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Best apistogramma for community tank

lucam

New Member
Messages
5
Hi guys,

I'm new to apistos and interesting in adding one to my community tank. I'm trying to understand whether I could do this with a reasonably low chance of aggression, and if yes which species would be best.

My tanks is an ADA 90P, 48 gallons and three feet long. It's heavily planted with driftwood and several caves.

Other occupants would be:
3 Pearl Gourami (1M/2F)
3 Peacock Gudgeons (1M/2F)
10 Emperor Tetras
12 Glowlight Danios (considering pulling these into another tank and replacing with Espei Rasboras)
6 Panda Cories
5 Otos
10 Amanos

I'm considering adding one male apisto and was leaning towards macmasteri but also open to cacatuoides or other options.

Does this seem like a good plan, or would there be too many territorial fish? Is macmasteri more aggressive than cacatuoides?

Appreciate the help!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
I think it's best to turn the question around:
What is an acceptable level of aggression to you?

I'm assuming the way you phrase your question and what fish you are keeping at the moment, one thing is pretty certain: You will neither want to get a pair/trio nor a same-sex group of any apisto that can stand it's ground in your tank. (stand its ground means: Not getting outcompeted. Apistos are bottom dwellers, so the food has to get past two grouos of greedily feeding shoaling fish right now and preferably without overfeeding the tank as a whole.)

My experience is that aggression usually, species irrelevant, is firstly directed at conspecifics. When not breeding it's male aggression towards females, ignoring everybody else. When breeding tables turn, the brooding female versus everybody else. A female with spawn will clear an area of at least 20-30cm diameter of any other fish.
If you have a group of only males they will at one point take each other out. It would take a tank of at least 120-150cm to keep several with the least aggression (for dwarf cichlid standards that is). So this is very surely also not to your liking.
Leaves a single male as an option. Having kept singles of several species and genera, one will still encounter agression towards other fish in a certain diameter around the spot the fish has chosen as its territorial center and within the 10-15cm above the ground.

With the Corydoras and gudgeons - at best - a male Apistogramma borellii might work. Considering the whole of your stock I'd be inclined to say that the fish might become outcompeted, though.

Is the tank suitable for a dwarf cichlid? Well structured? Sand? Decently planted?
 
Last edited:

lucam

New Member
Messages
5
Hey thanks for the response!

Too aggressive for me would mean causing ongoing stress for any of the current tankmates or the new apisto. I’d rather not add one vs stressing my fish.

Leaves a single male as an option.
Agreed, this is the only option I’m considering.
Is the tank suitable for a dwarf cichlid? Well structured? Sand? Decently planted?
I think so from my understanding. It’s heavily planted (about 70-80% heavy plant coverage) with the rest as sand beach, several caves, and three large pieces of driftwood.
Apistos are bottom dwellers, so the food has to get past two grouos of greedily feeding shoaling fish right now and preferably without overfeeding the tank as a whole.
This is one of my bigger concerns and why I was considering moving the danios. They are greedy eaters but the other fish are less competitive. Even now with plenty of smaller live food the distribution seems to be ok, but I sometimes target feed the gudgeons.

I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts about the cockatoo vs umbrella apistos. Would cockatoo be too aggressive and likely stress its tankmates? Will umbrella compete for food as well as a cockatoo?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
Too aggressive for me would mean causing ongoing stress for any of the current tankmates or the new apisto. I’d rather not add one vs stressing my fish.
Ok, most likely candidates for getting the short end are the gudgeons and maybe the Corydoras, though I think the latter as a non-territorial species might be able to evade a dwarf cichlid better than gudgeons that have each other as a stressor to consider.

I think so from my understanding. It’s heavily planted (about 70-80% heavy plant coverage) with the rest as sand beach, several caves, and three large pieces of driftwood.
Care to post a picture?

This is one of my bigger concerns and why I was considering moving the danios. They are greedy eaters but the other fish are less competitive. Even now with plenty of smaller live food the distribution seems to be ok, but I sometimes target feed the gudgeons.
I would have recommended moving the danios anyway, but not replacing them with any other fish.

