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Suitable tank mates - again

beasti

New Member
Messages
5
Hello
I registered here because I have made plans to start keeping apistogramma (most likely cacatuoides) but I want to gather all information and opinions before committing to anything.
I have currently a 360l fishtank, 120x60x60 diameters. For the past 10 years I have had Neolamprologus multifasciatus, had successfully bred them, but past two years they are not breeding and are slowly dying out. I have last 5 pieces left, 4 females for sure, one most likely male.
In the top layer of the tank, I have had cyprochromis leptosoma ( i know, bad choice, but i really wanted them and for 6 years they sort of worked), few years of Danio rerio and now, for the past 4 years I have had Trigonostigma heteromorpha that try to spawn regularly but there are only 11 left.

My plan is to move the remaining 5 multifasciatus to my running 54l ( i know, a bit small, but they will manage), and remake this 360l to a blackwater setup with apistogramma. My idea is a high root, lots of driftwood, stones, maybe even one side of stone caves and a pilar perhaps?, adding more of the river sand that I already have there, keeping the Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia that I have had for the past 10 years and is healthy and 150cm long, maybe keeping one anubias as I dont want to just throw it out.
With this, I would like to keep the remaining trigonostigma. I would also like one male and 3-4 females of cacatuoides with maybe some hope of spawning.

Now finally to my question - what else can I add?
I read this forum and I know I would not go for any pleco nor any corydoras, but I was considering either 4 Carnegiella marthae or a group of Otocinclus though am not sure there. Or Hemigrammus rhodostomus to accompany or later on replace the rasboras. Though I have read pencilfish is a better choice, will read up on it as I didnt consider it before.


Of course as you understand I decided on a change finally and now am eager to get going, though I will most likely have to wait till autumn.
I took out 3/4 of the snail shells to limit the multifasciatus territory to get them used to a smaller setup gradually, and I am building a different 40l tank where I need to move a betta fish that now occupies the 54l that will house the multies later on. I also need to acquire the wood and stones first before even considering the apistogrammas. But of course this means I now have, and most likely will have for next few month a mostly empty fishtank, and I was wondering if I could just find a future tankmate that could be there now and be happy.

I will be happy for any advice. Thank you
 

beasti

New Member
Messages
5
Will share pictures of the fishtank 10 years ago and now .
Just today with the snail shells I also removed 8/10 of the stones to start gradually reducing the hardness of the water.
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
Apistogramma cacatuoides are not a blackwater species but occur in clear and whitewater. So the water doesn't have to be very soft for them specifically. In case you take a domestic strain of those it's even less important to lower hardness and pH.

If you decidedly want to go the blackwater route you might want to look into other species like Apistogramma panduro, A. agassizii, A. nijsseni, A. bitaeniata or A. ortegai.

For any Apisto, that can be kept in harems (not all are possible) a ratio of 1:2 would be safe for your tank size, just make sure usually a male has an average territory size of 60cm diameter, females of 30. While just by the numbers that would mean you could add more, I would suggest not putting in too many, because the more the better the structures have to be to really make this possible. With the 1:2 ratio it would be the least challenging.

Good choice to stay away from Corydoras, should the Apistos start to breed, this will likely cause stress.

The carnegiella should be kept in bigger numbers. Rather take 14 instead of 4. And make sure you have the necessary amount of floating plants.

Also, wait with the Otos at least 6 months. When you switch from hard water to soft water expect the biofilms transforming and aufwuchs to take some time to grow again.

I have heard more than once that the rummynose tetras are probably schooling and moving about too much for a community with Apistogramma.

For group fish: Hyphessobrycon species like H. sweglesi, H. erythrostigma or H. pulchripinnis would be good choices for high-backed, rather stationary tetras. H. herbertaxelrodi and other species of Hemmigrammus than H. rhodostomus, e.g. H. erythrozonus, H. pulcher, H. hyanuary are some choices for more slick and torpedo-shaped species. And in blackwater of course Paracheirodon species (all the true neons) are always a classic.

