• 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!

Advice on setup and choosing my first Apistogramma

KatieA

New Member
Messages
4
Hello

I’m fairly new to fishkeeping and have cycled another tank that came my way. I have the bug!

Im in England and have hard water. This time I’ve gone for a planted tank (caribsea eco complete substrate mixed with a bit of black gravel). As the tank was cycling, the PH dropped a bit but now seems to have gone back up. Todays parameters using NTLabs

PH 8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 0
KH 13
GH 18

There are no fish in the tank as I would like to get Apistogramma for the first time and get it right.

The tank isn’t very big 58x41x30 (approximately 70litres or 15g unplanted) but I’m hoping for smaller Apistogramma couple and could have harem of females if it was felt tank was sufficient enough. Please excuse my attempt at a woody tree! It won’t stay stuck to its rock and so I’ve weighted it and laid it down. Currently two “cave” options. I’m about to setup a 200litre tank so I hope that I can use this one eventually as an established breeding tank (if they breed).

I would love a colourful species of Apistogramma and I seem to go round and round looking at Dwarf Cockatoo, Borellii and many more but I appreciate that I have hard water and inexperience will limit me.

What are your recommendations?
 

Attachments

  • 84A5DB93-E854-425A-89C8-7E1BB6D56638.jpeg
    84A5DB93-E854-425A-89C8-7E1BB6D56638.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 210
  • A7DB03DF-1F01-45EE-9F82-6D2015043C6E.jpeg
    A7DB03DF-1F01-45EE-9F82-6D2015043C6E.jpeg
    3.6 MB · Views: 216

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,118
Location
Germany
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news: The tank is not suitable for Apistogramma or any dwarf cichlids for that matter.

The substrate should be fine sand, which is generally an essential for these fish, just as leaf litter.
Then there is need of structures that allow the fish to evade each other. I see nothing like that in your tank. The general lack of cover would make me abstain from keeping a single male either.
And the water parameters... While domestic forms and certain species come from moderatly hard and alkaline waters (GH at 10°, KH at 7°, pH at 7.5 or so), your parameters (GH, KH, pH) would be a better fit for Rift Lake cichlids like shelldwellers and the like. I'd have a bad feeling keeping Apistogramma in this.
Additionally the tank is overall too small. A couple of A. borellii would be possible if you redo the scape, replace the substrate and add a lot more plants. But that's pretty much it.

And another well meant advice: Don't use planted tank substrate when you barely have any plants that are planted in it. You have brought in a lot of nutrients that will just be removed by waterchanges, unused by any plants.

Dwarf Cockatoo
There is no such thing. There is Apistogramma cacatuoides and its domestic colour forms, which are all rather on the upper end of the Apistogramma size spectrum.

Please don't take this personal, I have long stopped sugarcoating it, as that usually only ends fish in a bad place. People tend to take that as "Can't be that bad" or "I have time to make changes once the fish are in the tank".
A clear "Nope!" to both.
 

KatieA

New Member
Messages
4
Thank you for your honesty - I do appreciate it. Like I said I would rather get it right. I think I will keep to adding plants in for now and see how the tank develops as agree lack of hiding for any fish at the moment.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,256
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Katie, Mac obviously didn't "sugarcoat" his comment and is basically correct in what he says. I, however, have seen hobbyist succeed with similar water to yours. As I say in one of my talks: If anyone tells you they know the true secrets
to keeping & breeding Apistos ... They're Wrong! There is no one way, just some ways are better than others.

You can successfully reproduce apistos in this size tank with some modification. Yes, the gravel is rather coarse for an apisto's liking but can be used. It isn't much coarser that what I've used in my tanks for almost half a century and had little problems with breeding apistos over that period. You might even consider a small shallow tray with fine sand in it to keep apistos happy. I do worry about using a supplemented substrate without many plants. I'd either add considerably more plants or change the substrate. Your tank is adequate in size for breeding some species of apistos, but also consider how you might grow out any fry. My preference leans toward domestic bred A. borellii, small, relatively peaceful and although casually polygamous, males will not usually drive females to distraction with their 'urges'. The caves are not ideal. the openings should only be large enough for the female to slide in on her side. I'd cover most of the openings with something. As for your liquid cement, er I mean water, I would definitely try to find a way to dilute it with softer water. Darrel, here, uses rainwater. If that's possible, then that's what I'd do. Even 15 - 25% should be sufficient. If not, then see how they do in your tap water and then decide if you really want to spend extra money to breed the fish. Good luck with your fishy project!
 

KatieA

New Member
Messages
4
Thank you for your honesty - I do appreciate it. Like I said I would rather get it right. I think I will keep to adding plants in for now and see how the tank develops as agree lack of hiding for any fish at the moment
Katie, Mac obviously didn't "sugarcoat" his comment and is basically correct in what he says. I, however, have seen hobbyist succeed with similar water to yours. As I say in one of my talks: If anyone tells you they know the true secrets
to keeping & breeding Apistos ... They're Wrong! There is no one way, just some ways are better than others.

