, would eating them turn into a habit and interfere with possible future breeding plans? < No but egg laying does use up some body fat and rerserves.> What should I do about this, as I don't want to stress her out again- and one site warned that they may die if handled too roughly? < Lower the water temp to 75 F and see if she stops.> Am I being too worried about something natural? < Constant spawning can weaken her over time and make her more vulnerable to stress and diseases.> She is definitely the most valuable and prized fish in my collection. Thanks for your help. -Rebecca < This is a nice fish. The males are gorgeous.-Chuck>

African Cichlid  6/6/07 Maybe you can help me. <Greetings.> I have a female African Cichlid, not sure of her species, but just released about 30 fry 5 days ago (she was in a separate tank). <Very good. One thing though. Please, try and ensure any fry you produce are a single species. The African Cichlid side of the hobby is plagued with hybrids, and these have little to no real value, being unpredictable in behaviour and indifferent in colouration. Many of the Pseudotropheus-type fishes (of which the African Zebra, Pseudotropheus zebra, is the best known) are notorious for hybridising. The reason I mention this is that a lot of the African cichlids people buy but cannot identify by looking in books are these hybrids. You can't name the species because they *aren't* a species!> She has been doing great, a little thin but last night when we came in she was swimming erratically up and down the tank. <They do lose weight after mouthbrooding. A month on her own to "fatten up" will do her plenty of good. Don't forget to give her greens as well as meaty foods, because the essential vitamins she needs will be in algae-based foods.> Now she fights to swim to the top but her tail sinks her to the bottom of the tank. She isn't bloated, no skin irritations, nothing too strange. <Very odd. Usually, when cichlids suddenly lose poise or swimming ability the problem is a sudden change in conditions. Adding, for example, too-cold water to a cichlid tank will send them into apparent convulsions. They recover as they warm up. Cichlids are among the most highly strung fishes, so anything like changes in temperature, pH, hardness, and salinity have to be observed carefully.> She seems as if she's gasping for air so we put her into a tank by herself and added salt to see if that would help. Do you have any clue what her problem might be? <Tonic salt (NaCl) won't help. Quite the reverse. There's fairly solid agreement among aquarists and vets that salt is one factor that leads to Malawi Bloat, a situation a bit like dropsy caused by organ failure. So without exception, salt should never be added to a tank with Malawi or Tanganyikan cichlids. (By contrast, Central American and Asian cichlids often have phenomenally high salt tolerance, to the point where some species will breed in seawater!) So, remove the salt by performing water changes through the week. Check the pH and hardness are appropriate. For Rift Valley cichlids something around 20 degrees GH ("hard" to "very hard" on your test kit) and a pH between 7.5 and 8.0 will do nicely. Ensure the water quality os optimal, of course. Tanganyikan cichlids are especially intolerant of nitrites and ammonia, but given yours is a mouthbrooder it is probably a Malawi cichlid of some type.> Thank you, Allison <Hope this helps. Neale>

Re: African Cichlid �� 06/07/07 Thank you, our cichlid is orange and I can identify her and the others in the tank from a book but I can never remember the technical name. I believe she bred with an electric blue cichlid that has an orange stripe on its fin. <Ah, that's the problem. Almost certainly at least a cross-breeding between varieties of one species or else a hybrid between species. Please, unless you are sure the species has blue males and orange females, and so the breeding was between a single variety and a single species, destroy the fry at once using a humane method. Passing on hybrid cichlids to retailers and other hobbyists is one of the least ethical things any hobbyist can do. Besides ruining the hobby by dumping no-name hybrids on the market, it also causes conservation issues. Many of the African cichlids are under intense pressure from collectors in the wild. In some cases, they are commercially extinct, i.e., so rare, collectors can't find them any more. I learned about this a few days ago speaking with a fish scientist out in Tanganyika. By dumping tank-bred hybrids on the market, serious aquarists are forced to buy wild-caught fish if they want quality stock. It is this demand that causes the pressure on wild populations. So please, if you are not 100% sure the fry are a true species and a single variety, destroy them.> It's odd to hear problems with salt. We treated our tank in the past for disease by way of salt and all our fish were cured and still well. <It isn't a 1:1 thing, i.e., every time you use salt, the fish get Malawi Bloat. But when Malawi Bloat does occur, one of the factors common to many cases is the use of tonic salt. Conversely, salt doesn't deliver any tangible benefits that cannot be acquired using safer methods.> Thank you, Allison <Cheers, Neale>

Removing Cichlid Fry    5/20/07 Hi Bob, I have 8 different African cichlids species in my tank; Electric yellow, Snow white socolofi, Blue socolofi, Red zebra, Kenyi, Venustus, Sunshine peacock, Ice blue zebra. The ice blue zebra was holding eggs (we first thought she is sick, not eating etc. .) We never expected that different species would have fry. <The zebras may not be different species, just geographic color morphs.> and now I have 2 little baby fish swimming around and eating like crazy on their own already. Is it best now to remove the little baby fish from the tank ?? < The venustus is a predatory cichlid that has probably eaten some of the fry already. If you want to save the fry you better remove them.-Chuck.> Thank you ..Claudia