In the upper regions you could also keep Nannostomus or Copella tetras. Just to name some alternatives to the hatchets.
 

beasti

New Member
Messages
5
Hi, thanks for the reply. Such a different information than what I found in other places about multiple species. For carnegiella my wiki says small school of max 4 pieces, for all apistogramma that are harem like it is always suggested 1 male, 3-4 females.
Good to know the info is not always accurate!

I need to buy new water test kits, all of my previous one expired. After years of snail shells and limestone decoration, PH was was around 7,5, 8 was top in past, I think even with branches I wont go down much below 7ph because of the entry water that is also 7.

So you are saying with harem cichlid, I will have to stick with 3 fish tops for my fishtank. What is the ideal starting number to determine males, females and possible good pairings? will 5 fish do?

I wouldnt buy hatchets before the big fishtank changes, they would not do well with me reinventing their place later on. So I either tough it out for few months with just the remaining rasboras, or add another school of Hyphessobrycon to have something going on.

I apologize, I never liked Paracheirodon, it is the most common boring fish present in every setup here and often kept in wrong conditions/ numbers and I swore I would never ever have them. Same goes for angelfish, and I was never a fan of any pleco or ancistrus species. Had fun with rineoricaria once, but I doubt they would do well harassing the apistogramma or the other way around.

Is the idea for Otos valid for the future once it stabilizes, or is the experience with them bad? I had 6 of them in a 54liter before I added the betta and I barely saw one if any, and I think the betta eventually killed them or I did something wrong.

Because I always had territorial bottom dwelling fish, I never really had any bottom feeder before, so I hopefully wont miss them :)
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
Hi, thanks for the reply. Such a different information than what I found in other places about multiple species. For carnegiella my wiki says small school of max 4 pieces, for all apistogramma that are harem like it is always suggested 1 male, 3-4 females.
Good to know the info is not always accurate!

It depends a lot on how big the tank is.

I need to buy new water test kits, all of my previous one expired. After years of snail shells and limestone decoration, PH was was around 7,5, 8 was top in past, I think even with branches I wont go down much below 7ph because of the entry water that is also 7.

Wood and leaf litter alone won't change anything about your pH unless you have a KH of less than 1°. It might be necessary to remove everything from the tank (including the substrate) and using RO water to do anything about your water parameters. The good thing: You can keep the filter media.

So you are saying with harem cichlid, I will have to stick with 3 fish tops for my fishtank. What is the ideal starting number to determine males, females and possible good pairings? will 5 fish do?

Unlike Tanganyikans (which I bred for a decade) with Apistogramma you can relatively early tell the sexes from each other. So getting a group of juveniles is not necessary. You easily can get sexed specimens.

I wouldnt buy hatchets before the big fishtank changes, they would not do well with me reinventing their place later on. So I either tough it out for few months with just the remaining rasboras, or add another school of Hyphessobrycon to have something going on.

Ok, so Carnegiella are an option for later anyways?

I apologize, I never liked Paracheirodon, it is the most common boring fish present in every setup here and often kept in wrong conditions/ numbers and I swore I would never ever have them. Same goes for angelfish, and I was never a fan of any pleco or ancistrus species. Had fun with rineoricaria once, but I doubt they would do well harassing the apistogramma or the other way around.

No need to apologize. Although I have kept cardinals in the right conditions for a while (but down to one last specimen after several years.), I have just seen enough of them. I would neither recommend Angels and I find plecos won't fit in with Apistos anyways.

Is the idea for Otos valid for the future once it stabilizes, or is the experience with them bad? I had 6 of them in a 54liter before I added the betta and I barely saw one if any, and I think the betta eventually killed them or I did something wrong.

Otos are feeding specialists, almost always wild caught and really getting the short end among the often kept species. Usually when you get a bad batch you can expect 50-100% losses no matter what you do or don't do. I would wait for the tank to get into the necessary balance and look how much aufwuchs there even is, before getting them. Otherwise supplementory feeding would be necessary and that can go wrong as many are halfway starved already on purchase. I myself gave up on Otos after 2 attempts.

Because I always had territorial bottom dwelling fish, I never really had any bottom feeder before, so I hopefully wont miss them
Otos are not bottomfeeders. They are were the aufwuchs is. Mine always hung out on the driftwood, sometimes even very high up.
 

beasti

New Member
Messages
5
Thank you for the information.

