Breeding Parachromis

Breeding Parachromis

The hardest part of Parachromis breeding is to form a suitable couple. Once a compatible couple has been established, the actually spawning process is not very tricky. One of the most commonly used ways of forming a Parachromis couple is to let several fry of both sexes grow up together. This way they can choose their own partners. It can be hard to sex younger fish, but you can tell from their genital openings just like on other cichlids. An adult Parachromis female will be smaller and rounder than an adult male, and this is sometimes visible on older fry as well. When you notice that a pair has been established, you must remove the other fish from the aquarium if it is not large enough to support several breeding pairs. If several pairs are kept together in a small aquarium they will kill each other.

Most Parachromis species can be breed in aquariums no larger than 250 L / 55 gallon, but more room is always better. An established Parachromis pair will typically breed every 4-7 weeks, and one batch can include more than 5000 fry for certain species. The aquarium decoration must include a suitable breeding site. Bog wood as well as flat rocks will be accepted, but rocks are better since they parents can clean the rock more carefully. A cleaner spawning site will usually result in more eggs hatching. It is common for Parachromis to dig a crater after the eggs have been deposited on the spawning site, and move the fry to the crater as soon as they emerge from the eggs. The Parachromis will guard the crater until the fry is large enough to become free swimming. In captivity, the fry crater will often reach all the way down to bottom of the aquarium.

Newly hatched Parachromis fry are small, but capable of consuming most types of food. Brine shrimp is a very good food source for growing Parachromis fry. You can also give them pellets. The Parachromis parents will mash the pellets for their fry to make the food small enough for the fry to eat. Pellets should not be the only food source for the fry. Parachromis fry will grow rapidly and will be around 2 cm (¾ inch) after six weeks.

Parachromis loisellei picture
Parachromis loisellei. Copyright

Parachromis parents are usually very capable of caring for their young, and the survival rate for Parachromis fry is high. You can remove the fry from the parents when the fry is still very small, but this is not advisable. It is harder to successfully raise Parachromis fry without the parents. It can sometimes be hard to sell Parachromis fish, since they are so productive in captivity. You will need a lot of aquariums to house all your new Parachromis fish.

When the Parachromis parents start to prepare for a new batch, it is time to remove the fry. If the fry is kept with the parents, the parents will kill them to protect the younger fry from being eaten by the older fry. There are however examples of Parachromis parents which care for two batches simultaneously, especially when a second spawning takes place very shortly after the first one. Sooner or later the second batch of fry will become eaten by the older siblings, and the older fry will grow very fast on such a diet.

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