Apr 15, 2012 · 4:00 PM
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I am setting up a Tilapia breeding tank and have the fun task of figuring out which Tilapia are male and which are female. This will involve some red food coloring, Que-tips, and a magnifying glass. You think those airport inspectors are invasive...
This is a loose knit Meetup, I have to do this anyway to set things up, and thought there might be some of you out there who would like to learn how this is done.
Tilapia have a wonderfully strange breeding technique. After fertilization, the mother holds the eggs in her mouth and oxygenates the eggs by opening and closing her mouth. Then when the babies (fries) are born, she spits them out and they swim (but not too far) and she protects them. Then she opens her mouth and they all come home for a good nights sleeps. Then one day, unexpectedly, the door to the house doesn't open...Yikes!
I know there are females in my tanks, 'cause a whole bunch up fries popped up under my rafts a while ago after traveling through the bio-filter, clarifier, and plumbing. They are all doing fine and living in my 55-gallon aquarium in the living room. Pretty fish!
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