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Breeding cockerels: a detailed guide for beginners

The first mentions of cockerel aquarium fish date back to 1849. In those days, the fishes did not shine with beauty, but were able to quickly get comfortable in home aquariums.

A little later, the first successful breeding cases were recorded in large quantities. Fish threatened to become a trivial, if not …

“The abyss” from the field of view of aquarists at the fish did not work. Due to the high color variation, cockerels became popular pets among breeders-breeders, who took this aquarium fish in a “turn”: the shape of the hull was changed, the fins slightly lengthened and the most attractive coloring options were obtained.

At one time, it was rumored that if modern aquarists showed the “old forms” of cockerels that were caught in shallow small reservoirs overgrown with dense vegetation in the eastern part of Asia, the fish would not be recognized. But, unfortunately, all the manipulations with the selection and color change did not in any way affect the character of the males’ cockerels – as they were cocky inhabitants of the aquarium, they remained just that way.

Fighting at roosters are uncompromising. At first, everything seems to be both peaceful and good. Males approach each other and begin to write out all sorts of pirouettes before each other, smooth their fins and spread gill covers.

This stage of the “battle” of cockerels is the most attractive and interesting. Suddenly, a graceful show-off suddenly develops into a banal scuffle: the fish begin to fight hard, pulling out the rays on the fins and knock down the scales.

Quite often, the fish enter the clinch state: they bind their mouths and butt until someone rescues. The winner is the fish that has more air.

To the delight of aquarists, the cocky character of the cocky has a “narrow departmental” character: the other inhabitants of the aquarium are of no interest to the teaser. This is not due to a peace-loving disposition, but by sluggish movements: they simply cannot inflict harm on any moving fish, for example, a barbus or rhodostomus.

But with the description of the color of cockerels can be a problem, since today there is no particular color variation. At the moment, the number of color variations can not even count.

One thing can be said with 100 percent certainty: there are not so many aquarium fish that are able to compete with roosters in the variability of the color range and its saturation.

But, with all this, cockerels can hardly be considered the ideal inhabitants of home decorative aquariums. Even in the presence of a bright color, they simply get lost among other fish and dense planting of aquarium plants. The aquarist will see the occasional feeding out of fish every five years.

The only interesting point in their habits is when the fish moves along the wall of the aquarium, where it sees its reflection and tries in every way to engage in a fight with it.

It is practically impossible to compensate for the invisibility of cockerels in a large aquarium by increasing the number of fish. The fact is that after meeting a pair of males instead of beautiful fish, you will have two stripped roosters swimming, who would gladly show their decorations to the female, but there will be nothing to show.

If there is a big difference in the strength of the fish, then the future confrontation may end in the death of one of the rivals.

But, as practice has shown, 2-3 males can get along in one 100-liter aquarium. Only you will not get pleasure from the content, as only the leader will be visible.

Only the leader will have calm and graceful movements, as he will control the largest and most profitable territory, located near the place of feeding. The rest of the rivals will be huddled in the corners, trying to hide in dense vegetation, moving around the aquarium with great care and readiness to instantly slip away if the strongest male is found.

In the presence of less powerful rivals, the dominant male looks very impressive, as he needs to maintain his “athletic shape” in the proper camp.

If you plan to keep several pairs of fish, then there is only one way out to avoid frequent fights – each pair should be kept in a separate aquarium. And since the fish do not need spacious aquariums, a 5-liter jar is enough for keeping a pair of fish, given the simplicity of the fish and their tendency to be tamed, you can recommend cockerels to beginner aquarists.

Like other anabantids, cockerels have their own special organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air – a labyrinth. Accordingly, for the maintenance of roosters there is no need to enrich water with oxygen. The main thing you need to remember is to regularly feed the fish and keep the aquarium clean.

If you compare with other aquarium fish, the cockerels require a minimum of hassle from the aquarist, because you do not need to organize a permanent aeration and filtration of water, as well as tightly control its hydrochemical composition. Temperature range can vary between 20 – 30 degrees.

But I do not advise you to refuse regular water changes in the amount of 1/3 of the volume. After the substitution, you will immediately notice how the fish come to life and become more active.

But do not overdo it with tap water, because due to the high concentration of dissolved chlorine, fish can get poisoned and die.

Decorating a home for cockerels also does not present any difficulties. It is not recommended to plant in the aquarium a large number of hard-leaved plants and place all sorts of scenery with sharp edges. The fact is that roosters (especially male males) have fragile fins that break and break at the slightest hook.

But they quickly regenerate, only for some time your pets will look like ragged.

When keeping cockerels, you can completely abandon the use of aquarium soil, rooting aquatic plants and other decorative elements. In this case, you can keep the appearance of the fish inviolable, only the decorativeness of the tank will suffer.

Therefore, it is up to you to decide what appearance your home aquarium will have.

In terms of feeding, males are not at all capricious fish. The main problem, and perhaps the only one, the fish do not immediately move from one type of feed to another.

In some cases, this transition should take three days for the fish to agree to devour a new dish. Accordingly, in order to avoid such problems, it is better to gradually transfer to new types of feed.