Three fish is less than I expected for my size, but at least will be fun to watch, will read up on the suggested species.

I am considering hatchetfish, I never had them, so would be something new, but due to the filter output position I cant make 15 cm gap between the water level and the top glass as is recommended. Also am not sure how it will handle the mess of leaves on the surface and if I need to add more floating plants. I have full surface of Lemna, though I know it will look nice to have Pistia stratiotes.
Am afraid will really have to wait for the planned change, adding of the roots and branches and stones, setting up the territories and only after I can start thinking about adding hatchetfish and apistogramma.

With your information about Oto, I will not consider them. I do not want to keep wild caught fish that cant be bred in captivity if I can help it.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
Three fish is less than I expected for my size, but at least will be fun to watch, will read up on the suggested species.

You see, when stocking territorial fish of any kind understocking is definitely the better option, as overstocking may end up one or two of the fish dead.

With your information about Oto, I will not consider them. I do not want to keep wild caught fish that cant be bred in captivity if I can help it.

There are fish, that are better caught in the wild, the best example being cardinal tetras, as the trade with them can be done fair and sustainable, as it guarantees income for people that otherwise would work in trades that contribute to the destruction of environment and biotopes like illegal mining or the lumber industry. Breeding them is cost intensive and the environmentally less sustainable solution.
When it comes to saltwater fish boycotting wild caughts is a good thing, with freshwater species it is not always the better choice to get tankbreds.
Btw, should you ever stumble upon tankbred Otocinclus, you should definitely consider those, because those are hardy and fun.
 

beasti

New Member
Messages
5
Nice, I didnt know about the freshwater trade. I was only aware of how the seawater trade of requests for clown fish and other wild caught not bread fish destroyed the environment, I was afraid the freshwater may be similar.

good to know it is not. I will check what is offered here, but given I am from middle of europe, not sure about the selection. Would explain why the otocinclus is so unstable here, it has to travel very far and it is a very small fish.
I will check back once I have the setup and ready before any fish is added of course, and we will see where I moved. Have to curb my enthusiasm.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
but given I am from middle of europe,

Guess where I am. :D I'm talking from my perspective on the German trade, but I also have some insight in international things.

It's a bit depending on where the fish are from, when it comes to wild caught freshwater fish. In some parts of South America and of South East Asia there are programs that catch fish in the wild and bring them here or to North America in a sustainable way. They still only make up less than 40% but for some "standard" species of tetras and cichlids it's safe to say that buying them is not supporting unsustainable collecting. Wholesalers and retailers in the EU have to stick to certain guidelines.
In Western and Central Africa the trade is a mess, especially due to constant wars and instability. East Africa is... so-so. Depends on the country along the shorelines of the Rift Lakes.

But there are not only sustainably sourced fish in these regions. In South America Otocinclus are one of these bad examples, as due to their mirky biotopes often poison is used. And in South East Asia there are biotopes that are so endangered, the fish from there are all on the Red-List. But with fish this is rarely enforced or even checked. :/

Keeping South American fish is probably your safest bet, even with wild caught fish.
 

Paul1006

New Member
Messages
8
Hello
I registered here because I have made plans to start keeping apistogramma (most likely cacatuoides) but I want to gather all information and opinions before committing to anything.
I have currently a 360l fishtank, 120x60x60 diameters. For the past 10 years I have had Neolamprologus multifasciatus, had successfully bred them, but past two years they are not breeding and are slowly dying out. I have last 5 pieces left, 4 females for sure, one most likely male.
In the top layer of the tank, I have had cyprochromis leptosoma ( i know, bad choice, but i really wanted them and for 6 years they sort of worked), few years of Danio rerio and now, for the past 4 years I have had Trigonostigma heteromorpha that try to spawn regularly but there are only 11 left.

My plan is to move the remaining 5 multifasciatus to my running 54l ( i know, a bit small, but they will manage), and remake this 360l to a blackwater setup with apistogramma. My idea is a high root, lots of driftwood, stones, maybe even one side of stone caves and a pilar perhaps?, adding more of the river sand that I already have there, keeping the Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia that I have had for the past 10 years and is healthy and 150cm long, maybe keeping one anubias as I dont want to just throw it out.
With this, I would like to keep the remaining trigonostigma. I would also like one male and 3-4 females of cacatuoides with maybe some hope of spawning.

