Fishes That Care For Their Offspring


This is definately the most interesting group of fishes to breed. The fishes have evolved many different ways of caring for their young. Sometimes it's the male, sometimes the female and sometimes both parents that take part in caring for the offspring.

Some different ways of caring for the offspring:

Ex 1. Bubblenest: The eggs are usually guarded by the male, for example as in dwarf gouramy (Colisa lalia), blue guramy (Trichogaster trichopterus sumatranus), siamese fightingfish (Betta splendens), pearl guramy (Trichogaster leeri) and paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis).

Ex 2. Mouthbrooders: Eggs and fries are stored in the mouth of usually just one parent until they can take care of themselves. Examples: Males of arowanas (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum), many females of different species of cichlids and males of mouthbrooding fightingfish (Betta pugnax).

Ex 3. To lay the eggs on leaves, stones, roots etc. Both parents usually guard the eggs and fry after they have hatched until the fry can take care of themselves. This is mainly done by many species of cichlids.

Ex 4. To lay the eggs above the water! The male splashing tetra (Copella arnoldi) splashes water on the eggs that have been laid and fertilized above the water under a leaf, root, aquarium glass cover etc. The male does this until the eggs hatch and the fries fall down and swim away.

Ex 5. To lay the eggs in caves, shells etc. This is done by many dwarf cichlids and plecos. The cichlid males sometimes have a harem with females. Then it's usually the females that guard the offspring while the male defends a larger terriotory. In some species both parents help to guard the eggs and fry until they can take care of themselves. (Even after they have left the cave.) Most pleco males just guard the offspring until the fries leave the cave (but this can take weeks and then the fries are usually quite large).

Ex 6. To act as a parasite! For example the cuckoo cafish, that use mouthbrooding cichlids to guard its eggs and fry. The bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus amarus) lay the eggs in a living freshwater mussel (Unio pictorum). In the mussel the offspring is well protected until they get freeswimming and leave the mussel.

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