Page 3 Babies!

Page 3 Babies!

Well not real babies yet. Momma fish is still carrying eggs around in her. And dad is looking all proud and brightly colored. It is difficult to see the colors of the male. The flash of the camera has sort of monotoned the poor guy. In the right light though, he has a very brightly colored orange tail and a bluish to lavender display on his dorsal fin. The female is similarly colored but much subdued compared to her husband. These Tilapia are about one year old and are about seven inches long.

Tilapia are mouth brooders. The male will make a shallow bowel shaped nest in the sand. Then when he is satisfied with his work he will go on the hunt for his honey. If she like the "digs" she will lay her eggs in it. The male then releases his seed over them to fertilize them. The female will then take the eggs back up in her mouth and keep them there until they hatch. After they hatch they are released by the mother. but at the first sign of a threat they are taken back up for protection. Depending on gowning conditions the fry will remain protected by the parents from 3 weeks to 2 months. Size is the determining factor. A mature female will lay 100-500 eggs, 3-4 times a year. Left to nature survival is only about 1 %. However, under controlled conditions it is said that one can achieve nearly 100%


Momma would not cooperate

I took about 30 pictures chasing her around the aquarium to try to get a good view of the eggs in her mouth, This is the best I could do. The little light speck you see (click to enlarge) are the eggs. They actually fill her mouth. Every time she takes a breath (drink ????) you can see them rolling around in there. She is very camera shy though so this may be the best I can get.

Dad doing housekeeping

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