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Apistogramma Cacatuoides male hiding

Mambert

New Member
A few months ago I bought a 60 liter (15-16 gallon) tank and stocked it with neon tetras and danio rerio. A month ago I bought a cockatoo male and 1-2 weeks later a female. Everything went well until I got the female cockatoo. When I first put the female in the tank the male seemed interested and was following her around. After a couple of days this changed however and he started to hide behind the pump. This has now been going on for two weeks and he spends almost all his time hiding behind the pump.

At feeding time he does come out to eat and from what I can tell there seems to be nothing physically wrong with him. When the female sees him she approaches him and appears to be courting him but he flees every time to go hiding behind the pump. Based on googling pictures I think the female is fully grown and the male is not, since they are pretty much the same size. The female is maybe a tiny bit larger.

All of the fish except for the male cockatoo seem to be doing just fine. There are several caves and plants in the tank. At first I thought they had spawned since the female was guarding a particular cave but now she spends most of her time swimming around. The male never hid like this before the female came around and the fact that he has been hiding behind the pump for about two weeks now makes me a bit worried.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I guess you just added a more dominant fish to the tank. Time and size might alter this.
 

Mambert

New Member
Approximately how long would it take for the male to be fully grown? I think he's about two inches right now.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
The simple answer is as long as it takes. It really depends on its environment, and how it is maintained. Fish growth slows with age but they never stop growing. I would expect that in 6 months or less the male will be larger than the female.
 

Kaspar

New Member
Hello everyone, thank you for this! I have the same issue happening right now in my tank. I bought both female and male together at the same time. At the beginning they were getting along really well. Female also laid eggs and they were both looking after them. Then I believe other fish ate the eggs since they were gone when I got home. Anyway, after that I started having the same issue, the male hides behind the pump and goes away from the female. Do you think the only reason could be that the male isn't fully grown? Thank you
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Who do you think is eating the eggs, the apistos or other fish in the tank with them? I usually see males hide from females when the female has eggs/fry
 

Kaspar

New Member
Hi, thank you! Well I have no idea who ate the eggs, they were gone after the night. Would it make any difference in the current behaviour if the apistos ate their own eggs or some other fish did it?
At the moment the apistos male is hiding between the plants and behind the pump, lying on rocks and not moving much. Would it make him feeling better if I add a hiding place like a little cave etc? Not sure if he is not well or just being smaller than the female. Thank you
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
It seems your female is the dominant fish and the entire tank is her territory. From my experience I will make some suggestions. If possible, remove the male until he gets some size. If not then remove both fish temporarily, totally re-arrange the decor so old territories no longer exist. Be especially careful to break up the lines-of-sights so fish cannot see across the aquarium. Then add the less dominant fish (male) first for a few hours, then add the dominant fish (female). This allows the less dominant fish time to better orient to new surroundings first.
BTW, your neons (fry predators) and zebra danios (overly active) are not the best fish to have in a tank that has a potential breeding pair of apistos - especially if you expect to raise some fry.
 

Kaspar

New Member
Hi mike, I did what you told me, I re-arranged the tank removing both fish but even though I put them back in different times, unfortunately nothing has changed. I don't have a spare wather tank where to put the male until it grows. Do you have any other suggestions ?
Thank you
 
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