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Help with 1st apistogramma!

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
I am looking to enter the world of apistos for the first time and have done a fair share of research, but what better to get answers from individuals who have possibly had/breed them!

I have a fair amount of experience so this is not my first tank but have never tried to breed before ether.
Looking to possibly breed a pair
20 G standard with plants, driftwood and a large sponge filter

So here are some of my questions, thank you in advance for any knowledge you can help with!

-Ive seen that borellii and cacatuoides seem to be a good beginner pair to start of with, but what about agassizii or macmasteri?
-Dither fish or maybe a mid to top fish? Pencilfish or ember tetras, and if not these two what would you recommend?
- Leaving fry to grow up in tank or removing to other tank? (not looking to breed for profit but more to enjoy this hobby)
-ph sits around 7, too high? too low? depending on species hard/soft water?

Anything else that you can suggest that i didnt ask is just a bonus, so thank you again for the helpful responses!

 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
20 G standard with plants, driftwood and a large sponge filter
Care to post a picture? That will tell us more than all you can describe.

-Ive seen that borellii and cacatuoides seem to be a good beginner pair to start of with, but what about agassizii or macmasteri?
Depends somewhat on your water (see below) and your general experience with cichlids. Although I find A, macmasteri grow a bit big for your tank. As do A. cacatuoides.

-Dither fish or maybe a mid to top fish? Pencilfish or ember tetras, and if not these two what would you recommend?
Not a must have, if you want successful breeding only pencilfish (there are many species, in a 80 liter stick to the smaller ones.)

- Leaving fry to grow up in tank or removing to other tank?
Leave them.

-ph sits around 7, too high? too low? depending on species hard/soft water?
Depends on the species. I'd say the optimal range for all, except blackwater species is a pH around 6, KH 0-1°, GH 0-4°. Or conductivy between 100-150µSI/cm. So generally rather soft. If you have higher levels A. borellii, A. trifasciata, A. cacatuoides and A. macmasteri are good choices. A. agassizii have a tendency towards softer more acidic water.
 

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
Care to post a picture? That will tell us more than all you can describe.


Depends somewhat on your water (see below) and your general experience with cichlids. Although I find A, macmasteri grow a bit big for your tank. As do A. cacatuoides.


Not a must have, if you want successful breeding only pencilfish (there are many species, in a 80 liter stick to the smaller ones.)


Leave them.


Depends on the species. I'd say the optimal range for all, except blackwater species is a pH around 6, KH 0-1°, GH 0-4°. Or conductivy between 100-150µSI/cm. So generally rather soft. If you have higher levels A. borellii, A. trifasciata, A. cacatuoides and A. macmasteri are good choices. A. agassizii have a tendency towards softer more acidic water.
Dont have a tank set up yet, was more basing what would be in the tank, but when i do ill deff share!

I liked the look of macmasteri but could always lean towards borelli or trifasciata. All all great looking fish just need to get myself started with my first pair!

Pencilfish sound great, any suggestions or certain species you have had luck with?

My water is far from soft unfortunately, dont have the exact number. But when i get home from work ill post the exact number/range. I guess if my water is harder Borelli or trifasciata may be good for that? Or is it that most all apistos prefer soft water? If thats the case, should I not look at breeding them?

Also thanks for the reply with some great info!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,230
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Although A. trifasciata fits most of your requirements for size and water values, I don't recommend them in anything smaller than a 20Long, and as a trio. Males can be highly aggressive toward females not ready to breed. If your tank is a 20High, I'd avoid larger polygamous species like A. cacatuoides. Stay with something on the smaller side like A. borellii.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
Dont have a tank set up yet, was more basing what would be in the tank, but when i do ill deff share!
Allright, then you should definitely Read up on correct structuring, substrate and decoration beforehand. We have dozens of Threads here on the forum going into detail. You should also look at some of our tank builds here and of course at hours and hours of footage from the wild. Nothing helps you get a hang of how Apistotanks can be done than the original habitats.

