Lake Malawi Species • Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

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Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

Postby staura » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:05 am

Hi, I want to raise up some fry and lately I have had two females holding who both spit or ate the eggs. I don't want to strip and tumble eggs but wish to allow the females to spit in a separate holding tank.

So, a couple of questions I want to ask those with more experience:

1. Both females are first time mothers, how long normally before they learn to hold the eggs for the duration? They are around 8cm now, labidochromis hongi and cynotilapia afra.
2. Anything I can do to help them? First female I put in a separate tank after about a week and she held until about three weeks. The second female is in a mixed tank and was never removed but spat in just over a week. Next time, should I take out the female straight away or wait as long as possible, or doesn't matter?
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Re: Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

Postby Fogelhund » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:33 am

1. It is quite common for first time mothers to not hold to term.
2. In a separate aquarium, it is best to make the mother feel as comfortable as possible. Hiding spots, caves... somewhere she can hide, will help. New mothers will often spit, even when you chase them around the tank and net them. Perhaps attempting to catch them, as soon as you turn on the lights will help some. Less stress, less likely to spit.
3. Even if you do everything right, some females take two, to five times to learn... if ever... but most get it.
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Re: Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

Postby staura » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:33 am

Thanks, will try to improve the holding tank so it's as comfortable as possible for the next female that's holding.
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:06 am
Location: Norway

Re: Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

Postby punman » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:35 pm

I agree with Fogelhund. My theory is that eggs disappear because a) the female has not figured it out yet, or b) eggs not fertile.
If problem is (b) then where the female is housed will not make a difference.
If problem is (a) then she often just needs a few times to learn.

I do not think stress from other fish is too much of a problem unless you only have one female of that species. I do wonder about temptation to eat so sometimes no one gets fed in the tank for three days if it is a first-time holder. That would be one advantage of isolating the female but I find some females spit when catching/netting them and even if they spit in the net some will not pick up the eggs anyways. Sometimes to me, the female alone in a 20 gallon tank appears more stressed than when in her bigger tank with tank mates.
135 Gallon: Frontosa 5 Wild Caught Mpimbwe
90 Gallon: Cyrtocara moorii, Labidochromis caeruleus
90 Gallon: Cyprichromis Mamalesa, Enantiopus Kilesa
10 & 20 Gallon: Fry Tanks
Fish tanks - betcha can't have just one!
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 4:59 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Re: Preventing females from spitting/eating eggs

Postby staura » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:34 am

Good news, first female actually spit fry! They were just so tiny and hiding that I didn't see them until now. How cute they are! It really adds another dimension to this hobby.

@punman, yes, I was also thinking that removing her would cause some stress, not just from the catching but that she's suddenly all alone in a new environment. Think I will wait at least a week before removing any new females holding. Would also save me the trouble of catching her if the eggs are not even fertile. Will also try stopping feeding as you say, it did seem like the one who spit was getting hungrier until she couldn't resist anymore ;) but that's just guessing.
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:06 am
Location: Norway

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