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Okay to Add Apisto. to My Tank?

pgallagher

New Member
Hello, I have a 45-gallon tank that has been running for a while now and is well cycled. I feel like it's been lacking a main fish and then I found Apisto's and I was sold!! I've done a ton of research and I think that my tank would be a good environment for a pair but thought it best to ask this awesome community! So here goes...

Tank Set-Up:
- Fluval Stratum Substrate
- Fluval 307 Canister Filter
- LED Strip lights
- Dimensions: 36.25 inches x 12.6 inches x 24.8 inches
- Some river rock
- Lots of driftwood

Tank Levels:
- Temp – 78
- Tank ph – 6.5
- Ammonia reading – 0
- Nitrite reading – 0
- Nitrate reading – never above 5ppm
- gh - 100 ppm
- kh - 50-100 ppm

Current Stocking:
- 3 Julii cory’s
- 5 Panda cory’s
- 5 Columbian Red & Blue tetras
- 6 Cardinal tetras
- 9 Rummeynose tetras
- 1 Rubberlip Pleco
- 5 Amano Shrimp


I really appreciate the help!! Thank you!
 

Andreas

Member
I'm not sure which variety my LFS has but I've seen quite a few there. I am absolutely open to suggestions as to which kind would be best!
If it is a lfs it most likely won’t be rare species like Mike has and be more like cacotoides,borelli,agizzi,panduro but I would do cacotoides asthey are a bit bigger and readily available and to add they are beautiful
 

pgallagher

New Member
If it is a lfs it most likely won’t be rare species like Mike has and be more like cacotoides, borelli, agizzi, panduro but I would do cacotoides as they are a bit bigger and readily available and to add they are beautiful
Okay, that is good to know, and I was thinking of the cacotoides too. Are there any varieties that you'd recommend staying away from with my current tank stocking?
 

Andreas

Member
I don’t have as much knowledge as everyone else on this page so I can’t really give you facts but also do you intend to breed them
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
.. then I found Apisto's and I was sold!! I've done a ton of research and I think that my tank would be a good environment for a pair ...
I'm sorry to say so, but I see some reasons why you definitely should NOT add any Apistogramma to your tank, as it is right now.

1. You have Fluval Stratum Substrate

Apistogramma belong to the tribe Geophagini, which means that they "eat earth". This is a very frequent and natural behavior, they will normally sift the substrate almost all day long.

I strongly believe that most Apistogramma species won't thrive in the long term without fine-grained sand on the bottom.

Frank Schäfer (Aquarium Glaser, Germany), wrote not long ago:
"Especially the sand is important and the meaning of it often underestimated.
In fact the sand is more important than the water chemistry (hardness, pH).
In the wild, these fish feed mainly on particles they find in the sand.
To find them the fish takes a mouth full of sand, chews the sand and releases the sand through the gill openings.
Food particles attach on special anatomical structures on the gill arches and can be swallowed subsequently.
In case an Apistogramma can find no sand it comes in a situation comparably to humans that get no opportunity to clean their teeth.
This may work for a while, but in most cases sooner or later one becomes sick of it
."

Some examples of natural habitats where I have collected Apistogramma in the Amazon part of Peru. The bottom consists of very fine-grained sand, often with withered leaves on top:







Sand almost as fine-grained as flour, and leaf litter.

So yes, definitely fine-grained sand for Apistogramma.

And this is how Apistos look like most of the time, when they have the right substrate, when they let the fine sand out again:



In fine sand, females will dig pits for their newly hatched fry, it is difficult to dig when the bottom layer consists of coarser constituents.

Newly hatched fry will also easily disappear into a layer of coarse substrate, and thereby they may lose their mother's loving and necessary care.

Mud / sludge will accumulate on fine sand, not fall down through the bottom layer and lie there and rot, which happens with gravel and similar.

Sludge lying on top of the sand layer is a good place to find microorganisms for recently free-swimming fry: one can observe that mother leads her flock towards such accumulations of sludge, after which she by waving her pectoral fins swirls up the sludge, and the fry can enjoy eating the available microorganisms.

The females dig sand up towards the opening in the cave where she lays her eggs, to make the opening just big enough for her to enter, but too narrow for predatory fish. (And even too small for the male, who fertilizes the eggs by releasing his semen outside the opening and then fan it into the cave using his tail fin.)



Such digging requires sand.

2. You have Corydoras in the tank.
I never recommend combining Corydoras with Apistogramma. They do not live close together in the nature.
The Corydoras would usually eat eggs and fry if they find them. But worse:
Apistogramma are territorial fishes, especially when they breed. Corydoras will not understand the "territorial communication" like "Don't get closer or I will attack you".
The Corydoras will approach the Apistogramma's territory again and again. As the dwarf cichlids will have difficulties finding vulnerable places on the (armored) body of the catfish where they could attack seriousely enough to make them dissappear from their territory, they will sooner or later find out that the eyes are the most effective place to attack to make them leave the place. You will in worst case end up with a group of Corydoras with one or no eyes at all.
(Yes, I know: there are people who have had this combination for years, without any problems. I also know many people who would not listen, but who, after seeing what happened, never will repeat the experiment.)

