Why haven’t my fish spawned?

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Max Pedley gives his advice to a reader who is having issues getting his fish to spawn.

Q) I have a pair of Kribs in a 90x38x38cm community tank alongside some Harlequins, Platies and Cardinals. They have been in the tank for around a month and settled in very well. The female keeps displaying to the male; she colours right up and does a little wiggle dance but he just doesn’t seem to be interested. I’ve tried feeding live foods to see if that helps to get him in the mood but no success so far. Any tips at all please? The temperature is at 25-26°C and the pH is 7.2. They have a little hollowed out coconut shell.

DAVE LOWE, VIA EMAIL

A) MAX PEDLEY SAYS: The tank is a little busy for the breeding of dwarf cichlids, however Kribs are pretty resilient and will usually look past this factor. In terms of your water parameters, the temperature is ideal, but the pH is a little high. Although a pH slightly above neutral shouldn’t cause any major problems for kribs, it could result in a smaller spawn or lower ovum viability.

Continue with the live foods, although I would avoid frequent feeds of higher protein food choices such as bloodworm because Pelvicachromis spp. seem to digest low energy foods more effectively than high energy foods. With that in mind, try Daphnia and Artemia, both of which are excellent ‘go-to’ live foods.

In terms of spawning sites, it wouldn’t hurt to add a few more, just to give your fish some choices. Finally, partner selection may be the issue. Fish can be confusing and it is often the case that two fish are simply not compatible.

If these were my fish, I’d continue as you are, make sure water quality is kept to a high standard and wait it out.

Patience truly is a virtue when it comes to breeding fish and the female is obviously ready. A colourful and ripe female Kribensis.