Now finally to my question - what else can I add?
I read this forum and I know I would not go for any pleco nor any corydoras, but I was considering either 4 Carnegiella marthae or a group of Otocinclus though am not sure there. Or Hemigrammus rhodostomus to accompany or later on replace the rasboras. Though I have read pencilfish is a better choice, will read up on it as I didnt consider it before.


Of course as you understand I decided on a change finally and now am eager to get going, though I will most likely have to wait till autumn.
I took out 3/4 of the snail shells to limit the multifasciatus territory to get them used to a smaller setup gradually, and I am building a different 40l tank where I need to move a betta fish that now occupies the 54l that will house the multies later on. I also need to acquire the wood and stones first before even considering the apistogrammas. But of course this means I now have, and most likely will have for next few month a mostly empty fishtank, and I was wondering if I could just find a future tankmate that could be there now and be happy.

I will be happy for any advice. Thank you
I successfully keep all my Apistos in 20 gallon longs with small Tetras, Pencilfish, Ottos, and wait for it Corys. I had and continue to have Apisto fry grow to sellable size in these tanks. I currently have Nijsseni and Hongsloi with large groups of fry.
 

beastije

New Member
Messages
8
Hi. So I was reading again about suitable tankmates and what you suggested and read also a lot of this forums posts about behavior.
I really want the hatchetfish but read that they do not like to share the top level with any other fish. Any pencilfish are qualified as very top level fish which would mean there would be hatchetfish and pencilfish on the very very top of the fishtank, 50 cm of nothing and then the apistogramma. Is there any top AND middle fish that would not decimate the fry ? I do not want a black fish so no black tetra ( since hatchetfish are black, oto that I will have eventually will be black ). I read about ember tetras and the experience is different with each person here. Jewel tetra is not mentioned here but other forums mention it is very predatory. Red phantom doesn't like water near 25 and above.

So the question. Do the pencilfish really only stay on top and will they bother hatchetfish? Will I be better with the ember tetra ?
Thanks
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
Ok... some basics so you don't have to ask for each species.

Hatchetfish stay away from fry, because they rarely venture far enough down. I don't think they would be aggressive towards the pencils, but hatchets are not moving a lot, while pencils dart about a lot. I would rather assume the pencils are able to get the hatchets to startle and jump. And knowing more than one incidence of hatchets either jumping out of the tank or bashing their heads in on the lid, the combination is rather not ideal.

Pencilfish are fry safe as their mouths are usually too small to get them. Seeing how they munch on mosquito larvae I would somewhat dispute this to be the reason, it's rather that they are oriented upwards from where they are and not downwards and Apistos tend to be very much bottomdwellers. My Nannostomus eques are a bit territorial and aggressive among each other, ending up especially females and low ranking males in the mid-section of the water column although the species is generally much more surface oriented than e.g. N. beckfordi or N. marginatus.

Tetras are ALL not fry safe, including Embers. If you want to breed the Apistos, normal tetras are out.
 

beastije

New Member
Messages
8
Hi. So I was reading again about suitable tankmates and what you suggested and read also a lot of this forums posts about behavior.
I really want the hatchetfish but read that they do not like to share the top level with any other fish. Any pencilfish are qualified as very top level fish which would mean there would be hatchetfish and pencilfish on the very very top of the fishtank, 50 cm of nothing and then the apistogramma. Is there any top AND middle fish that would not decimate the fry ? I do not want a black fish so no black tetra ( since hatchetfish are black, oto that I will have eventually will be black ). I read about ember tetras and the experience is different with each person here. Jewel tetra is not mentioned here but other forums mention it is very predatory. Red phantom doesn't like water near 25 and above.

