Retroculus lapidifer courting

Discussion about cichlids from South America

Moderator: Florent

User avatar
bennymoreno51
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:37 am
Location: perscott valley az
Contact:

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by bennymoreno51 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:58 pm

Wow great video there on your fish

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:13 am

As of yesterday I have 8 freeswimming Retroculus. Not many, but this was the first batch of viable eggs I've gotten, and I have to figure out how to improve on that next time. I do know that someone had a good size spawn that these breeders came out of, so I'm hoping that fertility rates will improve from this point.

Most interesting thing was that the viable eggs get very heavy when covered with sand particles. Even under heavy aeration that would have sent most eggs sailing around the container, these sat on the bottom and just wiggled a bit in the current. Larvae were pretty resistant to the current, as well. The free swimmers appear to have no problem sitting on the bottom.

I still have to get some photos of the swimmers.

Don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but this is a species that I wanted for 40 years or so. The last few months seeing them spawn, and now having actual fry, is almost a dream come true for me. Growing these fry out would complete this.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

Oceanica
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Oceanica » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:04 pm

With my Satanoperca fry I have to change the rearing tank's water every day (I change nearly 100% each time) and add medication (I use eSHA 2000) every day. Otherwise the fry get sick and either die or get pinched/deformed fins.

Bas Pels
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Bas Pels » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:17 am

I think raising fish on medicines is not a good idea.

Firstly, if one needs them, one will be doing something wrong. Secondly, the fish will be overly sensitive

A nearly 100 % water change every day does also sound very excessive to me. I wonder what the cause could be, perhaps the will to raise too many fish in too little a tank?

I was informed u US 20 gallon high has a footprint of 2 * 1 feet. Assuming adequate filtering, I would try and raise 30 fry to 2 cm (3/4 of an inch) max. Then I would take out half of them, or put them all in a larger tank

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:03 pm

Bad news: looks like I've lost all the fry that were swimming. Not sure why, they were so hard to observe in a tank with sand substrate.

Good news: I moved the pair to a tank by themselves about 3 weeks ago. I was worried that a 40 breeder would be too small, even for a young pair like this. However, they were always going to have problems in the tank with their five brothers, so I took a shot and moved them. The first week they were in perpetual panic mode; after all, they hadn't been moved in close to a year and a half. The second week they calmed down a little, and the male built his pile of pebbles. Last Wednesday I went to check on them, and the pile of pebbles had been torn up, but there was a new, smaller pile near a piece of slate I have laying on the bottom.

I grabbed a flashlight and looked under the edge of the slate, which was an inch or so above the bottom because it was sitting half buried in sand. Under the slate I saw a few eggs that had apparently not been covered with pebbles. As usual, they were coated with sand grains. I decided to leave the spawn this time. I wanted badly to see how the parents will behave with no other fish in the tank to harass them.

On Thursday they had move the location of the small pile of pebbles, and both fish were watching the nest area from the edge. They moved it again before the end of the day. I have not read all the available articles on breeding Retroculus, but the ones I've seen did not mention moving the rock pile. Most of them, including Weidner, only mentioned removing some of the eggs on the first day to artificially hatch (this is important, keep reading).

On Friday morning they were again moving a pile of pebbles, but this time I saw some eggs that had not yet been buried. Important note: these eggs did NOT have sand on them! My theory is that the constant moving of eggs and pebbles wears the protective coat of sand off the eggs. This also leave the eggshell thinner, and potentially easier to break out of. Everything I read reported poor hatch rates of eggs with sand still on them, and my own experience verified that. Now I think it is possible that the eggs have a harder time hatching if the sand is not removed beforehand.

Saturday I saw the pair still watching the nest, but the pebbles were scattered over a wider area. On Sunday I returned from a local club auction and of course went to immediately check on them. I found them again sitting around the nest, with the same pale colors they had for the last few days. As I was looking, a wiggler popped up out of the pebbles, wiggled "at me", and dropped back down. I have no idea how many have hatched yet. My hope is that they will be swimming in a few days, and I will get an idea as to whether hatch rates are better when left with the parents. I also hope they have good parental instincts when the fry start swimming.

I'm probably jinxing them by posting this, but I had to make note of the information that I had not seen previously. 1) the pair was moving eggs and pebbles around the larger nest area pretty regularly. 2) the eggs lost their coating of sand after two days of this moving around. Maybe this is in some article that I haven't read, but I wanted to get a record of it just in case.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Piotr Koba
CRC contributor
Posts: 480
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:23 am
Location: Poland

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Piotr Koba » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:11 am

I haven't heard about this moving behavior as well, though it is common with other cichlids which do not build pebble nests. But still, they move larvae, not eggs! Very interesting.
Cheers
Piotr

Bas Pels
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Bas Pels » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:14 am

I am very happy you managed to reach the larvae stadium. And even better, the parents did it.

I do hope you will see a few fry swimming by thursday or so.

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:03 am

As of this morning, they have larvae that are moving about a little, though they are not yet swimming. There are more larvae than I was able to get from pulling the eggs, though the pebbles make it hard to estimate the number. They have moved the larvae, but these keep hopping up out of the rocks, so they are easily located, if not easily counted. The parents continue to be very attentive, though they usually sit several inches from the young.

