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FAQs on Neotropical Cichlid Reproduction

Related Articles: Neotropical Cichlids, Central American Cichlids by Neale Monks, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Cichlid Reproduction, Angelfish Reproduction, Discus Reproduction, Ram Reproduction, Flowerhorn Reproduction, Oscar Reproduction, Severum Reproduction, Neotropical Cichlids 1, Neotropical Cichlids 2, Neotropical Cichlids 3, Neotropical Cichlid Identification, Neotropical Cichlid Behavior, Neotropical Cichlid Compatibility, Neotropical Cichlid Selection, Neotropical Cichlid Systems, Neotropical Cichlid Feeding, Neotropical Cichlid Disease, Convicts, Oscars, Firemouths, Texas Cichlids, Severums, Triangle Cichlids, Cichlids in General: Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease

Severums breeding without eggs?      4/7/19
Hi Wet Web Media,
<Hello Eva,>
I have a 125 gallon tank and have kept Severums for years. I have seen Severums spawn in my tank, so I know what to expect. However, I've never seen a female try to spawn and act like she's laying eggs, but actually lay
no eggs. I've scoured Google and can't find an answer.
<This is quite common with South American cichlids. For a start, sexing them is often very difficult. Famously, Angelfish sometimes get it wrong, to the extent pairs of females will lay eggs, each expecting the other to
fertilise them! Severums are not much easier to sex than Angels, so it's surprisingly easy to end up with two fish of the same sex.>
She went back and forth like she was laying eggs in row after row and the male came in behind her and acted like he was fertilizing the "eggs." But nothing was there! The female wants to stay paired, but the male no longer
has interest in her after the failed attempt at spawning and has started courting the other female in the tank. Have you seen this happen before?
<Yes, though with Angels rather than Severums. Sometimes the female is immature, sometimes the eggs were simply eaten before you saw them, sometimes the female is actually a male, and sometimes the female is simply
infertile and incapable of laying. Of course the male could be the problem here, not doing whatever he should be doing to elicit spawning behaviour from the female.>
Some info on the pair: This is the first time either have ever attempted to spawn in their lifetimes - i.e. got them when they were small - they're new at this. They're about 4.5 inches (not including tail fins). Both are red spotted Severums.
Do you think it's a size/maturity issue? Or maybe she's infertile?
<Could really be either. While 4.5 inches is a decent size, Severums are big fish, and giving her another few months to grow on could help. As ever, a good start is to 'condition' the female with plenty of live/frozen foods, and since these are omnivorous fish, some fresh greens would be helpful too. Isolating the female (using egg crate, for example, so they can still see each other) can be useful if it allows the female to put on weight without the male harassing her. Next up, optimise water chemistry. That's an important aspect for egg layers. Severums aren't too fussy, but water towards the softer end of the range is needed for breeding.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Severums breeding without eggs?      4/14/19

Hi Neale,
Thanks for answering my question - and so quickly!
<Most welcome.>
From your answer, it sounds like it could be for many reasons, so I'll continue to monitor. Who knows, maybe a few more months is all they need - or maybe she's secretly a male.
<This can/does happen with some cichlids. If kept with a dominant male, the weaker males fail (or at least delay) exhibiting secondary sexual characteristics such as the brighter colours or pointed fins we usually see on male cichlids. In certain cases this is a deliberate ploy, allowing the weaker males to stay within the dominant male's territory, thereby facilitating 'sneaker' male behaviour where the subdominant male tries to mate with a resident female.>
She's definitely an odd fish - I got her and she was completely gold without spots. Now she has almost as many spots as the red-spotted male!
<Most curious.>
It would be great to see them successfully spawn - so thanks for all the advice. Ironically, she's the one harassing the male. All things considered, I'm not too concerned as long everyone's getting along.
<Agreed. Really, the best way to sex cichlids is to observe their spawning tubes. Males generally have longer, narrower, more pointed tubes that are easily visible, sometimes all the time, but certainly for many days before spawning. Females have shorter, blunter spawning tubes that are barely visible except within a few hours of spawning.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Electric Blue Acara Fry     1/26/19
Good Day
<And you Gawie>
Please I need help with Electric Blue Acara Fry.
I have two pairs of Electric Blue Acaras. Each pair gave me two sets of fry and every time they do the fry die.
I leave the Male in with the fry as I notice that the Male gets very aggressive with the Female. I feed the fry brine shrimp After a month I will remove the fry from the Tank and I will put them in a 25 gallon / 100 liter Tank. All will go good for about two weeks until the fry starts getting a nice blue colour and they are just over 7mm big.
Water temp is 84F.
<Mmm; this is a bit too high. Worrisome in terms of increased metabolism, reduced oxygen capacity. I would lower... try at most 80F>
pH the usual 7.1
Nitrate mg/l =5
Nitrite mg/l =0.14
<And no ammonia present?>
Total hardness dH=3
Carbonate hardness dH=7
Chlorine (CL2)=0.0
Carbon dioxide mg/l=18
<... Where is this water from? I would move ALL the water in the fry tank from the parents system>
All go bad from there, they start dying in big numbers. My first thinking was that I take the fry out to soon. With the 2nd batch I left them in for two weeks longer. And still I had the same result, 7mm and then they all die.
With the 3rd batch I gave more brine shrimp during the day and all die within two weeks from moving them to their own tank.
<Please review and relate the/your method for raising the Artemia here. Am considering that the young are ingesting shells>
The 4th batch I split them up in to smaller groups in 10 gallon tanks thinking that it could be the tank/ or the tank is too big and the fry is not getting food or the groups are too big and still the same all die. My
last batch of fry I left them in with the Dad and Mom and one morning I got a Tank with no fry and the mother is dead. I have an idea the Mom went after the fry and Dad defended the fry.
I Breed ANGEL Fish, Cory Catfish and even Bettas with no problem but for some reason my Electric Blue Acara fry don't make it past the 7mm size.
Please help.
Gawie Classen
South Africa
<Do respond to my statements please. Bob Fenner>
Re: Electric Blue Acara Fry /RMF        1/27/19

Good Day Bob Fenner
<And you Gawie>
Thank you for you fast response.
Your input opened new possibilities for me.
I am going to drop my water temperature to 80F. Using the water from the parents system is a great suggestion.
<Yes; is standard practice... What I used to do for other S. American fishes, cichlids I bred>
How old should the fry be before I move them in their own tank. Am I not maybe moving them to soon ?.
<A few days after being free swimming... Actually, better to move the parents. May be keep the male/female separate when you do; for a while>
Do you think I should maybe put the fry first in a 10 gallon tank?.
<IF you have the space, I'd leave them in the system they're in now. IF you move them to a ten and most/many survive/develop, you'll have to move them in a month or so>
Gawie Classen
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Electric Blue Acara Fry /Neale        1/27/19

Good Day
Please I need help with Electric Blue Acara Fry.
I have two pairs of Electric Blue Acaras. Each pair gave me two sets of fry and every time they do the fry die.
I leave the Male in with the fry as I notice that the Male gets very aggressive with the Female. I feed the fry brine shrimp After a month I will remove the fry from the Tank and I will put them in a 25 gallon / 100 liter Tank. All will go good for about two weeks until the fry starts getting a nice blue colour and they are just over 7mm big.
Water temp is 84F.
pH the usual 7.1
Nitrate mg/l =5
Nitrite mg/l =0.14
Total hardness dH=3
Carbonate hardness dH=7
Chlorine (CL2)=0.0
Carbon dioxide mg/l=18
All go bad from there, they start dying in big numbers. My first thinking was that I take the fry out to soon. With the 2nd batch I left them in for two weeks longer. And still I had the same result, 7mm and then they all die.
With the 3rd batch I gave more brine shrimp during the day and all die within two weeks from moving them to their own tank. The 4th batch I split them up in to smaller groups in 10 gallon tanks thinking that it could be the tank/ or the tank is too big and the fry is not getting food or the groups are too big and still the same all die. My last batch of fry I left them in with the Dad and Mom and one morning I got a Tank with no fry and the mother is dead. I have an idea the Mom went after the fry and Dad defended the fry.
I Breed ANGEL Fish, Cory Catfish and even Bettas with no problem but for some reason my Electric Blue Acara fry don't make it past the 7mm size.
Please help.
<Hello Gawie. I shan't waste time with the basics, as you seem to have those covered. Of course nitrite should be zero, and nitrate as low as possible. So do review filtration and/or water changes. No, the thing I'm more interested in is the genetics of the parents. The first cichlid to be available in an electric blue colour was the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey, and this fish was (and remains) plagued with genetic problems. Crooked spines, slow growth, weak resistance to disease, and above all a sort of blandness in terms of behaviour that's very different to real Jack Dempsey cichlids. Similarly, the Electric Blue Ram Cichlid is even more delicate and difficult to maintain than the true Ram Cichlid. The Electric Blue
Acara is a new addition to the trade, and while it's not entirely clear how the fish was bred into being, it does seem to be a hybrid. Unlike some hybrids, the Electric Blue Acara isn't particularly vigorous, and in fact a good deal more difficult to maintain than the true Blue Acara. Whether this is down to hybridisation or inbreeding is hard to say, but deformities, stunting, sensitivity to disease, and yes, low fecundity, are all commonly seen. With all of these fish, commercial breeders probably keep the best
specimens, and what we see in the shops (especially at low prices) are fish mass produced to a price rather than a quality. So compared with Angels or Corydoras, where you can expect to breed some decent fish, these Electric Blue fish are all rather unpredictable, and sadly, not reliable choices for
home breeders. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Electric Blue Acara Fry        1/27/19

Good Morning
You have a very good point with the genetics of the parents and it was one I did think about. This remain a big challenge to me and will love to see the fry growing up. From Angel Fish to Cory Catfish and Bettas I have done the breeding of the Electric Blue Acara is the most interesting fish so far to me. From where the Female lay the eggs and the Male moving the eggs/fry from one spot to another spot. I would have left the fry with them but the male gets very aggressive with the female and the question is for how long can you keep the Male with the fry before he eat them.
<With inbred cichlids (such as Angels) it is almost always best to remove the eggs after spawning and rear them yourself. Alternatively, you can leave the fish to experiment for themselves, but this can take several (even many) attempts and they may never master it! Cheers, Neale.>

Convict fry (From single parent?) Parthenogenic cichlids       8/17/17
I have been searching unsuccessfully to find an answer to this question;
is it possible for a single convict to lay eggs and then fertilize them?
<Not as far as I'm aware. IS possible for a single Convict to lay eggs, or two females to lay eggs... but they will be infertile>
With GREAT SURPRISE I fed my convict this morning and saw 2 fry swimming around in the tank.
<?! Mmmm>
The original fish is around 6-7 years old and has been living solo in a 10 gallon tank for about 5 years. This has blown my mind to the point I photographed 1 of the fry because I couldn't believe my eyes. Help I'm baffled!.....
Thank you,
<I fully suspect this is some other life. Bob Fenner>

Re: Convict fry     8/18/17
<Please do NOT send megabytes of files... we have limited space /ISP. Instead either re-size, or place elsewhere and just send links>
​Dear Bob,
Thank you for your quick response! I have included some photographs I took when I got home, a couple of the parent which as it turns out is more like 10 years old and a couple of photos of the fry. The parent fish came to me
when my son bought his own home and sold his 150 gallon aquarium. This parent fish was a baby from a mating pair he had, I used to sit for hours and watch the school of fry....It is as impossible for these to be another specie (there has been no other fish in this tank for 5 years) as it would seem for this one fish to have parented them.....However, I spoke with my daughter who has a degree in animal science and she explained that when she was in Australia studying at Macquarie University in a genetics class they studied species that in fact when they where close to extinction or feared for their survival, would change gender.
<Yes; some fishes are known to do this... but as far as I'm aware, Cichlids are never functionally hermaphroditic>
Apparently, this is common in reef
<A few families, yes: Labrids, Serranids, Amphiprionines....>
So, with all of this said I'm still shaking my head in disbelief but photographed it for proof. I probably would have never noticed them but the light one stood out and got my attention, so of course I looked for more and found one more that as you can see from the photo looks like the parent. My daughter also explained the genetics of the light one.... (way beyond me)
Now I would like to do all that I can to save these two babies.....(miracles in my eyes)
Thank you again,
<Does appear to be a juvenile Cichlid of some sort. Do you have other species present? A mystery for sure. Bob F>

What do you think? Looks like a pink Convict to me!

