• Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

A. agassizii “Fire red” Predicament

Harrison

Member
Hello everyone. I have become so infatuated with Apistogramma over the past year that I decided to try a new species - A. agassizii Fire red.

orginally, I thought I had brought home a male A. agassizii “Tefe red” and a female a. Agassizii Fire red. It turned out the male was actually A. sp. Tefe, so I returned him the following day for a male Fire red. So now what I have is a definite pair.

The male Tefe was in my tank for only a single day. The female Fire red has been very very aggressive towards the new male Fire red, which made me wonder: Did she lay eggs? Turns out she did, in the cichlid Stone. I noticed the eggs only 1 hour after the male Fire red entered the tank.

My question is, which male fish fertilized the eggs? I am not planning on raising this first batch of fry because I worry it will be a hybrid Tefe x Agassizii.

My other question - once this batch of eggs/fry is no longer, will the female stop harassing the male? Just want to have a calm environment. Should I separate the male and female Fire reds?

thanks!!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
If you can, I suggest removing the male Fire Red for now. He is just a distraction. Yes, agassizii will cross with sp. Tefe, but the hybrids rarely survive. Those that do tend to be physically weak, show deformed scale rows and are sterile. Once the female is done with this brood, remove her, re-arrange the decor to remove her territory, and then introduce the 2 apistos at the same time.
 

Harrison

Member
If you can, I suggest removing the male Fire Red for now. He is just a distraction. Yes, agassizii will cross with sp. Tefe, but the hybrids rarely survive. Those that do tend to be physically weak, show deformed scale rows and are sterile. Once the female is done with this brood, remove her, re-arrange the decor to remove her territory, and then introduce the 2 apistos at the same time.
Mike, I have 3 options for where to move the male Fire red for the time being. First, I could place him in a 10 gallon (housing an adult female cacatuoides temporarily as well as a few rasboras), a 45 gallon (with 21juvenile cacatuoides), or just move him to a breeder box in his Current tank (or any of the other two tanks). What would you suggest?
 

yukondog

Active Member
I would not put him in with the female cac. in a 10gl. the breeder box I would not do, can you put a divider in the 45 to give him his own space?
 

Harrison

Member
I placed a divider in the current tank, separating him and all of the pencil fish from the female! After this brood is abandoned, I’ll remove the male and female, rearrange the decor, and then add them back at the same time. Hopefully this takes care of the aggression.
 

Harrison

Member
A small update on the Fire reds, advice still needed. After the female finished with her initial brood ~5-7 days ago, I removed the divider and the fish, reorganize the decor, then replaced the fish. Now, the male is very aggressive toward the female (opposite of what the problem was before). I can tell the male is ready to breed, but the female just had a clutch less than two weeks ago, so I don’t know if she’s ready for another round yet. She has a tear on her caudal fin from the male. Should I separate them again for another week, and follow the same reintroduction process? I’ll try to post current pictures of the fish. Thanks!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I guess I should have given you a more detailed recommendation.

You need to understand that A. agassizii is a polygamous species. In the wiild aggie males stake out a large territory that includes breeding territories of several females. As such he will always find a female that is receptive to his 'romantic advances'. Any female not receptive to his advances - and not aggressively guarding fry - will be attacked and, if possible, driven from the male's territory in hopes that a more receptive female will appear to take her place.

Your tank is the male's territory and your female has a smaller territory within the male's. When she wasn't receptive to his advances he tried to drive her out of his territory (the tank). If she cannot leave the tank, mayhem is the result. I should have told you to:
1. separate the fish,
2. re-arrange the decor,
3. re-introduce the female first for a week or 2 so she can recover from breeding, get re-oriented and establish her own breeding territory, and
4. only then introduce the male.

Personally if the tank is large enough to allow breeding territories for 2 - 3 females, I think things will go smoother.
 

Harrison

Member
Mike, this is an incredibly helpful and detailed comment. Thank you for all the time you take helping others! You’ve been a big help to me over the last year when I’ve asked multiple questions.

as a side note, do you think it’s okay if I remove the male Fire red for the next few weeks and place him in the 10 gallon with a female Cacatuoides?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
It really depends on how the tank is laid out. Very different species of opposite sex usually are not highly aggressive toward each other - if each cannot continually see the other. Lack of a sex partner seems to lessen territorial aggression.
 

Harrison

Member
@Mike Wise I followed the steps you laid out and unfortunately I am still having issues with these fish. Before, the male was harassing the female because she wasn't ready to breed. I moved the male agassizii to a quarantine tank for 3 weeks and gave that time for the female to ready a breeding territory. Today, I moved the male back into the tank. He was met with immediate aggression from the female, who is continually chasing him all throughout the tank. She also performs her breeding "dance" for him, pointing her caudal fin at him and shaking her body. He remains very still and now has some fin damage, sticking to the upper corner of the tank. He is generally unresponsive to her advances.

Is this pair simply incompatible? Should I remove the male once again, or remove the female? Or just put a divider in temporarily while the male regains some strength?
 

yukondog

Active Member
If the male is at the surface and hiding in a corner I would remove him for now, or put the divider back in.
 

Harrison

Member
I put in the barrier on Friday. So the male was on one side with some dithers, the female on the other side. I gave him a few days to bounce back and feel more comfortable in the tank. I figured that he didn't appreciate being moved into a tank and having to immediately deal with the female... I'm sure it stressed him out. Therefore I assumed that once he establishes himself in the tank, things would go more smoothly.

Today, I removed the barrier. The two began dancing at each other for about 3 minutes. Then, they took turns biting each others fins. In past experiences with these two together, I have been used to seeing only the male attack the female, or only the female attack the male. This time was unique in that both took turns attacking each other. After five minutes of this I had had enough and put the divider back in. I am starting to think these fish are just incompatible for some reason... What to do? @Mike Wise @yukondog
 

yukondog

Active Member
I would take them out and rearrange the tank again, it may work or not, put them back in and see if that makes a difference, I have the same problem with a pair of Cacs. I replaced the male I had in with the female, like yours they were always fighting, in my case this time was one of the times it did not work, once I put the new male in she stated turning yellow within about five minutes of him being in the tank, sometimes no matter what you do they just dont like each other, I have split the two up for a couple of months put them back into a new tank and it works. Good luck, let us know how it work out.
I just reread your post on 8/3 are the fry still in the tank with the female?
 

Harrison

Member
@yukondog thank you for the quick reply. Good question- there are no fry in the tank. She abandoned that first brood (which I’m fairly sure was fertilized by the Tefe sp. male that was in the tank for less than 48 hours.
 

Harrison

Member
I actually just removed the barrier once again. It’s been down for the last hour. I’ve been keeping a close eye on the tank for the whole time. The male leaves the female alone for the most part, although he is clearly now the aggressor of the two. If he sees her, he’ll do his dance (she curls her body), then she swims away (sometimes this mprompts the male to chase her briefly). I’ll check on the two tomorrow morning, fingers crossed.
 

yukondog

Active Member
Is she flashing her belly at him and sort of leading him towards the cave? I have seen mine [other apistos] get kind of aggressive but no damage before breeding, sometimes it takes a time or two for them to get it right, I also remove the male if they dont get along and just leave the female to raise the fry in the tank with just her and the fry.
 

Harrison

Member
@yukondog Actually, it seems more like the male is leading her to his cave. I just saw her go into the cave for a moment, then exit. Once she left, the male went in. In some cases I know with Apistos that this means that they’re spawning, although I am not positive this is happening with these guys just yet. I’ll post an update tomorrow.
 
Top