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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Three of my Neon Jewels all paired up as one team. Two females laid eggs in the same place, sometimes both at the same time, other times taking turns. Male followed fertilizing the eggs.
Always thought I might see this with cichlids at some point in time.....but never really thought of it happening with jewels. Had male convicts pair up with 2 or more females at a time, many times, and even breed with 2 females at a similar time on opposite sides of the tank, but the actual spawning act was never at the very same time and the females were always rivals/enemies. And of course, many times have had female convicts pair up together, but no male ever fertilized the eggs. Thought I might see this with salvinis as a male was pairing up with a female that was still paired up with a smaller female, but the male salvini wanted nothing of it and kept chasing the smaller female away.
Anyways, I captured the spawning act on 5 videos, not very good quality, but it does show what is happening. Can't see the eggs due to the poor video quality, though it is obvious they are laying. As well, you can see the breeding tubes of the two females who are both brighter red. The male has red on the lower jaw/throat and the rest of the body is sort of a dingy yellow-brown. The eggs were laid on the wall of the tank behind plastic plants fairly high up. Sort of unusual for cichlids to lay eggs that high up, though I have seen it on a few occasions.
Dec. 7 2016. Jewel Cichlid 3some:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So I was thinking where are they going to put the wrigglers when they hatch? The corner of the tank isn't too secure so I leaned a rock into the corner of the tank.....but then realized they already hatched. Just over 48 hours after being laid. Now as if this isn't strange enough, they put there wrigglers even higher up, at the very top of the mat of plastic plants in the corner of the tank! I could see the bunch of wrigglers, though in the video it is not even close to being visible. Problem with where they put them is that it's not a great surface to hold them, and some fall frequently and they have to catch them and bring them back up. This video shows what they had to do most of the time. bring a wriggler from the bottom, swim to the top corner of the plastic plant and spit it back out.
Dec. 9 2016.
They all took turns fanning the eggs, though the smallest female spent more time doing so, while the larger female and the male more often were on guard duty. Later that evening on Dec. 9th, disaster struck for the neon Jewels :lol: The common pleco came into the corner of the tank after the wrigglers. Not sure he managed to get much of any, but he disturbed the plastic plant, and while all 3 jewel where furiously attacking him, the wrigglers went into the water column and a horde of other fish in the tank gobbled them up. This happened twice. Nothing there the next morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dec. 11 2016. The smaller female paired up with another male. She's still paired with the larger female as well , though I am not certain this male is fully accepting the larger female, yet. Looks similar to the way the first trio started out, though can't say yet, If I will see the same again.
Made a cave out of a plastic yogurt container, with a whole in the middle to enter it and covered it with plastic mesh(tiger mesh) and sand and cement. Would make a very secure breeding cave. Placed in the corner of the tank today. So far doesn't look like they are going to use it....can't force them to choose it :lol:
I'm new to neon Jewels since may of this year. So far they seem to be a little different strain compared to a regular jewel, at least based on the 6 I have. I was fooled on their sex for quite some time as the females have not only fairly male body shape, but so far even more of a male forehead then the males! Looking at some other threads and pictures, I see that it is not peculiar to just mine. Also these 6 are more laid back and less aggressive then other jewels I have had. Three are for absolute certain on there sex as I not only seen there breeding tubes during the act but seen the eggs coming out of the tube. The other 3 I am now fairly confident on there sex as well. Makes for 3 males and 3 females. The larger female in the videos is not only the largest, but the top fish in the tank. Sort of odd that the 2 of the females are largest, and also one is the more dominant amongst them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome said:
Cool thread.
Not sure if it's a cool thread or whether the thread is good or not......but it's very unusual and needed to be reported. I did my best to try and document it because as far as I know, no such thing has ever been reported. 3 cichlids altogether as one spawning team can't even correctly be called a pairing as a pair means 2.
Dec. 15 2016. Male that had paired up with smaller female on Dec. 11 is now paired up with the 3rd jewel female on the left side of the tank. Spending most of his time there as I would bet they are going to lay with in a couple days. That is the usual way a male substrate spawner breeds with more then one female: divide his time up between separate females and separate territories. IME, with convicts and the division of the male's time between two females, much more of the male's time is given to courting and tending fry and a female can be almost close to abandoned with eggs/wrigglers.
The 2 jewel females are still together on the right side of the tank. When the male does come over, doesn't appear he wants anything to do with the larger female.
The male jewel from the video is currently very low in the pecking order of the tank, and generally stays on the opposite side of the tank of where ever the dominant male happens to be.
 

