I have bred my paradise fish, and I found the process fascinating to watch. I'm happy to share my experience with others.
The Paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis, also known as the Blue Paradise Gourami, is among the easier tropical fish to keep and breed. Native to East Asia (China, Taiwan and Vietnam), Paradise fish were first imported to Europe in the early 1800s. Since they could be kept in small, unheated containers and bred readily, they quickly became popular. Although their popularity has waned, they remain attractive fish that are easy to keep and easy to breed.
Tips on Keeping Paradise Fish
Paradise fish are classified as 'semi-aggressive' tropical fish. They can be kept in a community tank, but the tank must be large (so that bullied fish have somewhere to escape) and should have a lot of plants, rocks or driftwood to break up the line of sight. Avoid small tank-mates (they are likely to be harassed or hunted), fin-nippers (like tiger barbs) that might go after the long trailing fins of the Paradise fish, and fish with a similar body shape and behaviour (like other gouramis or bettas) as these are likely to be perceived as potential enemies or rivals.
Like their cousins, the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), Paradise fish are air-breathers. In their natural environment, they inhabit small pools which are frequently oxygen-deficient.
Can Two (or More) Paradise Fish Share a Tank?
Males and females can be kept together. Most people advise against keeping more than one male in a tank, but I have successfully kept adult siblings together. They seemed to work out a pecking order as they matured, and things were stable until I removed the six largest males. Doing so destablised the hierarchy, and there was some aggression among the siblings until they worked out a new hierarchy.
Paradise fish are bubble nest builders. A male will build a bubble nest on the surface of the water, usually interspersed with floating vegetation or under a leaf on the surface. Breeding can be triggered by raising the temperature, although I have found that they will breed in winter with no apparent change in environmental conditions.
When the female is ready to mate, she will approach the male and turn on her side. The male wraps his body around hers, and she releases eggs at the same time that he releases sperm. The eggs are lighter than water and float up into the nest. The parents then separate, and the male will chase the female away from the nest and often add a few more bubbles.
Male Paradise fish guarding its bubble nest. Copyright I. Ramjohn
How Many Eggs Will There Be?
Mating takes place repeatedly over the course of a few hours, usually at night. Between 500 and 1,000 eggs are commonly produced. Once they are done mating, the male chases the female away from the nest; at this stage, it is best to remove her. When my fish bred in a community tank, the male kept the female away from the nest, but she patrolled an outer "perimeter" and kept other fish at a distance from the male.
When Will the Eggs Hatch?
The eggs will hatch in about 24 hours, and the fry remain in the bubble nest until they absorb their yolk sacs. Once they start to swim away from the nest, the male can be removed—if he remains with the fry, he won't eat. Once he starts eating, he is likely to eat the fry. So, for the best health of the male and the fry, it's a good idea to remove him.
What Do the Fry Eat?
Free-swimming fry should be fed with commercial fry foods or infusoria. After about a week, they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp. As they get bigger, they can be switched to more conventional fish food. Although they have a reputation for being aggressive, siblings raised together will tolerate one another quite well. The biggest challenge is figuring out what to do with the babies you have raised—it's easy to raise 50-100 offspring from a single spawning.
A Good Challenge for a Novice Breeder
For a novice fish keeper who wants to experience what it's like to breed something more challenging than guppies, Paradise fish are an excellent place to start. One advantage over Siamese fighting fish is that the males are less aggressive to the females (or the females are better able to hold their own against overly aggressive males). Male Siamese fighters will harass a female (sometimes to death) if she is not ready to spawn. I have never observed a similar phenomenon with Paradise fish.
There is one thing to bear in mind before you try breeding Paradise fish: Once a pair has successfully spawned, it can sometimes be a challenge to get them to stop.
