June 1, 2010
It has been a rocky beginning for the most recently laid batch of eggs produced by Lefty and Digitalis on May 24.
Shortly after the eggs were laid, the two month old fry that were still with the parents began devouring the eggs. All 39 fry that were removed that day had fat little bellies full of eggs. The number of eggs that were devoured must have been over 100. Yesterday, the remaining hatchlings began to swim freely and eat newly hatched baby brine shrimp. There appear to be about 50 that escaped being eaten as caviar.
The light was bad yesterday when I tried to take some photos, and today, I captured the late afternoon sun shining into the tank, but the reflection coming from the south window is a bit distracting. The parents are quite protective of the fry and they attempt to keep them in a tight school, with stragglers captured in the mouth and promptly spat back into the crowd.
Update: June 7, 2010
Yesterday, when a fly was buzzing at the window and casting a shadow onto the aquarium in the late afternoon light, Digitalis charged at the shadow. The fry were on the other side of the aquarium, so I looked a bit more closely. The previous day, I noticed both Lefty and Digitalis picking at the algae covered driftwood in the aquarium. There was a huge clutch of eggs on the branch. The free swimming fry are about two weeks old now, so they are too young to eat eggs or younger siblings, but it is odd to have a second spawning follow the previous spawning so closely when there are surviving fry. It will be interesting to see what happens as the new batch of fry will become free swimming just as I have to leave town for a week. I hope the neighbors are game for the challenge of feeding hatchlings.