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Old 08-12-2006, 06:07 PM   #1
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Location: Portland, OR
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Third time's a charm for my proud GBR parents

My rams, which I have had for a couple of months now, have spawned twice before but without much luck. The first batch of eggs fungused and were eaten, and the second batch resulted in just a couple of relatively life-less wigglers who soon disappeared.

But 3's a charm, because this time they got it right. I hadn't even realized they'd spawned again until I was doing my weekly water change on Sunday, and the female attacked my hand. I realized I was about four inches from their spawning site, which was the broad leaf of an ozelot sword (facing away from the front of the aquarium, so very hard to see). Oops! I quickly finished the water change and let them be. They were quite busy enough fending off zebra danios, sterbais, and chain loaches, as well as ocassionally venturing out to challenge the other pair of rams.

I really didn't expect much, since I have heard they can be really terrible parents, as cichlids go. By Wednesday the eggs were gone, but then I noticed that they seemed to be guarding a new territory - and there, in a little depression in the sand (just like it says in the books), were a bunch of tiny wigglers. I was amazed! This pair is not even full-grown themselves.

As of this morning they have become fully free swimming, but the parents, who alternate guarding the fry and their territorial boundaries, won't let them venture far. If they do, the female sucks them up and them spits them back out wherever she thinks they should be. And boy, there are a ton of them!

Since I wasn't really prepared, I haven't set up a fry tank, and I don't really have any suitable food for fry so small (i.e. no cultured infusoria). Since this is a fairly-well established plant tank with bogwood, I think they are getting enough to eat in the form of micro organisms. I have been using a plastic pipette to try and feed them little squirts of decapsulated brine shrimp eggs, but it is hard to tell if they are eating it. I started a batch of live baby brine, but it is not ready yet, and I have some frozen baby brine shrimp I can try. It seems like the brine shrimp eggs would be smaller than the live baby brine shrimp, right? The fry are about 4-5 days old now... any other ideas on what I can feed them? We are out of eggs, so egg yolk is not an option (plus, I really can't see addingt that to my large community tank - too many water changes).

I am debating whether to set up a tank for the fry, since I'm broke, or just waiting and seeing if any make it. Please let me know if you have any tips.

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Old 08-12-2006, 07:42 PM   #2
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IMO, you've won the war: your rams seem to be good parents. That's such a rare thing nowadays. Of course, I think this is partly because people don't allow the fish to learn to become good parents. They should breed fairly regularly, so you could let things be, see how the fry do in the main tank, and then set up a grow out tank when the funds become available.

I like to use Hikari First Bites with fry.
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