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Kubotai behaviour - jousting or spawning?

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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So, yesterday I noticed two of my Microdevario kubotai swimming up to one another and flashing against one another flanks.

They tend to chase one another off now and again, but usually one just swims off, and nothing this intense and continuous.

Are they jousting, or are they actually trying to spawn?

 

Majsa

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I’ve raised a batch of Kubotai fry in the past, but never fully understood their spawning behaviour. Seen this often but I’m not sure if this leads to spawning or are these males trying to set their pecking order. I also find them really hard to sex. What I did notice is that they turn darker, almost golden when they get excited. One morning I found a (suspected) female in the corner of the spawning tank coloured like this, and thanks to some moss balls I could see some eggs. I found that they spawn better in groups (5-6) as they are easily stressed in small numbers, plus they need current to stay active.
 

mort

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I've not kept kubotai, let alone spawned them so I'm guessing, but from the video it looks like sparring to me. I've kept other rasbora and you got this behaviour occassionally and it might be that they are getting ready to spawn (as they weren't particularly aggressive with one another unless sex seemed to be on their minds), assuming you have other kubotais in there of the opposite sex.
 

Wookii

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Thanks guys - yes, there are 8 in there in total, down from the original 12 I stocked with.

As I mentioned, they do occasionally chase one another - not far, like a 6-12” dash, as if carving out territory or asserting a pecking order, but the other Kubotai typically just swim off out the way behind a plant etc. They occasionally chase the Embers in a similar fashion - not that the Embers seem that bothered by it.

I’ve never seen them stay within the same space, so persistently though - they were there for at least an hour. They were doing it again today (well, I’m assuming it was the same pair), in an open area of the tank, and again neither was even attempting to swim off out of the way. They’re also not pecking at one another in any way, and there is a lot of flashing of sides against one another, which is what made me wonder if it was mating behaviour.

I have rescaped recently, and the rescape was with lava stone rather than Seiryu stone that the previous scape had - which in the previous scape was causing the water hardness parameters to go fairly high. In this new scape with the lava rock, I’ve finally been able to achieve real softwater parameters (<2kH). Though I’ve acclimatised them to these softwater parameters for about two weeks in the holding tank, again I did wonder if this might have triggered spawning behaviour.
 
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mort

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It wouldn't surprise me if this is two males that have recently reached maturity. Again using my experience of other species, so still guessing, the behaviour you describe is quite common in males. Sparring doesn't always involve any contact at all and flaring fins whilst being side to side is a dominance manoeuvre. It's tricky because shimmying side by side can be courtship but in the video it looked a little aggressive to be your average spawning prelude.
 

Wookii

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It wouldn't surprise me if this is two males that have recently reached maturity. Again using my experience of other species, so still guessing, the behaviour you describe is quite common in males. Sparring doesn't always involve any contact at all and flaring fins whilst being side to side is a dominance manoeuvre. It's tricky because shimmying side by side can be courtship but in the video it looked a little aggressive to be your average spawning prelude.

Thanks @mort - I have zero experience of breeding any fish, so this is all new to me (not that I'm actively attempting to breed any here), but the behaviour does look a little too erratic, and not quite coordinated enough to be spawning from what I've seen of fish spawning in videos. Also neither of the fish look quite plump or deep bodied enough to be egg laden females.
 

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