1. Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

How to start breeding in hard water?

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by Mil, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Mil

    Mil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi. I have a male and female hongsloi and cacatuoides, in separate tanks.
    They do the dance, go into caves, brush each other and show all the signs of mating, chasing each other but never fighting, even swimming near each other for long periods, but I have never had any eggs or fry ☹️
    My LFS said I would never be able to get them to breed as the water in London is so hard. I have a ton of live plants, moss and loads of almond leaves.
    Any tips or help to get some fry would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,156
    Likes Received:
    546
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Hi all,
    The tanks sounds a good environment.

    Could you use rain-water? I have very hard tap water (I live nr. Bath UK) as well, but I've bred some of the more tolerant Apistogramma successfully in rain-water.

    The other thing would be diet, with some <"live-food">.

    cheers Darrel
  3. Ade205

    Ade205 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Time and patience is the key! Your Hongsloi may spawn but I doubt you'll get any fry hatch in such hard water.... your Cacatoiudes though have a very good chance, I can't stop mine breeding currently! I'm in Derbyshire and my water is 7.5ph out the tap and a tds of 40ppm. Only two species I've bred in my water straight out the tap are Cacatoiudes and Borellii. Most other species spawn but i never get fry unless I reduces hardness, and in some species this reduction needs to be significant.
    Are your pairs both in their own tanks? If so, do you have any dither fish? And what sort of caves do you have? Ideally you need entrances just big enough for the female... the male does not need to enter the cave to spawn. I'm convinced sand substrate helps, nearly all my females build sand up around the entrance of their caves to the point where they can hardly fit in themselves. I'm convinced this is to make them feel secure that no predators can get in once they have laid their eggs!
    Finally, as Darrel suggests, diet. Conditioning is vital so lots of live and high quality food. An abundance of food convinces fish it's good time to have babies!

    Ade.
    dw1305 likes this.
  4. Mil

    Mil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I live in a flat I'm afraid so not been able to collect rainwater over the last few months, but there is a collector in the communal terrace i could use, will be a lot of trips back and forth but willing to give it a go. Do i need to condition the rainwater or filter for any bits/leaves before using it?


    The Hongsloi are in with 5 amano shrimp, an aquatic frog and a betta, which they seem to get on with no problems, just the occasional chase from the betta but they occupy different parts of the tanks, betta top and Honglsoi at bottom. I have half coconut shells with small holes in both tanks, stuck into the substrate so both females actually barely fit in only sideways, and they do go in and stay in there for a few hours at a time. I'll get some photos of the set ups soon.

    Originally when i got the Hongsloi the female went yellow after i introduced the male and would chase the male around relentlessly, so after about 2 weeks I separated them for a few months, now they are back together the female went yellow again but now the male chases the female, no biting or real aggression, but it seems shes not interested anymore she just sort of clamps fins and goes sideways when he gets too close, they have been in the same tank around 2 months now.

    The Cacs are in a community tank with 10 cardinal tetra, 6 corydoras habrosus, 6 amano, a hillstream loach, 4 baby mollies about 2 months old (not even an inch big) with 1 female adult mollie (looking to remove the molly female as in the past 4 days I've noticed shes recently started chasing the apistos). The female hongsloi was in this tank when I had separated them due to her aggression and they were fine as there are loads of hiding places and caves in the larger 125l tank. Weirdly the male Cac would flirt with her rather then the female Cac when they were in together. The Cacs are a proven pair as someone had returned them to the LFS because they had spawned and they didn't want that (mental!).

    I terms of diet, I feed them daily with small tropical pellets, now and then throw in algae and carnivore wafers and then every 2-4 days they get frozen bloodworms and also once a week maybe some other frozen foods, i have one of those with about 5 different things in one packet and mix it up, black worms, glass worms, BS etc. and then to top it off once or twice a month I get live worms from the LFS which all the fish go crazy for! They eat everything i give them and aren't picky at all.

    I've basically spent the last 3 months reading as much as I can on here, and trying to do everything right but i just don't seem to be able to get them to spawn, so annoying! Could the hard water have that much of an impact?
    pH is around 7, Nirite and Ammonia 0, Nitrate I never allow more than 40, do a 30% weekly change. Water is incredibly hard, both kH and gH, but i don't have the ability to get accurate numerical values for them, just '>14d' for gH and '10d' for kH but that's with strip tests.

    Sorry for the long message, trying to give as much info as i can.
  5. Ade205

    Ade205 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Edit.... in my first post I ment 400ppm tds!!!

    In my experience the hard water doesn't stop them spawning, just stops the eggs from developing and/or hatching. My Elizabethae spawned many times in water similar to yours but never was there fry. After countless spawns and attempts to lower water hardness more and more, I finally got fry with water at 5.0ph and pretty much 0ppm tds.

