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This pair (male on the left and female on the right) of Archocentrus spinosissimus has just spawned on the flower por. They have not yet fully developed their breeding coloration.

males may not even change colour during the whole process. I’ve found that Archocentrus spinosissimus are pretty good parents, using what little aggression they possess in defence of their offspring. Archocentrus spinosissimus has extremely small eggs. Ron Coleman (pers. comm.) has found that Archocentrus spinosissimus has the smallest eggs of all the heroine cichlids he has measured for his research on cichlid eggs. The eggs take around two days to hatch at which point it will become apparent why adding plants is extremely beneficial. Once the eggs hatch, Archocentrus spinosissimus hang their larvae upon aquatic plants! I’ve found that typically the fish will hang the larvae on either a plant leaf or in the roots of floating aquatic plants. This behaviour is not unique to this species; in fact, all three members of Archocentrus demonstrate this behaviour as do other genera such as Mesonauta, Pterophyllum, Symphysodon, and some Australoheros. Most likely this behaviour has developed to combat hypoxia in the larvae as the plants offer plenty of oxygen due to the by-products of photosynthesis for the larvae to consume (Courtenay & Keenleyside, 1983). Interestingly, live plants are not a must. This species will gladly hang their wrigglers on plastic plants. When no live or plastic plants are provided 15

Archocentrus spinosissimus lay their eggs on vertical surfaces. Here the female chose to lay eggs on a flower pot.

the fish will sometimes hang their larvae from the surface of the water on water tension alone! While live plants are not necessarily a requirement, I’ve had the best luck obtaining a successful spawn when live plants were in the tank. After about four to five days as wrigglers, the offspring become free swimming where they are usually found still nestled in the plants. Given the extremely small size of the eggs, it should come as no surprise the fry are also quite small, which poses some difficulties. I typically like to feed my new cichlid fry newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii. Unfortunately, depending on the source

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The Central Scene Issue 3  

North & Central American cichlid keeping

The Central Scene Issue 3  

North & Central American cichlid keeping

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