This is going to sounds nuts, but hear me out.
I got a beautiful tiger oscar, Mr. Wiggles, about 4-5 years ago as a rescue. He was stunted and sick when I took him in, but quickly recovered and grew when he got a new 75 gallon tank. Between 6 months to a year after I got him, I decided to move my ob peacock, Mr. Squiggles, in with him. While I'm aware that these are not species that would normally be housed together, I wanted more room for Squiggles, and they became the best of friends.
For a couple of years, the fish lived together peacefully with no problems or unusual events. I left for vacation in late December of 2015 or 2016, and returned in early January. A family friend cared for my fish while I was away. When I returned, I quickly noticed small fry hiding in the corner of the tank. I called up the lady who was caring for them right away, and she insisted that she didn't notice and was not responsible for the baby fish.
I decided to leave the fish in the tank rather than try to separate them. After a couple days, I noticed that they were disappearing. I was able to net one of the fry. I kept it in a breeder net, assuming Wiggles or Squiggles was eating them. The fish escaped through a small hole in the net that was most likely created by Wiggles/Squiggles, and I can only assume it was eaten.
I posted about this on FishLore at the time, and people didn't believe me. They thought that I must have had a prank pulled on me, and that there's no way these fish could produce offspring together. The only theory they seemed to see as possible was that Squiggles (peacock) was a hermaphrodite. I had nothing to show for proof besides photos of the fry, which looked most like young peacocks.
After the fry were gone, I figured it was a strange fluke. Years went by, and I didn't take note of any fry or unusual activity. This all changed a couple of weeks ago.
I had to make a big move. My 75 gallon aquarium plus Wiggles and Squiggles had to be moved to my new house about 40 minutes away. Moving the tank was hard enough, but I'm sure it was absolutely traumatic for my fish. Mr. Wiggles thrashed about in his bucket for hours, and was all scraped up when I put him back in his home. Squiggles took a much calmer approach. The tank maintained its cycle, and Wiggles healed quickly. They had no lasting complications.
I have fed my fish all sorts of things over the years. In general, they have Cichlid Gold as a staple, supplemented by live crickets, fruits and veggies, frozen shrimp or krill, feeders that I raise, and the occasional thawed pinkie mouse. When I moved them, I bought a jar of freeze dried krill as a treat. This became their favorite treat, and Squiggles began to get noticeably fatter. I assumed it was bloat from the freeze dried food, but he swam normally and was not constipated.
The fish began doing something that I noted had taken place around the time of their last breeding. They cleared a large flat space in the sand, and moved all of the plastic plants to one side of the aquarium. This led me to believe that Squiggles may just be plump with eggs, and that he might possibly produce offspring again.
It was yesterday that I caught all the action and discovered what was really going on. Over the course of the day, Wiggles would lay down in the sand or the cleared spots, and Squiggles would position himself near his rear fin. Wiggles would twitch his tail rapidly, and Squiggles would do a little dance near it. When Wiggles got up again, I realized that he (SHE!!!) had been expelling eggs. Squiggles was apparently fertilizing them, then picking them up in his mouth (but not chewing, thank goodness). This happened a couple more times, but Squiggles didn't get every single egg. I'm assuming his mouth got full of the large oscar eggs! He did get ALMOST all of them. He is not eating now, which is clearly a good sign.
The best part? I caught it on photo and video. Thank goodness for iPhones! No one can claim it's a prank now! Please observe the photos below and tell me what you think. I'll make sure to continue posting updates throughout the process.
Fry from a few years ago:
Just Squiggles and Wiggles (sorry for reflection):
Squiggles gets fat:
An egg he didn't grab:
I have more photos and videos featuring Squiggles dancing over Wiggles and scooping up the eggs, as well as photos showing the penis(?) extending from Squiggles. They're a weird iPhone format that isn't compatible with my older MacBook, so I'll get them uploaded as soon as I have access to a computer I can convert them on! Thank you for reading, and I'd love to hear your input/ideas!