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Please help ID my pair of apistogramma cacatouides (they were sold to me as a breeding pair)

verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
Hello everyone! I’m having a very tough time ID’ing this pair of apistogramma cacatouides.

I got them from a LFS recently as a breeding pair. The bigger one appears to be a male but after learning about ‘sneaker males’, I’m wondering especially if the smaller apisto (with dull colors) is a female or a sneaker male.

I’ve received mixed response from my other posts on Reddit and FB and the replies have confused me even more.

I’m hoping that someone in this group will be able to correctly ID both the fish and put my confusion to rest.

TIA!
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,184
Location
Germany
Yep. A male and a female. What many people ignore: These domestic breeds of A. cacatuoides have been linebred for a long time so females have long since started showing male attributes like fin colouration etc. which is also the case here.
I personally would not try breeding with them, the male shows a deformed spine and underdeveloped fins the female instead shows masculine traits. Tells me the offspring will probably be even more degenerated.
 

verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
Yep. A male and a female. What many people ignore: These domestic breeds of A. cacatuoides have been linebred for a long time so females have long since started showing male attributes like fin colouration etc. which is also the case here.
I personally would not try breeding with them, the male shows a deformed spine and underdeveloped fins the female instead shows masculine traits. Tells me the offspring will probably be even more degenerated.
Thank you so much for ID’ing the fish. It’s unfortunate that the LFS sold me a linebred pair evidenced by the spinal deformity (male) and muscular traits (female). This being the first time I purchased apisto from a LFS, I was too excited to check if the fish were healthy or not.

I am also wondering - should I not then keep them together (so that they don’t breed)? Unfortunately, I have only one 40G breeder tank and if I don’t keep them together it means I may need to cull one or give it away

I was also wondering if you know of any reputed aquarist that sells and ships healthy fish.

TIA!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,184
Location
Germany
See, A. cacatuoides is very widely available but almost exclusive as domestic breeds and not even remotely the wild form, let alone wild caught. So unless you get wild form or wild fish you are guaranteed to get domestic fish. Linebred and massproduced. And many private multiplicators (I don't want to call them breeders) take those fish and multiply them. A "breeding pair" only means "they have spawned together". Period, that is all this means.

I am also wondering - should I not then keep them together (so that they don’t breed)? Unfortunately, I have only one 40G breeder tank and if I don’t keep them together it means I may need to cull one or give it away
Never cull a fish that is not in a bad state close to death. Keep one, give away the other, that would be my advise.

I was also wondering if you know of any reputed aquarist that sells and ships healthy fish.
Unless you live in Germany, no. Please be aware, this is an international Forum. If you tell us your country of residence there will surely be someone who can help you out.
 

verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
Unless you live in Germany, no. Please be aware, this is an international Forum. If you tell us your country of residence there will surely be someone who can help you out.
Thank you for the clarification. I live in upstate New York, USA. I’m new to this website and forum. I’ll also look around and see whether anyone has posted suggestions of any reputed fish keeper/breeder/aquarist that sells healthy fish in the US.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,303
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
verajacob, MacZ can come on a bit 'strong' at times. Let me simplify things a bit. Your specimens are a domestic color strain of A. cacatuoides called Double Red. These fish are not really deformed, rather they appear to be old and showing their age. I will agree that they are not the best domestic strain of Double Red available. The dorsal spines on the male are much shorter than seen on wild caught and better domestic specimens, but this is due to poor breeding practices and doesn't really affect the fish health-wise. If these are in a 40-breed community situation it is unlikely that many, if any, fry will survive. Also, looking at your photos, the tank is less than ideal for apistos. The worst outcome will be the the apistos will breed, the fry will be eaten by the other community members, and the whole community could be stressed by the female's aggression trying to defend her fry. Apistos are cichlids after all and are, like most cichlids, territorial and aggressive. In a tank of your size such aggression will probably be spread out among all the other fish. The female, however, will be the one most stressed, actively trying to defend her fry. My suggestion is to enjoy them in you tank. Only make other arrangements if you or the other community member become distressed. Good luck.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,477
One small comment - if you buy new cockatoo in the future try for young - even immature ones if possible. The life-span for domestic cockatoo doesn't seem to be that long. I will admit that i do have a couple of domestic apisto (in this case the current one of age is a male agaszii) that is probably around 3 to 3 1/2; but my luck with domestic cockatoo (another name for apistogramma cacatuoides) has been around 2 years and less if purchased when old.

