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I am planning on starting a small group of 5 yellow lads hoping that I will end up with a decent M/F ratio in hopes of breeding them. I have heard that some cichlids may eat even while holding. My plan was to strip the females after about a week and place the eggs in tumblers since I didn't want my females going 3 weeks or more without eating. If it is actually true that they will eat while holding, I may rethink my plan and let them spit on their own. Does anybody have any experience with their females eating while holding?
 

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Most don't eat but some do. However, I would not strip because you want them to eat. Especially not after a week.

I let them spit naturally, but if you want to strip go for day 18.
 

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You are worrying too much, holding is normal behavior. Not sure why so many people start out with ideas about always stripping mothers and even egg tumblers. These are common, easy to breed cichlids.

What you should worry about is water quality and having sufficient tank space for holding mothers or fry. And you want good quality pure fish to breed. Females do get stressed out from repeatedly breeding or getting hassled by males, their life can be rough. Holding females do seem to sometimes try to sneak small food pieces sometimes but it's hard to tell if they get much actually.
 
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