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Paracyprichromis nigripinnis
by Diane Tennison
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Within no time - the smaller female was holding again. I watched her like a hawk! Ready to pull her at a moments notice if I felt that there was a concern. I don't have a tumbler - so I didn't want to pull them while they were still eggs. I was hoping to have some fry development. Again, the larger female also began holding within a week. By the end of week 1 with the larger female I had decided I would strip. The small female was still holding. I got my floating breeder box ready in my 10g fry tank. For some reason, I didn't do anything Friday night but decided to wait until Saturday, right before water changes. I woke up on Saturday morning to find the large female no longer holding! DAMNIT!! I quickly looked for the smaller female who would hang out on the other side of the tank from the rest of the group. She would hug the vertical face of a tall rock structure. She still had a bulge! I wasn't taking any chances. I was able to net her fairly easily and she quickly spit 5 perfectly formed fry! They were fully formed with just a small bit of egg sac remaining. I moved them to the breeder box and within about 5 days they were eating heartily on freeze-dried Cyclopeeze. They had the Paracyp shape but were pretty bland looking for several weeks. Then they began to take on the beautiful neon coloring of the adults.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to witness the actual spawning of this fish. However, I did notice the male attempting to lure the large female to his rocky area. I was fascinated by the fact that this fish does not behave at all like the Cyprichromis species when "dancing". The Cyprichromis male will meet a female in open water and turn his body almost vertically, vibrating the entire thing madly. He will almost float down through the water column will shaking and bending his body into a curve. The Paracyp male behaved quite differently. The female was in the lower portion of the tank, on the open sand bed. The male came out of his rocky area and swam towards the female. As he got close, he turned around so his tail was facing her and stopped briefly. Then he began swimming back to his rocky area but he was swaying his back half in a slow sweep. If she didn't immediately follow, he would stop, go back to her and start again. I have seen this behavior in my Opthalmotilapia ventralis.

I recently attended a talk by my hero Ad Konings. He was talking about Featherfins. He mentioned that they will do this slow sway behavior when they are attracting females. It is believed that they release a scent which they are "swooshing" in the female's direction so she knows he is the right species for her. I continue to watch my small colony and hopefully will get more babies. The 5 fry in the breeder box are growing larger by the day and are not shy (especially when I have the food). I highly recommend this beautiful fish to anyone who is looking for a peaceful addition to a Tang Community tank or a species only tank. Be careful to put them with other fish that are not too aggressive or rambunctious. The Paracyprichromis nigripinnis is a calm neighbor who can easily be the last one at the dinner table if your other inhabitants are significantly more aggressive. They like tall rockwork, preferable with open caves. I wouldn't really recommend putting them in a tank smaller than 3ft.

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

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