In the tales and legends of many nations there are references to charming creatures (fairies), which are presented in the form of good ghostly wizards who come and go, God knows where. It is for this feature that the yellow-melting fairy (Altolamprologus compressiceps) received this name.
Cichlids are very shy and do not have much pleasure in contact with the owner of the aquarium. As a rule, the fish generally tries not to meet with the person.
Any sudden and not careful movement near the aquarium, the fish immediately hide in some crevice between the stones or snags. In addition, hydrobionts prefer to keep the shaded areas of the aquarium, not far from rocky caves, ceramic pots and empty mollusk shells.
After awakening from a night stupor, nimble females begin to actively swim around their houses from seashells. Between females quite often there are clashes that do not have serious consequences for fish.
With long-term observation of cichlids, you can see how fairies, for no apparent reason, can move sharply into the upper layers of water. If you do not want the fish to jump out of the aquarium, you must cover the jar with a cover glass and a lid without cracks.
When arranging the underwater design of the aquarium, you do not need to decorate the aquarium with stones with sharp edges and edges, because during their active movements they can seriously get hurt. If you provide the fish with a calm and stress-free state, the probability of growing healthy producers increases significantly.
And the quality of aquarium water has a direct impact on the success of breeding.
If the fish periodically experience stress, to remove it, you can share it with the fairies of melanotenias, barbs or swordsmen. To improve water quality and saturate it with sufficient oxygen, it is necessary to provide powerful filtration and aeration of the aquarium.
Pay special attention to the content of harmful substances in the water, because the fairies are very sensitive to high concentrations of chlorine and nitrogen compounds.
If the water hardness in your water pipe does not reach the required parameters, it is advisable to add magnesium sulfate to the aquarium water to increase the hardness. The fact is that the high hardness of water in Lake Tanganyika is due to the large amount of dissolved salts. The optimum water temperature should be maintained at 27 – 28 degrees.
But do not allow sharp fluctuations in temperature, as the fish do not like it.
Despite the fairies’ timid temper, these are active and rather capricious predators. The process of hunting is as follows: the fish rushes in short jerks for food, which gives an aquarist, or for small fish. Quite a good appetite for fairies, if you give them sliced squid.
Thanks to its powerful jaws, the hydrobiont easily grinds large pieces of meat. The main condition is that the food is fresh and of high quality.
As we observe the life of fish in an aquarium, we can conclude that the fairies do not show aggression towards their relatives. Each fish has its own specific territory: males occupy stone caves, females occupy empty shells.
Under natural conditions, males can grow up to 15 centimeters in length, females – up to 10. In aquarium conditions, the size of the fish is slightly smaller.
Fish become sexually mature at the age of one year, and after a few months, growers can be removed for spawning. Before spawning, the female takes an empty shell and carefully cleans it from foreign objects and debris. Before spawning, the color of the body of the fish becomes darker, and the lips begin to gleam slightly in blue.
When the abdomen is filled with caviar, it increases in size and an egg-deposit appears near the anal fin. Most of the time, the female keeps close to the males, inviting them with a kind of dance to the breeding ground.
Courtship is not long that ends spawning. During the spawn, only the female swims into the sink.
The male is at this time above the sink and fertilizes the eggs. In the process of spawning, the color of the body regularly changes from black with sparkles to orange with black transverse stripes.
Unfortunately, the Tanganyik fairy is not famous for its high performance, the maximum number of eggs per spawn never exceeds 100 pieces. But, as a rule, in one spawning the female fairies can bring from 40 50 eggs. At the end of the spawning season, the female is engaged in protecting the offspring, which does not leave the shelter even to eat.
Some time after the spawn, the color of the female turns black, and she is losing weight greatly, as she is constantly caring for caviar.
Unlike most known cichlid species, male fairies do not care for their offspring. As for me, he just has no time to do this, since he can fertilize several females at the same time. After four days, the larvae can be removed from the substrate by vigorously shaking them into a 20-liter blender for subsequent incubation.
The water in the incubator is poured from the common or spawning aquarium, adding methylene blue to it, so that the water becomes light blue.
Two weeks later, the fry are already able to feed on their own food for the fry – Cyclops, Artemia nauplii and “live dust”. Do not overfeed and constantly monitor the quality of aquarium water.
Unfortunately, fairies fry grow extremely slowly, even with abundant and high-quality feeding. By about 6 months of life, the youngsters acquire the traits of adult individuals.
As they grow up and get used to the conditions of detention, the fairies become less fearful. Males appear growths on the foreheads, ventral fins grow together in long braids.
The skin becomes rough in appearance, somewhat resembling sandpaper. And as a result, the fish become more like the stones among which they live.