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I was able to start separating my tilapia into a breeding colony but when I caught these two females, they had fry in their mouths.  So I put them in the 55 gal tank and as soon as I put them together they went at it.  Is that normal?  Is this going to be a problem if I put them together as a colony or are they just territorial because of the fry?  They were going at it....eventually one jumped over but when I found them together they were on opposite sides. 

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I mean "one jumped over the divider" in the middle of the night.

Each fish has it's own personality, so some brooding females will fight and others won't.  Mostly the aggression while they're brooding is to protect the young & to insure a safe place for them when they hatch. If they're not brooding and still aggressive, it's more a territorial pecking order.

More than likely they'll have little bouts if they share harem duty to one male, but the male will be the most aggressive, so they'll tone down a bit as they submit to him. Once one of your females establishes herself as top female, the dynamics will change, too.

For now, I'd put a cover on the tank to keep them from jumping. :)

Is it time to get some more fingerlings from you? Im sorry but my plan for going to your side of town didnt work for the 14th so Im thinkin Wednesday morning at 9? I would like to get 15-20 if I may?

My tank is too big and deep to separating fish.  So I placed a net across one end to divide it.  I hoped that the fry would stay on the side where the large fish would not be able to go until they were large enough.   I also placed a few pieces of PVC pipe on the bottom to allow them an escape,  but so far I have not seen any fry.   Any ideas on what I can do to propagate my fish?

I didn't realize there was a top female.  Interesting.  Thanks Sheri! 

@ David, who were you referring to?

@ Bob, I'm trying to figure that one out myself.  I actually caught a glimpse of two fingerlings that have managed to survive with the big tilapia by hiding underneath my pots and pvc pipes but I can't really get to them so they're on their own.  So my guys have been breeding for awhile and yet there's only 2 survivors so there's a good chance that yours just aren't making it or that there are actually some way down there hiding.  I thought about putting some kind of net or grate at the bottom that would let the small fry fall down and the big guys wouldn't be able to get them....but then how would I get them?  I did siphon my last fry guys out and that worked pretty good.  

David, Wed. would be fine. I should be here all day.

Bob, you have the right idea by giving them hiding places. The more the better. The pvc pipes are good, if you have a variety of sizes. They need nooks and holes to hide in until they are bigger than the size of the older fish's mouths. And if you have multiple breedings, you need spaces in varying sizes so older fry & fingerlings can't eat younger fry. We've had a number of fry survive by hiding in a pile of large rocks. 

What's good is that you don't need a lot of them to survive. A grown female can produce hundreds of fry, but to keep your system stocked, you probably only need a few from each breeding.

J, -- Should I call you that? :)  --

This is what I've learned: Tilapia are very competitive; both males and females. Size is everything, and there's always a top fish. It's usually the largest. If you only have females, there will be a top female, however, smaller males trump larger females unless the female is significantly larger in size. Then she'll be top fish until breeding time, when he takes on the boss role.

J or Jennifer is fine.  This is me and my fiance, Jake's, project but I'm really the only one who posts.  Thank you for your info Sheri.  We've finally moved on to our second phase where we can start separating them into colonies and moving the rest into grow out tanks.  I'm so excited!

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