Keyholes eating eggs

Discussion in 'Breeding Fish' started by Nutter, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Nutter

    NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I have a pair of Keyholes in thier own breeding tank. They have laid eggs about 6 times now & on each occasion, one of them has eaten the eggs on the second night after laying. I know they often eat the first batch or two but I have never had a pair that always eat thier eggs. After the eggs have been eaten the male beats up the female for a few days & this is getting worse each time the eggs get eaten. This time around he nearly killed her & I had to seperate them. Does anyone know why they are eating every batch of eggs & what I can do about it? Is it ok for me to remove the parents after the eggs have been laid?
  2. Kerber23Valued MemberMember

    thats the issue my rams are having... i did some research and decided that its best to hatch them artificially. Or be persisant and keep trying. And as for WHY they are eating them. Many Store baught cichlids are inbread :'(, and that is effecting it. I would say they arent experianced. But it appears as they are :p

    Artificialy hatching: You can remove either the parents or the eggs. What ever tank your eggs are in, put a doseage of methylene blue. also put a sponge (Clean very very throughly) on the pump INtake. also put an air stone in. The methylene blue acts as antifungal medication.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  3. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Can you please update/fill in your Tank info? That information is very important to readers when asking for help.

    Were you able to tell if the eggs were fertile? If not they will eat them.

    Keyholes are South American Cichlids.....what is your Ph?

    I had a similar problem with about 8 spawns and no hatches....needed to lower my Ph. When I did the next time they spawned, got an excellent hatch.

    Plenty of hiding places? When they first spawn it is best to leave them alone for a while while they bond better.

  4. btate617

    btate617Well Known MemberMember

    Like TedsTank asked are they turning white?

    If they are not you are probably going to have to remove them. You can take out whatever they lay the eggs on, a clay pot, wood, etc, put into a seperate tank and place an airstone close to the eggs. The airstone will do the same job as the pair fanning the eggs. The main problem you may have is feeding them once they hatch as the parents won't be there to help feed them. Some fish never get it, not very often but it does happen. Also as the male gets older his desire to breed gets stronger. I would say that is why he is beating her more and more after each spawn. As soon as the eggs are gone he is ready to breed again and it takes her some time. The best thing to do would be move her for a week or two after they eat the eggs or have a divider, although I hate dividers.

    If the eggs are not turning white and they are in fact fertile I wouldn't worry to much about ph. If they are comfortable enough to breed the ph is not bothering them. When you have a ph problem they simply wont breed, but it will not make them eat the eggs.


  5. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Slight disagreement with that, but only from my experience, Adult fish can adapt all over the ranges of Ph. usually, but the eggs cannot always. I have had 3 times different fish that spawned great but the eggs was Ph problems with fertilization and the egg shells.

    Hopefully it won't be a Ph problem but keep that i mind if you continue getting no hatching.

    My statement about eating the eggs is in reference to infertile eggs...the female or pair are constantly cleaning the eggs AND removing any infertile or fungused eggs....they eat them. The Ph does not MAKE them eat the eggs...they do it in the cleaning process whatever the Ph is.

    The Ph checking is just another thing to keep in mind when breeding fish...especially when they are SA cichlids. Some are ok and some can't get a hatch.
  6. btate617

    btate617Well Known MemberMember

    I misread it Ted my bad.

    I still don't know about the ph though. Like you said SA fish are sometimes picky about their water when it comes to spawning. And yes adults can adapt to a very wide range of ph, But saying the eggs can't I don't get that part? (Adult fish can adapt all over the ranges of Ph. usually, but the eggs cannot always.) The hard part with some SA like you said is getting the right ph for them to spawn in the first place. After that there are really only a few things that will get to the eggs. They could eat them, not fan them and fungus, male is not furtile, maybe a few other extreme examples but thats the basics.
    I understand if you took their eggs from them to move them to another tank and you had a big ph difference and something happening to the eggs. But not in the same tank. That is what I am missing, if they are comfortable enough to spawn in your water, the eggs will too be fine in that water. Do you think it could be just coincidence you got a good spawn when you changed the ph. I just dont see the ph, if it stays the same, having an affect on the eggs once the are layed.
    I am not being a jerk or trying to argue, I really 100% don't think the same ph in a tank the pair layed in would ruin eggs, I would think it would be another source to the problem. I am always up for learning something new so please don't take me wrong, I just don't understand how you blame ph for no hatch???