I Ramjohn (author) on January 05, 2015:
It depends on how big the tank is, and who they're sharing it with. It's always better to give them their own space to spawn - it means less conflict with other fish, and a better chance of the fry surviving.
mitch on January 04, 2015:
just got a paradise fish and im planing to breed in a community tank should or shouldn't i
Kelsey on October 27, 2013:
Hi so I have 1 paradise fish and she had about 6 frys and so far she hasn't eaten them and it only been a week and I don't know if I should separate them or not it doesn't seem like she is going to eat them but I'm worried she's also been acting weird whenever she sees them she freaks out and has been hurting herself! I NEED HELP PLEASE!!!!
paul on September 27, 2013:
i want to know how small the babies be
AKINOLA AWOYINKA on June 01, 2012:
I RAISE GOOD NUMBER OF PARADISE FISH, I NEED MARKET FOR IT. MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS [email protected] tel. +234 80 77377017. LAGOS, NIGERIA
sid16 on May 25, 2012:
i would also like to breed if it is a female so what size tank should i breed it in and how would i go about getting them all homes
sid16 on May 25, 2012:
hi i just got a paridise fish and i think its a female because of its color and belly but it seems kinda agresive ( especially when my brother walks by ) is this normal for a female to be agreesive or is it a male
Emz on September 13, 2011:
Hi, I have 2 paradise fish in a 248L tank with a lot of different fish.. They arent the smallest fish and deffantly not the biggest fish in the tank.
I have african and american fish in the same tank. Its a very aggressive tank but all the fish are great and not bothering each other.
I was told that none of my fish will breed because its such a confused tank however i have 3 electic yellow fish they have bred no worries.
I was looking at my paradise fish and it looks like they were going to mate, they are turning around each other spreading their fins and shaking, I know the yellow fish do this so i was thinking its the same, but i read your info and theres nothing on them doing that but he is always chaseing her away, from what i don't know but there isn't really a place for the nest there is one leaf close to the surface but no bubbles..
Our filter is very big and very strong so i don't see it working.
So i was thinking i have 2 other tanks one has little barbs, tetras and little babies and the other has a electic yellow with unhatched babies and a strong filter.
I was wondering if its a good idea to when my babies get a little bigger i should put both paradise fish in that tank and hope they breed but they are a little bigger than the fish in that tank so would they kill my little fish? or should i when my elecric yellow has her babies put them in to that tank and turn off the filter?
It would be great if you can help me. Id love to breed these fish.
Thanks for your time.
Sian on January 11, 2011:
Hi there, i have 2 paradise fish one male one female, had them for about 6 months or so now, they weren't overly young when i got them and are nice size now. they are in a tank with some danios and plecos none of which bother them at all. But they don't seem to breed? any ideas why or what i can do to help them? Please reply
dan on January 02, 2011:
if i have plants in my tank do i need to shout off the filter i have flotting plants
ashley on August 22, 2010:
to breed paradise fish all i do is turn the filter off and they breed everytime without a doubt! ive lost count how much iv bred them
sam on July 01, 2010:
i have 2 paradise fish and one is making nests that keep coming and going, but they look like 2 males
is this normal? it is possible that they are a male and female but i don't think so??
vicki on November 21, 2009:
We are having a hot spell and my male paradise is building a nest. They live in a large rose bowel on the veranda. Last year i got 5 fish to maturity so this year i thought i would take the older ones out. I couldn't tell if their were eggs in the bubbles so i took all the fish bar the male out. I kept trying to feed the male and he kept feeding so i thought i had taken them out to early. I then put the female back in thinking they hadn't bred and tonight with a torch i looked into the water and saw one little fry. Question- Do you know if all the fry hatch at the same time and i can also see these little white lines wriggling around, only tiny, about 2ml long. What are these and are they fry too.
rick on September 03, 2009:
I recently hatched paradise fish and so far they seem to be doing well. They are about a week old. I shut off the filter and leave the light on constantly to evcourage algae growth because I read some where that they will eat micro algae so far it seems to be working I still have probably 50 or more. I have also tried feeding them frozen baby brine shrimp but I'm not sure if they are eating it, it is too hard to tell yet.
mickcerta on August 17, 2009:
I have a pair of Albino Paradise Fish. Can I keep a pair of Albinos and another, more colourful female in the same tank together and will the Albine male mate with both females? What will the fry look like? Any info would be gratefully appreciated!
mulla on May 09, 2009:
i now have 2 babys left out of a heap of them just like last time what am i doin wrong
Zu on May 08, 2009:
I have a male paradise fish, Hes on his own right now as the female I was sold was actually a male and had to be rehomed! Hes been on his own in a tank with cloud minnows but has started building a nest over night? Is this normal? What is he doing?!
mulla on May 03, 2009:
I have bred paradise fish a few times now and everytime they hatch and then start dying... i have separated the male from them and there are no other fish in the tank....they last a couple of days and then die off. I have been feeding them... do you have any ideas as to why they are dying???