    My water is harder than yours yet have no issues spawning Cacs.
    I fear your tank is way to busy for spawning Apistos successfully. The Corys stand out as a very likely issue with your Cacs not spawning, they occupy the same level as the Apistos and should they spawn I fear the Cardinals will be feasting on the fry too! Having said all that I have a retirement tank with Corys, Tetras, and even Discus, and some of my old Cacs spawn regularly in this tank and are continually improving their rearing success with each spawn! Interestingly, dispite the fact Apistos produce more male fry in high temps, in this tank that runs at Discus temps, an abundance of female Cacatoiudes has been the result of these spawns!

    Ade.
    dw1305 likes this.
  6. Garri Ausmus

    Garri Ausmus New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I have gotten both species to spawn monthly. The trick i used was to study the fish and found their secret. spawn maybe once a year at 80 degrees F and produce nothing but males. The best temp to spawn them to get even female to male is 72 degrees F. I simply removed my heaters from their tanks and went out to buy a few more ten gallon tanks for all the fry.

    Attached Files:

  7. Mil

    Mil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    It’s been a month now and still no luck. I’ve attached photos of the smaller and the larger tanks so you can see the set ups and give me any pointers please.

    Also some photos of the male and female Hongsloi. You can see how yellow the female is, usually like this all the time, I just can’t get them to produce any eggs as yet. Spends a lot of time in the cave but always comes out to feed everyday and swims in and out, never seen any eggs when trying to shine a light in there when’s she’s out of it.

    I have also removed all the mollies from the large tank which seems to have made everyone a lot more peaceful. There are two caves in this tank and the female swims in and out and all around but again no luck yet.

    Any tips appreciated!
    64485A08-497C-4E70-9C02-062E04C53B90.jpeg 862DAE41-72F4-4611-B40A-DA37748561B8.jpeg 523305C0-3435-40FC-BDD9-07F86B6F08EB.jpeg 9E2958B5-7185-4255-9F36-0792BC6370E1.jpeg
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  8. themountain

    themountain Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  9. Mil

    Mil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1

    A mixture of everything really. dried pellets daily and some frozen foods 2/3 times a week and throw in live food probably once a fortnight. sinking pellets (both carnivore and algae) couple times a week too. The smaller tank has a dwarf frog in there and so that has to have frozen bloodworm at least every three day.

    I recently added 4 ruby tetra into the smaller tank to add some dither fish in there too.
  10. themountain

    themountain Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    28
    You should think about some worm culture ;)....life food is essential!
    dw1305 likes this.
  11. Mil

    Mil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I do try to get live bloodworms and tubifex about twice a month, but I’m not able to grow any cultures at home myself. Should I be feeding live worms more often? I’ve had issues with camallanus worm previously and heard it’s from the live foods which is why I don’t feed more often.
  12. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,156
    Likes Received:
    546
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Hi all,
    Unfortunately Camallanus infection is <"really common in Apistogramma from SE Asia">. In the wild you can get transmission via infected copepods (like Cyclops), but in the Aquarium transmission is always from fish to fish.
    Difficult if you can't keep food cultures. I'm reluctant to <"buy Bloodworms or Tubifex">, mainly because they are commercially collected from sewage farms etc., but I don't know what the alternatives are for you.

    Have a look at <"Culturing live foods">, some cultures (Micro worms, Grindal worms) take up very little space.

    cheers Darrel
    themountain likes this.
  13. Spidy

    Spidy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    When I had trouble spawning my Macmasteris (same scenario as you, all signs were there but nothing happened) I got sick of it after a few weeks and decided to add pencil fish as dither fish. As soon as I did that, I got a spawn the following week.
  14. themountain

    themountain Active Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Good idea Spidy ! As I said before live food is essential...maybe you could catch some on the weekend in some ponds around ? Mosquito larvae and such.
    dw1305 likes this.
  15. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    28
    My A. sp. abacaxis did the same thing except they spawned the same day I introduced some N. Marginatus. Maybe just a coincidence?
    How could adding dithers act as a trigger?
  16. Spidy

    Spidy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Happens too often to be a coincidence. Most breeders and books on the subject recommend doing this.

    My guess is the pair see them as new competition and are coaxed to spawn before things get worse. That's just a guess and I would love to hear from more experienced breeders.
  17. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    9,848
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Another possibility is that apisto feel more comfortable when small fish are around. Smaller fish, particularly schooling species, alert the apistos when there are predators around - being the first to be eaten!
    themountain, dw1305 and ButtNekkid like this.
  18. Spidy

    Spidy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I bow to your wisdom Mike. Sounds like a more probable scenario.