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Why is Apistogramma hiding

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
my apistogramma suddenly began hiding the other day. Previously, he was always very active since I got him, which was a few months ago. He's in a 30 gal tank with pencilfish and tetras. I assume it's related to water quality so I performed a medium water change today. Any other possible causes?
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Disease could be another reason, assuming he's not get bullied by another fish.
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
Thx for the reply. He's wild caught, and was healthy since I added him to the tank. Do you suspect it could be old age? He's showing a different color pattern. I'm skeptical about disease because I've added no new fish and he looks relatively ok (no fuzz, cloudy eye, swelling, emaciation, etc)
 

chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
Sounds like something is stressing him out. Could be parasite or disease or could be stressed cause by his female? Parasites or disease could have come from bad frozen blood worms or from live food. Could also be he is stressed to do nitrates. Test your water to see if that is the cause. Do you have any pictures of the fish?
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
He is the only apistogramma in the tank, and I feed live/frozen food infrequently. I believe it is stress due to nitrates, ill test it asap. Ill also try to take a pic of him. The one in including was from a few days ago, before his behavior changed.
 

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aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Anything odd in your tap water? Nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, visible micro bubbles? Tap water can change. I would test just to rule these items out.
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
My tap water is usually very good. I tested the tank water AFTER the water change and it was reading close to 0.5 ppm. I realize this is higher than preferred. Do u think this is the culprit?
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Tap water values can change because keeping the water safe for drinking is a priority (Seasonal changes, flushing, adding more chloramine/chlorine, etc). I have been hurt by this a couple of times and it is why I asked. You don't say what is testing .5ppm. If it is ammonia, it could be a false positive from your de-chlorinator. If ammonia is actually .5ppm, then yes that is a problem.

You really need to test the actual tap water to make any assumptions about the tap water.
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
Yes, I was testing ammonia. However, nitrate was close to 0, so I'm not sure if that is correct.

What should I test for in tap water? Heavy metals?
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
I just cleaned out the canister filters and did another small partial water change. He seems to be acting better, but not fully normal (still shy and hiding a bit). Should I just keep up the water changes until he's acting normal?
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate just like you would an aquarium. You could also try aging your water before using it. If you tap water has ammonia, make sure you are using a product like Prime that will bind ammonia until your bacteria/plants can consume it.

I have to age my water before using it on fry tanks or it kills them. My tap water is generally good for soft water fish, but every once in a while I get issues. I have changed my habits to smaller more frequent water changes. If I have fry, I try to age the water.
 

HengLee

Member
Hi Chris D'Arminio,
If you change and maintain your tank water frequently, then I don't think it's due to the water problem.
I suspect that it could be due to parasites infection since you mentioned that you feed it with live food.
I lost many of my apistogrammas and blue rams to parasites infection (gill flukes, ich, etc, etc).
My advice is "never feed your fish with live food". Even the frozen type of live food has no guarantee to be free from parasites.
You'll never know where your suppliers got the live food from. It can be from a dirty place that has many parasites.
If you search the internet for information about parasites in fish, you'll find that there are many types of parasites and they are very hard to kill.
The parasites can easily stay inside the live food body (eg. worm's body).

Also, in my opinion, the Apistogramma and Blue Ram are more susceptible to parasites infection as they stay at the bottom of the tank most of the time unlike the top or middle level fish.
Checking for any signs of your fish "scratching" excessively as this is usually sign of parasites in the water(if you're sure that your tank water is good).
Avoid keeping bottom level fish like Loaches and Catfish especially the "Clown Loach" if possible as I find that they often carry parasites with them when you bought them.
The Loaches and Catfish are often "the hosts" for parasites in your tank.
And you can't kill off the parasites in your tank as long as there are hosts around in your tank.
I've decided to remove all my Corydoras and loaches from my tank as I suspect them to the main hosts for parasites.

I'd to treat my main tank for 2 months + with "Praziquantel" in order to completely kill off all the parasites.
And I have to change to a new tank, remove all the sand, plants for effective treatments. It'll be hard to kill all the parasites with sand in your tank.
There are two types of parasites - external and internal. Some parasites can release spores into the tank water or they can change into cysts form which cannot be killed with medication.
Many of the medications in the market are not effective unless you used them in high dosage. But you cannot use high dosage, else you'll kill your fish.
I find that Praziquantel is less harmful to the fish.

