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What makes an apisto worth breeding?

lexi

New Member
Good dog breeders and horse breeders look at gait, color, conformation and temperment. Cattle breeders look at milk production and meat quality. What makes an apistogramma a good representative of the species? I have a. cacatuoides and a. macmasteri to be specific. How do I judge if the fish I have should or shouldnt be bred?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
The same as any other animal. You compare it to an idealized standard: body size & shape, fin shape, lack of physical deformities, natural deportment and color. I guess you have never been to a fish show where fish are judged just like at other animal exhibitions (state fairs, stock shows, etc.) I have judged many such fish shows from local to national (ACA). It helps to know your fish.
 

lexi

New Member
The same as any other animal. You compare it to an idealized standard: body size & shape, fin shape, lack of physical deformities, natural deportment and color. I guess you have never been to a fish show where fish are judged just like at other animal exhibitions (state fairs, stock shows, etc.) I have judged many such fish shows from local to national (ACA). It helps to know your fish.
Thank you. =) I have heard of fish shows but haven't been to one. I hope I will be able to some time! I guess, to be more specific, where do I, as a new apisto owner, find that information? AKC has an online source that lists the standards for each dog breed. I read a lot of the basics before ever buying my apistos; water parameter needs, origin, habitat, tank size, yadda yadda, but the details beyond that have been difficult to find. I am grateful that in the short time I've been in this forum I have gotten a couple good links to more in depth info. I'm reading through an old apisto mailing list group archive (high school flashbacks! Lol), the posts on here and another site. It's nice to finally get something other than the same basic care facts repeated over and over. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across anything describing the ideal confirmation, markings, deportment, etc.... either for apistos in general or broken down to species specifics details. Is there such a source out there? Google images is a crap shoot, as I have no baseline to know if I'm looking at good or poor quality fish. In that email archive I mentioned, a lot of people refer to the Cichlid Atlas, volumes 1 and 2, as a vital info source, but both are around $50-100 on amazon right now. That's way out of my current budget for 2 old books that may or may not be helpful.

Can you point me in the right direction for a description of the ideal standard for a cacatuoides and macmasteri? Preferably online, but I dont mind buying a more affordable reference book. Alternatively, Is there a section on this forum appropriate for posting pictures and asking for more experienced keepers to give their input on the quality of my fish?

Thanks again for your help!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
One gets what one pays for. There are several excellent books on dwarf cichlids that show these fish, both wild forms and domestic strains. Sadly, I find that the internet has spoiled people. As it expanded anyone can show about anything for free and others aren't willing to pay for good information anymore. I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of photos out there online of rather poor quality fish. But there are many quality older used books for sale out there. Look for Linke & Staeck's book. There is also one from Aqualog. I imagine the DATZ book is out of your price range. By looking at what wild fish look like in these books, you will understand what good conformation, etc. is supposed to be. The more specimens you see the more you will understand what is and is not quality.
 

lexi

New Member
One gets what one pays for. There are several excellent books on dwarf cichlids that show these fish, both wild forms and domestic strains. Sadly, I find that the internet has spoiled people. As it expanded anyone can show about anything for free and others aren't willing to pay for good information anymore. I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of photos out there online of rather poor quality fish. But there are many quality older used books for sale out there. Look for Linke & Staeck's book. There is also one from Aqualog. I imagine the DATZ book is out of your price range. By looking at what wild fish look like in these books, you will understand what good conformation, etc. is supposed to be. The more specimens you see the more you will understand what is and is not quality.
Thank you! I will look those books up, and also see what I can find on wild cacatuoides. I am a huge fan of having actual books vs. internet. I just unfortunately blew the majority of this month's and next month's fish budget on the new fish, restocking frozen food and setting up live food cultures. I think my husband would loose his mind if I spent $100+ on a book right now too.

These are pictures of the cacatuoides I currently have. I feel like the adult male has nice fins but a very large, beefy head. It looks a bit odd to me compared to the juveniles I've seen and internet pictures. He is also the first adult male I've seen in person though, so maybe I am just not familiar enough with their mature head shape. His color is very bright red and rich. The adult male came from the same breeder as the 3 juveniles that I bought with him. The lfs said he is a bit over a year old. It does make me wonder why the breeder grew him to adulthood and then chose to sell him. To my untrained eye, the dominant, juvenile male seems gorgeous. He is more red than orange, when not backlit, large long fins and quite active. I've ordered a divider for the 10g quarantine tank that should be coming by monday. He does tend to harrass the smaller juvie male and has laid claim to the little female so I feel it would be best to separate them asap. (The adult male is already in a separate tank)

The older female was purchased at a different lfs a few months ago. Her fins have a lot of bright orange and black markings. To my untrained eye she is quite lovely.
 