When buying fish, it is advisable to find out from the previous owner what his pets eat, so that you give them the same food upon arrival home. If we talk about the standard daily diet, it does not have any extravagant moments: dry and frozen live food, tubule, bloodworm, corelet and other substitutes available on the market.

Males especially like to eat the meat of snails. If you want to treat your pets with this delicacy, you need to crush the snail shell and take out the pulp from there. If you plan to feed pond snails, then before feeding the meat should be poured with boiling water.

If there are fizy and coils in the aquarium, the roosters themselves are able to cope with them. There are two options to eat snail: knock the clam off a leaf of a plant and while it sinks to the bottom to devour it, or wait until the snail releases its leg and in one jerk to cling to it and finish the meal.

What else is the beauty of roosters – they do not need a wide variety of feed, although their appetite is excellent and they are ready to eat food at any time of the day. The amount of feed to be fed must be controlled, because your pets will become obese with uncontrolled feeding, which will negatively affect the ability to reproduce. It is also not recommended to feed the fish once a day and in large quantities.

Better feed the fish several times a day in small portions. So you can diversify the diet using different types of feed in one day.

The males reach sexual maturity relatively early – at the age of 4 months and are ready to spawn. If you keep fish in pairs in separate aquariums, then the aquarist does not need any additional efforts to breed these fish.

As an incentive to spawn, the temperature of the water in the aquarium is increased by several degrees. In most cases, this technique is quite enough for the male to start building a nest.

In order for the spawning to start for sure, you can add fresh water or boiled water to the aquarium while softening the stiffness.

If your cockerels live in the general aquarium, then it is desirable to deposit them in a separate spawning room and in it you need to gradually raise the temperature to 30 degrees. It was repeatedly observed that roosters spawn even in one-liter jars, but each such spawning is individual in nature and a large number of factors affect the success of such spawning.

The key to successful breeding males is the relationship between the female and the males. If the male with the female lives in peace and harmony and no tricks are foreshadowed, then the volume of the spawning aquarium can, in principle, be anything. If the producers are irritable towards each other and show hostile notes, then give the fish a little more free space so that the female can distance herself from the annoying suitor.

Just do not overdo it with the volume of spawning, as in a large aquarium, the male will have to spend more strength and energy to drive the female to the nest. Therefore, about the volume of spawning can still be discussed.

There is no need to equip a spawning aquarium with special paraphernalia and decorative elements in the form of grottoes, koryag and separator nets. In addition, you do not need to organize in the aquarium bright and intense lighting, as the cockerels do not welcome it.

During spawning, on the contrary, the lighting is even harmful, since the air above the water surface dries out, which can lead to the destruction of the foamy nest and the death of all eggs. In some aquarium sources it is recommended to breed cockerels in tanks with opaque walls, but if you don’t have any, then your task is not to put on bright light.

It is also a very important point that I would like to note: if the room has dry or cold air, then the spawn should be covered with a cover glass in order to maintain a favorable temperature and humidity. In dry environments, the foam nest quickly collapses and the male, instead of caring for the female, is engaged in restoring the nest.

Also, there is no need for dense thickets of aquatic plants. In any case, the male will find free space near the surface for the nest and build it with minimal use of grass. Only the presence of a weak current in the spawning ground makes male cockerels strengthen their nests with particles of aquatic plants.

The stronger the flow of water in the aquarium, the more vegetation the male will use when building the nest.

Finally, the male began building a nest. As a rule, this process begins either early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the code in the spawner is practically nothing visible. After the male selects a suitable place, construction begins.

The process is quite interesting: the male swallows air on the surface and releases it in the form of small bubbles with a diameter of not more than 1 millimeter. Surprisingly, in the process of preparing the nest, the back part of the body of the fish is motionless, only the head moves.

Upon completion of construction, the male does not rest and goes in search of a female.

There are cases when the female can refuse the male from the first time, and it happens that makes the cavalier chase the aquarium. These gestures can last from several hours to days. If in the process of grooming there is no hint of aggressiveness, then there is nothing terrible in the annoying grooming of the male.

If the male is in a state of “affect” and can kill the female, then it is better to plant the producers on different aquariums. The control time is two to three days.

If the spawning did not occur during this time, then you will have to replace either one partner or both at once.

If everything went as in the best houses in London and Paris, then the female will end up under the nest and the producers will start spawning. Merging in the half-body, the fish bend in an arc and form a ring, after which they turn over under the nest and freeze for a few seconds, during which the female releases up to 10 eggs.

There are cases when one of the partners who has not yet spawned may fall out of the ring and remain in a crooked pose for a while. After some time, the fish straightens up, and the process repeats again.

The eggs of cockerels are heavier than water, however, they have a different specific weight. Some caviar sinking faster, some slower. The male without much haste collects the eggs that fell to the bottom and moves them to the nest.

In order to facilitate the work of the male, it is not necessary to load the spawning aquarium with excessive decorations, stones and aquarium plants. It is also better to abandon the ground, so that the male would be easier to collect eggs from the bottom of the aquarium.

This is extremely important in cases where producers actively breed and in one spawning the female throws out a large number of eggs. In this case, the male simply will not be able to collect all the eggs, and the bulk of the eggs will be at the bottom of the spawning ground.

