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Hello from Georgia!

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Hello Community! Quick intro - been in the fish keeping hobby since I was a kid, but didn't have a 'real' tank until I was stationed in the UK while in the Navy. Have really only kept S. American tanks and really enjoy them, but finally starting to venture into new species and setups. Had a 75g w/ sump when I was in the UK and the movers destroyed my sump and stand when I got stationed state-side again, then went on deployment(s) and ultimately sold my setup. Fast forward a bit and here we are. Live in 'middle' Georgia where the closest reputable fish store is at least two hours away, unfortunately... I have a 55g community tank set up with cardinals, few true SAE's, emperor kerri tetras, few rummynose tetras, and half a dozen Sterbai Cory's. Plan is to add Philippine Blue Angels as the center piece fish (maybe 3), but also really would like to have a pair or trio (depending on what's available/recommended) of Apisto Trifasciata. I also have a 20g currently being used as a qt, but eventually, when I can find them, set it up as a breeder for Agassizii Blue Flames... one day. I've read quite a few articles on this forum already and have learned a TON about these awesome fish and look forward to learning more as I go along. Will post a couple pictures of my tank at some point as well... See y'all out there!
 

Mike Wise

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Staff member
5 Year Member
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11,173
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Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Welcome to the site. I think you'll find that adding a breeding group of apistos will turn out to be a bad idea. My suggestion would be to add only 1, or at most 2, different-looking apisto males to the mix.
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Welcome to the site. I think you'll find that adding a breeding group of apistos will turn out to be a bad idea. My suggestion would be to add only 1, or at most 2, different-looking apisto males to the mix.
Thanks for the reply, Mike. I'm still in the 'idea' phase as I am not a fan of re-work - or trying to move fish around after the fact... so I am going to take my time before I pull the trigger on anything in any case. There are so many options and things to consider - just want to make the best decision I can and stick with it for the community tank. As for the breeding tank (eventually), I am on the fence in general, but not set on the 'blue flame' necessarily. The Abacaxis is also a beautiful species I would consider, but need to learn more about them and breeding habits/requirements before I get too ahead of myself...
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Some recent pics of my setup so far... Not the finished product, but getting there. I have a couple other pieces of wood still soaking, more rock, and need a couple more plants to fill in some gaps... I've read several times here that the decision needs to be made (and stick to it): breeding tank or community tank - not both. Check, good copy. I have a 20H that will be a future breeding project for Apistos, but not ready for that yet. The community tank is not intended to be a breeding tank, but does that mean having a pair is out of the question? If not out of the question, what do I need to do to my current setup to make that work? Would have liked A. erythrura or A. trifasciata but are these viable options and if not, what do folks suggest for this tank?

There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this topic, very controversial, but figure it may be better to ask a group of experts/hobbyists for input. I appreciate any feedback, criticism (the constructive kind), and/or recommendations I can get!
 

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joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
It really depends on the species and how the tank and laid out. A 20High is about minimum for some apisto species and too small for others.
Understood. I tend to overthink things, but after some light reading on here I see some flaws in my design… I’m going to hold off on adding them to the community until I get the design dialed in. Once I add them, I don’t want to deal with self-induced problems that could have been avoided with a little more thought put into it. So thank you for the perspective (everyone)! I really appreciate the advice and feedback, Mike!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
The community tank is not intended to be a breeding tank, but does that mean having a pair is out of the question?
You could do a bachelor group instead. You would have to add a lot of driftwood though, as the tank is too open at the bottom. Dwarf cichlids need structures to set there territory borders. Those require sight blocks glass-to-glass in the 10-15cm right above the sand. Also leaf litter is very much appreciated by the fish. What are the dimensions of the tank? (LxWxH)