Neolamprologus Brichardi Population Control   5/18/07 Hey guys, I have been using WWM for a few months now, mostly researching saltwater issues, and having great success in finding solutions. However, I and having an issue that I have been unable to find a solution. I have been keeping NeoLamp Brichardis for about a year now. Their elegant finnage make them beautiful fish. I was also intrigued about their colony behavior  towards raising the fry. The problem is an issue of too much of a good thing. The colony was originally in a 55 gallon planted tank where they were healthy and extremely prolific, to the point that I was concerned about the system crashing due to overpopulation. Then around the time of Christmas, The 55 gallon tank had a failure. The spreader brace at the top of the tank broke, causing the glass to begin to bow....not good.  I also had a 75 gallon tank that housed a variety of Peacock Cichlids ranging in size from 2 1/2" to 5". There is also a 6" Chinese algae eater and a 8" Pictus cat. I put the Brichardi in this tank. At first I was really concerned because I was unsure how Peacocks and Brichardi would interact.....everything turned out fine. I thought that by having the larger Peacocks present, the Brichardi would either stop reproducing or have the fry eaten. Neither has happened. I now have at least three mating pairs, with a near consistent presence of fry. I have checked with LFS to see if they were interested in the fry once they were large enough to sell.....no luck. There are currently about 35-40 fish not including the babies (about 70). I have already culled two batches of fry....of which I'm not proud. There again I don't want to risk losing all the fish due to a sudden crash. I guess what my question(s) is(are): Is there a type of fish I could introduce to keep the Brichardi from breeding or eat the fry, without also abusing the other fish. Or is there something I could do that would prohibit the Brichardi from breeding. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Jeremy < In 2002 my wife and I took a trip to Lake Tanganyika. There was a single colony of N. pulcher, (Very similar to brichardi's), that went from the surface down to over 100 feet deep and was at least 300 yds wide. They just ran out of rocks on both ends or else the colony would have need even larger. In the wild the fry are preyed on by African spiny eels, large predatory Lamprologine species, electric catfish, freshwater jellyfish and Nile perch. Most of these predators would be attacked and probably killed by the parents or too big for a normal aquarium. Too bad they cannot be sold to the local stores. Lowering the temp to 75 F and fewer feedings may slow them down and produce fewer fry but I don't think they can be stopped.-Chuck>

Male Peacock Cichlid Disguised As A Female  �� 5/13/07 I had purchased a "pair of peacocks" they were  ultimately a pair, I moved them to a 40 gallon with others and the female  now looks like the male how did this happen? They are exactly alike as they  were not all this time. Same size and everything they looked like a pair  and he/she looked very much like a female for a long time. Can you answer  this for me   thank you   kit <In the wild, dominant males chase other males away and allow females into his territory to feed and spawn. Some males don't develop any male coloration until they get too big and too old and can't hide it any longer. This happens to many aquarists. I once knew an aquarist that had seventeen adult females and one adult male for a large breeding colony. The only problem is that they would not breed. Eventually I convinced him to remove the dominant male. As soon as he did that another male showed up from one of the females. Eventually he ended up with four females and fourteen males. I currently have a Flavescent Peacock female that is looking more like a male every day. It happens to the best of us.-Chuck.>

Raising Ps. socolofi Fry   2/22/07 A few weeks ago I noticed one of my socolofi was carrying.  I got a 10 gal tank and used water from the 90 gal she came out of.  I put her in there and she spit after a few days.  Now she is back in the main tank and I'm wondering how to clean the 10 gal with the fry.  I do a weekly water change of 10% in the 90 gal.? <The 90 gallon should have its normal weekly water changes to keep the nitrates under 25 ppm.> Should I do the same for the 10 gal? <The 10 gallon tank is probably bare and has no biological filtration established. I would use a very small siphon hose and remove the fish waste from the bottom of the bare tank every day.> Does the water need to be pretreated? < The replacement water should be hard and alkaline and hopefully around 80 F.> Will detoxifying chemicals hurt them? < Use them as per the directions on the bottle, you need to remove the toxic chemicals from the water or it will kill the fry.> Also how do I clean the bottom of the tank with out sucking up the fry? Thanks, Jenny < Little cichlid fry are pretty smart. If you move the end of the hose around they can be chased away from the siphon end.-Chuck>

Hybridization of Mbunas... don't do or allow...  2/1/07 Hi, I'm sure that you get these types of questions all the time, so I'll keep it short. I have had a hybridization occur in my tank and I'm just wondering which pairing is most likely. I had 2 Labidochromis, one appears to be female, and the other a subdominant male, 1 Melanochromis Johanni which I'm assuming to have been male by it's color and temper, 1 P. Kenyi (male) and one Tropheus Moorii, of uncertain sex. I have some babies that look entirely different from each other, one turning yellowish purple and looking like a Lab, one that looks quite a bit like the Johanni, and one that looks a bit like the Kenyi before he changed. I don't think that the Moorii had anything to do with is, and I'm certain the Polypterus is innocent, <Hee heee!> so who do you think the culprit may be? <Might be two... but generally the most dominant fish...> I've already removed the Labs to another tank, and rid myself of the Johanni and the Kenyi, so all of my tanks are single species or couplings that can't possibly reproduce, and I'm not really into keeping hybrids, as I fully understand the problems inherent. I'm just curious as to who it might have been. thanks! A. <Should be a bit more evident with growth... Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Picking Out Male Yellow Labidochromis   1/7/07 Hey Chuck, it's Jason getting back to you on the yellow lab.  The  yellow lab I have is definitely a male and currently he's the only yellow lab in  my 75gal at this point in time.  I wanted to add a few more to give more  yellow color to my tank.  Do you think I should get all females, or a few  more males?   Really would prefer not to deal with spawning.  If my  only choice is to get females, is there a way to prevent that?  Please let  me know. Thanks <These fish are not very aggressive, even when spawning. I would get as many yellow labs as you want. If the females breed, then they will release the fry into the tank where they will be eaten by bigger fish. If you want only male labs then you will have to buy adults and vent them. This is a method in which you look directly at the genitalia and compare the size of the two openings. On females there is usually one opening larger that the other. On males they look alike.-Chuck>

Red Zebra Cichlid Gestation    11/28/06 I have a 125 gal community tank containing a pair (Male & female) of Red Zebras. They are continually reproducing to the point that I am afraid that my aquarium will become over crowded. I am curious as to the gestation period of this African Cichlid. Would you know it? Thanks in advance for your reply. Eric < As soon as a female lays eggs she can be ready to spawn again in a couple of weeks depending on the water temp and the condition of the female. Once the eggs are laid they will hatch in three days at 80 F. The egg sac will be absorbed and the fry will be free swimming in another three days. At that time they need to be fed.-Chuck>

