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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK.. so I have been thinking that my male afra was a little less agressive than I would have thought for the species... and that the cobalt blue tended to 'play' with the afra a lot... and my cobalt blue has been digging and redecorating my tank at alarming rates... But, all in all, my tank has been very very peaceful for the variety of fish I have in it, and my afra has been able to hold 'his' own.

Well I thought my one acei might have the first signs of Ich. So I attempted to raise the tank temperature, but saw the fish breathing too hard and lowered it back to 79 F. I have been treating the tank with Seachem ParaGuard daily for 6 days. And, I have slowly been increasing the temperature and currently it is 84 F.

Well yesterday morning I noticed, the afra's tummy was slightly larger and the area just behind the anus was swollen (for lack of a better way to describe it.) Then last night I went to feed them. Not only did the Afra not eat, but 'he' barely opens 'his' mouth to breath. Also, the afra does a very odd thing making waves under 'his' chin (I suspect rolling the eggs or something.) I am pretty sure 'he' is holding.

I have always kept male mbuna and so have not seen a female holding before, but I am pretty sure this is what is happening... But now I am totally at a loss for what to do.

First, I am pretty sure of who the daddy is (the cobalt zebra) and while I will not give the babies away to anyone to breed, I would love to keep a few and see what they will look like. Both mom and dad are gorgeous and a cobalt-afra hybrid could be gorgeous.

So, I am wondering how to go about this... Didn't want them, but am kinda excited now. I know there is a huge chance she will swallow them, but if she doesn't, what do I do. I would like to leave her in the tank, but what are the chances of any of the babies making it? I was considering putting her in a 10 gallon??? is that a good idea instead. Like I had said, I would like a few to grow, but the thought of having so many is a little overwelming. And, If I do leave the afra in the tank, at what point do I take it out to prevent future babies?

Also, I will stop treating with Seachem ParaGuard, but what about the medication already in there? Should I do a water change? And should I lower the temperature???

Any other help will be greatly appreciated. (I am not looking to get into a cull discussion though.)

Thanks in advance.

Oh, one more thing... How long can I expect her to hold for before the eggs hatch and before she spits the babies?
 

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Odds of a lone female holding to full term in an all male tank are slim to none.

If you do have ich in the tank, you need to complete the treatment.

She will hold 21-28 days before releasing the fry, but if she manages to do so in that tank, she may hold longer than that because there will be no safe place to release them. Most of them will be eaten in the main tank, but a few might be elusive enough to survive.

I would not leave a confirmed female in an all male tank, period. She will be continuously harrassed and very stressed.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Kim... I just can not bare to see such a sweet fish get beaten up.. She is really great and I am so sorry to loose her, but I guess I am looking for a new home for her. I just went and got a 10 gallon tank with cheap hood, light, heater, filter, and thermometer (not thrilled with the added unexpected expense).... Gonna put in some rocks, fake plants for the babies, gravel from my current tank, and water from my current tank. Anything else I need to do for her? Should I move her immediately or wait and if so how long? I am 99% sure she had the eggs yesterday, but not sure if I should mover her while they are still eggs or wait til they are baby fish??? Any idea how many babies she will have if she doesn't swallow them.

Once again, I am new to the holding thing, so would appreciate help. I have read the information in the Library, but I think personal experience and advice from personal experience goes a long way.

Thanks...
 

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Hi dont think this is the best thing to do but i left my fish which was holding in the main tank, till i could no longer see the little eggs in her mouth, and then strip the fry out and put them a holding net with gravel in the bottom so the bigger fish could not get them from the under side. they soon learnt to hit the deck if any big fish came near, She had 14 babys in her mouth but four was dead and 2 had no eyes which died the next day, but 8 were fine and are now 4 weeks old and growing well, almost 3/4 of an inch long now, bit bigger and i am going to let them out into the main tank.I was told to place a small pile of small rock(a fry pile) so the the fry can hide in there so the bigger fish can not get to them, as for the mother i placed her back into the tank with the rest once i have removed the fry. She was fine after a week or so, she had hear wait back on and look loverly again. due to them holding there eggs so long they dont eat, and after 21-28 day with nothing to eat they get a bit thin, thats why i striped them out did not want her to hold them 2 long and die. I think the amount of eggs or fry depends on the size of fish my :fish: was about 3 inch long and had 14 in her mouth :D good luck hope this helps Gary
 

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I had a fish that was very stressed when holding and wouldn't spit. She ended up holding for 39 days before she swallowed (or spit) them. I presume they starved to death in her mouth. The fish was SO skinny I was honestly worried that she'd die. Luckily, she pulled through and is doing quite well now, but it's been a few months and she hasn't spawned again. If you can catch her(and you're going to have to eventually) I'd do it sooner rather than later.
 

