Breeding Egyptian Mouth brooders
60 litre (15 gallons US) tank, hood, light, sponge filter, sand, heater thermostat, thermometer and a group of 6 or more young mouth brooders.
This is an excellent beginners fish for keeping and breeding. Normal temperature of 75F and 78F for breeding and ph about 7 is ideal but they are not too fussy. Also their breeding habits make for a very fascinating fish. Males are more colourful and larger. Females are silvery in colour and plumper, especially during breeding time.
They can be bred in a community tank or can be bred in a separate tank. To get the best results place the breeding pair in a 60 litre tank by themselves and after breeding remove the male. Remove the male in the dark to not disturb the female.
To prepare for breeding feed well with plenty of live food, or a high protein pellet. The female’s belly swells with eggs and the male becomes more brightly coloured. Two or more females per male is preferred because the male can be a bit aggressive to the female when breeding.
When breeding is about to occur the male will circle the female and do an enticing dance. He will dig a pit in the sand. The male and female circle each other. The female will then lay a few eggs in the pit and then scoops up the eggs in her mouth. Then she will try to pick up the orange ‘egg’ spot near the males vent. At this point he releases milt into her mouth which fertilises the eggs. This process of laying eggs and having them fertilised repeats itself many times. There may be as little as 5 eggs or as many as 100 eggs depending on the size and maturity of the female. She can breed from size 1 inch and more. When spawning has finished the female will retreat to a hiding place with a bulging mouth full of eggs.
She will keep the eggs and young fry in her mouth for about 10 days, churning them in her mouth. The fry about 5 days, of the 10, the fry will hatch but not be released and her mouth will jerk about, possibly the fry irritate her. Put some methylene blue and a little aquarium salt into the water to keep bacteria levels low.
After 10 day to 14 days the fry will be released and slowly the fry will start to learn to swim of their own accord. The female being an excellent mother will keep a good eye on them and any sign of danger or sudden movement will result in the mother signaling the fry who will all swim into her mouth. Also the fry will return to the mother’s mouth at night. It is quite amazing to see up to 80 fry swim into her mouth.
Raising the fry
Feed the fry with newly hatched brine shrimp at first and after a couple of weeks introduce powdered protein pellets. Make sure you clean up any left over food with a siphon. Change 20% of the water per day with aged water.