I Ramjohn (author) on April 27, 2009:
If the nest is breaking up overnight, it might be water or air currents. If you're running a filter, the water current will break up the nest once the male stops maintaining it. Since they aren't active at night, even a fairly weak current can do a lot of damage. On the other hand, a dense mat of plants will do a lot to reinforce the nest.
If you see the male and female embrance, you probably have eggs. Don't worry too much if you destroy a nest with eggs - they'll keep trying. You can usually tell if there are eggs or fry based on the male's behaviour - if he's chasing the female away, there are eggs in the nest.
Once they have laid eggs, the male will maintain the nest, but may do so rather half-heartedly. After the eggs hatch, the male will continue to blow bubbles and try to keep the fry together. If you don't feed them, they'll disappear in a couple days. I've had a few babies survive and grow to maturity in a community tank, but the odds of survival are low.
kyila on February 18, 2009:
so cool but how do they have them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
alex1133 on February 10, 2009:
does the male make the bubble nest when he is ready to mate or after he mated
alex1133 on February 10, 2009:
hey i have paradise gouramis and they mated. i was wondering how often do they mate
Joe on February 10, 2009:
I accidentaly triggerd my paradise fish to make a bubble nest... by putting my female in a sepperate tank right beside the male... only problem is... i cleaned the males tank out because i didn't know! (was sold the fish and the fish guy told me lies... and that they wouldn't breed) So whilst his new tank settles for 24hrs and she is still broody i am keeping them together (side by side in two separate tanks) then transferring him to the new one... and her into it the next afternoon. Ive transferred some of the floating plants from both tanks into the new main one... so with any luck... might still get babies?
HELP!!!???? did i just accidentally ruin the chance of them reproducing?
Peggy95 on January 08, 2009:
Hi I read your page and i think its really good and I got a lot og info from it.
My paradise fish builds a little bubble nest and then over night it disappers. I think the catfish might be destroying it. I only have 1 catfish and 1 male paradise with 2 felmales in the tank and if you think its not my catfish- What could it be?
Sahir on January 07, 2009:
bettas r easy
shawn on December 22, 2008:
i read this web.
i have a lot og breeding fish but not these.
i am going to get some thx for the advise.
I Ramjohn (author) on November 13, 2008:
I think it's fine to take out the male once the fry are free-swimming. It can be fun to watch him try to keep an adventurous brood of fry in line, but it puts him under a lot of stress (since he won't eat as long as he has babies to guard), serves no real purpose (since there are no other fish for him to defend the fry from) and poses a constant danger that he will choose to start eating his own children.
maggie33 on November 10, 2008:
Hi, I just had my paradise fish breed again for the third time. The first time I have 8 or 10 left. The second time I lost the whole batch. This time they hatched in a 10 gallon tank (breeding tank) Friday night. Now I have a bunch of wriggling black little fish. I took the female out finally after trying to catch her for hours, she sure gets away and hides good! I had to take out the plants on her side all the while trying not to disturb the nest, but finally got her. I just took out the male today as I have several black swimming fish. I am wondering if I should have left him in longer? I read your article and enjoyed it thoroughly. It is funny that the fry turn from black to almost opaque almost overnight. Thanks for letting me post.
Habitat in the wild
The fish got its Latin name due to the elongated shape of its anal fin, which for some reason resembled a leg to Carl Linnaeus. From Greek ‘μακρός’ means ‘long’ and ‘ποδός’ means ‘a leg’.
The fish originates from South-East Asia. Nowadays it is bred outside its natural habitat. This fish dwells in small waters, drains, paddy fields.
Fish areal stretches from Vietnam to Korea, it lives is bogs, paddy fields and shallow lakes coastline. The species especially those from South areas of its habitat are well adapted to living in cold water up to +15 °C they are not demanding in terms of food and water quality.
The fish eats everything it can swallow, but prefers protein food: insects larvae, worms, small fishes, various spineless species.
Paradise gourami is one of the first tank fishes that were brought to Europe in the second part of XIX century. In 1869 a French officer came to Paris from a Chinese town on a military ship and brought some exotic fish that didn’t look like any of goldfish species.
