Cyphotilapia Frontosa - The Mystery Spawner

By Jeffrey J. Filz



A few years ago on a GBAS field trip to Chicago, I was able to purchase a group of young six-stripe frontosa from a fellow GCCA member. This group of fish was moved around the fish room to larger tanks as they grew out. There was not much thought given to water chemistry since my water is high pH and naturally hard. The base food used was OSI flake with treats of live brine. Water changes were done every few weeks about 30% at a time. The tank is filtered with Marineland filters at about 650 gallons per hour. 

Once these Lake Tanganyika beauties had finally reached breeding size they were put in a 75-gallon tank. The tank was filled with rock, wood, PVC and 2 large pots. This gave them lots of places to get away from each other. I felt at this time they would be producing fry and my work was done. After months of waiting they did nothing! Time to look at the game plan once again. I then pulled the two subdominant males out of the tank. This left the large dominate male along with one small male and seven females. Now all should be well and I can start looking for signs of breeding. Back to the drawing board, again no fry! I went over everything in my head and came to the only conclusion I possibly could come up with: Talk to fellow club members to find out what I need to do to get them to spawn!

I learned lots of interesting tips from the fish keepers I spoke with. The one that I feel made all the difference was changing their diet. I started to feed them popcorn shrimp from the grocery store. The MAS member swore this would do the trick! After a few months of them feasting on the shrimp with no results I was about ready to give up. By this time it was July and that means close the fish room and head off to the ACA convention.  Five days of darkness and no food for the frontosa! I cannot say if that had anything to do with it but after I was back home for about a week, there they were, fry!

At last I got to see what a baby frontosa looked like! I was able to pull seven fry from the tank.  Not a big spawn, but it was a spawn I was happy to see.


Since that time I have had a spawn of 17 fry and the group has been moved again. They now live in a 180-gallon and I hope to have bigger spawns as time goes on.

I have learned three points from this experience. 1) Seek advice from fellow club members. 2) Go to ACA conventions, and 3) Leave the fish alone a spell, they may like a little privacy.