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A. Panduro - How to determine when to move onto a new potential pair?

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by Akraziatic, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Hi All,

    Problem:

    Through what process do you determine when a pair is incompatible?

    Background:

    A few weeks ago on a shopping trip interstate where the quid pro quo was LFS's for shoe shops, I picked up a couple of A. Panduro . At one of the stores, there was a tank with only two left, and while not displaying any dimorphism one was larger than the other and the guy at the LFS assured me they were from the same order. With that, I was semi-confident I would have a male and female.

    After getting them home and settled, it turns out the larger one was the female (4cm) and the smaller one the male (3cm). Finding clearly labelled images online was challenging, so I've attached pictures below in case anyone can confirm or deny for me.

    With these two, the female appears to be the most aggressive of the two and will chase the male away. In most cases it's harmless chasing, in other cases it can be an aggressive nip. This afternoon, they locked lips (video attached during mirror therapy).

    The tank is species only, 2ftx1ftx1ft with 3 caves (one driftwood, one rock and another a pot) all set up to face different directions. The driftwood has Anubias and Bolbitis growing 2/3 the tank height (to break line of sight between each side) as well as 2 Large Indian Almond Leaves as well as potted Crypts and S. Repens for additional blocks.

    Observations:

    - Aggression appears to be higher just after feeding
    - The male will try and tempt the female by flashing and subsequently be chased


    Attempted Solutions:

    - I tried mirror therapy (only a couple of times) to see if a common threat might encourage them to get along. Haven't read as much up on Mirror Therapy yet to determine if it's something that takes time, so any links appreciated.
    - I re-arranged the tank to break up any territory that the female may feel is her own.

    Hypotheses:
    Based on what I've read on other posts about behaviour.

    - Forming a bond takes time, and mirror therapy has been too short.
    - What I think is the male is actually a sub-dominant female
    - Is it possible for there to be sneaker females in the same way there could be sneaker males.
    - The male is too small to hold his own
    - They are just an incompatible pair.

    Options moving forward:
    Based on my hypthoseses

    - Continue Mirror Therapy for a couple more weeks and see if bond eventuates
    - Introduce 1-2 more specimens to see if pairs naturally eventuate (also decreasing probability of sneaker female scenario)
    - Remove male until he is larger and re-introduce

    Would love to understand how everyone would approach this.

    Here is some videos of behaviour. The one with them locking lips was during Mirror Therapy.

    Chasing Behaviour:


    Mirror therapy/Lip Lock:



    Cheers,
    Mitch

    Attached Files:

  2. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Panduro´s can be picky about their mates like all of Nijsseni group. At least that´s what I´ve read. That didn´t look too bad.
    If the dominated one stays at the top of the tank I think it´s time to remove him/her.
    Are there any dithers? Which one entered the tank first?

    Nice fish btw and a really thorough post!
  3. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Thanks Buttnekkid, hopefully they get better as they get older and can also appreciate the challenges troubleshooting on limited info.

    They were both purchased together and released from the bag at the same time. If you mean which left the bag first, I honestly can’t recall.

    I’ve read much the same about nisjenni complex however there was a post of MikeWises that referred to a couple “not being a pair yet” hence why I’m holding out a little.

    If it’s a thing where it’s quite definitive and they can’t possibly form a pair bond I do have a tank cycled and ready to go. Though mindful of releasing new fish into a tank where an individual has already established dominance.
  4. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Sorry Bittnekkid, I didnt address all of your post.

    There are currently not dithers. However have considered whether adding some nannostomus might help. Havnt really moved ahead with this approach as I haven’t seen any shy behaviour.

    Shyness aside, the hypothesis could be that continual shared aggression towards a common threat would be the trigger for bonding. Though I would imagine that extended mirror therapy would substitute this.

    Would be great to get others opinion on whether this aggression is a “storm in a tea cup” and I’m exaggerating things.
  5. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Active Member

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    First I don't think there is uncertainty about their sexes, clearly a male and female. I'm keeping several apisto pairs and some mate very soon, others later, and some have yet to do so. Sometimes I think trio's (1M+2F) work better, partly because it is more likely that at least one of the females is interested in the male but, perhaps more, because of jealousy with a female 'snapping up the male' before the competing female does. Just like food they don't want to eat until some other fish attempts to eat it. Another factor could be water parameters. Some aren't as picky but others won't spawn if hardness/pH are too far from their preferred range.

