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Re: First tank

Walter McCree writes

>I would go with a single pair of P. pulcher.  In my opinion this is a
>perfect choice for the first dwarf cichlid.
>Your main problem with a 10 gallon is going to be finding someone to take
>the fry from you before they get too large/many for the tank.
P. pulcher according to the Baensch atlas, Mary Bailey of the British
Cichlid Association, and Richter's book on Dwarf cichlids recommend that the
absolute minimum tank size for these fish is 24 inches, 36 inches,  30
inches plus respectively.  That's all bigger than a 10 gallon.  Mary Bailey
would take an absolute fit if she found out about your recommendation.
She's an interesting read, by the way.  She has a Cichlid page in "Practical
Fishkeeping", a British magazine.  I've been reading her responses to
letters, and she does not mince her words. I would even say that she is
quite feisty at times.

These fish grow to 3 inches (female) and 4 inches (male).  They can lay
anywhere from 200 to 300 eggs on the roof of a cave.  It is recommended that
the fry should be kept with the parents until they are ready to spawn again.
If the fry are removed too soon the male wants to spawn again while the
female does not, and he becomes aggressive.  This is from Baensch.

That would make life rather difficult for these fish in a 10 gallon tank.
My cousin has a pair in a 50 gallon tank.  There are now 42+ one inch long
juveniles and 20+ half inch fry plus the parents.  (He's moving the larger
ones tomorrow - I hope.  It's kind of getting crowded in there.  Good thing
half the tank is full of Java moss so there is some buffer zone between the
parents who are guarding their younger fry from the older ones. )

I agree with you Walter that P. pulcher are an ideal starter fish.  They
exhibit extraordinary parental care.  They don't even harm their older brood
while the younger one is in the tank.  However, other fish are in danger for
their lives. There is a  problem in finding someone to take the juveniles.
LFSs are not all that eager to take them unless they are something extra
special or it's a chain store that can distribute them.

In the past I posted a question as to how long these fish live and for how
long do they spawn.  I was informed that they live for about 8 years, and
that I should get myself a small heated river!  At that time we had over 60
juveniles spread out between 5 grow out tanks of 10,15 and 40 gallons.  And
the parents had another 40+ in their care.  I was wondering if my cousin
would have to start using his bathtub for the fish and take his showers at
my place. :):)  He even had a dozen over at my place, except they grew so
fast that they ate some of my borelliis. :(  They were summarily evicted.

G. Kadar

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