Re: Convict fry      8/19/17
No, this fish has been living SOLO in this 10 gallon tank for about 5 years. I know this is the craziest thing.....I have searched the internet for 2 days now trying to find anybody that has seen such a thing with cichlids.....
<Mmm; am going to ask our resident cichlid expert, Chuck Rambo, to chime in here. Chuck, are there such parthenogenic events in Convicts? Bob Fenner>

American Cichlid Egg Fertilization /Bob      11/25/15
I had a quick question that I couldn't seem to find online anywhere. I've got a breeding pair of Festae cichlids that I keep divided in a 135 gallon aquarium. I noticed the female laid a batch of eggs while she was divided from her mate. She either dropped them yesterday or sometime today.
I took the divider out and they are both getting along great. My question is if he would still be able to fertilize these eggs?
<They'd have to have been fertilized within seconds, a minute of being placed by the female. Could have happened even if separated>
I'm guessing fertilization would have to occur the same time the female dropped the eggs so this batch would probably not be viable. I figured you guys would be the ones to ask. What do you think?
<I'd wait and see what happens. Should know in about four days. Bob Fenner>
American Cichlid Egg Fertilization /Neale      11/25/15

I had a quick question that I couldn't seem to find online anywhere. I've got a breeding pair of Festae cichlids that I keep divided in a 135 gallon aquarium. I noticed the female laid a batch of eggs while she was divided from her mate. She either dropped them yesterday or sometime today.
I took the divider out and they are both getting along great. My question is if he would still be able to fertilize these eggs? I'm guessing fertilization would have to occur the same time the female dropped the eggs so this batch would probably not be viable. I figured you guys would be the ones to ask. What do you think?
<Probably not likely to be fertilised more than few minutes after spawning.
But placing egg crate between the two fish works, and then placing an attractive spawning rock or space nearby, so the eggs are laid close enough to the egg crate for the male to be able to cover with milt. Do see Paul Loiselle's writings on this thorny issue, e.g., in "The Cichlid Aquarium".
Good luck, Neale.>

Cichlids; conditioning for spawning, use of unwanted fry      12/18/13
Hello WetWeb, I appreciate all the hard work keeping everyone informed with straightforward care information.
I have been keeping central and south American cichlids for more then 10 years now and still come back to your site when i have a problem.
<Good to have folks to check re>
I wanted to suggest my personal solution to what seems to be a common problem regarding Convict Cichlids and their fry.  These were the first cichlids I kept and was amazed to see their attentive parenting and readiness to breed, and have been hooked on breeding cichlids ever since.
Everyone knows that fry aren't economical to raise, and  rehoming the little devils can be a real chore.  So what to do?
My solution came of necessity, breeding more difficult fishes mandates they be in top physical condition. Due to limitations in the nutritional value of prepared foods some fish have difficulty attaining all essential nutrients and therefore are not it peak condition.
Seasoned aquarists will agree that live foods are the top choice for tempting a fish that wont eat, helping sick fish recover, and prepping breeders.
I'm guessing you all know where I'm headed, i find it much safer to feed convict fry as a live food to my more delicate fish.  raised in a 40 breeder a convict pair can raise a new batch of wrigglers every week, and the results of having a constant staple of live foods for my fish produces outstanding results in health and vibrance. I don't worry about introducing disease, as i know my systems to be clean.
I find convicts interesting to this day, and watching them dance and dig is still a favorite pastime for me. Now i have a reason to keep them and can still enjoy watching them dart about without having to convince my grandmother she needs a fish tank!
Thanks for your time
<Though am sure some folks would disagree, I find this use of "unwanted" fry justifiable for the reasons you state. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cichlids     12/18/13

Thank you Bob I am honored to hear your opinion, and am very happy to know you don't find this act too cruel. 
<Ahh, not cruel in the least per my value system. Have fed young of many species to other aquatic life over the years>
Opinions on the matter vary greatly, personally i don't see why its not more common practice.  I don't see how a feeder goldfish or molly has less value as a living creature, and caring for living animals of all sorts requires some amount of moral sacrifice in said situations.  Someone who takes on the responsibility of owning tropical fish should also be willing to fulfill their needs  for a long and healthy life.
<And (shudder), "feeders" usually (esp. goldfish) have real transmittable disease issues. Am NOT a fan of their use>
Too often people seem to feel the need to save every fry from an unexpected batch, when in reality a wild counterpart may take a dozen or so spawnings to have even a small batch live to be juveniles. Of these even fewer could live to adulthood, becoming incredibly world hardened and cunning and passing on these traits.
<I do agree... too often I see, read examples of misunderstandings of "saving" life in the wild, and captivity, that would be best left as is or outright destroyed humanely>
Recreating wild conditions to the point of proper natural selection in the home aquaria is nearly impossible, if not completely. While a person can do everything possible to mimic a biome, no one can produce the vast circumstances of the wild.
<Only as a percentage>
In this sense i feel fish should be very, very carefully bred.  A serious aquarist can produce large amount of top quality fish if the market is right, but its awfully hard to with such undercut prices for low quality fish hoarding the market.
<Ah yes>
If everyone were willing to spend anywhere near as much for their fish as some of the equipment surrounding them, i think most would be astounded to see the beauty of a carefully bred fish.
<Such is our state as a species currently. Thank you for sharing Nate.

Thorichthys maculipinnis breeding    4/24/13
Hi WWM crew,
My 180 litre tank is doing very well, and I've got a lovely Elliot cichlid couple, about a year old only, who recently spawned! The two parents were defending the clutch vigorously, it was a joy to see.
<Indeed; great fish!>
However, one day the numbers suddenly dropped – from the initial 50 they were now about 20. I suspect the tank mates had eaten the rest (see below for stock). Well, I went into rescue mode and rigged up our fry trap, netted as many fry as I could and ended up with 15 tinies (ca 7-8 mm) in there. I dropped a sinking food pellet for them to eat. The morning after I bounced into the tank room to see the little fellas, and sadly discovered they all had died overnight. My questions:
Why do you think they died?
<With cichlid fry, nine times out of ten, premature deaths come down to water quality and/or oxygenation of the water. Typically, it's best to move fry to a clean rearing tank rather than leaving them with the adults… cichlid adults being so messy that it's hard to keep near-zero nitrate levels which the fry often need (London tap water is notoriously nitrate-rich). That said, Thorichthys can make superb parents, and sometimes the water quality is fine, but very young parents just fluffed up whatever jobs they were meant to do. Give them a couple more spawning attempts and it'll all fall into place. Still, watch water quality, remove surplus adults, do frequent water changes (ideally, daily) and remove any uneaten food. Do also time the first meal carefully; they start eating 2-3 days after hatching.>
How soon is our Ellioti pair likely to breed again? How often can they spawn? Can I encourage the spawning somehow, by adjusting conditions in the tank?
<Thorichthys generally aren't massively fecund like Convicts, but give them a couple weeks and some good food, and they'll spawn again!>
Next time they spawn, shall I leave the parents in charge of the fry, and not put them in a breeding trap?
<It's up to you. Unless you're desperate to sell large quantities of juveniles, you may want to leave the parents to get it right… cichlids are more fun that way, I think.>
Are my tank mates  too fast and aggressive and therefore unsuitable/likely to eat all the fry? They certainly ate every single swordtail fry we've ever had…
<Barbs and Swordtails will eat fry given the chance, and Ancistrus will eat fish eggs. Generally, it's best to spawn pairs in their own tank, then remove the parents if you want to rear the fry manually (the easy option in many ways) or else leave the adults for a couple weeks so you can see their parental behaviour.>
Many thanks,
<Welcome, Neale.>
My tank:
180 litres fresh water
2 x pumps, combined capacity 1,350 l/h
temp 24 C
pH 8.0
dH 15
Nitrate 20 (London UK), Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0
2 x 45w fluorescent lights
2 x Thorichthys Maculipinnis
3 x Swordtails
6 x Odessa barbs
2 x Ancistrus
1 x Siamese Algae Eater

Re: Fighting or courting?    6/16/12
Neale -
As usual your advice is great. Thanks so much. I still wonder what I did wrong in mixing the Dempsey with an Acara. I guess more training is in order.
<Glad to help.>
I removed the Severum to another tank on its own until my new 110 comes in.
The other fish are getting on fine right now with occasional territorial behavior.
There is a new event I thought you might find interesting and I am asking if I am correct in my assumptions. I went to clean up and reset the plants in the Severum's new tank and the fish hit me...hard. Blew me away. After calling the fish a few names, I started looking a little more closely at the area in which I was starting to dig around and saw the rock that you see in the first picture. Holy Smokes we have eggs. The parent has been fanning them constantly. (now that I am closely watching, I see it.) I think I have a decent shot of the genital papilla and was hoping that you would fix something that is boggling my brain. Your earlier statement said that the male's is usually visible at all times and that the female's is hardly seen until just before spawning.
<This is usually the case with most cichlids. Certainly, if you have two members of the same species, what you normally see is that the male's papilla is longer and more pointed, and the females shorter, wider and blunter. It's pretty much what you'd expect -- the male's is for squirting a jet of sperm, the female's for releasing eggs one at a time.>
Since this is a couple days after I have seen the eggs, is it safe to presume that the female papilla will stay visible (as I *think* I see in the second picture) after spawning?
<Quite possibly, but usually not for long.>
This is the only fish in the tank so I am pretty sure there can't be any fertilization here.  I am blown away that there are eggs. If it is a male (based on visible papilla) I would be thoroughly confused. Has to be a girl.
<It's not uncommon for female cichlids to spawn in the absence of males of their species, occasionally with other females, but more often with male cichlids of some other species. Severums can be further sexed by colouration -- usually, males have blue squiggles on their face that the females lack.>
Thanks for all your help over there.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Fighting or courting?    6/16/12

Thanks much. I am going to go with a female that has a crazy hope of her prince appearing.
<Something like that.>
I guess the eggs will just die into the water and I will need to clean the tank?
<Up to you. Unfertilised eggs decay pretty quickly, and invariably attract fungus (though this is normally harmless to adult fish). But in community tanks, catfish, including Plecs, will usually eat them before that happens!>
Appreciate you much,
<Welcome, Neale.>

Festae Breeding Question    5/26/12
Hello WWM crew!  This is my first e-mail to you, I am always reading through your answered questions online.  I had a quick question about my festae pair whom has bred for the first time 9 days ago.  Everything is going good with the fry, but the male hasn't eaten since the eggs were dropped 9 days ago. He still has his color, and he stays close to the
female but he still refuses to eat.  The female will eat, she's actually been crushing food up for her fry.  I noticed he hasn't been doing much to help with this spawn, except for sticking around the female and her fry. 
He hasn't really scared any fish off, the female has been the one doing this.  He also breathes a bit harder than normal whereas the other fish in the tank don't.  Everything is well oxygenated.  I'm wondering if him not eating is a normal part of breeding or if I should be concerned with this? 
Thanks for your help!
<Nothing to worry about. It's quite normal for parenting cichlids to stop feeding. After a few more days they'll start feeding, and you'll notice they show less interest in the fry, too. That's about the time to remove the fry and rear them yourself. Few cichlids are good parents much beyond 2-3 weeks post-hatching. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Festae Breeding Question     5/30/12

Hi again, it's been 5 days since I last e-mailed and my male festae still hasn't eaten.  He's been on the other side of the divider for 3 days because the female kept forcing him to the corner, although he wasn't doing much as it was.  He seemed stressed and this is why I moved him.  I have siphoned all the fry from the tank yesterday and he's still breathing hard and stays in the corner not interested in food at all.  I'm worried he may have something wrong with him such as internal parasites/bloat.  All other fish are fine, no excessive breathing and they all eat.  Is this normal for cichlid breeding?  I made a YouTube video of him so you can see what I'm talking about at the following link. 
<He looks stressed, bullied. Do review sociable behaviour issues (tankmates, aquarium size) and act accordingly. Hiding in the corner and breathing heavily are CLASSIC signs of a cichlid that's unhappy with where he's at. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Festae Breeding Question – 5/30/12

He did have the female stress him out for a bit during breeding, nothing too bad.  He doesn't get bullied on the side of the tank he's on now however, he's the biggest cichlid in the tank.
<Size isn't the only factor.>
The size of the tank is a 135,
<May be too small for these fish; 135 US gallons is only 112 Imperial gallons or just over 500 litres, not a massive amount of space. Square footage matters more than volume, and any one of these fish can claim territories 2, 3 feet across. In any event, check the nitrate level, as well as ammonia and nitrite, so you can tell precisely what the water quality is like.>
I'm running a Marineland 350 gph powerhead, Rena Filstar xp4, and keep the temp at 82.
<Much too warm; 25 C/77 F is ample, and will reduce aggression too.>
He's 6 inches, and along with him on the side of the divider there's a 5 inch female festae, 5 inch male festae,  4.5 inch and 4 inch Mayan.
<Any of these could be the problem.>
The other side of the divider is the female he bred with, a 5.5 inch festae.  I've heard a cool water change can induce a sense of a new environment/new conditions sort of like a rain fall in the wild, should I give it a try?
<Won't make any difference. Removing fish, rearranging the rocks, and then reintroducing the fish in the order least to most aggressive works better (take your time, and allow a good 10-15 minutes between each fish added to the tank, the idea being each fish has time to secure a home before a more aggressive fish is added).>
I do notice he has some stringy white poo, is this a definite sign of a parasite or can it be just from him not eating for 2 weeks?
<Yes. Stringy white faeces can indicate Hexamita infection, common among cichlids. Stress turns a latent infection into a potentially lethal problem, so you do need to establish why he's stressed as well as medicate as per Hexamita, i.e., with Metronidazole:
Digestive tract infections may reflect food quality; think about how often you've been feeding them green foods and whether you've used bad live foods (Tubifex, feeder fish). Cheers, Neale.>

Green Terror Breeding
Green Terror Cichlids Trying to Breed 11/17/11

Hello, Great site!
< Thank you.>
I have a question about the breeding rituals of Green Terrors. I have a male (5 inches) and female (3 ½ inches) in a 75 gal tank. I have had them for about three weeks. I run a 1500ltr/hr. canister filter which is well maintained and does a great job. I do a 25% water change(through vacuuming the gravel) twice
weekly. My water tests show a ph. of 6.7, ammonia and nitrites of 0 and nitrates under 5. I run the temp around 78F. I feed them a small amount of food twice a day. Their diet consists of cichlid pellets and blood worms (as a treat). They also get the occasional cricket or other live insect I catch in the garden. My female and male have been doing the breeding ritual for about two weeks.
Shaking, nipping (no damage) with the male following the female around constantly. I made her a cave to hide in and she recently laid her first batch of eggs.
Unfortunately I missed it and didn't see if the male managed to fertilize them or not. The female is now extremely aggressive towards the male, not letting him anywhere near the eggs. With this behaviour is it likely that they are not a pair after all, or is this normal? Whilst my male is normal extremely aggressive, and quite a bit larger than the female, I'm also worried she may injure or even kill him if this behaviour continues. What are your thoughts? Regards, Matt
< Young cichlid pairs sometimes take a few tries to get it right. She now has a clutch of eggs and is not to sure what to do. Watch the tank closely and see if the eggs hatch in a few days. If the male is in danger he may need to be removed.. When the fry become free swimming they can be siphoned into another tank and fed baby brine and finely crushed flake food.-Chuck>

