Pregnant? Holding? Typically they won't eat if they're holding. Is it possible she was holding and recently spit? The buccal sack will remain enlarged for a day or two after a mother holds, in which case she would appear to be eating while still holding.
Hope you are not referring to her looking like a pregnant human! If the female is looking like that---it sounds more like bloat, rather than pregnant. I think of stripping mouthbrooders as forcing them to spit the fry. Are you referring to strip eggs from the female?? If referring to stripping to remove fry from her mouth, I just wait until she is pretty desperate and then put them in a second tank for them to spit when the time is right. Much easier for you both.
new guestion i seperated her from the tank and she dropped something out of her mouth and i think there eggs.if they are eggs will she pick them back up and if she has to pick them back up how long does she have to pick them up.
I don't think she will pick them back up if she spit the eggs. She will accept free swimming fry back into her mouth for so long, but AFAIK I don't think that's the case with the eggs. If she spit them, it was probably due to stress. I've had them spit in the net or tank as I caught them.
Some fish will pick them up when they see them, others not. If there are only a couple, she most likely has more but if they have been on the bottom for even a few hours, they are most likely lost. It is a situation where I let the fish do the work. Any time I try to help, I do worse that the fish. I try to wait as long as possible and then move her to another tank where she has plenty of hiding places. I also make sure there are rocks which leave tiny spaces under them so that the fry can get under and hide if she decides to eat them. I don't think I have ever had an African eat her fry but I want them to have a chance. Once I see her out without fry in her mouth, I move her back and look for the fry. If this is a first time for the fish, she will get better next time and know not to spit them so easy. Takes practice to be a good Mom!
If you can't see they are fish, it may be a couple weeks before she is really ready to spit. When they come out, they are ready to go and free swimming. If you can't tell what she spit, I would guess it is way early.
Sorry for the slow response. I lost this thread for a bit. There are times when it might be wise to keep her in a seperate tank for a while once she has spit. Some tanks are set up so that she may be more beat up before the move and she may need rest. Sometimes it works out that she is chased as soon as she goes back in the main tank. Depends on how your tank works out. I have not seen the need in my tanks but have heard others who need to rest them first. I find my females are so spooked and nervous when alone, I think they are better back with the group.