Observations on behavior: Parachromis dovii

By Willem Heijns
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Willem Heijns
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Observations on behavior: Parachromis dovii

Post by Willem Heijns » Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:26 pm

one of the tanks in my Cichlidarium is a 600g with only six (6) fish in it. bur some fish they are! here's their picture:

Image

a beautiful pair of Parachromis dovii (one of two pairs present)


Image

the ones in the middle: Amphilophus amarillo

the current situation is this: both pairs of dovii (13") are breeding. the pair on the lefthand side of the tank has about 50 fry left, the pair on the righthand side has over a thousand wrigglers, ready to swim in a few days. the (14") amarillo pair (stuck in between the dovii territories) also has wrigglers. things will get exciting in the next week or so. I'll keep you posted.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Ken Boorman
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Post by Ken Boorman » Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:26 pm

Beautiful fish Willem, and congratulations on keeping them happy enough that they are all spawning for you :)

Ken
A.N.G.F.A. North American Co-ordinator

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Thomas Andersen
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Post by Thomas Andersen » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:50 am

Very exciting, Willem!

I’ve been checking out your Cichlidarium diary on the NVC forum, but being in Dutch, I’m not sure I’ve been getting it all right :wink:

I´ve just seen that you have split the diary into 4 “tank diaries” – it could be really cool if you would do the same here in English and a real asset to the forum :D

Thomas

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Post by Grange » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:45 am

Very serious fishes!
Best regards,
Eugene

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Juan Artigas
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Post by Juan Artigas » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:29 am

Willem, those are wonderful fish! I was wondering, what happend to the rest of the fish in the Cichlidarium, did you remove them because of aggression? wasnt 600 gallons enough for them?

I noticed that you A. amarillo does not have the bright yellow seen in Ad´s underwater pictures and if I remember correctly, your film. Is that the situaton in the wild, with some individuals with stronger yellow coloration than others? Or, is the color loss probably caused by diet in captivity? What do you think?

Last but no least, could you let me use some copies of your wonderful pictures in the Cichlid Room Companion gallery?

If anybody is interested, I could probably code an utility to keep blogs of tanks or species breeding, pictures could as well be included. I could work into that project if people is interested.

Cheers
Juan Miguel Artigas
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The Cichlid Room Companion
http://www.cichlidae.info

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:02 am

I started the dovii tank originally with a number of subadult fish:
  • Amphilopus sagittae (3,2)
    Amphilophus amarillo (6,2)
    Parachromis dovii (5,3).
because the sagittae persisted in crossbreeding with amarillo I took them out. after that the countdown started. dovii killed 4 conspecifics and 4 amarillo. I managed to save the last 2 amarillo from being killed.

as for territories, one of the dovii pairs holds the right half of the tank for itself. the other half is shared by the other dovii pair and the amarillo pair. this last pair gets into trouble more and more. they are even forced to tolerate dovii fry right next to the entrance of their cave. if they try to eat one, the dovii male charges which initiates the other dovii male to come and assist him.
if the end result is that I have to take the amarillo out, I'm sure I will be left with a 600g tank with only one pair of dovii. so if anybody asks for the minimum size of a dovii tank........ :roll:

in my experience yellow colours seem to disappear in captivity. I've seen that in many fish that I brought home. as a consequence of feeding carotene rich food (mysis, krill, etc) a red coloration appears. apart from that amarillo is a variable species in which some specimens show more coloration than others.
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:18 pm

    just a quick update: the amarillo fry have started freeswimming. much to the joy of the dovii fry, which immediately began raiding upon them. they have already gotten some. one dovii was less lucky: mother amarillo was on the alert. it cost it it's life :cry:
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:12 pm

    amarillo is hanging in there. the pressure is rising though. the dovii larvae are about to start the freeswimming stage too. by tomorrow I'll have trouble. here's a picture of the dovii territory:

