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A. Cacautoides MM pair - one fatality

Bagsofsmoke

New Member
Messages
8
I have a 300 litre (120 x 55 x 53cm) aquarium. It is heavily planted (with S.American plants), with numerous caves, visual barriers, and a decent layer of botanicals on a sand substrate.

It is stocked with otocinclus, golden lazer corydoras, an ancistrus, serpae and black neon tetras. It is fully cycled and all the fish and plants are thriving. Water parameters are great too.

I introduced 2 x male apistogramma cacautoides of identical size. Both seemed fine although one male seemed to dominate the other. The aquarium was sufficiently big that I assumed the subordinate male would have plenty of places to hide etc., and the pair didn't really seem that antagonistic.

Sadly, one of the males died - the only death in the aquarium so far. A day before, he had been having what seemed like swim bladder issues - he was having trouble remaining horizontal and was near the surface, tail up and head down.

So i'm not sure if the cause of death was illness (in which case, no other fish has been affected and the other apisto is fine) or bullying by the other male.

I don't want to breed them (it's an Amazon-themed community tank, not a breeder) but they're such characterful, beautiful fish it seems a shame to have only one. Is it worth chancing another male? I had done a lot of research, including on these fora, and thought it would be ok to keep two males together in a tank that size. Was I just unlucky with a sick fish or are males together a bad idea?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,905
Location
Germany
So i'm not sure if the cause of death was illness (in which case, no other fish has been affected and the other apisto is fine) or bullying by the other male.
Both, stress leads to illness. Absolutely typical situation.
If you had started out with 3-5 individuals in a sufficiently structured tank this might not have happened.

Now as the remaining male sees the whole tank as it's territory you could only add more (AT LEAST 2 similar sized) if you take everything (plants, wood, rocks) and the fish out, redecorate and add all three together. Not adding them a day later, not redecorating while the remaining fish is still in there, you will have to basically do a restart when it comes to the interior.

As this is risky business (even with quarantining the new ones) and may end up exactly the same way, I'd let the fish you have live out its days alone (won't be bad for it) and then start with a group of a different species afterwards.

I personally would not keep a bachelor group in a tank under 150cm length.
 

Bagsofsmoke

New Member
Messages
8
Both, stress leads to illness. Absolutely typical situation.
If you had started out with 3-5 individuals in a sufficiently structured tank this might not have happened.

Now as the remaining male sees the whole tank as it's territory you could only add more (AT LEAST 2 similar sized) if you take everything (plants, wood, rocks) and the fish out, redecorate and add all three together. Not adding them a day later, not redecorating while the remaining fish is still in there, you will have to basically do a restart when it comes to the interior.

As this is risky business (even with quarantining the new ones) and may end up exactly the same way, I'd let the fish you have live out its days alone (won't be bad for it) and then start with a group of a different species afterwards.

I personally would not keep a bachelor group in a tank under 150cm length.
Thanks, I appreciate the advice. My LFS suggested two males would be ok together (and the chap I spoke to kept A. Cacautoides at home). I was nervous about it but didn't want the complications of a mating pair and felt 1 fish would be a bit mean!

Could another male apisto of a different species work? Or perhaps a small group of more docile dwarf cichlids like dwarf flag acaras perhaps?

As for the tank's structure - I deliberately scaped it to provide an ideal home. Loads of eyeline barriers, hiding places, helped by relatively heavy planting, botanicals etc. I'll post a photo later and would welcome feedback.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,905
Location
Germany
felt 1 fish would be a bit mean!
Never. NEVER assume this for territorial species. It's a lesson hard to learn for many people, but it's nothing bad about a fish being kept alone which otherwise would tend to kill each other if unable to avoid each other.

Could another male apisto of a different species work? Or perhaps a small group of more docile dwarf cichlids like dwarf flag acaras perhaps?
In a bigger tank a specimen of another species might work, but I can't recommend it with a clear conscience. If it works fine, if not you go at a high risk of having losses. So if it doesn't work out I may have damned a fish to death. Can't do this.

