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Paratilapia sp. East Coast small spot (Bleeker 1868) - VII

An article by Francesco Zezza and George J. Reclos

11/04/2003 : Yes, it is growing.. Measuring (at last) 11 cm in length, the largest fish in the small (110 liter) tank. Some spawning attempts with the largest females (sized about 8 cm) have been observed although without any success for the moments. During spawning the aggression of both the male and the female increases dramatically but - probably due to the heavy vegetation - there have been no casualties up to now despite the extremely small dimensions of the tank. Needless to say, new tanks (150 liters each) are on their way.

18/04/2003 : The male just killed the female he was courting with. I don't know what the reason was but I observed that immediately after he formed a pair with one of the other females in the tank. During the courting process all the other fish remain hidden in the dense vegetation barely coming out to eat. In the photo above, the female is the one at the right. During spawning the female becomes darker than the male.

24/04/2003 : Finally, the second pair made it. They laid their eggs and the female started fanning them almost continuously. Every now and then it transferred them to new places (always harder to see) while the male was patrolling the tank to make sure nothing swims in it. During the whole process the female remained darker than the male. Unfortunately I hoped for too much. Instead of removing a large portion of the eggs and hatch them artificially I trusted the female to carry the whole process to the end. However, after 24 hours the pair decided to get a snack and ate all the eggs. No matter what I learned many things. First, Sam Bacchini's report about spawning them in a 70 liter tank was accurate. Second, size doesn't matter - you can't rely on it to sex your fish. Third, I do have a pair and four, I will not let them care for their eggs next time. Instead I will remove a large part of them and hatch them myself. I have heard that removing all the eggs may result in serious (even fatal) harassment of the female. Let's see when (and IF) they spawn again. In the photo you can see the female taking care of its eggs during that first spawning.

The book entitled "The Endemic Cichlids of Madagascar" by Patrick de Rham and Jean - Claude Nourissat is now available in English. Click here to find out how to order and here to read the back cover page of the English edition.

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