Hemichromis frempongi

My H. frempongi pair are breeding again.  This is their second spawn.  The first time around it was interesting to see how long they doggedly protected their fry.  All of the other jewel cichlids I have kept tended to lose interest after 4-6 weeks, eat whatever fry were still around and then spawn again.  This pair were still caring for their offspring twelve weeks after spawning, and the fry were starting to lose their juvenile color pattern.  At the end there were only 10 juveniles left (because I had been removing them steadily over a couple months), but the parents would still come charging out to defend them when anyone would appear in front of their tank.

H. frempongi is a very aggressive 5-spot jewel cichlid that is endemic to Lake Bosumtwe in Ghana.  Of the three 5-spot species (the other two are H. fasciatus and H. elongatus), this one is medium in size (the largest male I have ever seen was about 9″), the most ‘cleanly’ colorful and (in my opinion) the meanest.  Establishing a pair requires a lot of fry to grow out and more than a little luck.  I started with 24 one-inch fish, and six months later I was fortunate to have two left that were male and female… and not trying to kill each other.  It still took another 4 months before they spawned for the first time.

When the pair does not have fry they are shy and hide a lot.  When they have babies they are the polar opposite, as this video will show you.  These have become my favorite cichlids in my fish room.  They are entertaining, to say the least.  Enjoy.

Danio magaritatus

Here is a video of my celestial pearl danios.  I do keep fish other than cichlids!  I have worked out a pretty easy way to breed this species and get plenty of eggs.  I spawn them in a 2.5-gallon tank with a false bottom made from a piece of plastic needle-point screen cut to fit into the bottom.  A couple pieces of pvc on the bottom keeps the screen up enough to create a safe zone for the eggs to fall into.  Over the screen I put two or three sinking yarn mops.  When I set them up to spawn I use an R/O & tap water mix (about 50/50) that makes the water about 125 ppm TDS, KH 7 and pH 7.3, which has proven to be soft enough for this species.  The tank is filtered with a very small Ista Mini sponge filter.  I really like these little filters!  They are the smallest sponge filter on the market with a weighted base.  The air is driven all the way to the bottom where there is a built-in diffuser.  The lift tube is small, so little air is needed to get a good flow rate.

I do not bother separating males and females before setting the danios up to breed.  This species, if they are in condition, will spawn every day.  I put 6 – 10 adults in equal sex ratio 9or close) into the spawning tank in the evening.  The lights come on the next morning and the fish will start to spawn.  90% of the eggs will get stuck in the dense yarn, and the few that fall through go through the grate bottom.  At midday I shake out the mops to see if eggs fall out (and through the false bottom).  There are usually a dozen or so.  I let the group spawn again for another day and then return them to their aquarium.

I add two drops of methylene blue and remove the plastic grate.  I let the mops stay in the breeding tank.  Fry will appear within a couple days.  CPD fry are larger that you would expect for such a small fish, but I start them on paramecium as a first food anyway.  At five days they can easily eat baby brine shrimp.  After two weeks there are usually about 2-dozen fry growing up.

I let them stay in the spawning tank for a total of four weeks, and I do a 50% water change every three days.  Then I move them to a 10-gallon tank.  At 8 weeks they look like miniature adults and can be moved in with the colony.  I try to set up a group to spawn once a month or so.  I manage to give more than a few away at club meetings, but the production is enough that there are always a dozen or so adults to work with.

Hemichromis frempongi

This video sows my pair of H. frempongi guarding their newly free-swimming fry.  The babies in this video have all been distributed, and I am patiently waiting for the parents to spawn again.  I was surprised by how long the adults protected their offspring.  Other 5-spot jewel species I have bred were looking to spawn again after about 4-6 weeks, and any fry left in the tank were eaten.  These H. frempongi were still protecting fry after 12 weeks; and the fry were starting to change into adult color patterns.  This is a very mean species.  If you get a chance to work with them, and have to get fry, I suggest starting with a couple dozen in a large tank with a lot of places for the fish to hide.  As they grow they will kill each other off until you are left, hopefully, with a pair.  My current pair was formed this way, and they are very stable… knock on wood.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Njanje’

This is a really old video (about a year ago) shot with our Flip video camera.  The production is bad, but the subject is great.  I no longer have this fish (I really wish I still did).  Since I am learning this whole video-making art I thought I post this to remind myself of where I started.  This variety of P. taeniatus relatively new on the scene.  It was first collected in 2008 (I believe), and was not first exported from Cameroon until 2009.  When I was in Cameroon in February of 2009 we probably drove within 10 km of this population and never even new that they were there.  It is very similar to the Muyuka variety that is extinct in the wild, which is the variety that the finder of this Njanje location was hoping to rediscover.  The word is that the Njanje location is very small, so extensive collecting for export should be discouraged.  It is a very prolific strain, however, so if you have them keep on breeding them (and let me know wen you have some available).