Sexing Labidochromis Sp. Pearlmutt  11/18/06 Hey guys, I tried researching from all over the internet and WWW  forums regarding the sex of a "Labidochromis Sp. Perlmutt".  I can't  seem to find a good explanation on how to figure out which sex I have.  My  Perlmutt has bars and he's about 2.5" long and has yellow trim and egg spots on  fins.  Which does this sound like?  What's a good way to tell the  difference? Thanks, Jim < Males tend to be slightly larger and more aggressive with slightly longer fins. Males may also be lighter in color with the bars not being so prominent. This species is not as sexually dimorphic as some of the other Lake Malawi cichlids. Females can have the spots on the fins too. If you look underneath at the vents you should see two openings. If they are the same size then it is probably a female. If one opening is a different size from the other than it is probably a male. This is called venting. If you google "venting cichlids" you should be able to find a site with examples.-Chuck>

Sexing A Labidochromis  Sp. Pearlmutt  11/20/06 Chuck, lucky for you man, you always get back to me right away!!!   Thanks.   Darn, I think I have a female.  The bars aren't that vague  and it's definitely darker in color.  The fins are long and pointed  though.  Could males still be on the darker side with bars showing pretty  well? Thanks again < If other fish in the tank are more dominant , then a male Pearlmutt would be showing a submissive coloration, similar to a female.-Chuck>

Breeding Jewelfish?  9/9/06 Hi crew. I have a pair of jewel fish with 5 more pairs of other fishes in my 105 gallon tank. I just saw that my jewel fish have laid eggs, so I wanted to know whether it can become a big threat to them? < What is the threat???> Should I remove them? How many days later should  I  remove them? Do I need to remove them with their parents or not?  Do I remove them keeping them in water or I can remove them like I normally remove my other fishes using a net? Thanking you < Your questions are difficult to understand but I think I can figure out what you are asking. If you are interested in saving the spawn then we can help you. At 80 F the eggs will hatch in three days. If they have laid their eggs on a rock or something that you can remove, then you can move the entire spawn. Set up another tank with water from the same aquarium. On the second or third day you can move the eggs over to the new tank and add some strong aeration and a few drops of methylene blue. At the end of the third day the eggs will hatch. The fry will absorbed the egg sack in three more days. At that time they need to be fed baby brine shrimp , micro worms and finely crushed flake food. If the eggs cannot be removed then wait for the eggs to hatch. Before the sixth day you can siphon the wigglers out with some airline tubing into another tank. If left with the adults they will probably be eaten after a couple of weeks.-Chuck>

African Cichlid fry   8/4/06 We have a tank with, among others, two electric yellow cichlids. Last Saturday, we spotted two fry and quickly netted them and removed them to a separate tank. The next day we found one more and did the same. Now, several days later, the female is still holed up in her big protective log and it appears as if her mouth is still bulging. Would she still be holding additional fry four days later? <Could be, yes> Do the eggs all hatch at the same time? <Mmm, not necessarily>   She still doesn't seem to be eating and rarely comes out, but we've seen no other sign of fry. This is our fishes' first success with breeding, so any help would be appreciated. Wendy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

(Not so) strange (African Cichlid) cross breeding    7/20/06 my female johanni has spawned and the father is a chipokae! First why did he pick the johanni when there are 2 female chipokae in the same tank? <Mmm, hard to state... but happens> Second how does this happen and is it bad to sell them? <Mmm, "bad?"... not immoral per se, but such crosses should not be promoted in my opinion> aside from the fact that they will not be purebreds they might be pretty interesting looking fish. <Do agree with you t/here... I'd just be honest with whom you sell these crosses to... that this is indeed what they are. Bob Fenner>

Re: nervous about holding fish in net... Malawi Cichlid production   6/11/06 Hi - <Hello there> Thanks for answering my prior questions about separating mother from fry.  I have 2 beautiful Malawi cichlids who are mothers - on one of them I was able to get the fry out just by gently taking her in a net in the water - they all eventually swam out - on the other one, the net approach did not work - I'm not sure why the fry are not coming out. <Might not be well-developed enough... could be a "stubborn" female...> I tried to hold her in the net and coax the fry out but none came out.  I know she's still carrying something there and it's been a few weeks, but the mouth does not look as full as the prior mother.  I am a little skittish about holding her mouth open - <This is what is done... professionally> I tried but couldn't get a good grasp and then feared I was harming the mother. <Mmm, you might try a dull, soft plastic wedge...>   So I gave up.  Do you think it's OK to just wait until the fry come out on their own or at this point will she not give them up? <No harm in waiting...> She's in a her own breeder container but b/c there are other fish in the tank she may not feel safe.  Or any other suggestions?  Thank you. Bob <When, where in doubt, do nothing. Bob Fenner>