Also I would remove the SAEs. While Corydoras can work with Apistogramma in sufficiently sized tanks, SAEs are in my experience simply not a good idea, rising stress levels in territorial species far to high.
Would have liked A. erythrura or A. trifasciata but are these viable options and if not, what do folks suggest for this tank?
Though probably not with A. trifasciata, as those are infamous for being very aggressive. I have no suggestions unless I know your GH/KH, pH and/or conductivity readings.
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
You could do a bachelor group instead. You would have to add a lot of driftwood though, as the tank is too open at the bottom. Dwarf cichlids need structures to set there territory borders. Those require sight blocks glass-to-glass in the 10-15cm right above the sand. Also leaf litter is very much appreciated by the fish. What are the dimensions of the tank? (LxWxH)

Also I would remove the SAEs. While Corydoras can work with Apistogramma in sufficiently sized tanks, SAEs are in my experience simply not a good idea, rising stress levels in territorial species far to high.

Though probably not with A. trifasciata, as those are infamous for being very aggressive. I have no suggestions unless I know your GH/KH, pH and/or conductivity readings.
Hey Mac! Thanks for the response. I am planning to add more driftwood later this week and adding a few more plants to fill in some gaps as well. I've read about the leaf litter, but haven't gotten any yet. Does that have to be a specific species of tree leaf? I have read different things, but not 100% certain. I have Shumard Oak trees in my front yard, but not sure that's the right answer.

Tank dims are 48"L x 12"W x 18"H (122cm x 30.5cm x 46cm)

Thanks for the heads up on the SAEs. They do well in the cleanup crew dept and haven't had any issues with them bothering other tank mates, but as they get bigger I don't think the tank is big enough for their personalities anyway.

So, I'm going to pick your brain a little on the A. trifasciata part... Something I'm trying to better understand is why some folks say <insert species> are super aggressive and others say just the opposite. I've seen/read/heard this many times and it is very confusing, making the choice of species almost impossible. I would speculate that some of this has to do with tank size, setup, tankmates, structure (sight blocks, etc.), among other variables I'm sure. Again, its not that I'm set on one species over another, it just makes this harder to understand, if that makes sense?

As far as pH, we're pretty neutral around here, about 7.0-7.2. When I first set up the tank I was testing at 7.0, but the past month or so its been closer to 7.2. I have never tested GH/KH or conductivity. Is there a reliable test kit you would suggest for these parameters? Also, does TDS play any part here? How do you test that?

Thanks again for your response, Mac. I really appreciate the insight and guidance. Probably asked more questions than I answered though, lol!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
I am planning to add more driftwood later this week and adding a few more plants to fill in some gaps as well.
Excellent!

I've read about the leaf litter, but haven't gotten any yet. Does that have to be a specific species of tree leaf? I have read different things, but not 100% certain. I have Shumard Oak trees in my front yard, but not sure that's the right answer.
Any brown (not yellow, not red, not half-green) autmn leaf will do. I personally use a mix of beech, oak and walnut and buy additional Catappa towards early fall usually, as the ones I collected in the woods are used up.

Thanks for the heads up on the SAEs. They do well in the cleanup crew dept and haven't had any issues with them bothering other tank mates, but as they get bigger I don't think the tank is big enough for their personalities anyway.
Yeah, with those tank dimensions they will outgrow the tank at about 9-10cm, that's when their space requirements bust the tank.

So, I'm going to pick your brain a little on the A. trifasciata part... Something I'm trying to better understand is why some folks say <insert species> are super aggressive and others say just the opposite. I've seen/read/heard this many times and it is very confusing, making the choice of species almost impossible. I would speculate that some of this has to do with tank size, setup, tankmates, structure (sight blocks, etc.), among other variables I'm sure. Again, its not that I'm set on one species over another, it just makes this harder to understand, if that makes sense?
There are only two species I deem unusual in my experience. A. trifasciata as especially aggressive and A. borellii as espacially docile. Both only refers to their intraspecies behaviour. All other species I've either kept, or observed in other peoples' tanks, were pretty much the same. And of course sex-ratios, tanksizes and decorations always come into play as well.