I thought it might also be interesting to note the lighting. There is a 4 foot flourescent light about a foot above the tank, on a timer that is on about 12-13 hours daily. There is also another flourescent light over the sink about 15 feet away, and this goes off a couple of hours later than the one above the tank. So they do get relatively complete darkness for a few hours each night. There is a small window on the east side of the basement that I believe gives them their first light in the morning, and closer windows on the south and west walls that probably give them a slow rise in the lighting before the overhead comes on around 9-9:30 AM.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Retroculus lapidifer with swimming fry

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:03 am

Yes, today there are fry swimming all about the nest, an area of approx. 15 inches in diameter. I watched the female pick up a group and move them to another area of the nest - further away from me. Because they are quite spread out, it is difficult to get a still photo of the fry. I wish I had a good HD video camera. I do not expect that they will rise up in a cloud like most cichlid fry; if they did that in the wild, they would be carried away. The parents stay on the nest, and are obviously watching the fry closely. It is impossible to estimate how many are there, but it is several times as many as I had hatched artificially. They also look much stronger and healthier than the artificially hatched fry.

My biggest concern now is separating these fry from the parents. The easiest way would be to move the pair, but I hate to disturb them to that degree yet again. However, siphoning out these fry is going to be extremely difficult in a nest full of pebbles. That is also likely to upset the adults greatly. And if I don't get all the fry, they may postpone spawning again for some time.

Regardless, I have seen something that few have ever seen - Retroculus parents caring for their fry. I have a few more photos, will add those later
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:41 am

No good shots of swimming fry, but a shot of wigglers in the nest from two days ago, and the pair's brooding color.
Retroculus larvae in nest 1.JPG
Retroculus lapidifer pair on nest.JPG
The larvae are not all of the spawn, as several were wandering around even as wigglers. Also note that the pair's color is more subdued than when they are courting.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Piotr Koba
CRC contributor
Posts: 480
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:23 am
Location: Poland

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Piotr Koba » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:34 pm

Maybe don't separate the fry at all? I mean at least untill they grow up a little. If the pair is alone and the parent fish are not nervous they shouldn't eat the fry I think.
Cheers
Piotr

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Retroculus lapidifer pair and swimming fry

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:30 pm

Piotr, even with the best parents, there is a time limit as to how long they will continue to watch the fry. HOWEVER, this afternoon I was greeted by a cloud of fry over the sand portion of the breeding tank. They were all within an inch of the surface, and the pair was right on top of them. By the time I ran upstairs and got the camera, they had moved. The fry were sticking closer to the sand, but guess what - I GOT PICTURES!!! :D I have never seen any other photos of Retroculus parents with swimming fry. Is this a first?
Retroculus with swimming fry01.JPG
Retroculus swimming fry 03.JPG
Now the parents are much more attentive with the fry swimming. There are still a few brave kids checking out the neighborhood, even saw one up by the powerhead. Fed bbs, the babies were on it. Parents got some flakes, which they went after as soon as they started sinking.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

Bas Pels
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Bas Pels » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:37 am

Personally, I would wait a week (that is 168 hours) from the moment they first swam, and then I would siphon a large portion off, in order to raise seperately.

But I would not siphon all, I would like to enjoy the parents caring. But then, I can only wish I had Retroculus with fry...

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Retroculus fry video

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:33 pm

Here it is! Video of the Retroculus with their fry. It is an amazing sight to me, hope you enjoy it as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzhhe5pzS80
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Piotr Koba
CRC contributor
Posts: 480
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:23 am
Location: Poland

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Piotr Koba » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:59 am

My sincere congratulations. It is quite an achievement!
Cheers
Piotr

Bas Pels
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Bas Pels » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:26 pm

Wow. They made it. Many congratulations, and I do hope you will manage to raise a few. What a shame that damned ocean is there between us

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:39 pm

Sort of a final note here. I removed the pair when the fry were about a month old. I think I could have left them longer. At one month they were just over a half inch. I expected fast growth, but I think removing the adults slowed them, and they were anywhere from that half inch to maybe 7/8 of an inch at two months. I took 80 young to the OCA extravaganza, mostly presold. Despite the small size, and a couple of bags going almost flat, I did not lose a single fry. They are tougher than they look. Slightly cooler water didn't bother them, either.

After selling 80, I would say there are at least 40-50 fry remaining. I hope faster growth will resume with the reduction in population. They are eating live bbs, powdered NLS, and Golden Pearls 5-50 micron. I have also crushed up some plankton flake, and they do eat some of that as well. They come toward the surface when I open the lid for feeding, not at all shy like their parents. However, they are not capable of feeding directly from the surface.

The pair was set up in another tank with almost the identical arrangement, and appear to be preparing for another spawn. The five extra fish still in the 125 appear to all be males. I am hoping that the pair will not be seasonal spawners, particularly since, as aquarium born fish, they have never experienced seasons directly. I think that subsequent generations will be easy to breed as they adapt to aquarium life.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

User avatar
Piotr Koba
CRC contributor
Posts: 480
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:23 am
Location: Poland

Re: Retroculus lapidifer courting

Post by Piotr Koba » Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:36 am

My sincere congratulations :D
Cheers
Piotr

Post Reply

Return to “South American Cichlids”