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A place to keep track of the going ons in the world of Lively's Fishies. Hopefully, these entries will be full of success and little failure, but it seems as if all the fish I like aren't what one could say are easy fish to keep. So, if i break even - I'll be happy!
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Meeting Potential Mates

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Posted 05-13-2009 at 10:08 PM by Lively

Day one was really this past Friday (May 8, 2009) when I received six two to three inch gorgeous Electric Blue Jack Dempsey’s from Jeff Rapps. When they arrived, I put them in my 15 gallon with some regular Dempsey grow outs I had – little ones ranging from ½ - ¾ inches – for quarantine. They immediately found places to hide, not that there were many in a bare bottom tank with one piece of floating wood and a couple of those fake little bushy plants. Within a hour they were hanging out and exploring. I put a pinch of food in for the little ones, and the Blues were on it quick and on the smallest of the crew, too. All my grow outs are now around ¾ of an inch! Moreover, their color darkened up, they are absolutely stunning.

Friday and Saturday passed without incident, but I came home with a harem of Apistos and had to do a quick tank change around. The Blues were put in a heavily aquascaped tank 38 gallon with plenty of places to hide, along with the little Jacks. I assumed they would scatter for cover and rarely be seen again, until dinnertime. They are notoriously shy fish and the most common complaint I hear from fellow Blue guardians is, “I never see them.” To my surprise, all but one came back out into the open with ten or fifteen minutes of being put in the new home. I have a theory on why my Dempsey’s seem to be more social than others, after copious hours of research, reading forums and all the scientific information I could find about Jack Dempsey’s, I have come to the conclusion that when they are young they should be kept in larger groups. In the wild, they band together as there is a certain safety in numbers. Watching these guys hang out in a tight little group strengthens my opinion regarding this. I suspect that the lone hider is a female; I’ve noticed with my breeding pair that my female tends to hide more often than my male. Although, I won’t know for sure until they start pairing up to breed as it is near impossible to sex an Electric Blue properly on sight and I don’t know how to vent a fish.

And, that brings us to today. Today’s fish keeping chore was to clean the JD Juvie tank, count, and try to sex as many as possible. I hate catching fish and doing this sort of thing, but there was one bonus, I would be catching the regular Jack Dempsey’s I want to use in the Electric Blue breeding program. They are just a shade smaller than the Blues and that’s a good thing since Blues don’t seem to have the same level of aggression as the regular JD’s. I chose my six carefully, three females and three most likely males. I’m not sure if this is absolutely true, but ancillary evidence is there seem to be more male Electric Blues sold than females so I probably should have pulled a four two ratio, but as I’m only planning on keeping two pair I decided to use a more standard three three. One of them, I have no clue what he/she is, is dark as pitch but has the loveliest shape I’ve seen. Each of them have a strong red line edging their dorsal fin, as both of the parents have that same line, I’m hoping that it might be a dominant trait and show up in Electrics when I start breeding them.

I debated on if I was ready to put the regular Jacks in with the Electrics. I’ve had no hiccups so far and I have no reason to believe that the Blues needed quarantine. My main concern is aggression in the tank. On one hand, putting twelve two to three inch fish in a 38 gallon with uber filtration isn’t a big deal, but putting twelve cichlids in a 38 gallon is another story, so I debated. Did I mention how much I hate catching fish? In the end, I decided to put them in with their soon to be mates. I scooped them up; three at a time and in they went. The Blues startled and scattered into the rocks chased by the regular Jacks and in went the next three and they too dove right for the rocks. Maybe thirty seconds later, they all popped out – including the little lady who likes to hang out there most of the day. It’s been several hours now since I put the regular JD’s in, they were a bit stressed and washed out when they got home. Now, not only are they all colored up, the Blues have gone even a deeper blue.

Stage one, the process of pairing off Electric Blues with Regular Jack Dempsey fish to produce Blue Gene Jack Dempsey’s has started.
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