All all great looking fish just need to get myself started with my first pair!
Start with the tank first. ;)

Pencilfish sound great, any suggestions or certain species you have had luck with?
For your tanksize rather the smaller species like Nannostomus marginatus.

My water is far from soft unfortunately, dont have the exact number. But when i get home from work ill post the exact number/range. I guess if my water is harder Borelli or trifasciata may be good for that? Or is it that most all apistos prefer soft water? If thats the case, should I not look at breeding them?
Let's put it this way: In comparison to the readings of tapwater in Europe and North America more or less ALL Apistogramma are softwater fish.
Look up the differences between blackwater, clearwater and whitewater (the articles on wikipedia are quite good). If your water is hard, species from whitewater are preferrable. Blackwater (and many clearwater) species can be kept in hard water, breeding will be a futile endeavour, though, in most cases and frankly, I find these fish deserve being kept in optimal conditions and not in plain tapwater. (Except domestic strains for which I honestly don't care.)
 

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
Although A. trifasciata fits most of your requirements for size and water values, I don't recommend them in anything smaller than a 20Long, and as a trio. Males can be highly aggressive toward females not ready to breed. If your tank is a 20High, I'd avoid larger polygamous species like A. cacatuoides. Stay with something on the smaller side like A. borellii.
okay thanks for your input, seems like borellii may be the choice here!
 

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
Allright, then you should definitely Read up on correct structuring, substrate and decoration beforehand. We have dozens of Threads here on the forum going into detail. You should also look at some of our tank builds here and of course at hours and hours of footage from the wild. Nothing helps you get a hang of how Apistotanks can be done than the original habitats.


Start with the tank first. ;)


For your tanksize rather the smaller species like Nannostomus marginatus.


Let's put it this way: In comparison to the readings of tapwater in Europe and North America more or less ALL Apistogramma are softwater fish.
Look up the differences between blackwater, clearwater and whitewater (the articles on wikipedia are quite good). If your water is hard, species from whitewater are preferrable. Blackwater (and many clearwater) species can be kept in hard water, breeding will be a futile endeavour, though, in most cases and frankly, I find these fish deserve being kept in optimal conditions and not in plain tapwater. (Except domestic strains for which I honestly don't care.)

Haha fair enough, been reading into more setups but wanted to try to put a gameplan together before anything else. Seems like alot of great info on here!

For the pencil, would you just go with a group of 6 or so?

Gotcha so white water is my best bet it seems with my harder water, ill give borellii a good look and read up before going any further.

Any thoughts on the opal or blue variations in terms of health and such?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
For the pencil, would you just go with a group of 6 or so?
10 Minimum. They are aggresive among each other. But I'd only finalize that choice when you're water parameters are clear.

Gotcha so white water is my best bet it seems with my harder water, ill give borellii a good look and read up before going any further.
Pretty much. I find they are ideal beginners as they are really far less agressive than the other species. You know how cichlids are. I put A. borellii on lowest aggression level together with Dicrossus and Mikrogeophagus among South American dwarf cichlids.

Any thoughts on the opal or blue variations in terms of health and such?
"Opal" are a natural variant (or maybe sub-/species) you can expect similar status as the type variant. "Blue" can be several variants, domestic and wild, Maybe specify which exactly you mean?
 

rasmusW

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
468
Small sidenote to all the good advice. Most people here on this board will advice against using nannostromus beckfordi as dithers, because they are almost as bad as neons in regards to fry predation.
Good luck on your tank setup. Looking forward to see the pics…

-r
 

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
10 Minimum. They are aggresive among each other. But I'd only finalize that choice when you're water parameters are clear.


Pretty much. I find they are ideal beginners as they are really far less agressive than the other species. You know how cichlids are. I put A. borellii on lowest aggression level together with Dicrossus and Mikrogeophagus among South American dwarf cichlids.


