Translated from articles written by Burtus at Aquarium Farm
Original articles at http://aquariumfarm.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5108
Breeding Dwarf Cichlid
Recently I had a pair of dwarf cichlid which was very difficult to breed. I had exhausted all my past successful tank settings but still without success. Part of the reasons might be that my tank was only 12” in size. The other reason probably was that the female who bred before but not with the current male was constantly beaten by him. Therefore, I employed a method that I had never tried before and finally they were willing to breed in this small tank. I would like to share this experience with you.
When I put the female and male the first time together within the same tank, after a day the female was badly beaten by the male and I had to separate them immediately. I tried a second time a few days later and the result was the same. This male was very strong and fierce. He almost killed the female so I had to separate them for a longer time. I purposely put the male in a large tank with Apisto. sp. "Wilhemi", Apisto. Trifasciata and other large species. This on one hand would let him get use to live with other fishes and on the other hand might teach him a lesson and setback his temper. In fact, once he was in the large tank, he immediately fought with the Apisto. Trifasciata. As for the female, she stayed with the small fish to avoid further injury. By the way, psychologically or not, I find that a female cichlid will turn more yellowish just like in the breeding mood when she is with some small fishes.
Waiting is the most important lesson
After three days, the female’s injury was healed. However, I learnt from the past two failures that I was too impatient. I had put her with the male when her abdominal was just slightly puffed up. So this time I separate them for three weeks and her body becomes plump and ready. Now is the time to prepare the breeding tank.
New breeding tank’s setup and PH shock
In the past, my breeding tank only had one cichlid vase with a few plants. This time I put two vases inside the 12” tank. They are placed at the left and right inner corners respectively. In front of each vase opening, there is a small Anubias nana and some Java Ferns. Then select one or two driftwoods grown with moss. The driftwoods should be taller than the vase and put in the middle of the tank. They are used for separating the tank into two sides so that the male and female will be harder to see each other. Of course we also need a foam filter and a heater.
When the breeding tank is ready, I first transfer the female directly into it. I do not accustom the female with the breeding tank’s water in order to create the PH shock. After a day, I let the male into the breeding tank as well. Since the female was there a day earlier, she had already selected her territories and gotten use to the settings. Even the male is trying to chase her, she is not hurt. When the male is inside thank, the female immediately dances around him. Two more days later, the male is hiding from the female and I know the male already does something mischievous. At this point, even the fierce male will be pushed aside by the female.
This time the breeding pair’s size is a bit big and in a 12” tank is very difficult for them to breed. However, if we can decorate the tank carefully, a big dwarf cichlid can still breed in a 12” small tank. This is the end of my sharing. When there are other opportunities, I will share again with you.
Breeding Tank’s Setting