Cockatoos -worrisome behavior?

Piaelliott

Hi,

I have had my pair for 2 weeks now. They are still young, about 1 in.
They had been doing great until today. The female was more outgoing and the male a little laid back. That is changed now.
I saw the male intimidate the female, he followed her slowly until she reached the top of the tank. This happened a few times, occasionally he chases her too.

I did a 40% water change today (weekly) after I watched the behavior but no change.

They live with 13 lampchop rasboras in a 40 gallon breeder with plants, rocks and driftwood. There is enough room for them to not have to see each other.

Is this fairly normal or do I have to worry about the safety of the female?
Thanks!

image.jpg
 

sharambil

They look very very very thin. They need some more food in my humble opinion. My pair: scroll thru the pics to see them. I feed earthworms chopped from my garden, bloodworms that are freezedried, other insects, and they are happy and trying to breed!

Link:

Scroll thru to see everything. If you have any questions, PM or tag me!!!
 

Piaelliott

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I had fed them frozen bloodworm and NLS Grow. Unfortunately they died shortly after at about the same time. I assume copper poisoning from a water change since the other fish were/are fine.
You have beautiful fish!
 

NavigatorBlack

They both looked to be male to me. Fancy form cacatuoides have red in the fins, but the shape suggested two immature boys.
 

Piaelliott

They both looked to be male to me. Fancy form cacatuoides have red in the fins, but the shape suggested two immature boys.
I bought these as a pair from my LFS who is quite knowledgeable. They were in a tank with other juvenile male and female double red apistos, they were about 3.5 cm if not even smaller.
The 'female' in front was mostly yellow but sometimes changed color. The male always looked the same. I know about sleeper males. They lived in a 40 gal breeder with lots of plants, driftwood and rocks. They were mostly together and got along (other than that incidence when I posted).
 

chromedome52

I'm with NB, I'd say two males. I've seen fin color on females of the fancy variety, but the shape of the body and fins says male on both.
 

Piaelliott

Wow, never would have thought. That would not have been a peaceful relationship in the long run.
Who wants to go fish shopping with me next time?
 

sharambil

Hmm... not trying to sound creepy but where do you live? I have some friends who breed fish and I could refer you to them. They are very good about pricing too! And they can probably give you a nice established pair that they know for sure are together!
 

psalm18.2

Let's find out why they died 1st.
 

sharambil

I they looked like they are very thin. One in the pic has an inverted belly.
 

Piaelliott

Hmm... not trying to sound creepy but where do you live? I have some friends who breed fish and I could refer you to them. They are very good about pricing too! And they can probably give you a nice established pair that they know for sure are together!

I live in SE Michigan. I have 2 keyhole cichilds now, no room for apistos
But good to know that you might know somebody.
 

Piaelliott

Let's find out why they died 1st.

They died of copper poisoning, 99% sure about that since they died within 2 hours of each other the day after a water change. After they died, I got a copper test and it tested positive for copper sensitive fish.
 

Piaelliott

I they looked like they are very thin. One in the pic has an inverted belly.
They didn't starve, they were fed 2 x daily. Maybe it is a bad picture but I don't have more. They came from a breeder in MI through my LFS.
 

Chewbroccoli

Hi guys,

I have a pair of Cockatoo Cichlids that I am curious if anyone has owned a pair before and what to look out for in their behaviour. The female has started to shift colour (was dull but now has a yellowish look) and is hiding away a lot in the back of the tank. The male use to be hyper aggressive towards her and now has shifted to only occasionally bullying her and focusing more on the fancy guppy in the tank.

I have not set up the tank for breeding and have no real places like a cave but she hides mostly in my lava rock formation at the back of the tank.

Is there courtship behaviour that they do? I am more curious then anything.
 

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BigManAquatics

I know they color up when trying to breed, beyond that, i know nothing :(
 

Chewbroccoli

Yeah that's as much as I know. I was going to see if someone had a pair and knew about their behaviour from the forum before I run off to Google to find information.
 

BigManAquatics

MacZ I think is pretty knowledgeable on these. Certainly more than i am!
 

Hellfishguy

The fact that the female is yellow Is an indicator that she is already guarding eggs or fry.
 

Flyfisha

I have breed a few generations of cacs.
I am under the impression the yellow colour on the female is more of a wedding dress than a maternity dress but ether way it’s a good sign.

