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Help for choosing the right Apisto species

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
Hi all!

I lost my old A. Cacatuoides (domestic strain....) probably from old age (around 4 years old) last month. I want to buy a new Apisto species; i have my eyes on a reputable importer that just received wild caught fishes from Peru.
My tank is 4-5 years old, 120cm x35cm surface
- tap water based (my tap water is rather soft, with GH rought 80ppm, kH 60 ppm)
-pH currently lower than 6 with wood, leaves
- kH and gH non detectable (0ish)
- no TDS values as I don't have a TDS meter
- very heavy planted tank (non visually attractive as it is litteraly a mess of various fast growing plants), with semi-emersed Hydrocotyle and a small emersed Pothos
- some water changes, roughly 20% weekly, because I didn't want to raise GH/KH/pH. I can do more water changes, but i don't have a RODI unit.

Population :
- Emperor Tetras, who are breeding +++, I am in the process of giving away 50% of my stock of Tetras, just to reduce bioload and "activity" (these are small piranhas)
- Otocinclus (probably affinis?), 3 when I started, but now 4-5 (breeding?? I didn't add fish for 3-4 years)
- 3 old Corys + 3 juveniles (born in my tank; I know they are not good tankmates for Apisto and I don't plan to add more Corys, but I am not able to catch them either to relocate them)

So the question is:
Should I go with clearwater species only, or my tank is suitable for keeping blackwater species? I don't want to breed Apisto, I just love watching them. If clearwater only, do you guys have a list of clearwater Apisto? I was thinking of 1 male, and 1-2 females maximum.

here is the list of available Apisto (all wc)
- Ortegai Pebas
- Juruensis
- pucallpa
- Viejita
- Rositae
-Norberti
- sunset (?)
-Nissenji
- Panduro
- Baenschi Inka
- Flamingo (agassizii vareity I guess?)


Should I change water more frequently or larger volume ? If so, how can I keep my pH low (5.5?) with frequent water changes?

Thank you all!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,232
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
If I had your tank I would only consider 2 or 3 males with different body/fin shapes. Probable A. alpahuayo (probably the "juruensis" on your list; the true juruennsis is very rarely imported - from Brazil - and much more expensive), A. cf. agassizii Rio Tigre (probably "Flamingo" on your list) and/or A. macmasteri (most likely the "viejita" on the list).
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
That could be very interesting! are there species on this list I shouldn't keep together (Panduro, Nissenji?)?
I am guessing that you don't recommend females to avoid spawning/stress related to breeding and the presence of Corys?

Is my water correct to keep these Apisto healthy or should I try to lower pH even more?
 
Last edited:

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,232
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
There are hundreds of species that I wouldn't mix. Visual similarity leads to inter-species aggression. If they are closely related it can be even worse. If you don't plan to reproduce them, your the water values are acceptable for most species other than true blackwater species.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,055
Location
Germany
Is my water correct to keep these Apisto healthy or should I try to lower pH even more?
PH is not as important as conductivity. Below 100microSiemens/cm is preferred for all Apistogramma, pH can vary between 5.5 and 6.5. the GH/KH values you give for the tank (not the tap!), tell me you're in the right ballpark. I'd consider RO (not DI) nonetheless for better control of the paraneters. with your tap it will be cheap to maintain, as you'll rarely have to change cartridges.
And yes, Corydoras in combination with brooding females... Bad idea.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
There are hundreds of species that I wouldn't mix. Visual similarity leads to inter-species aggression. If they are closely related it can be even worse. If you don't plan to reproduce them, your the water values are acceptable for most species other than true blackwater species.
Is there a list of true blackwater species available somewhere? Just so I buy adequate fish for my tank… I certainly don’t want to buy wc Apisto I can’t keep healthy! Thank you for your help.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
PH is not as important as conductivity. Below 100microSiemens/cm is preferred for all Apistogramma, pH can vary between 5.5 and 6.5. the GH/KH values you give for the tank (not the tap!), tell me you're in the right ballpark. I'd consider RO (not DI) nonetheless for better control of the paraneters. with your tap it will be cheap to maintain, as you'll rarely have to change cartridges.
And yes, Corydoras in combination with brooding females... Bad idea.
Thank you MacZ. I bought yesterday a TDS meter, so I will check that. I will also check my tap water. If TDS is relatively high, I will check for a cheap RO unit.

