How to Breed Hybrid Parrot Cichlids
- 1). Set up the breeding aquarium, which should have gravel substrate, proper filtration and minimal decorations. Install all the necessary components (heater, thermometer, lighting and gravel) as your standard aquarium except without all the decor as a simple piece of driftwood will do just fine. The water temperature should be around 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The water heater must be adjustable so that you can raise and lower the temperature.
- 2). Place the breeding pair in the breeding aquarium. Telling the difference between the sexes is extremely difficult if not impossible before the fish spawn, so consult a breeder. A rounded anal fin is strictly an adult female feature, so picking one out is easy, however some also have pointed anal fins like males, making males more difficult to find. Males are easier to find as adults when they are ready to spawn, as their skin will turn pink behind their gills.
- 3). Let the fish become comfortable for several days by providing all the food and other amenities they enjoyed in their previous tank. If the fish are lethargic or turn dark colors or stay near the bottom, then that could be signs of too much stress and you must alter your caring methods accordingly.
- 4). Raise the water temperature by about two to three degrees Fahrenheit. An adjustable heater has a dial on the side, usually a rod poking out one end of the heating tube, that allows you to raise or lower the temperature. This will simulate a natural warming of the water during the spring and summer months and may induce spawning.
- 5). Perform a10 to 15 percent water change using distilled water. This will keep the water clean and help remove any waste that the filters may have missed. Changing any more than 15 percent may disrupt the water chemistry and shock your cichlids.
- 6). Monitor the pH levels with a pH test kit and make sure it never goes above 7.2 or below 6.6 by using various pH buffers (pH Up or ph Down are two products that do just that). Test the pH at least once every other day to make sure it stays consistent.
- 7). Wait for the fish to build a nest. They will do this by sifting through gravel until they make a pit, particularly underneath the minimal decorations.
- 8). Wait for the fish to spawn. It may take several days to several weeks or it may not happen at all. Hybrid parrot cichlids are very difficult to breed, leaving this step up to luck of the draw. The spawning will resemble a "dance" whereas the male will swim circles around the female. Eventually the female will lay her eggs either in the pit or on a log and the male will then spray them with sperm, hopefully fertilizing them.
- 9). Wait for the fish to lay eggs. When the female does, the ones that are infertile will become coated with white fungus, which the parents will eat. If they are fertile, the parents will fan them with their tails and guard them ferociously. The eggs should hatch in less than a few weeks.
Feed the fry (newborn fish) tiny brine shrimp once they hatch. They will feed on these and be protected by the parents as they grow. Adults will typically not eat the babies and will in fact protect them from any perceived predators. After a few weeks you can begin separating out the surviving babies.