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Harems

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by aarhud, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Do any Dwarf cichlids such as nannacara or apistogrammas form harems? By Harem I mean one male spawning with multiple females.
  2. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    You need some-one who has kept more species to give you a more complete answer, but most of the Apistogramma species are either harem forming or opportunistically harem forming. If you are not sure, if the male is much larger than the female they are likely to be a harem forming species.

    I've kept A. cacatuoides as a pair and as anything up to a 1m:7f harem (this is probably not the limit, but each female needs a bottom territory and I run out of space), and the ones that work less well, unless you have a lot of cover, are 1m:1f and 1m:2f. In a pair the male tends to harass the female a lot, and in a 1m:2f often one of the females is picked upon by the other female. From my limited experience you get the same thing happen with A. agassizi and A. trifasciata (in A. trifasciata the male was much more aggressive towards a single female).

    Species which are pair forming are the nijsseni group - A. nijsseni, panduro, baenschii etc. Species which are sometimes pair forming are the macmasteri group, macmasteri, hongsloi etc.

    I think Nannacara are pair forming, I've only kept N. annomala, and the male would form a pair with any of the females in the tank (it isn't a permanent pair bond), but always as a pair, and I never had simultaneous breeding females.

    cheers Darrel
  3. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    What I want to do is have three different harems. I'm setting up a 6 foot 125g, so I should have room to do it.

    Would I be able to pull of 3males and 12Females? Will the males each guard their own territory and females?
  4. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Do you want 3 different harems of different species or 3 different species of the same species? Each has its own problems.
  5. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I want a single species with multiple males supporting harems.
  6. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I think you may be able to do this if you have 3 distinct sections to the tank with limited line of sight between sections. It is then going to depend upon the males and how tolerant they are of other males. I'm pretty sure you could do this with A. cacatuoides or A. borellii, again others may have other species in mind that will, or definitely won't, work.

    cheers Darrel
  7. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Would two males and 8 females be a easier setup to accomplish?

    I really need some more info on keeping harems, I would hate to waste a lot of money on the fish and the male only spawn with one female.
  8. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    No, you can be pretty sure the male will mate with all the available females (other than in the exclusively pair forming species, should they exist). The number of males you can keep will be limited by how dominant the dominant male is. If it is an aggressive species, or there is insufficient cover, the dominant male will sequester all the females, and relentlessly hunt down the other males as soon as they leave the upper portions of the tank. The problem then is even if the dominant male doesn't kill the sub-dominants out-right their lives are likely to be short, bloody and stress filled.

    You could definitely successfully keep multiple male A. borellii in your tank, a species like A. macmasteri might be a possibility, but A. atahualpa, for example, would probably be a non-starter.

    You'll need somebody with more practical experience to tell you which species to avoid.

    cheers Darrel
  9. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks Darrel,

    I have been keeping fish for awhile so I'm pretty good at aquascaping defined territores. I have about a volleyball size of java moss I am going to place in key places.

    Nobody seems to be answering, but how do you think cacatuoides would do? I would like two harems, but if I ended up with 1 male to 6 or so females I would still be happy with the tank. Would be awesome to always have a female with fry to watch.

    You said you had a ratio of 1 male to 7 females?
  10. indyplanted

    indyplanted New Member

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    It's tough to give you a straight forward answer. it may work, depends on your fish and how much cover there is to keep them out of each others line of sight. I think thats kind of what everybody else is saying.
  11. Alex92

    Alex92 New Member

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    If the goal is to constatly have fry to watch, 1 male / 2 females is enough.
    I maintain 1 male apisto cacatuoides with 2 females in a 360L (~100 gallon) community tank and always have one or both females cruising around their territory with their fry.
    If parameters are good and stable, and the process is initiated then it just won't stop....
    Eventually, other members of the community (such as pterophyllum scalare...) will have a snack but another batch of babies will be back a week later, two at most...
  12. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I'd agree with Alex, if the fish are in good condition and have a varied diet with lots of live food the females will nearly always either have fry or be preparing to breed. One advantage of the harem is that you can watch the females interacting with one another (they steal fry from one another, have boundary disputes etc.) and also with the male in his super-territory.
    You would almost certainly be successful with 2 or 3 domestic male A. cacatuoides, most of their display is just bluff, and it rarely develops into serious fighting. I kept "Steel-Blue" for a while and in their case the dominant male was absolutely relentless in his pursuit of the sub-dominant, and if he caught up with him, he would go full-out to inflict as much damage as possible.

    Where are you located Aarhud?

    cheers Darrel
  13. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I want to always see spawning behavior, but I am also interested in the female interactions and the males arguing over their super territory.

    I am located in the states, but I have access to domestic A. cacatuoides.
  14. indyplanted

    indyplanted New Member

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    I have a gaggle of 'steel blue' and they are very aggressive no matter what is going on.