Mikrogeophagus ramirezi eggs just before hatching. Deposited on Amazon sword plant leave.

Cichlid Fry Development

In the following photoseries I’d like to demonstrate the fry development of Dwarf Cichlids and Discus from egg to adult fish. This article will grow with every new picture added. Cichlids spawn almost anywhere. E.g.most Apistogrammas are cave spawners. to lay their eggs inside of rolled up leaves in their natural habitat .Open spawners likeDiscus prefer tree roots and trunks. Others lay their eggs in hollows dug into a sandy riverbed or on flat surfaces such as rocks.

Apistogramma cf.eunotus female guarding fresh hatched larvae inside her breeding cave.
Apistogramma cf.eunotus female guarding fresh hatched larvae inside her breeding cave.

These two photo show some nice cherry red Apistogramma panduro eggs. These eggs were deposited inside of a terra cotta cave. Those eggs are probably a week old. They are few days away from hatching. The “whitish” egg in the center of the first photo developed a fungus. Unfortunately, it won’t hatch. Female cichlids usually remove “bad” eggs from the batch to avoid fungusing on the rest of their eggs. You can see the remaining shells of the removed eggs in both photos.

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi female cleaning her eggs.
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi female cleaning her eggs.

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are open spawners. They like to deposit their eggs on flat surfaces such as rocks, pieces of slate, leaves and even heater suction cups if nothing else is available.

Fresh hatched Apistogramma resticulosa larvae.
Fresh hatched Apistogramma resticulosa larvae.

This larvae hatched only a few hrs ago. The eyes are undeveloped and the body contours are still transparent .The yolk sack is still has its original egg size.

Larvae (wriggler) of Mikrogeophagus ramirezi hatched one day ago .
Larvae (wriggler) of Mikrogeophagus ramirezi hatched one day ago .

You can clearly see the attached yolk sack. Most Cichlid larvae will feed of their yolk sack for about a week. Eyes and internal organs already beginning to develope.

Three day Mikrogeophagus ramirezi old larvae.
Three day Mikrogeophagus ramirezi old larvae.

Notice that the eyes are fully developed now. The yolk sack is almost gone.These wigglers will soon start feeding on Infusoria and other small food items found in the tank.

Apistogramma cacatuoides female with two day old fry
Apistogramma cacatuoides female with two day old fry
School of 3 day old Apistogramma cacatuoides fry
School of 3 day old Apistogramma cacatuoides fry
Apistogramma trifasciata female surrounded by her school of one week old fry
Apistogramma trifasciata female surrounded by her school of one week old fry

Apistogramma females are very protective and will attack anything, big or small, that gets to close to their youngens.

1 1/2 week old Apistogramma trifasciata fry
1 1/2 week old Apistogramma trifasciata fry

This photo of a Apistogramma trifasciata was taken in the breeding tank. You can see the bulging tummy filled with BBS. Fins,eyes,gills and mouth are fully developed and functional. Apistogramma fry stay close to their protective mother at this age.

Two week old Apistogramma cacatuoides fry
Two week old Apistogramma cacatuoides fry

At this age the fry already developed some adult characteristics.The gills are functional,fins are developed. The orange glow in the fry’s stomach aren’t remains of the yolk sack. At this age the fry eagerly take bright orange colored live Baby Brine Shrimp(BBS). Now Cichlid fry begin to protect themself from possible predators by developing their camouflage coloration.

Apistogramma cacatuoides 5 weeks old juvenile
Apistogramma cacatuoides 5 weeks old juvenile

The young fish are starting to develope their adult features: the slim body outline and finnage.

Another picture of an Apistogramma cacatuoides 5 weeks old juvenile
Another picture of an Apistogramma cacatuoides 5 weeks old juvenile
Apistogramma cacatuoides juvenile 7 weeks old
Apistogramma cacatuoides juvenile 7 weeks old

Here you can already tell how this fish will look like as an adult. The adult coloration is still missing to keep theyoung fish protected from predators.The juveniles are still very small at that age ,less than a 1/4″.

9 weeks old Apistogramma viejita juvenile
9 weeks old Apistogramma viejita juvenile
12 weeks old Apistogramma bitaenita juvenile
12 weeks old Apistogramma bitaenita juvenile

The young fish start to develop their adult coloration around this age. They almost resemble a full grown fish now. Trained eyes can sex the fish at this age. My guess is that this fish is a young female. The dorsal and anal fin tips are rounded, the ventral fins have a black stripe in them. Those are good indications for sexing this juvenile as a female.

Article by: Lois and Max Gallade
Images: Max Galladé
First publication:2002 on apisto.bravepages.com
Source: A
quarticles.com (no longer available)

One comment

  1. Jeffrey Thompson

    Beautiful fish and a ABSOLUTE pleasure and blast to breed!!

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