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Does the perfect fish exist?

ApistoCommunity

New Member
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I'm looking for a very specific fish to live and breed in my 20 gallon high. The tank is currently blackwater and i would prefer to keep it that way, so I am looking for a softwater cichlid that gets no bigger than 5-ish cm and would happily live as a pair or trio in a 20. It doesn't have to be an apisto, and I also don’t want anything too common or overbred.

Any ideas?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
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3,198
Location
Germany
I would lean towards Dicrossus, but in my opinion a 80l high is just enough for a single male D. filamentosus.

As a dedicated breeding tank, just pick any dwarf and have a second tank running at hand to move a male or sth like that.

Really tough one if you want more than one specimen longterm.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
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589
Location
San Francisco
There is no so such thing as "perfect." It really depends on what you're interested in and what your goals are. A 20 gallon high is the same footprint as a 15 gallon. You could probably do a pair of Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis in a 15, assuming you can move fish around when they breed.

I agree with @Apistoguy52 that your options widen a lot if you consider fish that fill a similar ecological niche as cichlids. So you get some similar behaviors, but not the size requirement. A number of options I've explored in this tank size for soft water are wild Betta complexes, Parosphromenus, Sphaerichthys, Badidae, Elassoma, killifish... Among those, if your goals are to breed and share/trade with other keepers, I would probably pick a wild betta species. There's a pretty active community around those. But it all boils down to what you like.
 

Mike Wise

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5 Year Member
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11,305
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Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
"Perfect fish"? Walleye for eating, but not a 20 high.:) A. angayuara checks all of the boxes for your 'perfect' apisto but I doubt that you'll ever see one. One of the smaller Dicrossus species or Biotoecus would fit the bill and be more likely found commercially.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,479
My a. pucallpaensis have done very well in a 10 with multiple generations the past couple of years. They are not really a blackwater fish though I think @Tom C said he has kept his in blackwater. They are not very colourful but on dark substrate the male does develop nice colouring in the fins. Either my current male in the 10 is a runt or he adjusted his size to the size of the aquarium. he is an f1 or f2; the previous male which was moved was about twice as large. Still i saw a female swimming with frys this morning. I have 4 or 5 in there of various sizes and have been slowly moving them to a large aquarium with b. cupido (it is a ~160). Anyway they can work in a 20 high. Initially i had some ember tetra and pangio sheffordi (mini kuhli); but currently all i have in there are shrimps and maybe a snail (not sure about the snail). I keep mine in tap water and the original group was wc. My tap is 120-140 tds kh 3 gh 6.

Another fish that you could try are a. borelli but it just depends how the tank is scaped and how vicious the female is when she has fry. dario dario are not sa cichild but they would also work if you can find a female.

There are also some pure blackwater gourami like chocolate and cherry chocolate; but unsure of their requirement on tank size. There are some less common ones that are smaller.

nn1.jpg
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
589
Location
San Francisco
Might look more into wild bettas I quite like the mouthbrooders but not so much the cocina? species
You could do albimarginata/channoides, but I think the tank would be too small for unimaculata complex.

One of the smaller Dicrossus species or Biotoecus would fit the bill and be more likely found commercially.
The challenge with Dicrossus is that they're almost never available sexed, so it's hard to guarantee a pair unless you buy a group and separate the pair out.
 

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