Re: nervous about holding fish in net... Malawi Cichlid production   6/12/06 Thanks for your advice - I got your message after I ended up going to the LFS and had the store owner take them out.  He did it in a very efficient manner - he put the mother in a shallow bowl on the floor, then held it gently by the gills with his two fingers, then used a toothpick to hold the lip open - and 13 fry came out!  They were still in the tadpole-swimming-with-attached-egg yolk stage - I took home mother and babies in separate bags, and he gave me a little plastic fry holder with very fine netting vents on either side to suspend from the edge of a tank.  That's where they'll be until old enough to swim around and feed after their egg sac goes away in my 5 gallon baby tank. I've learned so much in the past few weeks!  Your readers may wish to know that it may be several weeks from the moment the female first shows signs of carrying eggs in mouth/not eating until she is ready to spit them out.  It was 15-21  days for sure since my cichlid last ate and when the babies came out today they were still in the tadpole stage.  My last cichlid took a full month to spit out fully formed babies and did OK not eating that whole time (she was in isolation for last 2 weeks).   So patience is a virtue - as far as Mbuna cichlids are concerned, the babies may not be formed and ready to eat and be stripped in 6 days, as is suggested elsewhere on this site. <Thank you for this update and information. I would not strip Mbuna this early... better to wait 2-3 weeks in my experience... Generating the most healthy young, with less chance of damage to all. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid Question/Poor Grammar   6/8/06 For the past 2 days my orange African cichlid has been making a nest almost my cichlid is a he and I'm not sure if the males make the nest or not. he stopped but I haven't fed him since this morning so he is probably tired. the nest is pretty long ( about 6 inches in a ten gallon). if I got him a female and a divider would the female lay eggs, or because she's new she wouldn't feel safe or something? he has new tank mates, they are not the type of cichlid he would live with naturally because the water is supposed to have a different PH. is he nervous or something? does he want to breed? sometimes other fish swim in the nest and near it, would he only be aggressive if there were eggs in there? thanks <With the lack of proper punctuation and grammar your question(s) are very difficult to understand. So I can you a simple overview about cichlids from Lake Malawi. These cichlids are territorial and do so by defending an area. Many times the area is defined by a pit in the substrate. Males are the usual one but females may dig pits to in the absence of males in the tank. A female that is ready to breed will be allowed in a male's territory in an attempt to breed with her. If she is not ready or unwilling then she is chased away or killed by the male. All other fish are kept out of the territory. You are going to have to learn to write and express yourself if you ever need specific answers to specific questions. You don't have to be perfect but you do need to be close to be properly understood.-Chuck>

Cichlid Question/Better But Not Perfect Grammar   6/9/06 OK I've fixed the last message. < Thank you very much.> For the past two days my orange African cichlid has been making, something like a nest. My cichlid is a male and I'm not sure if the males make the nest or the females do. < Most of the time it is the male. Females may dig a nest if there is no male present.> He stops every once in a while but he probably gets tired. The nest is pretty big ( about 6 inches long in a ten gallon). If I got him a female and a divider would the female lay eggs or, because she is new, she wouldn't feel safe and not lay eggs? <In a 10 gallon tank the male's territory would take up the entire tank and she would have no place to hide. Most likely she would be beat up and killed in no time at all. Many cichlid keepers do use a divider method in which the female is on one side and the male is on the other. It turns out that most of the eggs get fertilized without any threat to the female. The divider needs to designed so that they can see each other and the water current should go from the males side to the females side. Many times these dividers are home made out of light fixture panels.> to go if he has new tank mates, these cichlids are supposed to have a different PH then him (oops). Is he nervous or something because maybe they wouldn't meet in the wild? Does he want to breed? Or is it just instinct? Sometimes other fish swim in the nest and near it, would he only be aggressive if there were eggs in there? Thanks < Can't understand the questions. Need clarification.-Chuck> Veronica

Malawi Cichlid Questions? Writing Getting Better   6/9/06 I hope you can ignore that last message because I sent it when i wasn't ready. So let me fix that. So my cichlid isn't abnormal, that's good. I'm sure he isn't the only male. I have 7 cichlids (oops to overcrowding, hoping to get bigger tank), and no one in the tank is aggressive, maybe chasing but that's it. I thought dividers always looked that way, and what's a light fixture panel? <In industrial buildings with flat florescent lighting there are 2 foot by 4 foot panels that diffuse the light from these fixtures down to the floor below. They look light a white egg crate material. Go to the lighting section of your home improvement store an you may see what I mean.> Also, would he breed with a different, um, not orange cichlid? The only one I can really explain is the cichlid that has the pattern of a figure eight puffer almost, those two are so cute. <Malawi cichlids may interbreed with other cichlids. In the aquarium most of these fish will freely interbreed with each other depending on which fish is dominant.> OK let me try to rephrase these. Since nest making is normal for him I'm going to assume he's not nervous. < No he is fine.> Does he want to breed or is it just natural for him to want to make a nest? < Setting up a territory and wanting to spawn is normal.> Sometimes the other fish swim near and hover, I guess, over the nest. He isn't aggressive towards them, should he be? < If they look like a threat he will chase them away.> Or would he only be aggressive if there were eggs? < He really doesn't care about the eggs. He only cares about spawning.> But then you said something about his territory, would he mark his territory if there was no reason (no eggs)? <The territory is in preparation of spawning and nothing to do with eggs until the spawning act actually takes place.> I just don't understand why he isn't aggressive towards these other fish.  I hope I rephrased them better, I know what I want to say but I don't know how to word it properly <If they look like a threat then he will chased after them. If they look like a female that may spawn then he will leave them alone.-Chuck> Re: Malawi Cichlid Nest   6/9/06 Thanks, I hear him moving gravel every night, when will he be done making his nest? < As long as he is in good shape and wanting to spawn , he will be looking for a mate and will continue with the nest. He may slow down but he will never be done.> He started Tuesday or Wednesday. The guy at the store I got my new fish at told me how to identify male and female, he talked about egg spots and a hump on the males forehead. With these new fish I can't see any egg spots and I know they're to young to have a hump if they're a male. How can I identify the dominant female if I can't see any egg spots? To me it looks like all the fish but him are females. <The egg spots on the anal fin are not reliable indicators of sex determination for these fish. The dominant female will be the first one he spawns with.-Chuck> Re: Malawi Cichlid Building a Nest (Bower)   6/9/06 So at one point there could be something like a canyon, made by him, in my fish tank. Is it certain that some female in the tank will lay eggs, because I really don't know what to do with them after they hatch. What would he do if I filled in the nest? < Dig it back out.> Would he make another one? < AS soon as you put the top back on the tank he would start digging another one.> What would he do when I get them a bigger tank? < Continue to build a new nest or bower. This is really the correct term since no eggs actually stay in a bower.> I just have so many questions, and I'm glad you can answer them. < We will try.-Chuck>

