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Tips for breeding various apistos


5 Year Member
For the last few years I have been getting a number of fish (apistos, tetras..etc) during the spring and summer with idea of breeding them. That is my entertainment and enjoyment (other than family) for the long winter months. This year I decided to try something a little more challenging, Apisto Agassizi TEFE, MAMORE, DBL RED, and FIRE RED. I have always failed with aggies for some reason.

What I would like to do is put pairs in 10G tanks witha few pencil fish. Lots of moss, floating platns, pots, wood, sandy bottom (pool sand), rain water (pH 6.6 and GH 3 KH 4 (GH & KH measured with dip stick test kit. I know this is not the best, but my liquid test kit is old and seems off), sponge filter from central air source.

With this starting point, I just want any input from your vast experience. How do able is this? I realize 10G is not optimum, but what can I do to work the odds to my favor? Any tips and tricks from your past experiences with aggies or similar fish, is great. I have done quite a bit of reading too. I know I need to drop the pH much lower for the tefe and mamore, but has anyone had success at higher values?

Has anyone had better results conditioning with certain food, does separating sexes help, should female always be introduced first into the breeding tank...?

The 10G are side by side with clear sight between them My thinking is it might help re-enforce the pairs instincts. On the other hand will it distract the males with other females?

The tanks are getting set up this week and will cycle for about 4-5 weeks ( to give me time to gather more data and condition fish).

Thanks for every ones help



Active Member
5 Year Member
The tank size may be a bit of a problem. Have a spare tank ready to rescue fish when aggression gets out of hand. Placing the tanks directly next to each other as you have done will work in your favour.
Especially for a small tank you will need a lot of structure in there - and by a lot I mean that you should not be able to easily see into most parts of the tank.
For breeding I would try to drop the pH some more. Is it pure rain water you are using? If yes, it is a bit strange that you get the GH and KH readings you have. Is there anything in the tank that could raise it? A better indicator than just GH/KH is to measure the conductivity/TDS, the meters are quite cheap so I would get one (you will need a low range one, not the higher range).
Any fertilisers for the tank are out as you want to keep conductivity as low as possible.
For conditioning live foods seem to work best, with mosquito larvae being a favourite for many people. Black worms also work for me, you just don't want to overfeed on them and don't use them too often.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you :)


5 Year Member
Thanks regani. I knew 10g are not the best. I've had all pairs in 10g for about 6-7 weeks. Conditions are not set up for breeding, and when I make adjustments and nature takes over...that is a whole new ball game.

I use 40% rain water 60% tap water...both conditioned for about 7-10 days in a tub w/oak leaves and peat...then add it to the tanks. This has been very successful in a 29g with iniridaea that constantly breed..... I need to get something new to measure GH and KH....its crazy.
I have found that my Apistogramma species (mainly my wild caught A.Barlowi and A.Eunotus) tend to spawn after a 65% water change, haven't a clue why, but they seem to like it.

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
You've gotten good advise so far. One thing I'll add:

... The 10G are side by side with clear sight between them My thinking is it might help re-enforce the pairs instincts. ...
A. agassizii is a polygamous species. They don't form pairs like pair-bonding cichlids. View of another male (or female) will only be a distraction for breeding. I'd put opaque dividers of some kind between the tank.

Oh, one more thing. Are you cycling water through the peat/leaves?


5 Year Member
Not yet Mike. I saw you ask the same question in another thread, so I am preparing a device that will hold both peat moss and oak leaves and will have air flow through it. I just need to find something to scale that will allow water flow without spewing the contents in the water container.
I have to agree with the Apistogramma Agassizii being harder to breed, I have not had any success myself but a friend of mine was able to breed them.

In regards to breeding Apisto's overall I have found that there are a ton of ways to breed and everyone I know that breeds them seems to use different methods, different water conditions and different tank sizes. I guess it comes down to what works for you and you'll learn through trial and error.

I'd drop the percentage of tap water to about 40% and lower your pH a bit more but I am only speaking from what worked for me in the past.

The general rule when breeding in smaller tanks is to have a second tank ready to go, if you want to raise the fry in smaller tanks, you at some point need to seperate the parents because they might eat the fry. Also, feeding is an important aspect, fry need to be fed multiple times a day in very small amounts. A friend of mine feeds his fry like every 2 hours and he's got his alarm set for it and he's got great results with that.