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Is This Safe? Large male, small female?

lexi

Member
Hi all, this is my first post. I'll do an intro soon. Just got home from the lfs with a much much larger than expected male cacatuoides.

I also bought 3 juveniles, 2 females and a male. When they called to tell me the fish had come in, I had planned on quarantining them all in the same tank. I wasnt expecting them to source this jumbo beast. Lol I'm guessing it's probably not safe to quarantine home with the juveniles so I'm scrambling to set up a 2nd qt tank with a seeded filter.

I'm not 100% sure what to do with this guy long term. I ordered them so my solitary female would finally have a mate. He is way bigger than her though. Not to mention he could easily fit my little neon tetra dither fish in his giant maw. I am new to apisto keeping and a bit flustered at the moment, as you can probably tell.

My female is about 1 inch, maybe 1.5 inches long max, from her nose to the end of her tail. She is around 10 months old. This male is huge. Easily 3 inches. They said he's only a bit over a year. Do they usually get so big by that age? I'm honestly worried about putting them together with such a huge size difference. Will he hurt her or will they pair up peacefully?

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
First, welcome to the forum lexi. Regarding your question, I'm afraid there is no hard and fast rule. It really depends of the fish. Female A. cacatuoides naturally are smaller than males - about half as large. You don't say how large the male is, but from the photo I would guess 7-8 cm/2.75-3.25 in. I also don't know how you decorate your quarantine tank. Mine are generally bare with pieces of 1.25 cm/0.5 in. diameter PVC pipe on the bottom. Small fish can hide in the pipes from larger fish. I also keep a piece of floating pipe in tanks where I am not certain how the fish will get along. Subdominant apistos hide at the top of the tank and will hide in floating pipe. If I had your fish, I would put them together with a lot of pipe for hiding places and see how everyone behaves.
 

lexi

Member
First, welcome to the forum lexi. Regarding your question, I'm afraid there is no hard and fast rule. It really depends of the fish. Female A. cacatuoides naturally are smaller than males - about half as large. You don't say how large the male is, but from the photo I would guess 7-8 cm/2.75-3.25 in. I also don't know how you decorate your quarantine tank. Mine are generally bare with pieces of 1.25 cm/0.5 in. diameter PVC pipe on the bottom. Small fish can hide in the pipes from larger fish. I also keep a piece of floating pipe in tanks where I am not certain how the fish will get along. Subdominant apistos hide at the top of the tank and will hide in floating pipe. If I had your fish, I would put them together with a lot of pipe for hiding places and see how everyone behaves.

Hi! Thank you for your reply and input. I havent been able to get a very precise measurement, but I'd say the male is easily 3.5 inches. The female I'd hoped to pair with him is approx 1.5 inches. My quarantine tank is essentially where all the extra plants get tossed in between new fish. Sand bottom, a few small rocks, lots of plants. The set up I managed to arrange after picking up all the new fish is the big male and a female (macmasteri maybe?) Are on opposite sides of a divided 20 gallon. The 3 juveniles are in a 10g. I had hoped I had 2 females and a male but it looks like 1 female 1 gorgeous dominant male and a subdom male. For now they are behaving themselves, with lots of plants and little caves for the subdom to hide in. He was getting pestered pretty bad at first, till I threw in more stuff. I dont know exactly what paired behavior usually looks like, but the new juvenile female and the dominant juvenile male are often hanging out together. I asked a question about responsible breeding in another post. I assume that these new juveniles are from the same spawn as they came from the same breeder. (The large adult male also came from the same breeder) Is it common practice to allow siblings to pair off or is that detrimental to the quality of the offspring? I am considering putting the dominant juvenile with my original female, as she came from a different lfs a few towns over.

As she is more mature and of spawning age I'd rather put her with the big male if it is safe. I dont think any of the caves in her tank could fit him, but I've been reading that the male doesnt actually need to enter the cave with her. Is that accurate? Thanks again!

First pic is the dominant juvenile male. I'd say he is about the same size or slightly smaller than my original female is currently.
Second is the subdom.
3rd is the new juvenile female.
The rest are my attempts to measure my original female and the adult male lines up near a ruler.
 

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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I dont know exactly what paired behavior usually looks like, but the new juvenile female and the dominant juvenile male are often hanging out together.
Females, when given a choice, pick their preferred breeding partner. It appears that she prefers the younger male

I asked a question about responsible breeding in another post. I assume that these new juveniles are from the same spawn as they came from the same breeder. (The large adult male also came from the same breeder) Is it common practice to allow siblings to pair off or is that detrimental to the quality of the offspring? I am considering putting the dominant juvenile with my original female, as she came from a different lfs a few towns over.
All domestic color strains are the product of inbreeding at the start. Responsible breeders will cull fish with less desirable traits and not pass the fish on to others. This is true for offspring from both wild and domestic fish. Sadly, many breeders prefer quantity (=$) over quality.

As she is more mature and of spawning age I'd rather put her with the big male if it is safe. I dont think any of the caves in her tank could fit him, but I've been reading that the male doesnt actually need to enter the cave with her. Is that accurate?
Yes, males do not need to enter a breeding site to fertilize eggs. If you want to breed the older male with your female you can always put a partition in the tank and put only 1 or 2 different breeding caves near the partition with the openings toward the partition. The breeding pair can spawn between the partition. The partition also should allow the pair to see and court each other.
 
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