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Ps. nicholsi - care of holding females

Discussion in 'West African Cichlids' started by eranu, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    I recently bought a foursome of Ps. nicholsi, 3F + 1M. One of the females was already holding eggs when I got her so I have put her in her own 18" spawning tank, with plenty of cover. She is still in there and looks ready to release her fry any day now. The good news is that one of the other females now appears to be holding eggs too. Can I put her in with the other female (making it a sort of nursey tank) or would I be better putting her on her own also?
  2. ed seeley

    ed seeley Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I've never kept this species and so would defer to those who have, but I imagine that putting another female into a tank where one is already settled would stress both mothers a lot and cause either or both to have issues with brooding. What you could do though is divide it up into two compartments with an opaque divider. Then after both mums have released their young you could remove the divider and rear both broods together. That'd probably be my plan anyway! However if you have the tank space, maybe you'd be better putting them in completely separate tanks to avoid any stress at all to the first mum. You could always move the babies together once they've grown a bit.
  3. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for you thought Ed. If I had to guess then I too would go with keeping the females in separate tanks. It would be nice though, as Ed says, to have it defined from someone who has experience with this species or one of the closely related species.
  4. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    Anyone know how long to leave to a female in with her fry once she has spit them out?
  5. Lisachromis

    Lisachromis Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I kept mine with her fry for over a week.
  6. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for the reply.
  7. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    After three days it appears that this female ate her young. Is this normal?
  8. Lisachromis

    Lisachromis Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    My female never did, so I really don't know if it would be common or not. Sorry.
  9. westafrica

    westafrica New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi!

    A few months ago tried to put 2 holding females P. multicolor multicolor that had been holding since the same day together in a approx 20 gal. (60l) tank, with some hiding places. as long as they hadn't spit their fry everything went ok, but as soon as they had, they started to fight, each one probably affraid that the other female would eat her fry. It resulted in a complete failure : they fought even when the fry were out of their mouth, and it was such a mess that the 2 bunches mixed. The day after there wasn't 1 fry remaning.

    Concerning the risk that a female placed alone eats her fry, I have to say that I could notice with P. multicolor multicolor, P. multicolor victoriae and P. nicholsi that females are not very good mothers. Contrary to other mouthbreeding species, the female's care for her fry is quite basic, some of them will simply spit them and start looking for food, including her own fry if she isn't fed immediately. Some would take care of them for a few days (10 max in my tanks), then chase them. The risk may be significantly increased if you don't allow your females to recover from the incubation time for at least 10 days before putting them back in the tank with the male, mainly because without intervention the females would spawn again almost immediately after spitting the yougsters, in my tank when I had a group of P. multicolor I was forced to fish some of the incubating females, make them spit and isolate the females for a while, not to keep the fry, but because they had become too skinny and would have died of starvation. Furthermore, this allows the females to live longer and have more fry eventually. That's why it was a really good idea to pick 3 females and not only 2.
  10. chromis

    chromis New Member 5 Year Member

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    From experience, I tend to take the mother as soon as she releases her fry. Different individuals would have varying opinions but from the ones I've kept and bred, I've never left the mother for more than 2 days after fry release. If the mother keeps taking the fry back in her mouth then I would say it's safe, but keep a close eye.

    Also agree with previous post that I also tend not to put the female with the male immediately. Mainly for her own benefit as by this time, she will be very thin and will need to get back into condition prior to mixing with the others. I've done this to any mouthbrooding species as it helps the female get back into condition without the harassment of the male or other tank mates for that matter.
  11. eranu

    eranu New Member 5 Year Member

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    It's been a short whilse since I started this thread and there been some great advice given, thank you.

    I have since had several successful broods of both Ps multicolor and Ps. nicholsi. Brood care seems to vary between females but overall they seem OK. I left one female nicholsi in with her brood for several weeks without any problems.

    I don have a problem however, nearly al the fry from both species of fish are males. I haven't done any research on this so I'm hoping someone here can give me a clue.

    Temperature is about 24DegC, water soft, pH6.8-7.2.