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Re: NFC: Re: Fishy Behaviour

I also subscribe to the apistogramma (dwarf cichlid) mailing list.  This 
subject is definitely one of the 'top five' on that list, at least from a 
standpoint of frequency of appearance.

For fish that provide some level of brood care/protection, a keeper presumes 
that each spawn will be dutifully cared for by the parents.  Unfortunately, 
this is not always the case in practice.  There are a lot of reasons 
(theories) that are put forth to explain egg- and fry-eating.

Some that I have read or heard about include:

Water quality/characteristics - too hard, too soft, too acid, too alkaline, 
too polluted, etc.
Infertility on the part of the male.
Unviable eggs produced by an under-nourished or overly-stressed female.
Age of the parent fish - too young or, perhaps, too old.
Security - not enough cover, too much light, lack of 'dithers', etc.
Inappropriate tank furnishings - too open, not open enough, fish unable to 
move or adjust the substrate to their liking, etc.
Tank size.
Unwarranted disturbance of the breeders.

There are probably as many more that I can't think of right now.

The key is probably to just work with your individual fish until you figure 
out what they 'like'.  Eventually, a lot of folks just give up and pull the 
eggs - easy to do with dwarf cichlids, who for the most part lay their eggs 
in pots or on rocks - items easily removed from the aquarium.  With sunfish 
that lay their eggs in a depression in sand or gravel, egg removal would be 
more problematic than just transferring the parents to a different tank.

But that all relates to the 'smart' fish, those that provide brood care.

For the egg scatterers and other lower life forms ;), I think that, in the 
main, they'll eat whatever they can find that is edible, and have no more 
concern for their own 'get' than they do for any other food source.



>From: mdb6850 at tamug_tamu.edu
>Reply-To: nfc at actwin_com
>To: nfc at actwin_com
>Subject: Re: NFC: Re: Fishy Behaviour
>Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001 12:26:50 -0600
>A possibility that exists in some breeding styles is the
>consideration of parental investment. Somehow, the parent may
>know which eggs are not doing so hot or will most likely not
>survive. They could eat these and concentrate on rearing the
>healthy ones. The thinking may be better a few definite survivors
>than zillions of goners. This is what lots of terrestrial vertebrates
>do, though not necessarily by eating the young. Of course, this
>wouldn't apply to those that abandon the fry to survive for

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