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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. Separated two holding demasoni from my main tank about a week ago. They currently reside in a 2ft by 1ft maternity tank. Water is all fine and I have some rock for them to hide. Both females have barely come out, one hiding under a rock and the other round the back of the heater. I put a little food in but neither wanted to eat. Both look like they are constantly chewing with a massive bulge in their throats. Is this normal behaviour for holding females to do pretty much nothing? And if not what should i do? Thanks
 

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Holding females don't eat whilst holding so no point in adding food you'll just be polluting the tank.
What you describe is totally normal
 

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Brooding females are secretive, and eat little or nothing whilst holding. The behavior you describe is what one typically observes in an isolation tank, so stay the course. I can't speak specifically about P. demasoni, because I have never kept them, but for other Mbuna and Tropheus I usually leave the females with the fry for a week or so after release in order to fatten them up before returning them to their original tank. They will continue to be skittish during this time, because being in isolation is not natural for these fishes; they need company to feel secure. Good luck. :thumb:
 

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I have had mbuna begin to eat their own fry 24 hours later. It is nice to fatten them up but a separate tank is not available here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You seem to have answered my next question. How long after the spit the fry do I leave them in the same tank for bearing in mind I have two females here in one tank. Your correct that there is no other tanks. So it is leave them both in with the fry for a week after or they go straight back in the main tank once they spit the fry. What is your advice.? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actually that is not entirely true. I have a 5 gallon tank which was used for a Betta a while back if that's of any help at all?
 

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A 5G tank is too small for either of the female fish or the fry so your only option at this time is that once each female spits her fry, move her back to the main tank. The problem is that the remaining female may eat the fry of the 1st female that spit after she spits her own fry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I thought that would be the case. I'm trying to find another tank as I am starting to realise I need a spare one. Actually I think I will need a few tanks as more females start holding. So ideally I would have one female per tank when she is holding. I'm really not confident at all with the idea of stripping. How likely is it that the second female will eat the fry once she spits?
 

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Stripping is not as daunting as it may seem. Have a go..
You'll soon find that you won't be able to keep every batch of fry, you just end up running out of tanks/space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe I will after I get these two sorted. I'm keen to practise with these two. I've never seen mouthbrooders have babies so it's new to me. I do have a fry/breeding box that floats in my main tank......what if when the first female spits I put her into this in either the main tank or the one they are in now, I can feed her up a little before she returns to the main tank......would that be better than just putting her right back in? Just an idea. Or even I could put her in this a few days before she spits so the fry is caught in it and she can go back in the tank they are in for some food. Just ideas......thanks for your help
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about feeding her up, I like to put the females straight back in.
That's why stripping is useful, you can strip on day 18 and have her back in the tank rather than waiting.
Fry boxes are fine, I like to keep my fry in there for 5 days anyway whether it's floating in your Main tank or floating in your fry tank. I find the fry can find the food easier. After 5 days I then tip them in to there new home.
 

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Do not put an adult fish in a breeder net for anything other than an overnight so you can take her to the fish store in the morning.

Do not put fry in a breeder net in the main tank for any reason.

Let the first mom spit and strip the second mom. The only way fry can be together is if they are both spit on same day or you have a separate tank to grow out the 2nd batch a little before mixing.

Both moms into main tank within 24 hours because no alternative. You have 9 other females in main tank for males to spawn with so they should not get picked on.

The second mom will eat the fry if she can. But also the first fry have had a day or two to get oriented, THEY will kill or try to kill the newly spit fry from the second mom.

If you DO feel you need to try the breeder box in the fry tank, it will not kill them for 5 days. For me the fry find the food just fine because I squirt it into the tank near them. They notice the whoosh of the water and realize food has arrived within 24 hours. They don't need to eat day 1 but usually they catch on quick.
 

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Chrislisk said:
You seem to have answered my next question. How long after the spit the fry do I leave them in the same tank for bearing in mind I have two females here in one tank. Your correct that there is no other tanks. So it is leave them both in with the fry for a week after or they go straight back in the main tank once they spit the fry. What is your advice.? Thanks
If you really want to ensure optimal fry survival, move the female soon after release, but make sure that she is eating well and not being bullied in the main tank. Whether you do that or not, you will want to provide the fry with abundant hiding places- Java moss works well- especially if you have more than one brooding female per tank. I've never had any problem with fry predation by either Mbuna or Tropheus, but none of my females has ever been stripped, so they have had the opportunity to learn the complex behaviour set involved in parenting. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll go get some java moss over the next few days for the tank with both holding females for the fry to hid in. I only have rock in the tank no substrate, I do have some deft wood from my other tank if that's any good so assume the moss will be ok on that? Would it be worth netting the first lot of fry into the fry (plastic) floating tank I have in the maternity tank and then when the second female releases I can then have the fry separated or am I over thinking this? Shall I just let both females release and remove soon after they do? I'd like to keep as many fry as possible given my resources and knowledge.
 

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Chrislisk said:
I'll go get some java moss over the next few days for the tank with both holding females for the fry to hid in. I only have rock in the tank no substrate, I do have some deft wood from my other tank if that's any good so assume the moss will be ok on that? Would it be worth netting the first lot of fry into the fry (plastic) floating tank I have in the maternity tank and then when the second female releases I can then have the fry separated or am I over thinking this? Shall I just let both females release and remove soon after they do? I'd like to keep as many fry as possible given my resources and knowledge.
Well, in that case I'd just add the Java moss, and move the females into the main tank soon after release. I still think that keeping them together for a while is best for all concerned in the long-term, but I understand your enthusiasm for raising these first batches of fry. But remember that if you already have two females that have held to term, they are likely to be even better parents the next time around. Good luck.
 

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I have not noticed any difference in future parenting between fish that are stripped and fish that spit naturally.

That said, I rarely strip and I do notice fry count diminishing within a day or two after the mother spits them.

Just a different experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've put some plants that the LFS said will work as well as java moss for fry to hide in. I think my plan will be let the first spit and leave her a few days and feed her what I can and return her to the main tank and go from there. Thanks for your help
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Exciting news! One of the two holding females this morning has babies swimming around her.....the she swiftly sucks them all back in! What an amazing thing to watch! She has spit them out then let them swim just a little way away from her for maybe a minute or two then sucks them back in one by one. She has done this maybe 5/6 times this morning. How long will she continue to do this before they stay out for good so that I can separate her into the main tank? Other female is still holding...thanks
 
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