I just found a cluster of eggs on my log and my Rams are now guarding it. They’re not being too aggressive to their tankmates other than just keeping them away. What should I do? Will the eggs survive?
More often than not, captive bred Ram cichlids do not make the best parents. Either of them may eat the eggs, or eat the fry wigglers after hatching, or even wait until the wigglers have grown out before eating them. If you do not want to let nature take its course, remove the eggs to their own separate aquarium. It is normal instinctive behavior for both parents to take turns standing over the eggs and chasing away any intruders approaching the eggs. Some people have reported seeing the parents “cleaning” the eggs.
Microgeophagus Ramirez prefer to lay their eggs in the open on a flat surface. If you have a known breeding pair, you can prepare for the event by adding a nice flat piece of slate to the aquarium within easy reach. When the fish lay their eggs on the slate the whole thing can be easily removed to another tank. The eggs are stuck onto the rock with an adhesive like substance that makes removing just the eggs impossible. A pair will continue spawning every four to six weeks. and with each new brood they seem to learn from past experience. If any do survive their parents, it is most likely to be after a few attempts.
After around three days the eggs will hatch into “wrigglers” with yolk sacks still attached. The larvae feed on the yolks for about a week. The yolks get smaller as they are consumed until gone.
Three day old larvae with eyes and internal organs developing
It is important to feed the fry Infusoria, green water, and then micro worms when they will fit in their mouths. Everything poses a threat to the eggs and fry. If they survive to reach the free swimming stage, the parents have a hard time herding them close together and any fry that venture to far away are likely to become snacks for other fish. Ram fry do not instantly drop to the tank bottom on a signal by the parents like many Apistogrammas do, so they are much easier targets.