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Trouble with Apisto Eggs

sahenson21

New Member
Messages
4
Hello!

I have been trying to breed apistogramma cacatuoides for a few months now but keep having problems. A year or two ago, we had a pair that would routinely spawn, but they often had really small batches of fry. I think this was due to our hard water and the eggs not hatching well in it. Since then, that pair has passed away and I have been focusing on trying to breed some of their offspring, but I keep running into issues.

1. I was having a great deal of trouble trying to get the apistos to spawn, so I started using rainwater and now I can get them to spawn every 1-2 weeks. So that was great!

2. My first few spawns, I wanted to let the parents do it because that's how my last pair did. However, they were either eating the eggs each time or the snails in the tank would eat them. I have noticed that the females just let the ramshorn snails right into their cave for a buffet. Has anyone else noticed this?

3. I decided to counter this by stripping the eggs when I noticed them and putting the cave + eggs in methylene blue. Some of the eggs turned white and fungused, but most of them stayed the reddish / orange color, so I was hopeful these would hatch, however most of them ended up fungusing as well. Out of 3 clutches of eggs, I got around 10-15 wrigglers. When I saw wrigglers, I started doing small water changes with the water from the parent's tank to dilute the methelyne blue. Once most of that was out, I transfered the fry to a hang-on breeder box on the parent's tank so that they'd have constant fresh water. However, it has been about a week since then and most of the wrigglers have since died before becoming free swimming.

What can I do to increase my hatch rate? Should I move the eggs/cave directly from parent's tank and put them in pure rainwater instead of tank water for softer water? Should I try hydrogen peroxide instead of methelyne blue? Similarly, any advice on getting them from wrigglers to free swimmers? I was raising angelfish fry that were hatched on the same day as the apistos, and around 70 of those made it to freeswimmers in their separate breeder box, so I really have no idea!

Any help would be appreciated, these are some of my favorite fish and I'd love to be able to reproduce them better.
 

Mike Wise

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5 Year Member
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11,303
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Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
It is hard to say what the problem is. My guess is that it is more likely due to environmental problems that you do not mention. Things like tank size and decor, water values (pH, dH, e.c.), tank maintenance, and nutrition (both adults and fry). All would be helpful to know. Other than that all I can say is that what you tried (unsuccessfully) are very different from what I do - and succeed more times than not. For example, snails almost never eat viable eggs of apistos. I have never been successful pulling eggs and artificially raising apisto fry. 99% of the time the fry do not survive. The same is true with the use of a breeder box while in the wriggler stage. Apisto mothers tend to be good at the chore of raising fry and fry develop better in the presence of their mother. Hatch rate probably will increase if you let the female chew the larvae out of the eggs instead of exhausting the fry by making them break the egg membrane themselves. Just some thoughts.
 

sahenson21

New Member
Messages
4
It is hard to say what the problem is. My guess is that it is more likely due to environmental problems that you do not mention. Things like tank size and decor, water values (pH, dH, e.c.), tank maintenance, and nutrition (both adults and fry). All would be helpful to know. Other than that all I can say is that what you tried (unsuccessfully) are very different from what I do - and succeed more times than not. For example, snails almost never eat viable eggs of apistos. I have never been successful pulling eggs and artificially raising apisto fry. 99% of the time the fry do not survive. The same is true with the use of a breeder box while in the wriggler stage. Apisto mothers tend to be good at the chore of raising fry and fry develop better in the presence of their mother. Hatch rate probably will increase if you let the female chew the larvae out of the eggs instead of exhausting the fry by making them break the egg membrane themselves. Just some thoughts.

Thank you for your response! As I said, my first apisto pair raised their own batches successfully several times, but since that pair, I haven't had a pair do that... perhaps I am not letting them practice enough? How many times of spawning does it take your new pairs to learn how to rear their own fry without eating them? As for the other info you asked for, I have 2 pairs and a trio going right now in different tanks. The trio is in a 20g, and the other 2 pairs are in 10g tanks - I have sizes up to 90g tanks, but wanted to give them their own tanks with only them in the tank to feel secure? Is dither fish something I should consider? Decor - they are all planted aquariums with differing levels of growth. One is super overgrown and I can only see the front few inches of the aquarium, the 20g is medium planted and then one of the 10s is sparsely planted. They all have multiple terracotta pots / tubes / coconut husk to spawn on. The pH is around 7.2??? (I am attaching a picture because the API test kit makes me feel like I am colorblind) And I believe gH is around 6 drops/100 ppm? (Again, I think I might be colorblind - I can barely tell when/if it turns to green). I do weekly water changes and have been using rain water mostly - which has worked very well to trigger them to spawn every 1-2 weeks. For nutrition, the adults get a mix of frozen bloodworms, frozen spirulina brine shrimp, live white worms, live BBS, microworms, + a pellet. I feed them a few times a day when fattening them up to spawn. As for the fry, I haven't gotten any past the wriggler stage yet, so I have really fed them anything - but when I had the parents raising them, I would squirt in live BBS, microworms, and vinegar eels 4-5x a day.

Sorry to have written a book, but I tried to answer all your questions! Maybe I will try again letting the parents raise them, but it is so frustrating watching them eat clutch after clutch. I intervene and raise fry from quite a few species successfully, and assumed it was not that much different with the apistos... but perhaps I was wrong? Do you remove the male? If so, when do you do it? What about if you have a trio? Do you remove the other female too?

Thanks again for the help and would love to hear any additional advice you might have about either parent raising, stripping the fry, or increasing my hatch rate (well just about any advice you might have!).
 

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dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,791
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
One is super overgrown and I can only see the front few inches of the aquarium
That is what I like in an Apistogramma tank, ideally with <"plenty of moss">.

There is an interesting video (from Cory at the Aquarium Co-Op), where he talks about the concept of what I want in a tank and he calls it "Seasoned Tank Time", I think that is a useful title and I'm going to adopt it as well.

<
>

cheers Darrel
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,303
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I do not see anything wrong except possibly the tanks are too small. Still I had success in similar size tanks with pairs in the past (not used anymore). There is something in your systems that seem to prevent the females from hatching and guarding the larvae. Are the males continually bothering them? If so, I would separate them as soon as you suspect they spawned - and with a little disturbance as possible.
 

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