Cichlids have spiny-rayed fins. In general they’re larger and much more quarrelsome than the other fish in this web site, and consequently they can hardly be regarded as great citizens for a community aquarium, even though numerous big specimens in a tank seem to be compatible sufficient. The following breeding description will fit most species, but where there is any distinction it’ll be noted under the species heading.
The Cichlids are great parents, looking after their young with infinite care and also the entire breeding cycle is most interesting to observe. Selection of mates is of considerable significance for, like humans, fish have a natural affinity towards every other. Should you put a pair into the breeding tank and they turn out to be ‘bad friends’, it’ll most likely result in the death of one of them.
A tank no smaller than 24 inch x 12 inch x 12 inch is the most suitable size. You should spread clean sand on the bottom to a depth of 2 inch, and use well-seasoned water, but don’t plant, for the plants will soon be uprooted. Two slots cut in the centre of the top aquarium frame permit a glass partition to be inserted making two separate compartments. Put the male in one side, and also the female in die other. If they’re obviously prepared to mate, the partition could be removed. Readiness for courtship might be recognised by a wagging of the body, spreading of fins, and general changing of colour. Either fish might make the initial advance, or when the other responds in like manner it is safe to remove the partition. If numerous the exact same species are kept in one tank, some will naturally pair. These should then be removed to the breeding tank, and it’ll then not be essential to put in a partition.
If the courtship goes to plan, the next stage will consist of ‘kissing’. They hold every other by the lips and begin a lively tug of war. They might repeat this action a number of times. Should both of the Cichlids stand the trial and neither weaken, it is safe to assume they’ll mate, but should one panic or lose its nerve, it is liable to be killed by its mate. Removal of one is then advised, but a later try might prove effective. It’ll be seen that it is an benefit to mate fish as near as feasible of like size.
All being well the fish will probably be observed during the next two or 3 days digging holes in the sand and cleaning a suitable place to lay their eggs. They seem to have a preference for light-coloured surfaces, so a flat lightish-coloured stone should be placed on the bottom. Some aquarists use marble, or a flower pot laid on its side.
Cleanliness is the byword, the spot selected to obtain the adhesive eggs is thoroughly cleaned with the mouth. A couple of days prior to the actual spawning, both sexes develop an ovipositor, or breeding tube, which initial appears as a small protrusion on the underside of the belly and increases in length shortly prior to actual breeding.
The female hovers over the stone, or spot selected, touching it with the breeding tube, and at the exact same time deposits one or two eggs. The male instantly follows and with a similar action fertilises the eggs by spraying them with milt. This action is repeated until 100 to 1,000 eggs are deposited. The fish now take turns fanning the eggs with the breast fins and tail, relieving every other every few minutes. The accepted concept of fanning is that it keeps the eggs clean and supplies oxygen to the embryos. Eggs hatch in four days at a temperature of 80° F.
Just prior to or soon after the eggs hatch, they’re transferred in the mouths of the parents to a hollow in the sand. The young aren’t simple to see, and look like a moving jelly-like mass.
During the next few days, the infant Cichlids will find themselves gently transferred from one depression to an additional. It takes between four to ten days for the yolk-saes to turn out to be absorbed, after which you are able to see the young swimming freely in a school. Recalcitrant youngsters are rapidly gathered up in the mouths of the parents and put back in the school.
The fry, after absorbing the yolk-sac, are big sufficient to eat brine shrimps, micro-worms, or sifted daphnia.
Whilst it is a fairly sight to see the parents and babies swimming around the tank together, their parents should not be allowed to remain too long lest they misinterpret some action of their owner as a danger signal, and eat the fry.