Hemichromis sp. pair in the aquarium. Fish and Photos by Keith Franks.
My first contact with Hemichromis sp. came 30 years ago, when I raised fish as a hobby, and to supplement my allowance. My breeding experience then was with Zebras and some gouramis. I purchased a pair of Jewels for my beautifully planted community tank - ack!! I very quickly found the temperament of the Jewels.
This latest experience began about 4 months ago, when my fiance's tank was void of any fish - her angels died of old age, and she instructed me to buy some new fish for the aquarium. OK - off to the local pet store I went, hoping to purchase a few Jack Dempseys. I ended up with a Dempsey, a Firemouth, and a Plecostomus. As I was leaving the store, a gentleman came in with the Jewels, looking for a home. I brought them home also, and watched as the bullied the Jack and Firemouth around the tank. I had decided to finally get my old 55 gallon from the garage, and see if it still held water.
The fish lived in a 20 gallons long aquarium, and definitely needed more room to move - not to mention, they seemed to disturb the peacefulness of the aquarium. Before they could be moved, eggs appeared one day upon a rock in the back of the aquarium, and in the next few days, fry could be seen swimming about.
The water temp was raised because they "seemed cold", and a 35% water change seemed to stimulate the breeding process. I started research on the species, and tried to take precautions not to disturb them, etc, but, after the fry were free-swimming about 10 days, the parents ate them - not one remained.
After about 4-5 weeks of Cichlid flakes, frozen shrimp and beefheart - the colors once again became vivid. A water change (my pet store owner says this is like rainfall) and a small raise in the temp - the eggs appeared again.
The fish were fed frozen shrimp about 7 p.m. - and when I looked at the tank about 11 p.m. - the eggs were on the rock. I am sorry to say, I missed the process.
The eggs turned clear after about 42 hours, and soon a quivering mass could be seen in the depression cleared in the gravel. The hatching process seemed to last over 18-20 hours.
The fry became free-swimming in a few days, and the parents have been removed now to allow the fry to grow. Counting them is impossible, but it seems there appear to be at least 400?? Maybe more.
The tank is nothing special - just a regular 20 gallon with a fluorescent light, undergravel and back filters, a 150 watt heater, and plastic plants and regular gravel.
25% water changes are conducted every week, and once a month, the decorations are removed and cleaned, and approximately 50% of the water is renewed. I live in a mountainous area, and spring water is used to refill the aquarium.
I have not checked the PH - I guess I should, but everything is going just fine.
The fry are eating regular fry food now - they are about 7 days old. If you need any other information, please do not hesitate to email me.