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New tank setup for Apistos Shaly (rare)

apisto_fan4evr

New Member
Messages
10
Location
San Jose, CA
Just bought a 30G long tank for 2 apistos that will arrive here next week. What's my best option in terms of the tank setup/cycling/aging? What I mean is I've read somewhere that you need to let the newly setup tank age...some say at least a few weeks, others say a few months, and others say a few years. Others recommend temporarily putting them in an already aged tank. That's probably what I'm going to do.

What would you do in my predicament? Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,184
Location
Germany
In an ideal world I'd cancel or postpone the delivery by at least a month, set up the tank without haste and let it run at least a few weeks before re-ordering.

A safe tank has at least enough working nitrifying bacteria that keep the nitrogen cycle (ammonia > nitrite > nitrate) going so the waste products of the fish (ammonia from the gills) don't kill the fish. Usually with using an ammonia source (wood and leaf litter would be ideal) it takes 2-3 weeks and the tank is safe to add fish.
A few months would be ideal because Apistogramma can be finnicky. After about half a year the the biology of a tank has balanced out for the most part, no bigger fluctuations are to be expected. After a year a tank is completely seasoned, then there's not much that can knock the tank off balance. Saying several years is BS, though.

Anyhow in your situation:
Use inert fine sand, add a good handful of leaf litter, some wood and 100% RO, not remineralized. Also add
a lot of plants like Ceratophyllum (hornwort), Hydrocotyle (pennywort) or Elodia/Egeria (waterweeds) which you can float, that will keep nitrogen levels low.
Also test ammonia/ammonium and nitrite from day two. If the levels should rise start doing waterchanges (50% and stick to RO) once they reach harmful levels. For ammonia that's 0.2mg/l. For nitrite that's 0.5mg/l. Please be aware that if your pH is below 7 ammonia is harmless, as it's present in the non-toxic form of ammonium. In case you have to be away the whole day you can use waterconditioners. Not ammo-lock or the like, just ammonia/nitrite detoxifying ones. Add the recommended dose in the morning, go to work, and do a waterchange when you come back. And don't even think about just adding more conditioner to prolong the time until the next waterchange. Those are critical days in the beginning.

If you have another running tank (3 months or more), you could add some of the filter media to the filter of the new tank, that would be a jumpstart and the tank should at least be safe if you only add the two Apistogramma.

And you might have seen bottled nitrifying bacteria: Save the money, they only save you a week of "cycling" (a whole different story) if any in a normal setting. In your situation they are not worth it.

Otherwise I can only wish you luck, there is not much else you can do. I'd never add fish to a tank without a working nitrogen cycle.
 
Last edited:

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
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2,791
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
If you have another running tank (3 months or more), you could add some of the filter media to the filter of the new tank, that would be a jumpstart and the tank should at least be safe if you only add the two Apistogramma.

And you might have seen bottled nitrifying bacteria: Save the money, they only save you a week of "cycling" (a whole different story) if any in a normal setting. In your situation they are not worth it.
What @MacZ says.

On UKAPS we've talked with Dr Ryan Newton about the microbes that actually occur in aquariums, and how best to "cycle" tanks.

His research group have been looking at the microbial R(D)NA recovered from a range of aquarium / aquaculture filters - <"https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/correspondence-with-dr-ryan-newton-school-of-freshwater-sciences-university-of-wisconsin—milwaukee.71023/">.

It's quite a long thread, but well worth reading.

cheers Darrel
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,477
Hi all,

What @MacZ says.

On UKAPS we've talked with Dr Ryan Newton about the microbes that actually occur in aquariums, and how best to "cycle" tanks.

His research group have been looking at the microbial R(D)NA recovered from a range of aquarium / aquaculture filters - <"https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/correspondence-with-dr-ryan-newton-school-of-freshwater-sciences-university-of-wisconsin—milwaukee.71023/">.

It's quite a long thread, but well worth reading.

cheers Darrel
So one thing he notes if they obtain nitrifiers from an existing setup they can reduce seed time from several weeks to several days. Of course this is what i do - all my aquariums have at least one sponge filter and so when i start a new one i simply grab one from a running tank and use it. Now for my first aquarium - and this is where it gets tricky - the local petshop grab a bunch of wool from one of their running filters and gave it to me in a plastic bag to use in my filter.

I do monitor for ammonia the first week and if i detect some i use a few drops of sachem prime to neutralize - though my understanding is in acidic tank ammonia isn't really a big deal (never understood the chemistry there but does that mean fishes in ph 5 don't require a cycled tank?); and since i now have lots of ro water i put most of my fishes in ro water (and quite frankly i'm find plants grow really well in soft water though maybe this shouldn't be surprising since most come from the amazon - this is my 600 (hum maybe the ruffles could use a bit of iron not sure there):
600_jun_2024.jpg
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,303
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
anewbie uses a method similar to what I do. I deep gravel clean water into a bucket. Then I add a sponge filter in the "grungy" water and let it cycle until the water clears. I then squeeze out the sponge and place it in the tank. Just keep an eye on the nitrogen cycle, but with only 2 fish (?) in a 30, I doubt you will have any problem.

BTW I found Rocafuerte/Shally to be hearty little fish. Also there are no female Shally since only some males of the species show red on the caudal. When they breed, expect both male color forms to appear, as did mine.
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
587
Location
Norway
We found this species in October 2012. Upper Rio Napo drainage in Peru, close to the border to Ecuador.
A 10 meter wide shallow stream with a water depth of 10 - 50cm (this was at the end of the dry season).

resizeimage.aspx

resizeimage.aspx


Black-ish water; pH: 5.45 Conductivity: 8 microSiemens/cm Temperature: 23.8°C
The ground consisted of very fine-grained sand, but almost completely covered with dead brown leaves.

We found the A. sp. "Rocafuerte"

resizeimage.aspx


and also the A. sp. "Shaly"-form:

resizeimage.aspx


I wish you good luck with this beautiful fish!
 

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