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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, my Bolivian rams spawned again. One of them guarded the eggs for a few days and then snacked on them.

Is she just clueless? Or is it possible that she's laying eggs but that I have 2 females in the tank and the eggs haven't even been fertilized?

When there are no eggs around, she does hang around with the other ram; they go everywhere together. But when there are eggs, she chases the other ram away from food. S/he basically has to hide in the corner of the tank, out of sight.

This is a 36 gallon bowfront and there are no other bottom-loving fish in it. Only a few harlequin rasboras and 1 pygmy cory.

It's pretty easy for me to figure out the gender of my German Blue rams but the Bolivian rams are harder. So, perhaps I do have 2 females.

Has anyone heard of female fish laying eggs when there are no males in the tank? (Maybe "laying eggs" isn't the right term for it -- after all, fish aren't chicken -- but I don't seem to have the vocabulary)
 

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Are you sure that it's the fish who guarded the eggs that snacked on them?

I would think it's more likely that you have male and a female and that the female chases the male after spawning (or the other way around - although less likely). That's not unusual at all. And then either they get eaten by someone else, or sometimes the guarding parent will eat them in panic if they feel them threatened. But as always, this is just my guess and I'm no expert.

By the way, your post made me run a quick Internet search and I learned a new word: parthenogenesis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis

I'll try to use it next time I think I need to look smart in a social environment. Only to fall flat on my face a few minutes later of course.
 

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This is common for some cichlids. It is most common with female Angelfish IMHO. The guarding/snacking individual may just be inexperienced or feel insecure with the Rasboras in your 36 gallon bowfront. BTW, how is the P. stellatus doing that I planted for you in the 36? I'm curious to know.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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My green terror produces a new batch on the same few rocks every 2 weeks! She did it for more than 6 months until I moved her to a bigger tank and later on got stressed to death with the other fish and pass away!
 

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As Charles stated, females can lay eggs without a male, however it requires the male to fertilize the eggs.

steve
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stuart, the P. stellatus is doing beautifully! That is the one that you put on the right side of the tank, isn't it? It looks like it belongs to someone else, not a person missing both her green thumbs.

I wonder if I should move the rasboras to another tank, then? Or move the ram? Maybe the rams need the 36 gallons to themselves. I put the rasboras in there because the rams seemed shy on their own and never came out of the plants.

To everyone: Thank you for your input! The guarding ram is definitely the one that is snacking on the eggs, as I have seen her. She chases off all the other fish (none of whom seem the least interested) but then she will return and reward herself with a little nosh. I wonder if she realizes at some point that the eggs are not viable and tidies up.

I wish that I could figure out whether I have a male and female ram! I wouldn't like to think of a female ram guarding eggs for a few days every two weeks (as she seems to be doing) and never producing fry. It seems sad. Not to mention a lot of work as she fans them constantly.

Eternity302, I definitely don't want her to become stressed by laying eggs fruitlessly! I will keep an eye on this situation and perhaps move the rams or rasboras.

This is common for some cichlids. It is very common most common with female Angelfish IMHO. The guarding/snacking individual may just be inexperienced or feel insecure with the Rasboras in your 36 gallon bowfront. BTW, how is the P. stellatus doing that I planted for you in the 36? I'm curious to know.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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I have had single fish (both firemouths and Jack dempseys) lay eggs with no males present. Sometimes they eat them but not always. In other fish species (for example trout in lakes with no inflow stream), when females reach maturity, and conditions induce it, they become "spawn-bound" and if they can't through a spawning process, they will hold the eggs and remain in pre-spawn ritual for some time (it can be stressful- cleaning and protecting a site). If they actually release eggs and then eat them, then they can go back to normal for awhile. Sometimes, if they don't release the eggs, they reabsorb them.

My 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's very interesting, Hammer. Being spawn-bound sounds pretty stressful. Do all female non-livebearing aquarium fish become spawn-bound if the tank isn't set to ideal spawning conditions?
 

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Morainy,

I wouldn't know the answer to that.

Here's some thoughts: It would depend on how close to actual spawning a fish gets without it having the chance to release eggs/sperm. I would imagine, in some fish, the presence of optimum conditions or an opposite sex fish would bring the fish further along. I have had single specimen cichlids for many years well into their maturity and seen no evidence of it. I have also seen females become undoubtedly egg-bound without a male present. In lake dwelling rainbow trout, I have seen gravid males and females circle the lakeshore aimlessly looking for a non-existent inflow stream to spawn in. Interestingly, the mortality in these fish is higher than if they can go into a little stream and dump eggs and sperm and get back to feeding. Centrachids and cichlids, (even mouthbrooders) don't seem to be under quite as much stress and salmonids (they even keep feeding).

This is just a guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hammer, that is very interesting!

I can't imagine how you could tell that trout are circling a lake. Do you have them tagged in some way?

Morainy,

I wouldn't know the answer to that.

Here's some thoughts: It would depend on how close to actual spawning a fish gets without it having the chance to release eggs/sperm. I would imagine, in some fish, the presence of optimum conditions or an opposite sex fish would bring the fish further along. I have had single specimen cichlids for many years well into their maturity and seen no evidence of it. I have also seen females become undoubtedly egg-bound without a male present. In lake dwelling rainbow trout, I have seen gravid males and females circle the lakeshore aimlessly looking for a non-existent inflow stream to spawn in. Interestingly, the mortality in these fish is higher than if they can go into a little stream and dump eggs and sperm and get back to feeding. Centrachids and cichlids, (even mouthbrooders) don't seem to be under quite as much stress and salmonids (they even keep feeding).

This is just a guess.
 

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I'm beginning to suspect just that!

Actually, homosexual animals exist in most, if not all, species, not just humans and Rams;)
I have a giant nic in with three bouncing, dancing, teasing nic females. One female laid those large, non-stick nic eggs but big guy doesn't seem to get the idea.
SHF may be on to something. Anybody got two or three small nic males for one giant "gomer pyle"?
 
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