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Old 03-06-2006, 05:18 PM   #1
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Egg-bound fish? Long.... Pics

I have a African Cichlid tank. 3 weeks ago I upgraded from 75g to 125g. I used all the old substrate, all the old water, and I alternate the cleaning of the 2 Fluval 404's to prevent killing all my bio bacteria. My water params have been perfect since it cycled, (18 months) I feed once a day, alternating between Spirulina flakes, Omnivore Cichlid pellets, and on occasion for roughage, parboiled peas and brine shrimp. These are the original fish for this tank, aside from 2 OB fry that somehow made it, no new fish has ever been introduced to this 'community.'

I have 1 male Kenyi, and 3 females, and all of them go thru spawning behavior, although for whatever reason, after picking up the eggs, the 2 sub dominate females will not hold them, and spit them out. Only the dominate female ever held them till maturation, when she spit a single fry. After transferring to the new tank, and adding the cool water, everyone in the tank was amorous, and my other Africans (dunno what they are, a pair of orange ones and a pair of OB's, all same species, as they will spawn with each other) spawned immediately. All three Kenyi females were trying to get the males attention, and I watched them all go thru the motions, tho NONE produced any eggs. The dominate Kenyi female continued the spawning behavior 4 or 5 days longer than the sub females, who were by then trying to hide from the males advances.

About a 2 weeks after moving them to the new tank, and the spawning behavior subsided, except for the dominate Kenyi female, I noticed that the she had a bulge near her vent. She intermittently attempted spawning behavior (again, producing no eggs), and swimming in her "get away from the male" spot near the heater. After a few spawning attempts, again, no eggs, the bulge was still very apparent. She stopped spawning behavior, and started to hide, so I assumed I missed the egg laying, and she was holding. (shes a big girl, and it was never apparent she was holding till the eggs developed into fry, forcing her buccal cavity out.) However, she still had a considerable bulge near her vent, but smaller than the previously. She ate, but hid after feeding.

Today I saw her wedged between a riverstone and some silk plants, standing on her head, bulge VERY large. She is dead now. =( All of the other fish are very healthy, eating and spawning as usual. In fact, my OB female is holding AGAIN! (after the spawn from the move)

So... after all this, my question is, CAN fish become egg bound? I know it happens to birds and reptiles when some parameter of their diet isn't met, usually calcium.

Any thoughts, anyone with a similar experience?
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:10 PM   #2
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This maybe similar, but I had a female platy that would not drop her fry. She had sucessfully had one birth before, so I knew she was able. The second time she held onto the fry for way too long, stopped eating, and would hang very low in the tank, and remain stationary for long periods. She ended up dying, and after she did I was confused as to why it happened.

The LFS guru said that there is a condition where the eggs, or fry can basically become stuck inside the female, and she can die from it. They can do this from just a genetic defect, a fry or egg that went bad internally, or the female can actually hold on to the them due to circumstances in the tank that she feels are not safe for the new ones (eg: The males ended up eating the first batch of fry and would follow her around because they knew she was prego and they would get a free meal)

Sadly though, he said there is nothing you can do. This may be the same for your cichlids, maybe not.
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. It must have been something internally, because she tried to spawn, and just didnt lay any eggs.

Poor girl... I have had her for 18 months.. she was the big bad momma!

I was planning to get some more females, to divert some of the males attention, now I think Im gonna have to sooner than later. 2 females for this big boy isn't enough, hes pretty aggro about spawning.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:16 PM   #4
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I have read that Epsom salt can be added to the tank, in amounts similar to aquarium salt, to help livebearing females drop their fry. Apparently it acts as a mild muscle relaxant. In theory this would also work with egg-layers, particularly African cichlids that would not be sensitive to the salt.

In a pinch you could try regular aquarium salt, as I believe it would be beneficial, if not as effective as Epsom salt.

Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:30 PM   #5
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Any evidence of white stringy feces prior to the loss or diminished appetite? If so it's possible your mbuna may have had the malawi bloat (it kind of looks like it).
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:33 PM   #6
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No stringy poop, normal behavior, besides what I described above. The fish are given parboiled peas and/or brine shrimp for roughage on a regular basis. Dunno what happened.

Today, my holding OB is acting really skittish. No one is harrasing her, but she is really hiding. She is the only female that has successfully released fry, and was always out and about when she was holding. Looks like I need to take my water to the LFS and compare their testing to mine.
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