Good-quality flake and pellet foods and
frozen mysis shrimp seem to work best.
They eat fresh kale and other green, leafy
vegetables when offered. Keep your fish
trim, as overweight fish do not breed as
well as fit fish.
A temperature of 77°F seems to work
well. They prefer hard, alkaline water, so
depending on what is coming out of your
tap, you may need to add some calcium
chloride and baking soda to increase the
GH (general hardness) and KH (alkalinity)
to around 7 to 10, and the pH to 7. 5 to 8.0.
I eventually started to get breeding
activity two years later. I left the eggs
from the first spawn with the parents
and they were eaten, so I removed the
eggs from the second spawn, but they
The third spawn I left with the parents
again, and for the first time in the fish
shed the female took care of the eggs and
raised a batch of about 50 young. The
male did not help with egg or fry care at
all. After they had been free-swimming
for a few days, I began to get nervous,
since there were four micros in the tank,
and I did not want to lose any fry.
Very recently, some of my other fish have come down with a symptom similar to the one my micros had. I was able to collect some of the feces and examine the material under a microscope. What I found was the ggs and one adult of a nematode worm known as Capillaria. The worms live in the gut and irritate the intestinal lining, causing the fish to be unable to absorb nutrients. The fish generally lose their appetites, become prone to secondary infections, and may bloat up. In this case I treated them successfully with an antihelminthic drug. However, without a proper diagnosis, it is unwise to start hrowing drugs at your fish. There are many different organisms that can cause similar symptoms, so a precise diagnosis is essential before you treat the fish.
Life then intervened, and the fish
shed had to move across the country.
I gave away the remaining wild adults
and farmed out the fry. Today, sixteen
2- to 4-inch fish are swimming in a
100-gallon tank. I expect them to spawn
maybe next fall at the age of two. Next
time you see some of those little brown
cichlids, give them a try. They represent
a whole world of experience, education,
and entertainment. D