So the question. Do the pencilfish really only stay on top and will they bother hatchetfish? Will I be better with the ember tetra ?
Thanks
Thanks, figured both top dwellers won't be a good combo. Any sort of fry safe fish for middle column or not at all?
I also read about bamboo/fan shrimp that it doesn't have problem with apistos, question ofcourse if brooding female won't kill it if it ventures in the wrong place. Any experience? They may liven up the middle section of the tank. It will be months before I am ready for the otos
 

beastije

New Member
Messages
8
I know I am annoying with all my questions and you should see me on other forums, but I am redoing three fishtanks at once and I like to read a lot and think about the species and compatibility and what I can offer so that I am sure I have a good match and a good selection before actually doing anything. It doesn't help that I am at work and bored and can't do anything about fishtanks but read and think about them, it increases the amount of questions and ideas I get.
I am not an impulse buyer and do not add fish to setup fishtanks because I tend to have figured out all tankmates from the beginning. But that requires lot of time and questions. Sometimes I get in this frenzy like right now where all I do is think about the fish. Drive my boyfriend crazy too :)))
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
I have but one question: Do you want to breed apistos successfully or keep a community tank?

Both in one is not feasable.

If you want to keep Apistos with other animals: Keep a single male. Then you can pretty much put anything in the tank that needs similar conditions.
I personally would then go with pencils for the upper regions, tetras for the middle and the Apisto for ground level.
Corydoras can work with a single Apisto, too. Just stay away from other cichlids (territorial aggression) and plecos (nocturnal fish might stress out diurnal fish).

If you want to successfully breed Apistos: Get one pair or a harem (depending on the species), in a 60 liter add maybe 5 pencilfish, in an 80-100 liter get up to 15 and you are done with stocking.

And do yourself a favour and bookmark this site: www.seriouslyfish.com
There you will find information you can actually use and learn how to assess which animals are compatible with each other. Also, never be above using Wikipedia, especially if you are not sure what a certain term means.
 

beastije

New Member
Messages
8
Hi guys, i don't want to open a new thread and I didn't find this keyword in the forum.

Because I got tylomelania snails in the 360l i decided against getting any apistogramma in there. Will keep 5 tylomelania, 3 bamboo shrimp, 20 ember tetra, 15 hatchet fish and 15 sterbai corydoras, that should all be comfortable in a 27°C tank .

So I am thinking about future. I will have free 54l tank, once the remaining multies die of old age (they are 3 years old now and I lost the only male). It will be a sandy substrate with MT snails. I was thinking about placing few branches and about 1/4 of the tank to be filled with leaves. Including few caves, would this litres be sufficient for any blackwater apisto?
I read on seriously fish about all the previously mentioned once in the first reply and the 60x30 cm dimension of a base is sufficient for a pair of all those above.

However my question. To avoid disturbing the leaves and bottom when changing water, i was thinking about getting few of Stenomelania torulosa snails. Does anybody have experience with them and apistos?
My idea was to get a bottom cleaner to avoid having to do it myself and disturb the layers.

Thanks
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Location
Germany
However my question. To avoid disturbing the leaves and bottom when changing water, i was thinking about getting few of Stenomelania torulosa snails. Does anybody have experience with them and apistos?
My idea was to get a bottom cleaner to avoid having to do it myself and disturb the layers.
You don't have to add anything specifically. Keep the sand layer relatively thin (3-4cm max) and the Apistos, chewing sand, are keeping it all clean. You would only have to poke the sand maybe 1-2x a month with a chopstick (more to probe for problems than for actual maintenance) and that's it. I haven't moved my substrate in over a year.

Generally if you are going for real blackwater (hardness below detection level) snails aren't going to work anyway, because soft acidic water kills them off quickly.

A 60x30cm 54liter tank is the standard in European Apisto Breeding it seems, but should be perfectly structured and the possibility of moving one of the fish at any given time has to be provided, too. Otherwise in this tank size a single male would probably the better option. So you might first want to ask yourself whether you want to breed or not. If not, go with a single fish and some dithers like pencils and tetras.
 

beastije

New Member
Messages
8
True true i forgot about the Ph. Maybe the MT snails will help with the substrate, cause there is no way to get rid of them unless I would want to remake the substrate altogether.

I would like to try my hand at breeding that is why I would have them alone in the tank. I realize it is not going to happen in a community tank. Luckily the other tank is also soft water and branches, i would be ok to move one of the fish to the larger tank if issues arise.

Thanks, will read up more on which of the suggested species would suit me best and pick up when the time is closer and the tank is empty.
 

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