Mother Cichlid Holding fry  6/5/06 Hello - after about 7-10 days I figured out that my female Malawi cichlid had eggs in her mouth.  Because there are several fish in the main tank, I transferred her to a small 2 gallon isolation tank in the hope that she would soon feel comfortable enough to spit the fry out (and I am way too scared to attempt to strip them - I can't imagine even trying that).    I know that this is too small for her but my other hospital tank is occupied by 2 other aggressive fish who needed to be separated from my main tank. Anyway, I am trying to change 10-15 percent of the water daily to make it bearable for the mother fish.   It has done OK in there for more than 2 weeks.  Finally about 3 days ago I saw a small fry swimming about - but the mother quickly retrieved it and I have not seen it since.  I know she is still carrying fry in her mouth.  Overall it's been about a month since I first suspected she was pregnant - isn't this too long? < The eggs usually hatch in three days and the fry are free swimming in another three days. If the fry are not fed they soon starve to death. The female then tries to release them so she and her fry can eat. If you have not been feeding them then she may have already eaten them.> My impression from your website is that the fry are free-swimming in a few DAYS at 80 degrees.   I'm worried that the tank is too small so she continually feels it's not fit for fry to swim in.   Or do I need to put some food in every day to induce the fry to come out? < Feed her. She may spit out any remaining fry so she can eat. She needs top be separated from the fry. The problem is that she has not been fed in week and is probably too weak to go back into the main tank.> I heard the fry will starve if they don't feed within a few days after they eat their egg sac, and it has been weeks! < If any are left then t hey are pretty hungry.> Finally, assuming some fry do eventually emerge, how long can/should I keep the mother in there with them? < Separate them now.> Will she continually try to protect them in her mouth thus depriving them of the chance to eat?  Or since it's been a month since she has eaten, will she be tempted to eat them sooner than usual? Bob <Separate the fry from the mother. The fry may be stunted from not being fed for so long. If there are any fry left I would be shocked if they were not eaten already.-Chuck>

Re: Hair Algae Keeps Reappearing on Java Fern Even After Bleach Dips - & Aulonocara/African Cichlid breeding techniques - 05/20/2006 Hi Bob, My reply is below Bob, <Cindy> I cleaned the 2nd infected tank last night and I think you are right about Cyanobacteria being part of the culprit. <This is almost assuredly the case... can be confirmed through microscopic examination...> I had a couple of lace rocks in the tank. They had what appeared to be a reddish brown gunk, which upon closer examination was actually dark blue green, interspersed with the hair algae. <Color is not a sure indication... but "sliminess" can be telling> I've had Cyano outbreaks before and always removed the lace rock and soaked it in 3:1 bleach solution, followed by dechlorination and an hour or so boil on the stove. (Isn't it usually men who get in trouble for this? <Heeeeeeee! Watch that/this...>   <<I couldn't resist, you seem to have such a good sense of humor!!!>> >And not a great deal of "allegiance" to my gender/identity<   In my house I'm the one who gets in trouble because part of the house looks like a lab and I'm the one who sneaks in new aquariums like some women do clothes!!!)  <Mmm, I have a theory that folks/individuals are not entirely all fe/male... but a waving mix... Even that "real" people retain their child-like qualities of wonder, open-ness... I like it!> <<I wholeheartedly agree with you.  It's these qualities that make life interesting.  It does make it hard to go to work in the morning, especially when you have newly hatched fry you want to stay home and watch all day!!!  Fortunately, I'm having a little midlife crisis, so I'm taking a hiatus from a very demanding professional career while I ponder what I want to do next before I grow up! >Glad as your distal friend to find that you recognize, realize yourself. The utility of such a caesura, re-discovering, re-centering< So right now I have all the time in the world to indulge in these favorite pastimes.>> After reading your articles about how minerals in rocks feed Cyano I've decided to remove all rock from my tanks. Now the challenge will be finding suitable alternatives for Cichlid hiding places for 4 tanks - in one tank my largest Cichlid is a 6" Deep Water Hap (Placidochromis Electra) and the smallest is a 4" Lab (Labidochromis Caeruleus).  The others have cichlids from 2.5" - 4.5" Got any ideas? <All sorts... better to treat the whole tank, even all tanks at once if you're going the antibiotic chemical algicide route. Necessary to whack all the BGA to prevent, slow-down its recurrence> <<Will do.  Any suggestions for safe cave substitutions to the lace rock I will be removing?>> >Ah, yes... am a big fan of many types of natural rock: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rkwduseaq.htm and the linked Related FAQs file... Would seek out local types... I use condritic metamorphic boulders from down in the canyon... some old bits of marine live rock, some chunked up fungiid skeletons collected from beaches here and there in with my African Cichlid tanks> Cindy P.S.  Bob, I talked to you a few weeks ago and mentioned I was getting ready to introduce a young Astatotilapia Latifasciata male into a tank with a large female of the same species.  She was alone at the time so I was worried she'd be extra territorial.  The male is all colored up, but only 1/6 her size. I set up a tank divider and moved him in with her.  I left the room for only a moment to find he had jumped the divider.  He was in her cave with her, no less!  She tolerated it, but I was nervous so I moved him back over and lowered the water level.  A few days later I found him with her again so I kept an eye on them and decided it was safe to remove the divider.  She still gets irritated and chases him, especially at feeding time, but it's obvious she's accepted him. This wasn't the first time a fish has jumped a divider on me. <Happens>   <<I discovered I had too much media crammed in with my Chemi-Pure bag (I just began testing it out about a week ago) and it was impeding water flow in their tank.  After correcting this the very next day these two fish were swimming and playing together like best buds above their bubble wand and in the current from their Fluval. This behavioral change was like night and day.  Chemi-Pure really works.  It calmed her aggression.  Boyd recently updated their website with a great explanation of how positive and negative ions effect fish behavior.  I'm a believer.  I plan on replacing all my filter media in my other tanks with this.   The two tanks I've been testing it on have happier fish, less algae and the water is cleaner.  Chemi-Pure is a must for cichlids!>> A few months earlier I introduced 2 young Female Aulonocara Rubescens to a full grown male.  Same thing happened, I left the room only to come back and find one of the females with the male.  I moved her back and the next morning I found her with him again!  Those two are still inseparable to this day.  She staked off turf right next to his cave and lip locked the other female whenever she approached.  For a while it appeared the male was going to be monogamous with her (I know, highly unlikely, but he showed no interest in the 2nd female and would chase her away, as well).  In fact, the 2nd female recently chased him for days until her ovipositor was bulging before she got him interested (either that or she laid sterile eggs) and finally began mouth brooding.  Not certain what happened here, she must have aborted because she began eating a week later.  <First goes are often rough...> The first female is holding her 2nd brood (I have her 1st fry in a tank and they are 7 wks old).  <Neat!>   <<I moved her into her own tank last night.  Today will be 13 days that she's been holding and as I understand it Aulonocara hatch at 15 days.  I've been adding some Hikari First Bites powder to her water for the past couple of days hoping she can somehow manage to get some nourishment through infusion.  Is this possible, or can she absorb nourishment through her gills?>>   >Mmm, no< <<I removed her first brood from the main tank after discovering them foraging for food (I'm estimating they were a week old at the time because their egg sacs were gone). ****Before removing her first fry from the community tank I searched online for tips and ran across posts on several fish forums which suggested vacuuming the fry out of the tank rather than netting them!!!!!!!!!  I couldn't believe what I was reading.  Unless the community tank is bare bottom (which most have some form of gravel substrate), the fry would get injured or killed by the tumbling gravel in the vacuum).  I removed all the adult fish and placed them in a heated tub with aeration, pulled out all the plants and décor and used a flashlight to hunt for the fry (they blend in almost like camouflage with the gravel) and gently netted them out one by one.  It was a long night, but I managed to rescue all of them, healthy, safe and sound!**** I am planning on leaving her together with her fry for about a week after they hatch.  I don't approve of egg stripping and I'd like to let her care for them until they're egg sacs are absorbed, at least.  Is there any risk to this? >Not much... Just not done by and large commercially to maximize "production"< She's young, but she seems to be a good mother.  I know with other species (for example, cats) when you remove the young at birth the young miss out on things normally taught to them by their mother. >> I sure hope you do decide write a book on freshwater husbandry.  I'd buy it in a heartbeat! <Am constantly adding to this work... and have good friends who are also building such... perhaps you will join us. Bob Fenner> <<Would love to help in any way that I can.  While on hiatus, which I'm hoping to be until the fall,  I have plenty of time to indulge in this pastime!>> >I look forward to this union< <<P.S.  I would love to send you several photos of the brooding female for your opinion.  I believe she has a terrible case of black spot and plan on treating her after she's separated from this new brood.  In the back of my mind I've been worrying she may have mycobacteriosis.  I got her from the same cichlid breeder distributor I got a Socolofi from 2 years ago which ended up with a case of black spot.  His was clearly black spot (specks) and they hatched and disappeared when the summer weather raised the tank heat up over 82 degrees (another reason I don't keep snails).  This female has a few specs that are slightly raised like pimples, but my main concern is her tail area is almost completely black in areas.>> Cindy >Please do send on any images you'd care to. BobF<

