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Ideal spawning cave

danbb

Member
From your experience, what are the best spawning caves for apisto, the ones with better results? I never saw eggs in a coconut cave, but I saw between echinodorus leaves or even on the tank decor. What works better for you: coconut, drift wood, plants, artificial caves like flowerpot, plastic cup, etc..
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I never saw eggs in a coconut cave,
Coconut shells should work. If the shell is the one in your avatar? the reason is that the entrance hole is much too big.

I've had fish use clay pot saucers, small clay pots, 35mm film canisters, Bamboo canes and holey wood. My suspicion is that it isn't so much what the cave is made of, but how secure the female fish feels in the cave.

Coconuts
I cut a very small notch in rim of the coconut, and I really mean small, so small that the female can only fit through it with difficulty. The male doesn't need to enter the cave, he can still fertilise the eggs without entering the cave.
If it is a large coconut, I only use the top 1/3, so that the cave has a low ceiling. The female will often wall the hole up with sand, but if it is a big hole she can't do this.

cheers Darrel
 

danbb

Member
Thanks Darrel.
In my avatar is a cave from the shop, I have other 4 made from 2 little coconuts (cut in half), but they are more high than flat at the top, and I don't know if they are ok. Can you show me one of yours so I can see the shape of the top? As for the entrance, it's all clear, it's got to be very little.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I agree with Darrel. Each female will use what she is comfortable using. I've had apisto spawn in/on everything you list, plus old 35mm film canisters and the back corner of a bare quarantine tank. I tend to put multiple types of cave in each tank.
 

Bekateen

New Member
Prescription medicine bottles have also worked for me. They typically have openings about the same size as an old 35 mm film canister, but they are usually longer than the film canister, giving the cave some depth for the female to recess into.
 

danbb

Member
Yesterday one of my females has spawned in the tank decor, even if they have 3 coconut caves in the tank. Maybe the openings are to big, I will change the caves soon (small openings).
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I have been using those tiny clay pots you can find at department stores for 25-30 cent each. I widen the drainage hole at the top enough that the female can slip in. So far, these have worked the best.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I've scanned a few caves, the joined clay pots I think came from "microman?". I never had any Apistogramma use them, that was because juvenile Hypancistrus love them to hide in them, and they all ended up in their tank. The notched clay saucer and coconut were both used successfully.

I cut the ends of the little clay pot (and the notches) with a fine-toothed hack-saw, and then just run a metal file around the hole to smooth the edge (a knife sharpening steel is about the right size).


cheers Darrel
 

danbb

Member
Thanks Darrel.
I have choose for my breeding pair 2 caves: one small clay pot and one coconut, both with small openings. From what I can see, your coconut is also sharp at the top, am I right?
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I have choose for my breeding pair 2 caves: one small clay pot and one coconut, both with small openings
Good, I always make sure I have plenty of potential caves for the female to choose from.
From what I can see, your coconut is also sharp at the top, am I right?
If you mean the notch?, it isn't really. I cut a V out with a fine blade saw, and then smooth and round the edges, but I cut this notch at too sharp an angle, so the apex of the notch was too narrow for the file to fit in. I ended up with a semi-circle hole, but with a small ^ at top. The hole at the top is the third locule where the shoot would have grown through. If you don't want a hole you can discard the top 1/2 of the coconut shell. I don't worry too much, I just super-glue some moss and java fern on top of the shells when they are in use.

cheers Darrel
 

danbb

Member
I meant that the shape of your coconut is sharp on the top, not relatively flat. Mine are also sharp, even if I believe that the best are those not very sharp.
 

Bekateen

New Member
I just super-glue some moss and java fern on top of the shells when they are in use.
Hi Darrel,
Are the moss and java fern alive when you super-glue it to the shell? I mean, will that harm the living plants? Or do they adapt/survive that just fine?
Thanks, Eric
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I meant that the shape of your coconut is sharp on the top, not relatively flat. Mine are also sharp, even if I believe that the best are those not very sharp.
Probably flat (with a lower ceiling is better) but I don't think it is critical, I tend to just use the top or bottom 1/3 of the cell if it is a big coconut.
Are the moss and java fern alive when you super-glue it to the shell? I mean, will that harm the living plants? Or do they adapt/survive that just fine?
Yes super-glue works really well for attaching all sorts of living plants, and is plant and fish safe, even for mosses and fry. You want "cyanoacylate super-glue", and the gel formula makes less of a mess than the the more liquid formulations, super-glue is a water cure, so if the shell is wet the glue runs and cures almost instantly creating white streaks. The gel doesn't run so you don't get the streaks. You need to dab the glue on the shell, wood etc and then instantly apply the wet fern or moss, as you only have a very short window of opportunity before the glue cures. As soon as the glue is cured, you can put the shell/plant in the tank. It is really good for mosses that attach like Fissidens, Java and Xmas moss, as the will spread from the initial glue point, and it makes their initial attachment easier. I usually staple Ferns, Moss, Anubias etc to wood, (cheap, fast and easy), but coconut shell are much harder than the staples, and you cant really tie the moss etc on, so super-glue is the best option.

One thing I've learned is buy a small tube of glue and glue a lot in one go, because once the tube is opened it will inevitably cure, however careful you are to keep the air out.

cheers Darrel
 
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