Having an established ( dirty ) bunch of Java moss may give a couple of fry the opportunity to hide long enough to grow big enough to raise themselves???The established moss will have some micro live foods in it for their first meal. The newly hatched fry are the size of a grain of sand.
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MacZ

The fact that the female is yellow Is an indicator that she is already guarding eggs or fry.
Not necessarily. Usually it starts a day or two before she lays eggs. But the behaviour shift in the male indicates the eggs are laid.
In the picture in the first post she isn't ready yet.

I have not set up the tank for breeding and have no real places like a cave but she hides mostly in my lava rock formation at the back of the tank.
Then as soon as this situation is over, rehome the female. This is going to be an endless cycle otherwise. Eggs/fry - chasing everything and everyone including the male, no eggs - being chased by the male until ready for eggs again, and again from the beginning. In a setup not designed for breeding a female tends to burn out really quickly from that cycle.
 

Chewbroccoli

Not necessarily. Usually it starts a day or two before she lays eggs. But the behaviour shift in the male indicates the eggs are laid.
In the picture in the first post she isn't ready yet.


Then as soon as this situation is over, rehome the female. This is going to be an endless cycle otherwise. Eggs/fry - chasing everything and everyone including the male, no eggs - being chased by the male until ready for eggs again, and again from the beginning. In a setup not designed for breeding a female tends to burn out really quickly from that cycle.
Yeah this is actually what my concern is. They are still quite young as I have only had them for a few months. The tanks is no where set up for a breeding pair.

I have plans for a much larger shallow planted tank and was going to move them there as they have more space to roam about and not bump into each other. Or split them up.
I have breed a few generations of cacs.
I am under the impression the yellow colour on the female is more of a wedding dress than a maternity dress but ether way it’s a good sign.

Having an established ( dirty ) bunch of Java moss may give a couple of fry the opportunity to hide long enough to grow big enough to raise themselves???The established moss will have some micro live foods in it for their first meal. The newly hatched fry are the size of a grain of sand.
E0C51093-9A22-4C24-8362-C118B853D725.jpeg
Wow your male looks pretty awesome. Looking foward to this when mine gets there. Thanks for the information this is what I was looking for. Do they have a courtship or does the male display a certain way? I have not really noticed any other specific behaviours other then the male chasing the female.
 

MacZ

I have plans for a much larger shallow planted tank and was going to move them there as they have more space to roam about and not bump into each other. Or split them up.
Good! Usually with dwarf cichlids it's always a good thing to have the option to move one or the other to another tank at any given time. In a community tank setting I'd rather inly keep a single male and in my opinion high-tech planted tanks and aquascapes are not ok for dwarf cichlids at all. Often the substrate (which should be fine sand) and the structures are not appropriate for these fish at all. Contributes to a lot of losses that would otherwise be not happening.
 

Chewbroccoli

Good! Usually with dwarf cichlids it's always a good thing to have the option to move one or the other to another tank at any given time. In a community tank setting I'd rather inly keep a single male and in my opinion high-tech planted tanks and aquascapes are not ok for dwarf cichlids at all. Often the substrate (which should be fine sand) and the structures are not appropriate for these fish at all. Contributes to a lot of losses that would otherwise be not happening.
Yeah my substrate is completely covered over with a carpet of plants at the moment. I said I will have one display tank after leaving the hobby for 8 years but once again I can't help myself and will start a second larger tank project. It's an expense slippery slope.
 

Flyfisha

To answer your question.
One of the common themes in the dance is the female falling on her side and slowly swimming in a circle in the males face.
Perhaps each pair has a slightly different courtship ritual?
To be completely honest on more than one occasion I have seen fry before knowing anything about it. Other than the colour of the females.

I am very much the beginner fish breeder and suggest MacZ information to be worth following. However sometimes fish just don’t read the rules.
After successful breeding I had pairs spread out in almost every tank because our local club suggests just keeping a single pair for cockatoo cichlids . They have on more than one occasion breed in bare bottom tank and in a planted community tank on painted gravel. And although definitely not ideal they have breed with BN plecos and corydoras as tank mates.
I am blaming not having space for not being able to provide the sand on all occasions. Having listened to MacZ I have added sand to a couple of bare bottom tanks.

