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And another one from Washington (the evergreen one)

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Hello - I'm somewhat new to having Apistogramma so I will be trying to learn more about people's experience with them, especially A. Macmasteri.
I have just one pair of A. macmasteri that I got a few months ago as juveniles and now mature and recently I put them together in a 20 gal. long, heavily planted with lots of hiding places and 4 little livebearers in there too but they are getting chased so I'm going to remove the 2 valuable ones for their own safety.
The female just in the last few days has gone into a cave and has hardly come out even to eat. I try to drop a live whiteworm in front of her cave so she can grab it.
Probably the water I have isn't soft enough for eggs & fry - it's almost 7.0 ph despite being deep brown tea from so much peat and leaves and bogwood that I can no longer hardly see them (but it did test 0 for nitrates/nitrites/ammonia) So I'm collecting rainwater which we've had a TON of in the last couple of days.
If this female DOES emerge with some babies, I do have live microworms and vinegar eels on hand.

I uploaded photo of the tank but before it turned as brown as it is now and without the stone cave as yet, plus 1 of FEMALE and then MALE taken before I moved them into the blackwater tank where photos aren't coming out well. I've read that the macmasteri like being in a trio also but haven't come across another female locally though I know I could find them mail order.
I did see the two doing that shaking & trembling dance though didn't witness the male going into the cave.
She's in her cave and defensive of it. So, possible babies coming up ? Or do females sometimes 'nest' in the cave without any eggs at all?
 

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gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
1,491
Location
Wake Forest NC, USA
"Probably the water I have isn't soft enough for eggs & fry - it's almost 7.0 ph despite being deep brown tea from so much peat and leaves"
pH is not a measure of hardness (GH). Water with high pH can be hard or soft; you cant tell unless you measure GH. A. macmasteri (especially the domesticated strains) can breed OK in moderatley hard water and pH up to 7.5 - it's not a fussy species. Some females spend a lot of time in their cave for a few days before actually spawning. Watch the shape of her belly and ovipositor to tell if spawning has happened yet.
 

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Well my water seems to be acceptable to them because look what I found after I got home from work today. Plus a picture of Dad (how his colors look in this 'blackwater' tank. Very Excited. I gave them some microworms plus I saw the babies picking at algae etc. on the wood and leaves I have. They just came out briefly and then she went back into hiding. She had several more naturalistic 'caves' but seems to have chosen the ugly plastic WWII Tank(?) replica that came with one of my craigslist aquariums (which is tastefully hidden under oak leaves)
 

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Messages
115
Location
Seattle Washington
Great job! How are the fry doing so far as its been just about a month now. Give us an update under the Apistogramma thread.
Banana worms would be better after 7 days as micro-worms are bigger. I feed boiled egg centers strained through a very fine net to start off.
Gerald is right, P.H. and G.H./K.H. are different. It's the T.D.S. (total dissolved salts) that matters for eggs to hatch without fungasing. If you use 90% grocery store (R.O. water) the one's you see inside to refill in 1 to 5 gallon drinking jugs, ($2.40). Just heat it up in a clean fish bucket first before using and this will definatley lower your total hardness to nearly 0 G.H. As long as your tank is 20 gallons and under as this is a-lot of work to start off a tank at first.

Welcome, which Washington are you from? You Say the Evergreen one? You mean the WET one!!! I live on the "WETSIDE"
Wish I had seen your post sooner. I would love to chat fish with you so contact me via P.M. at [email protected]
I'm am also a member of the Seattle fish club....
 