I’ll start with adjusting TDS and catch some Tetras for now!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,055
Location
Germany
Is there a list of true blackwater species available somewhere? Just so I buy adequate fish for my tank… I certainly don’t want to buy wc Apisto I can’t keep healthy! Thank you for your help.
There is no such list (at least none that you can sort by water type, technically it is just important to know they are all softwater species), but with some knowledge of the distribution of a species and the habitats in that range, you can make educated guesses. I linked a map of major blackwater, clearwater and whitewater rivers in South America, indicating a tendency what a certain region has mainly. I'll look up the direct link tomorrow or so, not at home until new year, it's late in the evening and I'm on my phone.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
Books on apistos are your friend!:)
I will chez on Amazon if I can find something and I will look on MacZ’ link :)

Thank you so much guys for your help. I will post pictures if I buy an Apisto. For now, i will wait for my TDS meter +\- RODI.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,400
Most domestic breeds do not require blackwater to live; but quite a few do require very soft water to breed. Many wc fishes lean torwards true blackwater though some do not and some can be slowly migrated to harder water.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
Most domestic breeds do not require blackwater to live; but quite a few do require very soft water to breed. Many wc fishes lean torwards true blackwater though some do not and some can be slowly migrated to harder water.
Hey anewbie! Do you think I can keep healthy wc fish with the water parameters I gave? I will try to find where there were catch precisely in Peru…
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
571
Location
San Francisco
Is there a list of true blackwater species available somewhere? Just so I buy adequate fish for my tank… I certainly don’t want to buy wc Apisto I can’t keep healthy! Thank you for your help.
There are hundreds of species of apistogramma, but a lot fewer of them are commercially available. The more efficient way to go about this is to see what’s available to you in your area. Of those, research the ones you’re interested in and learn where they come from.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,400
Hey anewbie! Do you think I can keep healthy wc fish with the water parameters I gave? I will try to find where there were catch precisely in Peru…
Probably but again depends on the species. Not all species are the same. Some will prefer harder water for example.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,055
Location
Germany
As I can't find my own post on this forum anymore I'm posting it again:

Screenshot 2023-05-10 at 10-43-30 junk_wetlands_20112.pdf.png

Cropped by me. Original source: https://www.researchgate.net/public...aturally-Occurring_Amazonian_Lowland_Wetlands
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
As I can't find my own post on this forum anymore I'm posting it again:

View attachment 14029
Cropped by me. Original source: https://www.researchgate.net/public...aturally-Occurring_Amazonian_Lowland_Wetlands
Wow! This is a great map. Thank you so much MacZ. I hope I will be able to choose the right fish with all your help!
all the Apisti I listed are from Peru. Probable safe to assume that they are from a whitewater river, maybe a black water if Tefe or Jutal. I will ask the guy who imports the fish
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,055
Location
Germany
The main channels are usually whitewater as well as the ones from the Andes, but in the big ones you barely see small fish. Look at the smaller tributaries. Lowland tributaried are ussually black or clearwater, highland clear and whitewater. Basically the further away the source is from the higher mountain ranges the softer the water.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
Thank you all! I will do some research on the species listed above to choose one that I can keep in my tank. I will be back if I have other questions. I will receive a TDS meter soon; I will know if my water is soft enough for these little guys.
I also gave away 50% of my H. palmeri, which will lower my bioload a lot. I wasn't able to catch my Corys unfortunately.
 

Cam0405

Member
Messages
31
Hey all! I need some help regarding TDS values of my tank and tap water. I purchased a TDS meter (on Amazon for 15$). The compagny says that accuracy is +- 2%. I dont know if it is on the readings or on the range (exemple: 0-9999ppm range; 2% of 10000 (for easier maths) is highly different than 2% of a reading of 100 ppm)

My main tank water is at 160-170 uS/cm EC
My tap is at 65-80 uS/cm EC
For fun, my smaller 20L tank is at 100-120 uS/cm EC

How can my EC be higher in my tank than in my tap, giving the fact that my tank is at 0/0 GH/KH and my tap at 60/40? The small tank is also at 0/0.

Is the TDS meter just wildly inaccurate?

and last (but not least!): can I keep Apistos in this water or should I wait for a RODI unit?

Thank you all!

 

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