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Becoming - 55 gallon tank upgrade

This is a discussion on Becoming - 55 gallon tank upgrade within the Freshwater Journals forums, part of the Aquarium Photography category; --> Well, there's no doubt about it. . . Liz is out, Hattie is in, and C.Cat is a stud . . . last night ...

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Becoming - 55 gallon tank upgrade
Old 02-19-2013, 05:47 PM   #471
 
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Well, there's no doubt about it. . . Liz is out, Hattie is in, and C.Cat is a stud . . . last night Hattie was playing hard-to-get, but today she's definitely interested. They've been very busy cleaning rocks and driftwood, and digging in the substrate - I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself with another brood this evening, or within the next few days at most.

The switch in females has me wondering how I'll know if I DO get a bonded pair, I assumed that the first two were, since there were enough other rams for them to have 'chosen' each-other. Now I'm not so sure! I suppose I won't know until/unless two of them pair up exclusively time and time again. . .or maybe C.Cat is just that kind of guy, lol!

The pairing between C.Cat and Hattie makes more sense to ME, but. . . what do I know about what they think. Because these little fish have such huge personalities, they have a personal history that they've built over almost a year since I've gotten them. . . hard NOT to see it as a cheesy romance novel! At least it's a good one - I can't seem to put it down!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:27 PM   #472
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chesherca View Post

This last shot I took especially for Plummy - see how many loaches your little one can spot in this picture, lol, - it isn't as if they're hiding *giggle*!
OMG! I had to dig out the magnifying glass but I think we found 10! Your pictures are so lovely. The only one I can decently photograph around here is the betta, because he "swims still" on occasion.

Hmmm...sounds like a soap opera (or I guess I should just say a "reality show") going on in your tank. Will I see C.Cat and Liz on a supermarket tabloid with a headline like "He cheated on me days after I miscarried!"--?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:40 PM   #473
 
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Glad you liked the picture(s) :)

*giggle*

You're not lying about the tabloid - these fish are ridiculous. It doesn't help that I consider them my 'buddies.' They have enough personality as it is, but I KNOW I add an emotional aspect to it that probably isn't there. . . regardless, the process is really amazing. I hope that they spawn soon - I might die if it goes on like this for a week! At least they're cleaning my rocks for me. . . now if only I could convince them to fill in the pits that they've been digging in the sand, we'd be golden!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:11 PM   #474
 
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Will someone PLEASE tell these fish that the rock is CLEAN ?!! They've been cleaning the darn thing for hours now. It's the cleanest rock on the tank. Not ONE grain of sand left on that rock, nosireee. . .clean as a whistle. Ready for eggs, for sure. . . get on with it!

Hattie, the female, is now doing 'dry runs' - she's teasing me! Pretending to lay eggs, but not actually doing anything. I really want to see the actual egg-laying part of the process. C'mon guys!!! PLEASE!!!?
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:24 PM   #475
 
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lol You can want it and wish it allll you want, but mama's do things on their own time. Set up a hidden cam. ^_~

Speaking of babies, I now know why my mollies rarely get pregnant in my tank, they usually have saved up sperm from previous matings before I got them. I did add in a molly and a guppy from my main tank to the QT tank with my new guys, my molly was upsetting my gourami trying to mate with him to the point he was cowering in the corner going dull. >>; Well, my molly just chases the male away, they always do...occasionally the boys get in there though. Some of my creamsicle babies came out silver with lyretails, meaning the creamsicle female wasn't chasing off the silver male as much as it seemed. ^_~

Do you plan to snatch up any babies this time, or let nature take its course again? It might upset the parents if you go into the brood with a turkey baster or something, even if you do it slow, but they should go right back to defending the rest of the brood afterwards. They seem to be good parents and don't let one intruder ruin it for everyone. =p But you never know. If you've said what you'll do earlier, I missed it. lol Trying to catch up on things, lack of sleep is killer and my fingers are all sore and yucky. I dunno if Alanna attacked me in my sleep, or if the ferrets did it to me this morning when they were being bratty, but all my fingers but one are just shredded. =-= Bad day here, yup. If you get anymore eggs tonight, post up photos again if you can! That'll brighten my day, babies never fail to do so. :3

Oh yeah, have you tried the night lights in your tank? Or a really, really dim one, but still allows them to sorta see? That may help keep babies alive if your night hunters are going for babies, without adding any stress on them. I dunno though, maybe Byron has an idea for that that will allow them to protect the babies at night as well? He seems to know so much more about it. =p All I can do is suggest.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:11 PM   #476
 
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I know. . . momma always knows best. . . I've put them to bed for the night, I let them stay up past their bedtime as it was - really was hoping to see some action, but it could be some time yet. :D Just being impatient!

Thanks for the suggestions, Sylver!

I know it kills you, but I'll probably just let nature take it's course for now. . .

I'm not really interested in keeping and raising fry in a separate tank - what I truly want to see is the cichlids raising their own young! Parental care is one of the most amazing things about this type of fish. . . and I've just got to see it for myself!

On a related note. . .from what I've read, cichlids who were raised in-tank by their own parents learn the skills of parenting from them, and often have a higher success rate with their own broods. Those that were raised away from the parents by human intervention seem to struggle with parenting, more often eating their broods, or 'giving up' on them after a few days have passed. . . there are some that are concerned that we're breeding the cichlid's instinct to protect and raise their fry out of them by intervening and taking the little ones away. . . interesting thought, and sad if it worked out that way.