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
I am in the Seattle area. I too am a member of the same club, joined last April but have attended every meeting since. I now have babies about 5 weeks old. I can't tell how many because there are so many hiding places in the tank. I could still count about 15 all along but lately they are hiding more since the parents are no longer guiding them around -- in fact the mother this past week went into a cave and was defending it fiercely and went after her babies when they got too close, which they still did - hovering right next to the cave rather than using all the other possible safer places to be. So she may have eaten some. I did try to catch some with a turkey baster or a net but was unsuccessful. They were too fast for me. So I hope they are too fast for the mother. The parents were very good caretakers for the first 4 weeks, both the mother and father seemed to take turns 'guarding' them and they would roam around nibbling at stuff. Since the leaves and logs have been in that tank for months I think they had a good supply of microorganisms to eat and then I kept up the microworms and baby brine shrimp plus a very fine powder fry feed that Ken's aquarium supply makes.
I finally tested the GH/KH and if I understand the chart correctly it's higher than the ideal for these fish. I got reading of 179/143 for Gh/Kh. Again, not sure I know how to read the chart but it was 10 drops for Gh and 8 drops for Kh. Either way I should probablyget some RO water. I didn't realize that grocery store water was the same thing - I can do that.
I also had a scare when we had a 24 hour power outage during the windstorm last week but the tank temperature only went down to 70d F since I put quilts over them and put glass bottles full of hot water inside. For next time I have bought myself a rechargeable portable power unit so I can at least run a few heaters.
The pair are definitely acting like they want to spawn again and she may have been guarding some eggs but they are gone now. If that hardness is too high they must have just died, plus my Ph is higher than last month- I think the peat I put in the filter has used up its blackwater effect. I've added lots of fresh alder cones and oak leaves but it's still back up to 7.6.
Anyway, I get to stare at these babies and this very attractive pair and their interesting antics, every morning and night

I'll have to look up banana worms as I'm not familiar with them. I did get a vinegar worm culture at one of the last auctions and should try that next time. I'm going to pick up some RO water so thanks for the hint about the grocery store - its true for a 20 gallon tank I can afford that.
 

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Ekona

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
453
Neat fish, congrats on the fry and sharing the photos. I like the aquarium too, although I am a proponent of using sand as the substrate for apistos and recommend that to you as well. It simulates their natural habitat and is easy to maintain/manage.
Good luck with them.
 

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
I didn't know about the sand option initially, and I got all my tanks used, two of which came with tons of this natural gravel. I did just buy a little sand (well, very fine gravel) so I can maybe do part of the tank in sand. If I ever have to take it apart again I could try a full sand tank. Is the sand easier to keep clean? Gravel does trap leftover food too well.
 

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
video with the babies at 4 weeks old, and the parents starting to show some aggression towards them because they're getting interested in spawning again. Like I say I've been unable to catch the babies to move them and don't have an extra tank for the parents either. Unless I get ride of the tank full of Rio Otapa swordtails or the community tank or the goodeid tank. . .
 

Ekona

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
453
... Is the sand easier to keep clean? Gravel does trap leftover food too well.
In my opinion sand is much easier to manage: The larger gravels trap waste and debris in the interstitial spaces that can lead to nitrogenous waste build up - not good for apisto fry. Also the larger sized gravels are hard to clean with a siphon tube. Small gravel probably is best if you are going to thoroughly "vacuum" your substrate. With sand, waste and debris tends to collect on the surface and not penetrate deeply between the fine grains of the sand, and can be easily removed by siphoning gently just above the substrate surface to remove the lighter (by weight) organic debris, but not so much of the sand. I also tend to use a thin (less than an inch) layer of sand rather than several inches, as I find it easier to deal with if I have to move things around or break down the tank for some reason. Add to the above reasons the fact that apistos are micro geophagines (earth eaters) that are adapted to sifting through sand in search of food particles ,and you have good reasons to use sand as your substrate with apistos. Take a look at many of the videos/photos of actual apisto habitat in the wild and biotope apisto aquarium photos on this forum and you will get good ideas for the rational and implementation of using sand as your substrate.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
1,491
Location
Wake Forest NC, USA
If you already have gravel, or just prefer the look of coarser particles, then adding sand to fill in those interstitial spaces will work too. (Exactly what you DONT want to happen in streams with gravel-spawning fish!) If adding sand to a tank with gravel, you may want to remove the fish, then stir up and vacuum out the accumulated dirt before mixing in the sand. Having at least some part of the tank that is mostly sand will give them a place to do their sand-sifting (drop food there).
 

Mrs. Susie

New Member
Messages
19
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Thank you very much for these suggestions. I was wondering about whether adding sand to the gravel would be harmful or not, sounds like it's ok for this purpose. I didn't know they did 'sand sifting' My gravel layer is pretty thin in that tank so it will be quite do-able. I won't be able to remove the fish right now since the current batch of fry is un-catchable. I'll just put in a little sand area while they're in the tank.
 

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