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blue rams - second time lucky

Better luck with a second spawning of my blue rams. As suggested, I raised
the heat to 85 degrees. I got the water down to a trace hardness and pH of
6. I removed the killis so rams are alone. Tilted a flat rock to 45 degrees
as it seemed clear from previous spawning on sloping bogwood that this is
what they prefer. The female showed signs of listlessness and stringy white
faeces after first spawning so I dosed with anti-hexamite treatment. Plenty
of mosquito larva has seen both fish grow quite a bit in a few weeks. They
are in a 20 gallon planted tank so are about as spoilt as it gets. As an
extra step - though I'm not sure if it helps or hinders - I occasionally
have left a mirror at one end of the tank. This gets the male displaying
nicely and it is interesting that with spawning, they have shifted the
wrigglers to the other end of the tank when the mirror-end was previously

It was noticeable with this spawning that the parents were behaving much
more naturally. The male did not chase the female around and then rather
absent-mindedly guard the eggs like last time. Instead, both parents took
turns at sentry duty and fanned the eggs with arched body - far more
focused. Now the pair are shuttling back and forth between the hatching eggs
and a little brood of wrigglers that they have placed on the flank of a bit
of bog wood (surprised that they haven't made a nest in the sand). When I
say shuttle, I mean the pair are exchanging places about every two seconds.

I mention all this as a thanks for advice from this list and also because it
reveals how dramatically cichlid parenting behaviour can improve when
circumstances are to their liking. What still puzzles me is whether there
are certain over-riding factors in producing such a change - temperature,
practice, health, tank mates, some critical water parameter? And has anyone
identified the hormone systems that control parenting behaviour, switching
it on and off?

from John McCrone

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