3. You have a Rubberlip Pleco. (Nocturnal, probably 5-ish inches long).
Apistogramma rest/sleep on the ground at night.
Nocturnal and much larger plecos will chase the Apistos out of any cave the latter would try to occupy for breeding or resting purpose, and scare them and chase them up toward the surface, again and again, every single night.
This creates no sense of security and well-being, and may cause life-threatening stress for the Apistogramma.
I have seen how species of Ancistrus demolish the Apistogramma's caves at night, and how eggs and fry can "disappear", while terrified Apistogramma hide just below the surface among floating plants, in a corner of the tank.
I don't find plecos or similar fishes at exactly the same spot as Apistogramma in the wild (unless they are caught in the same restwater pool during the dry season).
If you want to get rid of algae, and to keep some catfishes in the same tank as Apistogramma: Use Otocinclus species.

4. You have Columbian Red & Blue tetras, Cardinal tetras and Rummeynose tetras.
They most likely will eat all or most of the fry the Apistos might produce.

My humble advice: Reconsider....

I wish you the best of luck!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I also agree with Tom, but that doesn't mean that you can't keep an apisto or 2 in your tank. Just not a pair that will breed. You can try keeping a single male as a show fish, maybe 2 - but not a breeding pair. When not breeding apistos are usually reasonably good community members, pushy but not overly aggressive.

As Tom wrote, your substrate is too coarse. I have used coarse sand (1 - 1½ mm / < 1/16") for decades which works but is about as coarse as an apisto can chew. Unless you are willing to change the substrate, apistos won't be happy. Perhaps a dwarf acara (Laetacara sp.) would be a better option - but no breeding pairs.
 

pgallagher

New Member
I'm sorry to say so, but I see some reasons why you definitely should NOT add any Apistogramma to your tank, as it is right now...

My humble advice: Reconsider....

I wish you the best of luck!
Well, I woke up this morning excited because I was planning to go pick them out today, but then I read your extensive reply :/!! I truly appreciate your candid and honest feedback; this is exactly why I decided to ask this forum first!! So THANK YOU!! If you could though, please see my notes below about your two main points...

I also agree with Tom, but that doesn't mean that you can't keep an apisto or 2 in your tank. Just not a pair that will breed. You can try keeping a single male as a show fish, maybe 2 - but not a breeding pair. When not breeding apistos are usually reasonably good community members, pushy but not overly aggressive.

As Tom wrote, your substrate is too coarse. I have used coarse sand (1 - 1½ mm / < 1/16") for decades which works but is about as coarse as an apisto can chew. Unless you are willing to change the substrate, apistos won't be happy. Perhaps a dwarf acara (Laetacara sp.) would be a better option - but no breeding pairs.
What I now realize though is that I should've led with the fact that I am NOT trying to breed them!! Since these would be my first Apisto. I would rather just get used to having them and then maybe down the road when I have a bigger tank try to breed them. So just to make sure I'm understanding correctly... I could potentially get one or two, just as long as they are not a breeding pair?

Follow up question... how would I make sure to do that? What should I look for at the store? Try to get two males? And would this then remove Tom's points about the cories, pleco and other?


As for the substrate situation... the current Fluval Stratum is going to be the deciding factor. Whenever I work on the tank and when I plant anything new the substrate seems to just break up and disintegrate the second I apply the slightest pressure. Would that then make it okay for an apisto?

And if not, would it be okay to just add a layer of sand on top of the Stratum? Or maybe I could move the current Stratum onto one third and fill in the rest with proper sand? Could any of that work?


All of your help is incredibly appreciated!!!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
What I now realize though is that I should've led with the fact that I am NOT trying to breed them!! ... So just to make sure I'm understanding correctly... I could potentially get one or two, just as long as they are not a breeding pair?
My mantra: A community tank is not a breeding tank.

Follow up question... how would I make sure to do that? What should I look for at the store? Try to get two males? And would this then remove Tom's points about the cories, pleco and other?
Yes, 2 males of different species with different body/fin shapes. Apisto males are normally not overly aggressive like brooding females. I have a 40 gallon community (corys, otos, and 'unparasitized' Hemmigrammus rodwayi) that includes a large, wildcaught, male A. cacatuoides. The apisto will push the corys away from food at times but otherwise ignores them.

As for the substrate situation... the current Fluval Stratum is going to be the deciding factor. Whenever I work on the tank and when I plant anything new the substrate seems to just break up and disintegrate the second I apply the slightest pressure. Would that then make it okay for an apisto?
I'm not a plant person so can't say for sure. Maybe someone with more experience, plant-wise, can answer this.

And if not, would it be okay to just add a layer of sand on top of the Stratum? Or maybe I could move the current Stratum onto one third and fill in the rest with proper sand? Could any of that work?
I would think that the sand would eventually mix with the Stratum. I think providing a part of the tank just to sand would work better if you can keep the 2 substrates separate.


All of your help is incredibly appreciated!!!
[/QUOTE]
 

yukondog

Active Member
What I did was to cut a log the length I wanted [from front to back] and took it all the way to the bottom, take a piece of water hose and syphon the substrate you want remove than fill that area with sand. I dont have any plecos in any of my apisto tanks for that reason, as far as apisto's go, I've always liked the male Borellii, good luck
 
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