    I just had a panduro trio spawn last week. They had gotten along ok till then but by the time one pair formed I had to remove the remaining female because in the 10 gallon tank she could not hide.
  6. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Your experience it not unusual for nijsseni-group species. It's always helpful to keep a larger group together and let them decide on their mates. Then separate the pair to a breeding tank. If I were you I would add more specimens, but sadly your tank is too small.
  7. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Thanks heaps Bart, I might end up down the path of adding more specimens. While my immediate goal isn't so much to get them breeding but rather making sure they are a compatible pair, so with that in mind do you think trying to get all of the conditions right for breeding would encourage them to form a bond? Or should I continue the way I'm going just trying to get them to cohabitate and then optimise for breeding later?

    Thanks Mike, it's looking like I'll end up down that route. Tank space isn't an issue, I have a 2x2x2 heavily planted cube with only brown cherries that I could get it running in. I've been planning to get the best grades out and move them into a pond over the summer so would be happy to leave the culls behind for snacks. In your experience would you say jumping straight to a bigger group would be the best move as opposed to working through other strategies first? Mind if I get your weigh in of the ideal M/F split?

    As an update, today the male cornered the female for around a minute and began displaying. While she was looking pretty drab she tolerated it. I've attached a better pic of the female not long after this happened. She's looking pretty good so I'm leaning towards the premise that she's just not interested in the male.

    Attached Files:

  8. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Update:

    TL/DR - Moved fish, lost fish, bought fish. Now got 1 A.Panduro original female and 8 not sure what sex.

    I decided to take the route of getting a few more specimens to try and test compatibility which ended up causing some bumps along the way. On Saturday in preparation of setting up a larger group and moving my original pair into the planted shrimp tank in my room upstairs (photo below) I went past the LFS to see what food they might have to tempt the shrimp into a trap.

    As with every trip I did the usual scan amongst the tanks and saw 'Apistogramma Panduro Pair" written on a tank and got a little giddy, even though I was sceptical. I'd asked them to get them in a few months back with no avail so I asked the shop attendant about them and she came over to the tank. She moved the Anubias log aside and there fell out a small Apisto (Photo: A. Panduro Suspect?) and she reasoned that the other one must have died or disappeared somehow. Initially, even though my I'm relatively inexperienced, I thought it didn't look quite like a A. Panduro, but it had darkened up and I gave her the benefit of the doubt considering I had the original pair at home and this one was at a discount without it's partner so I brought it home to see how it goes.

    After bringing it home and letting it settle down a bit I was even more certain it wasn't A. Panduro as I hadn't seen any photos before with a pronounced lateral line. Would love for a correct ID here if possible.

    So to make room for the new housemate, I begun moving out the shrimp to move the original pair upstairs. After around an hour of netting out shrimp individually I was happy with the batch I salvaged and left the rest to either fend and flourish, or become food.

    In hindsight, this was when I should had slowed down and thought it through.

    I caught the pair and put them in a small 3L (~1 Gallon) bucket and moved them upstairs. In the hope of giving the male a fighting chance in gaining some dominance, I put him in first and left the female in the bucket whilst I completed some water changes elsewhere.

    I'd picked the fry up from my A. Cacatuoides intermediary tank from work (they live on my desk) and brought them home to set them up in the hospital tank whilst getting daphnia got established in the tub.

    After going back up stairs to release the female into the planted tank I noticed she was no longer in the bucket and had jumped behind the stand. Whilst a little stressed out and covered in dust, I released her into the tank. The male immediately came to inspect and started nudging and displaying to her. Conscious that dominance is good problem relative to healthy fish I immediately removed the male to give her time to recover.

    It was getting later in the evening and I'd been set up some tubs outside ready for summer of which I'd already moved the shrimp to and with the fry in the hospital tank, I decided to put the male in the tub I'd put my lowest grade brown cherries into for the night and assess how the female was going in the morning. The tanks had been running for a few weeks on seeded sponge filters with a tonne of plant trimmings so I figured he'd be comfortable for a sleep over.

    I woke up early and went to check on everyone.

    Checking the 'suspect' again, I was even more certain so I called the LFS and told them my concern and they were happy for me to bring it back in.

