Observations on behavior: Parachromis dovii

By Willem Heijns
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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:18 am

I have to say it again: dovii are lazy fish 8) :wink:
defending their fry should be as easy as possible. hear this: the pair on the left side of the tank has about 400 freeswimming fry. their territory is about one meter length. adjacant to that is the cave where the huge (30cm+) amarillo pair lives. as you can imagine they are engaged in territorial fights all the time. now the dovii fry don't care too much about territorial boundaries. so they wander off far into amarillo country. crazy scenes result from this, like the amarillo pair threatening the dovii pair, standing in the midst of the dovii fry (that's the amarillo). and occasionally catching a few to eat.

this proves to me that behaviour in captivity can in no way be compared with behaviour in the wild.
Last edited by Willem Heijns on Thu Dec 29, 2005 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Aquamojo
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Post by Aquamojo » Thu Dec 29, 2005 6:08 am

Beautiful video, Willem. What type of video camera are you using? I am in the market to purchase a new camera.
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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:33 pm

these dovii just keep on spawning. now the big pair (14") has done it again. a few of the fry from the last spawn are remaining. but they were not allowed to watch their parents having sex. instead they were chased into the small crevices where only they fit in. they just have to peek out of it to have their father or mother stand right in front of them. I wonder if they would eat them :wink:
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:45 pm

another 1500 free swimming dovii fry! what a sight! where's my camera?
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Post by Don Hiatt » Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:28 pm

I once had little C.nigrofaciatum spawn in the same tank as their parents. lol

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:41 pm

another strange thing happening! I may have mentioned before that dovii also applies crossfostering for their young. I have often seen dovii fry going all the way to the other side of the tank to join the school of the other dovii pair. much has been written about this, especially on the conditions under which the "foreign" fry are accepted. most important of these conditions is that the visiting fry are smaller than the receiving fry.

here's the situation. the right dovii pair has 800 or so fry. the left dovii pair is prepairing for another spawn. only 6 juveniles of an earlier spawn remain in the territory, tolerated by their parents. in fact, these have tried to eat the eggs of the spawn after their own. they measure an inch and a half now. over a 100 of the fry once more crossed the tank and infiltrated the area of the left dovii pair. no siblings to greet them though. instead the juveniles tried to catch them (and succeeded in some cases). the strange thing was that the pair seized their courting and started to defend the visitors. stupid enough I didn't check if they stayed overnight. the next day some of them were still there, but throughout the day they either got caught by the juveniles or returned to their parents.

the left female dovii shows a tendency towards adultry. she also crossed over which led the male right dovii to start courting her (in front of his own children!). she only stayed for a while and then went home. the male followed her but was soon chased by the left male. I wonder what's going to happen next.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Post by ciclido1 » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:03 pm

very interesting willem! sounds like a good soap oprea :D

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Thomas Andersen
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Post by Thomas Andersen » Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:03 am

Willem,

just out of curiosity; have you ever observed harem-groups of P. dovii either in nature or in your aquarium - e.g. one male spawning with, and defending a territory, with two females?

Thomas

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:11 am

I have not seen it in person but in Laguna Xiloá it appears that dovii can have more than one female he's breeding with at the same time
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Marko Lenac
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Post by Marko Lenac » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:06 am

the movie is great.

your fishes have very interesting behavior! well in front of a tank like yours my behavior would be also interesting :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Post by rickson » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:28 am

great video very beautiful cichlids
i loved to see the amarilo, great fish.

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:41 pm

new trouble in paradise. :shock: the two dovii males have decided they won't be bothered anymore by the amarillo pair separating their territories. they are now willing to pass by the amarillo cave and start mouth locking right above it. have you ever seen that? they are only 15" in size. what a display of power! I hope there won't be a winner :wink: :roll:
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:55 am

fighting seems to have stopped. the balance is shifting though. the male of the right pair is hovering ever closer and closer to the territory of the left pair. three of the four meters are his now. the amarillo pair is allowed to keep their cave.

a funny thing happened a couple of days ago. the left pair was preparing to spawn (with only six juveniles left from an earlier spawn) and some 200 fry of the right pair crossed the whole length of the tank and joined the left pair. the pair stopped courting immediately and started to defend their new progeny. the juveniles had a great time trying to catch some (and succeeded many times). stupid enough I didn't check what they did when the lights went off (take them to their nest or something). the next day they were still there but not as many as the day before. during that day some went back to their real parents, others were eaten or just disappeared. I wonder what made the parents stop their courting and accept foreign (albeit conspecific) fry. any ideas?
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Jacob
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Post by Jacob » Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:12 am

I believe that the reason for adopting neighbouring fry is to promote the safety in numbers benefit for your fry. In a 50/50 situation were equal numbers of biological and adopted are present, the benefit only comes if the adopted are smaller than your own, due to the smaller ones being easier targets, and maybe even providing a meal for your own young.

With only six youngsters left the parents "decided" that the cost of defending such a small number didn't increase their chances of survival enough for it being worth the effort. With the arrival of the small fry the safety in number pushed the defending effort onto the beneficial side once again. Maybe because the six that remained will have a skyhigh survivalrate compared to the new-comers.

The thesis may be a bit forced, but the the situation is very strange, and calls for unusual theories. :lol:

Another question is why the other pair allows for their young to switch sides, when it leads to death and destruction. Both on the way past the amarillos I suppose, but certainly upon arrival.

What sort of behavior does the right pair show when their youngsters depart?

Jacob (who is very gratefull that you share your river/lakeside with us!)

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Marko Lenac
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Post by Marko Lenac » Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:34 pm

i have a question whit what do you feed them to get them spawn so often?
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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:24 pm

I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear in my last posting. the six or so juveniles that are left were not from the previous spawn (and still defended). they were from a much earlier spawn (their size is about 1"+) and only tolerated (not defended) by their parents. so this is not so much a case of accepting new fry into their own brood as well as the pair quitting their preparations to spawn, skipping all of the broodcare (laying eggs, fanning, hatching, etc) and starting to defend fry that are already a few weeks old.

the question about food is a bit difficult. I don't know of any food that gets cichlids to spawn more often. on the other hand, good food gets them into good condition which they need for spawning.
at any rate, I feed them fish (prey size), Krill, shrimps and mussels.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Jacob
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Post by Jacob » Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:16 pm

Were they considering the 6 youngsters as a threat to the 200 fosterchildren, or were they allowed to hunt without interference?

Jacob

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Willem Heijns
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Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:21 pm

everything has changed. the youngsters have gone, a new batch of fry is freeswimming.
the other (right) side of the tank is much more interesting. the resident dovii pair is taking a break in reproduction. the female hides behind the rocks, the male seems to be not interested in her. the amarillo pair, for a long time squeezed between the two dovii territories, takes the opportunity to expand their area. they have moved up towards the right dovii pair for almost a meter. and are allowed to do so. until......
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:28 pm

did a big clean-up today. flattened out the gravel and made a big murky mess of the tank. as usual the fry survived. but a funny thing happened. all the fry crossed the whole length of the tank and ended up with the right dovii pair (the one taking a break, remember). so instead of preparing for another spawn, they had to start defending one week old fry. and they did. strange creatures these cichlids, aren't they?
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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