As far as pH, we're pretty neutral around here, about 7.0-7.2. When I first set up the tank I was testing at 7.0, but the past month or so its been closer to 7.2. I have never tested GH/KH or conductivity. Is there a reliable test kit you would suggest for these parameters? Also, does TDS play any part here? How do you test that?
I'm not the "take brand/model X" type, so an average drip-testkit will do. For conductivity a pen-meter usually is absolutely sufficient. TDS is usually measured with an EC-meter and the chip calculates the TDS value from the measured EC.
I'm at the point drip tests don't work anymore as my water is too soft. So I simply measure EC/TDS and that's it. With the amounts of leaf litter and wood I always have so many humic substances in the water, the numbers will balance out just as needed.

Thanks again for your response, Mac. I really appreciate the insight and guidance. Probably asked more questions than I answered though, lol!
My pleasure. With time on a forum like this one you know the usual questions and the answers come with experience. So I can answer some questions in advance once the topic comes up. ;)
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Excellent!

Any brown (not yellow, not red, not half-green) autmn leaf will do. I personally use a mix of beech, oak and walnut and buy additional Catappa towards early fall usually, as the ones I collected in the woods are used up.

Yeah, with those tank dimensions they will outgrow the tank at about 9-10cm, that's when their space requirements bust the tank.

There are only two species I deem unusual in my experience. A. trifasciata as especially aggressive and A. borellii as espacially docile. Both only refers to their intraspecies behaviour. All other species I've either kept, or observed in other peoples' tanks, were pretty much the same. And of course sex-ratios, tanksizes and decorations always come into play as well.

I'm not the "take brand/model X" type, so an average drip-testkit will do. For conductivity a pen-meter usually is absolutely sufficient. TDS is usually measured with an EC-meter and the chip calculates the TDS value from the measured EC.
I'm at the point drip tests don't work anymore as my water is too soft. So I simply measure EC/TDS and that's it. With the amounts of leaf litter and wood I always have so many humic substances in the water, the numbers will balance out just as needed.

My pleasure. With time on a forum like this one you know the usual questions and the answers come with experience. So I can answer some questions in advance once the topic comes up. ;)
- Got the new wood and plants added. Attached a few pics... better?
- Found a few brown oak leaves that fell, but haven't put them in the tank. Assuming they need to be rinsed at the very least?
- Removed the two full grown SAE's last week... that was fun. The two little guys weren't having it and got wise to my plan. They are only maybe 4cm and might have to watch them closely in the future. Although they are slow growers, so might have more time to figure that one out (I hope).
- Thank you for your insight. Whatever species I decide to go with, they will be the only Apisto species in the tank. The same will go for the 20g I would like to set up for a breeding project, but there won't be anything else in that but a pair - hopefully Abacaxis... gorgeous fish. Will see though.
- TDS meter came in yesterday afternoon. Will test it out today and see what the results are.

Part of the fun, to me at least, in this hobby is just learning new things about it in general. I enjoy the challenges of overcoming obstacles and seeing the tank as a whole thrive. So thank you and everyone else for your contributions to help folks new to Apisto keeping get our feet wet!
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
- Got the new wood and plants added. Attached a few pics... better?
Yes, don't be shy of putting them into the open area in the front. :)

- Found a few brown oak leaves that fell, but haven't put them in the tank. Assuming they need to be rinsed at the very least?
Unless you collected them right next to a busy road (pollution) or a game trail (parasites from animal droppings) a quick rinse with hot water is enough. You can pour over some near boiling water and let them steep aswell, then they sink right away.

- Removed the two full grown SAE's last week... that was fun. The two little guys weren't having it and got wise to my plan. They are only maybe 4cm and might have to watch them closely in the future. Although they are slow growers, so might have more time to figure that one out (I hope).
Lowering the waterline and using a big and a small net is your best bet.