    After searching through the tub for the A. Panduro male, I couldn't find him anywhere, checking periodically over a couple of hours to look with a different angle from the sun to no avail. Remembering the incident from the evening prior, I scoured the outside, even checking the nearby storm water drain, for an escapee. No luck. Considering it was my first outdoor tub in this house I figured there must have been a predator in the neighbourhood.

    I cut my losses and took the suspect back to the LFS for a credit and to pick up a four guppies (1 x male, 3 x female) to test my predator theory. If I walked away with less I was right, if I walked away with more.... I just had guppies.

    Once there the attendant had told me that she had contacted their wholesaler to order more A. Panduro in. They were able to get 3cm unsexed individuals for $16.50 each and 3.5cm-4cm pairs in for $58.90 each. With my experience from the previous pair and the clear price differential, I ordered 10 x 3cm individuals and an agreement that I could bring back the ones I didn't want after I grew them out and paired them up. I felt like it was freakin' christmas! I'd never been so happy to come home with guppies :D

    So I put the guppies in the tub and checked them the next day (Monday), they seemed as happy as guppies could be. However when I checked the tub on Tuesday there was a body sitting on the substrate and no others to be seen. Further investigation found two more bodies and the last one (I think the male) tucked under the sponge filter. Naturally, I checked the water parameters. Ammonia, Nitrites were 0, but Nitrate's 160ppm.

    I was so embarrassed and did an immediate 80% water change. We'd had rain the past few weeks so I figured the water had been changed through overflow, but I was completely off the mark. I left the day with my tail between my legs.

    Yesterday (Wednesday) the LFS called to let me know the fish had arrived. I knocked off work early and raced in to pick up the new arrivals.

    Once there, they informed me that 2 of the 10 were DOA. The wholesaler had packaged them all in a single bag and they'd take a clear beating. A little disappointed, I walked away with 8 little gems who looked more like A. Panduro (A. Panduro Bag picture below).

    I've put them in the tub (Grow Out Tub pictures) I had originally earmarked for the A. Cacatuoides fry and they seem to have settled in within 15-20 minutes after adding a few hundred more daphnia to the tank to hunt down.

    After another evening (today) they all seem to have settled in and chasing each other about the tub.

    Thanks for reading, and the key points I'd like share and understand are below.

    Cheers,
    Mitch


    -------

    Lessons:
    - Your LFS might have the best intentions, but they can't possibly positively ID every variant of every genus or species.
    - Just because your Bichir's never jumped the bucket, doesn't mean your Pisto's won't.
    - Test water before and after everything.
    - The wholesaler is just that, they move lots of fish, quickly.

    Game Plan:
    - Over time, identify and remove the lowest individual in the dominance chain until the most dominant pair remains
    - Goal 1 compatible pair I can work with in the longer term.

    Observations:
    - On first evening after release, they appeared to have more neon green colouration than sky blue (not sure if light)
    - No orange colouration in finage as yet
    - 4-5 individuals appear to have black marking down the front of their pectoral fins
    - 1 individual with slight yellow tinge (might be optimism)
    - Aggression appears to be spread amongst all individuals
    - No single individual or pair dominates a single geographic area of the tank
    - Most aggression ends in a chase towards the back planted area

    Challenges:
    - Determining dominant individuals vs pairs
    - Determining sneaker males
    - Identifying which fish is which when they race about

    Questions:
    - Was I wrong with my identification of the 'suspect'?
    - What indicators should I be looking for in the early stages for sex of individuals?
    - What indicators other than "aggression" could I look for in this process?
    - Should I add dithers/other species to further spread aggression
    - Any general suggestions?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  9. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Ah, the joys of apisto breeding. Looking at your 'suspect' panduro, I have to agree; it doesn't look like A. panduro to me either. My guess is that it is Nannacara anomala. I can't say for sure because of the poor quality of the photo. Personally I wouldn't worry about sexing the juveniles. Just keep them together in a tank with 2X as many hiding places as fish to avoid too much mayhem as they sort out who wants to breed with whom. You'll recognize breeding pairs because they will guard a certain location and - jointly - drive other fish away from it.
  10. Shane Puthuparambil

    Shane Puthuparambil Active Member

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    That seems to mightily pricey for A. panduro. I got a group of 30 for 7$ each, US currency. I kept a pair, and sold off the rest. It seems to be going well so far. They had a bright green sheen when first introduced into my tanks... I am really enjoying them. Good luck, hope that you get it working. Really love the long responses on your part!

