needs One must
always take into account that mbuna need vegetables (herbivores)
while non-mbuna mainly feed in high protein, frozen and even live
foods (omnivores, carnivores or piscivores). Failing to comply with
the specific needs of your Malawis may cause the Malawi bloat
disease which is extremely difficult to be treated and usually
fatal. Hence, the recommendation for keeping mbunas in their own
tank. Good quality pellets and flakes will do the job. Do not feed
the same food all the time, alternate as often as possible. I feed
them 3 different foods daily and I currently have 10 different kinds
of food. Tubifex and bloodworms should be fed sparingly (once a
week). Especially tubifex worms should be avoided since they are
reported to carry many microorganisms which may harm your fish.
Leave them without any food at least once a week.
More related articles
Fish nutrition - An
Overview , Foodstuff offered to our
needs Good news
on this one. If the water recommendations are followed, good quality
food is supplied and filtration rate is OK, your Africans will
readily spawn. In fact they will spawn very often and soon you will
find your home with lots of small tanks with fry in it (if you plan
to raise it). I personally select which species I want and remove
the carrying mothers while letting the rest release the fry in the
main tank. Most of it is eaten by adult fish but still a 20% manages
to survive. At a rate of one spawning per month per species, a 500
liter tank gets full of fish in less than a year. My mbuna started
to spawn 7 months ago. I now have at least 50 juveniles (four
different species) swimming around.
More related articles
Wild Caught Cichlids ,
Spawning your fish - The basics
Breeding in the
Breeding Benthochromis tricoti
, A golden rule for breeding African rift
lake cichlids , Spawning the
Paratilapia sp. Andapa ,
Paratilapia sp. Andapa - The Sequel ,
Paretroplus damii , Spawning the Paretroplus
Spawning Altolamprologus calvus "White Chaitika"
Cichlids from Lake Malawi are
generally mouthbrooders. The female will lay the eggs on a rock or
on the sand which are then fertilized by the male. The female will
take the fertilized eggs in her mouth and incubate them well beyond
hatching. She will release the fry after 18-25 days (depending on
the species and the water temperature). The fry when released will
swim freely and are able to feed themselves (most fry will be around
1 cm in length when released). Depending on the species the mother
may take care of the fry for several days after release. Usually the
fry will spend the nights (or run for shelter when threatened) in
their mother's mouth for some time after release. This is why it is
very easy to breed the African Cichlids from Lake Malawi.
the spawning you will be able to detect the carrying mother even if
you didn't actually see the spawning. She will refrain from eating,
her mouth will seem full and she will make some "chewing"
movements every now and then. You can leave the carrying mother in
the main tank for 14 days and then remove her to a separate tank (if
you intend to raise the whole fry) or you can "strip" her.
Females that come from stripped mothers usually swallow the eggs
prematurely - this is a very good reason not
to strip your females.
A female can also swallow or spit the eggs if threatened or while
you try to catch her with the net. If left in peace with her eggs,
she will take them back in her mouth. Since the carrying mother will
eat almost nothing for three weeks it is a good idea to leave her in
her own tank for 10 days feeding her with high quality, high protein
foods in order to gain weight and be conditioned.
of females In an
effort to increase the number of spawns (the frequency of spawning)
of the female and to return her to the male the soonest possible
some people use to strip the females. They wait for 14 days (when
the fry is old enough to survive) and then net her and open her
mouth so the fry comes out. This is necessary
when the female is ill and needs to be treated with medications or
has a long history of swallowing the eggs after the 14th day and you
badly want the fry in order to keep some of it. Otherwise one should
not strip the females for many reasons. Some reports claim that
females coming from stripped mothers will not hold the eggs and
swallow them, too. Males coming from stripped mothers have been
reported to have duller colors, grow much more slowly, are much
weaker and less resistant to diseases. Mouthbrooding is a far more
complicated procedure and it took nature millions of years to
perfect it. It is definitely much more than just incubating and
aerating eggs and fry. It is also rotating, arranging, teaching and
protecting. Moreover, it is the natural way to get fry. I personally
prefer to lose the fry till my female manages to keep it and release
it normally. Most of the times this works. I am in this hobby for
the joy of it and not to make profit.
More related articles
No stripping - observing the mouthbrooding care of
the fry Raising
the fry is quite easy. Most authors recommend Artemia
nauplii or newly hatched brine
shrimps. I am sure these foods can
work miracles. However I do not have the time to set up hatching and
feeding systems every now and then and my aquariums need most of my
time for maintenance. I have found that feeding them Tetra's Baby
Food (the "E" type for egglayers) five times daily for ten
days is a good start. Then I feed them two times Baby Food and three
times Tetra's Growth food per day for a month. After that, I just
feed them crashed flakes and pellets (the same food their parents
eat) four times daily. At that point I usually rely on an automatic
feeder to take care of that.
you are raising many fries at the same time it is better to use your
time for water changes and conditioning then feeding all day. With
this sort of feeding, too much food is left over and the waste load
is tremendous. I always have an extra couple of sponge filters
working in my main tanks, so I have a colonized filter that can work
instantly as a mature biological filter. This is enough to be on the
safe side but massive and frequent water changes are a must. I
change 90% of the water twice per week for the first couple of
weeks. Then I change 80% of the water for another two weeks. As the
fish grow they are more able to find the food so you can adapt the
doses and the left over (and decaying) food is greatly reduced.
During the second month I perform two 50% changes per week.
Following that I do two 35% changes till I raise them enough to be
donated or enter my main tanks.
ammonia readings is absolutely essential. Sparkling clear water may
be full of ammonia. If ammonia readings are high I perform 90% daily
changes till the level drops to 0. Then I gradually come to the
figures given earlier. Following these simple (but time consuming)
steps I have had less than 1% losses (till the fry reach the 7th
month). Most of these losses were because of fry entering the sponge
filters and dying from starvation.
More related articles
Raising the fry - Points to consider
Raise the fry? Or not?
A home made
Waiting for the fry to
swim , Spawning the
Paretroplus damii 2 - Raising the fry ,
calvus "White Chaitika"
- Raising the fry