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Keyholes have paired and spawned
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Matt Shandorf
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Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2003.09.01(Mon)20:09    Post subject: Keyholes have paired and spawned Reply with quote

Well, I was quite surprised to find my keyhole pair (they only staked out a territory a week ago) doin' the dance today under some driftwood in my planted 55g. The female laid a patch of eggs about 2'' by 1'' on a smooth "leg" of the driftwood piece. The male is now being an absolute jerk to all the tank's inhabitants, and the female is fanning the eggs. Other inhabitants include 2 more keys, clown loaches, SAE's, and rummy-noses. I'm posting because I really don't know what to expect. These fish are the first I've had spawn, and wasn't trying or expecting to have them spawn. What should I look for in terms of fertility and survival of the eggs? I don't really plan to do anything special to keep them, so will they just end up as loach food? Sorry about the vagueness of the post - this really caught me by surprise Shocked !

pH~ 6.8
dGH ~ 7-8
dKH ~ 9
temp~ 78-80 deg. f.
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Tommy
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: 2003.09.01(Mon)23:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, this is great news, congratulations. I've got three little ones myself in a heavily planted 10 gallon and so far they have done absolutely nothing to indicate that they are in fact cichlids. They are still too small to sex at this point, so I could have all males for all I know. From what I've read about them, their spawning habits are classic SA cichlid. They will probably move the eggs to a safer location once they begin to hatch and turn into wrigglers. If they were successful on this first attempt, you may get as many as 300 fry. I would guess you would get half of that for a first attempt. The parents will keep a close eye on them and if they start turning white they will eat them.

In a deep tank like this, once the fry start swimming, you can use a turkey baster to squirt food down into their midst. They should start eating immediately. If you've ever considered growing a fish out for sale or trade, these might be a good one. I very rarely see them in stores around me. This is a very under-appreciated cichlid in my opinion. Small and peaceful and able to live in community planted tanks without specialized water requirements.

Again, congrats...
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Matt Shandorf
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Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)5:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick and detailed reply, Tommy. The eggs have survived the night, and none, as far as I can tell, have turned white. How long do I have before they hatch, and if they do, should I feed them bbs? Or maybe mushed-up frozen bs?
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Tommy
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)8:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typically it will be about two to three days till they hatch and then they will stay wrigglers attached to their egg yolk for another few days. They will probably become free swimming in about a week from when the eggs were first laid.

As for feeding, they will be so tiny that I doubt if they can take bbs at first. More likely you will need to pick up something smaller like infusoria or I like to use actual Baby Fish Food (I forget who makes it). It can usually be found in the flake food section and is a very finely powdered fish food. I mix it into water in a small dish, and suck it up with the baster from there.
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Matt Shandorf
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Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)14:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright - I just got home from school. An update: A few eggs have turned white, and some appear to have been eaten, but most are still healthy-looking. The parents are still guarding and fanning them. Should I expect them all to turn white, or does this typically happen to just a few? Thanks again.
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Tommy
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)20:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt Shandorf wrote:
Should I expect them all to turn white, or does this typically happen to just a few?
Yes, it's very common to get a few white ones. No reason to think that they will all go that way. Usually the parents will do a good job of picking out the white ones, but if they start seeing too many, they may panic and eat them all.
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Matt Shandorf
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Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2003.09.03(Wed)18:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alas, when I woke this morning, a bunch more of the eggs had turned white. Almost as soon as I turned on the light, the parents started snarfin' them up. They were all gone by the time I got home. Thanks for all your help, Tommy - maybe I'll have better luck next time.
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Tommy
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: 2003.09.03(Wed)20:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad sorry man, that sucks...Hopefully they will get the hang of it a little better next time...
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