Unexpected coupling leads to fish baby boom in Portsmouth

An Asian orange chromide fish
An Asian orange chromide fish
Pupils from Cliffdale Primary Academy

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THERE has been an underwater baby boom at a Southsea aquarium.

Blue Reef Aquarium has welcomed more than 100 tiny new residents after a pair of Asian orange chromide fish unexpectedly started breeding earlier this month.

The fish are a type of cichlid which are usually only found in freshwater in southern India and Sri Lanka.

Blue Reef’s Jenna MacFarlane said: ‘It’s fantastic news that the cichlids have given birth.

‘It is a really good indication that conditions inside the tank must be near perfect and that the fish are being well cared for.

‘We’re monitoring the babies’ progress.’

Cichlids are traditionally seen as good parents and will often look after their babies until they are almost fully grown.

Ms MacFarlane said: ‘They have also been observed eating the eggs of other cichlids and for that reason we decided to carefully remove the tiny fry to another tank.

‘Once they have reached a safe size we will look to reintroduce them in to the display along with their parents and the other adult fish.’

The newborn babies are being kept in a darkened tank and fed by staff.

In the wild, orange chromides often act as ‘cleaner fish’ for their larger relative, the green chromide, keeping them clear of parasites and also removing dead skin.

Orange chromides will often eat their larger cousins’ eggs and even small fish fry.