Freshwater Breeding Behavior
Folks, I'm not sure how to go about this so please bear with me.
I've seen some behavior in my tank that directly contradicts what I have read on the internet. The internet sources I refer to range from generally considered reputable, to "who knows what they know". I keep multiple tanks, 7 currently with 5 in storage, and have kept fish for 8 years. Not a complete newbie, but definitely not with the experience needed for this situation, so your help will be greatly appreciated.
So, let me dig in here. I'm not going to give you the name, family or species of fish, so that internet knowledge cannot color your opinion. I promise to tell you in my next post.
Three fish are involved. Let's call them "BB" for Big Belly, "2BB' for second big belly, and "SB" for Slim Belly. -
BB is the largest of a group, and has had a significantly larger belly than any other for the last 5 months and 2 weeks. Also has shown dominant behavior compared to other members of the species in the same tank. Can chase any fish in the group and has never been chased.
2BB is not as large as BB, but is developing a larger belly than it had 5 months ago. Ranking in the group is somewhere between 2cnd and 4th out of a group of 6. Chases and is chased within the group.
SB is as long as the other two fish but about 1/2 to 2/3rds as deep. Ranking is 5th or 6th out of 6. Never chases, has always been chased.
A couple of days ago I did about a 1/3 water change, gravel vacced a portion of the tank and then fed the fish. I also moved three fish from a non-competing species into the tank. A storm was coming in from the mountains.
That night I saw SB directly approach BB and take a position about 3/4 of the way up the side of BB's body. SB then started vibrating and nudging BB. It wasn't long before BB stopped in the water, turned on the side about 3/4s of the way and presented BB's belly. SB darted in, and away. SB immediately went directly to 2BB, took the same position and vibrated. In the meantime, BB went directly to a depression in the gravel and wiggled a little with BB's belly on the rocks. Then swam away with no further interesting activity. 2BB ignored SB completely, did not chase, and SB swam away with no further interesting activity.
My questions are:
1. Would you normally interpret this behavior as breeding activity with eggs being laid in the gravel?
2. Would you normally expect BB to be female and SB to be male?
If the answers are yes, I'm going to need a whole lot of help.
Thank you for your time,
I understand how you're trying to avoid bias, but without knowing the species of fish, we don't know the physical differences between male and females, what kind of normal (non-breeding) behavior the fish perform, or what kind of behavior is specifically linked to breeding. Makes it very hard if not impossible to answer your question.
300 gallon mega tank
: sailfin pleco, clown loaches, silver dollars, roseline sharks
75 gallon community tank
: tetras, danios, corys, platies, otos, pearl gouramis, bristlenose and bulldog plecos, assassin snails, red cherry shrimp, bamboo shrimp
60 gallon goldfish tank: fancy goldfish
Ok, you asked for it :-)
The species is the Burmese Rosy Loach aka Burmese Pink Loach aka Tuberoschistura arakanensis aka Yunnanilus sp. Rosy possibly known as Yunnanilus discoloris and frankly others that I'm not remembering the spelling of right now.
The fish I have look like the pictures ref. here:
although this species is widely thought to have schooling behavior that mine have never shown. Martin Thoene specifically identifies the male as having the "rosy" color.
Then we have this thread:
which details an actual breeding of the species. Skipping to the end will show you that the breeders identify both pale and rosy colors as males and specify that the female is pale with spots. The pic. link isn't working on their facebook page but I saw the picture and it showed a pale colored rosy loach, with the stripe and a heavy scattering of speckles that are not in any of the other pics. I found.
Then we have this thread:
which details that the males are pale colored and the females are rosy. It also references schooling behavior that mine do not have.
This is a fairly new species and I assumed that Martin and the breeders were both "right" with the spotted females being rare enough that Martin may not have had access to a good specimen. I assumed that Aquarium Glaser just had it backwards. Then I observed the behavior I described in my aquarium. Since this appeared to be breeding behavior to me, I decided to consult here. Again, I want to note that my fish have not schooled. They have favorite resting places under rocks/plants and have informal territories. With the exception of feeding, there are never more than 2 to 3 out of 6 together at one time, and they are usually chasing each other out of their territory.
Brhino said "I understand how you're trying to avoid bias, but without knowing the species of fish, we don't know the physical differences between male and females, what kind of normal (non-breeding) behavior the fish perform, or what kind of behavior is specifically linked to breeding. Makes it very hard if not impossible to answer your question."
See my problem? These are the very issues I'm trying to resolve.
The options I've thought of are:
1. This is not breeding behavior - but if not, what is it?
2. There are really 2 species that are similar but the color of the species as it relates to sex is completely opposite to each other. - Not too likely is it?
3. The species is more complicated than originally thought and pale vs rosy does not in fact dictate male and female. - Surely someone has dissected a few to get the right answer - but who?
No matter how you interpret the behavior in my tank, some one is wrong and I have no idea who. Including the behavior in my tank has increased my interest in finding out.
Edit:- Oooops, forgot to say - BB and 2BB are rosy and SB is pale.
Last edited by wbzorker; 05-10-2010 at 09:57 PM.
I can tell you my loaches frequently exhibit semi-breeding activity, usually brought about by water changes, but they never...go all the way so to say. More like flirting and "heavy petting".
TBH, not a whole lot is known on loach breeding, by any source I have come across anyway, let alone breeding info on new/rare loaches. Best of luck to you. Coloring could have nothing to do with the sex of the loach. I would put more focus on body type than anything.
Another possibility is you have all of one sex, and they are just filling in the role, so to say. That is definitly not unheard of.
to sum it up- I have no clue.
Who is "General Failure" and why is he reading my hard drive?
Females have bigger bellies but there are no reported cases of these ever breeding in an aquarium.
I will move this to the loach section so you won't have to double post.
Thank you, Lady Hobbs.
I'm a little confused. Does posting a description and photos on the web = reported? Because I found this:
SZIPL of Georgine and Sven Vogler, Hamburg - appeared in BSSW Report 4-2007
Is this not considered reliable? I'm not arguing at all, but you can see my confusion. Perhaps multiple sources have to confirm the breeding? Frankly, I'm confused by all of this, but trying to learn enough to make sense of it.
Does the behavior I described fit any common fish species (forget loaches) or am I in far left field to think it might even be breeding behavior? Everything I've bred has been in spite of, not because of, my efforts. My cories seem to do the first part of this behavior by hanging just off the female's "shoulder", but they place their eggs. I had angelfish and discus breed, and saw some shimmy behavior, but their process is so different that it doesn't seem to relate to this. I've never seen this in my bristlenose plecos.
Maybe the next question is, should I pursue this? If I set up a separate tank and recreated this behavior, hopefully on tape, would it increase the knowledge of the community significantly? Frankly, my health problems are both a benefit and drawback. If I hadn't spent hours each day observing I would not be as certain of my facts. On the other hand, setting up a tank for video would not be easy for me, and I have no established reputation so would there actually be any benefit to other folk?
Everyone's thoughts would be truly appreciated.