  7. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Oh no wrong taken here!!

    Well i guess its misunderstanding....I don't mean to blame the Ph but with mulitple spawn failures it could be something to take into account.

    the Ph versus egg thing is that the cellular structure of the eggs and sperm is still very sensitive, more of an evolution thing...and can be a problem although the adults seem adapted fine.

    This seems to be most noticed with the Apisto group of small SA cichlids. Many will spawn but never get a hatch until the PH and acidity are lowered. (cockatoos, borellis and the common ones do better...they are considered the easy apistos)

    I had the same problem with my pair of angelfish. After 8 spawnings and no hatch or fertilization, I slowly dropped the the Ph (before they tried again) from approx 8.2 to near 7.0 and immediately got a nearly full hatch. In fact there were very, very few.

    Of course this isn't always the problem with bad spawnings, and I know in the case of angelfish they can and do spawn at some hi Ph levels. Mine might have been coincidence, but after 8 tries about 3 weeks apart he could have become suddenly fertile, but that is just as fishy!!

    So when dealing with fish from soft acid waters and you have everything set perfect but no hatch...the PH is also something to keep in mind....

    I guess maybe the same but OPPOSITE with the African Lake cichlids and super hard water....what happens in soft acid water???...humm I've never kept any
  8. OP

    NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Sorry the aquarium info isn't there Teds Tank but there simply isn't enough space for me to fill in the details of even my main display tanks, let alone the rest of them.
    I have always thought along the same lines as Brian when it comes to hatching & PH. If the water is good enough for them to spawn in then it is good enough for the eggs as well. I have tried them at different PH levels to see if it made any difference but it didn't help. If they spawned, they have followed the same pattern of egg eating or they just didn't spawn because the PH was not to thier liking. (both high & low). In any case the PH in this particular tank runs between 6.9 & 7.2, controlled by co2 & that seems to be the happy mark when it comes to spawning for this pair. The GH is 7 & the KH is 4. Nitrates 10ppm, nitrites & ammonia 0. I have seen a few unfertilized eggs but only 4-6 per batch & the parents seem to be ignoring them for the most part. It is quite odd the way they look after them so intently for two days & then they all get eaten in a big hurry. I saw them do it under the moonlight the last time & they both suddenly just turned around & ate the whole batch for no apparent reason. There is very little movement around thier tank & nothing else in there with them so it wasn't from feeling threatened & as far as I can tell it wasn't from the few unfertilized eggs needing to be removed as they started with eating healthy eggs first. I's quite an odd one as normally Keyholes are the easiest fish that I breed apart from my feeder Guppies. I will try removing the parents on the next spawn & see how it goes that way.
    Thanks for the replies.
  9. btate617

    btate617Well Known MemberMember

    Thats interesting Ted, I will keep it in the back of my mind..... pretty far back but I will keep

    Nutter can you move them to another tank? maybe try a tank that you can use no lights on. I know you said nothing spooked them but who knows??? Possibly turning on/off the lights could have done it, or opening the tank lid to feed. If you do try another tank I would also prop the lid open a little so you don't have to open it to feed them, just enough to put food in. Who knows, they got it right by spawning, something has to be "spooking" them into eating the eggs everytime. Either that or you have one of those lucky pairs who no matter what eat every batch of eggs.( I had one female front like this, she would swallow/and or spit her eggs after about 4 days everytime) I can't tell you what I named her since this is a family forum.......

    Good luck with them!

    Or try the PH thing....

  10. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    From your post now everything sounds ok, including Ph....they just be egg eaters!!! Do you have another pair and split them up?
    I agree happy fish will spawn...but really Ph has an effect on the egg membranes. I filed it far back a couple years ago, but has appeared to work for
    Actually I came across that little factoid in researching the successes and failures in breeding the difficult apistos.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  11. btate617

    btate617Well Known MemberMember

    I will for sure remember this..... you know as well as I do some South Americans test your patience.
    I have been willing to try anything with some fish, so next time I get stuck I may give it a shot.

  12. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    LOL....just file it for when all else fails.

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