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Rainbow Cichlids


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Hello All,

This is my first time posting on this forum. I have a 20 high with two rainbow cichlids, two female redtail dalmation platys and a male albino bristlenose. I was told that the Rainbows were a male and a female. The larger one that I was told was a male lays eggs about every 30 days. This fish is large and looks like a male. The other one, whom I was told was a female is smaller. The large one colors up beautifully in full breeding colors. The small one stays dark most of the time and is chased away often. Although I have eggs many times, they never hatch and I don’t think ever get fertilized. I either have two females (one dominant and one not) or a mature female and an immature male. Has anyone had any experience with these fish?






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Love your tank set up! Beautiful Valisneria. Not familiar with these cichlids, but rooting around, here are some tips: (1) Although there is a degree of variance observed between different specimen photos of this species (see photos below), there seems to be no tell-tale sexual dimorphism. The Wikipedia article on them is surprisingly good, with ample links to published articles.

The dark coloration may possibly be, as you suggest, from stress. It is very critical to get photos or videos of the egg-laying female in the act to ensure that the other fish is not fertilizing the eggs. When she lays them, do they quickly take on a white appearance? Do they seem to quickly grow a cottony-like fungus? Or are they a brownish coloration? Does she guard them for long? Or does she eat them immediately? Note: Bristlenose plecos can be brutal to your egg population. They'll find the eggs at night, and scarf them all down on cichlids.

It is a beautiful fish -- looks almost like mini-Vieja.

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Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 9.59.05 PM.png

Edited by Fish Folk
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Thank you Fish Folk. Yes, it's a nice tank. It runs between 20 and 40 Nitrates, I never fertilize and the Val grows like crazy. I've actually placed 2nd in an online aquascaping contest using this tank.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, the large fish in the photo has the female breeding tube. She is the one laying the eggs. The eggs are very organized and turn white and fuzzy in 2-3 days. She does guard them well and she doesn't eat them right away, but they are all gone within a week. I can't imagine the smaller dark one being 'talked into' fertilizing the eggs if it is a male. When she's laying eggs the other one stays away. They do display some odd 'breeding' behavior before the large one lays the eggs. The smaller dark one will shake and shutter as the larger female approaches it. As I've researched, that is typical breeding behavior. 

Again, I appreciate your help. My plan long term is to upgrade this tank into a 75 gallon within the next 7 months or so.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have some rainbows but they destroy plants which makes me sad. I like a good planted tank and their tank looks bad since I can’t keep anything but floating plants. They do however eat duckweed so I like to scoop it out of other tanks and they eat it all up. For breeding, I got them to intend on breeding but after them not being plant friendly I put a bristlenose with them and he takes care of the eggs. I do like them but don’t want them in other tanks bc all my other tanks are planted. Tried to get a medium cichlid that was chill and they were it but hindsight I wish I would have went with another type of apisto 

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Mine do rip up a little Val once in a while but Val grows so fast that as you can see, it doesn't matter. This is a 20 gallon high and I have two Rainbow Cichlids. 

The mystery has been solved with these two everyone. I have two females. The smaller one laid her first set of eggs this week. Once I get a bigger tank I will get a male for these two.

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