Electric Yellow Cichlid Spawning  - 03/25/2006 Hi, We have electric yellow cichlids among others like peacocks, bumble bees, puffer fish, etc. We noticed that one of the yellow fish was fat in the stomach.  We went on vacation for 2 weeks and when we got back her mouth was full and had a black speck underneath her mouth. A few days later we separated her from the rest of the fish and put her into her own tank with a bubbler.  In the meantime we changed the bottom of the tank from rocks to sand.  We noticed that the largest peach colored peacock cichlid digs huge holes in the sand and hides in it.  Does this mean he is the dad? < Could be. usually the most dominant fish in the tank is the male parent.> Did we wait long enough for the eggs to be fertilized?  The yellow mother is losing weight and it seems like her mouth isn't as full as it once was. Is this due to her weight loss and not that her eggs are dying?  Should we try to extract the eggs/fish from the mother, put her back in the tank with the others so they could be fertilized, or just leave her alone and see if she releases them when she's ready. (What's the best way to extract them and how can we be sure that it won't hu*rt the babies? Oh another factor is that the separate tank we put her in wasn't at 80' it was at 75'. The tank is also without light most of the time and on the floor with people passing by it all day-is this frightening her and that's why she hasn't released them? Please help we feel that she may be eating the babies that are in her mouth and we need to make a decision soon. Will taking the mother out make other fish-especially the dad- more aggressive? Thanks for your help < The eggs are fertilized by the male as soon a they are laid and the female picks them up. At 80 F the eggs will hatch in three days and the fry will be free swimming in another three days. They should be released by the mother very soon after that. The fry need to be fed when they are free swimming. Sometimes new mothers pick up gravel and hang onto the gravel forever. Take a medium size bowl and fill it with aquarium water. Catch the female in the net. Gently open her mouth and take a look in her mouth to see what is going on. If the fry are ready to go then you can simply hold on to her and dip her head into the bowl with her mouth kept open. The babies should swim out into the bowl. Do not put them back into the big tank. Keep them separate until they are big enough to go back with the other fish.-Chuck> About Euthanasia, Culling Frontosa  - 03/13/2006 I have 7-Stripe Frontosas and when there are fry, they are not all perfect, I try only to sell the perfect 7-stripes, so I am stuck with the bad striped ones, I have a tank with just bad stripe that are sizes from 1 inch to 4 or more inches I figured that I can't keep doing this (keeping all the bad stripes) and the only way I will cull them is with MS-222. I just received a bottle from a company on the Internet, ( which I never thought I would be able to) but this is what I want to know, I am not a chemist (that's why I am writing you ha!) I wanted to know in terms, like how many tablespoons to how many gallons, and how do I know it they are just sleeping or dead? Do you know or do you know someone that would know more about this? I really appreciate your time, Thank you < First of all not all frontosa in the lake have perfect stripes. While diving in Lake Tanganyika a few years ago we noticed that many frontosa have variable striping patterns. Ad Konings is a world famous photographer of rift lake cichlids. In his business he sells books, and pictures sell books. He gets the best photos of the best fish he can find. Aquarists often expect all the wild fish to match the photos in the books and are disappointed when they are not. You have made a personal choice to only sell fish that have perfect markings. Many aquarists would try and sell them off to make a profit but it is nice to see someone that has integrity and concerned about the fish they wish to promote in the hobby. MS222 (tricaine methanosulfanate, 3-aminobenzoic acid ethyl ester) is a carcinogen (causes cancer). I would recommend a much safer alternative.  Place the fish you wish to kill in 17 to 34 ounces of aquarium water and add two Alka-Seltzer tablets. The fish will go to sleep and eventually die. Since you are not a chemist and may not be aware of how to safely administer the MS222 please try the WWM recommended method first. We withheld your name by request but felt that your question was very important to other aquarists and they would benefit by the reply.-Chuck> Thank you, I will check more, but let me know if you find any thing out, Thanks again!

