January 21, 2010
What Is The Best Conditioning Food For Jack Dempsey Cichlids
Q … What is the best conditioning food to encourage a pair of JDs to spawn?
A … Proper care and feeding are very important in getting your Jack Dempsey cichlid fish to lay eggs. In my years of breeding Jack Dempseys, I have found that the common earthworm seems to be the very best way to get your fish primed and ready for egg laying. If you cannot find them on your property then purchase a few containers of them at a fishing bait shop. They usually sell between $1 to $2 a container.
They will survive for days if kept in a refrigerator or cool basement. I often freeze them in a storage bag. I then remove one and chop it up into bite sized pieces. There is no mess at all when they are frozen solid. Just place the pieces in a glass of water for a few minutes to thaw and then feed to your JDs.
RAISING AND HARVESTING WORMS
In the cold northern climates, you can raise earth-worms in your basement.
Earthworms are blind, but light sensitive. They will burrow into the soil to avoid light. They are also temperature sensitive, and will drown if their home is flooded. Earthworms prefer a rich, clay free soil. The simplest way to culture a small quantity of worms is to gather some very heavy sacking on the ground. This should be in a shady spot. The area should be kept moist. Some scraps of vegetables should be placed in between the sack and the ground to encourage the growth of the worms. Do not over-feed the worms, as this will turn the soil sour. When you need the worms, just lift up the sack and remove the worms that cling to the sack.
Find the earthworms yourself or buy the worms from a reputable dealer (on internet). Red worms are usually purchased from a worm dealer as young worms and eggs. Night crawlers can be found after dark on the edge of lawns and are especially plentiful after rain.
Prepare a place to raise your earthworms. Use a large rubbermaid tub or wooden box with drainage holes for indoors. For the outdoors, cut the bottom out of the large tub and bury part of the tub in the ground. The tub will keep the earthworms contained and keep animals from disturbing them.
Keep the worms damp and in darkness where they thrive. Provide organic matter like leaves, grass, manure, kitchen scraps (no meat products) and compost material for food. Place this material on top of the worms in the tub; they will crawl up to feed and then burrow down into the dirt when they are finished.
Feed the earthworms once a week. Give one pound of food per cubic foot of space per month. If feeding weekly, divide the amount of food into fourths. Moisten the soil with every feeding and be careful not to add so much water that it puddles. Worms can drown in standing water.
Cover the tub where your earthworms live to keep the moisture inside the container. Ensure that the temperature is consistently between 60 and 65 degrees F, as this is the temperature range in which worms thrive and breed.
When I begin to feed worms to a pair of JDs, usually within 2 to 3 days I have eggs. Don’t overfeed but give just a few pieces twice a day. Feed them a different food for the other 1 or 2 feedings. To bring a pair to spawning, you really should feed them at least 3 times a day.
— Jack Lamountain
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