For a variety of reasons, breeders sometimes remove eggs or fry from mouthbrooders before the end of the normal incubation period, a process known as stripping. The eggs and fry are then raised in a separate tank.
It is a somewhat controversial practice, since it can be stressful for the adult fish; some critics also believe fry learn brooding and guarding behaviors from their parents in a process called imprinting, and may not do as good a job of caring for their own future offspring if deprived of the opportunity to witness this. But other breeders argue there is no evidence of that, and say that in their experience, "stripped" fry do as good a job of parenting as any othermouthbrooder. They also point out that mouthbrooding is itself stressful for the parent because he or she is unable to eat while holding eggs or fry-often for a month or more at a stretch. Either way, there are many good reasons to strip mouthbrooders. Consider stripping if the mouthbrooding parent has:
- a history of swallowing the eggs
- a history of spitting the eggs out prematurely
- a history of spitting out the fry prematurely
- a history of refusing to spit out fry, holding on to them so long that they die
- is ill
- or is weak and emaciated from being unable to eat
10 easy steps to stripping mouthbrooders
- Start by preparing a tank for the fry, or an incubator for the eggs.
- Place a very large net or a mesh breeding trap in the tank to catch the eggs and the fry as the female spits them out.
- Net the female.
- With a wet hand (never dry), pick her up and hold her loosely but firmly just behind the gills.
- Tilt her head down over the net or breeding trap, preferably with her head underwater.
- Gently open her mouth by pressing a narrow blunt object such as a plastic coffee stirrer, the round end of a toothpick, or a miniature screwdriver against her lower lip. She should spit out her eggs or the fry, which will tumble into the breeding trap. Important: Do not Insert the stripping tool more than an eighth of an inch or so into her mouth or you could injure her and damage eggs or the fry
- Repeat several times, until you are certain there are no more eggs or fry in her mouth.
- Put the female back into the main tank. If she has become emaciated from holding her fry, you may wish to instead place her in a separate tank and feed her high-quality foods for a week or so until she recovers.
- Transfer the eggs and all the fry to the incubator or rearing tank.
- Monitor the incubator or rearing tank closely watching for any signs of egg fungus or other types of disease.
Breeding Mouthbrooders should only be done for your self enjoyment, unless you have a lot of experience. There is not a very big market that would make it worth your time financially to breef mouthbrooders. This Aquarium fish is a lot of fun to watch, but ther eis rarely a financial incentive large enough to sell these and make a lto of money.