Breeding Cichlids  - 3/1/2006 Hi again. I would like to know if it is possibly for my cichlids to breed? < If you have a male and a female then you have a chance.> I have a 10 gal and 6 cichlids and other fish. Right now the fish are very small but I have 2 of each color. 2 orange 2 of those electric yellow and 2 of those blue w/ black stripes. < Sounds like Lake Malawi cichlids.> I also know that the tank is too small for them to breed in, my sisters angel fish didn't breed until she got her 55gal. but my main question is will my cichlids cross breed? < Yes the dominant male will spawn with the dominant female in the tank.> There is a very good chance that I have 2 blue girls or 2 blue boys vice versa with the other colors. But if I did will they cross breed blue with yellow?.. ewww green. < More likely a yellow brown color.> My other question is about my sisters angelfish they've laid eggs twice the fist time they got eaten the second time I discovered them soon enough and put them in a separate tank. Both times they were laid on the filter sucker-upper thing. but my sister after a couple days removed the filter hose thing caring more about her water cleanness then about poor Lil' fishy lives :( so some dropped off the filter hose to the bottom of the tank while she took it out, the eggs died and got that white bacteria on them. < Yep that's what happens.-Chuck> veronica

Sexing Lake Malawi Cichlids    3/2/06 How can I tell if they are male or female and which one is the dominant male and which one is the dominant female? < Without knowing the exact species, generally the dominant male is the one out most often digging pits and chasing all the other fish away. The dominant female will be the one with a mouthful of eggs.-Chuck>

Re: Breeding Lake Malawi Cichlids   3/3/06 If they dug a pit why would the female have eggs in her mouth? < Males dig pits as spawning arenas to attract females to spawn. The are mouth brooders and when they are done spawning the female holds the eggs in her mouth.> and in one of my previous questions someone said they were lake something with a M < Probably Lake Malawi, there are hundreds of cichlid species from Lake Malawi in the hobby. Most of them are blue.-Chuck>

Sexing Crabro Cichlids - 2/28/2006 I recently acquired a 6" Bumble Bee Cichlid that I keep by itself in a 65 gallon hexagon tank and need to find out its sex.  It has been digging out crushed coral underneath some rocks I used to make a cave but I need to know for certain that it is a male.   What should I look for?  I intend to stock the tank with female M. Crabro for breeding purposes if indeed this fish is a male.  Thanks for your quick response. Eric Machicote < Generally at that size if it is more of a dark fish then it is a male. If it is a more light yellow color then it is a female. Dominant males setting up a territory like yours surely sounds like a male.-Chuck> Aulonocara breeding   2/26/06 Hey Bob, I have a question regarding breeding of ruby red peacocks.  Now I am fairly new at this and one of my females got a clutch of eggs going in her mouth and I read up on stripping her, so I waited three or four days and stripped the eggs to realize they were still eggs, then I noticed that they had little dark spots <Eyes> and were wiggling every now and then.  So I put them in a little net pouch I had for brooding mothers and put that in the tank.   I came back 10 minutes latter and to my disappointment they eggs had disappeared?!?! <?> Now the male is in this tank with the other female as well is it possible that he ate the eggs? <Oh yes> Or could the female have somehow gotten in the net and scooped her eggs up as I'm noticing that she is still doing the swishing motion with her mouth, though not as much as before I stripped her.  or do eggs dissolve or something if they are taken out of the mothers mouth to soon? Any advice would be helpful Dylan <Perhaps were "sucked", eaten through the netting... should be placed where there are no fishes that can do this. The netting was fine, a good approach otherwise. Some folks add a "bubbler" underneath, perhaps an anti-fungal to the water. Bob Fenner> Stripping Mouth-Brooding Cichlids   1/21/06 Hey Crew, I recently, after waiting many months, had a couple of my ruby reds (Aulonocara Sp.) successfully spawn.  Needless to say I was extremely excited, so I scooped the female and put her in a compartment of the tank away from the others.  I was told by the LFS guys to wait about three days and strip her so for good measure I wait 4 or 5 days and I went to strip her.  To my disappointment only eggs fell out!!! BUMMER. I am wondering, because I was told that after three days the eggs would be little wiggly fish, did I not wait long enough and effectively just kill my little brood OR is " missing" kind of common?  I have heard that usually a female has trouble with her first clutch and sometimes the brood won't make it, and I am assuming that this was her first clutch as I bought this harem when they were young. Again this is my first time having babies so I'm kinda new at this.  I am also wondering is there an average time between when she'll be ready to breed again, she only had the eggs in her mouth for about 5 days so she didn't start to get thin or weak or anything. Thanks for all your help Dylan < At 80 F the eggs should start to developed into tiny fry at about three days. In three more days the eggs sacs are absorbed and the little fry will be swimming around and need to be fed. You can strip a female at any time after spawning. The first week the eggs will have to be artificially incubated. Many aquarists online sell egg tumblers that simulate the female moving the eggs around in her mouth. I usually wait at least a week after spawning to strip the females because I am lazy and  I like the fish to do all the work. I think your eggs were infertile. Don't worry. She will be spawning again in a couple of weeks.-Chuck>

