Laetacara Araguaiae spawned! Any chance in a community?
I posted a few months back. I wanted to see if I could get Laetacara and an Apisto living together in a community tank. I was told by a dwarf/apisto authority to try and get a couple male Laetacara and a male Apisto or two to minimize the chance of aggression during breeding. Well, I tried to get two male Laetacara, but they are tough to sex at smaller sizes. Apparently I have a male and female.
I knew something was up - the larger of the two (male) used to chase the other at feeding time constantly. And at times when not feeding. There was no true aggression, but lots of chasing. Within the past week he became more tolerant of her near him. Then I did a water change yesterday, and then last night he started doing little fluttery dances at her, and they were swimming around a lot together. Tonight I came home to eggs on a sword leaf! They have been taking turns guarding them while the other goes out to look for food I'm guessing. (They are pigs.) They have chased the Apisto some, but again just chasing and not harassment or any true aggression at this point. They've chosen the back right corner, where the apisto's spot is a driftwood cave area in the front left corner, so that may be part of it. They also don't seem to be bothered by other fish near them right at the moment.
Obviously my goal was not to spawn these fish. But now that they have, is there any chance I'd be able to successfully raise some fry? Any resources or links for me? Do I pull the eggs, and when? Even if it doesn't work this time, maybe at least I can be prepared for the next time it might happen?
At the very least, it makes me extremely happy that they're that comfortable as they're wild-caught.
I'll come back with a couple photos later.
Here are some photos.
The male, showing off.
I wish I had videoed his little shimmy dance to her.
I dance for you, you dance for me.
Underexposed shot, but I like how their blue iridescence shows up.
Female guarding the eggs. Not a great shot - hard to get good ones through any depth of water. Not sure there is a way to make that any better, either. My best shots are usually those right near the glass where the water distortion is minimal.
I was told laetacara are good parents, and they do seem to be, so far. Just not sure if/when I should remove eggs/fry.
The best chance of success (= mature fry in the end) would have the parents in their own tank. I have had a couple fry survive when the parents spawned in a community tank, but not often. Somewhat depends upon the other fish; nocturnal fish, which includes most all catfish, will easily get the eggs or fry.
Another option is removing the eggs (on the leaf, stone, wood, whatever the species used) into a small tank. An airstone close to the eggs is needed to maintain a current, else the eggs will likely fungus. Some add methylene blue to the water to help prevent fungus.
In either case, when the eggs hatch, food must be available almost constantly. With cichlids, newly hatched brine shrimp is ideal. I have not tried the prepared fry foods now available. Some natural plankton and Infusoria will occur in an established planted tank; adding dry leaves (oak, beech, almond) to encourage such food may help.
The eggs hatched and the fry are so tiny I can barely see them! Both parents still very attentive and chasing everyone else away from their corner, so far no full-on aggression, just chasing. Continuing to cross my fingers that they won't kill anyone and that maybe a some fry will survive...
I will try to get some live BBS if I can... or at least first bites in case they live long enough. I'm hoping they have enough scrounging off the live plants etc. Right now I'm not sure how I could be sure that food could get to them unless I removed them from the tank.
Everyone keeps mentioning what great parents the Laetacara genus (?) is as a whole... I'd agree so far. Even if I get no fry this time, hopefully I'll be more prepared next time. Either way, it's truly fascinating!
Generally try and feed the other fish at the same time as you feed the fry but at the opposite end of the tank from the fry. Feed the other fish first but have the fry food handy and once the other fish are eating squirt food at the fry.
If you cannot do this, then another option would be to create a temporary divider for the tank using plexiglass, lexan, acrylic sheeting. It works great and can sometimes be cheaper than purchasing a store bought tank divider.
I didn't even think of a tank divider - it'd mostly need to be for the kuhlis I think.... Hmmm....
They keep moving their fry - the first time it happened I saw the female in their spot, picking at the ground, with a kuhli loach snuffling around right there and no fry, and thought DAMN YOU, (you cute little lovable) KUHLIS! ;) But then later I saw that the male was still breeding-dark and still chasing the apisto, so I looked closer and saw that they dug a little pit and moved the fry to the other side of the tank. Then today, same thing - can't find one of them, searched through the plants, finally found the male guarding another different pit with the fry in it.
Is this typical for Laeatacara or are they doing this because they feel threatened by the others?
What do you think about soaked decapsulated brine shrimp if I can't get live BBS?
I found that the Laetacara typically move their fry all around - keeps the predators guessing. ;)
The fry are definitely dwindling now that they're swimming more freely. I'm sure most of them will fall victim to the kuhlis and Apisto... Next time there will be a 10-gallon fry tank and live BBS ready for them!
But I thought you still might enjoy some photos. It's amazing how much these fish change their colors on a minute to minute basis. The breeding colors are gorgeous and I wish they'd keep them all the time.
Female (i call her be-bop :) )
Male in front, (I call him Buck - couldn't help myself with the sp. "Bucklekopf"... I know, I know...)
This one was underexposed, so their colors are a little dark. Buck lower, Be-bop higher.
Get back over here!
Be-bop, in another variation of the colors, stirring things up looking for food.
OK, well none of the fry made it, though a few made it longer than I thought (found them swimming amongst the floating plants).
But the pair already spawned again! Is this going to keep happening or will there be a time where they give it a rest? How frequently do spawning pairs spawn?
If they keep going at this rate I'm going to have to rehome the Apisto as it's not fair to him to be continually chased. There are hiding spots, and they've done no damage, but when they are spawning they chase a lot more. When they're not spawning there's minimal problems, maybe a bit of food guarding but that's about it. If it was only going to be here and there, he'd be fine, but if it keeps happening like this he'll never get a break. I definitely did not anticipate this.
Looks like I have to get that fry tank going sooner than later...
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