Rainbow cichlid breeding    3/7/11
I just have a couple questions regarding rainbow cichlid breeding (H. multispinosa). I have a 30 gallon(U.S.) tank with 4 rainbow cichlids, 1 convict, 1 pictus catfish, 3 head and tail light tetras.
Question #1 am I overstocked?
<You may well be... if/when the Rainbows start their territoriality/breeding beh.>
Question #2 one of the rainbow cichlids
(female from what I can tell, smaller fins, smaller body etc.) is showing breeding colors (dark black body) and shimmys around the male rainbow cichlid (larger than the female, longer fins) but the male shows no signs of wanting to breed when she does it but he will do it to her then she doesn't. So what's going on here?
I haven't been able to test my water for a while. The ph last time I checked was at 7.8 before I added some more driftwood. I have been doing every other day water changes so no big issues there am I correct?
<In terms of what? Do see Fishbase.org, elsewhere re the water quality in the wild for this species>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hello again,
<Howdy Bob>
Can you please explain "development" in this phrase. Sorry for all these Questions. I know I would be very annoyed if some one asked me all these.
Question #2 one of the rainbow cichlids
(female from what I can tell, smaller fins, smaller body etc.) is showing breeding colors (dark black body) and shimmys around the male rainbow cichlid (larger than the female, longer fins) but the male shows no signs of wanting to breed when she does it but he will do it to her then she doesn't. So what's going on here?
Does it mean that they are not mature yet? The male is pushing 4 inches and the female 3 inches. They are able to spawn at this size correct?
<Ah yes, and yes. BobF>

Texas and Convict Cichlid  10/8/10
Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!
<Uh, okay. But why are you sending us this image? And to whom? Without a salutation or a message of some sort, there's not much we can do to help.
If this was for Chuck, then a simple "Dear Chuck, thanks for your last message, and here's the photo I promised" would help. Good manners serve a purpose! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Texas and Convict Cichlid  10/8/10
Sorry I sent an email right before I sent the picture. I was supposed to attach the picture to the email but I made a mistake and sent without. You should have my email message. It has the subject Convict and Texas. I would very much appreciate your advice. Thanks!
<Nope, nothing came through. No message of any kind. Obviously this one came through, but nothing else. Do please send a NEW message with the text AND the photo attached. Sending separate messages is a bit hit and miss.
There are half a dozen people volunteering here at any one time, and if one person gets one message, and another the other message, things get messy real fast. Chuck R. is the cichlid guru, so if you need his help for a cichlid-related issue, feel free to add a salutation that helps us forward your messages to his inbox. Cheers, Neale.>

Re Texas and Convict
Texas and Convict Cichlid Cross
Hi Chuck I have a dilemma that maybe you can help solve. For starters I have 55 gallon tank with 3 convicts 2 female and 1 male. In this tank is also a Texas. The older one of the female convict has laid eggs in a tank ornament. Before she laid the eggs her and the Texas stayed by each other.
The Texas helps the Convict fight off the other 2 Convicts from coming on their side of the tank. The other Convicts never get past this tag team duo. Now the Convict goes inside the ornament (barely) because she almost to big to fit I guess to keep an eye on the eggs. The Texas can't fit inside the ornament, but it has an opening at the top that he swims over.
Could the Texas possibly fertilize the eggs even though they are 2 different fish?
< Yes, it happens often.>
I researched this but came up with nothing. I did see where the eggs should be tan in color if they have been fertilized, and they are tan. I am attaching a picture of the 2 and their nesting ground (the ornament) please tell me what you think.
< They have paired up. The fry will probably survive. The babies look like spotted convicts. Not very attractive.-Chuck>

Eggs, neotrop. cichlids...   6/13/10
Hi guys,
First off thanks for your continued support and advice. You really have a great website and service.
<Kind of you to say so.>
I currently have a 55 with a Festivum, Firemouth, rainbow cichlid, Severum, and a Honduran red point.
<A bit of an odd mix that. Some hard water cichlids, some soft water cichlids. But if you have moderately hard, neutral water you should be okay.>
I am unsure of the sexes of them except the HRP which is a female with a reddish/pink belly. Today I noticed the HRP hovering sideways inside of a pot.
When I looked in the pot I found about 50-75 orange eggs attached to the side.
I pay pretty close attention to the tank daily and have not noticed any breeding or spawning behaviors. The female is now guarding the front of the pot. I do not want 50 HRP hybrids flying around my tank.
<Indeed not.>
The father is not hanging around with her. I guess it could be the Firemouth or rainbow but I've never seen them displaying or spawning.
<Agreed, could be either, but my guess would be the Rainbow, Herotilapia multispinosa, is more likely to be the father here. It's a bit like one of those trashy TV shows where there's the "who's my baby's daddy" segments!>
However the Firemouth is too large to fit into the small mouth of the pot.
<Not really a problem -- if they can, the males will jet their sperm considerable distances, maybe an inch or two, at the eggs. May be less effective, but does work.>
I got her as a juvenile and she is now about 2 inches. Is it possible she has laid eggs but they are not fertile?
Should I remove them just in case?
If the eggs were fertile would the father be near the cave as well?
<Not necessarily. Yes, usually Central American and indeed South American cichlids form biparental families, but exceptionally one or other parent will assume full duties. In fact in the wild many fish we think of as forming pairs -- for example Kribs -- actually form harems, with multiple females rearing batches of fry while the male defends the overall territory.>
If the eggs are infertile I don't want to stress her out and move things around to remove them but I would rather dispose of them while they are eggs as I would feel bad disposing of live babies.
<Oh, I wouldn't worry too much about stressing her. She'll forget about the eggs very quickly. "Pulling" eggs and rearing them manually is quite normal, and doesn't seem to cause any harm.>
Plus I know that hybrids are generally frowned upon.
<Indeed they are.>
Thanks so much guys!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Eggs  6/13/10
Thanks so much Neale. I'm actually due for a water change today so I will make sure to get them out of there. What is the proper method of responsible disposal?
<Any; once removed from their parents, eggs don't last long. There's no risk at all of them ending up in the wild as rampaging killer Convicts!>
Will hot water be enough to kill the eggs and put them down the sink or should they just go in the trash?
<Either, or you might use them as fish food. Loricariid catfish are very good at eating cichlid eggs!>
Thanks again and take care.
<Happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Firemouth pair hatched babies in community tank -- 2/5/10
Hi, great website!
<Thank you.>
I've got a pair of Firemouth cichlids that I have had for about a year, they were small fish the same size when I brought them home. I started noticing they were showing signs of mating and had hollowed out an area in the sandy
bottom behind a decoration in the tank, they eventually settled on a small ceramic plant pot which they emptied almost all the dirt out of, I was going to move them but really didn't have an extra tank large enough for them both. In a very short time they became aggressive and possessive of that end of the 55 gallon tank and acting as if they had eggs in the pot.
<Normal behaviour for this species. Firemouths are quite docile, almost community tank safe, but when guarding their nests can be very aggressive.>
I thought the fact that this was their first attempt, would probably prove to be false or unsuccessful, and I assumed it was too late to move them at this point anyway. This morning I have 50 or 60 small fry which looked like a grey mass on the bottom earlier, and four hours later are already enlarging their area and swimming about 5 or 6 inches above the tank floor.
<Well done!>
My questions are..how long will the parents defend their young..
<Not that long, a couple of weeks post-hatching at best.>
how old should they be for me to scoop them out and into a separate tank (they're so small I am afraid to damage them).
<As soon as the fry are mobile and feeding readily, feel free to move them. Don't net them out, but drive them with a net into a plastic pot or tub, and then move to another aquarium.>
and at what point will the parents turn around and eat them!
<Probably won't eat them, since Firemouths are sand-sifters and prefer to spend their time taking in mouthfuls of sand and sifting it for worms, crustaceans and other small foods. They are inept predators, at best.>
I'm so happy to see these little guys, we're not hoping to start a fisheries, but have had the tank for over eight years and this is the first successful pairing.
Thanks! CR
<Good luck, Neale.>

Cichlids, neotrop. cross repro. & Crenicichla sys.  -- 02/02/10
Hey WWM crew, I had a few cichlid questions. I just had 2 different types of cichlids spawn. A male jack Dempsey and a female festae. Do you know how they will look or anything of that sort?
<Something in between the two. Hybrids generally aren't particularly attractive, and only in rare cases (and even then, arguably) are the hybrid offspring worth rearing. In almost all cases, hybrid eggs should be destroyed.>
Will they have any sale value?
<None. In fact a negative value. Hybrids are bad for the hobby. Retailers sell them without telling people what they are, and even if they do, some idiot will cross them with, let's say, a Jack Dempsey, and sell what he or she calls "Jack Dempseys" onto another pet store. So now you have fish that are 75% Jack Dempsey, and 25% Cichlasoma festae. Someone thinks they're getting a Jack Dempsey, plans their aquarium accordingly, and ends up with an adult fish that neither looks nor behaves precisely as it should. In short, hybrids are bad. Producing hybrid fish is one of the most thoughtless and harmful things hobbyists can do.>
Also, my LFS has 2 really pretty pike cichlids. One is called a franata pike and the other is a golden pike.
<Crenicichla frenata and, I'm guessing, Crenicichla sp. 'Xingu I'.>
I have a 20 long aquarium with tons of plants. Some of the plants even hang from the glass top for an overhang. Could these 2 go in there?
<Not a chance. Crenicichla frenata gets to at least 20 cm/8 inches in length, and Crenicichla sp. 'Xingu I' to 30 cm/12 inches. Both are extremely territorial and highly aggressive towards similar-looking fish.
<<There are some "dwarf" Pike Cichlid species... RMF>>
Pike cichlids generally are difficult to maintain, and as with any carnivorous fish, an important task is weaning them off dangerous live foods (like feeder fish) and onto proper foods (like earthworms and pellets). Crenicichla spp are extremely sensitive to nitrate, and keeping them in as large a tank as possible is crucial to long term health. This is
much easier to do in tanks where they're kept alone, so there isn't competition. On top of this, I kept a mated pair of (wild-caught) Crenicichla saxatilis as a student, and while very beautiful, these are very nervous, shy fish. They hid all the time, except when feeding. Not that much fun, really.>
They're about 4 inches long each. The tank also has a 6 inch ornate bichir in there. Thank you for your time.
<Always happy to help.>
P.S. A great plant for keeping cichlids and polypterids are those reptile plants with suction cups. Be sure to rinse them off first!
<Yes, do agree with this strongly. The only thing to check is that anything bought in a reptile store doesn't have exposed metal screws or other components that might rust when kept underwater. Ornaments and such designed for dry land use may not be safe in aquaria. Anyway, thanks for the tip! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cichlids -- 02/02/10
Thank you very much.
<My pleasure.>
I'll just keep a few fry to myself and feed the rest to my payara.
<Why bother? Just wash the eggs down the drain or let some catfish eat them. Feeding live fish to predators tends to cause more problems than it solves. While cichlid fry are safe in terms of thiaminase and fat, using feeders does seem to encourage aggression in fish and doesn't offer much scope for providing economical vitamin-rich foods.>
About the pikes though, would a be able to keep one of them?
<With a big enough tank, sure. They are difficult to maintain, but certainly not impossible.>
He would probably end up in a 40 breeder my himself.
<Too small. Do look at the "Dwarf" Pike Cichlids, but even those are delicate fish, and keeping them properly isn't as easy as their small size might suggest. If you want a predatory cichlid, and plan to set a tank up for their needs, then I'd sooner recommend things like Altolamprologus compressiceps or the rather lovely dwarf Rhamphochromis. Both of these are fairly hardy, and most importantly of all, can be weaned onto foods other
than live fish easily.>
If the pikes are a no go, what about Anableps?
<Not in a 40 gallon tank. Do read about the needs of these BRACKISH water fish. They are schooling fish, and need a tank with a "table" in the middle where they can rest (essentially a slate propped up with a couple of bricks, with just enough water on the slate for the Anableps to beach itself). Although quite easy to keep if you can secure healthy specimens, very small specimens are notoriously poor travelers.>
Or maybe a smaller cichlid like a Firemouth?
<Firemouth cichlids are a lovely, relatively mild sand-sifting species ideally suited to aquarium life. Breeding pairs are territorial, but because they are poor fighters (they have specialised jaws) they shouldn't be combined with other cichlids. Best kept with dither fish, such as Swordtails.>
Also, I'm assuming the payara cannot go in with the cichlids, correct?
<We're talking Hydrolycus scomberoides, right? Indeed not. Maximum length in the wild is something like 60 cm. Unfortunately they almost always die after a few months or a year in captivity. So far as I know, no-one has
kept these fish to maturity under home aquarium conditions. Massive filtration and extremely frequent water changes are almost certainly essential, given the riverine habitat of these predatory fish. In my opinion, they shouldn't be in the trade at all. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlid (cross, neo-trop.) Breeding and Puffer (indet. sp. beh.) Questions.   9/2/09
My Convict and Green Terror Cichlid seem to have laid eggs. They are in a tank with other cichlids and a few snails. The eggs are stuck onto a rock and spread out in a single layer. I believe the eggs belong to them
because they are both very protective of the eggs when other fish approach them but never to each other.
Just wondering if this was possible.
<Well, it's happened, so seems to be very possible! If you're asking me will these eggs hatch into baby (hybrid) cichlids, then I don't know, but imagine not. Some cichlids hybridise quite readily -- a bad thing,
generally -- but not all.>
On a semi unrelated note, I also have a puffer fish in a separate tank with a few feeders who have survived the tank's cycling (put them in to make sure the water and filters were fine, all of them survived except the ones the puffer has destroyed.) Twice I've seen her get very stiff, roll into a ball and suck in her pectoral fins so that they actually seem to be inside her body.
There were no reasons for her to go into shock (if that's what it is.) The room was quiet and the water has not been changed. I've had her for a few months and she's never been sick (although she was recently moved to a new tank.)
When I saw her (caught her in the act) I dropped in a freeze dried shrimp in an attempt to distract her. It took her a second to loosen up, but she went right for it.
Her colors are bright, and I was planning on transitioning slowly to brackish this week (She's about an inch and a half long, and I want the transition to be as slow as possible to prevent any kind of shock or
sickness). What's going on?
<No idea. Puffers sometimes "practise" their puffing, and that can be alarming. They also tend towards becoming lethargic if overfed, sitting on the bottom looking dazed. But if neither of these things are possible, then I'd do the usual things and check water chemistry and water quality. Once you move a Green Spotted Puffer or Figure-8 Puffer to brackish water it should settle down and behave normally. Under freshwater conditions their health is variable, and you may simply be witnessing some type of abnormal behaviour caused by improper maintenance. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Cichlid Breeding and Puffer Questions.   9/2/09
Some of the eggs are turning white. Don't know if it's a good thing or not, but I'm moving them to a different tank soon.
<Bad; usually means they're not fertilised and have started to rot.>
The Green Terror has started leaving them alone a little, but still chases the others away if the Convict leaves, which doesn't happen often, and when it does its only for a few seconds to grab some food and return.
I'm not too worried about it, The fact that they're trying to breed at all is probably good.
<Well, sort of. Breeding cichlids are more aggressive, which may be a bad thing.>
However the eggs are stuck to a rock. A friend of mine said African cichlid bury their eggs.
<No cichlid buries its eggs. Some incubate them in their mouths, but most lay them on something, whether a plant leaf, pebble, cave roof, or depression on the substrate. But in all cases, the eggs are kept in contact
with the water so they can be properly oxygenated.>
Mine are South American, does the standard not uphold?
<Probably not. Don't really understand what your friend was telling you.>
The puffer seems fine, She hasn't done anything strange. I'll be changing her to brackish very soon.
Thank you for your expertise!
<Cheers, Neale.>

