Lake Malawi Species • Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

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Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:46 am

So I have a golden zebra that last hatched about 50 fry, all which are now juvenile delinquents.
She’s been in isolation to avoid more fry but she is definitely holding eggs in her mouth since yesterday. I know this from the fact that her jaw is huge again and also she last ate 2 days ago and won’t touch food anymore despite being a voracious eater.

I just threw her into the main tank and the suspect dad is doing the usual shaking dance around her, but is it too late to fertilize at this point? Do the eggs need to be fertilized as soon as they come out of her belly?

Any help would be truly appreciated and I promise to post photos, here on of her in a cave with the suspect dad outside. The angle doesn’t show her big jaw, but I know she’s holding.

Thanks.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby DJRansome » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:48 am

It is too late, but why do you want 50 more golden zebras?
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:25 pm

Thanks for your reply. For the sake of knowledge, could you please explain why it’s too late? What is the time window for fertilizing the eggs, from the time they are laid? The breeding pair have been doing their mating ritual for 24 hours now and she’s still mouth holding. I know this is no guarantee that they are fertilized, I just want to understand why it’s too late.

As far as wanting another 50. I didn’t really want more which is why she was isolated, but once I saw she was holding eggs I thought it would be a pity to waste them.

Anyways thanks for your kind reply and please share any further knowledge if you are able to.



Attached is a better view of her jaw.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:34 am

The eggs are usually fertilized during the circles being made when the eggs are laid. Female drops an egg...male circles over with the sperm...female picks up the egg with everything needed for fertilization.

The chances that a mom fish with a mouthful of eggs already will do the circles again with a male days later...no eggs being laid and no eggs being picked up by the mom...are negligible.

Is she participating in the circling...or just trying to escape?
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:57 am

Hi DJ. Thanks so much for the detailed explanation.
The suspected male who is also the alpha of the tank did lots of circle dancing and shaking around her the first 24 hours.
Now she’s mostly hiding and getting chased by other tank mates but she used to be the alpha before so she can hold her ground. I’ll probably move her back to her nursery tank if she still seems to be holding anything in about a week.

I also found one of your older posts with additional information on a similar question so I’ve learned a lot from you already.
Will update with any developments as they happen. As of now she’s still mouthing the eggs.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby sir_keith » Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:42 pm

I have never heard of an Mbuna female holding unfertilized eggs. Are you sure that she wasn't already holding when you moved her into the isolation tank (whenever that was)? If the eggs are not fertilized, they will quickly become rancid from adventitious fungal infection, and that would constitute a singularly unpleasant mouthful that she would not hold. But just for the sake of argument, let's say she did have a mouthful of unfertilized eggs; in that case, the chances of any male fertilizing them are nil, because ejaculation is triggered by a complex array of cues that occur during the spawning process. No process, no fertilization. And as for the circling, pseudo-spawning rituals happen all the time in cichlids, even between same-sex twosomes.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:24 pm

We usually suggest you wait 7 days after holding to separate the female because if they are unfertilized she will eventually spit or swallow them. Lone females can lay/pick up eggs on their own, but usually within that 7 days, what sir_keith describes takes place.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:30 am

Sir Keith and DJ thanks for your guidance.
Sir, yes she is definitely holding and as soon as I can get a good photo of her mouth I will post it.
She has been in isolation for 3 months and eating voraciously until a few days ago when I noticed the mouthing and jaw bulging. I put her immediately into the main tank but I get it, the chance is practically nil. Still I’ll let Mother Nature and the miracle it sometimes gives to make the final decision. I’ll wait at least as you indicated and may even leave her in there as now I realize I probably do want more fry. My kids and I have 7 tanks already what’s one more.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby sir_keith » Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:01 am

Lisa83 wrote: ...My kids and I have 7 tanks already what’s one more...


Great attitude! Good luck! =D>
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:43 pm

Golden Zebra?

These are M. lombardoi aka "kenyi"
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:29 am

They’re both M. Lombardi? (On the first photo)
Is that totally different from Golden Zebra? The pet shop had them tagged as golden zebras (the gray looking one at least).
Thanks for bringing that up, I’ll have to take a closer look and compare with my cichlid atlas.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Lisa83 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:44 am

Update: mom has swallowed/ dumped the eggs, as both DJ and Sir wisely predicted.
For what little scientific value it may have, she was definitely holding for a total of 4 days.
Here’s a photo of dad with one of the fry from the last batch, circa 2 months ago.
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Re: Golden Zebra Holding Eggs, too late to fertilize?

Postby Fogelhund » Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:24 pm

Lisa83 wrote:They’re both M. Lombardi? (On the first photo)
Is that totally different from Golden Zebra? The pet shop had them tagged as golden zebras (the gray looking one at least).
Thanks for bringing that up, I’ll have to take a closer look and compare with my cichlid atlas.


Yes, they are both M. lombardoi. Both males and females start out life blue, females stay blue, males turn yellow. Females aren't always fully blue though, some dominant females are known to partially change colour.

I don't even really know what a "Golden Zebra" is though, seems to be a made up name, that isn't commonly used anywhere.

Best of luck with them.
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