I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts about the cockatoo vs umbrella apistos. Would cockatoo be too aggressive and likely stress its tankmates? Will umbrella compete for food as well as a cockatoo?
My thoughts on A. cacatuoides, especially the domestic forms: Find them ugly, overbred and generally not a fish I would want to keep even if you gave them to me as a present.
From what I gather from observing other people's specimens they are for sure the more territorial species of the two. One has to take into account though, that this applies to pretty much every Apistogramma in contrast to A. borellii. And then there is the individual factor as well. In every species you might pick a troublemaker or a docile specimen.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
281
I had some wild cacatuoides and they weren't too aggressive with any fish. I never had Corydoras with them though so that might be another story. A wild agassizii I had was very aggressive with any other cichlids, though not with tetras. It would even attack Mesonauta that were bigger than him at the time, so may well attack gouramis as well.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,325
To be honest I'm not sure i would add a cichlid to that mix of fishes. It just doesn't seem to fit in well. You might increase the group size of the peacock by a few members and be content. If you absolutely had to add a male apisto then my guess is either a male borelli or a mac - the mac has the advantage of being a larger fish and therefore more likely to assert itself in that mix. I find with my borelli they will go to the top to eat if they have problems getting food at the bottom so feeding won't be an issue - also a hungry fish is more likely to become aggressive at feeding time whether it be a cory or a loach or well a cichild.

I can tell stories of some underfed fish I purchased being extremely aggressive around food until it fatten up (well two stories - one was a 2 inch clown loach that was almost all bones; and the other was a mistreated catfish of some species.

Anyway sometimes it just isn't worth trying to push a square peg through a round hole.
 

lucam

New Member
Messages
5
Anyway sometimes it just isn't worth trying to push a square peg through a round hole.
I agree. I’m curious to hear a little more info why though. Is it the cories, gudgeons, both? Food competition or aggression? Lone male apisto in community just not a good setup?

I definitely would like to keep an apisto in the future and hear a lot of mixed things about what solid set up for them looks like so trying to understand this better.

Here’s a pic of the tank. There’s a cave behind the leaf on the right and one on the left island you can’t see here.

62607129-891D-44A7-A5F0-09BB6A70E35E.jpeg
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,325
Nice looking aquarium. A couple of fishes you might consider if you decide to adjust the stocking at some point in the future would be 12 pygmy cory or 6 panda gara. I think both would fit in better than a dwarf cichild which might spend most of the time unobservable. I havent' seen my nijjensi in 3 months and before the last time i saw her it was 4 months. Panda gara are a bit like otto but extremely bold and pygmy well are pygmy.

I'm not suggesting you add either to your current stocking just something you might consider in the future depending how the aquarium mature.
 

lucam

New Member
Messages
5
Thanks for the input! I’m definitely interested in keeping panda garra at some point. I’ve heard they can climb glass so maybe I can add them to my next lidded tank.

Hey, to make my last question a little more concrete: how well would a single male tank-bred apisto fit into my community if there were no peacock gudgeons? Would this still be an awkward fit? Not that I’m planning to do this. Just trying to understand what a good community would look like for an apisto. In particular, I’m curious if cories and pearls are bad tankmates for apistos? Is best to just keep them with dither fish?
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
281
Yes, the Cories and the gouramis are the ones I would be most concerned about. Also the gudgeons. I have had cacatuoides males in a community tank with absolutely no problems, but not with any of those types of fish (with tetras, pencilfish and angelfish). Whether the Apistogramma would chase any of them I just don't know, and it might depend on individuals as well, but I would say it is a distinct possibility. If you have a spare tank, somewhere you could move it to if necessary, you could try it out and see, if not I probably would not risk it.
 

lucam

New Member
Messages
5
Great, thanks for the input. I do have other tanks and use a quarantine tank, so definitely wouldn't be throwing him into the community without a plan B. It sounds like it's risky though and I try to avoid risky stocking decisions. Maybe in the future I can plan a tank around an apisto pair or harem.

