General African Cichlid Discussion • OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

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OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby wigglesandsquiggles » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:15 pm

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!

-Korina :)
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:25 pm
Location: Oregon

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Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby Mr Chromedome » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:47 pm

The egg in the photo is a Peacock egg. Oscar eggs are very small and adhesive, they stick to surfaces.You say both fish are going side by side when the eggs are laid. While it is very odd for the Oscar to get involved as it is, it is the Peacock that is laying the eggs. If you get any fry, it would verify that you have a self fertilizing hermaphroditic Peacock.There is zero chance of genetic compatibility between the two species.

A hermaphrodite is quite rare, but it has been documented in a few species of Cichlid.
Happiness may be the door to Heaven, but Pleasure is not the Key. - attributed to Confucius
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Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby BC in SK » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:59 pm

You need to post the video.
Not unheard of for cichlids to be hermaphrodite and self-fertilize, though it's not common at all. Particularly Malawi cichlids that are kept alone, there are a few instances where they have been shown to be able to reproduce.
I've had oscars lay eggs well over 20 times in the community tank (and successfully bred them once kept by themselves in their own tank). The last picture does not look like an oscar egg to me. I would need to see that coming right out of an oscar to beleive that is an oscar egg. There really not shaped that round, not that color and they are adhesive so they stick to a flat surface. Never seen an egg come out of any substrate spawner that wasn't deposited onto a flat surface. Bred many mouth brooders. When my acei bred, there was so many eggs they were going all over the place. That egg looks identical. Looks like an egg from a Malawi mouth brooder. As well, there is no known case of any male Malawi mouthbrooder incubating eggs. Only females do this (or the odd hermaphrodite).
Post the video. If it shows eggs coming out of the oscar and the peackock picking them up and incubating them......and you get fry out of it, then that would show that you have crossed thes fish. Otherwise, the peacock fry is most likely the result of your peacock 'selfing' (having the ability to produce both egg and sperm).
BC in SK
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Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby noki » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:17 am

When did Squiggles get fat in the above pic? Squiggles got fat because he/she had eggs? The eggs have to be from the OB Peacock. Check to see if her/his mouth is still full. A male, as said, does not pick up eggs, and Oscars do not drop single big eggs.

The Oscar is probably male and may have played along out of instinct and may be very confused in isolation. Cool that they coexist like an odd couple.

If the eggs are self fertilized, that is very rare in itself. Maybe the OB Peacock was dosed with hormones when young, which is a common practice, so she started female with ovaries but developed male characteristics?
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Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby wigglesandsquiggles » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:50 am

noki wrote:When did Squiggles get fat in the above pic? Squiggles got fat because he/she had eggs?

It started about 3 weeks ago. I figured he/she was preparing for the couple weeks of not eating to come. Squiggles is still carrying the eggs.

Edit: also, they didn’t drop single eggs. They came out in large spurts or maybe 10-15, and Squiggles quickly scooped them up. That was just one that he didn’t grab. The photo probably makes it look out of proportion, sorry!
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:25 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby XpensiveWino » Fri May 03, 2019 11:52 pm

Well... What's the update??
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:44 pm
Location: Lake Lure, NC

Re: OB Peacock Bred with Oscar (AGAIN!)

Postby VaranusPanoptes » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:53 am

Parthanogenesis perhaps?
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