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It really doesn't matter what you do...

In most cases, I would leave the female in the main tank for a week or so to make sure she is going to hold full term.

To be brutally honest, I wouldn't salvage the fry so it's really hard to tell you what to do...I'll just try to answer your questions.

First time spawns aren't always successful. The eggs may not be fertilized or the mom may not be experienced enough to pull the holding period off - she may swallow or spit them the first time a flake of food goes past her.

Chasing her down can also cause her to swallow or spit the eggs, especially for a first time mom and this early in the holding period. You could very well move her to a smaller tank only to find she isn't holding anymore.

Leaving her in the tank with all those males means she's going to be really harrassed, and may not be able to hold onto the eggs/fry.

But, either way you look at it, lose the fry or not, she needs to be removed from that tank, so that is what I would do.

I can tell you from experience, though...It's alot easier to get rid of those fry right now than it will be in a couple of months. :wink:

I've had to do it in the past. They won't look like you think they will - even though that pure Cobalt and afra are both beautiful fish, and might even be very disappointing, considering you're going through the trouble you're about to go through to keep them. It's not easy later down the line when you decide they aren't what you want and they're now 2 inches long and you have to do something with them.

She may have anywhere from 3 or 4 to 20 fry. If she's spawned before, there may be more.

HTH

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK.. so I noticed whe was being really chased and stressed, so I moved her to the 10 gallon tank I set up. She actually looks great now and is nesting. I guess she can't pick up the gravel with her mouth, so she is moving it with her nose. She has made two 'nests' with gravel cleared out down to the glass in the bottom.

So, this morning I was thinking things are going well when I noticed another 'male' fish, this time my lab perlmutt, is not eating and barely opening 'his' mouth to breath. He/She wants to eat very badly too and goes right up to the food and just looks at it and even puts her nose to it, but won't open her mouth and eat it. I have lost all confidence on my abilities to tell a male from a female. Only thing I know is that I have at least one boy in the tank! My husband has starting calling the Cobalt Zebra "HDF" for horn dog fish. I am pretty sure he is the dad for the afra as I saw them courting, but not sure about the perlmutt (am actually thinking the yellow lab may be dad, anyone have a thought?)

I am wondering if I can put the holding perlmutt in the same tank as the holding Afra? It is a 10 gallon tank with rocks and fake plants. The afra is about 2 1/2 inches and the perlmutt is smaller, about 2 inches. I actually already have homes for all the babies if they do hold to term. I have a bunch of coworkers who were thinking about getting fish for their young kids, so these would work well.

I have a few more questions about how to take care of these girls while they are holding. I have not been offering food to the holding afra in her tank. She didn't eat in the other tank and I kinda felt it would be cruel, but not sure if I should? And, should I be doing any maintenance, like water changes for her, or anything else special?

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Okay...I was trying to stay off the hybrid topic, but if you're planning to give these fry away, how can you control what happens to them from there?

Keeping them in your own tanks is one thing, but what happens when one of your coworkers winds up with overly aggressive hybrids and takes them to the LFS and trades them in? You can't predict the behaviour of crosses between two species very well, since they are no longer true to what we expect from the species. Or, what if they aren't very attractive when they mature and your coworkers no longer want them? They wind up at the LFS or with someone else, and eventually someone comes along who wants to breed them, because they've incorrectly identified them as one species or another, but not as the hybrids that they are.

Things like this are hard enough to control in your own tanks. :(

So, now...

In answer to your questions:

Keeping two holding mothers in a 10G tank doesn't always work out, as they come close to time to release the fry, they may fight. They may fight from day one.

I would do my regular tank maintenance. If you didn't set this tank up using established filter media from your other tank, then you need to monitor the water parameters daily and be prepared to do water changes as necessary.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Kim,

I used media, gravel, and water from the other tank, but am still monitoring the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates closely.

How about a divider in a 10 gallon? I was thinking it was too small for this, but not sure what else to do at this point... Have also considered trying to strip the perlmutt relatively early?

I am actually rather upset as these were two of the sweetest fish in my tank and I will miss them once I find new homes for them. Wonder what that means that the sweetest fish were girls??? Hmmm... think there is a sexist thought in that....

As for how I know they will not breed the fish further, they are each getting one fish only... The problem is if I end up with too many fish... I have definite homes for between 5 and 10 right now and some other potentials as well. If I can find someone to sex them once they get big enough, I will try and keep a male or two from each. My method of sexing seems to be as good as the rhythm method though, so not really trusting that for the future.

Thanks again.
 
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