Thanks, JB! You really ought to come visit Australia some time. It's a pretty great place. I love living here. :)
Maybe you could smuggle home a few watersnails, since you like them and all..
LBF, I wouldn't be too disappointed if he ate the eggs this time out. I just don't feel prepared well enough for baby fish, and nor is the tank! It's nice and dark at the moment, really beer-coloured (REAL beer, not that watery stuff Americans drink, ha ) with lots of ketapang. I probably won't keep it this dark, but while there's eggs or very young fry I figure it can't hurt.
I am actually quite surprised at the role the female has taken - she guards the male from the Looky-Lous (my collective name for her sisters, haha) quite aggressively and patrols their chosen corner of the tank.
Really, the whole process has been fascinating. I've just had a truly rotten week of insomnia and haven't had the wherewithal for posting my thoughts on it, but I really must keep a written account I think.
First the pair seemed to be 'sparring' as I would imagine males to - both were flaring (in their funny, beardy strohi way) and doing a highly ritualised set of motions involving head shaking, circling each other and short, jerky motions as well as the inevitable chase-and-nip.
During this, the male was fully coloured, a dark blue-black with iridescent green outline on his fins through to royal blue.
The female was tiger-striped in olive green and deep yellow to pale brown, occasionally darkening.
One thing I notice about these fish is that they change colour/pattern with the light, a bit chameleon-like, clearly as a means of protection from threats above and/or below.
The Lookies all coloured up as well with the same tiger-pattern, while the pair progressed after a day or so to more 'affectionate' (ie, less violent) behaviour, flirting and herding each other around and deciding on territory. So - I think they're all girls. Poor Blue..
Then they started wrapping, which went on for most of a day and night, with the eggs being noted in the male's mouth during the early hours of the morning. The male is very subdued, and 'fans' the eggs in his mouth with gill motions while he lurks in the jungly plants, and the female makes sure nothing bothers him.
I don't expect this cosy scene to last beyond the release of the fry.. but it's very cute while it lasts.
More pics tomorrow, I hope!