Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nigeria green"
Pelvicachromis taeniatus is a West African dwarf cichlid native to lower Nigeria and lower Cameroon. The coloration of this species varies a lot depending on locality, and aquarists will therefore usually add additional words to the name to distinguish the different variants from each other. This is why you can stumble over names such as Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Moliwe’ and Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Nigerian Red’. This article focuses on a variant known as Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Nigeria Green’.
Pelvicachromis taeniatus is an exceptionally beautiful fish, especially during the breeding period. The male sports metallic sheens of green, red, violet and golden. His elongated dorsal fin is decorated with shades of red and yellow, the anal fin features violet or green, and the tail fin is of a bright yellow to orange colour with dark spots and hazy stripes.
The female fish is not as brilliantly coloured as the male, but compared to most other fish species she is still a very colourful fish, especially when exhibiting her breeding colours. The midsection of her body is red and silvery, while her throat flaunts a bright yellow colouration.
The male Pelvicachromis taeniatus can grow up to 9 cm in length while the females tend to stay around 6 cm.
Breeding Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Nigeria Green’
Nigeria Green hails from soft and acidic waters and if you want your fish to breed in captivity, you should mimic such conditions. If your tap water is hard, you can use rain water instead. Try to get the pH down to 5.5. Some aquarists use dilute hydrochloric acid, while others prefer to include plenty of oak leaves in the set up and filter the water through peat moss. Keep in mind that oak leaves must be pre-soaked, otherwise they will not sink in the aquarium. The recommended water temperatures is 26-27 degrees F. Change 25-50% of the water once a week.
A 15 gallon aquarium is big enough to serve as breeding aquarium for a Pelvicachromis taeniatus couple. In addition to oak leaves, the aquarium should contain plenty of plants and some bog wood. The addition of floating plants, such as Water Sprite, is usually greatly appreciated. Don’t forget to place a few clay pots upside down in the aquarium to serve as spawning sites.
Live food is known to induce spawning in Pelvicachromis taeniatus and the fish should be fed at least once a day. You can for instance give your fish brine shrimp and chopped earth worms. Supplement with high-quality flake food to ensure varied nutrition.
You known that spawning is about to happen when the female change into her spawning colouration and claims one of the clay pots.
Rearing of the offspring
The fry will hatch inside the clay pot and stay there until the female fish finds them large enough to be let out. The parents will take turn caring for the fry, so keeping both of them in the breeding aquarium is recommended. One parent will guard the fry while the other takes some time off to eat. During the first month, the fry will stay in a tight group and never venture far from the guarding parent. As they grow bigger, they will grow become and more daring and make individual excursion throughout the aquarium. When they seem to do okay without the parents, you should place them in their own aquarium, because if the couple gets ready to spawn again, they can kill any fry that is still hanging around. In the wild they would simply chase them away, but this is impossible in a small aquarium.
Pelvicachromis taeniatus fry that exceeds 10 mm in length are normally capable of surviving without the parents, especially in an aquarium without any predators. When the fry is about two months old, you can usually see their adult coloration and they can behave quite aggressively to each other. Injuries are however uncommon.
Young fry will feed on algae and natural algae growth should therefore be encouraged in the aquarium. Supplement the algae with daphnia, newly hatched brine shrimp, and powdered flake food to ensure sufficient nutrition. Changing the water twice a week is normally enough, provided that left over food is siphoned out after each feeding session.
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