cichlid eggs.   9/28/08 Hello, I found out this morning that my t-bar cichlids have bred so i separated the eggs, male and female away from the other fish. I was wondering is it normal for the male and female to fight every now and then if the male gets to close to the pipe were there eggs are <Yes, sometimes pairs of cichlids will fight, even where that species is known to be a biparental spawner. To some degree depends on the environment; do see Paul Loiselle re: the importance of target fish in maintaining strong pair bonds.> and how long will it take before i can sell them to a fish shop? <Assuming the fry are moved to a big, clean tank where they can grow quickly (i.e., nitrate levels are low) then you can expect virtually all cichlids to reach sellable size in 3-4 months. It is of course virtually impossible to rear them adequately in the tank with the parents. Normally people remove the parents to the community tank.> Thanks <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: cichlid eggs.  -- 09/28/08
Thanks for your great email.
<No problem.>
Where could i find the re: the importance of target fish in maintaining strong pair bonds?
<Almost any Paul Loiselle book will discuss the topic in depth, and make suggestions on species suitable for this function. I recommend "The Cichlid Aquarium" published by Tetra. The idea is to choose a fish that elicits "fear" in the parents that their eggs might be eaten if they don't protect them, but the species you choose as a target fish aren't actually a threat at all. Large herbivorous characins such as Silver Dollars work well, assuming you have sufficient space for them. Red-tail sharks and Chinese Algae Eaters (Gyrinocheilus spp.) can also work. Obviously anything that actually will eat eggs, particularly at night, like catfish and loaches, won't work. Target fish will be killed if the tank isn't big enough for them to manoeuvre safely, so stock wisely.>
When should i remove the male and female?
<It's normal to remove the parents around two weeks of the fry becoming free swimming, though this depends on the species. Some degree of experimentation is recommended.>
What is the minimum tank size for me to move the fry to when there are free
<Depends on the fish being reared. Dwarf cichlids can be reared for several months in 10-20 gallon aquaria without complaint. Larger species will require 30-50 gallon systems, depending on the species. There are variations in aggression, in particular with young males monopolising food, slowing down the growth of the females. So use your common sense, and buy the biggest tank in your budget, and keep on top of water changes as well to minimise nitrate concentration.>
Thanks again
<Do try and track down "Enjoying Cichlids" by Fohrman et al.; I believe you'll find this a very useful reference. The cichlid literature is vast, and with this group of fish the problems that arise from inexperience are legion. You'll also enjoy these intelligent fish so much more if you understand why they're doing all these seemingly "bad" things. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: cichlid eggs.  9/29/08
Thanks for your great email.
is it ok if there is no male in with the eggs? Because after the male had fertilized them she was bullying him really badly and had him in the corner so i had to put him in my main tank and every time he tries to swim through the glass to the eggs she is at the glass trying to kill him! So will she be ok keeping care of the eggs and fry by her self?
<It's absolutely fine to leave one parent in control of the eggs, and indeed many aquarists do that or remove the eggs after spawning and rear the eggs artificially. Having said that, many (perhaps most) cichlids take a few "tries" before they get all their behaviours right. So do consider leaving them together to try and rear the broods, if you're comfortable that neither parent is in danger. Once a pair has properly formed, they'll be breeding every couple of months and you will have more fry than you know what to do with! So sit back, grab a cichlid book, and enjoy watching their behaviour develop. That's the whole point of keeping cichlids! In theory at least, target fish will help the pair bond, if they are not doing so already. Cheers, Neale.>

Guianacara geayi, sexing   -08/27/08 Hello <Ave,> I have 2 Bandit Cichlids (Guianacara geayi) and they are around 1 inch big. <Still babies.> How long does it take for them to grow to a size they can be sexed? <I'd expect these to become sexually mature at 4-6 months, the males before the females. They'd need to be about half-adult size, in other words at least 3-4 inches in length. Maximum size for this species is about 15 cm/6" for males, slightly less for females. Sexing is otherwise difficult. Quite a challenging species, be careful not to keep them too warm! 22-25 degrees C is ample, anything above that likely to stress them.> Thanks <Many aquarium books list this species as Acaricthys geayi or Aequidens geayi; use these names when doing your research. It is of course a harem spawner, so you will need multiple females if you want to avoid problems with male aggression. Cheers, Neale.>

T-bar cichlid problem Spawning T-Bar Cichlids   8/13/08 Hello, I have bred T-bar's < Archocentrus sajica> many times but when I take the fry away the male and female die. The last time they bred and I did this the female was fine but the male wont eat. He still got his breeding colours, has his fins down and it has been like this for 2 months. What could I do to prevent this from happening again and how can I make my male healthy again? Thank you for your time. < Spawning takes a lot of energy. I suspect that the pair were not properly conditioned prior to spawning. After spawning they are weak an vulnerable to diseases. Separate the pair and heat them up to 82 F. Feed them lots of live or frozen food to build up their fat reserves. Keep the water clean with lots of water changes and clean the filter often. When they are very active and looking good you can reintroduce them together. If the female is not ready top spawn then the male may kill her so be ready to spit them up if things aren't going well. If they spawn then continue to feed them well with quality food. When the fry become free swimming then I would separate them from the parents. Clamped fins could be a sign of a bacterial infection. I would recommend treating him in a hospital tank with Nitrofuranace.-Chuck> 

Cross Breeding Jack Dempsey Breeds With Severum  7/3/08 Hi, I have a question about cross breeding. First off we started out with a small catfish and a Gourami, Then we added a full grown Severum and a Jack Dempsey that were bought from the same tank. Since the day we brought them home they have been paired up, anyway my Severum has laid her first batch of eggs (that I know of) and my Jack Dempsey is, I think , fertilizing them. So my question is will the eggs survive being cross bred? They seem to be protecting them very well, should I take out the eggs? If so how would I go about doing that? Thank you very much for your time. Kim < In the wild these two fish never see each other. The Severum is from South America and the Jack Dempsey is from Central America. There are many weird cichlid crosses out there but I have never heard of this one before. The eggs should hatch in three days if the are viable. In three more days the fry should be free swimming. The eggs can be removed at any time. Fill an aquarium with the same water from the main tank that the pair have spawned in. Place the eggs with object the eggs were laid on in the tank and maintain the same water temp and provide strong aeration too. Dead eggs will turn whits and begin to develop a fungus.-Chuck>

Re: Cross Breeding Jack Dempsey Breeds With Severum II 07/07/08 Thanks for getting back to me, I can use any tips I can get. Forgive me if this is a stupid question but what do you mean by "turn whits"? Do you mean turn white? < Sorry. Typo on my part. My wireless keyboard has batteries that needed changing. Dead cichlid eggs that are unfertilized start to turn white after 24 hours or so.> Some of them are white but I was told that was the fertilized ones. Is that true? < Fertilized eggs are usually a brownish color. This is probably an evolutionary adaptation so predators will not see the eggs and eat them. Sorry for the typos.-Chuck>  Thanks again Kim

Breeding Green Terrors Hey Chuck, I got a pair of Green Terrors which I'm pretty sure were compatible and ready to breed. So I got a large bucket to separate them both from the other fishes in my tank, supplied a sponge filter, air bubbles, heater and everything necessary for them to survive and setup an environment that they can adapt to while laying eggs. Couple of days went by and I thought I notice some eggs, about 100eggs, very small and brown in color. It was laid in a barrel I put in there for them so it was a bit hard to see but was still noticeable. Three days later it was still there and some turned white which I thought was normal still because unfertile eggs will turn white. Day after I went to check again and they were nowhere to be seen. I've looked everywhere and cant seem to find them at all. I don't see anything swimming around nor any eggs, but the 2 still remain in the barrel. Could there be a chance that they could of eaten them all? How long does it take to hatch? Is it the usual 3 days? What should I do? <The eggs should of hatched after three days at 80 F. The fry could have been moved to a safe place by their parents. After an additional three days the fry become free swimming and start to swim around looking for food. If they are still around then you will know it then.-Chuck>

Red Devil Fry Eat The Scales off the Female Parent... 12/20/07 Hello Guys... <Howdy> My Red Devils recently had a successful batch of fry. The fry are now about 1 month old, and are growing at a good pace. I just recently separated the 2 parents, by putting the crate divider back in (he was getting overly aggressive). <Good technique> The fry swim freely to either side. She had so many, I took alot <No such word> of the fry out and moved them to a separate tank (they are doing great). There are still quite a few fry in the tank wit the parents.. <Good> My question is: Is it normal for the fry to eat the scales off of the female down to the "white meat" it appears to be getting infected. <No... not normal, or healthy> I know the parents produce a mucus for the fry to eat.. "should they still be eating the mucus at the one month mark". Do I need to remove all the fry? <I would, yes> I feed the fry good also.. But they still are constantly peeking at the female heavily. I don't want the Female to become sick. I would appreciate any advice thanks KD <Move the young... start looking for customers... stores that will buy, give you good credit for them. Bob Fenner>

Sajica fry  11/12/07 hello, my sajica's bred 3 months ago and the fry are only 1 cm long. is this normal because they seem to be taking longer than any other cichlid fry to grow? thanks <Growth rate of baby fish depends on many factors. Check them all: Nitrates inhibit growth, so water changes need to be frequent, 50% weekly, minimum. Overcrowding causes stunting in many fish (again, water changes help here). Diet needs to be varied, ideally a mix of animal and plant foods. For baby cichlids, algae taken from a clean pond works extremely well. Meals must be frequent but small: their energy demands are high, but their ability to process food in one go is small. Four to six meals per day, but each one small, seems to work best for the first couple of months. Segregating fry according to size is critical after a couple of months; male cichlids grow faster than female cichlids and will dominate the food supply. A simple tank divider works well here, letting you keep small fish one side and larger ones on the other. Temperature and water chemistry are additional factors. In the case of Sajica, a nice moderate temperature around 25 C couple with moderately hard, neutral to slightly basic chemistry is what you're after. Lovely fish you have there, by the way. Cheers, Neale.> thank you for your help <You're welcome! Neale>

Cichlid Breeding For Rookies - 03/25/07 Hello Crew, I am thinking about trying to breed cichlids but I am having a hard time finding one to breed. I have a spare 37 gallon tank that I would like to use for housing them. I set it up with a lot of rock, and a few live plants here and there, nothing special, if the fish eat them it's fine. I was going to get a pair of Cryptoheros sajica but I cannot find them anywhere, except Jeff Rapps but shipping is a killer! Is there any small, pretty, easy to keep/breed, substrate/cave spawning (preferably not a mouthbrooder) cichlids you can give me the name to, so I have something to build off of. I am really bummed because I cannot find the sajica, they seem like the perfect fish. A few names is fine, nothing elaborate. Thanks a lot! < Lots to work with here until you find your sajica. You can start with convicts, firemouths, rainbow cichlids, salvini, or jewelfish to get you started. Get six small fish and let them grow up together. Males will be larger with longer fins. Keep water clean around 82 F. Keep fish well fed and you should have cichlids breeding in no time at all.-Chuck>

Re: Breeding Cichlids For Rookies  03/25/07 Thank you for your response, but I cannot keep 6 of the same fish in a 37 gallon can I? I hear Salvinis get around 7 inches. Thanks < You get six of whatever species you want to breed. When you get six fish you have almost 100% chance of getting a pair. As the fish quickly grow they will soon start to pair up. The male and female will start to flair and begin to lip lock with each other. Soon they will clear an area and drive all the other fish away. At this time you should remove all the other fish and trade them in at the local fish store. In about a week you will have a pair with 1000 eggs covering a rock. The eggs will hatch in three days and then the fry will become free swimming in another three. Now they need to be fed baby brine shrimp. The babies now need to be removed in about a week or they will be eaten by the parents. Adult males will get up to seven inches but breeding females will only grow to about half that size. Both can easily be housed in a 37 gallon tank.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid Egg Color - 03/25/07 Hi again guys and thank you for the info before my convicts now have little white eggs on a seashell in my tank. I was wondering if the eggs are supposed to be this color <Dead eggs turn white, live eggs are a translucent brown color.> and I was wondering if after the fry is born will my male convict go back to swimming with my Oscar fish? they did before. < After spawning the male convict should be grading the fry. Once the fry are gone the pair bond could be gone too and the male convict might not pair up again.-Chuck>

