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Do apistos need dither fish?

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
Hi everyone! For once I finally have a tank large enough to reasonably house a pair or trio of apistos - namely, a 20 high. However, I really don't know much about these fish or cichlids in general when I think about it (my experience being limited to a disastrous 2 week stint with a pair of bandit cichlids I tried to keep in a 20 long to themselves...they were quickly returned), so I have a question about them...do they have any need for dither fish, either as targets for aggression or to coax them out of hiding? If so, what are some good dither fishes that are themselves not too demanding? I am fortunate to have 50 ppm tds, almost zero KH and GH tap water at my disposal, so I could easily keep a hardier apisto like borellii or cacatuoides. Thanks :)
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
do they have any need for dither fish, either as targets for aggression or to coax them out of hiding? If so, what are some good dither fishes that are themselves not too demanding?
Have a look at <"Dither question">. <"Ember"> or <"Black-Neon Tetras"> would be easy to find and quite hardy.

You can keep the Cichlids without dithers if you have <"very weedy tanks">.

Lot of plants break up line of sight, improve water quality and makes the fish feel more secure. Floating plants are particularly useful.

cheers Darrel
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
Bingo...all I needed to know. Thanks :)

EDIT; Can you recommend a good starter apisto for my tank when it is ready? Ideally one that isn't likely to start world war 3 and force me to separate the pair/trio.
 

MacZ

Active Member
A. borelli are quite easy, A. agassizii, A bitaeniata and A. macmasteri are also an option. A. cacatuoides are becoming a hit or miss, I heard.

In principle most broadly available species seem to be similar.
 

yukondog

Active Member
I have and breed the Borelli, Macmasteri, Cacatuoides and Viejata and at some time or another you will have trouble with the pair not getting along. Borelli would be my pick, they seem to be the mellowest, but even they can be troublesome. Good luck and let us know what you pick.
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
I have and breed the Borelli, Macmasteri, Cacatuoides and Viejata and at some time or another you will have trouble with the pair not getting along. Borelli would be my pick, they seem to be the mellowest, but even they can be troublesome. Good luck and let us know what you pick.
Yeah, that's what I am scared about. Having had a Betta smaragdina pair that was absolutely incompatible, I am scared of running into that again with another fish, especially since my landlord has imposed a 30 gallon tankage limit for my apartment (and I already have a 5 gallon in addition to this 20).
 

yukondog

Active Member
Do you want to breed them or have a community tank? Sounds like your water is about the same as mine, if you keep cichlids/apisto's at some point your going to run into this problem, we all do for the most part. I would take and replace the 5 with a 10 keep it up and running through some cheap fish in to keep the cycle going.
 

Ben Rhau

Active Member
Compatibility shouldn’t be an issue with the fish mentioned, as they are not monogamous. I think you should go for it with borellii or cacs and make sure there’s more structure than you think is necessary. Ironically, the more hiding spots there are, the more you will see your fish and the less likely you will see serious aggression. Remember that the aggressive tendencies are also the same thing that make cichlids interesting! Good luck.
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
Compatibility shouldn’t be an issue with the fish mentioned, as they are not monogamous. I think you should go for it with borellii or cacs and make sure there’s more structure than you think is necessary. Ironically, the more hiding spots there are, the more you will see your fish and the less likely you will see serious aggression. Remember that the aggressive tendencies are also the same thing that make cichlids interesting! Good luck.
Would keeping a trio (instead of a pair) reduce any aggression present? I am trying to add a lot of cover to the tank (my luck with live plants has not been great, so I am going to rely chiefly on artificial plants and - if I do go with apistos - will likely also add some terra cotta pots or even PVC elbows).
 

Ben Rhau

Active Member
Definitely in some cases (like agassizi) but for borellii or cacatuoides I think it’s usually fine with a pair. The male has a greater chance of finding a receptive female with a trio. That’s not a guarantee that the female who isn’t ready to breed won’t be chased away. Also, you’ll have more breeding events with a trio, during which it’s the female that will be aggressive.
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
Would Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis be a safe bet for a tank this size? Seems like they are less sensitive to 'high' TDS than many apistos. Plus they're midgets...
 

MacZ

Active Member
Aren't they specialized on living under floating plants? I just read something a few days ago.
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
Aren't they specialized on living under floating plants? I just read something a few days ago.
? This is the first I've heard of this...from reading and watching videos it seemed they are similar in requirements to a (relatively easy) apisto. You have the source for that info, per chance?
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I am trying to add a lot of cover to the tank (my luck with live plants has not been great, so I am going to rely chiefly on artificial plants
The plants in the <"Tropica Easy"> range are usually <"fairly non-demanding">.
Aren't they specialized on living under floating plants? I just read something a few days ago.

I'd maybe try another type of fish then? That are a bit more forgiving about less good quality water. Plants are decorative, but they aren't decoration, they are a fundamental part of the biofiltration system. I haven't kept Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis, but I'd <"always have floating plants">.

What a lot of forums, web sites, WWW etc don't tell you is that you can maintain high water quality with "microbe only" biofiltration, but it is much more difficult than when you have "plant/microbe" biofiltration.

cheers Darrel
 
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MacZ

Active Member
@dw1305 : Oh, I just mentioned that because I find infos like this very interesting and good to know. I have mostly floaters anyway. Pennywort and flushing waterweed. Half my tank is covered but almost no plants in the lower two thirds. (Well, besides the stems of the Egeria densa.)
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
If you are trying to set up a breeding tank, I would say that Ap. pucallpaensis is one of the more challenging species. This is not because of water requirements, but because the fry are so small that most apisto fry foods are too large for them to eat. They need micro-organisms for food for the first week (think infusoria). They do well in heavily planted tanks, however.
 

Joshaeus

Member
5 Year Member
If you are trying to set up a breeding tank, I would say that Ap. pucallpaensis is one of the more challenging species. This is not because of water requirements, but because the fry are so small that most apisto fry foods are too large for them to eat. They need micro-organisms for food for the first week (think infusoria). They do well in heavily planted tanks, however.
I'm game with that so long as the parents don't kill each other...I've raised infusoria requiring fry before (namely black paradise fish fry...I would have also succeeded with Microctenopoma fasciolatum, but I missed a few water changes around the 2 month mark and all the fry perished of an ammonia spike :( ). Also, newborn microworms are a mere .13 microns wide and no more than 180-290 microns long, so I have found that I can sort out the tiny juveniles by placing the harvested worms (technically walter worms in my case, which are a little smaller) through a 25 micron sieve (adult walter worms are 40 microns wide and do not fit through the sieve).
 

Paul1006

New Member
I have 5 A.nijsseni (2 males) in a 20 long along with Corys, Cardinals, and a couple of Ottos. This set up works because it’s full of sight blocking plants, a large piece of driftwood and the nijsseni females have their own caves.
 
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