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Re: Evolution in a microcosm

Good luck with your rams, but I don't think that was really evolution at work - just a hungry fish.  And it could have been any fish.  Now if the rams were able to hatch an amphibian, that would be different.  Personally, I don't think that will ever or has ever happened.  Anyway, I hope you get a successful spawn!

> From: "Anthony Baker" <anthony_w_baker@hotmail.com>
> Date: 2002/03/12 Tue AM 10:05:14 EST
> To: apisto@listbox.com
> CC: bakera506@earthlink.net
> Subject: Evolution in a microcosm
> 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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