Keeping Cichlid Eggs Viable  03/26/07 Thank You yet again but I have one more question. What can I do to keep the eggs brown? And I swear this is the last email for a while. <When cichlid eggs are first laid they tend to be a translucent clear brown color. If the eggs are not fertilized in 24 hours they will turn white and begin to be taken over by a white water mold. This use to be commonly referred to as a fungus but recent work at Sacramento State have shown this to be actually a water mold. The adults should be able to stay with the eggs and remove and dead or diseased ones. Clean warm water goes a long way to keep eggs healthy. The addition of some methylene blue helps retard the water mold. If you continuously get no eggs to hatch then you could have a male that is not fertilizing the eggs.-Chuck>

Removing Cichlid Eggs  - 02/22/07 Love the site BTW! I have a male convict and a female Texas cichlid that are constantly breeding. I was just wondering if it's inhumane or unethical to remove the eggs before they hatch?? I've done this for the last few batches, as I don't want to contaminate the hobby with half breed fish, but they always seem very upset and distraught. I kept their first spawn they're about 4 months old and are all different sizes and colors. I know I won't be able to give them to a LFS and i certainly don't have the space available to accommodate all the offspring so removing the eggs is my only option. BTW I do plan on separating the parents when i get a male Texas, Tanks for your help guys! Michael < By not promoting the cross you are helping the hobby. They get over having their eggs removed in a few days. Try to match them up so you can keep the fry.-Chuck>

Red devil breeding   2/6/07 I have a male and female red devil.  Their eggs hatched about 1 1/2 weeks ago but she laid more about 3 days ago and now I can't find any of their babies from the first batch, I think they killed them.   <Happens> Why would they have so many babies, and why would they kill them? <Mmm, survival value... many young lost in the wild... and an abundance of young (as with our species) in propitious circumstances... And "stress", adaptive behavior from being in small confines in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Bumps On FW Keyholes... Fish    1/21/07 Hello, and thanks for volunteering your time to help those of us with less experience.  I've searched the site and the web for hours and have been unable to determine what's going on with my keyhole cichlids.  Please bear with me, I would rather give you too much information than not enough.   I have a 20 gal tank, with two keyhole cichlids, one bronze Cory, three marble hatchets, and two neon tetras.  I feed them flakes, Ocean Bay frozen bloodworms, emerald entree and "cichlid delight", algae wafers, and put a few ghost shrimp in there for the keyholes to chase and eat every now and then.  My tank is well established, with ammonia/nitrites zero, and nitrates hovering around 10.  I do a 20% water change every five to seven days with a gravel vac.  I thought I was keeping my tank water very clean.  :(  About a week ago, I noticed my Cory catfish had a small ball of what looked like fungus on the tip of his left fin. At the same time, I noticed my keyhole cichlids had some kind of tiny growths (?) on their tail fins only, about the size of a grain of sand.  One keyhole had around three to five, and the other had more, around ten to fifteen.  They also were acting skittish, were not coming to the top of the tank to eat, and spending a lot of time on the bottom of the tank hiding in the plants.  My first thought was ich (with the Cory's fungus being secondary), even though the grains on the cichlids look nothing like salt.  They look more like uniform grains of tan sand, or small round sesame seeds.  That size and color.  Not bright white crystals like the fish with ich I've seen in the local fish store (yuk) or in pictures on the web.  Over the next few days (had a short trip out of town) I did two good sized water changes, the second being a 50% water change and thorough gravel vac.  I did notice my gravel vac stirred up a lot of detritus around and behind my plants, which doesn't get vacced as well, and which is a popular hangout for the cichlids and the Cory.  With the second water change I added a teaspoon of kosher salt per gallon slowly, and the following day added another ten teaspoons, to a total of a teaspoon and a half per gallon (I was leery of adding more salt because of the Cory, and I did not raise the temp in the tank because in the colder weather, my heater works full time to keep a steady 78*.).  The keyholes immediately seemed to perk up, became more active and regained their appetite.  But now, five days later, the tiny bumps are unchanged, as is the cottony ball on the tip of the Cory's fins.  There are just as many bumps, no more, no less, and they are in the same places.  They aren't white like salt - they appear to be the same color as the fin, but opaque, and attached to the surface of the fin.  My larger keyhole has also developed a small, slightly raised, white fuzzy patch on his tail fin that appears to be fungus.  When I realized the fungus had spread to the keyhole I added two Jungle Fungus Clear Tank Buddies tablets.  I don't know if I should have done that, but I felt like I needed to treat the fungus before it spread any further.  I'm at a loss as to treating the fin bumps, since I have no idea what they could be.  I would greatly appreciate it if one of you could help me and my fish out with your advice!  Thanks so much for your patience. The hatchets and Neons seem completely normal. This is probably completely unrelated but I did recently add some fertilizers to give my java fern and moss a boost - a tablet for the fern, and dosed the water with Flourish.   Jessica < Sounds like you may have fish lice. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with either Fluke-Tabs or Clout and follow the directions on the package. The fungus may be a secondary infection from the lice attacking the fish. Place infected fish in a quarantine tank and treat with Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>

Angel and Discus Cross   12/24/06 Can angelfish and discus crossbreed? If so, are there any special conditions needed for crossbreeding them? < The strangest cross I have seen is with an angelfish and a convict cichlid. Anything is possible with cichlids but no cross of this type has ever been documented.-Chuck> Oscar Crossed With A Jack Dempsey   12/18/06 Hi, This is probably gonna sound nuts, but here goes. I have roughly a 9 inch Oscar in a 55 gallon tank, and 3 weeks ago introduced a 6 inch Jack Dempsey. They hit it off the very first night and seem to be fast friends. However, now they are starting to act as tho they want to mate. The Oscar has dug a huge pit in one side of the tank,<and yes. I know they love to dig and this is normal>, but the Jack is right there with him, rubbing against the Oscar.. quivering.. etc. The Oscar seems to try to keep the Jacks interest. I don't know if I should stop this.. some have told me that they WILL breed.. but may have infertile eggs.. or may actually produce live eggs. What is your opinion on this? Thanks for a great site! Styler < When fish are properly conditioned they want to reproduce. When a suitable partner is not available they tend to lower their standards and reproduce with whatever will reproduce with them. Cichlids are very easy to cross. I have never heard of this particular cross but I suppose it is possible. Oscars originally come from South America while Jack Dempsey's come from Mexico. We will just have to wait and see if the eggs are fertile.-Chuck>

Breeding Keyhole Cichlids  - 12/06/06 Hello, I'm a novice and have learned a lot from your answers - thanks for this valuable resource!  I have never had egg layers breed in my tank(s) and currently have a pair of beautiful keyholes who have been flirting for a while and were, I'm pretty sure, spawning two nights ago.  They dug a "cave" between a tank ornament and a large ball of java moss and spent the whole night circling back and forth through their nest, shaking at each other, their coloration became vivid and pronounced, and the female's ovipositor was extruding.  The next morning I expected to see eggs somewhere in the "nest" they had made, but since I didn't see anything that looked like an egg I assumed they had either not succeeded, or got nervous and ate the eggs (since I'm afraid I had a hard time leaving them alone, I was so excited).  However, now one of the keyholes has taken up residence in the "cave", while the other lurks just outside, checking in on occasion.  Is it possible there are still some eggs I'm not aware of?  Would the keyholes still be paying so much attention to the site if there were no eggs?  I have been looking all over the net for some detailed spawning info specific to keyholes, as I don't have a clue what to expect (what the eggs look like, how many, how long before hatching, etc).  I really love these sweet and graceful fish and would enjoy seeing them raise their young.  Jessica   <How can I refuse to answer a question from someone with the same last name as me? The keyholes are peaceful medium sized cichlids from South America. They are substrate spawners and usually lay their eggs on horizontal flat surfaces. From the way they are acting I think they spawned on the roof of the cave. The eggs will hatch in three days and the fry will absorb the egg sack in another three days. When the egg sack is absorbed the fry will need to be fed baby brine shrimp, micro worms and finely crushed flake food. They fish are very shy and are well known to eat their eggs.-Chuck>    

Neotrop. cichlid crosses, sales of young    11/27/06 I have a Parrot fish and a Jack Dempsey that have successfully bred. The fry are now fish (2 in" long). Have you ever heard of the pair breeding. <Mmm... don't think so> I can't find anything on the internet. What could they be sold for? <Mmm... whatever the market will bear... Best to raise some up to an inch or more... take about local shops and offer in bags of ten, twelve... For credit if you can use this (will likely get appreciably more)> they are the only two fish in the tank and me and my wife watched them spawn. They are ready to spawn again, so what do we do? <Will likely spawn again... once the young are separated... every two-three weeks or so... Do keep an eye on the adults, as "things can go sideways" in their relations in a short while. Bob Fenner>

Jack Dempsey And Green Terror Mating - 10/18/06 Hi there, I have a 75 gallon tank with 1 green terror and 3 Jack Dempseys. My green terror and a Jack Dempsey that were locking lips. The green Terror just laid lots of eggs, have you heard of these fish breeding?  Thanks TB < These two fish never come in contact with each other in nature. It is possible for them to mate but only time will tell if the eggs are any good.-Chuck>

Green Severum has laid eggs   9/21/06 Hello, <Hi there> In one of my tanks, (55 gal.) I have 2-4" Green Severums, 1-3" Bala Shark, 1-5" Silver Dollar "Ike"-my favorite fish, 1-3" Pictus Catfish, 1-4" Electric Blue Cichlid (Yes, I know he shouldn't be here but he gets along better with the fish in this tank than in my African Cichlid tank), <Ah, yes. Many tank-bred Aulonocaras are quite mild> 1-6" Common Pleco, 1-2" Moonlight Gourami, 1-1" Gold Gourami, 1-1" Opaline Gourami. (My Son wanted Gourami's, and I plan to transfer these fish to a different tank eventually.) With some mild aggression at times, the fish are getting along just fine. No Fish is over-harassing any other fish too much. The 2 Severums were purchased from different fish stores. They look alike except for coloration. 1 was sold as a "Turquoise" Severum and the other as a "Green" Severum. <Mmm, same species...> My wife insisted at first that they were different fish. I told her that they are the same species, and so are Gold Severums. Am I correct? <Yes> Anyway, our 7 year-old daughter spotted eggs laying on some of the rocks at the bottom. We immediately could see that they were fish eggs. The eggs are light brown in color. I removed the rocks with the eggs from the tank and placed them in a breeding net. From all the reading I can tell with some certainty that this wasn't the right thing to do. Will these eggs hatch? How will the fry do afterwards? Thanks for your help, Del <Mmm, might hatch... better left with the parents though... the fry, raised in either way will have to be fed once free-swimming... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/severumreprofaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Breeding Convict cichlids  9/15/06 Hey, I have two  convicts in a 29 gal tank with neon tetras, swordtails and a painted glassfish. Well.  I asking if you could help me with helping them to breed. All the male does is  chase the female around until she hides. Well if you can help me  thanks < Do a 50% water change and clean the filter. Make sure the water temp is up around 80 F. Feed them lots of live foods. Females  usually have yellow on the body so make sure you have a pair.-Chuck>
Re: Breeding Convicts II   9/16/06
Thanks Chuck. I  been doing all of the things that you have suggested, but all the male does is chase her and he seems to want to kill her. So can help me with more info pls. Thanks <The male has set up a territory within your aquarium. He will only allow a female that is ready to spawn into this territory. Usually when spawning these fish I recommend getting at least six. You have a very good chance of getting a pair but more important is that they are more compatible then if you were to force a pair together. lower the water temp to the mid 70's. This should take them out of the breeding mode and make the male less aggressive. If he is still after her then remove one of them from the tank. Feed them with live food and keep the water very clean for at least two weeks. Then reintroduce them and then raise the water temp slowly back up to 80 F. After two weeks the female should have developed some eggs and be more likely to spawn. Just because they have spawned does not make them a very compatible pair. The male may eat the spawn and be after the female to spawn again in just a couple of days so watch them closely.-Chuck>

Red Terror Cichlid repro., beh.   8/11/06 Hi,       I have a festae Cichlid, around 6-8 inches long, in a 120 gallon long tank. My question is; is there any way to tell if it is a male or female? <Mmm, maybe... like classic neotropical cichlids of all sorts, the unpaired fins on the males ar a bit longer, more pointed/attenuated at the tips... Hard to tell w/o a female/comparison though> It is living (relatively peacefully with 2 juvenile cichlids, a Green Terror, and a Salvini, and 2 baby cichlids, a Firemouth, and a Convict, and has not really been overall aggressive (any more an any other average American cichlid) to any of the other fish. The fish is colorful, but not overly so, and constantly "digs" pots, as though getting ready to spawn, but has no mate, nor any other unrelated cichlid in the tank of breeding age/size. In light of the relatively peaceful temperament, and the digging, do you think I have a male or a female, also, can this arrangement work long-term? What about if I add an Oscar? Thanks in advance, <Good question... Not able to say though... could be either from the behavior, looks described. It isn't impossible to "mate" with other cichlids... Bob Fenner>

Firemouth cichlids, sexing   8/4/06 We have two firemouth cichlids and are finding it impossible to sex them. <Mmm, not an easy cichlid to do so, particularly when small, of not-great genetic make-up, development> The smaller, darker one often does a vertical dance to attract the other which makes me think it might be male, while I've never seen the other one do anything but chase the smaller, and beaten up one, around. My brother tells me that one laid eggs at one point on the side of an aquarium decoration, but nothing hatched. <Might be two females...> Do only males do this little dance? Aside from unreliable things like color and fins, is there a better way to determine the sex of these cichlid? <Mmm, the unpaired finnage, color, size, behavior, anal vent appearance... is about it> Any help would be appreciated. We've exhausted our internet searches trying to find an answer. If we have two of the same, we'd like to get the opposite to try and breed these beautiful fish. Wendy <Have you read here:

