Whenever you think of how non-ideal your own parents are, just be glad you aren’t a fish, because their parenting is even worse: they eat their kids!
Now, cichlids are not even one of the worst fish parents. The females actually carry the eggs around in their mouths for weeks until the fry get too big to fit. However, after that, baby fish equals tasty snack! So when the first round of breeding started in December (they’re on brood 3 now, I think) I caught one of the holding females and stripped the fry into a little hang-on-tank breeder box to raise myself. The other broods got to try their Survival of the Fittest instincts in the main tank – and one did indeed survive! That little guy is about as big as the biggest of the fry in the holding tank, so I figured I would see what would happen when I released the biggest fry into the tank as well.
I don’t think I fed the adults enough right beforehand – the little guy swam around in a daze (what is this new place??) and nearly got himself eaten by his own dad! However, he got away and dived straight into some rock crevices, and huddled in there. Meanwhile little Survivor darts here and there and hardly gets chased at all – guess he’s got “street smarts” and the adult fish know it’s not worth expending the energy to try to catch him!