Breeding Yellow Cichlids   1/20/06 Hi, I got a 60 gallons tank. I got 2 blood parrots, 2 electric yellow African cichlids, 2 rams, 3 Angels, 3 catfishes, 8 guppies, 5 cardinals, 2 black neon tetra, 1 pleco, 2 gouramis and 1 red tail shark. Everybody gets along fine. < You are very lucky.> The condition of the tank (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and pH) are pretty good and I can't see anything wrong with them. But lately all my fish have been dying overnight. I also have one of my African electric yellow cichlid who's got a big bump under his mouth and each time I feed them he's trying to eat but it looks like he can't open his mouth. If you have any idea with what's wrong with him and know how to treat him that would be great. Thanks for helping. < You electric yellow cichlids sound like they are breeding. The one with the bump on the mouth may actually be holding eggs or fry. That's the good news. The bad news is the male is defending his territory and killing off all the fish that wander into it. They have long teeth and strong jaws and can damage another fish pretty quickly.-Chuck>

Breeding Lake Malawi cichlids  12/7/05 Hello crew. I have quite a number of Lake Malawi cichlids (between 1in and 2in) in a 29 gal tank (getting a bigger one a.s.a.p) The question I can't find the answer to is are all Malawi cichlids polygamous? <Yes. All the cichlids in Lake Malawi except one are maternal mouthbrooders.> The fish in question are Kenyi, Chicopee, venustus, auratus, rusty, bumblebee, electric yellow labs. I have male/female pairs of each except I have four Kenyi and four rustys, but do I need more females for the other breeds for the males to be interested in breeding? < Extra females are always a good thing with these fish. Males tend to where down the females so extras take some of the pressure of any single particular female.> My next question is about aquarium rocks for my cichlid tanks. When I do get a bigger tank I would like plenty of rocks and hiding places for both the adults and fry but to buy all these from the local pet store is, well, (cha ching!) Could I use clean rocks from a lake or mountain? Minerals are a concern but surely stones from a fresh flowing glacier fed stream or lake would be safe. Any advice on these subjects would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. <Use rocks that are very hard and well rounded. They may leach minerals into the water but Malawi cichlids like their water hard and alkaline anyway.-Chuck>  <<I used to get mine (I preferred lava rock for its porosity, though it may tend to leach more minerals) from a local masonry supply.  Uber-cheap-O!  Marina>>

White Worms With Baby Fish  12/1/05 Hi, I am currently breeding Ps. demasoni. Tonight, when I stripped the female of her fry (still with egg pouch attached), into a small, plastic breeding container, what I noticed with the babies was tons of these little white worms. They obviously came out of the mothers mouth with the babies. My question is, is this a parasite, and if so, will it hurt the babies or other fish, and should I expect this parasite to be in my tanks, i.e., in my other fish as well? What do I do? < This is not normal. I am guessing that these may be gill flukes. Treat with Fluke-Tabs. This will get rid of any invertebrates in the tank.-Chuck> 

Fluke-Tabs With Fry  12/2/05 Really cool. Thanks. I'll try that. But will fluke tabs hurt my babies?  They still have the egg pouch. <I have not heard of any problems with fry, but to be safe you could put the fry in another container while you treat the main tank.-Chuck> 

Breeding Malawi Cichlids - Pseudotropheops/Pseudotropheus (Tropheops) tropheops 10/31/05 Dear crew, currently I have one female Tropheops tropheops - which at the movement is brooding eggs. I have a few questions, firstly: what is the breeding cycle of Tropheops tropheops? < Like all mbuna from Lake Malawi, these maternal mouthbrooders will hold the eggs for three days. After three days the eggs will hatch and the fry will absorb the yolk sack. So at one week you should be feeding baby brine and crushed flake food. The female will usually release the fry within a week of them becoming free swimming. If the tank is very busy with lots of fish she may hold them for up to a month. In that time the female will become very thin and will take a long time to recover and breed again.> and secondly: what is the best breeding ratio for Tropheops tropheops? <It is always best for harem type spawners to have more females than males. Some commercial breeders would put 2 males together with 6 to 8 females. In larger colonies I have heard of one male for every 15 females.-Chuck>  

Sexing Frontosa  9/17/05 Thank you for your quick answer.  I didn't quite think that made sense and you are probably right.  They want to sell more and I would probably  end up with a tank full of fighting males. Do you have any idea how large  Frontosas have to be to be able to actually tell the difference by sight  alone? I mean by the tell tale hump on the head? Thanks again, Wanda <Experienced breeders can sex Frontosas by examining the ventral area at around 4 to 6 inches depending on the geographical variant. The hump on the males can start as soon as 6 inches but as long as 1o inches depending on the fish.-Chuck>

Frontosa Cichlids Do Not Change Sex  9/13/05 Hello, I have 4 male Frontosas and recently contacted my local pet store to see about getting a few females of they same size to eventually breed. They  told me that they spoke to the breeder and was told that Frontosas changed their  sex according to how they need to be.  I find this iffy at best and was  wondering if you knew what the truth is? Thanks, Wanda < First of all, frontosa cichlids do not change sex according to their needs. Frontosas are maternal mouthbrooders. One male will service several females. The breeder is keeping all the females because they are the ones that produce the babies. They end up with several left over males and get creative in trying to get rid of them.-Chuck>

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