Re: Laetacara Curviceps - split tail fin. Repro.   8/3/06 Hi Crew/Bob <Tim> Unfortunately, the male did not make it. However, I bought a replacement male, and before you know it, the newlyweds have taken over a piece of rock, gone really dark and now chasing everyone else away! <Wow! "Out with the old, in with the new!"... Unusual to have new matchings occur so quickly, easily> So, my question has now changed to a completely different topic! Since this is a community tank, I want to move the fry (if the spawning is successful) to their very own fry tank. At what point would it be safe for the fry to net out to the fry tank - at wriggler stage or free-swimming stage? Or do you recommend a different method to achieve this separation? Thanks Tim <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/neotropcichreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Breeding Severums   7/6/06 Hello, I have 4 Severums in 55 gallon tank 3 golds and 1 green. It would appear that the 2 larger Severums have spawned and now I have eggs. There are 3 Catfish in this tank 1 Cory, 1 spotted Raphael and 1 Striped Raphael, also in the tank is a Pleco. I figure I have to remove the cat fish and pleco, but can I use a tank divider to separate momma Severum and eggs from the rest?? If so should I leave the male with the female and eggs or separate him to? Thanks for any info. Guy Clemency < Leave the parents with the eggs. The pleco will be a problem but the parents should be able to keep the others away. The eggs will hatch in three days and the fry will become free swimming in three more. When they begin to swim I would recommend that you use some airline tubing and siphon out the babies and put them in a tank of their own. In another week the parents may eat the eggs themselves and get ready to spawn again. When the fry are free swimming they need to be fed baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food.-Chuck>

Convict fry   6/11/06 Hi, First just want to say your website is so informative but I need to know this one question PLEASE help. We have three black convicts 2 male 1 female. Two have paired off and spawned quite a few times. Over Easter 2006 we removed quite a few babies (approx 1.5 to 2 weeks old) and put into a smaller tank we did lose quite a few as I think the new tank wasn't conditioned enough but we have managed to keep approx 20 babies. My question is this "Out of the 20 approx 4 have their stripes already and the rest are still a whitish colour the majority of all the babies are about 1cm long. Is the fact that some are stripy and the rest not an indication of whether they are male or female? < There is a white form of convict that has been going around for at least 40 years. I suspect that your convicts are genetically linked to these and some of your fry are showing those white color characteristics. It has no bearing on which ones are male and which ones are female.-Chuck> We also have in the babies tank 2 different lots of baby bristle nosed cat fish. The first lot transferred into the same tank a couple of days after the baby convicts and the second batch were put in there on 7th June 2006. The same parents of catfish bred both those batches. Anyway would just love an answer about the convicts with/without stripes Thanks for reading my email Tracie Sunshine Coast Australia

Raising Flowerhorn Fry  6/3/06 Hello! My female Flowerhorn laid eggs and my male Flowerhorn got to fertilize it in time. Now the eggs are hatched it's been a week since the eggs have been laid. What are the factors that will aid the growth of my Flowerhorn fry? thanks < Clean water, good food and reasonable temperatures. Ammonia will definitely impede growth. So will nitrites and nitrates but not to the same extent.  With lots of fry it is easy to overcrowd a tank. You will need very good filtration and lots of water changes. You will need a food that is high in protein. The water temp should be at least 80 F for good fast growth. Too much  higher than that really starts to impede the waters ability to hold oxygen.-Chuck> 

Breeding Convict Cichlids   6/3/06 WHASSUP WWM! I have to thank you guys and your site! your site is soooo useful! Thanks for helping people out with their pets! Back to my question, I have a twenty gallon that has two convict cichlids and two dojo loaches. I'm trying to breed my two convicts. It says on the topic about convicts that the male has longer fins and a little hump on the forehead. While the female has orange on its belly and gets more color at breed season. Well I tried many methods for these small creatures to breed, I tried raisin the temp to 82 degrees, and keeping the tank crystal clean, and it said on one site to feed the convicts  four times a day. Not much but only a few pellets or sticks or whatever food that the owner feeds the fish. And it also said to fit in some blood worms or shrimp. I tried it and nothing happened, the convicts just became more fatter when they eat. I got them one week ago. Do you think it's just because they're just getting used to their new surroundings? Or do I just wait a few days longer? I hope you can really help me one this problem! THANK YOU! Xavier <Give you cichlids at least a couple of weeks to spawn. If they are a pair then you should see something by then. Ideally you should have gotten six fish. This almost always guarantees you a compatible pair.-Chuck>

Breeding Red Devil Cichlids   6/3/06 Hi Bob, I have a large female red devil who lays eggs often.  None of the eggs have hatched yet.  She had paired up with a Pacu at first.  We replaced the Pacu with a male red devil.  She stopped laying and tried to kill the male.  We moved him out and it took about three months and she has started laying again.  This time she has paired up with a Jack Dempsey.  They killed a smaller Jack that was in the tank with them.  We moved the male devil back in and are wondering how to tell if the eggs are going to be viable or not.  They started out almost clear and some have turned opaque white???? How can we increase the chance of actually having babies? Aurelia <Ideally you would want to pick six small red devils and let them grow up together. This almost always will give you a compatible pair. It is much more difficult to pair up adult fish. The problem here is the female already has a territory established and the male is an intruder. he has not been recognized yet as a potential mate. Clear eggs are good and white eggs are dead or unfertilized. Try placing both fish in the same tank with a divider in between.  As long as they can still see each other they can spawn and fertilize a good portion of the eggs. You will probably have to make your own divider out of plastic egg crate type of lighting panels.-Chuck>

Chemicals, Breeding Green Terrors, Fungus on RES's Neck  - 05/29/06 Hi crew. I am happy to be back after a long break to my fish hobby. Now I have many questions for you.   1)There is a lake near my house which was polluted by chemicals nearly  8-10yrs back. Now I find a lot of daphnia and mosquito fish in the  lake. Can I feed this to my fish? < Chemicals is a very broad term. Depending on the contamination levels and the chemicals the threat could be gone by now. Other chemicals can last for years in very low concentrations. These invertebrates could each contain a very minute level of the chemicals. As you fish eats these invertebrates the concentration of the chemicals may build up in the  fish's body and cause health problems for your fish. In general I do not use any water for my fish that I would not drink myself. This way I know the water is safe.> I also fear that there are hook  worms (Argulus) present along with the daphnia. Can I feed this to my  fishes? < Fish generally will not eat Argulus.> Is there any way I can remove the Argulus? Medications used to kill the Argulus will kill the daphnia too.> 2) My green terrors breed very often but the problem is that the male is  not helpful in guarding the spawn and the female keeps eating the  fry. How can I hatch the eggs away from the parents? <Give the parents something to lay the eggs on that can be removed from the tank. If they lay the eggs on the side of the glass then there is not too much you can do. Get a 5 gallon tank and set it up with a heater and an airstone. When the fish lay the eggs you can remove 5 gallons from the main tank and put  it in the 5 gallon tank. Place the rock with the eggs in the 5 gallon tank and set the heater for 80 F. Place the airstone next to the eggs to keep a current going. Add some methylene blue to the water to prevent fungus. After three days the eggs should hatch and the fry will fall to the bottom of the tank. Remove the rock. Three days later the fry should be free swimming and will need to be fed baby brine shrimp, microworms and finely crushed flake food.> 3)My RES turtle appears to be growing fungus around its neck and on its shell. How can I treat this? <Fungus generally feeds on dead tissue. I assume that the turtle is shedding his skin and the fungus is simply attached to the skin that is sloughing off. Do a big water change, try to rinse off the dead skin and add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block by Zoo Med to inhibit the fungus growth.> I will be very thankful if you help me out. thanking you in advance. < Next time you need to rewrite your questions to include proper punctuation or you questions will not be answered. These questions/replies are posted to help other aquarists/hobbyists and we need to be very clear so not to mislead others trying to save their animals.-Chuck>

Convicts Breeding, Aggression, Behaviour - 05/15/2006 Hi, I'm a newbie and I found your site and love it! I've learned a lot about the fish that my husband and I have but I haven't been able to find the answer or advice I need for this particular situation. <Then perhaps I can help.> We bought a pair of black (zebra) convicts and a Jack Dempsey. We had all 3 fish in a 55 gallon tank - they are all small, the female convict is about 3 inches and the male convict is about 4 and a half inches. Jack Dempsey is bigger at about 5 and a half inches.  The convicts had babies and they kept them away from the Jack. We noticed that the convict parents were getting very tired constantly protecting their babies from Jack so we put Jack in a 30 gallon tank. Right after we moved the Jack to the other tank, the male convict started being really mean to the female and wouldn't let her near the babies. It was like he was chasing her and fighting her. We took her out and put her in with the Jack for about a week. We then tried to put her back into the tank with the male and the babies and he tore after her. <This behaviour is rally not uncommon.> We decided to take the male convict out and put him in with the Jack and they seem to be ok with each other. There's a lot of chasing but it seems to be like they are playing.   <Trying to establish territories in too small a space; it could get ugly.> So now we have the female convict and the babies in the 55 gallon tank and the Jack and the male convict in the 30 gallon. The babies are about 4 weeks old now and we will be giving most of them away in about 3 weeks.  My questions: if we decide to keep some of the babies, how many would be ok to keep in the 55 gallon tank? <They WILL grow up, and they WILL breed.  I would not try for more than three adult pairs, and that only if the tank is heavy with plants or decor for establishing territories.> Would it be ok to keep the mother in with the babies and have that tank be just a convict tank? Or would it be ok to introduce some dither fish in too?   <I would wait until most of the young are of a saleable size, pick the "best" to keep, sell, trade, or give the rest, add some dither fish - a friend of mine swears by rainbow fish for dithers for many of his cichlids - and reintroduce the male once the female's fully recovered.  Chances are, the next spawn, they'll be more amenable to chasing dither fish than each other.> I'm thinking that the Jack and the male convict would be ok in the 30 gallon tank. <The jack Dempsey may outgrow it, and the two in the tank together may spell trouble before long.> And that the babies that we decide to keep (and the mother) would need the 55 gallon tank.  Thank you so much for your answers/advice and for all the work you all do in helping people like me - clueless but loving the fish!  -Jackie <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Breeding Convicts - 05/16/2006 Hey love your page, I look at it a lot. The reason I am writing you all is I just got a pair of convict cichlids. When I 1st added them to the tank they stuck close to each other, now its been 1 week and the larger of the 2 has gotten darker. The larger one doesn't do anything but chase the smaller one around. The smaller one tries to hide but The larger one looks for him/her. I know that the smaller one is a female, Because she has the pinkish red coloring on the stomach. But is it normal behavior for the larger one to get darker? Do you think the larger one is trying to breed and the smaller one is not ready yet? Also is it normal for him to search for the smaller one like that? I've found that she hides close to the surface and when he comes near she tries to back away so she isn't seen. thanks, David < This is pretty normal for young convicts. The male is chasing the female and trying to get her to breed. She is not ready and needs a hiding spot where she can rest and build up some body fat. Try some live or frozen food to get things going. Floating plants, either plastic or real will give some cover. Zoo Med now has a floating aquarium log out that will allow picked on fish a place to hide and recover. It works great.-Chuck>

Convicts Breeding? - 05/06/2006 Hi!  I have 2 female convicts and I am seeing a lot of aggression towards each other.  The larger Convict is hovering near a rock formation and guarding it ferociously.  Could she be laying eggs?  What will happen without a male to fertilize them?  Thanks!  Sharon < It has been documented that a female convict will lay eggs even if there is no male available to fertilize them. Females usually have yellow-orange coloration on the belly while males tend to be larger with longer fins. Unfertilized eggs usually die after 24 hours, turn white and are soon fungused.-Chuck>

Black belt and Jack Dempsey  - 4/24/2006 <<Tom>> Can a black belt about 9 inches long and a Jack Dempsey about 7 inches long breed together? They have been acting very lovey towards each other and I was wondering. <<This can/does happen, particularly with Cichlids from the same general region. Interbreeding would be unlikely if there were a matched pair of one or the other in the tank, however.>> What should I do if eggs are produced? <<Provided the eggs are viable and hatch, the parents will likely protect the fry in the same fashion as matched-pair Cichlid parents will. If/when the fry become free-swimming, they should be moved as the parents are likely to eat the fry after a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the fry can be fed Baby Brine Shrimp and crushed/powdered flake foods. (They'll also pick up on small morsels left behind by "Mom" and "Dad".)>> Thank you sooo much in advance, Emily <<You're welcome, Emily. Tom>>
Re: Black belt and Jack Dempsey
   4/25/06 <<Tom>> Thank you very much for the information. I have a couple of follow up questions if you do not mind. Is there any way to tell the difference between male and females? I'm trying to figure out which is which. <<Is one sitting in front of the TV with a beer? Seriously, the dorsal and anal fins are long and pointed on male Jack Dempseys where these are shorter and rounded on the females. There are, also, distinct differences in coloration and markings but we don't have two of the same to compare these against. Regarding your Black Belt Cichlid, the easiest way would be to look for a pointed genital papilla indicating a male.>>    Also, this may be a stupid question, but what kind of fish would they produce? Would there be definite black belts and definite jack Dempsey's, or would they create a new kind of fish? <<Nothing "stupid" about this question, Emily. The fry would be hybrids meaning they would have some characteristics of both fish. The differences may be muted or distinct based on the dominance/recessiveness of the gene pools involved. Likely you would notice "combinations" of coloring and markings on the offspring but these may not display themselves for upwards of a year. All of this presupposes, of course, that your fish won't simply be "going through the motions" of trying to interbreed.>> Thank you again - I love your website! Emily <<Any time, Emily, and thank you as well. Tom>>

Breeding Green Terrors  - 03/13/2006 I have a young pair of green terror cichlids. About a week ago they spawned together and the eggs hatched. At this point they dug a hole through the gravel to the under-gravel filter and moved the "wigglers" onto the surface of the under-gravel filter. Obviously, the wigglers were sucked through the filter where the immediately ceased wiggling. I have since removed the under-gravel filter to prevent this in future spawns. I was just wondering how soon I can expect the fish to spawn again. Also, is this problem common with and under-gravel filter? < They will spawn again in a couple of weeks if the conditions are right, maybe sooner. Cichlid aquarists don't use undergravel filters for those exact reasons.-Chuck> Thanks, Dan

Breeding Blue Acaras Re: Incompatible TANK MATES ?  - 3/1/2006 > Thank you for the quick reply but it just became obvious why the fish were > so aggressive towards each other. I came home today and found my blue acaras > behaving very strangely. Then I noticed a bunch of little dots over one of > the rocks in the tank, and then it hit they were breeding and that is why > they were so aggressive towards the other fish. I immediately started > calling my friends to see if they would take the parrot cichlid and I am > currently looking for a home the peacock. And I am faced with another > question. How should I take care of the fry ? <After three days the eggs will hatch. In three more the fry will have absorbed the egg sac and need to be fed baby brine shrimp. After two week the fry need to be moved away from the parents or they may eat them while getting ready to spawn again.> I was able to find some articles but none really answering my questions. I know I should purchase a larger tank for them. I should be taking care of that on Friday, Do you think a 55-75 gallon tank would be adequate for the 2 adult acaras and their fry ? < All depends what you want to do with the fry and how long you intend to keep them. You will probably have a couple hundred fry at least. In three weeks they will spawn again and you will have a few hundred more. The newer spawn will get eaten by the older spawn so you need to keep them separate. I recommend that you check with you friend and local shop an see how marketable your blue acars are. If they only want a dozen or so then siphon out what you need to a 20 gallon and let the parents eat the rest. You could pull the entire spawn and raise them up in a 55 gallon but for how long?-Chuck> > other suggestions for care are welcome. Thank you.

