Lifestyles for Better Living

Cichlid Fish Part2

Just examine how the various species of cichlids provide "parental care" for their young. The successful cichlid owner understands how his fish not only mate, but care for their young following the hatching of the eggs.

That's right! For the most part, most species of fish provide no type of care once their babies are born. If can find a species that does, then it's usually the male who performs these duties. In the cichlids you'll discover that it's just as likely to be the female as the male. And in many cases, it could very well be a combination of the two.

Some of the species of cichlids are called substrate spawners. They lay their eggs either on the ground or other hard surfaces. This alternative could be the leaf of a plant or even a log. And yes, they guard these eggs. The parents actually perform a task that's called fanning them. This provides them with oxygenated water.

Once the eggs hatch (at this point the hatchlings are called wrigglers) the parents still continue to watch over them. Eventually the wrigglers grow into fry. Fry are free-swimming babies.

The care with which the parents show their babies again depends on the species. But it's not unusual for such care to last from several weeks to even several months.

For the most part, if the cichlid species is a substrate spawner, you can almost be certain that the method of parenting is "biparental". This means that the male and female share the duties. Their exact roles in the fry care may vary.

Interestingly, you'll also discover species of this fish in which the males are extremely territorial when it involves the females. The males, it seems, collect a "harem" of females. Each female lays claim - as well as her eggs - to her own cave within the male's natural territory. The male then protects the entire territory, including all the different females.

Once the eggs hatch, each female then provides care for her own young. The male continues to protect them from any other males as well as potential predators.

For more information and help keeping healthy happy cichlids, get the Nook book, Cichlid Fish: The Wonderful World of Cichlid Care" at Barns and Noble, or you can buy the PDF file for $8.87.


For more information, continue to Part 3.

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