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Spawning Challenges A.Elizabethe

ChrisJ

New Member
Messages
4
Hi All

Long time watcher, first time poster. I have been keeping A.Elizabethe for 12+ months, but I have had a successful spawns (egg’s disappear after 2-3 days) but no fry. Setup as follows

I have two pairs, F2 approx 18 months old) each in a approx 60L tank (60x 30 x45 h) tank
- black sand, lots of plants, wood, plantpots, coconut shells
- 25 or 26C, sponge filtration, low light
- only tank mates are bekfordi pencil fish
- RO water, change 25% weekly. Water is allowed to come up to temp and equalise before use.I add small amount of oak leave extract to get the Ph to 5.0 before adding
- tank is Ph 5.4, TDS 50 approx
- fish get live BBS once a day, other meal is frozen daphnia / bloodworm / brine shrimp
- pairs get on well, very little spawning
- I have not removed parents or dithers after spawning
- tank has peat and other botanicals in a box filter
- tanks in a quiet location, low light

Can I please ask if anyone has an idea about the lack of fry? Is it the Ph / TDS, or something else I am missing?


IMG_3247.jpeg

IMG_3249.jpeg

Thanks
Chris
 

Apistoguy52

Active Member
Messages
314
Water chemistry is perfect. Tank size is not… In my experience, I’d say the tank is smallish for one pair, with two pairs I’m sort of amazed you’ve avoided any murders. Move a pair, I’d wager the results improve wildly without the pressure of the second pair
 

ChrisJ

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks for the reply. Sorry if the first post wasn’t clear. I have two identical tanks with a pair each- do you think tank size is still an issue?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
I agree, the tank size seems to be the problem. Have you tried removing the males after spawning. In the fishroom I regularly help out at, we use similar sized tanks but we remove males after spawning, because especially in species where the males don't actively help caring for the fry (almost all in my experience), the males tend to harrass the females even before the eggs hatch until the female eats them.
Alternatively: Seems the females don't want to use the coconut huts. Maybe those have to be modified so the females are enticed to use them and are able to better avoid the males?
 

ChrisJ

New Member
Messages
4
I agree, the tank size seems to be the problem. Have you tried removing the males after spawning. In the fishroom I regularly help out at, we use similar sized tanks but we remove males after spawning, because especially in species where the males don't actively help caring for the fry (almost all in my experience), the males tend to harrass the females even before the eggs hatch until the female eats them.
Alternatively: Seems the females don't want to use the coconut huts. Maybe those have to be modified so the females are enticed to use them and are able to better avoid the males?
Thanks for the feedback. I tried to remove the male once, but kicked up such a stink that the female panicked and ate the eggs anyway. I will swap out some of the coconut halves for smaller caves and and try again to gently remove the male next time. Thanks
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,305
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Have you checked your nitrogen levels, especially NO3, lately? A. elizabethae, fry at least, have a reputation for being very sensitive to levels of nitrogen products in their tanks. It's probable that the eggs are, too. This is where a larger tank can be useful. Sometimes the solution to pollution is dilution.
 

Apistomaster

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
736
Location
Clarkston, WA
Water chemistry is perfect. Tank size is not… In my experience, I’d say the tank is smallish for one pair, with two pairs I’m sort of amazed you’ve avoided any murders. Move a pair, I’d wager the results improve wildly without the pressure of the second pair
As I read it each pair is in their own tank.
 

Apistomaster

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
736
Location
Clarkston, WA
Congrats on the spawns. I love to see a pair or female render brood care/
I would try some changes though.
1. I think Nannostomus beckfordi are not good dithers with regard to a breeding setup. I'd try N. eques or no dithers. Beckford's are somewhat atypical among the pencilfish in terms of intrusive and or predatory behavior. I don't trust any other the fancy red pencil fish either for same reasons.
2. At 18 months and still spawning, and given you have two pairs, I'd seriously consider removing a spawn and try artificial hatching. Many Apistogramma are nearing the end of their optimal breeding lives by now. This way you may still enjoy a natural way, and with luck, a clutch in hand.
3. The continued presence of the male post-spawn may also not be working in your favor. Lots of species of Apistogramma have better results when the males has moved on to different females. Pair bonding of Apistos isn't as intense as it is among the majority of larger Cichlids.
 
Last edited:

ChrisJ

New Member
Messages
4
Congrats on the spawns. I love to see a pair or female render brood care/
I would try some changes though.
1. I think Nannostomus beckfordi are not good dithers with regard to a breeding setup. I'd try N. eques or no dithers. Beckford's are somewhat atypical among the pencilfish in terms of intrusive and or predatory behavior. I don't trust any other the fancy red pencil fish either for same reasons.
2. At 18 months and still spawning, and given you have two pairs, I'd seriously consider removing a spawn and try artificial hatching. Many Apistogramma are nearing the end of their optimal breeding lives by now. This way you may still enjoy a natural way, and with luck, a clutch in hand.
3. The continued presence of the male post-spawn may also not be working in your favor. Lots of species of Apistogramma have better results when the males has moved on to different females. Pair bonding of Apistos isn't as intense as it is among the majority of larger Cichlids.
Hi all

Sorry for the slow replies
1) nitrates were higher than preferred (15ppm approximately). I will use some pothos / floating plants and increased water changes
2) i have tried hatching fry myself and failed, but will keep it in mind
3) i will 100% remove the male next spawn
4) interesting feedback on the pencil fish dithers. I will try to swap for some dwarf pencils
5) TDS is always a battle, even with RO. I need to add botanicals or acids to get the ph down, which makes the TDS of my water change water approx 20. However, 20 is a lot lower than 50, so I will keep pushing to get it as low as I can

Thanks
Chris
 

Apistomaster

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
736
Location
Clarkston, WA
I think your water is fine. 20 to 50 ppm isn't hard water by my lights. Seems about right for achieving a stable pH and F2 fish are likely better adjusted to aquarium life than perhaps the wild caught fish.
Which species of the pencil fish species are you considering? Common names are so variable around the world although my guess is your alternate species is one of those I'd consider good dithers. Guessing maybe N.minimus or N.marilynae.
As I mentioned before, the age of your fish is where I'd suspect getting successful spawns is nearing the end of their optimum breeding age. Getting eggs to hatch away from the female's care can be difficult. I've had it work spectacularly well but more often than not I've had poor results. In cases where it's worked well the hatching tank didn't have a filter, just an weakly flowing airstone in 6 inches water from the breeder's tanks and prepared at least a week before I anticipated the need.
The fact that you have two pairs to work with gives you the options to go natural and/or not. I just hear their biological clock ticking loudly. Otherwise the fact you have two breeding pairs of A. elizabethae tells me you are doing most everything right. My interest comes with this species comes from them being one which has long béen on my personal bucket list so I vicariously wish to enjoy your future success with your pairs.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
589
Location
San Francisco
5) TDS is always a battle, even with RO. I need to add botanicals or acids to get the ph down, which makes the TDS of my water change water approx 20. However, 20 is a lot lower than 50, so I will keep pushing to get it as low as I can
I think you can skip the acids. I doubt pH is very meaningful at < 20 TDS. Botanicals don't really add a lot of ions, so I think you could get the TDS lower than 20 if you wanted to.
 

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