Breeding Nicaraguan Cichlids  - 02/27/06 Hi Everyone, I have 3 pairs of Nicaragua Cichlids (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis) that I am trying to breed. Each pair is in its own separate tank. One of the pair's male built a nest for his female, but she does not seem interested in mating at all. The second pair has not shown any kind of mating signs. The third pair has mated once before, but now the male keeps beating up the female and she doesn't show signs of wanting to mate (although this could be due to the presence of their juvenile offspring still in the tank). I have owned all of these cichlids for over a year now, although they have just been paired up and split up into separate tanks about a month and a half ago.  My question is: what can I do to help stimulate mating in this species of cichlid. Would any kind of hormone introduction from different breeding cichlid species work? Thank you so much for helping!!!  Sincerely, Kristen < These are great fish that I have bred many times. First make sure that you have males and females. Males have spots in the unpaired fins while the females have no spots. Put them all together in the same tank over lots of fine sand. Raise the water temp to 82 F. Do big 50% water changes weekly. Feed lots of good food like worms and high quality pellets. In the wild the male actually uses his head like a drill and drills holes in the banks of the soft mud. The boring slopes downward. The female lays non-adhesive eggs that are fertilized by the male and slowly fall down to the end of the shaft where they are guarded by the parents. In the aquarium they will dig a pit in the sand under a ledge. Use a flower pot cut in half length wise and bury half of it in the sand. When you put them all together the males and females will be allowed to naturally pair off. A pair will take over the flower pot and chase all the other fish away. The pair will spawn and lay their eggs in the bottom of the pit under the flower pot. They will then cover the eggs up with sand. Don't worry, they will be OK. In about a week the fry will be free swimming and can be fed baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food. Remove them in a couple of weeks because the parents will be ready to spawn again very soon. In no time you will have 1,000's of fry to get rid of.-Chuck> Breeding Gold Severums   2/10/06 I have two golden severum fish which for a while have been shifting sand and stones, cleaning a rock, and going through the motions of laying eggs but haven't as yet. They are kept in a 4 foot tank with 7 dwarf rainbow cichlids, a red tailed shark and one other algae eater. Any suggestions on what to do to get them breeding? < Feed them washed earthworms, brine shrimp, meal worms and king worms. Raise the water temp to 82 F and do a 50% water change once a week. If they are a pair then I would think that this would get them going in less than two weeks.-Chuck>

Crossing Cichlids   1/10/06 I have a female parrot cichlid that I am trying to breed with a male black convict. (I know this is unnatural and frowned upon among the crew, but I liken it to dog breeding, and I am just curious) I was wondering what a cross such as this would produce, if anything at all. < Probably mutts.> I was also wondering if you could give me any advice on getting my fish in the mood to breed. I have a 55 gallon with a clown knife (he's moving soon), 2 parrots, a male convict, 2, 5" tricolored sharks, and a pleco. My female use to drop eggs every month or so but has ceased in the past few months. The knife has always been present and the only new additions have been the sharks, who I think should pose no threat, and the convict. Too many fish? Can the amount of light affect breeding? About the same time she stopped laying eggs I installed a grow light, which made the tank dimmer, in the past weeks I have changed this out. Any other suggestions would be great. Keep up the great site, Tom < Warm clean water with lots of good food often works. Try a couple 50% water changes over a few days. If they are ready to go then these other factors shouldn't affect their breeding.-Chuck> Re: How long does it take eggs to hatch? Hi, <Hello> I just found your site and I'm hoping you can help me.  I have a Female Pink Convict and Male Black Convict and last night she laid eggs and he did his thing to them.  Anyway they are in a 55 gallon tank with other Cichlids, what can I do to insure the hatching of the babies and how long will it be before they hatch?  Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Shannon <The best thing you can do is leave them alone as much as possible. The eggs will generally hatch in 48-72 hours. Take a look at http://www.geocities.com/dick_pahimulin/articles/a01.htm there's some good info there. You're welcome! Ronni>

Jack Dempsey & Managuense breeding (part 2) We had scarcely fired off our email about whether a Jack Dempsey and a Managuense could breed when we had a flat rock full of eggs (attached).   How do we tell if these were properly fertilized by the Jack Dempsey?   <Yes. If they hatch out and develop into fry> They seem to be protecting their egg collection and the female fans it constantly.   <Not unusual for Neotropical cichlids to cross like this. These are rarely viable though. Bob Fenner> Any way to tell if they're going to hatch?  A website said they should hatch in 2 or 3 days but we're kind of curious. Nathan French

Jack and Oscar, or maybe Jack and Jill? Hi, This is probably gonna sound nuts. but here goes. I have roughly a 9 inch Oscar in a 55 gallon tank. and 3 weeks ago introduced a 6 inch Jack Dempsey. <Yup, nuts, you will need a larger tank in the near future.> They hit it off the very first night. and seem to be fast friends. <Interesting.> However. now they are starting to act as though they want to mate. The Oscar has dug a huge pit in one side of the tank. and yes. I know they love to dig and this is normal. but.. the Jack is right there with him. rubbing against the Oscar. quivering..etc. The Oscar seems to try to keep the Jacks interest. I don't know if I should stop this. some have told me that they WILL breed. but may have infertile eggs. or may actually produce live eggs. What is your opinion on this? <It is not unusual for these cichlids (Neotropical) to try to cross like this, chances are they will not be fertile.  I would not worry about stopping them, but I would make sure you keep your water as clean as possible with these large messy fish.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks for a great site! Styler

Jack Dempsey breeding Dear Crew, I have a pair of breeding jack's. They bred once, but because of other fish they ate they're young. I removed the other fish. Nothing has changed as far as the water quality or temp. I would like to know how often they lay eggs? < Jack Dempsey's are actually named after a famous fighter from the 1920's. They come from Mexico and can get up to 10 inches plus in size. They are not to picky on water quality and are very easy to breed. Keep the pair warm (80degrees), and feed them well with some live food and they could be breeding every 2 to 3 weeks. If they are left to take care of the eggs and fry they may delay breeding again until the fry and or eggs are gone. Typically at 80 degrees the eggs will hatch in around three days. You will see a batch of small wrigglers in the bottom of a shallow pit dug by the parents. At the end of three days the fry will develop tails and absorb their egg sack and begin to swim around. At this stag they can be fed baby brine shrimp. If left with the parents they may soon be eaten. Young parents are often inexperienced and will eat their eggs soon after laying. Don't worry too much. I am sure they will be breeding again before you know it.-Chuck> Thanks. Deb

Too Many Cichlids Thanks for the response; the eggs were eaten.<bummer>  The funny thing about this though was that there was only one Texas cichlid (about 7"). <Not too weird, it happens.>  The other fish in the tank were an 8" red devil (or Midas, I'm not sure exactly-it's very orange with a big bump on it's head), a 6" red terror, a 6" jack Dempsey, a 6" black belt cichlid, a 7" Managuense, and about a 2" convict (I don't know how he's survived??). <Oh my!  That is way too many fish in a 55.  I have heard that the Red Devil is always the last fish in the tank, but I do not know if they ever brought a Managuense into the equation.  I strongly recommend finding homes for some of these fish, keeping your favorites, and getting a larger tank.  Check out fishbase.org for the full grown size of these monsters.  If they were all to grow you would have no room left for water.> Is it possible for any of these cichlids to be the mate of the Texas cichlid? <It is possible that one of these fish would have tried to fertilize the Texas Cichlids eggs.>  How do these type of cichlids "mate"?  Do they lay eggs and then fertilize?  The Texas seemed like he was dragging something on top of the eggs.  <Probably one of the others eggs, he was trying to fertilize.>  South American cichlids don't mouth breed, do they?  Any information will be greatly appreciated.  <Get a larger tank, and in the mean time, lots of water changes. -Gage>  Thanks so much, Jeff

Oscar + Dempsey My father recently bought me an Oscar which I already had 1 Dempsey, 1 pacu and 1 gourami in my tank for the past 6 months. As soon as I put the Oscar in, the Dempsey laid eggs. Is crossbreeding possible or will they live if I follow the directions that I have already read about separating the fry and adding the blue stuff? I am very new at this.... I love fish but never had to deal with this. please help. They were laid yesterday and today is Monday. How long do I have? < Your Jack Dempsey is from Mexico and the Oscar is from South America. They never see each other in the wild so natural crosses are not possible. In the aquarium all bets are off. If the eggs are viable then they will hatch in three days or so at 80 degrees. The fry will need to be fed baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food three days after hatching. If they are not any good then they will turn white and fungus or the female will eat them.-Chuck> thanks, Natalie Oscar and BP cross Hi guys - just a quickie - I've looked everywhere and can't find this info - so it's over to you. 55 gal tank - one 8 inch tiger Oscar and one 8inch peach coloured Blood Parrot. And one nest with lots of eggs (the BP is the female) Is this going to work - and has it been done before ? (All of the above was quite accidental, and I have no intention of passing any fry on). < Hybridizing cichlids is actually quite easy and happens all the time. Since you parrot cichlid is already a hybrid between three different cichlids it doesn't surprise me that she would spawn with an Oscar. I am sure it has been done before. I am not sure what you mean when you ask is this going to work? Do you mean are the fry going to be viable? So far no one has published any such spawn so It is hard to say?-Chuck> Thanks Colin Ahern

New World Cichlid Questions 7/18/05 Hello, and thank you for providing this forum. All of the fish I mention below are healthy, active, and eating a variety of foods, including live (mostly worms/insects), frozen, and dry. I would like to think that water quality and tank conditions are well maintained. I have a 125G tank, and it contains: (1) 4" Jaguar (1) 3" Green Terror (1) 3.5" Texas Bluespot (2)  3" Jack Dempseys (pair) (All these fish have been raised together since they were        approx. 1" in length)   (2)  1.5" Corys (1)  5" Pleco Recently, the GT laid her first eggs, They went unfertilized, and she correctly removed them herself. Within two weeks, she has begun showing behavior similar to that from before her first laying, and she and the TBS have started paying more attention to each other. (tail-slapping, rubbing, swimming together, etc)  This hadn't happened originally. Q: How often will the GT lay eggs? < Every two weeks when properly conditioned.> Q: What are the odds that these two will produce a hybrid, do I even WANT them to,  and what would I call the kids? < New world cichlids cross all the time when not kept as pairs. The fry are usually no big deal if they survive.> My next question(s) concern two Oscars. One is an 8" Tiger, and one is a 7" Red. They have been together in a 100G tank since they were 2" long, (the Tiger was first in the tank, the Red a week later) and have NEVER fought, or even stayed apart for more than a few minutes. I have yet to see behavior that would convince me of an attempted mating, except for a brief period where they fanned an area, moved a few small rocks, and generally "flirted with each other".. After a few days, the behavior ceased,  they have remained inseparable and totally peaceful with one another, but have never acted this way again. When I attempted to add a smaller Albino Tiger, however, they waited roughly a day before they started harassing and chasing him at every opportunity. Both got really aggressive towards the newcomer. The vents suggest (to an unsure me) that the Tiger is female, and the Red is male...but ONLY after a close inspection shows what appears to be a small white appendage located completely inside and rearward of the vent. Their fins are very similar, with the Tiger having the longer and slightly more pronounced extensions. What should I believe is most logical: * I have two males that "just get along". * I have two females "that just get along". * I have a male/female pair that is celibate. * Something in the set-up is not conducive     to breeding (Ph, e.g. ) *  None of the above *  If I can't figure it out I shouldn't raise fish. The two Oscars share the 100G tank only with a 6" pleco, the temperature is constant @ 79 degrees, the water is cleaned and changed regularly, the tank has structure (rocks, a false log, a few plants) as well as flat, open areas, one end of the tank is mildly turbulent, while the other has very little movement, etc etc bla-bla-bla. Surely, if it were two males, they would have faced-off at least once, since the size(s) are virtually the same....so my personal thought is that they are both female, the absence of a male dictates their peaceful behavior, and they have realized that there is no reason to lay eggs, since there is no male present. Otherwise, they would have produced a brood by now. Do fish rationalize this way, or would Mother Nature take over ? Thank you for any input. <Sexing Oscars by venting them is not as easy as you would think. Oscars need to be around two years old before they are ready to breed. Feed them a lot of high protein food like worms for a few days and change 50% of the water. Turn the water temp up to 82 F. If they are going to be a pair then this should do it. You could overfeed your Oscars to make their genitalia pop out. If they both are the same then it doesn't matter what sex they are. If conditions were favorable I would think that a female would be close to laying eggs by now. I am inclined to think you have a couple of males.-Chuck>

