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Electric Yellow picked up the wrong eggs


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Hi guys!

I'm new in the forum so first off: thanks for letting me in ;)

I have a 60gal mixed african tank. stock:

2 clown loaches 4cm

3 electric yellows (1m, 2f) ~6-7cm

4 red empres(1m, 3f) 8cm

1 electrc blue male 10cm

2 4cm baby blue dolphin(moorii, gender unknown ATM)

2 4cm bristlenose catfish

3 ~6cm ???. I got them from a friend and i'm still not sure what exactly they are. Male is yellow, female is blue and both have vertical stripes. all their fry is born blue.

Filtration: 1400l/h canister filter plus standard tank filter

In addition I have a 30l Q-tank for holding or sick fish and to raise fry.

Now i have a quite unusual problem: My electric Yellow is holding. She is an expert and I moved her to the holding tank to get some peace and quiet. 1 Week later I saw tat one of the red empress females is holding as well. She got tackled by the male and the other females so I put her in the holding tank as well. once she was in there she spat out all her eggs :( I put her back into the main tank and when I next looked the electric yellow picked up the red empress eggs!!! Currently she's holding two batches of eggs, is quite happy but I am unsure what's gonna happen from here? I saw this morning that some of the eggs hatched already, some didn't!

Has anybody had a similar situation?

What happens if the 2 sets of fry hatch at a different time?

When I strip her in a week or so, what happens to the eggs that are still unhatched?

I read in a couple of articles that in lake malawi itself its quite usual to find cichlids holding different species!?

As soon as I get accustomed to the forum here I'll try and upload some pictures!

Thanks guys, dominik

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G'day Dominik,

Welcome to the forum! That's a great introductory post - plenty of info!

Your 3-6cm ones sound very much like they could be Metriaclima lombardoi... Google that species and see if that's it.

What an interesting scenario! I haven't had that happen in my tanks before, but I have heard of it. It will be fascinating to see what unfolds from here... Keep us posted.


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I've had this happen

Sometimes I've been too early taking the fry from mum

Put her back in the floating container with eggs & other females have picked up the eggs

I've only had this happen when I've had 2 females that I've began to strip and stopped as the fry were a bit small. Never had a problem as they hold them as with the eggs of their own.

I've seen flamebacks pick up E-yellow eggs & fry and vice versa.Ps flavus,cobolts,crimson tides as well.

Just leave her to spit or if you do strip her in a week as you say she will pickup any eggs or the fry again if you let her.

Some females will hold forever leting the fry out then picking them up again.These great mums will eat small flake to live and feed the fry they are holding.Try feeding crushed really fine flake and watch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

thanks for all the answers. Now two of the little wrigglers managed to escape her and they seem to take flake food just fine, the egg sack is gone as well.

She still has around 10 or so fry in her mouth and prob. a couple of eggs. I don't know why she only released 2 of them though?

My problem is that i can't really strip her without forcing her to spit the eggs as well, on the other hand if I wait it out she'll probably hold(and not eat) for 2 month straight considering that she picked up eggs when her own fry was already hatched. Now she looks a bit skinny, do you reckon she can stand it or should I just dump the eggs? unfortunately i have no idea how to dumble them.

Thanks for all your help guys!

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As said above.

She will eat if you give crushed flake,Did you put her back in the holding tank? If so you should have no probs, wait 14 days from her picking up the last eggs then strip her of the lot if your worried about her not eating.Its only for another week from her picking up the last eggs that may have been a few days old already.Some females will hold for 20 + days before spiting the fry out & may take some of them back in the mouth. Thats why I like to put them in the holding container to do as they like. They can eat without the other fish conpeting with the holding female for food as well.

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So, i stripped her a few days ago and out came 11 fry and 6 dead fry. I don't knwo wht they came out dead but that's life!

The 11 that did survive are all healthy, unfortunately i can't tell if any of the red empress fry survived.

I will do a picture session soon to introduce my setup to the forum.

cheers for all the help guys!

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Were the fry from both fish? E yellow fry are very yellow. R emps dull.

Looks like they are red emps then.

Maybe the others that died were e/y, were they a good size?

Edited by dobbin4
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys.

little status report: all my 12 fry are healthy and slowly turning yellow, eating about 3 to 4 times a day!

The mum is in the main tank again where she started eating and finding her place. Today I found out that from my 3 electric yellows there is not 1 male but 2. I'm a bit worried about her cause she is slim already and now she has 2 males chasing her.

I went to the (only) 2 LFS in my area and they either have only males or poor quality so:


I live in manly and will be glad to pick them up in the near neighborhood!

Cheers, Dom

Edited by proformer
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