Possible Firemouth Cichlid Breeding

CaptainAquatics

Member
Hi, here is the story:

So I have four firemouths in a 36 gallon tank along with a electric blue cichlid and a jewel cichlid. I have had one (a full grown firemouth) for about half a year and the other three I have only had for maybe three months. Today I noticed the full grown one and one of the smaller ones (I got all other other three at about 3-4 inches) has made a nest together and are chasing the other fish to one side of the tank, water parameters are great and they are in a biocube aquarium. Here is a pic (the two I think are breeding are on the right):
image.jpg
thanks

P.S. here is a photo of their nest:
image.jpg


P.S.S. I know I didn’t make this super clear but does anyone know for sure if these fish are breeding? Thanks
 

Bry

Member
I would probably say yes. Mostly due to the two of them protecting the area. My mom bred Convicts and you always knew by two of them protecting a cave or corner. Congrats!
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
Bry thanks for the reply, do you think I will see eggs? Here is a pic this morning of the two (sorry about the red tail kinda photo bombing (BTW the red tail will be moved out when it gets bigger)):
image.jpg

I saw them guarding their spot again this morning. I hope I get eggs, I have never raised cichlid fry
 

Bry

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
Bry thanks for the reply, do you think I will see eggs? Here is a pic this morning of the two (sorry about the red tail kinda photo bombing (BTW the red tail will be moved out when it gets bigger)):
image.jpg

I saw them guarding their spot again this morning. I hope I get eggs, I have never raised cichlid fry
About to say, I think the red tail would eat the fry. A beautiful pair!
We never saw eggs with the convicts, too small? They guarded a spot for a few days then you could see, if you looked carefully, little fry. I will warn you that the first clutch doesn't always make it. If the cichlids aren't ready to be parents sometimes they eat the babies, or only a couple live to adulthood. I hope that doesn't happen for you, but a warning that it may happen.
If they are ready to he parents, cichlids are great parents and protect the babies fiercely. Mom didn't mean to breed and didn't do anything special and we usually had 6-10 a clutch grow to abut an inch. Then mom would sell them.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
I could move the red tail, however the only spot I could move the red tail is to my 130 in which I have a 7 inch oscar that I was a bit worried about. I wanted to red tail to grow out in that tank but I really want to save the cichlid babies. Should I move the red tail, my oscar isn´t very aggressive and the red tail is maybe 3 inches long. My oscar is fine with the small lace catfish (he is only like 2 inches long). Also how to cichlid fry develop. Like what are the stages? Does it go:
1. Eggs on rocks
2. fry in cichlid mouth
3. free fry protected by parent
4. free fry not protected by parent

Is that the cycle? These guys are seeming very protective. Also I have a 20 gallon QT tank, could I put the fry in there when they hatch? Thanks

Bry said:
A beautiful pair!
Thanks


Oh BTW, one thing I forgot to mention:
Should I be concerned about the firemouths getting to aggressive towards the other fish? I have heard horror stories about cichlid pairs killing every fish in their tank to protect their young, and those two are some of the biggest fish in the tank.
 

Bry

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
I could move the red tail, however the only spot I could move the red tail is to my 130 in which I have a 7 inch oscar that I was a bit worried about. I wanted to red tail to grow out in that tank but I really want to save the cichlid babies. Should I move the red tail, my oscar isn´t very aggressive and the red tail is maybe 3 inches long. My oscar is fine with the small lace catfish (he is only like 2 inches long). Also how to cichlid fry develop. Like what are the stages? Does it go:
1. Eggs on rocks
2. fry in cichlid mouth
3. free fry protected by parent
4. free fry not protected by parent

Is that the cycle? These guys are seeming very protective. Also I have a 20 gallon QT tank, could I put the fry in there when they hatch? Thanks
Disclaimer I am going off of Convicts, Firemouths could be different. But it kinda went...
1. Parents protecting a spot.
2. Fry, that if they wander a parent will put them in their mouth then spit them back out in the group. Protected by at least one parent constantly.
3. Babies hiding in plants or caves
4. Free swimming baby cichlids.
Mom had a syndontis catfish in there that ate some fry when they wandered. Population control as mom called it.

You could move the fry if you wanted. I have no experience there though.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
Ok, do you think I should move the red tails. Also how long are eggs on the rock before they hatch?
 

Bry

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
Ok, do you think I should move the red tails. Also how long are eggs on the rock before they hatch?
I think you should move them, they'd probably eat some babies. If they'd be okay with an Oscar, I don't know.
We could never see the eggs. Parents would protect a spot for.... about a week ish then we'd see the tiny fry.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
I could also move the two breeding firemouths to the 20 gallon QT so they could be alone. I could then prep the tank with sand and put the rock they protect in.
 

