From Jeff Snyder@1:345/3777 to All on Sat Jul 3 17:16:00 2010
Within the world of fish, different techniques are used to produce young.
Most tropical fish in the aquarium hobby can be divided into two groups: egg-layers and mouth-brooders. While many egg-layers will lay their eggs on
a smooth, flat surface such as a rock, a plant frond, a glass pane, etc.,
and leave them there to incubate to maturity, other fish -- such as many species of cichlids -- will suck the fertilized eggs into their mouth, where they will proceed to incubate them.
Being as I have the most experience with mouth-brooding African Cichlids, I will be discussing those in this short article.
Generally-speaking, mouth-brooding female African Cichlids incubate their
eggs in their throat pouch for roughly three weeks. As the eggs continue to develop, the female's throat will become more extended, and you will notice that she is constantly performing a type of chewing motion. What she is actually doing is rotating the eggs so that they are properly oxygenated.
Her breathing may also become more labored during the incubation period, as that is a big load to be carrying in her throat.
Near the very end of this three-week period, the female will be very thin,
due to the fact that, in most cases, she has not eaten during that entire
time. But don't worry about that. They are created to endure such a long
fast, and they will repeat this same reproduction cycle over and over again during their life time. For example, my oldest female mbuna has spawned
eleven times since June of 2009. Being as she spawns every 30-40 days on average, this means that she only eats two weeks out of every five weeks.
Near the very end of the incubation period, in the final day or two, a
female mouth-brooding cichlid may begin to release a few of the fry, only to suck them back into her mouth again, especially at night. She may also spit
out the fry which didn't develop properly and have died.
However, by the end of the third week -- but sometimes a little before
that, and sometimes a few days later than that -- she will finally give it
up and release all of her fry, come what may, at which time she will begin
to gorge herself with food, in preparation for the next spawning cycle.
While some aquarists like to harvest the eggs or the fry from the female's mouth -- a practice called "stripping" -- in order to hopefully save as many fry as possible from other hungry mouths in the aquarium, I personally do
not engage in this practice, although I did early on when I first began to raise cichlids a number of years ago. I now view "stripping" as being both unnatural, as well as extremely stressful on the fish. In short, insofar as
my mbuna tank is concerned, like quite a few other aquarists, I have adopted
a policy of the "survival of the fittest".
While some people may find this to be a cold-hearted approach, please
consider that if our fish were living in the wild, this is exactly what
would happen; which is why in nature, so many species have so many young. It
is a law of averages. Only some will survive. So it is my view that unless
one is a serious commercial breeder who is intent on making a lot of money
from their fish, why should we try to change what our Creator has apparently ordained as a law of life? It is the Natural Order of things.
To add a degree of balance to my previous statements, please note that while
I started off with five mbunas in April of 2009 -- one of which turned out
to be a female -- my mbuna tank now holds over two dozen juvenile and adult fish. Except for the four original males and the one female, all of the rest were born in the tank to my dominant male -- Bully Boy -- and his mate --
Mama Mbuna. My aquarium is a pretty sight to see, and I have no complaints.
Finally, allow me to add that, apparently, it is common for young, inexperienced female mbunas to lose their first spawn or two; at least this
is what I have observed in my own mbuna tank. They eventually get it right,
and incubate their eggs to full development, and the final release of their fry, at which time the bulge in their throat will obviously disappear.
I hope that the above information has been useful to you.
Jeff Snyder, SysOp - Armageddon BBS Visit us at endtimeprophecy.org port 23 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your Download Center 4 Mac BBS Software & Christian Files. We Use Hermes II