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Back in the early 1970s, a friend of mine had a group spawning from Angelfish. It started with two females and one male, but on occasion involved two males and as many as FIVE females. However, Jewels aren't usually as sociable as Angels can be when not breeding. She wrote about it in the club bulletin, which in those days was distributed to other clubs as far away as California. Some people, such as Guy Jordan, suggested that it happened due to the fact that her tank was very crowded. She did have like 10-12 angels in a 40 gallon long tank!

So it has been recorded among Cichlids before, but I've not heard of any such spawnings since then. That is, until now.
 

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I too have had 3 Angels breed together at the same time with 1M and 2F. I guess it is not unusual for this to happen, but maybe with Jewels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mr Chromedome said:
Back in the early 1970s, a friend of mine had a group spawning from Angelfish. It started with two females and one male, but on occasion involved two males and as many as FIVE females.
Very interesting!
I think cichlids often have more then one breeding strategy.
There not so "hard-wired" to do things exactly the same way every time but can adapt to particular situations or circumstances.
To see something in captivity sort of suggests that MAYBE they may do it that way in the wild, at least sometimes.
Mr Chromedome said:
but I've not heard of any such spawnings since then. That is, until now.
Yeah, it definitely can't be too common.
Bred jewels well over 50 times, and never saw anything like it, but really haven't kept them in groups very long.
And I think the 'neons' are a little different. We don't know exactly what they are. Was leaning more towards line-bred variant of guttatus before I owned them, and they could be that, but now I think regional variant or undescribed the more likely.
So far, based on the 6 I have, they are rather timid and not too aggressive compared to regular jewels. They pretty much have to be pushed into fighting back...though pushed enough they seem to have a similar ability to defend as other jewels. The space they claim spawning is even less then regular jewels and even regular jewels IME, don't claim the space that even convicts usually do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
tanker3 said:
I too have had 3 Angels breed together at the same time with 1M and 2F. I guess it is not unusual for this to happen, but maybe with Jewels.
I still think that it is not common ....though good that you post this as it maybe less unusual then I think it is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just a little update on the Neon Jewels.
Pair on the right side laid eggs shortly before Christmas. Here they are with free swimming fry Dec. 27th.
Female is the larger and redder.
Fry were removed Dec.28.
Shortly after, trio on left side were back together again. The last few days some threatening has occurred in the middle of the tank between the 2 groups. Today it came to a real confrontation with the smaller female on the left side taking on the larger female on the right side (female in video of this post). Some how in this confrontation and commotion, the larger female from the left side of the tank managed to switch sides and pair up with the other male while the other 2 females were having it out. Now the original right side female (from the video) is no longer paired up; low in the pecking order and runs away from the others.
Anyways, with 6 jewels in a 75 gal. got to keep my eye on it. Not really too violent yet, but someone will likely have to be removed fairly soon before it really escalates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another update.
New trio formed. Same two females from the original trio, now teamed up with the other male on right side of tank. Currently have eggs. Unfortunately did not witness the act, but all 3 are taking turns fanning the eggs and defending the area. Hopefully I will get to witness 3 tending fry soon. Pair on the left side currently with fry.
Previously had 2 pairs with fry at the same time. Horrible quality video from jan. 10
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Older camera that never took great video, but all the videos seem to be worse then ever. Will be getting new camera soon.
So far both males have bred with all 3 females! Lot's of switching partners in a very short period of time.
I sort of think the trio forming is sort of being driven by having fairly large and dominant females.
Fanning eggs is something I have very rarely seen in CA cichlids. Only a couple times with unusual circumstances but otherwise egg tending the exclusive domain of the female. Fry tending, usually fairly split duty, but egg tending exclusively female. Jewels are different in this regard in comparison to CA cichlids. Have always seen the males involved at least somewhat, with tending eggs. But what I have seen with some of these recent spawns is a fair amount of role reversal with the larger females doing more guard duty and the males fanning the eggs more then the females (with the exception of the smallest female).
I've also removed the smallest male jewel, so there is now 5 jewels in the tank. Also moved 2 of the 4 demasoni males over to my 90 gal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The Jewel groups have been stable and have stayed together for some time now. A trio on the right side and a pair on the left side. The trio has small territory as the pair on the left keeps them contained to about 1/4 of the tank. The trio currently have fry that became free swimming about 2 days ago. Some video, better quality then previously:
 

