Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
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Mikrogeophagus altispinosa

Mikrogeophagus altispinossa
click photo to enlarge
        Bolivian rams, Mikrogeophagus altispinosaare a commonly available dwarf cichlid. They are excellent community residents where they patrol the bottom searching for bits of food. They are fairly peaceful and I have often kept them in groups of 5 or more adults. There has been a lot of confusion about the name of these fish and at various times they have been called Microgeophagus, Papiliochromis as well as Mikrogeophagus (for a complete account of the genus name see Mikrogeophagus ramerizi). Variations of the species name including altispinossus have been used.  Mikrogeophagus altispinosa are
Mikrogeophagus altispinosa
click photo to enlarge
more commonly encountered in pet stores than most dwarfs and are sold under a variety of common names including Ruby Clown Cichlid.

        During spawning they become more aggressive but rarely vicious. Spawning preparations can last for many days as the pair bond strengthens and the female ripens her eggs. When spawning nears the female will pick a flat surface where she can deposit her eggs. Often she will dig to find a good spot and you
might be able to encourage her to spawn where you want her to by slightly burying a flat rock in the location your prefer and arranging the other decor to make that a logical spawning clearing.

        A large female Bolivian Ram will spawn hundreds of rather small eggs. The female is usually the primary guardian of the spawn. However, at times the male might join in. One interesting behavior you might observe isone of the parents spitting sand onto the eggs. This is likely a camouflage behavior that helps to protect them from predators
Mikrogeophagus altispinossa pair
click photo to enlarge
    This Mikrogeophagus altispinosa pair is preparing to spawn. Note the blunt egg tube below the female's abdomen. Altispinosa will normally excavate to find a flat surface to lay their eggs on. However, they will occasionally use a flat rock laying on the bottom.

Mikrogeophagus altispinossa female guarding eggs
click photo to enlarge
    A Mikrogeophagus altispinosa female guards the eggs that she has just finished laying. The extended ovipositor will quickly disappear now that egg laying has been completed.
        The eggs hatch in two to three days and the non swimming larval fry are moved into a pit dug into the substrate. In the next few days the brood will be moved many times to various locations. Often a rotation of several pits will be used. In another 7-9 days the fry will have absorbed their yolk sacs and will begin to swim as a school. From this point on care is usually quite easy.

        The newly free swimming fry will easily take baby brine shrimp and will quickly begin to pick at other foodstuffs they find on the bottom.  The parents make an attempt to keep the school together but many individuals soon begin to stray.  In a community tank this is when the fry will rapidly disappear. However, in a breeding tank it is usually quite easy to raise a  large number of fry from a spawn.

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