How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Discussion about cichlids from Madagascar and India
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Jim Cumming
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How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Post by Jim Cumming » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:32 pm

For years now, I've been hearing from many sources how inept the Paretroplus genus is at parenting, particularly of their eggs . It goes something like this:
Pair lays eggs - pair guards eggs - pair squabbles and eats eggs :-|
or
pair sees food coming and leaves eggs unattended whereupon they are eaten :(
or
pair gets distracted, forgets to stay with eggs, and they get eaten. :cry:
Well my experience with this genus ('maculatus', 'kieneri', and 'menerambo') tends to contradict these observations to a degree. I can see how these scenarios can happen, in that the Dambas are a high strung, rather nervous lot, incessantly squabbling, along with the strength of their pair bonds being somewhat suspect. But in my experience (at least within the last couple of years), they have been displaying exemplary capabilities in caring for ( at least) their eggs (that's only as far as I've allowed it to go).
They have tended to be very attentive to the egg plaque, with one parent (female) always close by, fanning them, and keeping a watchful eye while the other (male) is mostly doing periphery duty (does most of the chasing away). They work well as a team carrying out their tasks efficiently and safe and secure for the young and easiest for them to defend. Can you tell I'm impressed? You betcha'. The funny thing is that any pair of CA or SA cichlids pretty much always displays the utmost in parenting skills as a matter of course. No big deal for them. But for the Dambas, I suppose it's “a work in progress”.

****I just went downstairs to pull the spawn, and the eggs are gone. Oh well, just disregard my positive comments.**** :oops:

JUST KIDDING! They were still there and I've now moved them to a hatching tank.
Here's a video I took this morning of my pair of 'menarambo' guarding a spawn (occurred last evening) that supports some of my comments. This is their third spawn in 15 weeks.
http://youtu.be/s5-0bYjMXHc
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Lisachromis
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Re: How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Post by Lisachromis » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:27 pm

Are there other fish in the tank for them to defend their eggs? Or do you find that other fish make them more nervous when they've spawned?

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Jim Cumming
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Re: How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Post by Jim Cumming » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:10 pm

Lisachromis wrote:Are there other fish in the tank for them to defend their eggs? Or do you find that other fish make them more nervous when they've spawned?
There are several other fish in this 90G tank - 1 other 'menarambo', 6 P. nourissati (small), 6 P. kieneri (adults) and 1 P. dambabe. So it's pretty crowded. But the other fish seem to know that they will get "beaten upon" so they keep their distance. Only when the odd one strays over to their side (thinking it's going to be fed) does the chasing take place.It's a short burst , then the parent quickly returns to the spawning site; no continuous pursuit. All of my Madagascan cichlids breed in a community setting.It seems to hold the pair together (the "us against the world" situation). I would never set them up as pairs. I just don't think it would work out very well.
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Piotr Koba
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Re: How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Post by Piotr Koba » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:43 am

I shouldn't really watch your vids; those Dambas look amazing.

Anyways, what is your experience with eggs left with parents? I suppose in relatively small quarters and active tankmates (such as other Paretroplus) it is second to impossible for a pair to defend fry, or even wrigglers... or is it?
Cheers
Piotr

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Jim Cumming
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Re: How Effective are Paretroplus at Parenting?

Post by Jim Cumming » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:03 am

Piotr Koba wrote:I shouldn't really watch your vids; those Dambas look amazing.

Anyways, what is your experience with eggs left with parents? I suppose in relatively small quarters and active tankmates (such as other Paretroplus) it is second to impossible for a pair to defend fry, or even wrigglers... or is it?
Thank you Piotr. Any time I've left the eggs in with the parents, they either get eaten after a couple of days, or they fungus. They take quite a long time to hatch as cichlids go (5-6 days) so they're vulnerable for quite a long time. And since my Dambas are in a community setting, one slip on the parents' part and it's over. So I've opted for pulling the eggs. In larger quarters with relatively few tank mates, they might very well succeed in going beyond the egg stage.
"The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them".
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