Friday, December 30, 2011

A Mouthful Of What?

Baby fish?   Have had a lot of fun watching my female Haplochromis sp "Dayglow" tend her batch of fry.  These Haps are maternal mouthbrooders, which means that the female gathers up the freshly fertilized eggs in her mouth and keeps them there until the eggs hatch.  And beyond.  This is my first batch of Haps, so am not sure how long this behavior continues, but it's great fun to watch.  When I realized that the female had a mouthful of eggs (called "holding"), I netted her out and put her in a tank by herself.  One of the options is "stripping", forcing the female to spit out the eggs which are then hatched artificially, but I preferred to try it the natural way.  The fry have been coming out to feed for several weeks, but when the female thinks there is danger (such as when I siphon out the tank and add fresh water), she still gathers them up in her mouth for safekeeping.  They are so big now that she can't completely close her mouth when she is protecting them.  Too funny.  I suppose this weekend I will try to catch her when the fry are all out and feeding.  It's been great fun to watch, but I'm sure she will be pleased to get back in the much larger tank with her Cichlid peers.

One of my other Cichlid females is also holding, one of the Yellow Labs (Labidochromis caerulis), but I have been unable to catch that wretched fish.  I have a smaller tank set up for her and her family, so will have to take all the filters and rocks out of the big tank this weekend so I can catch her and move her out.
Yellow "Lab"
Fun with fish!

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