Feeding cichlid fry


Short video of some of my Telmatochromis temporalis fry from 2018

Following the theme of cichlid fry, let’s discuss feeding them. There are lots of commercial foods available for your fry. You can also produce your own. One really popular fry food, used by cichlid breeders almost everywhere, is live baby brine shrimp (BBS). Live foods are usually the go to food for both baby and adult fish. To produce your own live BBS, there are commercial hatchery kits widely available or you can use items lying around the house, like a 2 liter bottle. It really comes down to how much effort you want to expend, how much money you want to spend, and how much BBS you need. Microworms are another live food option that you can culture yourself. If interested in either of these, a simple Web search will provide plenty of resources about them. 

However, there are suitable alternatives if you don’t want to use live food or you just don’t want to expend the effort to culture them. Two of the alternatives are decapsulated brine shrimp and what’s called “Golden Pearls.” Decapsulated brine shrimp is exactly what it sounds like, non-hatching brine shrimp eggs without the shell. These are dehydrated resulting in a very small, dry “bead.” Just add tank water to them to rehydrate them. Golden Pearls (GPs) are tiny clusters containing a mix of ingredients. GPs come in various sizes, some of which are suitable for fry still too small to consume live foods. 

Because I often have multiple broods of fry in the same tank, the fry will vary in size. What food works for one set of fry might not work as well for another. Two foods that I’ve found work really well in this type of set up is a mix of both decapsulated brine shrimp and GPs. I use the 5-50 micron GPs, which is a very fine powder. Because I keep mostly smaller lamprologines (e.g., julies and shellies), getting food directly to them is sometimes an adventure. I posted back in December about my method for reaching fry that hug the bottom or hug the rocks. Some people use turkey basters. I find that “the outflow” from things like that are too powerful for smaller fry. It’s too easy to blow them around with a tool like a turkey baster. For my fish, the syringe method works much better. 

Anyway, just know that there are multiple options available to you for feeding your fry.

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