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Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:12 am
by fmueller
Today I happened to sit next to my Tropheus tank, when I saw the dominant male and one of the females in the typical T-position. I only knew what it was from other people's photos, never before having had a chance to observe them spawning myself. I goes without saying that I was extremely excited. I needn't have rushed with the camera though, because they were busy for hours. The spawning site was the male's favorite cave, and he kept on coming out showing off for the females and enticing one after the other into the cave to do their thing. It was probably the most amazing spectacle I have observed in over 30 years of fish keeping! Being able to see the fascinating natural behavior of these wild African animals right there from the comfort of your arm chair is what this hobby is all about for me! It is moments like these that make up for years of hard work doing tank maintenance :lol:

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Now a stupid question for the Tropheus experts. It seems obvious that the female moves with her mouth to the underside of the male to take up some sperm after she has collected the eggs in her mouth. However, in my last photo you can see that the male also goes with his mouth near the underside of the female. My male did this a lot today. Does he temporarily take eggs into his mouth or what is going on there?

Greetings

Frank

Re: Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:55 am
by tanganyikanhunt
Congrats! What I believe is taking place is that the male stimulates the female into laying by his mouthing. Often, I have observed, the female would normally quit at one point but seemingly because of his stimulation, she may lay another egg or two.

Wait until you see the little ones!!!

Re: Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:01 am
by billansor
Wow O man O Wow did you get some wonderful pictures Frank. Does your camera take video also? The way you captured those lil fellas doing their thing just is so vivid.
I should think that you will not be moving from your Tropheus chair spot anytime soon. Errrr you do need to go go work sometime? Eh?
Thats so cool that you shared that with us.
My two bits
Bill

Nice Pics

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:50 pm
by cupfishhead
Thats awsome, what kind of camera do you have and what settings did you use. I have just started to catalogue my fish and have a sony a300 dslr. How big are they and do you know of any spawning triggers? I have a group of 6 right now, what have you been feeding? I use nutrafin spirulina flake, with tetra cichlid crisps, and whiteworms twice a week. Any tips would be great!!! CONGRATS!!!

Re: Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:00 pm
by James Shingler
Great shots.
I think the nudging is to get the female to lay all her eggs with this one male and not find another partner as she sometimes seems to want to do.

Science bit.
From here
http://www.kim-jakobsen.dk/Artsbeskrive ... nglish.htm

The Tropheus genus is thought to be fairly old, which could account for the lack of differentiation in colour between the sexes, which contradicts the fact, that only the female is active in the parenting. The explanation for this, is that maternal mouthbrooding is considered an advanced development of biparental mouthbrooding, a technique that logically requires the parents to look approximately uniform. Tropheus is seen as a transition form between the two. Supporting this theory, is an observation in aquarium, where a male did actually help the female recovering an egg that was missed by the female.

Must say I have seen this help by the male but not often.

Re: Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:45 pm
by Dan Woodland
Great shots Frank. It always better to be lucky than good! :D because they never do it on your schedule!! :lol:

As others have stated the male is most likely stimulating or coaxing the female to lay eggs. Also as James mentioned, I've seen the same behavior in Cyphotilapia gibberosa "Mbimbwe" males. I was able to photograph this while others have stripped fry from their males.

Re: Bemba Orange Flame Spawning

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:32 am
by fmueller
Many thanks for the compliments, and sorry for not getting back to this thread for a few days, but I was busy completing the section of my web site about this tank: http://www.fmueller.com/home/aquaristic/125g/

Regarding the camera, I reckon any DSLR will do the job. Mine is a Canon Rebel XT, which of course by now is 'outdated' by several generations :D You want a flash unit that you can use off camera. I am not always using it, but you want to have that option! You also want some decent lenses, and I used a 17-85mm IS, 100mm macro, and 50mm 1.8 to shoot the spawning photos. All of the lenses gave me some decent shots. The key to success, however, it to take lots of photos and only show the best. I took 500 from which I selected the above 5!

Regarding food, these are my first tropheus, and while I get a feeling that there is a lot of hype about things that you should not do with tropheus, I do believe that these fish have sensitive stomachs. I bought them with a 5 pound bucket of Xtreme Cichlid Crumble, and that's all they ever get - apart from the plants in my tank that they keep nibbling on!

Dan, I don't think I've ever seen your photos of frontosa males holding eggs! Are they available anywhere online? It sounds like the most curious thing I've heard about in a long time!

Frank