Bry

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
I could also move the two breeding firemouths to the 20 gallon QT so they could be alone. I could then prep the tank with sand and put the rock they protect in.
You could, I guess. I have zero experience there. We just kinda let mother nature do her thing. My paranoid self would worry about some tiny eggs falling off or accidentally leaving a few behind.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
Bry said:
You could, I guess. I have zero experience there. We just kinda let mother nature do her thing. My paranoid self would worry about some tiny eggs falling off or accidentally leaving a few behind.
I agree, I will move the red tail shark out and I will let mother nature do her thing, however I will catch the babies when they hatch and move them.

Should I be concerned about my bristle nose pleco eating the eggs?
 

CMoZRo

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
Hi, here is the story:

So I have four firemouths in a 36 gallon tank along with a electric blue cichlid and a jewel cichlid. I have had one (a full grown firemouth) for about half a year and the other three I have only had for maybe three months. Today I noticed the full grown one and one of the smaller ones (I got all other other three at about 3-4 inches) has made a nest together and are chasing the other fish to one side of the tank, water parameters are great and they are in a biocube aquarium. Here is a pic (the two I think are breeding are on the right):
image.jpg
thanks

P.S. here is a photo of their nest:
image.jpg


P.S.S. I know I didn’t make this super clear but does anyone know for sure if these fish are breeding? Thanks
Their behavior definitely indicates breeding, although typically the female would stay very close to the nest while the male patrols the perimeter chasing off other fish. If they are the dominant fish in the tank they may be a bit more comfortable leaving the nest unprotected.

If the eggs are within a piece of decor you probably won't see them, as cichlids have a tendency to attach them in nooks on the sides of the nest in my experience. My convict breeding tank has been running for a few years and I've only seen eggs twice after many breeding cycles. They are very small but easily visible if you know where they are.

As far as the red tails go, if you are interested in making this a dedicated breeding tank I would recommend moving them (and possibly the other non-breeding inhabitants) in with your oscar and making sure they have ample hiding places if the oscar becomes aggressive. My oscar has always done well with tankmates, but if yours decides he doesn't want more company it could go bad in a hurry. The more you add to the oscar tank at one time the less likely you'll have issues. Just make sure you rearrange the tank a bit and add any new decor before the move to "reset" the territories. Also keep up water testing for a little while and have the proper additives on hand as the big jump in bioload could potentially start a mini-cycle.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
I am only interested in moving the red tail shark. I do not want to make that tank a dedicated breeding tank, however I would like the babies to live and I would temporarily move my pleco and red tail if they are likely to eat the eggs. I am sure the firemouths will keep the other cichlids away but they don't seem to concerned with the red tail or pleco which is why I am concerned with them.
 

CMoZRo

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
I could also move the two breeding firemouths to the 20 gallon QT so they could be alone. I could then prep the tank with sand and put the rock they protect in.
It is recommended that a breeding pair has at least 30 gallon for optimal conditions. I think you'd be a lot happier with making the existing tank into a dedicated breeding tank and letting nature do what it does. That way you don't disturb the process if it's already in progress. Most cichlids are awesome parents and watching the entire process is incredibly interesting and enjoyable.

CaptainAquatics said:
I am only interested in moving the red tail shark. I do not want to make that tank a dedicated breeding tank, however I would like the babies to live and I would temporarily move my pleco and red tail if they are likely to eat the eggs. I am sure the firemouths will keep the other cichlids away but they don't seem to concerned with the red tail or pleco which is why I am concerned with them.
I have kept a pleco in my breeding tank for its entire lifespan and never had an issue. Bought him around 6" and he is now 12". Part of the success is likely due to the fact that he became too large to get into the nest, but ensuring that yours is well fed with algae wafers, celery, driftwood etc... will help minimize the risk.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
When I get home I will move the red tail to the 130 (as talked about in another thread I just made). And I will make sure the babies can't get sucked up into the filter. Then I will just let nature do its thing.

I should change the name of the thread from “possible firemouth breeding” to “FIREMOUH CICHLID EGGS!”

I got home today and found these
AFE61BF7-B982-43CA-BB2B-794858F3E210.jpeg


From what I read they are fertilized as they have the brown color. I managed to get the red tail moved, I also moved the pleco because he was actively staying right next the the eggs tryI to eat them so I loved him to. How long will it be before they are fry? Thanks
 

CMoZRo

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
I should change the name of the thread from “possible firemouth breeding” to “FIREMOUH CICHLID EGGS!”