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Awesome! Very nice. Interesting tank to look at!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I found another reporting of a Jewel trio on the internet:http://fishchicks.org/freshwater-aquariums/triparental-care-in-jewel-cichlids/
Also appears to be a hybrid crossing between Hemichromis lifalili (AKA H. sp. "moanda") and Hemichromis guttatus (being called H. bimaculatus) which from my understanding, hybrid Hemichromis crossings are not all that common in the hobby.
Just some update on my Jewels. In about a 10 week period I had 8 spawns come to free swimming fry between the pair and trio. The jewels have not been so prolific since. One spawn in April and nothing since. Removed the smaller male (the one paired up with the 2 females in the last videos) in April and moved him to the 90 gal. He was being held "hostage" in a small corner area of the tank by the rival male. Less then a year with 2 males in the tank. Generally, it's what i find with just about any cichlid, that males are not generally compatible over any significant length of time. Pairing up might prolong the inevitable, but since the jewels are the dominant fish in the tank, that amps up the rivalry.
As of this moment, the 2 females have paired up with the remaining male (he's the one from the first videos in the 1st post of the thread) and have colored up. Think they will lay eggs fairly soon.
Two fry are survivors in the tank from a spawn in late January. They are absolutely huge compared to the jewels in my 29 gal. that were removed a month earlier (Dec. 28, 2016). Normally i would be able to sex them at this size already, but with these particular jewel I'm not so sure. With the adults I can see the difference now in body shapes. These males have a particular body shape that I recognize but really couldn't describe. The females have the typical rounder belly but below the dorsal fin and forehead, a body shape that I would have associated with male.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Jewels laid eggs again today. It's not a trio as they broke up with the smaller female and chased her off about 4-5 days ago.
Here's a video of the jewels fanning their eggs and on guard patrol:
Even though the eggs were just laid today, the male is sometimes on the far right side of the tank flirting with the other large female. Think I might see some breeding on the right side of the tank fairly soon again, as well.
The two six month old juvies that survived from a late January spawn have caught up in size to the smallest female. Not too sure on their sex yet. If one of them is male, then eventually I'm likely to see another pairing (or if there female maybe another strange trio :lol: ).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Eggs have hatched in around 48 hours. They have placed their wrigglers in the black brush algae up the wall of the tank. Some of the wrigglers can sometimes be seen in the video (the white dots on the algae):
Other then in the video of the 2nd post of this thread (where a trio strangely placed the wrigglers way high up in the plastic plants!) all the previous spawns have been more typical of where I have known most substrate spawners to place their wrigglers. The wrigglers are placed in a mass either right there in the breeding cave or just outside the breeding cave. Since there is no substrate to dig a pit, maybe the jewels see placing them in the 'plants' as more secure. Though it's 9 spawns in a row where they have kept them in a mass on the floor of the tank in what i know to be the more typical way.
They do stay put better in the black brush algae then they did in the plastic plant, but some do fall so a number are always on the bottom of the tank. Sometimes the jewels pick them up and spit them back into the algae, though the short video does not show them doing this.
Before the fry become free swimming, I'll have to unplug the power head, other wise the fry will get blown across the tank and quickly eaten up :lol: . I suppose if the jewels really were a major aggression problem with fry, it would be a quick way to relieve pressure in the tank by doing nothing at all, although it is not hard to pull out a siphon hose and remove fry. IME, fish that have bred many times tend to be a little more confident and relaxed with fry and tend not to over react too much. In a fairly heavily stocked tank, straying too far from the school of fry to chase away, potentially gives somebody the opportunity to swoop in and eat some fry. Not expecting the 10th time in this tank to be all that different then the last 9......if anything they are likely to be a little more laid back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Fry became free swimming last night. As expected, based on the number of wrigglers I could see, this batch is very small (~20). Maybe the BN pleco or CAE managed to get some eggs at night time, who knows, not that it would really matter as I have zero intention of keeping any. As far as future generations, I already have two in this tank who are survivors of a late January spawn, as well as another 10 that come from a late December spawn (and were just moved to the 90 gal. yesterday). Not too sure how many of these I will keep long term, if any at all.
10th jewel spawn in the tank to come to free swimming fry:
 
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