These were well known nowadays species. The fish made Pierre Carbonnier, a French natural scientist very interested. He was the one who succeeded to breed the paradise fish. This, in fact, was the beginning of tropic fishes breeding in tanks.
Biological peculiarities, behavior and the breeding process impressed the scientist. The fish builds a nest from bubbles that floats on water surface, put eggs there and what is the most surprising – the male takes care of the offspring like a babysitter!
The news made lots of nature lovers interested. Paris of that time was excited. The easy process of the breeding gave the chance to organize profitable trade business.
Paradise Fish Habitat and Tank Conditions
Recreating the tropical waters of a paradise gourami’s natural habitat is key to keeping stress levels low in the tank.
Across Asia, they’re usually found in slow-moving, shallow waters, that can vary in condition. This means a wide range of pH and temperature. Something that’s a little more consistent is the abundance of vegetation. These fish prefer densely planted environments that offer both food and shelter.
The bottom of the river or lake would be covered in a sandy substrate with rocks and debris sitting on top (though gourami don’t spend much time interacting with these).
When designing any aquarium, you need to think about the needs of your fish.
As fish that swim in the upper levels of the tank, the type of substrate you use isn’t that important. A sandy substrate would most closely resemble their natural habitat.
The plants are a lot more important. Your tank needs planted areas to act as hiding spots.
Hornwort is a good option since it can cope with being eaten now and then. It can be used as a floating plant too which adds a little variety.
You can use rocks to make some caves along the bottom of the tank, but they’ll be empty most of the time.
Keep the tank clean and keep nitrate levels as close to zero as possible by performing 25% water changes every couple of weeks.
Use a heater to maintain a temperature between 70-82°F. pH can be slightly acidic or alkaline (6-8), but extremes can’t be reached. Hardness should be 5-30 dH.
You don’t need any special equipment, just a filter and a heater. Some people add air pumps to their tanks, but this isn’t important because these gourami aren’t used to strong currents and get some oxygen from the air at the surface.
What Size Aquarium Do They Need?
Paradise fish need at least a 20 gallons tank. If you are keeping a small group you will need a 30 gallon tank.
How Many Can Be Kept Per Gallon?
Each paradise fish would need 5 gallons after the 20 gallons for the first fish. For example in a 30 gallon tank you could have 3 paradise gouramis.
Paradise fish are omnivores and will readily accept most flake and pellet based foods. However, it is important to supplement their diet with live foods such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms and daphnia. A healthy balance between these to elements of your Paradise fish’s diet will lead to a happy and healthy life for your colorful new gilled friend.
Paradise fishes are extremely hardy and can survive in a range of water and tank conditions.
10 Best Fishes to Keep in a Bowl Without a Pump & Filter
Fish are colorful and fun pets. If you have allergies or sensitivities, fish are great alternatives. You can get the best fish to keep in a bowl if you have limited space at home. Just make sure that you get the right species that will live long despite a tiny habitat. You can put the bowl on your bedside table or living room to serve as a decorative touch.
With proper care, fishes in a bowl will live long. If given proper care, your fish will be healthy and live long. Below, we listed 10 of the best fish that you can put in a fishbowl.
Guppies are the best fish to keep in a bowl for first-time owners who are looking for low-maintenance pets . Guppies are hardy fish that can survive in almost any tank or bowl size. It’s a freshwater fish available in a variety of colors. Usually, males have more color patterns, though females are also beautiful options.
Most guppies can live for up to two years under ideal conditions. They can also survive without a pump or filter, making them a convenient choice for lazy owners.
Also, guppies don’t lay eggs. They give birth to their young, making them very easy to breed. If you’re thinking about purchasing multiple guppies, make sure that the females outnumber the males.
Guppies are also peaceful fish that can get along with other species of fish. They are also cheap enough where you can buy them in pet stores for just roughly $2 each.
To make guppies happy in a bowl, you should set up some plants like Java Moss, Java Fern, and other safe foliage. You can even add in small branches too.
2. Betta Fish
If you want a more colorful fish, you should consider getting a few Bettas . Betta Fish are one of the top options for fish bowls due to its small size and very colorful tails. Also, Betta fishes don’t make the water dirty too easily. They can even tolerate dirty water much better than many other fish can. However, this doesn’t mean that you should never clean the tank or neglect the tank’s cleanliness.