"Opal" are a natural variant (or maybe sub-/species) you can expect similar status as the type variant. "Blue" can be several variants, domestic and wild, Maybe specify which exactly you mean?
So opal is natural while the blue version is almost like the blue acara and electric blue acara.
You can see on this website https://www.wetspottropicalfish.com/product-category/fish/south-american-cichlids/ they have different variation of the borellii. That makes sense!
 

pgriff5

New Member
Messages
7
Small sidenote to all the good advice. Most people here on this board will advice against using nannostromus beckfordi as dithers, because they are almost as bad as neons in regards to fry predation.
Good luck on your tank setup. Looking forward to see the pics…

-r
Yea im deff hearing that, i guess ill have to make a decision on those eventually but time will tell. biggest concern is the apistos first, so even if i dont add other fish ill be okay with that!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
So opal is natural while the blue version is almost like the blue acara and electric blue acara.
You can see on this website https://www.wetspottropicalfish.com/product-category/fish/south-american-cichlids/ they have different variation of the borellii.
Ok. As I said. "Opal" are a natural variant (species status is not conclusively cleared). Blue depends. Those they have look like the bolivian form, which is not a domestic variant either. The blue colour is not the same as in anything "electric blue".
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,230
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Opal was originally used in the 1960s-70s for a domestic strain of A. borellii developed in the former East Germany. Sadly the strain is now lost, so any A. borellii with a lot of red, blue and yellow (but no longer any green) color are now called Opal. Opal-like specimens are found in most wild populations of A. borellii.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,230
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
For the pencil, would you just go with a group of 6 or so?
10 Minimum. They are aggresive among each other. But I'd only finalize that choice when you're water parameters are clear.

I personally don't think 10 is a minimum. After all I have the last one of my N. marginatus collected in 2015 in Estrecho Peru that has lived with pairs of A. sp. Wangenflecken for the past 4 years. I don't think it will ever die!

Mac is right about the males being aggressive with each other, but I feel any odd number, 5 or higher, will work fine.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
Mac is right about the males being aggressive with each other, but I feel any odd number, 5 or higher, will work fine.
Oh, yes, the intraspecies aggression is the reason I say 10. I had a pair of N. eques surviving from my first batch in my tank for months without problems, but before that the males would pick each other off one after the other. Right now I have a ratio of 8:3 and the males are fighting as always, but don't decimate each other anymore.
 

yukondog

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
664
Location
N.W. Fl.
Ive seen that borellii and cacatuoides seem to be a good beginner pair to start of with, but what about agassizii or macmasteri?
Is your tank a 20 long or tall?
I would set the tank up for a couple of months so it can stabilize [sp] and age before introducing the apisto's, but that's just the way I do it. Any of the three should do fine, I lean more for the the Borellii, but it's my favorite.
 

Bowluvr

Member
Messages
46
Location
North Carolina
I agree with the borellii being the best choice for your 20 (tall/standard) tank and your water. One thing that I will add to the good advice given here (and this from personal experience working with the species over the years) -- once they do spawn, female borellii can be aggressive with the males. Make sure to have some thick cover in each back corner that goes to the top in addition to whatever other plants you put in there. The thicker the better. By having the plants go to the surface, a severely harassed fish can hide "up" if it cannot get any relief by hiding down near the substrate where Apistos usually hang out, and this can be enough to give you time to discover its plight and remove it. If you are doing a planted tank, you can use stem plants for this, or even group plantings of Val or Crypt. retrospiralis or similar, or taller Java Fern clumps on wood (In my low light fish room tanks, I even just use tall wood pieces in each corner or yarn mops). I would also use hardscape to provide sight breaks to divide the tank into 2-3 "rooms." Put caves (multiple) at opposite ends of the tank. I usually give 2-3 choices on each side, so that whichever the female chooses, it will not be dead center of the aquarium leaving other fish nowhere to get out of her way, including the male. Borellii are a stunning species with the benefit of being a great first-time species to work with. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the choice at all. :)
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
90
Although A. trifasciata fits most of your requirements for size and water values, I don't recommend them in anything smaller than a 20Long, and as a trio. Males can be highly aggressive toward females not ready to breed. If your tank is a 20High, I'd avoid larger polygamous species like A. cacatuoides. Stay with something on the smaller side like A. borellii.
Similar situation what sexes on the trio
 

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