    Shane
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  11. Akraziatic

    Akraziatic New Member

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    Thanks heaps Mike and Shane.

    Mike, I think you might have been right on the mark with Nannacara. When I mentioned that 'the forum' suspected that might be the case the lady at the LFS wasn't surprised as they had some in the bay not that long ago.

    Shane, thanks mate. As a responder I can appreciate how frustrating it can be to provide advice with limited information and as an observer I can also appreciate the challenges of deciphering someones logic when they approach different situations, and with forums becoming less active these days it's harder to piecemeal things together. Hopefully any posts I touch can become something that future hobbyists can refer to and get up to speed quicker.

    As for the price, luckily/unfortunately Australia has some pretty stringent import laws to protect endemic flora and fauna. It means that the fish that do come in from overseas typically are more expensive and even more so when not in high demand. I'm really not looking forward to diving into the more eclectic apistos. For example I traded in 10 of the cacatuoides spawn to the LFS today and got $10 (AUD) cash for each. It was much more than I was expecting but after chatting to the lady she clearly has a soft spot for Apisto's and wants to see more in the hobby. So much so, there's been a pair of Macmasteri and a pair of Borelli that they've orderd sitting in their displays for a month now that don't appear to have moved. I'll certainly keep an eye on them but want to take it one species at a time for now. If I can get 2-4 of the more 'flashy/appealing' Apisto's going and relatively affordable locally, hopefully I can get some of the youth off of convicts or whatever they're on and into the genus.

    Update/Current Thoughts

    After losing one, I've been paranoid about losing another and did another water change as an excuse to lift things up and check for bodies. I understand that if you want things to happen you need to get your hands out of the tank but it's particularly difficult to assess how they're going as they're in a tub which I can only view from above. I've got a DIY project I'm planning about for a 4x2x2/5x2x2 and considering getting the tank early and moving the group into it so I can observe their behaviour better.

    They're not taking to dry or frozen foods. I've been trying Tetra Tropical Granules, Hikari Cichlid Excel, Tetra Freezedried Bloodworms, Frozen Brine Shrimp and Frozen Cyclops. The Cacatuoides and original Panduro pair were happy with the Tetra Tropical Granules however this batch are only eating live daphnia. This may present a problem in the long term.

    There also appears to be one individual who has an infection on it's right side about 1 millimetre above it's lateral line and 3 millimetres from it's caudal fin. It had it on arrival however it appears to have doubled in size since. It would be around 1.5-2 millimetres in diameter and a light creamy brown (unfortunately I haven't been able to get a decent photo). Having kept shrimp most recently, I would class myself as an amateur with treatment strategies. I'm considering dosing General Cure (parasites), Erythromycin (Bacterial) and Ich-X (Fungal) as a catch all to try and clean up the whole batch. They're all in a species only tank (tub) and as a result didn't look to quarantine specifically, however now seeing this not clearing up I feel covering all bases might be the wise move.

    Any thoughts/recommendations?
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  12. Shane Puthuparambil

    Shane Puthuparambil Active Member

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    Ask the fish store if they were treated before hand. That will give you an idea as to what you should be doing in terms of treatment...

    Additionally, I would suggest trying frozen bloodworms, if you can find them. I am not a big proponent of aquatic worms as they can be sourced from bad farms (w/ high mercury content and parasites), so I would only feed them the worms if they come from a reputable seller such as Hikari. Feed in moderation...

    I just had a bunch of wild panduro come, and they came with a terrible bacterial infection. I treated them with Furan 2 and Erethromycin and it cleaned them up after 1 round of treatment. They do not take anything but live foods... so I have been feeding a combo of mosquito larvae and freshly hatched baby brine.

    I think that it is imperative to get them fat and do frequent water changes, especially while you are treating them. I did daily water changes and fed with live mosquito larvae to keep them nice and round... it really improves their chances. A thin apisto is a nearly dead apisto in my experience.

    Good luck,
    Shane
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  13. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    This is my experience as well. There´s no comeback from that. Apistos seem to have a habit to keel over for no apparent reason...
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  14. Shane Puthuparambil

    Shane Puthuparambil Active Member

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    Well it is never for no reason. But without the nutritional needs being met, an apisto will wither away quickly. If I am in a pinch, I use live blackworm (rinsed very very well)... otherwise I use freshly hatched baby brine shrimp.

    Shane
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