I'll post a photo later and would welcome feedback.
Yes please. No offence, I've had people promising whatnot and it turned out to be bare bottom, a coconut hut and a log with an anubias and a java fern and nothing else. Not that your description points that way, but I rather have a look before taking your word for it.
 

hongyj

Member
Messages
30
I don't want to breed them (it's an Amazon-themed community tank, not a breeder) but they're such characterful, beautiful fish it seems a shame to have only one. Is it worth chancing another male? I had done a lot of research, including on these fora, and thought it would be ok to keep two males together in a tank that size. Was I just unlucky with a sick fish or are males together a bad idea?
I agree with what Mike said, he's probably, if not one of, the best people on this forum in terms of activity, knowledge, and experience. Either keep a pair as in male female or stick to either male/female. I know the female apistos don't look as nice but when they are ready to spawn thy become yellow and black. I've never been one to fancy the color yellow but god damn it looks nice. You can see the territorial signs between the male and female while also watching the female clean stuff and it's interesting. The males will also exhibit more pronounced color in th presence of another female apistogramma. I keep and breed cacatuiodes and agassizii to help support me going into college this fall.

Having a pair can be difficult but a few of the things I found that help was:
- have the female in the tank first to establish her territory
- buy them online (hobbyist-bred)
- buying them as juveniles ~1 inch (yes they can breed even at this size, spawns as small as 4 eggs)

Your eggs will probably get eaten by snails or anything really that can make its way underneath the leaf, driftwood, or cave that thy spawned underneath. I've lost over 100 eggs in a spawn from a snail. Though I don't sell individual fish, I do list my fish on ebay, getgills, and facebook/instagram, if you would like to buy a juvenile female triple red from me, I'd be happy to give it to you at a discount due to your circumstances. I know you're not actively trying to breed your fish, but no matter where you get the female apisto from, it's life changing when it goes all right. Beautiful thing to think that this is what all the apistos and fish in the wild have been doing for billions of years.
 

Bagsofsmoke

New Member
Messages
8
I agree with what Mike said, he's probably, if not one of, the best people on this forum in terms of activity, knowledge, and experience. Either keep a pair as in male female or stick to either male/female. I know the female apistos don't look as nice but when they are ready to spawn thy become yellow and black. I've never been one to fancy the color yellow but god damn it looks nice. You can see the territorial signs between the male and female while also watching the female clean stuff and it's interesting. The males will also exhibit more pronounced color in th presence of another female apistogramma. I keep and breed cacatuiodes and agassizii to help support me going into college this fall.

Having a pair can be difficult but a few of the things I found that help was:
- have the female in the tank first to establish her territory
- buy them online (hobbyist-bred)
- buying them as juveniles ~1 inch (yes they can breed even at this size, spawns as small as 4 eggs)

Your eggs will probably get eaten by snails or anything really that can make its way underneath the leaf, driftwood, or cave that thy spawned underneath. I've lost over 100 eggs in a spawn from a snail. Though I don't sell individual fish, I do list my fish on ebay, getgills, and facebook/instagram, if you would like to buy a juvenile female triple red from me, I'd be happy to give it to you at a discount due to your circumstances. I know you're not actively trying to breed your fish, but no matter where you get the female apisto from, it's life changing when it goes all right. Beautiful thing to think that this is what all the apistos and fish in the wild have been doing for billions of years.
Thanks for the very kind offer of a female. I don’t have any snails but the ancistrus and corydoras will probably hoover up any eggs, while the tetras would no doubt deal with the fry. I’ve read a lot of stories on these fora about breeding females being hyper aggressive though and am not sure the aquarium needs that level of drama!
 

hongyj

Member
Messages
30
Thanks for the very kind offer of a female. I don’t have any snails but the ancistrus and corydoras will probably hoover up any eggs, while the tetras would no doubt deal with the fry. I’ve read a lot of stories on these fora about breeding females being hyper aggressive though and am not sure the aquarium needs that level of drama!
I see where you're coming from. Honestly, breeding apisto females in my experience aren't really that aggressive. At first they can be, but the fish know to keep their space. You should definitely get a female apisto to accompany your male and it doesn't even have to be from me. Your male will be happier, show brighter colors, etc.. Plus, if you're not in US or Canada, it would be difficult to ship to you

2 males, well now you've found out what happens. I use a similar tactic to fire up my apistogrammas sometimes as it provides benefits for a fish breeder by putting a breeder box or speciment container with another male apisto in it to have them fight without getting hurt.
 