You can successfully reproduce apistos in this size tank with some modification. Yes, the gravel is rather coarse for an apisto's liking but can be used. It isn't much coarser that what I've used in my tanks for almost half a century and had little problems with breeding apistos over that period. You might even consider a small shallow tray with fine sand in it to keep apistos happy. I do worry about using a supplemented substrate without many plants. I'd either add considerably more plants or change the substrate. Your tank is adequate in size for breeding some species of apistos, but also consider how you might grow out any fry. My preference leans toward domestic bred A. borellii, small, relatively peaceful and although casually polygamous, males will not usually drive females to distraction with their 'urges'. The caves are not ideal. the openings should only be large enough for the female to slide in on her side. I'd cover most of the openings with something. As for your liquid cement, er I mean water, I would definitely try to find a way to dilute it with softer water. Darrel, here, uses rainwater. If that's possible, then that's what I'd do. Even 15 - 25% should be sufficient. If not, then see how they do in your tap water and then decide if you really want to spend extra money to breed the fish. Good luck with your fishy project!
Thank you very much. I will look into rainwater and do some tests as we get a lot of rain over winter in the UK and I’ve got quite a collection system following a recent drought.

I’m going to concentrate on planting this tank up and move out the “slate cave” and just see how it all develops with smaller “caves” before making any decisions on Apisto.

All advice is appreciated as I do have options and time to get it right. A 200litre is empty and ready for scaping and the advice may form the basis for this larger tank.
Katie, Mac obviously didn't "sugarcoat" his comment and is basically correct in what he says. I, however, have seen hobbyist succeed with similar water to yours. As I say in one of my talks: If anyone tells you they know the true secrets
to keeping & breeding Apistos ... They're Wrong! There is no one way, just some ways are better than others.

You can successfully reproduce apistos in this size tank with some modification. Yes, the gravel is rather coarse for an apisto's liking but can be used. It isn't much coarser that what I've used in my tanks for almost half a century and had little problems with breeding apistos over that period. You might even consider a small shallow tray with fine sand in it to keep apistos happy. I do worry about using a supplemented substrate without many plants. I'd either add considerably more plants or change the substrate. Your tank is adequate in size for breeding some species of apistos, but also consider how you might grow out any fry. My preference leans toward domestic bred A. borellii, small, relatively peaceful and although casually polygamous, males will not usually drive females to distraction with their 'urges'. The caves are not ideal. the openings should only be large enough for the female to slide in on her side. I'd cover most of the openings with something. As for your liquid cement, er I mean water, I would definitely try to find a way to dilute it with softer water. Darrel, here, uses rainwater. If that's possible, then that's what I'd do. Even 15 - 25% should be sufficient. If not, then see how they do in your tap water and then decide if you really want to spend extra money to breed the fish. Good luck with your fishy project!
Thank you Mike that is helpful. After the last post I had a wander around the aquatic centre, looked at the fish and chatted to the staff. I am not in any rush and any advice is welcome. I have no fish and lots of options.

I am going to concentrate on planting this tank up and making best use of the substrate. It will teach me about planting. Rainwater is interesting and I have quite the collection system after a recent drought in the UK. This could work well so again will have a fishless experiment with this tank. “Slate cave” to come out and build some smaller caves.

I have options and can scape my new tank with all the advice in mind.
 

Attachments

  • 2F63FE0D-6E62-487D-B2E8-8731799130F4.jpeg
    2F63FE0D-6E62-487D-B2E8-8731799130F4.jpeg
    2.9 MB · Views: 140

KatieA

New Member
Messages
4
Katie, Mac obviously didn't "sugarcoat" his comment and is basically correct in what he says. I, however, have seen hobbyist succeed with similar water to yours. As I say in one of my talks: If anyone tells you they know the true secrets
to keeping & breeding Apistos ... They're Wrong! There is no one way, just some ways are better than others.

You can successfully reproduce apistos in this size tank with some modification. Yes, the gravel is rather coarse for an apisto's liking but can be used. It isn't much coarser that what I've used in my tanks for almost half a century and had little problems with breeding apistos over that period. You might even consider a small shallow tray with fine sand in it to keep apistos happy. I do worry about using a supplemented substrate without many plants. I'd either add considerably more plants or change the substrate. Your tank is adequate in size for breeding some species of apistos, but also consider how you might grow out any fry. My preference leans toward domestic bred A. borellii, small, relatively peaceful and although casually polygamous, males will not usually drive females to distraction with their 'urges'. The caves are not ideal. the openings should only be large enough for the female to slide in on her side. I'd cover most of the openings with something. As for your liquid cement, er I mean water, I would definitely try to find a way to dilute it with softer water. Darrel, here, uses rainwater. If that's possible, then that's what I'd do. Even 15 - 25% should be sufficient. If not, then see how they do in your tap water and then decide if you really want to spend extra money to breed the fish. Good luck with your fishy project!
Hi Mike I just wanted to pop back and thank you. The tank was planted up some more and a “beach” put in and smaller caves too. Lots of leaves and detritus about and hiding spots. Cadenza (female) has taken a liking to the coconut cave and has spawned this week although Keith (male) seems a bit disinterested in her desperate advances to lure him closer and he has a bit to learn I expect. She has started to chase him away so I am hopeful. Let’s see!
 

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
18,013
Messages
117,014
Members
13,111
Latest member
Marakely

Latest profile posts

jloponte wrote on hongyj's profile.
Please send me info regarding cuipeua. Thx, Joe.
jloponte wrote on hongyj's profile.
Where are you located?
Josh wrote on anewbie's profile.
Testing
EDO
Longtime fish enthusiast for over 70years......keen on Apistos now. How do I post videos?
Looking for some help with fighting electric blue rams :(
Top