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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

My roommate and I are in the process of starting up a breeding/selling business. As of now we're working with labs and ice blues. We have 12 15g tanks on a stand downstairs and have a sump etc.

My question is about breeding. We are thus far having trouble getting our 3-5in fish to breed. Every time we try to pair a couple up, as soon as the female is added to the tank, they begin circling and biting at each other. This happens with both the ice blues and the labs. They're all in separate tanks except for one tank which contains 2 males. They are doing fine. I don't know if maybe the female should be put into the male's tank or what. Either way, we need to figure out a way to introduce the pairs and get them to breed.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Also- we realize that a 15 gallon tank isn't the best size tank to attempt breeding in, but we're in the process of expanding. If that's the absolute end all to our problems we can fix it, but for now it's what we have to work with. Ideas? :fish:
 

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How many fish are in each 15 gallon tank? It sounds like 2 males normally, then you add one female. I thought the proper mix was like 1 male to every 2-3 females.
 

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You definitely need larger tanks, but also malawi are harem breeders...you need multiple females for every male. Try 1m:3f.
 

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This is not the way to breed Malawi cichlids! Read up about them on the web and at this site.

A small tank and throwing a couple in there together will stress out the fish and possible get the females killed. Malawi cichlids feel comfortable in large groups.
You should have like a 75 gallon tank with all the fish in it and when the females are holding eggs in their mouths after breeding you could move the females to the 15g alone. Your current way will rarely work and may get your females so stressed out they will never have eggs or they may be killed by the males.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would like to add that I watch the fish very carefully every time I try to add them to a new tank. My roommate has a 55g. It can't hold more than one male at a time. They are quite con-specific aggressive. He's lost a few males that way.

Also, there is only one adult or aggressive fish in each tank. Sorry for confusion. I don't like watching fish kill each other through aggression. I watch carefully anytime I introduce new fish, and never leave two alone fighting. I also understand the harem breeding idea. I also never put more than one male of a species into a tank.

I do understand the basics of breeding. I will be getting either a 55g or a 75g very soon, just haven't done it yet. I currently keep, in addition to the 12 15g tanks: 37g, 15h, 20l, 20h. My roommate used to have 2 20h tanks, but upgraded to his 55 and we currently don't have room for more. The 12 15g tanks are actually in my parent's basement and we live in an apt. We have 5 tanks in the apt and don't really need anymore at this point. When I get my 55/75, the 15h and 20h will go. I'll then have my 55/75 (whichever it happens to be) along with a 37.

Sorry if my first post made me sound ignorant toward fish. I do understand all the basics, was just wondering if anyone had any ideas for introducing a pair of fish in a smaller tank. The plan is to expand and get some breeder tanks and then the 12 15g tanks will serve strictly as grow out tanks.
 

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So now you have a bunch of mbunas spread out over smaller tanks and you're hoping to get them to breed by putting a male and female into the same tank?

That's just not very likely to work, as you've experienced yourself.

They need to be in a bigger tank with both males and females and then you can remove the females that are holding to smaller tanks before they spit their fry.

The 55 gal tank your friend has should work for the ice blues, the 37 gal you have could work for the yellow labs, depending on the dimensions. For breeding purposes keeping 1 male with a group of females would work best, you'd want to find the best male possible and more males will just make it hard to know which genes were passed on.
 
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Yeah, you want one big main tank...I don't know about anyone else but with my group of cichlids, not all of the females want to breed! So not only does it stop aggression, but it opens up the choices by having one male to many females.
 

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If you seriously want to breed these two species, I would set up two single species tanks and put large groups of them in the tanks. (55G should work, and with adequate filtration you could add 10 of each species to one 4 ft tank, or 20 of each species to two separate tanks.)

You may have to remove some males with the greshakei. They can be quite aggressive.

As noki said, the way you are trying to do it is way too stressful and risky for the fish.

I'm curious, though...

It sounds like you're willing to put a bit of effort (and expense) into this breeding project. Are you sure you want to go with two species that are as common as these are? You can find them almost anywhere, and they are cheap. You might find yourself with alot of fry and nowhere to sell them to.
 
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