If I do decide to 'save' some of the babies, I'll wait until they reach the free-swimming stage, and have had at least some time to learn from mom and pop - assuming the get that far - and I'll be sure to leave some with the parents to strengthen their bond as a successful couple.

If all goes well, B.Ram pairs can spawn every 3 weeks or so. . . But since C.Cat is now wooing another one of the females, I have to assume that I don't yet have a truly bonded pair. If/when I see several matings in a row from the same couple, and if the subsequent broods all vanish in the night like the first brood, I'll consider setting up a special breeding tank for them outside of the community. I really would like to see this amazing process from beginning to end at least once - their way!

That said, I've read many personal accounts that claim these particular fish parent BEST in a community tank. Seems that the constant threat from the other fish tends to keep the couple on-task and working together to protect their offspring, while alone in a breeding tank people report that they often bicker and squabble, which in turn leads to failed broods because of their lack of cooperation. Not sure if this is true, just what I've read along the way and have been thinking about. :)

I've also read about people keeping dim lighting on through the night to help the parents in protecting their young, and I'm curious as to how this affects the fish's stress level and their circadian rhythm. . . I know it's commonly done, but I don't think that's the way for us - even if it IS okay and healthy for the fish.

All this speculation surrounding eggs and fry that don't even exist yet. . .lol. . . These two had better not throw in the towel now! We've got PLANS for them! C'mon, momma! Pop those eggs!!!


P.S. I'm glad you figured out the mystery behind your fish-breeding questions, and I hope that you - and your fingers - feel better soon! <3
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:25 PM   #477
 
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Well, if you ever get a pretty young female raised up that you have no room for, I'd sure be happy to take her. I haven't seen any type of Rams sold in any of the petshops around here since early last year. And finding females of anything aside from livebearers is very difficult, even finding female guppies is hard. People want decoration, I want happy fish that can breed if they so desire regardless of their colors. Besides, I find females with bits of colors here and there and duller colors everywhere else to be rather attractive over JUST bright colors. Sure, bright is nice, but females have a beauty about them in their own way. Like that female cardinal I put in your photo thread, I found her to be more beautiful than her bright red mate...but that's just me. Her duller colors made what red she DID have show up more.

And yes, it does kill me when nature is left in a tank to fend for itself...when it comes to DEFENCELESS babies. Your babies have parents who will figure it out eventually, so it's not as bad to my little heart strings. If anything, I agree with the interfereing not being the best choice when they have the possibility of caring parents, or parents that MUST figure it out by success or fail to get it right as the type of fish they are. So I agree with your method of leaving them be regardless of how it ends up. When they lose a brood, it's sad, but that is how they learn to be more vigilant in protection. =)
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:09 AM   #478
 
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*giggle* I'm sorry, Sylver! I don't mean to cause you pain. . . I just can't save them all! Though they may be defenseless, their parents work hard to do the defending for them. The same thing would happen in nature, so I can't feel *too* bad about it. Even Livebearer fry have instincts to hide that keep enough of them alive to continue on. . .over the last year in my live-bearer tank I've found that there are ALWAYS a few out of every brood that survive to adulthood without my intervention. Though it may seem sad to us, fry are a very real part of the natural food chain - which is why fish tend to have such large broods. If they all survived, there would be problems. . . and that holds true for my tanks at home, too. When I first started getting broods of Mollies, I DID 'save' them, and then I got stuck with tank after tank of juvie fish, with nowhere to send them. The only shop that would take them around here shut down, and . . .well. . .it was really difficult for me. Not going there again!

That said, I WOULD like to keep a few home-grown babies, if possible. I'd like to have a shoal of 8 when I move into the 125g (whenever that happens), though I don't feel there is enough room in the 55 to add any more, I can keep a second shoal in my 29g until the bigger tank happens - once I set it up for them. I'll love those babies. . .and what a joy to know the entire history, including a birthday, of the fish you keep - and to know that they were always kept in the best possible conditions, with no hormones or antibiotics or any of the other nasty things they do to the farm-bred rams . . . just natural fish :) That would make me very happy. But I STILL don't want ALL of them! And if they actually do bond and breed every 3 weeks, well. . . eventually the facts have to be faced - I CAN'T keep them all!

If you're interested in getting a female 'Livvie, I can tell you that they aren't as difficult to find as you may think. ALL of my rams came from Petsmart, lol! I lost one female before she came out of QT, but out of the 6 fish I've purchased from PS, 4 of them have been girls. :) If you'd like, I can put together a sexing guide for you. I'll just have to dig through my pictures to find some that clearly show the differences. . .
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Last edited by Chesh; 02-20-2013 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:30 PM   #479
 
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Loach video, and lack of eggs. . .

Well. . .I didn't miss any 'action' last night - my rams are STILL cleaning every rock in sight, lol! Wonder how long it'll take for them to be ready - IF they get that far. The female, Hattie, is looking very ready to go, her vent is swollen and she's responding to C.Cat's advances. I was so sure I'd be greeted in the morning with a new batch of eggs, but from what I've read, they could go on like this for some time. . . I just hope I get to see it when the time comes!

Here's a video that I took the evening I introduced my dwarf loaches into the 55 . . . some of it during feeding time. Very squirmy, silly, fun. . .

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:39 PM   #480
 
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Nice vid, that's a LOT of loaches.

As an aside, I noticed that you are using an Eheim filter on that tank and was wondering which way you have the spraybar pointing as your floating plants seem relatively still.
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