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Questions on Retroculus
July 16, 2015
6:08 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I've just received some very nice images of R. xinguensis along with a request to sort out its profile, and have a few of the other species saved in our image library. Am going to start work on these now, and wondering if anyone here has practical experience with this genus? Any info would be most gratefully accepted.

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July 17, 2015
5:28 pm
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coelacanth
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I had them over 15 years ago, grew them to a decent size and passed them on.
Warm, clean water with high oxygen levels, they're prone to white spot, had to treat them for Camallanus as well. As with most Geos (and most fish really), lots of small meals better for digestion and growth than one of two large feedings. Had no issues with HIH, I found them easy to care for, not overtly aggressive (although they were only subadults).
The linear flow pumps are ideal for these fish, when you see how easily they can sit in high turnover you realise why they're shaped how they are.
People seen to be having good results feeding them with Repashy foods.

July 17, 2015
6:53 pm
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Matt
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Great info, cheers!

According to the most recent (I think?) phylogeny of neotropical cichlids, Retroculus isn't actually that closely related to Geophagus, is sister taxon to Cichla, and that clade is basal to the rest. See this paper.

Edit: looking into this further, seems Kullander first made this suggestion as long ago as 1998.

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July 17, 2015
8:17 pm
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Matt
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Do they sift sand like Geophagus? Had a peek on Youtube but not found anything conclusive.

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July 18, 2015
3:37 pm
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coelacanth
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They do sift sand but it's "different" to how Geos do it, more of a peck or a lunge. I suppose it would depend on the substrate. They're kinda "bonefishy", if you've ever seen film of those feeding it reminds me of that.

July 20, 2015
1:32 pm
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Matt
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Ok, so sandy substrate essential or only recommended?

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July 20, 2015
4:06 pm
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Darrell Ullisch
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I currently have 7 Retroculus lapidifer in a 125 gallon aquarium. There is a 900 GPH circulation pump in one end, and the dominant male has a nest at the far end. I would say sand is essential, but it should also have a large number of small pebbles mixed with it. The male builds a considerable pile of pebbles, but when they actually start to spawn they dig a pit in the sand for laying eggs. After spawning, the eggs are then covered with the pebbles. My fish are apparently not quite mature, as two spawnings have only resulted in infertile eggs.

When I first got the young, they were temporarily placed in a 36" long tank with a smaller circulation pump, and they would sit on some driftwood facing into the current. As soon as food was added they would move up into the current to feed. The substrate was #30 red flint, which I have seen used for many Geophagus species by a friend, Tom Wojtech. Those fish sifted this gravel readily, even when small. The Retroculus young never dug into this substrate. The 125 was prepared with sand; for some reason, I've never used sand before in almost 50 years of keeping fish. Within minutes of going into the large tank they were diving nose first into the sand and blowing it out the back of their gills.

I started with 10 young about 2 inches, as I had heard that some losses were to be expected. However, these young are F1 from wild and apparently very hardy, as I lost none. I had to sell off 3 fish because they were getting crowded. In early June I noticed the largest male, about 6.5 inches, was not chasing away a rather chubby tankmate. Sexual dimorphism is minimal in this species. The two together chased the other 5 out of the area that they were digging in. I never saw the eggs on the first spawn, but I know that she had laid some because her girth was drastically reduced overnight. The eggs disappeared within 24 hours. Second spawn I was able to document part of it, and I have a vid posted on youtube. I also put up a thread over at cichlidae.com. I managed to pull some eggs, there are a couple of still shots at the end of the vid. The eggs tend to have sand particles stuck all over them, excellent camo. Otherwise they are opaque and look like mouthbrooder eggs.

I have been observing the fish carefully for over a year and a half, I was surprised that they tried to spawn so soon. The dominant male occasionally chases the other fish with minimal damage, and I am fairly certain I have only one female. They are also much more active swimmers than I expected.

Hopefully this image will come through. Can't seem to upload attachments, I'm guessing I need more posts.
http://www.cichlidforums.com/gallery/data/559/medium/courting_pair06192015.JPGImage Enlarger

July 21, 2015
11:41 am
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Matt
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Really useful information, thank you Darrell. :) Did you manage to raise any fry?

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July 21, 2015
5:54 pm
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Darrell Ullisch
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So far the male seems to be too young, as all the eggs were infertile. The eggs left in the tank disappeared within 24 hours.

This is not an unexpected situation, as males mature later than females in many species of fish. I suspect this is a mechanism to reduce natural inbreeding. In Laimosemion agilae, for example, females can produce eggs at 6-8 months, but males don't appear to be able to fertilize them until at least 12 months. This forces young fertile females to find older, territory holding males in the wild.

July 21, 2015
7:49 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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That makes sense. I don't suppose we could use one or two of your egg images in the profile Darrell?

Here's the first attempt, any comments welcome: http://www.seriouslyfish.com/s.....inguensis/

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July 22, 2015
6:48 pm
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Darrell Ullisch
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Certainly, I would be glad to contribute to the website. I tried to find a profile on lapidifer, there doesn't seem to be one. I have a number of images of these, younger and current, though mine are not yet displaying the flowing finnage of a fully mature fish. They are, however, showing adult coloration.

July 23, 2015
1:45 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Have just added a profile for R. lapidifer. We do have some photos but more would be most welcome. I will send you my email address by pm, thanks a lot Darrell!

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August 24, 2015
8:19 pm
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Darrell Ullisch
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Just a note: My pair spawned for (I think) the fourth time late last week. I pulled a large percentage of the eggs, leaving a few in case they might manage to care for them. They didn't. However, today (about 4-5 days after) the eggs I pulled had about 2 dozen larvae in the container! I have moved those, sorted good remaining eggs from fungused, and will see if I can manage to actually raise some of these fish. According to Weidner, this is the hard part. We shall see.

Matt, when/if I get any photos of the larvae, I will send you a couple.

September 3, 2015
6:28 am
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hampalong
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I read somewhere once that this is quite a piscivorous genus...?

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