Cichlid Crosses  10/3/05 I want to get into breeding hybrids. I have a green Severum and I was   wondering what is the best fish to pair it with. < Try central or south American cichlids of a similar size, like red devils.-Chuck>

Convicts and Genetics - 10/30/2005 I have 3 breeding pairs of black convict cichlids, two of which have babies at the moment. My smallest pair have their babies right in the front of the tank (babies are 3-4 weeks old) and I've noticed that maybe 10 of the babies seem to be pink. The other couple has all black babies and most of the pair in fronts babies have the beginnings of black lines too. This is their first brood so I don't have any past experience to draw on. I'm wondering; is it possible to get naturally occurring pinks? <Mm, by "naturally occurring" if you mean an original natural mutation, not highly likely.> I was told in order to get pinks I'd need one parent to be pink and that the brood would hatch equal parts each color.  <Mm, actually, I believe this "pink" trait is recessive.... Basically, your pair that has some pink offspring are both heterozygous for this trait - they carry the gene for the color, but do not exhibit it. Thus, roughly 25% of their offspring will exhibit that trait. 25% of them will be homozygous for the black trait and not carry the pink trait. 50% of them will carry the trait but not show it. A pair consisting of one pink fish and one heterozygous black fish would have 50% heterozygous fry that carry the trait but do not exhibit it, and 50% pink fry. A pair consisting of one pink fish and one fish homozygous for the black gene would have all fry heterozygous for the trait - they'd all carry the pink gene, but none would show it.> I have found TONS of info on convict breeding, but nothing on natural albinos or how the gene begins. I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'd be happy to send pictures once they get a little bigger. -Anna <Sounds like you're having great success with them. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Cichlids Breeding With Nothing To Show For It  12/22/05 Hello! I hope very much that you may be able to advise me. I have a pair of Central American Cichlids - Fenestratum. I acquired the large, aggressive male fish after he was introduced to a friends established cichlid aquarium and was beaten up by the other fish when he bullied them and they ganged up on him. He spent a few days recovering in an "intensive care" cooler/cool box/esky and then continued his convalescence in the new and huge tank that I bought to accommodate him. I rather enthusiastically bought him a wife, slightly smaller than him at 6 inches ( he is about 8 or 9 inches) When I bought her she was full of eggs and very keen, and almost immediately they laid a small batch of eggs and successfully nurtured them for several weeks, displaying for my delight all the intricacies of cichlid courtship, breeding and parental care behaviour. Eventually the babies started to be threatened by the bored? father and I removed them to a small tank to grow. My problem is this. My adult fish continue to repeatedly lay batches of eggs, but none have been successful hatched since the first "beginners luck" batch. After they have lost/eaten a batch of eggs. He cools off towards her and can injure her or force her into hiding so I keep them separated with a transparent tank divider until they are ready again. It takes them 2-3 weeks before they are "friends" again and 2-3 days to court and lay. Usually about 90% of the eggs in a batch go white and fungus, and a very small proportion will hatch, but I think the fish feel it is wasteful to invest in only 10 or 20 wrigglers and eat them at this point. These fish are and have been the only fish in the tank. They are otherwise completely healthy, with healthy appetites. They seem to do everything right in terms of general and breeding behaviour according to my Central American cichlid books (Konings and Conkel) They have both grown visibly since I have had them. I keep the tank clean and tidy, but not over clean it. I have a good quality established external canister filter running. I feed them a varied diet of 3 different types of cichlid food plus meal worms, and try not to overfeed ( they are always hungry) I keep them at the recommended temperature. In the 4 months that I have had them I have treated them once with an ich remedy and water changed twice since, and given a handful of doses of melafix tea tree remedy for injuries, but otherwise no meds in there. My question is this. Has one of them become infertile, and if so which one and why, and is there anything I can do to improve this? I was utterly delighted when they seemed such perfect fish parents so soon after I got them, and I have been very disappointed that everything has gone downhill since. The original babies are now about 2 inches, and there are very few of them left. I am reluctant to part with them if I will never have any more to enjoy. I am so grateful for your wisdom. < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add carbon to remove any left over medication. I suspect your problem is high nitrates from only doing two water changes in 4 months. Do weekly 25% water changes to control nitrates. The melafix may be affecting the sperm of the male and somehow prevent them from getting to the eggs. Cichlids usually spawn every couple of weeks when the female is ready. Watch them closely when you put them together so he doesn't kill her.-Chuck>

Jack Dempsey I just am wondering if you can tell the sex of Dempseys by their colors or markings. I have 2 and they are very different looking, so i wonder if I have a boy and a girl. How do I tell? <Actually, this is one of the easier neotropical cichlid species to sex; especially if they have grown up with similar conditions and are large enough (a few inches in length). Do take a look at the description listed here: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/3683/malefemale.htm Yes, a whole page (actually there are a few of these) dedicated to the Jack Dempsey Cichlid (Herichthys octofasciata). Males are decidedly more colorful and have longer, more pointed unpaired pins... Bob Fenner>

Cichlids I have a Chocolate Cichlid that is about 4 years old and 8"'s long. I do not know much about them, however I noticed that 'Hershal' was guarding eggs that were attached to the powerhead tubing and had moved all the rocks away down to the filter. I called the pet store and they told me to put Hershal and the tubing in the small tank I have. So I did. Now Hershal is very angry and not even looking at the eggs. Do you think the eggs will hatch? Should I have done anything different? Help Please!!! Mary Ellen Lafayette, La. <You have "a" Chocolate Cichlid, not more than one? Hmm, well, "Hershal" is actually a female... that has laid eggs on her own that are non-fertile, and therefore will not hatch. As happens with cichlids like Hershal there can be "troubles" when moving the parents or eggs or decor about during these times. Hence the "angriness" and disinterest you relate. Going forward, I would leave your cichlid and its eggs (if indeed it does lay again) in place and take care that if/when they fungus that your filtration be sufficient to prevent pollution.  I do want to caution you re trying to find/match a mate with your Chocolate. After so long living on its own, and attaining such magnificent size, it is unlikely that this could be done as these fish do become quite territorial. Bob Fenner>

Breeding Cichlids Hi Bob!  <Anthony Calfo here in your service> I have a breeding pair of Cichlasoma bifasciatum. They have laid eggs and what I wanting to know was ... what should I do? they are in a 55 gal. tank I only have a few fish none that threatening the eggs. they are very protective of their corner. Are they good parents?  <even if you are fortunate to have a mature and well behaved pair... it is too hard to protect the fry in a community tank. If you want to save any babies you will need to remove them. If you have experience rearing egg hatched fry or want to try... that is your best bet for babies. Besides... it is fun hatching brine shrimp/sea monkeys.> Will they eat the hatched fish?  <possibly> One is a large fish the other is smaller. Which one is the male? <the big boy most likely> They both take care of the eggs. What's there process for hatching?  <hmmm... rather long to explain here. et me look through the archives for a reference and please do the same if you can beat me too it. Raising cichlids from eggs is very straight forward work... no trouble at all. Just a little tedious with live food at first. Best regards, Anthony> PLEASE HELP Thank you Dana

Color changes, spawning Cichlids Hi Bob (or Anthony) Thanks again for the help getting my 75 running a while ago, going great! So far 2 groups of fry! <Congrats!> I was reading a post on one of the message boards and figured that out of everyone I know of you would be the folks that might have the answer. Here is the question: "From everything I've read (a sh*t load) there is nothing that says how cichlids colour up when they begin to reach sexual maturity. All I can find is expect it from around 2" in size or 6 months in age. <There is actually a bunch known, written about this field/aspect... not easily found...in hobby and scientific literature. You might want to make a trip to a large college library, have a reference librarian give you assistance.> Therefore do they colour up very quickly (minutes/hours/day) or over a gradual period of time, such as fins darkening then the rest of the fish? <Both... some shorter term by nervous effects... others more long-term physiological (nutrition, water quality, social inputs...)> Is the process different for different species?" <Yes! Mmm, you are a promising candidate for the many large (even international) to local Cichlid "clubs"... do take a look over the Net with your search engine/s.> Got any answers? I hope. Thanks, Pete <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Jack Dempseys Dear Mr. Fenner: <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have 2 adult JD's that have paired up. They spawned once but the fry were eaten. Last week they laid eggs again, but gradually the eggs disappeared. Now the bigger JD (I think this is the male) is chasing the smaller JD (the female), she is hiding and appears to be stressed by this chasing.  <he still wants to spawn and she doesn't... he wants more fresh eggs for breakfast <G>> She is also very light in color now.  <yes... a passive coloration> The female has not been back to the corner of the tank that the eggs where in, since all the eggs disappeared. This did not happen last time when they spawned, what do you think is happening? Should I remove her to a different tank.....or remove him? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Shirley <remove the male, let the female re-establish her dominance in the tank and try to re-introduce the later after she has been well fed and conditioned again. Anthony>

Jewel Cichlid Babies Hi how is everyone? <<I'm doing well, and you?>> Just a quick question today. I had a pair of Jewel Cichlids. I recently gave them to my sister-in-law because my red tail catfish is growing by leaps and bounds (still working on that huge indoor pond for him) and I was afraid they were going to become lunch. Well, within a week of giving them to her, they spawned and she now has several hundred babies in her 75 gal. They're great parents, herding and defending the babies. The problem is the other fish in the tank. She's got a bunch of assorted African cichlids, a jack Dempsey, and a purple parrot fish. What do you think the jewel's chances are of raising at least a few of the babies in there? <<Not great...>> A pair of jewels I had years ago raised a few batches of babies in a 55gal with a red devil an Oscar and a tilapia. <<Well... maybe. Odds still aren't really in favor of the fry.>> But these Africans she has have quite a different personality. They're like little pit bulls. She doesn't have the funds or the room for another tank and I don't have another freshwater tank to separate the other fish to. <<C'est la vie, I suppose.>> (they'd be lunch for the Red Tail just as surely as the jewels I originally gave her would have been). If you don't think the jewels have a chance of raising the babies in there, I'll figure something out for her, but it's going to be a pain. <<Good luck.>> Thanks once again for your wisdom in all things fishy. Have a great day. Kristen:) <<You too. Cheers, J -- >>

Convicted Parents I have 4 pink convicts. A pair just had babies. They are hiding in a seashell. My question is, will the parents or 2 other convicts eat the babies? <Likely not, Convicts are extremely protective parents.> We have left all four convicts in the tank and the mother and father are very protective. Though, I can't tell if they are eating them or not? Should we separate the babies from everyone else? <I would leave them until about 3/4" long. At that time, you should remove for fear of overcrowding.> Like put them in a plastic separator in the same tank with the others? Someone told us that the mother will eat them, and they (the babies_ need the mother around to survive!? Confused & Concerned in Lake Elsinore, Michael & Tammy Fish <Do not fear. Your parent fish will usually feed and take care of the young. -Steven Pro>

Jack Dempsey Fry I have a pair of Jack Dempseys. The female laid eggs inside of an plastic ornamental rock. She fanned them for two days, and now we can see the group of eggs inside the rock squirming around. Not sure what to do next??? My tank info. is such: a 45 gal. with gravel, good filtration, etc. I do also have two smaller Fire mouths in the tank as well. I'm afraid the male Jack, or the Fire mouths will try to eat the eggs, or hatchlings. Should I separate any of them, or all of? How many offspring approx. should I expect? And what are their chances for survival? I thank you for your help. Sorry so many questions at once....Thanks,..........Bub. <Jacks are pretty good parents, the male should not harm the eggs, however he will try to harm the Fire mouths, I would consider a separate tank for the Fire mouths.  The female can lay up to 800 eggs, not all of these will hatch, but you should have plenty of offspring to keep you busy. -Gage>

Jack Dempsey fry Hi Jack...I am proud to tell you that we have JD babies. I took the fry out of the main tank a few days ago.  They look like little tadpoles and are free swimming.  I think I have about 10-12.  I'm feeding them liquid fry food now.  Any further information you could give me on feeding the fry would be greatly appreciated. <After a week more, do start graduating to ground up (between your fingers) dried, prepared foods (flakes, pellets), as often per day in small quantities as you can. If you'd like to accelerate growth you might look into culturing brine shrimp> As this is the 5th batch of babies that we have had, and the parents always end up eating them.  So this time we took the fry out as soon as they were free swimming. How long can I continue to use the liquid fry food, and what should I advance to? <Start phasing out the Liquifry in a week while phasing in the other foods. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance for your help...Shirley Schiavone...

Baby Jack Dempseys Hello, I sent an e-mail a couple of weeks ago about my Jack Dempsey's becoming proud parents of about 300+ babies. Everything is going OK, and they are growing quickly...but I do not know WHAT TO FEED THEM?????? Please HELP Thanks, BRETT>>>>>> <no worries Brett. Dempsey parents are usually quite good. Babies graze on their mucus when small and then later are fed food crushed and spit out by parents. Still ... all will not be enough for optimum success in home aquaria. Fresh hatched baby brine would be nice when they are 2-6 weeks old. This can supplement small amounts of crushed flak or pelleted foods. When they are around 6 weeks old... a tiny nutritious pelleted food like Vibra-fro is highly recommended. Do not feed frozen brine shrimp at all. Only fresh live if you hatch it (nutritive value). Best regards, Anthony>

Breeding mismatched Convicts Hey, my female "pink" convict and her conventional mate had a successful school of cool looking half-breeds. Is this common? <Not uncommon. These are of the same species> These have a bright red/orange horizontal stripe down most of the body. The dorsal looks like it might not develop correctly. How do I continue the strain and can they inbreed normally? <Mmm, don't know if I'm understanding you here. Inbreeding (successive generations from filial young) and breeding back females to their paternal line are done in aquarium fishes to "fix" strains... with percentage problems in turn. Bob Fenner>

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