Aquaticloch

Active Member
Messages
152
Location
Canada eh
I see where you're coming from. Honestly, breeding apisto females in my experience aren't really that aggressive. At first they can be, but the fish know to keep their space. You should definitely get a female apisto to accompany your male and it doesn't even have to be from me. Your male will be happier, show brighter colors, etc.. Plus, if you're not in US or Canada, it would be difficult to ship to you

2 males, well now you've found out what happens. I use a similar tactic to fire up my apistogrammas sometimes as it provides benefits for a fish breeder by putting a breeder box or speciment container with another male apisto in it to have them fight without getting hurt.
Breeding female apistos are extremely aggressive depending on a variety of factors, I have seen my erythura female chase the male (5x the size) and large bristlenose plecos around the entire aquarium. This is again dependant largely on individuals, and species.

Make sure that neither of the fish know the territory before adding them, this way one fish won't be harassed to death by being in a territory set by the other fish before they were added.

If you just use a mirror to fir up males, this is a much better way to do this than by adding another male. It's less dangerous and stressful to the fish in the container, this method works best for me. Or having breeding tanks next to each other, of the same species, and removing an opaque sheet for a few minutes occasionally.
 

hongyj

Member
Messages
30
Breeding female apistos are extremely aggressive depending on a variety of factors, I have seen my erythura female chase the male (5x the size) and large bristlenose plecos around the entire aquarium. This is again dependant largely on individuals, and species.
yea, but I've seen that as long as the other fish keep their distance (which they learn), the mother is too busy corralling the fry to chase them around.
Make sure that neither of the fish know the territory before adding them, this way one fish won't be harassed to death by being in a territory set by the other fish before they were added.
I've seen hobbyist-led studies that have indicated that for cichlids and dwarf cichlids alik adding the female before can help mitigate the aggression that's usually male to female, instead of reverse. I honsetly just think people don't do enough research before and then their fish are unhappy and get aggressive. For me, I've never had to deal with any problems like this because I did a year's worht of research in my junior year of highschool because I was focused on my studies and wasn't going to keep fish. But holy moly, I'm so proud of it I will proudly boast it, I had so much fun researching apistos on this site, articles, reading about the amazon basin, watching videos, etc.. that I want to share how important studying up on it is.
If you just use a mirror to fir up males, this is a much better way to do this than by adding another male. It's less dangerous and stressful to the fish in the container, this method works best for me. Or having breeding tanks next to each other, of the same species, and removing an opaque sheet for a few minutes occasionally.
I don't us a mirror because my fish are too smart. I know that doing it too much can make them aware its their own reflection but I did it for 5 minutes before they were uninterested. I use the male in the container because they'r eroughly the same size, I have found through many tests and experiments that if the males are the same size, they'll just fire up at each other. Most of my apistos don't hide at all, like never during the day, always out in the open even without dither fish For some reason, I'm strangely good at keeping these guys, all of them are happy.
 

hongyj

Member
Messages
30
Breeding female apistos are extremely aggressive depending on a variety of factors, I have seen my erythura female chase the male (5x the size) and large bristlenose plecos around the entire aquarium. This is again dependant largely on individuals, and species.

Make sure that neither of the fish know the territory before adding them, this way one fish won't be harassed to death by being in a territory set by the other fish before they were added.

