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Altolamprologus and Their Fry
by Russ Fairburn (aka: Razzo)


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Identifying male and female Altolamps

Determining the sex of young Altolamps can be confusing, but there are some physical signs that can be seen without removing the fish from the tank. Male vents are usually thin (pencil tip thin) and dark in coloration. Female tubes are usually more rounded than the males, and vary in color depending on the variant.

Water Organism Fin Underwater Fish

Fin Organism Terrestrial plant Fish Marine biology

A) Male vent appears thin and dark.
B) The vents on both of these female compressiceps appear as "dropped tubes"

Females preparing to spawn will claim a spawning site. In my tanks, the spawning site was always a shell. After the female has claimed the shell and after courtship with the male, females will lay their eggs deep within the shell (egg quantities usually vary anywhere from 20 to 150).

Natural material Terrestrial animal Shell Molluscs Snails and slugs

A wild female calvus (Black Congo White Pearl) claiming and protecting the chosen spawning site - a Tonna Tessalata shell.

The female will disappear into shell and the male will assume a vertical position at the mouth of the shell and begin the fertilization process. The female will use her fins to fan the eggs, ensuring that the male's contribution to the process is delivered to the eggs residing deeper within the shell. Fanning the eggs also helps to oxygenate them. She will continue to do this during the incubation period.

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