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'Haplochromis' thereuterion
by Greg Steeves (Gas)
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Our group consists of two males and four females. These were presented as fry from friends at the Haplochromis Association in France. These young were 1 inch (2.3cm) when received and grew quickly without any losses or injuries of any sort. As the largest male matured, during the course of "flashing" (displaying to females) he would chase prospective mates about the aquarium without violence or even so much as a fin being torn was ever observed. The staple diet food was a flake mixture of basic, spirulina, and brine shrimp in equal amounts. As the fish got closer to adulthood, live mosquito larvae was provided. This seemed to be the push needed to provoke spawning activity.

As two female 'H.' thereuterion began to become noticeably plump, the largest male stepped up his display. He would shake equally to both females only to seemingly get frustrated and chase them throughout the aquarium. Within a few days of becoming noticeably swollen, each of the ripe females had an ovipositor protruding. Shortly after this (within hours) both females were brooding eggs. The actual act of spawning occurred in an open corner on the sandy substrate of the aquarium with no pit excavation of any kind observed. The circling and egg laying lasted for 20 minutes at which time the brooding female was left unbothered to brood her larvae. After 19 days of mouth brooding, the eyes of the fry were clearly visible through the thin layer of skin covering the buccal cavity. Once released (first witnessed release occurred at 21 days) the large elongated fry foraged along the bottom in close proximity to their mother. At this time they were collected and placed in a bare 10 gallon (38 liter) grow out tank with a mature air driven sponge filter. Growth has been rapid and the fry, on a diet of crushed flake, are hardy.

It will be interesting to see what kind of interaction the two males will have once the smaller of the two matures. Thus far there has been no conspecific aggression among and between the sexes. Next experiment will be to see what becomes of any fry released by a brooding female in a colony of adults. Perhaps, like Lipochromis sp. "Matumbi hunter", 'H.' thereuterion will emerge as a communal species.

References:
Seehausen, Ole; 1996; "Lake Victoria Rock Cichlids"; Verduyn Cichlids;.

Originally published in The Lateral Line, the official publication of the Hill Country Cichlid Club.

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