- Thank you for your insight. Whatever species I decide to go with, they will be the only Apisto species in the tank. The same will go for the 20g I would like to set up for a breeding project, but there won't be anything else in that but a pair - hopefully Abacaxis... gorgeous fish. Will see though.
My pleasure. Keep in mind to have a tank ready in case you have to separate them from the breeding tank.

- TDS meter came in yesterday afternoon. Will test it out today and see what the results are.
Very excited to see the results!

Part of the fun, to me at least, in this hobby is just learning new things about it in general. I enjoy the challenges of overcoming obstacles and seeing the tank as a whole thrive. So thank you and everyone else for your contributions to help folks new to Apisto keeping get our feet wet!
Again, my pleasure! :)
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
I played around with placement of the Crypts (Wendtii Green and Petchii) in the front of the tank when I got them in and tried to put the Petchii a little further back since they should get a little taller. The Wendtii only grows to about 3" so doesn't seem like an ideal candidate for that 10-15 cm line of sight break, but the idea for these was to provide some blockages near the "caves" and hiding spots I tried to create with the wood. Over time as they mature and propagate, I'm hoping they will fill in some gaps as well. I had to move a Crypt once before (believe it was either Lucens or Lutea) and it didn't end well. But it was pretty well established as where these have only been planted about a week.

Can't remember what EC was off the top of my head, but TDS was about 130-135. Is that too high?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
Can't remember what EC was off the top of my head, but TDS was about 130-135. Is that too high?
TDS x 2 = EC
EC : 2 = TDS

That's very rough but basically what the meter does. It usually can only detect EC and just converts to TDS.

So your EC is between 260 and 300. Not ideal for softwater fish.
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Is the best way to reduce it with a water change? 50%, more or less? This is new territory for me (again) lol...
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
Is the best way to reduce it with a water change? 50%, more or less? This is new territory for me (again) lol...
No, you need softer source water. You have to take things (i.e. ions of dissolved solids) out of the water to lower EC. Or dilute it with softer water. You can use rainwater, RO or distilled. Rain only if you have lots of rainfall all year, if you have months with little rain use RO during those. Distilled is much too expensive to run aquariums with it long term.
 

joshuaj21

New Member
Messages
10
Hmmm, that may be an issue... I do not have an efficient way of collecting rainwater here. Unless there is some chemical/additive that I can dose into tap water before adding to the tank, I'm not sure what options there are. I use tap water and dose with Fritz Complete or Seachem Prime (whichever I have on hand) and then Stability or Fritz Zyme 7 (again, whichever I have on hand). That's been fine for everything else as far as I can tell... What about an inline RO filter to connect to the faucet? Would that help? Found a couple options that use 4-stage filtration in the canister, at first glance look like an RO system, but on a smaller scale. They use Pre-sediment filter, KDF, fluoride/arsenic and suspended contaminants filter stages, and last is a Granular Activated Carbon filter. Would that work?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,902
Location
Germany
Unless there is some chemical/additive that I can dose into tap water before adding to the tank, I'm not sure what options there are.
That would be adding, thus not work.
I use tap water and dose with Fritz Complete or Seachem Prime (whichever I have on hand)
Prime is all you need as it is simply a dechlorinator. ALL the other additives you use are superfluous and only benefit the retailer but neither you, your fish or your bank account.

What about an inline RO filter to connect to the faucet? Would that help?
If rainwater isn't feasable, a normal RO-Unit is all you need. It does not have to be installed fixed to the faucet.
Take a look here:

Found a couple options that use 4-stage filtration in the canister, at first glance look like an RO system, but on a smaller scale. They use Pre-sediment filter, KDF, fluoride/arsenic and suspended contaminants filter stages, and last is a Granular Activated Carbon filter. Would that work?
No, that's missing the decisive part that makes it RO: The membrane.

Look at the thread I linked, there you'll find all information you need.
 

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