Like guppies, Betta fishes are very easy to take care of and are quite resilient fish. However, they can be a little aggressive, so it’s best not to mix them with other fishes.
Again, the females should outnumber the males when getting multiple Bettas. This is to prevent the males from fighting over the females, which can lead to incessant nipping of their colorful tails.
Moreover, Betta fishes can last for up to five years with proper care. You can also find them in pet stores at dirt-cheap costs of $1 each, if you look around hard enough. Some varieties will cost $10 though, due to their color and tail length.
3. Ember Tetra
Ember Tetras get their name from their bright red color – resembling an ember. They are very easy to take care of and can thrive in a large bowl.
Ember Tetras are peaceful fishes that can get along with other peaceful species, such as guppies. They can live for up to two years and grow up to about an inch long. They also adapt to new environments fast.
This species love fish bowls with plenty of plants where they have spots to hide. A great aspect about Ember Tetras is they can thrive even under the care of an inexperienced owner. As long as you feed them with an omnivorous diet and clean their bowl well, these fish will live long.
Just remember that Ember Tetras are playful and active swimmers. If you’re placing an Ember Tetra in a small bowl, consider covering the top with a mesh.
We couldn’t leave off the ever favorite Goldfish from our list. This species is a common choice among kids and busy pet owners. It’s a great starter fish for those who haven’t owned a fish before.
Goldfishes are beautiful swimmers that can live in almost any condition. You can put them in a bowl and they will require very little care. Still, you shouldn’t put more than one Goldfish in one bowl since this fish isn’t the smallest option.
Goldfishes can live long, sometimes up to 10 years in medium tanks. To lengthen the lifespan of your Goldfish, you should change their water every 4 to 5 days, and ensure that they have a healthy diet.
Additionally, Goldfishes can grow large, but only if they were kept in an equally large tank. The only downside to this fish is that it makes the water dirty faster than other pet fishes. It can be a chore for some small kids to maintain.
5. Endlers Livebearers
If you’re looking for the best fish to keep in a bowl, Endlers will not disappoint. Endlers Livebearers are always mistaken for guppies due to their similar appearance. It’s also colorful and is a freshwater species. An interesting fact about this species is that it can only be found on Laguna de Patos in Venezuela. Due to this fact, you should expect that this fish will be a little expensive.
Nevertheless, some breeders have commercially reproduced Endlers so that they are available for us to purchase. Most of the variants can live for up to three years.
The best thing about Endlers is they produce very minimal waste. They don’t need a filter and pump either, which makes them excellent as fishbowl pets.
Endlers are tough fishes that can get by with minimum care. They only require the same level of care as guppies. They are a fairly peaceful and docile fish that can grow up to one inch.
Endlers are usually expensive, but you can find them at around $20 per piece. They are available in orange, black, red, and green.
6. Zebra Danios
Zebra Danios get their name from their colorful stripes that are reminiscent of zebras. It’s a great option for those who are on a budget. This fish can be kept in a bowl with no filter or pump. Also, it’s not a very demanding fish and will not require a very hands-on owner.
If taken care of properly, Zebra Danios can leave for up to 4 years. However, under ideal conditions and in a larger bowl, this fish can live much longer. On average, this fish can grow for up to two inches.
This fish has an omnivore diet such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, sludge worms, and other similar options. Proper nutrition will increase the lifespan of this fish, as well as proper fish bowl care.
Unlike guppies, Zebra Danios are egg layers. If you want to reproduce this breed, you have to separate the fish from the eggs to prevent the adult fish from eating the offspring.
7. White Cloud Minnows
White Cloud Minnows have a silvery color with tails and fins with hints of red. They were once called the “working man’s neon” due to their resemblance to Neon Tetras. Unlike Neon Tetras, White Cloud Minnows are very affordable.
This fish can live for up to 3 to 5 years and grow up to 1.5 inches. It’s very easy to breed due to their egg scattering behavior. The males are more colorful and slender than females.
As for maintenance, the White Cloud Minnows are very easy to take care of. You should note that this fish thrives in colder water temperatures of roughly 59F (15C).
The White Cloud Minnow is a peaceful and sociable species. You can even mix them in the same tank or bowl with guppies.
