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I have a 2-inch or so (probably hybrid) yellow lab in a 60 gallon tank that I set up in February. She's held unsuccessfully twice in the past, so I've been keeping an eye on her, hoping I'd get to see the next spawn.

Yesterday, I noticed that she was kind of hanging out in a little space in my stacked flagstone, circling around every now and then and kind of chasing everyone else away. Then I noticed that she had a little bump in her anal region and she was looking just a little bit 'chinny' and I wondered if I might have missed the spawn. I kept watching, and every now and then she'd leave her little cave and go find another yellow lab, and they'd circle each other slowly--but not in an agressive way. They'd do this little dance, and she'd go back to her cave alone to continue the routine. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw her pick something up off the rock and started wondering whether she'd drop an egg and then pick it up again. Then I realized that what she was doing was laying eggs and picking them up without a male to do the fertilizing.

It's like she's got the general idea, but hasn't quite figured out the part about having the male there to help her out.

Then, as I was writing this, I got up to see if she was still holding eggs (she is) and lo and behold, a pair of my rusties are spawning! They've picked out a flat rock and are taking turns nuzzling each other; I did see one egg laid and picked up by the female, so I know it's a real spawn. Funny, the male is one of the smallest rusties I have--probably only about 1 1/2 inches total length.

The interesting thing is, one of my syno. petricolas just swims up and gets into the middle of it, and they don't seem to notice. I guess he's looking for an omelette breakfast.
 

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Rusties tend to spawn at a smaller size than most mbuna for some reason.

It may be that you don't have any male yellow labs, or your males just aren't mature enough to realize what's going on! I'm really surprised another male hasn't stepped up to bat for him, though.

Kim
 
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