Species Article: Lake Tanganyika

Spathodus erythrodon

by Duc Nguyen

I recently acquired my first pair of F0 Spathodus erythrodon - Ikola in February of 2001. They are very pretty; photographs are located further below.

They come from the surge habitat area of Lake Tanganyika. Spathodus belong to a group known as the goby cichlids. Goby cichlids include: Eretmodus, Spathodus and Tanganicodus. These goby cichlids are bi-parental mouthbrooders and typically are monogamous with the exception of Spathodus marlieri, which is a maternal mouthbrooder.

So far, the Spathodus have been doing pretty well. I feed them with regular flake foods and with spirulina flakes and they are voracious eaters. The temperature is kept at approximately 78? F - 80? F. I also have an external filter as well as an air stone running to increase oxygen amounts in the water. Goby cichlids like highly oxygenated water.

I hope you enjoy the photographs that follow.

April 26, 2001:

Latest update: Wow! I just checked on my Spathodus today and I think they spawned!! Hurray! I was feeding them and of course, the female was not eating and normally, she has the most voracious appetite of everyone in that tank. In addition, as I continued to watch her, I noticed her gill covers were sticking out more then normal and you can see a small extension in her buccal cavity. These are all 'typical' behaviour that I've seen in other mouthbrooders I have had. I continued watching but noticed that the male is still somewhat rough with her which concerns me. The litterature states that they form a tight pair bond and will defend a territory together. So I am not completely sure what his aggressive behaviour means. I will definitely keep this file updated. I'm very leery of taking photographs of her this early in holding because I have also read that Spathodus have a high probability of losing their clutch. As far as I know, this is her first one. This is VERY exciting for me and I will keep this file updated as I make more observations. Stay tuned...

April 27, 2001

(Continuation from yesterday)

Appears as if the female is still holding...although the extension in her buccal cavity is not as evident. Please view this image I have below to see what I mean. I took a number of pictures earlier but unfortunately, none turned out as well as I'd like. She hides very well and is not very photogenic. This is the one picture that turned out half way decent where you can somewhat see the extension in her buccal cavity. Please let me know what you think.

As some of you know, she lost her clutch about four days into carrying. It was very sad but I'm awaiting for the next spawning. I will keep you posted.

June 14, 2001:

Latest update:

She spawned AGAIN today. I was so excited.:) I'm going to try to do a few different things. One of the main things (which sometimes can be the most difficult), is to not pay attention to them too much. I think I scared her the previous time which caused her to lose her clutch. I read somewhere that gobies for some reason are very proned to losing their clutches. This time around, I will try not to freak her out too much. Maybe when I feed them, I should feed small amts instead of so much where it will tempt her to eat and lose her eggs that way. I think the key is for her hold up to 6 days. After that point, the fry should be viable. I will keep you posted on the latest. I just noticed her carrying today. I'm very excited.:) And the other thing I'm going to change is that I won't be taking pics this time. I'm pretty happy with the above pic you see. I think that may have freaked her out too.:)

Thanks for reading. Again, if you have any suggestions on what I should do, please don't hesitate to email at the link at the bottom of the page.

June 20, 2001

Rats! She lost her clutch again. I thought everything was going pretty well. Today was day #6. I noticed she was still holding this morning before I left for work. She was doing a lot of the chewing motion indicative of mouthbrooders. She was moving the eggs around in her mouth to promote oxygen exchange. I came home from work and I noticed her behaviour was completely different. So I placed a small amount of food in and she was eating voraciously. I'm very disappointed but am hopeful for the next time. My reading has indicated that these guys are very particular about mouthbrooding. If anyone out there is reading this and knows of suggestions or personal experience with this species, please do not hesitate to drop me a line via the email link below. I will keep this journal updated with my personal observations on this wonderful species.

Article and Images Copyright ©2001 by Duc Nguyen , all rights reserved.

 





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