given my first whiptails from a friend in the aquatic
club, six young which he had brought along for his breeders
team. They were initially housed in a small tank in
my fish house but later on I transferred them into one
of the tanks in my house, 36x18x18 which housed three
juvenile Discus, dwarf cichlids, neon tetras, honey
gouramis and Corydoras sterbai. This tank was
heavily planted with Amazon Swords and giant Vaillisneria.
The parva's stayed hidden most of the time
but quite often they would stay motionless on the pieces
Approximately one year had
passed and theywere definitely large enough to spawn.
At this point I did not know the sex ratio of them
but I placed a few PVC pipes in the tank "just
in case".Unfortunately the only inhabitants
in the pipes were the dwarf cichlids. During a re-organisation
of tanks I moved the parva's back into
the fish house beside some young Apistogramma
macmasteri, ever hopeful the pipes went along
with them. Within a fortnight there was a pair inside
the pipe spawning.
Water changes 20% weekly, pH 6.0-6.5.
Temperature 26c (79f).
Filtration, air-driven sponges (this depends
on tank size)
Decor: sand substrate, bogwood and spawning
sites i.e. small PVC or clay pipe (6" long
x 1.5" diameter). Feeding: Lettuce,
cucumber catfish sinking pellets and my beef heart
mix, which contains peas, spinach and flake.
Sexual difference.The method I use
to sex my adult Whiptails. Placed in a glass container,
I use a show tank, as it is essential to be able
to view the fish closely from above and also below,
the use of a magnifying glass is a great advantage.
Examine the pectoral fins and the cheek area. Males
have tiny saw-like edging in both these areas, females
dont. I house my breeding parva's in
a community tank and at present they are sharing
it with Ilyoden xantusi livebeares
and various corydoras species. When I notice
that the whiptails have spawned this is what I do:
I Do When They Spawn.
Spawning pair can remain in the pipe for as long
as 12 hours. When the female is spent of eggs she
leaves the male to care for the eggs alone. From
the main tank I take the water and transfer this
to a 12 x 8 x 8 tank and I install a small mature
sponge filter. I carefully remove the pipe containing
the male and spawn, and place into the small tank
and then hope for the best, during this maneuver
I have never known the male to exit the pipe. The
eggs are dark green in colour changing to dark brown
as they start to develop and during the brood care,
the male continually "mouths" the eggs,
I presume that he is turning them and obviously
keeping them clean. Remaining in the pipe for the
next 6 days he does not eat any food at all. The
eggs begin to hatch on days 4 and 5 and they have
an enormous egg sac, which over the next couple
of days disappears, and then they are free swimming.
Average fry per spawning 60.
The fathers job is finished and he leaves
the pipe. It is essential to ensure that the male
has feeding for several days before being returned
to the main tank, so I normally remove him into
one of my other peaceful community tanks as soon
as the fry are free swimming, then at a later date
return him back with the females. The tiny
scaled down miniature parvas like
to attach themselves onto the glass and hang like
little Christmas decorations.
For their first feeding I place a scalded lettuce
leaf or a small slice of cucumber in the tank, always
ensure that this is replaced daily with a fresh
piece. An additional sponge filter is added to cope
with the sudden population explosion and small water
changes are carried out daily, I also place a suitable
sized piece of bogwood in their tank for them to
browse on. After about a week or so I then move
them into a larger tank 24"x12"x12".
Growth rate seems very slow in the beginning but
with a ready supply of food and maintaining the
water quality, their growth rate soon increases.
From past experience if I do not remove the male
plus eggs into a maternity tank when the fry become
free swimming they are devoured by the other tankmates.
Photo by author.