• 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!

apistograma cocatodies - 2F:1M in a 20L? (newbie)


New Member
I am very new to fish keeping and just got my first batch of fry and realized I am going to need to design a good system to deal with breeding (also realized I am doing it all wrong this time - but I'll make it work better next time). I'm kinda smitten with these apistos and want to breed more but have limited space (1 shelf in my house).

I'm thinking it will be easier to remove the male when the fry show up rather than trying to net the fry and momma, which means I'll need another tank. I was wondering if there would be any issue with keeping 2 females in with 1 male in a 20 long? I would create multiple caves on the sides of the tank and create a lot of line of sight blocks in the middle. The plan would be to simply remove the male anytime I saw fry, them move the fry into their own tank after a month and put the male back in. Would that work? With the male gone will the female eat her fry after a while? Will the male spawn with both females? Would the females co-habitat fine with fry and no male - would they try to eat each-others fry, etc?

Have a 20L, a 2.5g for the fry and will be picking up a 10g to keep the male in for next time this happens. I have room for a second 2.5 if I'll need to keep different generations of fry separated.

Thanks very much for your time!

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
It should work, particularly if both females do not have fry at the same time. The odd female will increase the maternal instincts of the brooding female. If the odd female becomes a problem, you can temporarily move her, too. Personally, I would temporarily house the male in the 2.5 and use the 10 for an initial grow-out tank. Warning, as the fry grow they will need something larger than a 10. Warning! I see TBA (Tank buying addiction) in your future.


New Member
I would invest in a divider that has holes that will be too small for week old fry to get through, even if you have to make one yourself. If you can protect the odd female from the one caring for fry, that will help a lot. A 20L is not really a large tank for Apistos. Honestly, the way I would personally do it is to have two 20L and a 5.5 or 10. Let the male breed with one female in one 20L, remove him to the other 20L and other female when female #1 has fry. Let her raise those fry all the way up until selling size, as she won't hurt them even once she loses interest in parenting. Repeat this with female #2 in the second 20L. Then remove the male to the 10 while the females raise their kids. When you have the young sold, you can begin again. I would add a divider to the tank when interoducing the male back in with the female(s), and keep him behind it (with a cave he would prefer and about 1/3 of the space at most) for at least several day, up to a week, to let the pair get aquainted. Remove and watch. When the female has fry, repeat with female two if you want more fry, or put him in the 10 and wait a bit if you want to stagger the spawns a bit more.
In my opinion, this is the most efficient way to produce babies with the minimum of tanks and tank space.