Cichlid Breeding Basic Setup
Hey everyone just thought I would share my very basic setup for breeding my cichlids.
I just recently started to take them out of the main tank about 6 weeks ago, to let them go full term. I bought a 10 gallon tank with the hood/light/filter for 28$ at petsmart, purchased a 34$ heater and I was off. My first tank setup was absolutely terrible. Although it had the fundamentals I read about online, which was a place for the brooding fish, and another for the fry with no access to the filter in case they got sucked up.
It didn't explain much and this is what I ended up with
My first batch was a horror show, I stripped my first batch and there was way to much room for the fry to swim around in. They were hard to feed, which made me put to much food into the tank to try and ensure that they would all eat, therefore raising my nitrates. Had a large fish loss number and was generally pissed off at the whole process. So about three weeks ago I changed around my setup, went looking for some good fry HOB hatcheries. Didn't like the plastic ones so I went with the net type.
I managed to fit 3 into my 10 gallon
I honestly couldn't be happier with the results this far. I've had 4 more batches of fry and pleased to say I've only lost 4-5 fish out of about 60. Although my techniques aren't mastered I'm going to share a few things I've learned.
Feeding: The first thing is feeding fry is a pain in the ass, they are new and slow to figure out what is going on, however the smaller the area you keep them in the better. I definitely recommend mixing batches, if you have lots of breeding cichlids, keep all the fry together, it makes them group feed and the younger ones catch on much faster, typically the first time. Monkey see monkey do, and also a lot less food waste as apposed to feeding individual groups in different breeder nets.
-On this topic I read on one website that you should feed your fry 8 times a day, and after every feeding do a water change. I wish I still has the article, but this is crazy and completely unnecessary. I feed my fry twice a day, sometimes 3 if I am home in the middle of the day. They get Omega One Super Colour flakes, crushed up as fine as you can get. A mortar and pestle would work great for this.
Decide how long you are going to let the mother mouth brood. I've stripped my female as early as 2 weeks with terrible results. One of the websites I was researching on forgot to mention that if you take the fry out of the cichlids mouth while they are still in egg form, that you need to make a contraption to keep the eggs constantly circulating. This is why the mother always looks like the is regurgitating when she has eggs in her mouth, to circulate them.
Letting them go full term or as close as possible will give you the best results, from what I've experienced when they go full term they are already willing to eat. When you take them out earlier they are still living off the yolk sack, they are very tiny, and you cannot put them in with a group of other fry. The older fry will try and eat their yolk sacks right off their body, killing them.
Over filter your tank. I have not upgraded the filter that came with my 10 gallon tank, but it is a must, especially if you planning on leaving your cichlids in that tank until they are big enough to sell or keep in a regular tank. (I have 60 fry in my 10 gallon and 2 brooding fish at almost any given time, this number will just go up)
Water changes: I do a water change every week, about 25% and treat with prime.
Keep the mother out of your normal tank until she is eating well again. To throw her right back in causes a health issue for her, she hasn't eaten in 4-5 weeks and there is a good chance she may breed again right away. I've read 2 weeks of feeding and then she can go back in. I personally wait until she eats really well for 2 days, then she goes back in.
Here is a photo of my fry net.
I hope this info helps anyone trying to make it happen with cichlid breeding, I will add to the post later in the week with some photos of stripping a mother and how to do it. Feel free to drop me a line with questions and comments.
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