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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a female albino red zebra who has a mouthful of eggs. Probably been holding about 2 weeks maybe 3 weeks. I am fairly certain it's her first time tumbling a mouthful of eggs... I probably have had her about 1yr.

I'm posting because I want to know if anyone has had a mouth brooding cichlid eat while tumbling eggs before ? Or have you heard of this? I don't breed fish intentionally so I'm not super fluent about these behaviors but I had always been under the impression the moms don't eat till the eggs are free swimming fry. Am I wrong? Or I'm right and she is super odd? She aggressively chases food and eats along with the boys. I know she is still holding. Been paying very close attention to her. When she isn't eating the mouthful of eggs are easy to see and she will tumble them and come to the glass right to me.. but when eating it looks like they are shoved to the bottom of her mouth and I can't clearly see them. I'll attempt to get video of her tomorrow. Then feed and get video of that. I just don't see how she does it lol
 

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I don't have experience with cichlids at all, but I do know of reports of some mouthbrooding bettas doing it. I would think it is possible in cichlids as well, I can't see why not.

If anything it would have to be a good thing- holding while still being able to eat healthily!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Huh.. So there are some betas that have done it? If so I'm sure some cichlids too.

Yeah, I would hate to have to hold off on food during pregnancy, I'm sure it's a healthy anomaly . I hope it means something good for the fry. Maybe one of hers will survive like the tank boss's baby did.
 

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It is a common occurrence with cichlids, I've had dozens of successful hatches from my cichlids and several of them have ate during the course of the incubation period. Most often the holding female does not eat during peak hours when it is chaotic in the aquarium and they do so later after it has settled down.

Experienced brooders can easily hold the batch while eating and not digest the fry/eggs, it is something that comes instinctively.

It's not something you should worry about.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well she's a natural at it . She ate at peak feeding time with all the boys. After about 3 weeks though she spit her fry out and they must have been eaten quickly. But I don't expect fry to survive that tank. Very shocked the x tank boss's baby survived in there..

I really kept thinking "surely you'll swallow and egg then tumble the food pellet" lol


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Well she's a natural at it . She ate at peak feeding time with all the boys. After about 3 weeks though she spit her fry out and they must have been eaten quickly. But I don't expect fry to survive that tank. Very shocked the x tank boss's baby survived in there..

I really kept thinking "surely you'll swallow and egg then tumble the food pellet" lol


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Fry are honestly a crap shoot in the main aquarium. If you have plenty of rock with small crevices and caves then it's possible for a few to survive to be big enough to not get eaten instantly.

If you are not intentionally breeding or do not mind the outcome then it doesn't matter much if they all get gobbled up though. Depending on whom she bred with, you can get some pretty nifty coloration though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes.. I'm sure the fry would have been cool looking. The one and only fry surviving in there is a cross of a sunshine peacock and a rusty. He looks like 100% rusty but I know he isn't . Very cute thing is nearly 2inches now and seems to have earned the protection of all the more dominant fish in there. I find the breeding very interesting when you don't interfere . I'm ok with whatever the outcome .


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Good grief, tumbling the fry in her mouth?

You never know when you will learn something new. I had no idea that cichlids can keep fry in their mouth and tumble them as they incubate. I thought I was seeing a dream... now I know some new stuff! So how do the fry get in her mouth, how from the laying to the mouth brooding? This is awesome to me.
 

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They keep the eggs in the bottom of their mouths in the Bucchal Cavity, so yes it is possible that she will eat while holding. Having had hundreds of fry over the years, some females will eat others will not eat at all. This is why it is good practice to remove the female for a few weeks after birth so she can recover alone.
If she is eating then its best to keep a close eye on her anyway in case of aggression from other fish.

Looking forward to seeing pictures of that fish Agent13 :)
 
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But where do the eggs come from to get to her mouth?

Tazman, when it is time to incubate the eggs, how do they get fertilized by the male, and then up to her mouth? Tell me more on this process. I am a student of wildlife, including fish, so want to know all about it. This is really amazing...
 

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Tazman, when it is time to incubate the eggs, how do they get fertilized by the male, and then up to her mouth? Tell me more on this process. I am a student of wildlife, including fish, so want to know all about it. This is really amazing...
The male will clear a spot in the sand and the female will lay the eggs there, or if you have pots they will do this inside pots as well. After the female lays the eggs, the male will come in and fertilize the eggs and then the female will pick them back up and begin the incubation process .
 

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As exactly what Andrew said.
 
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