For a long time, aquarists have not lost interest in the so-called rainbow cichlide, which is known by aquarists under another name “Solar tilapia”. This representative of the Cichlidae is very simple in keeping and breeding, therefore, if you do not have experience in caring for cichlids, you can start with this fish.
In addition, the aquarist’s attention is also captivated by the changeable color of the fish and funny behavior.
For the successful maintenance of solar tilapia with a body length of up to 12 centimeters a small aquarium with a capacity of 80 – 100 liters will suit. In such an aquarium, you can easily settle two pairs of fish, where you must put a large number of plants, snags and stone caves.
The rainbow cichlid perfectly gets on with almost any neighbor of the same size and habits. In the decorative aquariums of the “hodgepodge”, solar tilapia can live very well with large barbs, melanotenias, and relatives from the tsikhlovy family of the same size and habits.
If you have plans to observe spawning and funny parental behavior of tilapias, then you need to select a pack of 5-6 individuals for spawning. To create the most comfortable conditions of detention, aeration and filtration of aquarium water should be around the clock.
But the fish do not impose any strict requirements on the hydrochemical parameters of aquarium water: the water hardness can reach 30 units, the active response of the environment is 6.5 – 8.5 pH and the temperature range is from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
It is possible to feed the cichlid with any live food of suitable size: coretr, tube maker, bloodworm. With good conditions, balanced feeding and weekly fresh water changes, the fish grow quickly and they have a lively disposition.
Tilapias will be constantly moving around the aquarium, exploring various nooks and corners.
Somewhere at eight or nine months of age, the rainbow cichlid changes its modest olive color into a gorgeous golden-white mantle. The lower part of the body should turn black, and the iris acquires a neon glow.
Males grow larger and wider than females. Together with the color, the behavior of the fish in the aquarium also changes: the males begin to sort out relations about the division of the territory and show attention to the females.
After a month or two, the fish are ready to spawn. The formed pair begins to clear the selected spawning site, digs a small depression in the ground, thus showing that the territory is already booked and the neighbors have nothing to do.
Just at this time, the temperature of the water in the aquarium should be raised to 30 degrees. In order to stimulate the fish to spawn, it is necessary to make frequent water changes and give the fish a different feed.
When the substrate for spawning is cleared, tilapia proceed to spawning itself. The female lays caviar on the stone, which is immediately fertilized by the male. During the spawning period, producers may show excessive aggression towards violators of their territory, rushing at everyone who swims in their possession.
During one spawning, the female of the rainbow cichlid is able to postpone up to 1000 eggs.
At the end of spawning, the female remains to guard the clutch. It becomes above the nest and ventilates the calf.
In addition, she constantly weeds out the dead calf and removes it from the nest. At this time, the male is busy patrolling the territory. Fortunately, the number of dead caviar is very small, therefore, an aquarist can get quite impressive offspring.
Two days later, the male begins to dig small holes in the ground and in the mouth with the female carries offspring. From now on, both parents are busy guarding and caring for offspring, since they will lie helplessly in dug indentations for three to four days until the yolk sac has completely resolved.
Four days later, the fry will rise above their shelter. At this time, the larvae are very bright and glowing color with all sorts of modulations, which will vary depending on the mood of the fish. At first, the youngsters just hang out over a hole in the ground, adapting to the new conditions of life.
After that, the fry begin to search hard for food. When a danger arises, the trifle rapidly sinks to the bottom and tries to hide between the stones and the roots of the plants.
Starter feed for fry – “live dust”, but give it to the fish should be careful not to overfeed the fry. If the dimensions of the aquarium are solid, then you can see how caring parents are walking their young.
The male is the first to lead the procession, the fry closely follow him and the watchful female who sparkles with his golden back and black sides completes the procession.
In a month, the length of the body in fry will be 1 centimeter. The initial color of the young is olive-gray, and a black stripe can be seen along the whole body.
At this age, the fry independently feed on food intended for adult fish, and at this time it is better to share them with their parents. Isolation of young stock is carried out in those cases if the couple is going to spawn again.
Incubated caviar is possible in artificial conditions. To do this, you need a 20-liter otsadnik, where water is added from the main aquarium. It is necessary to add methylene blue to the settler so that the water has a blue tint, and the temperature is raised to 30 degrees.
Caviar clutch should be placed under moderate aeration. After three days, the remaining larvae are removed by light shaking.
With the growth of young animals, fish should be sorted.