If you just use a mirror to fir up males, this is a much better way to do this than by adding another male. It's less dangerous and stressful to the fish in the container, this method works best for me. Or having breeding tanks next to each other, of the same species, and removing an opaque sheet for a few minutes occasionally.
Also, to clarify, I'm not trying to attack your points, because I agree largely with what you're saying, I'm just saying that for me, my experience has been different and I've given some of the reasons why I think that but I'm still new to it. Though I am good at keeping and breeding apistos, I'm yet to experience troubles that I will inevitably face. I'm aware that you are more experienced than me in terms of what apistos you've kpt and bred and how you've kept them. I keep all my apistos in 10 gallons even though it's not recommndd yet I do fine and make hundreds of fry a month. So yeah, I just didn't want to seem like I'm getting on the wrong foot, I've been a lot more aggressive lately because I got assaulted on school premise by two students and my face is all bruised and bloodid and beaten because it was stomped on so yeah :) I juts didn't want to come off as hostile as my friends, girlfriend, and teachers have all told me that I have been lately because of recent events.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,905
Location
Germany
@hongyj
You might want to take a step back due to the events in your life. Also...
I see where you're coming from. Honestly, breeding apisto females in my experience aren't really that aggressive. At first they can be, but the fish know to keep their space. You should definitely get a female apisto to accompany your male and it doesn't even have to be from me. Your male will be happier, show brighter colors, etc.. Plus, if you're not in US or Canada, it would be difficult to ship to you
keep all my apistos in 10 gallons even though it's not recommndd yet I do fine and make hundreds of fry a month.
Is it possible you're trying to sell some of them telling the OP how wonderful it is to see them reproduce? It comes across like it. Especially as you are playing down the problems most people here have experienced. The OP wants a peaceful community, don't pressure them into risking that.
This forum has its classifieds section, offer your surplus there.
 

CichlidPlantGuy

New Member
Messages
1
I have a 300 litre (120 x 55 x 53cm) aquarium. It is heavily planted (with S.American plants), with numerous caves, visual barriers, and a decent layer of botanicals on a sand substrate.

It is stocked with otocinclus, golden lazer corydoras, an ancistrus, serpae and black neon tetras. It is fully cycled and all the fish and plants are thriving. Water parameters are great too.

I introduced 2 x male apistogramma cacautoides of identical size. Both seemed fine although one male seemed to dominate the other. The aquarium was sufficiently big that I assumed the subordinate male would have plenty of places to hide etc., and the pair didn't really seem that antagonistic.

Sadly, one of the males died - the only death in the aquarium so far. A day before, he had been having what seemed like swim bladder issues - he was having trouble remaining horizontal and was near the surface, tail up and head down.

So i'm not sure if the cause of death was illness (in which case, no other fish has been affected and the other apisto is fine) or bullying by the other male.

I don't want to breed them (it's an Amazon-themed community tank, not a breeder) but they're such characterful, beautiful fish it seems a shame to have only one. Is it worth chancing another male? I had done a lot of research, including on these fora, and thought it would be ok to keep two males together in a tank that size. Was I just unlucky with a sick fish or are males together a bad idea?
Fish temperament varies even within the same species. If your tank is healthy otherwise as you describe I would guess the dominant male killed the subdominant. I have a similarly sized tank with 2 male cacautoides coexisting along with 2 females but that isn’t something you can guarantee. if you like having the community mix I would recommend go with it and not put any more males in the tank. You could put a couple of females and let them do their thing but you stated you don’t want to breed them so it’s just a nice option. Best of luck.
 

hongyj

Member
Messages
30
Is it possible you're trying to sell some of them telling the OP how wonderful it is to see them reproduce? It comes across like it.
I honestly think my life has improved so much since I've started keeping and breeding fish. I didn't want it to seem like what you're suggesting right now which is why I said that it doesn't even have to be from me because I had offered to sell my fish to him and others before. But yeah, I understand
Especially as you are playing down the problems most people here have experienced. The OP wants a peaceful community, don't pressure them into risking that.
Yes, if it came across like that to you, I'm sorry
This forum has its classifieds section, offer your surplus there.
Thank you for letting me know!

I'v seen you on this site and a lot of your posts and responses have helped me be a better fish breeder, so I respect your opinion.
 

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