It is my belief that young fish ( under 18 months) breed more easily than bigger older fish?
I suspect the Australian chain stores sell very old X breeding stock ? And suggest a 3-1/2 inch male is not as likely to breed as a 1-1/2 inch male.

Chewbroccoli if you want more tanks get more tanks.
 

MacZ

Perhaps each pair has a slightly different courtship ritual?
Yes, that's the case. Many species are distributed quite far, so variation is often seen. This is also the reason for that many different subspecies and a main driver for speciazation (the process of new species developing). Especially domestic strains can vary from wild or wild type specimens in that very much.

Another thing to keep in mind about domestic strains: They breed under the unlikeliest of circumstances. Bare bottom tanks, no cover, no light, much too big tankmates, sales tanks in stores... seen it all. This is one of the reasons I stopped seeing breeding activity as a sign of good conditions. So especially with A. cacatuoides, A. agassizii and A. borellii do not think you have the perfect tank. They are just like bristlenose, guppy or shellies when it comes to breeding. With the difference that the females may literally breed to death.

And the sand: I have come to the conclusion that due to the way they feed in nature, at least South American dwarf cichlids are dependent on sand. It provides food and enrichment, chewing sand keeps the gills clean and helps the digestive system as additional non-food fiber.
 

yukondog

When the female is ready to breed she will start to come up to the male and turn her belly up to him and try to get him to follow her to where she will lay eggs, watch them because if she is not ready sometimes the male will run her to death. If you know the male is not stressing her to much and you dont see her for days then more than likely she is on eggs.
When she is on eggs/fry one of mine will turn canary yellow and some of the other ones just yellow, now is the time to really watch them, I have had some males kill the female and take over the fry and the other way around.
How big is the tank and can you get a full picture of it?
 

Chewbroccoli

When the female is ready to breed she will start to come up to the male and turn her belly up to him and try to get him to follow her to where she will lay eggs, watch them because if she is not ready sometimes the male will run her to death. If you know the male is not stressing her to much and you dont see her for days then more than likely she is on eggs.
When she is on eggs/fry one of mine will turn canary yellow and some of the other ones just yellow, now is the time to really watch them, I have had some males kill the female and take over the fry and the other way around.
How big is the tank and can you get a full picture of it?
Interesting. He certainly has slowed down his attack on her. He more just pushes her away now. He more focuses on the guppy who actually relentlessly harrasses both of them. My tank is only 25ltrs. My plans are to create a shallow tank paludarium setup (attached for reference) and shift them over which I hope to be done/cycled within the next 2 months.
 

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MacZ

Yep, the tank they are in right now is all but sufficient. It's the volume many breeders use, but they often use different dimensions and remove the males after spawning and let the female raise the young alone.

A paludarium (You should get info on ripariums! You will love those.) would be a great option for a biotope showcase.
 

Chewbroccoli

I
Yep, the tank they are in right now is all but sufficient. It's the volume many breeders use, but they often use different dimensions and remove the males after spawning and let the female raise the young alone.

A paludarium (You should get info on ripariums! You will love those.) would be a great option for a biotope showcase.
Have actually never heard of the riparium. The closed enclosure with a planted wall looks pretty boss. Thanks for the information.
 

MacZ

Many tanks people call paludaria (swamp tank) are actually riparia. A recreation of a river- or lakebank. Flooded forests fall inbetween the two versions.
Emersed plants not only give biotopes the green many people criticize to miss, emersed plants do a much better job in biological water quality control.
 

BigBeardDaHuZi

Interesting. He certainly has slowed down his attack on her. He more just pushes her away now. He more focuses on the guppy who actually relentlessly harrasses both of them. My tank is only 25ltrs. My plans are to create a shallow tank paludarium setup (attached for reference) and shift them over which I hope to be done/cycled within the next 2 months.
Very beautiful tanks. I especially like the sanded one
 

Chewbroccoli

Very beautiful tanks. I especially like the sanded one
Yeah they are not my tanks. More of an inspirational wishlist :)
 

Chewbroccoli

Just an update on this one, the female is now permanently in the back corner and chases the male away who in turn chases the guppy away (guppy is a glutton for punishment and still thinks the tank is his domain). He is displaying to her constantly now as they go side by side and he kind of shakes himself until she nips him to shoo him away. Very interesting to watch.

She has to have eggs for sure. Her colour has not shifted so much but her black line on her sides has become quite dark and standa out.
 

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