I got home today and found these
AFE61BF7-B982-43CA-BB2B-794858F3E210.jpeg


From what I read they are fertilized as they have the brown color. I managed to get the red tail moved, I also moved the pleco because he was actively staying right next the the eggs tryI to eat them so I loved him to. How long will it be before they are fry? Thanks
Awesome, congrats! Glad you moved the pleco, I didn't realize they were nesting out in the open like that. You should see them inside of 2 weeks. Could be sooner if those were already there and you just hadn't noticed them until now. The parents may or may not move them to another location as soon as they hatch, so don't panic if the eggs disappear and you don't see babies. If you have any cave features or something enclosed there's a good chance they'll go there. Give it a couple days and you'll start to see them come out for feeding. The male will usually lead them around showing them the ropes while the female will continue to guard the nesting area or wherever they have moved them to.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
CMoZRo said:
Awesome, congrats! Glad you moved the pleco, I didn't realize they were nesting out in the open like that. You should see them inside of 2 weeks. Could be sooner if those were already there and you just hadn't noticed them until now. The parents may or may not move them to another location as soon as they hatch, so don't panic if the eggs disappear and you don't see babies. If you have any cave features or something enclosed there's a good chance they'll go there. Give it a couple days and you'll start to see them come out for feeding. The male will usually lead them around showing them the ropes while the female will continue to guard the nesting area or wherever they have moved them to.
Thank you! So exactly how long until the eggs hatch, I was a bit confused. Is it going to be 2 weeks or in a day or two? Also should I move the babies almost as soon as they hatch to the grow out tank or should I wait for a week or so? Thanks
 

CMoZRo

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
Thank you! So exactly how long until the eggs hatch, I was a bit confused. Is it going to be 2 weeks or in a day or two? Also should I move the babies almost as soon as they hatch to the grow out tank or should I wait for a week or so? Thanks
If the eggs were just spawned you should expect to see the swimmers in about a week and a half give or take. Cichlids are typically amazing parents and I think you would really enjoy watching them raise the fry, but if you are firm about moving them you may be better of just moving the nest into the nursery now. The eggs are very sticky and you shouldn't have to worry about losing any as long as you're gentle. If you want to move them after hatching I would wait about a week as they will be feeding on the remainder of their sacks for a few days. Also, try to scoop them with a cup rather than netting to avoid injury. If your concern is the parents eating them, that will usually happen within a day or two, but again cichlids are excellent parents on average. Also, if you move them now make sure you don't feed them until they have stopped feeding on the sacks. The uneaten food will affect your parameters and could potentially harm the fry.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
So I should wait until ten fry are free swimming then move them? Or should I wait until the parents stop taking care of them then move them. Which should it be?

How long will the parents protect the fry? I want to seem the parents raise them but there are other cichlids in the tank. Will the parents protect the fry until the fry are big enough to find food and live on their own?
 

CMoZRo

Member
CaptainAquatics said:
So I should wait until ten fry are free swimming then move them? Or should I wait until the parents stop taking care of them then move them. Which should it be?
Basically the main reason for keeping them in the tank after hatching is just to allow them time to feed on the sacks. Within a week of hatching you should see the male escorting them around to scavenge the gravel and decor for food particles. They can be moved any time after that begins. The parents will guide them around the tank, but they are not necessary for the survival of the fry outside of protection. If hatched in a nursery the fry would figure things out for themselves without parental assistance. In the main tank, the parents will keep a close eye on them for a couple weeks. After that they will gradually become less protective and allow the fry to roam, although they will typically stay pretty close to the nest for a while before truly exploring the tank on their own. In my personal experience my female never really stopped protecting the initial nesting area even outside of a breeding cycle. Queen of the castle I suppose. Since your tank is now all regional cichlids you have a better chance of the non-parents leaving the fry alone, but there will always be a risk with each breeding cycle.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
CMoZRo said:
Basically the main reason for keeping them in the tank after hatching is just to allow them time to feed on the sacks. Within a week of hatching you should see the male escorting them around to scavenge the gravel and decor for food particles. They can be moved any time after that begins. The parents will guide them around the tank, but they are not necessary for the survival of the fry outside of protection. If hatched in a nursery the fry would figure things out for themselves without parental assistance. In the main tank, the parents will keep a close eye on them for a couple weeks. After that they will gradually become less protective and allow the fry to roam, although they will typically stay pretty close to the nest for a while before truly exploring the tank on their own. In my personal experience my female never really stopped protecting the initial nesting area even outside of a breeding cycle. Queen of the castle I suppose. Since your tank is now all regional cichlids you have a better chance of the non-parents leaving the fry alone, but there will always be a risk with each breeding cycle.
Thank you! What I will prob do is let the eggs hatch, let the parents hold them in their mouth, once they are free swimming I will give the parents about a week to show their fry how to find food and stuff. Then I will move them to my 20 gallon QT and let them grow more in there. Oh BTW how big are the fry typically when they are free swimming. I heard they can be pretty big.
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
Hi! So I have ran into something I find odd. I had two parents protecting the eggs, in would protect the general area and the other would be up close to the eggs fanning them. However since last night I have noticed that the Park meter firemouth will chase the egg fanned firemouth away from the eggs and now some of them are turning white. I read that it is unlikely for the first batch of eggs to live but I want to know how long it will be until there is another batch? Thanks

P.S. I just saw the perimeter firemouth go down and fan the eggs, what would cause that change?
 
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CaptainAquatics

Member
Hi! I know it had been a while but I just went down to my fishroom and the firemouths are actively laying the eggs as I type this. They aren’t fertilized yet they are still white but I will give an update tommorow if they are brown.
 

CCinBama

Member
Curious to know how it all turned out...
 

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