Attachments

lexi

New Member
Are you asking for opinions on your fish?
Yes please, sir, if it's not too much trouble. I am sure you are busy and I appreciate your time and input. From what you've said, it's going to take a lot more experience and research before I will be able to have a confident idea of what a quality cacatuoides looks like, in.order to evaluate my own fish. In the mean time, i do not want to be irresponsible with the fish i have. I do not believe it is ethical to breed animals in a way that is detrimental to the quality of the species as a whole. I see it as a spectrum ranging from breeding deformed bad quality fish. Like the equivalent of a puppy mill. In the middle, breeding fair enough or maybe even good quality, like family dogs that are nice but not the cream of the crop. Fish that are good enough for the average fish keeper but nothing special. And at the other end, show quality prime examples of the species. I am ok with being in the middle category as I learn. I've no delusions that my fish are going to be anything super special. I do not want to be in the first category out of ignorance. If they would be considered bad quality fish, with highly undesirable traits, I believe breeding them would be wrong. Perhaps I am over thinking it. My experiences are in the dog and horse breeding world. I've had fish for years but am new to apistos and have never bred any of my fish before. I just want to make sure that I breed my fish in an ethical way. I hope that makes sense. I understand though if you do not have time to comment on my fish. You've already been a big help commenting on my flood of newbie posts and questions. I am continuing my research and want to learn as much as possible. <3. Thanks again!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
OK. First judging standards for cichlids is less formal than that for dogs and horses mainly because cichlids represent 1000+ species. Still, all show characteristics that are 'ideal', based on the idealized specimen from the wild. Now for my personal opinion of your fish:

Adult male: I would judge him not show quality. He is too old - more like 2+ years old than 1 year old. His body (like my own body) shows signs of old age. The back area of the fish (not mine) has shrunk compare to the head. All of this is normal for older specimen. Color is just ok for a 4X Red Cac. It just has too much black in the pattern and more importantly the black on the caudal peduncle is 'disturbing'. This is atypical of this strain and probably is caused by some kind of nerve damage. Finnage is very poor. Front spines are too short (common in early reds, but rectified in better modern strains), tips of dorsal & anal fins too short, and the caudal fin is deformed. Compare it with this wild cac that is in my tank. I don't know its age but based on what I've bred in tanks and collected in the wild, I believe it was maybe 1 year old (that season's spawn). Note the shape of the body and length of the fins.

Of the 2 young males, I would consider the dominant male superior only because it shows a more symmetrical pattern in the caudal fin. It's too young to guess how his fins will develop, but they look promising for his age.

The female has good potential. The caudal pattern is pretty good - strong and symmetrical. The black on the dorsal and anal fins are different. It may be the photo, but the black pattern in the ventrals also appear assymetrical.

If these were my fish, I'd put the large male in a geriatric/community tank, breed the dominant male with the female, and keep the subdominant male as a back-up
 

Attachments

lexi

New Member
OK. First judging standards for cichlids is less formal than that for dogs and horses mainly because cichlids represent 1000+ species. Still, all show characteristics that are 'ideal', based on the idealized specimen from the wild. Now for my personal opinion of your fish:

Adult male: I would judge him not show quality. He is too old - more like 2+ years old than 1 year old. His body (like my own body) shows signs of old age. The back area of the fish (not mine) has shrunk compare to the head. All of this is normal for older specimen. Color is just ok for a 4X Red Cac. It just has too much black in the pattern and more importantly the black on the caudal peduncle is 'disturbing'. This is atypical of this strain and probably is caused by some kind of nerve damage. Finnage is very poor. Front spines are too short (common in early reds, but rectified in better modern strains), tips of dorsal & anal fins too short, and the caudal fin is deformed. Compare it with this wild cac that is in my tank. I don't know its age but based on what I've bred in tanks and collected in the wild, I believe it was maybe 1 year old (that season's spawn). Note the shape of the body and length of the fins.

Of the 2 young males, I would consider the dominant male superior only because it shows a more symmetrical pattern in the caudal fin. It's too young to guess how his fins will develop, but they look promising for his age.

The female has good potential. The caudal pattern is pretty good - strong and symmetrical. The black on the dorsal and anal fins are different. It may be the photo, but the black pattern in the ventrals also appear assymetrical.

If these were my fish, I'd put the large male in a geriatric/community tank, breed the dominant male with the female, and keep the subdominant male as a back-up

Thank you so much!! That was very detailed, helpful and informative.
 
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