As the practice of breeding cockerels has shown, a brief finding of eggs outside the foamy nest does not cause her any harm. Therefore, your task as much as possible to facilitate the work of the male on the selection of caviar dropped to the bottom.

If everything went like “on oil”, then ultimately from a few dozen to several hundred small eggs will end up in the nest. As a rule, the standard number of eggs is about 150 – 200 units.

It was noted that upon completion of spawning, the presence of a female in the spawn begins to annoy the male. He often begins to be distracted from the nest, in every way trying to drive the female out of his sight.

It is also very important to help the male, therefore, the female should be transplanted to another aquarium. Otherwise, your calf may deteriorate, or the male will kill the female.

And maybe you will lose both offspring and females.

The process of ripening eggs in the nest lasts a day or two under the zealous supervision of the male. Unfertilized caviar for several hours is not covered with fungus and does not grow cloudy. During the day after spawning before the larvae hatch, the male is in relative calm.

He is still busy only maintaining the safety of the nest. At this point, it is desirable to feed a caring dad with live food in small quantities.

But when the larvae hatch from the eggs, a rather tense time begins. If the larvae hatch together, then this phenomenon resembles light snowfall.

After hatching, the larvae immediately sink to the bottom, and the male at this time in every way tries to return them under the protection of the nest. But thanks to a small water level in the spawning ground (10 – 15 centimeters), the larvae independently rise to the surface.

The male settles to the bottom of the larvae and carefully collects it into the mouth and spits it back into the nest. With a good deal of larvae from the first time attached to the nest.

But, there are cases when the male has to repeat this procedure several times. For especially stubborn larvae that do not want to be fixed in the nest, the male resorts to a special method: the male collects the “stubborn” larvae in his mouth, swallows air, mixes it with the fry and spits it out into the nest.

Such an operation always has a positive result, and the larva is firmly fixed in the nest.

Even in moments of calm, the male still remains in business. In the case of the destruction of the nest, the male constantly podrichtovyvaet it. In addition, if he is not busy repairing, he swims near the bottom of the spawning ground under the nest and is looking for fallen fry, which he missed during his last patrol.

For the first 24 hours, the larvae will hang down between the air bubbles with their tails down. Periodically, they attempt to leave their shelter, but a caring parent stops all these attempts at the root.

During this period, you can start feeding the male a little, and it is better to remove the remnants of the uneaten food from the aquarium. In addition, during feeding, you should monitor the behavior of the male.

If, in the process of feeding, the male weakens the interest in his offspring, then it is better to stop the meal, let him swim a little more hungry.

After a few days the larvae will dissolve the yolk sac, and they begin to lead an independent lifestyle. A signal of readiness for more adult life is the horizontal position of the body of the fry. When this happened, the male should be removed from the spawn and leave the fry themselves, since he already played his role in full.

The only thing left for the male is to save up strength for the next spawning, which may occur in a few weeks.

When the young begin to lead an active lifestyle, you need to start feeding the fry. The best starting food for fry cockerels are ciliates, nauplii of Artemia and rotifers.

Feed the young need small meals and often. It is better to remove remnants of uneaten food immediately from the aquarium, as they will spoil the water. This is quite a painstaking task, since together with the feed you will also remove some of the fry.

It is better to suck the water into a shallow bowl, from which with the help of a spoon or a pipette the stray fry are returned back to the aquarium.

The presence of dirt in an aquarium with fry is extremely undesirable, since the fry are extremely sensitive to various diseases. As we were told from childhood, you better warn the disease than you will treat it in full swing.

That is why it is not recommended to use the yolk of a boiled chicken egg as a starting feed, since its residues will quickly spoil the water in the aquarium.

As the fry grow, they are transferred to larger types of food that are more nutritious. It is better to give preference to mobile feed, since the fry prefer to hunt for their prey. The main condition is that the food should not be very brisk, since the fry of cockerels get tired quickly.

In addition, like adult individuals, cockerel fry are not famous for activity and agility, and can hover on the spot for an hour, moving periodically with pectoral fins.

Young animals, just like adults, do not like bright light, therefore, twilight is recommended in spawning. The water level in the aquarium should be increased gradually.

Since the water in the spawning aquarium should be constantly clean, and it is not yet possible to perform high-quality filtration at this stage, it is necessary to regularly replace the water in the aquarium.

Young juveniles need to be transferred to larger tanks, or settled in several small aquariums. In this case, the principle “in cramped, but not mad” does not roll, because as a result of the high density of planting, the fry slows down their development, and if you do nothing, the young will remain protracted in development.

While the fry have not begun to “cock”, they can be kept in one large flock, without taking into account the sexual attribute. But when characteristic “habits” begin to appear, fish will have to be additionally sorted by sex.

When you transfer fry from one container to another, you should follow a few simple rules. The main rule – the water in both aquariums should have the same hydrochemical parameters.

The second rule – fry should move with the water, and not in the net. With good care, the fry develop rapidly and after a few months are ready to bring offspring. Males are long-lived fish.

With good conditions, the fish can live up to 4 years in aquarium conditions.

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