Has there been any issue between your cacatuoides and angelfish btw? Hard large is your community tank?
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
281
Has there been any issue between your cacatuoides and angelfish btw? Hard large is your community tank?
No, no problem with them and the angelfish, they ignore each other. The cacatuoides were actually moved around a bit. I first had them in a tank 120 x 45 x 50cm with neon tetras, pencilfish and otocinclus, and later some juvenile Cichlasomas. One of the cactuoides was dominant, there were two others much smaller that I hoped were females but in the end they were all males. But in the same tank also was a male agassizii. At first they coexisted OK each with their own territory at different ends of the tank, just a bit of agro at times when they ventured into each other's space. The two smaller ones just kept out of the way. But as they matured the agassizii got much more aggressive and started to dominate and stress the big cacatuoides, forcing him into an ever smaller space, so I moved it and one of the smaller ones (couldn't catch the other) to a smaller tank (70 x 50 x50 cm) along with the tetras and pencilfish as the cichlids were growing fast and putting them at risk, and I added two juvenile angelfish. Not long afterwards we built a larger tank (160 x 60 x 60 cm) and I moved all those fish there and got four more angelfish and some more tetras. That tank is densely planted. I later got 4 Laetacara araguaiae and they coexisted with the Apistogrammas for quite some time, although I would not really recommend that combination. Fairly recently they both disappeared, I am not sure exactly when as they stayed hidden a lot of the time. The cacatuoides that stayed in the 120cm tank developed into a really nice looking male once the dominant one was removed, but died some time later, probably stressed by the agassizii.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,325
I've also kept a cockatoo with angels for a while; there is no reason for conflict since the angels prefer the higher regions - but i suppose if you had a short aquarium and put them in the same space there might be an issue. I'm keeping my angels in a 24 inch aquarium and otehr than picking food off the bottom they are normally in the upper 1/2. I have had cockatoo brutalize stuff in the lower regions including cory and other dwarf cichild.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,325
You sure your female nijensi isn't dead? Thats a truely long time for her to be MIA.
Yea i'm sure i saw her again this morning. What happened is i had her in a 29 for 3 years and she never hid but when i added some other fishes she was quite aggressive so i moved her to a 40 that is extremely dense planted. I guess she didn't take kindly to that and refuses to come out in the open. The last two times i saw her she hangs at the very edge of a clearing and grabs some food that drifts into the coverage (think clearing in a forest with heavy bushes around the clearing). She was an adult when i received her so my guess is she is between 4 and 4 1/2 (she has been in the 40B for 6 to 8 months). There is a breeding pair of bn pleco in that tank so there is lots of live food and i suspect she snacks on more than a few young pleco as she has gotten a bit chunky.
 

Memeboi

Member
Messages
93
Yea i'm sure i saw her again this morning. What happened is i had her in a 29 for 3 years and she never hid but when i added some other fishes she was quite aggressive so i moved her to a 40 that is extremely dense planted. I guess she didn't take kindly to that and refuses to come out in the open. The last two times i saw her she hangs at the very edge of a clearing and grabs some food that drifts into the coverage (think clearing in a forest with heavy bushes around the clearing). She was an adult when i received her so my guess is she is between 4 and 4 1/2 (she has been in the 40B for 6 to 8 months). There is a breeding pair of bn pleco in that tank so there is lots of live food and i suspect she snacks on more than a few young pleco as she has gotten a bit chunky.
Well it's nice to know that she is doing good C:
It seems 40 gallons is a sweet spot size for having Jungle tanks!
 

AmazonFishroom

New Member
Messages
6
I have a WC Caucatoides that is in a community tank with a couple angels, as well as some swords and Cory’s. Lightly planted, a small hut for a hide. He coexists peacefully, no chasing or serious aggression. He does make sure he gets his food though.

I have a WC pair of Eunotus in a 75 community. The male is unconcerned about anyone else in the tank, and stays away from the female for the majority of time as well. The female however, who has fry (recently discovered), is quite aggressive in defense of her hide, which consists of some lava rock piled into a cave and leaf litter. She chases everyone that encroaches, even pecks the tails of the pseudohemiodon and farowella that lounge in her general vicinity.

In short, I have found single males blend in, and cause little to no disruption.
 

AmazonFishroom

New Member
Messages
6
Ok, most likely candidates for getting the short end are the gudgeons and maybe the Corydoras, though I think the latter as a non-territorial species might be able to evade a dwarf cichlid better than gudgeons that have each other as a stressor to consider.


Care to post a picture?


I would have recommended moving the danios anyway, but not replacing them with any other fish.


My thoughts on A. cacatuoides, especially the domestic forms: Find them ugly, overbred and generally not a fish I would want to keep even if you gave them to me as a present.
From what I gather from observing other people's specimens they are for sure the more territorial species of the two. One has to take into account though, that this applies to pretty much every Apistogramma in contrast to A. borellii. And then there is the individual factor as well. In every species you might pick a troublemaker or a docile specimen.
I agree with domestic bred Caucatoides. I saw one in a show over the weekend that was deformed to the point that without the ‘flash’, I think it was unidentifiable. another had a deformed mouth.
 

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