In 2009 i bought four fully grown Retroculus xinguensis in Duisburg (Germany). I had been looking for this fish a long time, so when i was finally able to find them – i was thrilled! Unfortunately one of them died shortly after i got home, due to a bacteria infection (i did not see the infected area before i got home…) But the remaining 3 individuals where fine, and i released them into a 720 liter tank. With lots of flowing water and open areas – they seemed to thrive.
This article is basically just several posts (that have been postet on Cichlidae.net) that i have put together and modified.
First time they spawned, the ph was 6,4. At the second (30 days later) it was 7,5(!) Temperature was 28 celsius. (GH was at 5-6).
Courtship have began around 10 days before they have initiated spawning. Then they began to show remarkable colours!
At the spawning site they build two large pits. And then they collect different materials found in the aquarium… small peces of roots, and larger gravel.
They lay around 200-250 eggs. These eggs is really sticky, so the egg shield will be covered in sand.
Then they start to move the eggs from one pit to the other, every 8-10th hour or so. At night she even hide the eggs by digging them down.
The female will not let the male come to close to the nest the first days. If he is too close she will deliver a bite, – some times even take big chunks of his tail.
So… they first layed eggs at March 16. 2010 And i managed to pick up some before they where all gone. Got 19 pcs, and i putted them in a small tank, with only a airstone, heater, some floating plants, a cuple of rocks, and fine sand. I made a pit in the sand, and placed the eggs not too close to each other. Cuple of them got fungus, but i removed them before they infected the rest.
Had some problems with nitrit at the beginning (after they had hatched), and lost several of them.. but i was able sto fix it by adding some bio-balls from a already cycled canister (shuld have done that at the start…). Now, 55 days later, there is 5 left…. At least i have not lost any in the last 27 days. Seems to run stable.
The biggest one is about 1,5 cm long, and the smalles 0,9.
Temperature in the tank is 29 celsius, and the ph is 7,5.
They get artemia-naupiler, and now also some cyclops.
May 15. 2010
.. and today they have spawned again!!
Temperature: 28,5 celsius
I have taken out 50% of the eggs, around 80-100, and put them into a artificial nest. Hopefully i will be able to rise more than five individuals this time…
Below is a video of the female guarding and caring for her eggs!
-Watch in HD
Long story short, – i succeeded in raising some of the fry (believe me – not a easy task)! Here are some pictures of how they have developed…
I have spread xinguensis around in Norway and Sweden for a while now, and are down to the number i want to keep myself, a group of 12 individuals.
I also want to mention that there have been people from other parts of the world who have contacted me about these fishes, – Scottland, Germany, USA, Poland, and England. This shows exactly how rare R.xinguensis is on the market… It`s a shame!
Here is a small summary of my experience with Retroculus xinguensis:
I think feeding is one of the most important factors, when getting these fishes to spawn. – A varied diet, and good amounts of food seems to be very important. I give them mysis, coalfish, artemia, shrimp, mussels, blood worms, earth worms, discus bits and spirulina flakes – upp to four times a day.
Also it is very important that they feel as safe as possible in their aquarium, cuse they are eazy frightened. And when these guys get panic, they can hurt themself really bad! Retroculus are strong and muscular fishes.
I have only lighed up the front part of the aquarium, and have added a huge root that gives them great cover from the outside. Most of the day they stay in the dark zone.
While guarding the eggs, R.xinguensis seem to have a hard time keeping some of the other cichlid sp away from the pit… I have kept them with Guianacara geayi, and Geophagus proximus (among others) – not a perfect match at all.
But they have no problem keeping other individuals of the same species away.
If you want them to be able to take care of eggs/fry in the best way possible, i think it`s a good idea to only keep them with other individuals of the same species.