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How closely related do cichlid species need to be to inter breed ? Would a Theraps breed with a Vieja, or a thorychthys breed with an amphilophus ? . I have bred cichlids before, it is hard not to in certain types (as long as you have male and female) but with a single specimen from several groups in a tank, could hybridisation be avoided ?
 

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With Cichlids I would never say, "never"". And definitely, sometimes when kept in an aquarium they can totally surprise you. However, I'd say it wouldn't be much of a problem, esp. with Cichlids in different Genus groups placed together. You definitely have to be wary of mixing same Genus groups. For example, I could totally see a single dominant male Geophagus pellegrini taking over a harem group of Geophagus Tapajos Red Heads. Hybrids would result!
But, with Cichlids from different Genus groups, exp. Cryptoheros & Thoricthys, they are just too different from each other, and I wouldn't think there would be much risk of Cichlids from those different Genus groups pairing off to spawn.
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But, if absolutes must be maintained with the least amount of hybridization risk possible? It's just easier to stock with more mature fish (positive identification), for an all male (or, all female) tank.
 

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Actually, Geophagus pellegrini would be highly unlikely to breed with sp. Tapajos, as the first is an immediate mouthbrooder and the second is a pairing type of delayed mouthbrooder. The mechanics of reproduction are so different as to make such a cross virtually impossible. Also, as it turns out, the Red Hump species group is genetically very different from the true Geos. A third group within Geophagus is also genetically separate, that is, the brasiliensis group.

Predicting what potential crosses might be fertile and which might not is not as obvious as you would think. In fact, hybrids of Amatitlania and Thorichthys have proven to be viable, and have occurred as far back as the 1970s. Red Devils and Texas Cichlids are crossed all the time to make Red Texas hybrids, and those are two different genera, though DNA studies place them closer than would be expected.

So guessing at how closely related two Cichlid species are might give you a general idea as to their potential for hybridization, but in the end it boils down to experimentation to veryfy anything. As stated above, it's easier to just maintain single sex communities to prevent the risk.
 

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Mr Chromedome said:
and those are two different genera, though DNA studies place them closer than would be expected.
All these CA Heroines used to be in the same genus ( with the 2 exceptions of rainbow cichlid and Petenia splendida because of their teeth and/or mouth). It is more then obvious to keepers of these fish that they are all very, very closely related. Nothing unexpected . Numerous examples on fish forums have shown that all CA heroines can be cross bred and produce fry. Some hybrid offspring may be sterile but many of the crosses are viable. There is one species of Geo and one Acara from Central America and more then likely these 2 exceptions will not be able to be crossed with CA Heroine though recently it has been shown on this forum that a CA heroine can sometimes be crossed with an SA Acara and produce some fry ( whether the fry is or is not sterile is not yet known).
 

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TrickyD said:
Would a Theraps breed with a Vieja, or a thorychthys breed with an amphilophus ?
Yes, pretty much any CA cichlid can be crossed with another CA cichlid and produce offspring. Many, if not most crosses are viable rather then sterile. Of coarse that they can, does not always mean that they will or are inclined to. But there are literally hundreds of examples on fish forums on the internet over the years. Even somewhat odd ones like trimac X Red Bay Snook.
TrickyD said:
How closely related do cichlid species need to be to inter breed ?
That is a good question that I don't think we quite know where the genetic limits to cichlid hybridization lie. Usually it is thought to be some where around the level of Tribe but even across some tribes appears to be possible some times:https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=451089
 

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Mr Chromedome said:
Actually, Geophagus pellegrini would be highly unlikely to breed with sp. Tapajos, as the first is an immediate mouthbrooder and the second is a pairing type of delayed mouthbrooder. The mechanics of reproduction are so different as to make such a cross virtually impossible.
I'd agree that it is a very unlikely cross for all the reasons you state.
But numerous substrate spawner X mouth brooder crosses were done by research scientists in the 1980's so breeding method is not an insurmountable hurdle, at least for scientists with a lab . How exactly they got around the different breeding methods, I really have no idea. Numerous Coptodon X Oreochromis crosses were done, some using male mouth brooder, others using male substrate spawner and many of the crosses did produce a small number of fry though all crosses are described as either "not very viable'" or even "lethal". It is interesting and a curiosity, though none of these crosses have ever been used in aquaculture as they don't appear to have any benefit. Bear in mind that even with in the genus Oreochromis, some crosses do not work and others are distant enough to only produce 99.9 % male( that is often what is sought after with many of the crosses as males grow faster, get bigger and the lack of females prevents energy being devoted to breeding).
Today, this sort of cross would actually be across Tribes, because the genus Coptodon is now placed in it's own tribe Coptodonini and Oreochromis in it's own tribe Oreochromini.
 
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