As a safety precautions, nowadays I''ll treat all my new fish with Praziquantel for 1 month before moving them to my main tank.
You can read more from the internet about parasites infections(external and internal).
 
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gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Growing your own live food in containers without fish is one way to ensure parasite-free live food. HengLee that's an interesting mix of species in your profile photo. Are you really keeping Rams and Apistos together with P. demasoni and Jack Dempsey !?
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
After a couple of water changes my apisto is back to normal!

Thank you HengLee for raising my awareness about the potential risks of live and frozen foods! I feed worms very sparingly (less than once a month). Interesting about the corys carrying diseases. I was hoping to add a smal school of them but now I'm less inclined.
 

HengLee

Member
Yes, Gerald is right to say that growing your own live food can ensure parasite-free live food.
But I'm just afraid that the left over live food can sometimes foul your tank. And since our tank is a closed system, it might be difficult to ensure that the water stay clean or free from too much bacteria(decomposing bacteria). I read somewhere that the "decomposing bacteria" is useful for the tank but too much of it will be bad for the fish as the bacteria will start to attack the fish.

Chris D'Arminio,
Glad to hear that your fish has returned back to normal. In that case, it's could be due to your water issues.
Usually I change 50% of my tank water every week(or more during treatment) to ensure that water stay clean most of the time.
Since the good bacteria stays mostly in your filters or substrate/gravel, changing your tank water will not affect the population of the good bacteria.
By the way, not all Corys carry parasites but because of the way they clear the bottom of the tank for food, they are at high risks to parasite infections.
So, I just want to play it safe by not keeping them.
Also, since the Corys are bottom level fish, the Apistogramma and Blue Ram will tend to fight with them for space. The Corys oftens get beaten up by the aggressive Rams.

Gerald,
The mix of Apisto, Demasoni & Electric Blue Dempsey is just a trial out. :D :D :D
I'd removed the Demasoni as it's slightly more aggressive and it had the tendency to nip the tails of other fish. But the Demasoni's colours are beautiful when mixed with other fish.

As for the Electric Blue Dempsey, initially it stayed fine with the Apisto and Rams and it's less aggressive than the original Jack Dempsey.(especially when its young/small).
But it grew too fast and it started to nip my other Tetras tails. So, I'd removed it to its own tank.
I saw in the internet where someone was keeping his young Electric Blue Dempseys with Neon Tetras. He was sharing about his experience in keeping Electric Blue Dempsey. (See the link below)
http://aqualandpetsplus.com/Cichlid, Electric Jack Dempsey.htm

Btw, most of the fish sold here are farm bred. So, they are used to the normal tap water without having to adjust the pH.
That's why I can mix them without any problem even though they originated from different water conditions.
Also, I'm not into breeding, so I don't really need to adjust the water conditions.(just my opinion).
 
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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
... But I'm just afraid that the left over live food can sometimes foul your tank
A rather strange statement IMHO. ANY extra food, live or processed, will foul a tank. The secret is proper feeding. Live foods - in proper amounts - is eaten by fish faster than other types. Additionally, live foods, if you're certain it is disease free - i.e. domestically raised, is more likely to be eaten before it can rot on the bottom of the tank. I use a lot of BBS. Being a species from a highly saline environment few disease organisms are likely to be adapted to soft water fish. Terrestrial foods like white worms and earthworms should have the same advantage. I can't recall anyone having problem with diseases with these types of live food.
 

Chris D'Arminio

New Member
Hi Mike,

In your experience, are there any live foods, except for feeder fish, that are likely to carry diseases?

Also, will you pls confirm that the fish I have is an Apistogramma sp. Tefé? His color can change depending on the mood so I'm having a tough time correctly identifying him.
 

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chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
Hi Mike,

In your experience, are there any live foods, except for feeder fish, that are likely to carry diseases?

Also, will you pls confirm that the fish I have is an Apistogramma sp. Tefé? His color can change depending on the mood so I'm having a tough time correctly identifying him.
Bloodworms, frozen or life have a high chance of carrying diseases. I believe also white musqito larvae and tubifex have a good chance of carrying a disease since these are mostly collected from polluted waters.
 
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