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Re: fry eating mcmasteri

Here are some thoughts, John.

You don't mention the composition of the substrate.  I believe it's 
important for the female to be able to excavate.  Many female apistos create 
little depressions for their babies, and will move the newly hatched fry 
from place to place.  If the substrate is too coarse or is(shudder) bare 
glass, the female cannot perform her normal parental duties.  This leads 
(IMO) to the mother feeling insecure about her ability to deal with her 
environment, and thus leads to eaten fry.

Another possibility is the size of opening to the spawning cave.  Again, I 
believe that a very tight opening helps the female feel secure in her 
abilities to deal with danger.  I've even used caves with openings so small 
the male couldn't enter!  Apparently his caudal fin action was sufficient to 
fertilize the eggs.

There should be at least two or three such caves or retreats for every 
female.  That way, she is free to move the fry from one secure area to 
another, if she wishes.

Other possibilities are:

Too much light - apistos like it dark!
Too much activity in or around the tank.
Female may be an unfit mother.

There are many possibilities.

If push comes to shove, you may have to pull the eggs and hatch them 
yourself (a very simple matter).  While this is not the optimal situation, 
sometimes there is no choice.

Good luck,


>From: "John McCrone" <j.mccrone@btinternet.com>
>Reply-To: apisto@majordomo.pobox.com
>To: <apisto@majordomo.pobox.com>
>Subject: fry eating mcmasteri
>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:27:27 -0000
>Any advice on how to deal with a mcmasteri pair in which the female (I'm
>presuming) eats the new fry?
>I've had this pair for about 18 months and both are large, healthy, happy
>looking fish. They spawn very regularly - about every three weeks. The eggs
>appear to develop all right and then start to hatch. The female seems to be
>collecting the fry in a depression inside the brood chamber. Then next time
>I look, nothing. I have never noticed the male swooping in - he seems a
>gentle sort on the whole. But one or other must be taking them.
>I've left them to it hoping eventually they would start to raise fry but am
>now wondering whether to experiment with removing male or both. Question is
>whether to   go for removing both? Or is it likely just to be the male that
>is the problem? And if I take out both, should I leave it until just before
>the eggs hatch or will it make no difference? Finally, if I put the female
>back in after the fry are swimming about, would they inevitably get snapped
>up or might she then adopt them?
>Other details: The pair were spawning in a community tank. Thinking it 
>be the presence of too many other fish that were causing the problem, I 
>had them in their own 15 gallon tank for past two spawns. Tank is well
>planted and furnished. They have eight baby cardinals for dithers, temp is
>28 degrees C, pH is 6.5, water is RO and very soft.
>from John McCrone - Science Writer
>     mail to: j.mccrone@btinternet.com
>     web site: http://www.btinternet.com/~neuronaut/
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