mouth brooding

Q&A About Lake Malawi Cichlids

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HannahKearney
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:32 pm

mouth brooding

Post by HannahKearney »

Hi Pam, just a quick question for you. How can you tell when a female is holding eggs in her mouth? And what do the number of eggs she has depend on?
Pam Chin
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Re: mouth brooding

Post by Pam Chin »

Hi Hannah,

Most of the mouthbrooders from Malawi, hold their fry 28 - 30 days. So sometimes you don't notice it until a few weeks have gone by. In the bottom of their mouth is the buccal cavity, and as the larvae/fry get larger you will notice it, it is like a pouch.

Every species has different size eggs, sometimes larger species have tiny eggs and smaller species of larger eggs, so the outcome could be quite variable between species. Also the size of the female is a factor, larger females have larger mouths and can hold more. For an example, I have probably seen 50 fry from a Metriaclima zebra, and average about 4 - 6 fry from Tropheus. While substrate spawners may lay 500 -1000 eggs. The amount of eggs are determined by many factors, are they in spawning condition, eating the right foods, etc.

Mouthbrooding is a superior method compared to substrate spawning (spawning in the open, on a rock). They can produce less fry because when they are released they are much larger and have a better survival rate. While substrate spawners have to protect the spawn or it will be eaten, and as the fry are growing it is harder to contain them and many are eaten, it takes a lot more energy, and usually two fish. A mouthbooder typically leaves the male and broods on her own. Usually with other mouthbrooding females of the same species, where they seclude them selves using even less energy.

It is all very interesting!
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