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Telematochromis bifrenatus

by Jeffrey Burke

I bought five adult Telematochromis and found out these little guys are very aggressive and also have sharp teeth quite able of doing severe fin damage which they inflicted on each other quite frequently.

The breeding tank was a fifty five gallon with a Fluval 303 using prefilter noodle, chemi pure carbon, crushed coral, foam sponge and a ultraviolet sterilizer at the output. The back up filters were a whisper 3 and sponge filter. The substrate was natural brown gravel with two or three pounds of crushed coral. The tank had about fifty to sixty pounds of shale which formed many caves and crevices. There was also two large shells and one medium shell in the tank.

The male was four inches in length, and one female was 4 inches and the other was three. As for the other two fish they also were three inches in length but, I was never able to determine their sexes.

For one reason or other both of the female fish would lay eggs in shells but never in the rocks. The larger female picked a large shell on the left side of the tank and the smaller female picked the smaller shell which was on the right. For six months I watched the females bellies swell up and then flatten, then they would become very protective of their shell and guard the entrance of it. They would continue to guard their shell a week after their bellies had flatten. This behavior indicated that they were laying eggs. Once I even saw two small free swimming fry briefly trying to leave the shell but, the mother stopped that in a hurry.

One day I was cleaning the tank and when I moved the large shell fifty to sixty eggs rolled out BO I gathered them up as fast as I could. Then I collected eggs from the smaller shell which had only twenty to thirty eggs with most of them fungused up. I put them in a five and a half gallon tank with water from the fifty five gallon and a sponge filter from the breeding tank.

The fry hatched in two days and the egg sacks also absorbed in two days. The first two days they got liquid fry then Baby E powder food and microworms. The fry were easy to raise only two or three died and two were deformed and destroyed.

These are interesting fish with very easy to raise fry but be careful they can inflict serious harm to each other especially during breeding time.

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