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Friday, August 29, 2008

Estherae fry at last

Today at dawn, I switched on the tank lights and I saw the estherae fry. There must have been atleast ten at that time beside the anubias plant. The mother was in a hurry and took all of her babies back into the protection of her mouth.

I filled in the tub with a little water from the fry tank where I had the holding estherae female all the while. It has been over 3 weeks since she started holding and all the while she has not eaten one bit. I decided enough was enough. I moved the female to the tub. This was going to be my maternity ward and I was going to deliver the babies myself.

The technique - as suggested by some members on IAH and a video of "How to stripe fry from holding mouth brooders" that was available on cichlid-forum. I held the fish with my left hand enclosed and with my right I pressed against the mouth and jaw and lightly applied pressure it she spit out the fry. Wow I was so tensed and once it was over I was so happy.

The fry are back to the fry tank and the female will remain in the tub for atleast two weeks and recuperate and gain some strength.

Picture of the fry


For more pictures click here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally some convict babies

Finally the regular convicts paired up. Last week 14th Aug, I observed the convict couple clearing a rock and excavating the gravel beneath to form a cichlid mount kind of structure. I had to go to office and I knew I was going to miss the action, since I saw the breeding tube of the female out.

When I came back there were eggs on the flat stone. I was delighted but not sure if there are fertile or they will also become white like all the previous spawns. Anyways the next 3 days will tell me, I spent Aug 15 the Friday and weekend observing the eggs and taking a few pictures.

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However on Sunday Aug 17 I saw a couple of eggs shivering and the parents all excited. But I had to be out of home and when I cam back in the evening I saw that all the eggs were gone and the female was under the stone into the cave guarding fiercely. The male was doing a sentry duty at the perimeter. Also the pair took up half the tank and cornered the other fishes to the other side. I knew that I had a successful hatch. But no sign of the wrigglers yet.

It was another five days to the fry to be free swimming and this happened on Friday 22nd August. I worked from home to catch all the action and the excitement. I came to realize how miserable I am in taking pictures and the only one that came out manageable was this one

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There was hundreds of babies and this has got me all pumped up, I have my microworm cultures in the ready and started feeding the fry from the next day. Few more pictures of the fry.

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Pradeep made a observation that if it is his male in the pair then it is better to separate the fry since the male has eaten the fry previously. I have separated half the fry in a grow out tub and trying to suck out the rest, but the parents are proving to be real aggressive. They bite my hand.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hands full

One female esterae holding. Thats in the second week. Still seems to be active but not eating one bit.

One female platy with pop eye and torn fins, this I am treating with raised temperature and salt and aeration and hoping it will get back to normal.

One female convict, the biggest female that I have separated to reduce to aggression to couple of new males that I got from Pradeep. (BTW a big thanks to Pradeep Simhan, I have been on the convict male hunt for quite a long time now!)