Cockatoo dwarf cichlid – Breeding and rearing

The dwarf cichlid cockatoo is easy to breed. Outdoors it also breeds in tunnels that it digs itself. In the aquarium, alternatively provided breeding tubes or cave-like objects are suitable.

Necessary conditions

The first requirement is the optimal keeping of a male animal together with one or more females. For breeding the water temperature should be 25 to 26° C. The cockatoo dwarf cichlid breeds in caves. To do this, it must either be able to dig a cave or be provided with a breeding tube. Suitable are half coconut shells with several boreholes as well as other commercially available decorative breeding aids.

  • Water temperature 25 to 26° C
  • needs a breeding cave

The courtship behavior

A female in breeding mood first turns an intense yellow. Mostly she has already moved into a breeding cave. When the male approaches, she evades him more and more slowly. In the beginning it can still come to quick chases. The female first flees from the male and then suddenly confronts him. The male then builds up impressively in front of her, raises all his fins and twitches his body. This game can be repeated a few times before the female finally disappears into the cave to lay her eggs.

Spawning behaviour

In the cave the female attaches the clutch of eggs to the ceiling, where they are then fertilized by the male. The clutches of cockatoo cichlids usually consist of 60 to 80 eggs. The female or both animals then fan fresh water continuously into the cave for optimal oxygen supply.

  • Eggs are laid in the breeding cave
  • Scrims hanging from the ceiling
  • 60 to 80 eggs

Brood care and feeding

The brood-care is usually pursued by the female alone. Aggressively she defends the cave and drives away every fish that approaches to 15 to 20 cm. Occasionally this guard is also taken over by the male. The fish larvae hatch after 2 to 4 days. First they feed on the yolk sac. After about 10 days they swim freely and look for food in the form of microorganisms, which they find on plants but also on the filters in the tank. If you want to get as many fish through as possible, you should feed them. Since young cockatoos are tiny, the food should not be larger than 300 µm. Microworms, encapsulated artemia or finest frozen food are suitable. The food is best given with a syringe directly near the young fish. Later, freshly hatched or 1 to 2 day old Artemia can also be given.

  • Kittens swim freely after 10 days
  • Feeding with finest micro feed

Rearing of young fish

The female accompanies the young fish and transports them in the mouth if necessary. If other fish in the community tank interfere with the brood, at least some of the young should be fished off and placed in a special breeding tank. Regular water changes of up to 20% daily promote the growth of the young fish. After about 4 weeks they are 1 cm and after another 3 months already 3 cm large. At this age the first sexual characteristics develop. The dorsal fin of the males is pointed and long, that of the females straight to round.

>> Read on: Kakadu Dwarf Cichlid – Posture and Portrait

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