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Old 08-15-2006, 11:09 AM   #1
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Redhump Geophagus holding eggs

I'm really hoping that someone here has some experience with redhump geophagus, or other mouthbreeders.

I have one large male nearly 4.5" long, one small male about 2.5" long, and two females about 2 to 2.5" long.

Well, I started getting worried about one of the females because she was breathing differently and was not eating. When she would swim close to the glass I saw that it seemed like something was stuck in her mouth. I then worried that it might be a larger piece of substrate stuck in her throat.

Now I am thinking differently. There have been a couple of times that she was close to the front of the glass and I could get an angle to see into her mouth. Well, there are some things that look like miniature ping-pong balls in there. I can't count how many.

How good are these guys as parents? I'm afraid that if I try to net her she will swallow the eggs.

I sure hope someone can give me some ideas. The only other fish I have been able to successfully have breed are guppies, mollies, and convicts. No great hardship there, but these are different.

I'm pretty excited about the whole thing.
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:16 AM   #2
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When I saw an African holding fry for the first time I was worried too and thought it was sick. The next day we had 25 fry. I have never owned that particular specie so I can not attest to its ability as parents. If it is the mothers first batch of fry you may want to just leave her be in the main tank. New mothers can become very stressed and may swallow the fry. If you can easily move her out and into a cycled QT that would be fine too, but do not chase her with the net or cause stress. It will be survival of the fittest for the fry but some may survive. We have 8 fry in our 150 gal tank from mothers that we could not net out. Good luck!
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Old 08-15-2006, 03:10 PM   #3
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This will be her first brood. It kind of surprised me. I've seen the two males doing their odd head shaking at the females, but never witnessed anything else.

I'm hoping that someone has had some experience with them, or a similar type of mouthbrooder, to help me know when I could separate the fry from the main tank. I'd just use a turkey baster to syphon them up and transfer them to the other tank, but I don't want to do it too young.

I may just have to experiment. Well, that is assuming that the eggs were properly fertilized in the first place.
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Old 08-15-2006, 03:45 PM   #4
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Well, that is assuming that the eggs were properly fertilized in the first place.
That's questionable; although she probably would stop holding if they were unfertilized (there's bound to be a biological mechanism that tells the mom when to give up). Over the years, we have had many spawns from our mouth brooding Mbuna. We used to separate mom from the main tank, but my husband found that was too much work--especially after we tried raising the fry! Your situation is different in that you know who the parents are (at least the species) and they are worth breeding for the hobby.

Here’s my advice for a first time brooder since you have to make the decisions and she will not be reading Mouth Brooding Week by Week or What to Expecting When You're Brooding: Let nature take its course for the first brood. See what kind of parent she makes, see if the fry even make it to free swimming. I say this based on three first time broods that I know of in our tank (there have been many more, but I’m not as concerned now) 1. The female was pulled and did great with her fry. She continually tried to scoop them up when we walked in the room even after the fry decided they didn’t need her any more—it was great seeing the fry swim away from her. In the end, they didn’t survive because we had a long distance move; no LFS would take them at 6 months—too small and despite our best efforts, the move proved too difficult. 2. The female was pulled and within 24 hours of being in the QT tank, she spit out her fry too early, they died and so did she. Water parameters were fine, the only thing in the tank was a clay pot (people tell me I’m crazy, but I will never use a clay pot from any other source than the LFS and normally, I use lace rock from the main tank). 3. The female was holding and I was watching her everyday in the main tank (at the time, my favorite fish) and one day, she couldn’t take it anymore and spit the fry out to eat. I was really sorry to be watching at that time, she made an effort to get them back, but the other fish took full advantage of the young fry.
Currently, we have 4 fry at just over a centimeter in length fending for themselves (I have no idea who the parents are) and watching them has been a joy. The only fish I have seen survive into adulthood have been ones that tough it out in the main tank.
On the other extreme, there are people who strip the fry from the mother’s mouth and raise the fry separate from both the mother and main tank.
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I'd just use a turkey baster to syphon them up and transfer them to the other tank, but I don't want to do it too young.
That has been suggested to me in the past, and the one time I tried to use that technique on pleco fry, it did not work. I don’t know if the fry was too big, the suction wasn’t enough or what went wrong, but it proved more difficult than I ever thought it would be. With cichlid fry, getting the fry into the baster may be the least of your worries. Getting the mom out of the way will be the biggest hurdle. A good brooding mother snaps up the fry with precision and a quickness you may not expect.
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Oh, well, I guess if she's not going to bother reading them, I'll take the books away from the tank

Yeah, I never thought about her being that fast scooping up the fry. The only other breeding cichlid that I have had are convicts, and there are so many of those, if you want to syphon them off you can't miss.

I guess I will see what happens if I leave her in the main tank. If they are that quick to suck up the fry, then the survival rate must be alright.

I do think that it would be good for the hobby to let these guys breed. They were so hard to find. I found the large male a while ago, but he was the only one they had. It took five months of searching any LFS I found until I saw more. They were mis-labled as another type of eartheater, but I recognized them right away.

They are a fairly peaceful cichlid, but I wouldn't mix them with a general community tank, unless you had a lot of space. I have them in with an aggressive crowd and they are doing well.

I'll try to keep you all posted on how things go.

**EDIT**

Well, I guess there will be no first brood for her. I got home from work yesterday and there were no more eggs in her mouth. I guess she swallowed them. Oh well, maybe next time.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:45 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear that, but many things could have happened. The good news is--she's trying!
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