Also, White Cloud Minnows are top and middle dwellers. It’s rare for them to settle at the bottom of the bowl, so you shouldn’t panic if you see this fish staying near the surface.
8. Scarlet Badis
Scarlet Badis are small, yet very glamorous fishes. They have several orange stripes all over their bodies that shine beautifully through their fins. In between the vertical orange stripes are silvery hints of blue. These colors become brighter and more prominent during spawning.
Males are very colorful in comparison to females, which may appear a little dull. This is the main reason why most aspiring owners of Scarlet Badis opt for male ones. However, when the fishes are still young, it’s difficult to tell apart the males from females.
Moreover, this fish can live for up to 3 to 6 years and grow up to an inch. This species thrives in freshwater and in a heavily planted bowl. Inside the bowl, this fish will swim slowly around in the bowl.
If you’re considering mixing Scarlet Badis with other species, choose equally peaceful and small fish. Scarlet Badis is a shy species and can get easily intimidated by larger fishes.
9. Six-Ray Corydoras
Six-Ray Corydoras is a freshwater fish and is a catfish subspecies. It’s usually in white/grey in color and has barbels, (whiskers) which is something that catfish will typically have. Although, not all catfish have barbels.
The Six-Ray Corydoras are peaceful and schooling fishes that must be kept in at least a group of five. That means you should have a larger bowl for them. Also, you should set up a heavily planted environment with a sandy bottom. The sand will prevent damage to their barbels since corydoras are bottom-feeding species.
This species requires regular water changes. Six-Ray Corydoras need more attention than guppies or bettas. You also have to maintain their water temperature so that it’s between 20C to 27C (68F to 80F).
Six-Ray Corydoras can grow up to 1.5 inches. Although, female Six-Ray Corydoras tend to grow larger than males. To keep this fish healthy, it’s best to feed it with live or solid food that will sink at the bottom.
10. Paradise Fish
Lastly, you can consider the Paradise Fish, also known as Blue Paradise Gourami. This tropical aquarium fish has similarities to the Scarlet Badis. It also contains orange vertical stripes that blend beautifully with metallic blue colors.
This species makes bubble nests and are a semi-aggressive fish. It’s best not to mix them with other fishes as they tend to attack other species. They can be nasty bowl mates who will rip and nip other fish, especially smaller ones.
Unlike other bowl fishes, Paradise Fish grow larger at about 4 inches. Because of this, you must keep them in a very large bowl. If taken care of properly, this fish can live for up to 8 years. Males tend to be larger than females. Also, the male ones have brighter colors.
Nevertheless, care for Paradise Fish is easy. This fish also accepts any food, though flake and algae-based food are the most ideal.
Breeding this species is not difficult. For conditioning breeders, live foods are recommended, as well as high-quality algae-based flake or pellet food. Note that it is important to feed the female heartily and well in advance of attempting to spawn her, as she will refuse food for up to two weeks while she is holding eggs.
Keep the male and female in a separate environment with small offerings of live and frozen foods several times a day. When well-fed, females should begin filling out with eggs, appearing very plump. Females not yet ready for egg-laying should be kept away from breeder males as males have a nasty temperament and may mutilate or even kill their intended females.
Like most fish in the labyrinth fish family, paradise fish are bubble nest builders. The male builds a bubble nest, woos a female, and then defends the nest to the death. Frequently, males build their nests beneath a leaf. After spawning, the female should be removed from the tank or you again risk the female being killed by the male.
To breed paradise fish, place them in a separate breeding tank about 20 gallons in size. It should be set up with the water at a very low level, only about 6 to 8 inches. When the fry have easy access to the air above, the labyrinth organ in the fry can develop normally. Normal water chemistry parameters are fine but raise the temperature to between 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. You can add a small air-powered sponge filter or some peat filtration, but the tank current should be minimal.
Hatching time varies with temperature. Generally, the fry will emerge between 30 and 50 hours, but they can take up to 96 hours. When guarding the nest, the male will not eat. But once he does begin to eat food, the male should be removed as he might eat the fry that emerge from the nest. For the health of the male, leave him in place as a dutiful guard for as long as he requires. This way, his protective hormones will subside naturally removing him too early will be an unnecessary challenge to his health.