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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I love the forum and it's been a great source of information. You guys know your stuff. I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a few questions about convicts. I purchased a male and female that appeared to be a pair from my LFS. They were certainly displaying all the normal pairing up behaviour. They were even digging a nest in the convict tank and the female was (and still is) very brightly coloured.

I took them home and put them in what I think is a standard sort of convict breeding setup (20 long, caves etc) and they made themselves at home very well. After two days though they started fighting. At first the female appeared to be agressive, staying in the nest and fighting off the male. Over the following days though the male was the main agressor, chasing her all around the tank. At first I wondered if this was part of their pairing up, but when she wound up hiding in the corner I gathered that she might be in trouble.

I removed the male to a spare hospital tank, but that seemed to upset the female. She lost her colouring almost immediately and just seemed distressed. So at the moment I have the male back in the tank but divided from the female. She seems very happy with this but he seems upset. I guess my first question is, is this ok? I hope this doesn't sound cruel but I'm kind of more concerned with the female being happy than the male. Still, I don't want him to suffer.

OK, now on the advice of the LFS I rearranged the nest they had built after I divided off the male. To my surprise, it really looks as though there are some eggs there. The female bit me like crazy when I rearranged the nest and now she is guarding what I believe are the eggs. They certainly look like con eggs and her behaviour makes me think they are. It's just that she wasn't making much of an effort to guard them before - and the male wasn't at all. Why would the male have been chasing her if they had already spawned? He wasn't just chasing her away
from the eggs, he kept going after her even when she was hiding. Is it possible that the male forgot that he fertilised them or that he is ready to do so again?

There are only about a dozen eggs compared to the hundreds I've read about. But this also might be their first attempt. Plus, I guess I could have knocked some off when I moved things around. I regret doing it, but I had no idea they spawned. The eggs do appear to be fertilised as far as I can tell. I guess it's possible that they're not fertilised and the female was avoiding the male because she had already laid and wasn't ready again. I can't get a pic because it's in a difficult location in the tank and I'm reluctant to stress her out again. I guess I'll know in a couple of days anyway.

I guess my other question is, when do I take out the divider? I was planning to do it when the fry were free swimming. I don't mind if I lose the fry, I just want to do whatever I can to improve the relationship between the pair. I don't know enough about how male cons think. If he sees the fry will he want to raise them or will he be trying to spawn again straight away. If that's the case I might have to wait a couple of weeks.

So I'm sorry that's long and rambling but thank you for reading. I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice. I should add that the tank is cycled and Ammonia and Nitrites are 0, Nitrates are about 20. My pH is 8.5 which I guess is a little high - but that's just straight out of the tap here and it's very close to what they were kept in at the LFS. I would be happy to lower it if you think I should. It's just that cons are so tolerant, I figured they would be better off at a higher but constant pH than a more neutral one that could fluctuate. Basically I went for stability but I'm open to suggestions.
 

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I might be a noob but I think that might be standard con behaviour???...mine pair did a similair thing for the first couple of days I introduced them before settling down on the third day.
 

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Hey ginner, welcome to the forum! :)
It sounds to me as though the disruption involved with moving them from the LFS to your tank may have thrown things off a bit. The female sounds like she was in a hurry to lay eggs, so that's what she probably did before 're-establishing' the bond (we assume she had) with the male. Add to that the fact that they may be first-time spawners together, and you've got a confusing situation for them.

Your approach with separation via divider sounds like the best bet for the time being.
I would recommend leaving it up for a couple weeks to give the female a chance at being ready to spawn again. Once she seems gravid (you'll notice the plumper appearance) and her breeding tube begins to protrude, then I'd remove the divider and keep a close eye on what happens. Most likely the male will eagerly pair-up and spawn with her.

Of course, this is all under the assumption that her current batch of eggs is infertile.
If by chance they do hatch and she seems to take care of them, I would still follow the above recommendations. I'd siphon out the free-swimming fry (if it gets to that point with this current batch of eggs) and feed them to another tank or raise them separately.

In a nutshell, I highly recommend giving the female a chance at 'starting fresh' again and concentrate on getting her conditioned for spawning again. Once all the signs are there, pull out the divider and supervise to make sure she and the male get along. I would NOT recommend trying to adjust pH. Yours is just fine.

Good luck, and keep us posted! :thumb:
BV
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's great to be here!

Thanks a lot for your reply and I'll definitely post about how it all turns out.
 

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Sounds like human courting rituals......dang divider gets me every time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I already have an update and I think it's good news.

My divider wasn't as great as I thought and the fish managed to get back to each other. Actually it was the female that broke through first looking for the male. But the period of separation and now keeping the mesh in place seem to have made a difference. The male is not chasing her now and they're displaying far more 'textbook' pairing behaviour. A good sign as far as I can tell. I didn't mean for them to get back together like that. I was planning to wait the two weeks. I'll keep watching for signs of agression but if they seem ok I might just leave them like that rather than block the male off again.

Excitingly, it appears there are indeed some fry there. It's hard to see but I would say there are at least two wriggling around - not yet free swimming. So not exactly the greatest spawn ever, but promising for next time. The female looks as though she is taking care of them, but she also swims off for extended periods. The male doesn't seem interested in the fry but at least the female looks comfortable with him around them. She doesn't try to chase him away. In fact, she often goes to him.

Overall, it seems as though it was just normal breeding behaviour (that they're still learning) disrupted by the move from the LFS. Thanks for the help everyone and I will update so you know how it turns out in the long run.
 

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That does sound promising---thanks for the update!
As long as you're keeping a close eye on them you shouldn't run into any major problems. And besides, if things get haywire again you can always secure that divider back up.

I'll stay tuned for future updates. :popcorn:
BV
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a quick update, they soon spawned properly and now they're even getting ready to spawn again. The fry haven't even been free swimming for a week!

In the end I was worried over nothing, they just needed to settle in. Now there's no stopping them.
 
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