    Image
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:18 am

    it has happened! all three pairs have freeswimming fry. the big dovii pair has about a thousand!
    for now, they stay close to their place of birth, but soon they will start wandering about. will amarillo be able to hold it's cave?
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Thomas Andersen » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:07 am

    Amazing! That must really be a sight to behold :)

    Thomas

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:30 pm

    the dovii fry are swarming about their half of the tank. they seem to almost fill the whole area. an impressive sight indeed :roll:

    the parents are rather quiet. there is no threat from other fishes ( the amarillo wouldn't dare). the male has found an odd thing to do though. apparantly there is something above water that has caught his interest. he is standing head up in the water almost all the time. every once in a while he rushes up and hits the cover of the tank. he is strong enough to break the glass :shock: . I hope he doesn't....
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by mauriciodelamaza » Fri Nov 25, 2005 2:23 pm

    Hello Willem,

    Wonderful tank and setup :!: I have been following your most interesting observations and pictures of your tank…… In your experience, and given the tank very large size and conditions, what would you expect to be the normal survival rate and loss to predation for each set of fry under such conditions, and would such survival rate be similar to what could be expected under natural conditions for such species and their density in the wild?

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:35 pm

    difficult to say what the survival rate would be. I do know that there are one or two dovii fry left from an earlier spawn. they must be 2" size now (they were when I last saw them). but then, it's only a short period of time, 6 months or so.
    in another tank the rate is much higher. the original group nematopus ( 7 or 8 ) has increased to over 50, despite the presence of 12 xiloaensis and, more important, a 10" male dovii. but then again, this dovii is showing more and more interest :wink:
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by chc » Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:30 pm

    Interesting comment about the male dovii looking head up...... My big male does the same thing from time to time. Interesting!

    Nice pictures..... Keep them coming!

    Chris

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    Post by ciclido1 » Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:54 pm

    wow those are beautiful fish. would you say the females have a stonger yellow pattern or are they the same? keep the pics coming. thanx

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:14 am

    these cichlids never seize to amaze me! :shock: about 200 of the new dovii fry appear to have crossed the whole length of the tank (past the amarillo cave) and joined the remaining fry of the other dovii pair. their parental behaviour increased to a level not usually seen after six weeks of breeding.
    although adoption is sometimes seen in cichlid fishes (both in the wild and in aquariums), I have never heard about it in Parachromis dovii (a large predator living a solitary life). also, the "old" fry seem to accept the newcomers, which are small enough to be eaten by them. in fact, the larger fry had just finished off the last amarillo fry of about the same size as the adopted dovii fry.
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:50 pm

    another surprise :shock: :shock: all 200 fry have returned home! some form of communal care seems to be developing. the fry pass the amarillo's cave in the higher water levels and are apparantly allowed to travel without harm. this might turn into a giant dovii territory (the full 4 meters of the tank) with two pairs looking after the fry on both ends and the poor amarillo pair "stuck in the middle". now all I need in this soap is a cliffhanger :roll:
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Wed Nov 30, 2005 3:47 pm

    it has finally happened :roll: dovii fry are all over tank, changing parents from one side to the other. in passing through the amarillo territory, most of the fry make it safely :P , some don't :cry:

    another funny thing: there is still one dovii youngster left from an earlier spawn. he/she must be about 2" now. he has found a hiding place under a piece of bogwood, lying on the gravel. from that small cave he catches fry every now and again. mother dovii knows this and often appears in front of the cave to scare him off. the easiest way would be to dig a hole and widen the cave in order to get the pirate out. but she simply doesn't get the idea. that is rather strange because in preparing a spawning site she practically moves all the gravel in the tank. :roll:
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:00 pm

    breeding is continuous in this tank. last week both amarillo and the dovii pair on the left side have spawned again. the dominant dovii pair still occupies the right side. here's a short video of this beautiful dovii pair. enjoy!
    Slàinte mhath!

    Uilleam

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    Post by chc » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:01 pm

    Another great video Willem!

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