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Re: Evolution in a microcosm


Your Rams seem to be acting like normal Rams. If you have a place for her, you
could remove the 'beta-female'. Rams form spawning pairs. Any other Rams are
just a distraction to the pair. Still with the heavy population of your tank,
and the tendency of Rams to eat their eggs/fry if overly disturbed, I doubt that
you'll be successful reproducing Rams in the tank as it is now.

Mike Wise

Anthony Baker wrote:

> So, last night I witnessed Evolution at work in my 29G plant tank.  The tank
> contains a trio of Blue Rams, a couple black neons, 3 molly fry, 3 ottos, 2
> SAEs and ~12 ghost shrimp, bunch of red ramshorn snails and MTS.  Because
> this is a aquascaped tank, I didn't have any "normal" spawning locations,
> just a few artistically placed rocks and driftwood.
> The tank stats are:
> KH / GH: 3-4/6
> CO2: 25-35ppm
> pH: 6.65-6.70
> NO3 - ~5-10 (added weekly for plants)
> PO4 - ~0.5
> Weekly water changes.
> Temp ~81F
> Anyhow, after I fed the fish their allotment of live blackworms, I moved on
> to feed my other tanks.  I returned 15 minutes later, and sure enough, the
> male and the "alpha" female were dancing around a little depression in the
> substrate (flourite) hidden behind some tall plants.  I peered in and could
> see ~75-100 eggs (not bad for a tiny female) right on the flourite.  The
> male was busy fanning the eggs.  The interesting part: the "beta" female,
> who lately has been chased by both the a-female and the male, kept coming up
> to the pit and appeared to "entice" the male away from the eggs.  Then, she
> would circle around the whole tank while being pursued by either the male or
> both the male and a-female.  A few times, the b-female would circle back to
> the pit and quickly gobble down a few eggs!  The male would chase her away
> again, and the whole thing would start again! The male also began chasing
> the a-female around, allowing the beta-female even more snack time!
> Evolution at work!  The b-female was clearly eating the eggs to increase her
> fitness level and simultaneously reducing the chance of the a-female
> spreading her genes!  Very interesting!  Another consideration is that it is
> quite likely that the trio are genetically related -- probably even siblings
> -- as I got them from the LFS.  In many higher animals, genetically related
> conspecifics often take _some_ responsibility for care of young -- eg.
> "aunt" chimps often take turns caring for baby chimps or watching juveniles
> while the mother gets some relaxation.  Apparently not so with Rams!
> I also think I was pretty lucky to get two true females and one male -- I
> was a bit worried after reading about the lack of females being imported
> from the Far East.  Perhaps the trio was even from a local breeder.
> Well, an hour later, I checked back on the tank and noticed that the male
> and alpha-female were doing a "spawning dance" on the other side of the tank
> near the driftwood.  The female's ovipositor was still very extended and
> both had full coloration. The beta-female was no where in sight, and it
> looked like most of the eggs were gone.  So, I am hoping they do better on
> the next round!
> I am not prepared space-wise to dedicate a tank to breed these fish, but
> wouldn't mind having a successful spawn in their present tank.  If anyone
> has suggestions that might help, I would appreciate it.  I could pull out
> the other female, but think that she might be next in line to lay eggs!  I
> added a small clay tray (for flower pots) with some fine sand in it, so
> maybe the Rams will like that more?
> TIA,
> Tony
> BTW - My new pair of A. trifasciata is settling in nicely and my new male
> double-red aggie is adjusting to his new home... Still seems a bit ragged,
> but hopefully some good food will fix him up soon!
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