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Mum Holding


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Hi everyone,

I am new to this great site, having only just discovered it. We have had an 3 foot african cichlid tank for a couple of years. We have lost some fish along the way, but have managed pretty well for novices. Our LFS is pretty good with advice and direction which has helped immensley.

2 weeks ago I bought a Maleri pair, and we now have Mum holding eggs. We haven't had fry before and I need some help. I have put her in a net cage within the tank and she seems to be OK. I have read that they hold for up to 3 weeks and that they don't feed during this time. Is it possible for the Mother to die due to malnourishment???

Is there anything else I have to do?? Also, is it possible to leave the fry in the main tank? We only have the one tank set up, but do have accesss to a 1 1/2 footer if needed. It is soooo exciting!!

Thanks so much. Any help much appreciated.


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Mom won't die of starvation in most cases.

U will need a spare tank to grow out these fry if you want to save any of them.

Some people "milk" the holding female and force her to spit the babies out prematurely. I often milk females that I want to get more fry out of. I let her hold the fry for 2 weeks and then I strip her of the young. This way I get more fry and the female gets to eat sooner, which means she will recondition faster and breed again sooner.

To grow out the fry, u will need at least a spare 2 ft tank with a sponge filter and a heater. The fry may take up to 2-3months to get to 3-4cm and may take up to 5months b4 u can put them back with the parent colony and not be worried about them getting harrassed or killed.

Alternatively, the 'natural' way is to get plenty of rocks with lots of little hiding places and let the female spit the fully formed fry in the tank and hope some fry will survive.


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What else is in your tank?

Peacocks are nototrious for crossbreeding with any and all other peacock types, and a whole host of other "hap" type fish.

If there is a chance the fry are hybrids, I would just let her spit naturally in the main tank, and let the rest of your fish pick off the young. If there is no risk of hybridisation, I would do as Kev has suggested.

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Thanks Guys,

Sound advice! In regard to cross breeding, I am not sure. She was seen holding wihtin 2 days of bringing the pair home.

Fish in the tank are as follows

1 Lombardoi -male

1 solausi-male

1 cobolt blue ?

1 venustus?

2 Maleri- female ( one holding)


1 sucker fish

2 rainbows?

1 aratus-male

MMMMmmm.....didn't realise I had so many males. I guess x breeding is highly possible. Are any of theses fish known to x with Maleri???



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Hi Chris -

Welcome to the SCP. Depending on what you want to do with the fry you can let her spit in the tank or gently catch her and put her in a floaty. My experience of peacocks suggests she'll spit the eggs in the net if you do this - if she does and she spits eggs you'll need a tumbler (see the DIY section of the SCP) otherwise the fry will be fine alone in the floaty.


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i would be very careful listening to these guys talking about milking the female because unless you have been shown how to, by a skilled fish handler, you could possibly damage or even break her jaw. these fish have spent a million years learning to spit out their babies so trust nature to do its job.

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Some people "milk" the holding female and force her to spit the babies out prematurely. I often milk females that I want to get more fry out of.

Just so the Newbie doesn't get confused...

Milking is something done to hatchery fish in an effort to remove unfurtised eggs from the females, they are then sprayed with the Milt which is also "Milked" from the males.

Stripping is what Kev was talking about. This is the process of removing the fry from the females mouth.

There is no need at all to do this, specially for a novice, as the fish are pretty good at managing on their own.


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Hi everyone,

Well, it has finally happened! rolleyes.gif

Yesterday found Mum with 1 fry ( both in a breeding net). On arrival home after a few hours found 1 fry corpse with Mum. I assumed that the fish outside the net may have attact it, so put an icecream container around the net which seems to have helped protect the now 40- or 50 fry!!! wub.gif

I am going to set up the 1 1/2 foot tank that we have.

Does it help with the cycling of a new tank to bring some water from the existing tank??

From what I have read, I remove them from Mum, and don't need any substrate in the fry nursery, just a rock or 2. The fry still have the yolk sac, when that goes what is recommended feeding ?

Even though the are tiny, they look kinda like their Mum, so hopefully the are not hybridised.

Any help from you guys would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much for the support.


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Congrat's...you're a daddy!! hehe

What I have done in the past when setting up a fry tank is, take some of the gravel(no good with sand) from the adult tank. Place it in the fry tank, which should be ½ filled with the tank water from the parents tank. Fill with aged water and start a sponge filter, if you use a sponge-filter that has a chamber(rather than a flat sponge type) you can seed it with a piece of filter material from a working filter for piece of mind.

Just from my experience I have found that the female will make it very obvious that she is ready to leave the fry as she will be on one side of the floaty and the fry will be on the other.

At this stage, introduce the fry to the new tank in the same way you would introduce any wish to new water.

I feed Sera-Flora as a staple to most of my fish, so all I do is grind the food in a Mortar & Pestle untill it is fine. You will need to feed only tiny amounts of this to the fry.

That is about it.


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