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BP couple have destroyed the place

BP male and female have completely destroyed the place. Dug holes everywhere. Ripped up all the plants. Knocked over the statues. Built high walls of gravel and are spawning like rabbits. They have been at it for 48 hours now non stop but I see no eggs. But the male seems to fertilize then go back an eat some invisible item. These are rescue parrots and I know nothing about cichlids. Or really much about fish for that matter. For the first 4 days I've had them I bragged and gushed about what cute little water puppies they were. Had visions of plants for hiding behind, cute driftwood. Maybe a colorful rock. But just like puppies they've destroyed the yard. I would like them to go back to the little sweethearts they were. Swimming in and out of the plants. Digging a small hole here and there (not the giant ones down to the glass). Is this breeding behavior, will it stop? Can I prevent the spawning cycle? Also the female is looking flesh colored and ragged looking but she has been non stop acting like she is egg laying for 48 hours with nothing to show. Back and forth on a terra cotta plate. Is this normal? She was a brilliant orange just 4 days ago. All of my water levels are good and safe. 0 ammonia. Temp is 78° got them 6 days ago so doing water change today to set a Saturday schedule. Otherwise she is happy, swims good, comes for food, they both do. Can't put my hand in tank to adjust the heater though she attacks even a finger. Can you answer all of these questions. They are in a 35 gallon tank for now until I can get a bigger one.


Just looked in tank and Fiona who was rubbing the terra cotta plate for 48 hours has stopped. And Shrek who ignored it has begun proliferating laying eggs. With Fiona tracing Shreks steps over the eggs. So now I think Fiona must be a male. But Fiona is still the one looking ragged and fleshy pink colored. Really ragged looking. Also most of shrieks eggs are floating in the water and land in in the gravel everywhere. How am I suppose to vacuum it now? Will they be stressed if I do? Do I need to at least wait until shrek is done laying the eggs?

They probably don't regard it as destroying - they are just redecorating to suit themselves. I would just let them be and wait for them to settle down. In general, more aggressive cichlids like to build little bunkers out of whatever is available. You should see what convict cichlids can do! If you provide them some kind of cave or hollow log, that might reduce the "destruction" slightly. BTW, the eggs might be hidden inside something. When they let you reach into the tank again, my guess is you will find them. We found eggs pasted to the inside of a little castle, under a rock, inside a log, etc.

They will tear things up and re-arrange no matter what you do.

There are not always eggs as a result of what you are describing.

The egg laying itself only takes a few hours.

Both fish will have very obvious tubes showing at the vent when laying eggs,

if you don't see those vent tubes there are no eggs being laid.

It isn't that they are 'eating some invisible item' they are fastidious about sanitation

and will constantly appear to be cleaning up.

They do change colors a lot duing these times.

My male is always the lighter colored one and gets almost white at times, then back to his usual color.

The eggs will get eaten if they are not fertile, you don't have to do anything.

The fish know what they are doing but if you want a 'neat' tank it will never happen with any type of Cichlid.

Check out my post of Cory & Dory Spawning and you will see what happens every 2 weeks!