Also cockatoo are one of those species of apistogramma that lean towards geogphagus behavior and like to shift sand; so they do much better on very fine substrate. I find this less true with my agassizii though in truth be told i've not actually attempted to research this aspect of the fish behavior. I will note that while my a. agassizii is a solo fish in a 180 he is also very territorial and has made that clear to the other fishes. Thankfully the other fishes in the tank respect his area and there has not been too much stress over the fact (esp since the keyholes are 3 times his size).
 

verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
verajacob, MacZ can come on a bit 'strong' at times. Let me simplify things a bit. Your specimens are a domestic color strain of A. cacatuoides called Double Red. These fish are not really deformed, rather they appear to be old and showing their age. I will agree that they are not the best domestic strain of Double Red available. The dorsal spines on the male are much shorter than seen on wild caught and better domestic specimens, but this is due to poor breeding practices and doesn't really affect the fish health-wise. If these are in a 40-breed community situation it is unlikely that many, if any, fry will survive. Also, looking at your photos, the tank is less than ideal for apistos. The worst outcome will be the the apistos will breed, the fry will be eaten by the other community members, and the whole community could be stressed by the female's aggression trying to defend her fry. Apistos are cichlids after all and are, like most cichlids, territorial and aggressive. In a tank of your size such aggression will probably be spread out among all the other fish. The female, however, will be the one most stressed, actively trying to defend her fry. My suggestion is to enjoy them in you tank. Only make other arrangements if you or the other community member become distressed. Good luck.
Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for your advice! My community tank has 4-5 cardinal tetras, 3-4 kuhli loaches, 7-8 guppies, a hillstream loach, 4-5 assorted Corys, a lonely tiger barb, and a couple of dwarf Bristlenose albino plecos.

Will these fish bother/trouble the pair of apistogrammas that are sharing the tank with them?

Btw, the 40G breeder tank is heavily planted and has plenty of nooks and caves (please see photo).

TIA!
 

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verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
One small comment - if you buy new cockatoo in the future try for young - even immature ones if possible. The life-span for domestic cockatoo doesn't seem to be that long. I will admit that i do have a couple of domestic apisto (in this case the current one of age is a male agaszii) that is probably around 3 to 3 1/2; but my luck with domestic cockatoo (another name for apistogramma cacatuoides) has been around 2 years and less if purchased when old.

Also cockatoo are one of those species of apistogramma that lean towards geogphagus behavior and like to shift sand; so they do much better on very fine substrate. I find this less true with my agassizii though in truth be told i've not actually attempted to research this aspect of the fish behavior. I will note that while my a. agassizii is a solo fish in a 180 he is also very territorial and has made that clear to the other fishes. Thankfully the other fishes in the tank respect his area and there has not been too much stress over the fact (esp since the keyholes are 3 times his size).
Thank you so much for your advice! Unfortunately, the addition of the apistogramma was more of an afterthought after I had set up the tank and added other fishes. Will pouring aquarium sand over some parts of the gravel bed (especially in front part of the aquarium) help?

TIA!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,303
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for your advice! My community tank has 4-5 cardinal tetras, 3-4 kuhli loaches, 7-8 guppies, a hillstream loach, 4-5 assorted Corys, a lonely tiger barb, and a couple of dwarf Bristlenose albino plecos.

Will these fish bother/trouble the pair of apistogrammas that are sharing the tank with them?

Btw, the 40G breeder tank is heavily planted and has plenty of nooks and caves (please see photo).

TIA!
Will they bother the adults? No, not much, until the apistos breed. Then the cardinals, notorious fry predators, will attack the fry and the female will attack them. Other bottom-dwelling species will also be attacked by the female when/if they enter her brood territory. The ultimate result can be stressed fish all around. Stress can lead to lower immune systems and resulting disease outbreaks. Everyone on this forum knows my mantra: a community tank is not a breeding tank. You might want to consider leaving only one apisto in the tank as a show fish.
 

verejacob

New Member
Messages
9
Location
New York, USA
Will they bother the adults? No, not much, until the apistos breed. Then the cardinals, notorious fry predators, will attack the fry and the female will attack them. Other bottom-dwelling species will also be attacked by the female when/if they enter her brood territory. The ultimate result can be stressed fish all around. Stress can lead to lower immune systems and resulting disease outbreaks. Everyone on this forum knows my mantra: a community tank is not a breeding tank. You might want to consider leaving only one apisto in the tank as a show fish.

Ah, now I understand. I’ll try to get a separate aquarium for the apistos only. Thank you so much for your advice, Mike!
 

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