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A. Trifasciata help

ks3r

New Member
Messages
4
Hi all,

I've added a single male A. Trifiasciata into my planted tank about 3 months ago.

He was very shy to begin with and he would often spit out the food. This still hasn't changed. I've tried frozen bw, frozen brine shrimp, cichlid pellets, vibra bites, live daphnia and he doesn't seem to be interested.

The tank is setup with plenty of rocks and it's heavily planted. But he is hiding most of the times.

I've noticed he sometimes rubs himself on the anubias nana leaf. But i wasnt sure if that's a sign of parasite because I've only ever seen him do that once or twice.

Could it be that he's lonely? I know trifiasciata are polygamous and they get aggressive towards females if they're not in breeding condition so I wanted to just keep a single male..

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.

Here are the tank details:
160L
25°C
3 female dwarf gouramis
10 rummynose tetra
1 SAE
0 0 10
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
Care posting a picture of the fish and the whole tank?

I've noticed he sometimes rubs himself on the anubias nana leaf. But i wasnt sure if that's a sign of parasite because I've only ever seen him do that once or twice.
Bottom dwellers sometimes get things on their skin and simply have to scratch. But let's see a picture first, that may clear that up.

Could it be that he's lonely? I know trifiasciata are polygamous and they get aggressive towards females if they're not in breeding condition so I wanted to just keep a single male..
Loneliness is a human concept. And no, Apistogramma are not really that gregarious that they need conspecifics like tetras.

3 female dwarf gouramis
10 rummynose tetra
1 SAE
Boisterous bunch, I presume this is more reason for the fish to be shy than anything else.
 

ks3r

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks for your reply MacZ.
Loneliness is a human concept. And no, Apistogramma are not really that gregarious that they need conspecifics like tetras.
That's great to hear! I really wasn't ready to deal with breeding aggression. I just read an article that trifasciata should be kept at 3 minimal, so I thought it was worth the ask :)

Boisterous bunch, I presume this is more reason for the fish to be shy than anything else.

I see. He was really shy when he was by himself so I tried adding some community fish to act as a dither. There is only fighting between the gouramis and he does flare at them when they come in too close to say hello but there hasn't been aggression between them.

Should I rehome the gouramis?

I've attached the pictures.
Please excuse the algae. It's an ongoing battle.

Thanks for your help.
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
Oh boy...
Please don't take anything of the following personal, but I think you've been advised badly in the past, which now on the long run makes things go haywire. I'm confronted with situations as this on a regular basis and I know some people don't take it well. I appeal to your sense of wanting the best for the animals, and taking your own wishes down in priority.

But first of all: The fish is at least dangerously underfed as the concave stomach tells me. It also has black looking eyes, a clear sign the fish is not feeling well at all and probably battling some kind of infection (can't say whether parasite or pathogen). I'll get to possible reasons below.

For a scaped tank of the Iwagumi kind (in which I would categorize yours) neither Gourami nor cichlids are fitting stock. In my opinion this scaping style is mostly inappropriate for fishkeeping and only a small number of small schooling fish is suitable for this kind of tank.
Gourami require high growing plants, floating plants and twigs and branches hanging into the water. They are actually surface dwellers and such structures give them cover and chances to evade each other. I'm astonished they are not really aggressive at each other.
Similarly dwarf cichlids of most species require dimmed lights, which can be achieved by floating plants or simply tuning it down, pretty much all require leaf litter on a sand substrate. The decoration should be well structured, best is wood and, again, twigs and branches.
What makes the combination of species problematic:
- The Gourami have a similar colour as the Apisto and a (very roughly) similar shape. As you have noticed the Apistogramma flares his fins at them when they come too near. Means they cause aggression and thus stress the cichlid.
- Petitella sp. (all rummynose species) are greedy eaters and as you might have noticed, once they have settled, give up the schooling behaviour for a quite fast and hectical kind of shoaling. When it's feeding time they may well be able to prevent any food from reaching the bottom.
- Crossocheilus are also quite active fish (which belong in bigger tanks in bigger groups in my opinion), which can dominate more shy species easily.
All in all: The tank and the tankmates make for an environment which is much too stressfull for this fish.

Now what can you do?
- Rehome the other fish and redo the whole tank: Much fuzz and the fish might go down in all the stress nonetheless. That said for the sake of alle the fish you should make some changes, according to my remarks above: More plants and surface structure for the gourami and maybe rehome the Crossocheilus for it's own good.
- I don't think rehoming the cichlid to another fishkeeper or a store will do him any good, either. But I think setting up a small species appropriate tank (maybe 60-80 liters) is worth a shot. You don't need much and if you get the parts second hand or separate you might pull this off for less than 50 bucks. You can jumpstart it by using filter media from the running tank, so this should also be no problem. Once the tank has seasoned a bit you could add appropriate tankmates like Nannostomus sp. (pencilfish) or small, chilled tetras like H. amandae (ember tetras).

Will it work? I'm not sure, it might also break the fishes back considering the desolate state it is in.

Please excuse the algae. It's an ongoing battle.
I don't care, scaper tanks are my bane. I'm a biotope freak. Biofilms, aufwuchs, algae and mulm are my jam. ;)
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
After looking again... the Apisto has internal parasites, I can see the whitish string of feces. Begs the question: Is it feasable and worth it to improve the situation for the fish at all? Because I doubt medical treatment comes in time and will work.
 

ks3r

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks for your reply
I fed some garlic soaked food and he seems to be better.
I'll set up a 70litre tank for him and see if I can bring him back up.
I'm guessing medication might be too harsh for him currently so I'll see if I can get him to eat first. Or try half dosing it.
How do you suggest setting up the hospital tank?
I'm thinking of going bare bottom for now so I can monitor the food and clean it easier but is the sand and leaf litter a must have from the start?
I'll throw in some rocks, cave and some driftwood for hiding places.
Also, is sponge filter okay? I do have a spare canister filter but I'm not sure if it's too much flow
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,877
Location
Germany
Or try half dosing it.
Risky, as it may lead to a med resistance.

How do you suggest setting up the hospital tank?
Sand, wood, leaf litter. The bare minimum.

Also, is sponge filter okay? I do have a spare canister filter but I'm not sure if it's too much flow
As long as biological filtration and aeration are working the type of filter is secondary.

Otherwise: Correct course of action.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,158
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Contrary to Mac, the best hospital/quarantine tank is one that can be easily sterilized if needed. This means no substrate, just bare bottom. I use an air-driven sponge filter that can be easily sterilized by boiling and then re-inoculated. For hiding places I use ½ - ¾" / 12-18mm diameter, 4" / 10cm pieces of PVC pipe, which can be easily sterilized in the same manner. Lighting should be dim or none at all. All of this makes it easier for equipment to be removed when needed to examine fish. I would also try to put the tank above eye-level if possible to avoid shadows from above stressing the fish.
 

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