Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species • Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

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Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby BC in SK » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:30 am

Finally removed a holding female Zebra obliquidens (Astatotilapia latifasciata) and placed her in my 29 gal. about 2 weeks ago. She spit 2 fry out in the net when I caught her but promptly picked them back up when placed her in the new tank. Anyways, for the last 4 days, she has been releasing her fry to feed in the algae in the corner of the tank and then shortly after, taking them back up in her mouth. The lone tank mate is a small albino Chinese algae eater (CAE) which she vigorously attacks when the fry are outside of her mouth, and keeps it at bay on the opposite side of the tank!
I am well aware that many mouthbrooders can have extended fry care, though this is the first time I have witnessed it.
For the last 10 years I've removed dozens upon dozens of holding female mbuna and placed them into their own small tank. Not once has any of them spit their eggs/fry after being chased and caught with a net. But once they release their fry, that's it. They don't take them back in their mouth nor protect them.
Many years ago, I bred Oreochromis mossambicus a number of times. Bred the regular type as well as 2 distinctly different 'gold morphs' (that might be hybrids from the aquaculture industry??) at different times. When I caught the females, they always spit all their eggs into the net but then would promptly take back the eggs from the net, when placed in their new tank. Like my mbuna today, once they release their fry, that was it. From what I read, extended care is fairly common with these types of mouthbrooders, though I certainly never witnessed it.
Is extended care the common behavior of Astatotilapia latifasciata? Common in other "Victorian-types"? I know it can occur with some of the larger Malawi haps but do mbuna ever do this?
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby DJRansome » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:02 pm

I've had all types of mouthbrooders pick up fry when spit in the net but never in and out during 4 days. Truthfully the fry don't seem the least bit interested in going back, no matter how frantically Mom tries to get them back.
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby BC in SK » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:47 pm

DJRansome wrote:I've had all types of mouthbrooders pick up fry when spit in the net

I might have some what confused things by bringing up spitting eggs/fry into a net after being caught. Just trying to note some differences between mouthbrooders. IME, Mozambiques always spit their eggs, every time. Mbuna have never done that with me. Mind you, mbuna are so confident and almost fearless. Since I haven't bred mozambiques since the 1980's, I haven't seen spitting eggs for some time and I was a little surprised that the zebra obliquidens spit fry into the net, though it was only 2. That was 2 weeks ago, and the fry were fairly large with a big yolk sac on the belly.
DJRansome wrote: Truthfully the fry don't seem the least bit interested in going back, no matter how frantically Mom tries to get them back.

Yeah, that is the difference with these fry. The're in a shoal. She hovers above them and tends them just as a substrate spawner would! Then after a while, she picks them back in her mouth one at a time. While the fry are out of her mouth, is she ever protective! She takes a swim on guard patrol, and has the little CAE in the front top right corner. That is the only place it's allowed to be. Territorial, even though the CAE is of no predatory threat to fry, what so ever. ( and yes, I keep a CAE and/or small pleco in my fry tanks with pretty much every batch. They are a potential threat to substrate spawner eggs/wrigglers but are completely ill-equiped to eat free swimming fry).
I think more then one breeding strategy exists with in most cichlid species. Particular conditions and/or the genetic lineage of the fish might favor one way or another.
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby BC in SK » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:00 pm

I found a link that also notes extended fry care in zebra obliquidens. According to this, they may even protect their fry for months!http://www.hillcountrycichlidclub.com/articles/Astatotilapia%20latifasciata.pdf
Yesterday, the fry were outside of her mouth for most of the day. About 20 minutes before the lights went out, the fry were clamoring to get into her mouth. On the first occasion she didn't take them back but then minutes later, when the fry did the same, she sucked them all back up for the night.
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby jcarson » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:54 pm

Yes I know this is an old thread, but I picked up sextuplets zebra obliquidens a few months back a one of them is holding today. Should I wait a few days and strip? Or leave her in this mixed mbuna tank? I am interested in the fry but look forward to observing this maternal behavior spoke of in this thread.
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby BC in SK » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:44 pm

jcarson wrote:Yes I know this is an old thread, but I picked up sextuplets zebra obliquidens a few months back a one of them is holding today. Should I wait a few days and strip? Or leave her in this mixed mbuna tank? I am interested in the fry but look forward to observing this maternal behavior spoke of in this thread.

If you want to save fry, you'd either have to remove her and place her in her own tank ....or strip at an appropriate time and incubate in a "egg tumbler" if they are still immature. You definitely won't witness extended brood care in the community tank nor is it likely many fry would survive if she ends up spitting in the tank.
An update as to what happened since my last post on Christmas day: The CAE was removed later that night to my 15 gal. and did not make it. The signs were there but I failed to act soon enough; I really didn't think she would end up killing it. And that was the last of her taking the brood back into her mouth so i think having another fish in the tank was probably key to the behavior in this situation . I think it's more likely to witness it when the mother has something to defend from but on the other hand, in a community tank there would be too much for a holding mother to defend from as well as not having an already established territory. I've got 1 male and 10 females in my 125 gal. At any given time, there is usually at least one or 2 females holding. Definitely no extended care in the community tank nor has any fry survived in the tank after being spit. When I want more zebra obliquidens I will remove a holding female to my 29 or 15 gal, and maybe I'll get lucky and witness the same again. But for now I got plenty of them with 11 in my 125 gal and over 15 juvies in my 33 gal (soon to go to my 90 gal when they are large enough).
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Re: Zebra Obliquidens extended brood care

Postby jcarson » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:58 pm

BC in SK wrote:
jcarson wrote:Yes I know this is an old thread, but I picked up sextuplets zebra obliquidens a few months back a one of them is holding today. Should I wait a few days and strip? Or leave her in this mixed mbuna tank? I am interested in the fry but look forward to observing this maternal behavior spoke of in this thread.

If you want to save fry, you'd either have to remove her and place her in her own tank ....or strip at an appropriate time and incubate in a "egg tumbler" if they are still immature. You definitely won't witness extended brood care in the community tank nor is it likely many fry would survive if she ends up spitting in the tank.
An update as to what happened since my last post on Christmas day: The CAE was removed later that night to my 15 gal. and did not make it. The signs were there but I failed to act soon enough; I really didn't think she would end up killing it. And that was the last of her taking the brood back into her mouth so i think having another fish in the tank was probably key to the behavior in this situation . I think it's more likely to witness it when the mother has something to defend from but on the other hand, in a community tank there would be too much for a holding mother to defend from as well as not having an already established territory. I've got 1 male and 10 females in my 125 gal. At any given time, there is usually at least one or 2 females holding. Definitely no extended care in the community tank nor has any fry survived in the tank after being spit. When I want more zebra obliquidens I will remove a holding female to my 29 or 15 gal, and maybe I'll get lucky and witness the same again. But for now I got plenty of them with 11 in my 125 gal and over 15 juvies in my 33 gal (soon to go to my 90 gal when they are large enough).


Thank you.
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