This page/blog is briefly stalled by...life! Daddy-duties, the dreaded j.o.b. (such as it is) and a complete lack of photography skills. Also been refining the brine shrimp hatchery system and improving the inventory of foods fed daily. There is never a perfect place to start, but beginning with one of my favorites (and most prolific species at present), Cichlasoma (new taxonomy expected soon) Synspillum. These are the "regular" Red Head Quetzal that Don Conkel produced for years. Have 2 6-9" pairs spawning on cycle and producing an average of 3-400 free-swimming fry each time. One pair in a 4x2x2 120G, the other luxuriating in a 180G with a quad of Oreochromis Tanganikae. A third pair is not yet producing, but are in a bad neighborhood, a community 150G, currently terrorized by a producing pair of Amphilophus Amarillo. Currently have 5 overpopulated tanks of the Synspillum young-uns and will need to locate a HIGH VOLUME market soon. Also have a colony of the blue spotted variant from Belize in a roomy 8' 220 and there is a pair forming now, guarding a large pot and coloring up. Hoping for a first clutch of eggs in the next few weeks from them. The third variation is a juvenile group from Conkel, the "Rio Sarstoon" origin, only 2-3" in length. These are clearly older than their size indicates, they are coloring up, sparring and beginning to defend territories. There is a pic on this glorious site of these that shows a gorgeous amount of gold in the body, I hope mine are like this.
Second most prolific is a tie between a stunning pair of Creamsickle Red Devils that provide a spawn every month, currently 3 spawns overfilling their respective tanks and an pair of Pt. Grandidieri that spawn on an odd schedule: They "re-spawn", or said another way, they are capable of spawning more than monthly. In example, on 7-28-10 I siphoned off their wriggler fry to private quarters and the parents re-spawned that evening and another batch of fry were siphoned off on 8-2-10! Some fish spawn bi-weekly, but this is not something I've experienced with larger fish, the parent pair are 6". There are other Grandis present and I suspected the male was trading out females (there are 2 nearly identical females in the tank) but closer observation shows the spawning female is consistent, the third wheel remains without a beau. These are a fantastically prolific species, if my pair is any indication, these are second only to the Pollenii amongst Madagascar cichlids, but the Grandis don't show the same spouse-killing, tank clearing tendencies.
Other good producers on site are Amphilophus Amarillos, Amphilophus Saggitaes and Cichlasoma Managuensis. The Amphilophus produce fry that are quite content to await the planned diet of BBS, frozen brine shrimp, powdered krill and flakes, but the Jaguars dine early and often on their hapless siblings. Their next spawn will be raised in algae-laden green water to limit visibility, hopefully limiting the amazing predation experienced on the current batch.
There are several other pairs producing, Brichardi's, Fullebornii's, Salvini's, Turquoise and Christatus jewels, various Victorians, Tilapias, Nicaraguensis and many more, but none that have the high-volume marketing potential of the aforementioned ones.
A quick statement of Breeder Award Program involvement. I was recently ummm...encouraged (the nice word) to participate in a local club's BAP and questioned as to why none of these are being submitted. There are two main reasons I'll cite, the first is more positive than the second. My Grand Master Breeder plaque is dated 1992 and was attained in just 4 years of participation. The other reason is that this unnamed society is rife with an affliction that has been the demise of many organizations (fish clubs in my limited experience): CLIQUE-ITUS. Said as nicely as possible, some members-the ones in clique-can do no wrong, everything they do is exhaulted to the highly level. The other members-non clique-are subject to the closest scrutinization of every detail of the rules, challenged intensely and these until-now eager members are often (purely by chance, right?) overlooked, delayed and ignored. I have seen this ailment many times and in many places. Having been everything from a "lurker" to a founder of aquarium societies and having volunteered thousands of hours, I can attest to the mortality of this disease of CLIQUE-ITUS. Our national cichlid organization is not immunized from this either. When a precious few do nearly all the work, it is a normal situation for volunteer endeavors. When these these over-worked members disregard oft-repeated offers of fresh volunteers, the affliction swells. Martyrdom rears it's ugly head and egos begin to reign. Exclusivity sprouts and it's lethal flowers blossom. To each his own, but I abhor this affliction and am fighting it with unrelenting offers to assist and become involved in our international club. The local club, well, I'll just close by saying my previous attempts have been met with such multi-decade derision that I'll lurk and contribute only my dues. This is not a self-pity exercise, just a knowledge that efforts are best spent where appreciated.