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FAQ – Breeding
How do I get my African cichlids to breed?
From making a living as a cichlid breeder I have learned one thing, breeding African cichlids is fairly simple. All you need is a male fish, a female fish, good food and clean fresh water. The only thing you need to do is watch them. All species show some form of parental care for both eggs and fry, often nurturing free-swimming fry until they are weeks or months old. Most Malawi cichlids are mouth brooders. The male Malawi cichlid makes a nest, usually in the form of a depression in the substrate (sand) in one of the tank’s corners. He lures the female by performing a vibrating dance for her in full colour and with all his fins erect. Blank Separator Female Cichlid with Eggs
The female Malawi cichlid lays her eggs in the nest and then picks them up in her mouth while the male and female circles each other over the nest in a circular vibrating dancing pattern. The eggs are fertilised in the female’s mouth when she attempts to pick up the small yellow egg spots of the anal fin of the male mistaken them for eggs. The eggs hatch in the female’s mouth after about two to three weeks and she keeps the fry in her mouth for a further week or two. During this entire period she does not eat anything. After the fry hatch she will let them out of her mouth near some cover for short periods of time, but as soon as she spots danger they are all back in mom’s mouth. Tanganyika cichlids are mostly egg layers like Julidochromis Marlieri, but some species are also mouth brooders like Tropheus Moorii. The egg layers will lay their eggs inside a structure like a cave and the male and female will guard it against other fish. The eggs also hatch in about two to three weeks and the fry stay in the nest for an extended period of time. When they get too big and start to pose a threat to the new fry, the parents will kick them out. Victoria cichlids are also mostly mouth brooders. To be a true cichlid breeder and breed them properly there are some simple rules that I operate by. The first and most important rule is to keep species separated. Mixing species that are prone to interbreed will produce hybrid fish and most serious hobbyists do not like hybrids. Some hybrids are a result of accidental interbreeding when a male fish of one species accidentally winds up in a breeding tank of another species. A lot of hybrids are the result trying to breed fish in a community tank that has two or more interbreeding species in the same tank. There have also been some hybrids produced on purpose to enhance the colour of a specimen or produce a new colour for the specific species like the Aulonocara Firefish. The second rule is to keep your species bloodline fresh. This is done by introducing new males from the same species but different bloodlines into your breeding stock.
Female Cichlid with Fry Blank Separator When you breed new a batch of fry that you want to keep for new breeding stock, keep all the females and sell off all the male fish. Acquire a few new males from another source and introduce them to the females. This is now your breeding stock for the next couple years until death do you part. The hardest part of breeding African cichlids as a hobby, is selling them. A lot of the most beautiful species are rather dull when they are young, but become very colourful when they mature for example the Aulonocara and Protomelas species.
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Cichlid Warehouse is one of the biggest African cichlid breeders in South Africa and specializes in breeding and raising cichlid species from Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria as well as a few other species of cichlid from all over the world.
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Cichlid Warehouse FAQ Breeding