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I have fry from my wild-caught Ophthalmotilapia nasuta Kipili Gold! Finally!

I acquired a group of 10 freshly imported, wild-caught young adults about 18 months ago. Like all wild-caught featherfins, it took them a while to settle in. Initially I moved them into a 5-foot 100g in the most secluded corner of my fish room, and treated them prophylactically with Paraguard and medicated pellet food. Nonetheless, I lost 2 fishes in the first month; not unusual for wild fishes. Once the colony had stabilized and the fishes were eating well, I moved them into a 6-foot 125g. Here is the colony at present, which also includes some Enantiopus kilesa.


I had the first spawning of these last November, but the female only held the eggs for 2-3 days, which is typical for the first few spawns. Here she is holding her newly-laid eggs; not nearly the obvious mouthful of other mouthbrooders-


I had two more spawnings in the spring, neither productive, and I believe two different females were involved. Here's the dad in normal coloration; in spawning dress the yellow gets more intense, and the fins and head turn smokey black-


My latest spawning was on August 21, and for the next two weeks I fed the tank sparingly, with flakes only, so the brooding female could eat, but carefully. After 4-5 days she was still holding, so the critical period had passed. I kept a careful eye on her to make sure she wasn't being bullied, but then finally on September 9, her 19th day of holding, I moved her into an unoccupied 55g brooding tank, along with one of the smaller females for company. I moved the 'midwife' back to the main tank five days later.

Last Friday, four weeks to the day since spawning, the female was sifting the substrate, and five small fry were swimming just below the water surface, which is typical for these fishes just after release. Here is the proud mom; she looks very good after four weeks of eating only sparingly-


And her 3 of her little ones on day 1. Sorry about the bad pic; they move so fast it's difficult to photograph them. They are already showing some yellow pigment-


Now on day 5, both mom (back in the colony) and her 5 fry are doing fine. The little ones are very active and feisty, and have been chasing each other around since day 1. Pretty funny to see 5 tiny fishes (~1 cm) fighting over space in a 4-foot tank! They have now moved down in the water column, which is where these fishes normally reside, are no longer schooling, and have developed some pigmented vertical bars, which is typical of Ophthalmotilapia juveniles.

O. nasuta are omnivorous fishes, but they do very poorly on a protein-rich diet, so my adults get the same spirulina-based diet as my Tropheus about 75% of the time. I am feeding the little ones 3-4x per day, also with a predominantly spirulina-based diet.

I have raised Ophthalmotilapia nasuta Chimba Tiger before, but I am skeptical about whether Kipili and Chimba are actually the same species (the morphometrics of adults are clearly different, and when kept together, Chimba and Kipili do not behave like conspecifics). It will be interesting to see how quickly these little Kipili Golds develop their distinctive characteristics.

I am really excited to have these Kipili Gold fry, and hope to raise a whole colony of F1 Golds, which will be as genetically diverse as wild fishes, but easier to handle. I am also excited that I now have a wild female with brooding experience in captivity, because once a wild female has raised her first brood, she is generally a much better parent going forward. So a great few days in the fish room! :)
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