And now for something I know will out-thrill all my thrilling blog posts; a update about my ongoing adventure in Jack Dempsey cichlid husbandry. (Or maybe that should be parentage? I’d hate to pollute the institution of marriage any further than it’s already been polluted!)
Anyway, while I haven’t yet made a video of the shenanigans in my tank, I’m relieved to read that the Supreme Court struck down that ridiculous federal law making it a crime to depict animal cruelty, because now I’m worried that Ma and Pa Dempsey might be eating some or most of their hundreds of juniors.
That’s mass carnage, followed by cannibalism, right? And these are animals. So, regardless of whether fish cruelty depictions came up during oral argument at the Supreme Court, at least I don’t have to worry about my First Amendment right to share any video I might shoot with the readers.
Anyway, this morning I noticed that the babies had disappeared. I couldn’t find any at all. Reading through the many accounts here, I learned about many instances of Jack Dempseys eating their fry. It seems to be especially characteristic of first time parents, which these two are. I got them as small youngsters less than a year ago, which means that what I’m facing is the piscine moral equivalent of a human teen pregnancy. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they were eating their young, but OTOH, I have not seen it happening, and I’m pretty observant.
So there weren’t any this morning, but later on in the day when the sun was shining into the tank, I noticed a small crowd of about 20 or 30 hovering just outside the bottom of their Colosseum. Then five minutes later, they were gone. I guess it’s possible that they group themselves together, but I don’t know. Another concern is the plastic undergravel filter, part of which was scraped clean of gravel during the parents’ excavation. (Cichlids are known to do this.) I had thought to turn off the power jet that had supplied suction to it, as it was no longer doing anything with the gravel gone, but now I’m thinking that the babies might very well have gone between the 1/8″ wide slats and down into the area under the plastic plate. They would be completely safe from everything, including their parents, and it might explain their ability to totally disappear and then appear out of nowhere when they feel like it.
Of course, the stupid undergravel filter is now useless as a filter, and I also see that I never should have used an undergravel filter for cichlids in the first place:

Can I use an Undergravel filter (UGF) with cichlids?
Yes and No. This depends on the type of cichlid you’re keeping. Many cichlids will move gravel to all parts of the aquarium and uncover the UGF plate, which renders the UGF useless. For this reason, UGFs are bad ideas for MOST cichlids. However, for fish like the Cyprichromis that like fairly still water and do not dig, an UGF would be a perfect filter choice. UGFs are also good for raising baby cichlids in as well. Fry and juveniles don’t dig all that much, so it is safe to use an UGF to filter a tank full of these guys.
UGFs are definitely out of the question for nearly all South American cichlids. These cichlids dig more than any other group of cichlids. The only adult South American cichlids that won’t re-arrange gravel to the point of making an UGF useless are: Discus, angelfish, and the dwarf cichlids such as the Apistogrammas . The only adult African cichlids that really won’t disturb UGFs are the Cyprichromis species. The Aulonocara (“peacocks”) from Lake Malawi tend to not disturb UGFs if flat surfaces for breeding are available. Other than the mentioned fish, the majority of adult cichlids will move enough gravel around to not make it worth using an undergravel filter.

UGF??? WTF is UWT? God, I hate all these “insider” abbreviations.
FWIW, IMO, it’s best to use a UGF only AYOR. LOL. But OTOH, I think it’s a perfect hiding place for the babies. (“Try and get me, Mommie Dearest!”)
If I were one of those little opportunists I’d be ROFLMAO.
Or more technically, ROFUGFLMAO.