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Happy day!

Lord Happy

New Member
Messages
6
Location
South Florida
Happy day....I am here today because I suffer from a moderate case of MTS...and I don't mean Malaysian Trumpet Snails. It might be said that using a feather is kinky, I've gone and used the whole ostrich.

I am a member of the Father Fish community, and while I might get blasted for enjoying Walstad/dirted tanks here, I get blasted for using Eco-Complete in some of my tanks there, so as long as I'm gonna take it from both sides equally, I'm good with it.

I have been haphazardly toying around with apistos without really paying any attention to what I was doing. I have a pair of Agassizi's "Fire Red" Dwarf Cichlid in a 15G, a pair of MacMaster's Ashaninka Extreme Red Dwarf Cichlid in a 32G and am looking for another fun pair to have in a different 32G.

The tank in question is a Fluval FlexMax with a lasagna substrate consisting of Fluval Stratum, Seachem Flourite and Eco Complete, and, now that the tank is almost 3 years old, I am probably going to dump in an inch of black sand to cap it off. It is fairly well-planted. One of my main rules is that I don't fight my tapwater. I'm in south Florida, so the Ph is 7.8 out of the tap and otherwise clean. I don't ever test my water unless something bad is happening, which isn't often. The tank temp is usually 74-75, and I could add a heater if needed. I haven't changed the water in...eh....two years or so.

The current residents of the tank are four sumo loaches, two aneus corries, a couple of otos, some neocaridina and amano shrimp, a few snails and one last forktail rainbow.

While it might be overly trendy, I was thinking of a pair of cacatuoidies triple red because the other...shall I say....resident of my home has not yet settled into the subtly of coloration found in many fish. 26 years into her sentence and she is still a work in progress :-D I was thinking that it might be best to find a local breeder who is having success here. Any particular thoughts on this line of thinking? Are Caca's more or less tolerant than other apistos? And if you had a black sand planted tank, would that be your choice for splashy coloration?

Your thoughts and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Below are some pictures of my fishroom when it first opened in July of 2021. FatherFish uses video clips of my tanks in most of his videos so you can see more there.

IMG_20210830_211615.jpgIMG_20210901_082114.jpgIMG_20210901_082138.jpgIMG_20210901_082211.jpg
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Welcome!
and while I might get blasted for enjoying Walstad/dirted tanks here, I get blasted for using Eco-Complete in some of my tanks there,
Actually... Neither is going to happen. Dwarf cichlid specialists are quite united around using fine sand and leaf litter as substrate because it imitates the natural habitat and is ideal for the needs of the fish, which is first priority for most of us here.

I respect the FF approach, only point of critique is the tendency of some followers to treat it as the only way for any species of fish. That difference makes up 90% of all discussions I had with that community over time.

MacMaster's Ashaninka Extreme Red Dwarf Cichlid
That tradename is a new one for what we call "domestic A. macmasteri". The names some people give their "unique and stable" strains are becoming ridiculous. Sorry, not critisizing you but the retailer/"breeder".

While it might be overly trendy, I was thinking of a pair of cacatuoidies triple red because the other...
As trendy as using steam engines, to be frank. Domestic A. cacatuoides are coming in strong at 3rd place after domestic Bettas and domestic M. ramirezi as the most inbred and genetically weak fish in the trade nowerdays. If you ignore hybrids like red parrot cichlids.
But probably besides A. borellii and A. trifasciata the best choice for your water.

About the water parameters: Apistos are softwater dwellers. While domestic strains profit a lot of it, they are best choice if you are unable/unwilling to set parameters to ideal values.
Besides few species all Apistos are best kept at 24-27°C.

About the substrate: If the top layer is a type of fine sand all is good. I don't think in brands, I only look at the product properties.

About the tankmates:
General consensus is combining dwarf cichlids with other bottomdwellers often goes haywire. The smaller the tank the worse. Brooding female cichlids are the worst in such situations. You get reports of Corydoras blinded because the eyes are the only vulnerable spots, of loaches chased to death but also of cichlids dropping dead from stress protecting young and territory from fish that are ignorant to territory borders and warning display.
 
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Lord Happy

New Member
Messages
6
Location
South Florida
Happy day Mac...thank you for the courtesy of a response. I too decry the hybrids...it was bad enough when it was goldfish, then flowerhorn, the parrots and now we have...the balloon convict. I wonder which market requested such a thing?

You know how some species...and subs...have particular breeders who built their reputations on maintaining lines? Are there any breeders are more favorably thought of than others?

With regards to a cleanup crew, if corries and loaches aren't great or even good, and shrimp too small...does that leave it at just snails?

Are ancistrus also targeted?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
I too decry the hybrids...it was bad enough when it was goldfish, then flowerhorn, the parrots and now we have...the balloon convict. I wonder which market requested such a thing?
The Asian and, sadly the North American market are core customers of different hybrids and what we call "torture breeds" in German. Meaning fish so deformed they can't swim, eat or breed properly.

You know how some species...and subs...have particular breeders who built their reputations on maintaining lines? Are there any breeders are more favorably thought of than others?
I'm one continent over in Europe. So I can't recommend any breeders in the US. What I would do is simply stick to tankbred wild forms.

And I don't see a need for a cleanup crew. Concept never got me. The cichlids forage among leaf litter and all the biofilms and mulm on and of the botanicals are precious little helpers in a softwater tank.

And no, plecos make bad tankmates, too. Nocturnal and diurnal fish in zhe same tank... Often not ending well for the cichlids.
 

Lord Happy

New Member
Messages
6
Location
South Florida
Happy day Mac,

I've found that, despite the plants, and the dreaded duckweed which I am certain is not a plant but some sort of malevolent life form, algae pops up a bit and so having critters that cope with that, plus any excess food from my twice-weekly feedings, is useful.

So basically your position is that the bottom should only be populated with the pair of apistos, and perhaps some dither fish zipping around the top for the humans to see. For a 32g, that's a lot of bottom for such a tiny pair of fish :-D
 

Apistoguy52

Active Member
Messages
260
So basically your position is that the bottom should only be populated with the pair of apistos, and perhaps some dither fish zipping around the top for the humans to see. For a 32g, that's a lot of bottom for such a tiny pair of fish :-D
As a general rule of thumb, that ^^^^ is probably the best option. Let the little earth eaters eat earth uninterrupted in a little tank.

Not that I don’t get what your thinking. Been there, done that. The good news is that blind coryadoras really don’t behave that much different than those with eyes. The rough part is trying to figure out how to get a dead, spines out otocinclus out of the mouth of the still live fish that tried to eat it.
 
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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
The rough part is trying to figure out how to get a dead, spines out otocinclus out of the mouth of the still live fish that tried to eat it.
True, I've seen a domestic A. cacatuoides try eat a Corydoras pygmaeus. Had to be cut out of it's mouth by a vet.
ve found that, despite the plants, and the dreaded duckweed which I am certain is not a plant but some sort of malevolent life form, algae pops up a bit and so having critters that cope with that, plus any excess food from my twice-weekly feedings, is useful.
As mentioned the cichlids clean up the bottom themselves. And algae... I don't get it. To have some algae is a sign of a healthy tank. They use excess nutrients and are great indicators of imbalances. If they spread too much (i.e. they cover half the tank and snuff out plants) the system is out of balance generally. The only thing I would actually fight is cyanobacteria.
Aufwuchs also harbours a lot of beneficial organisms that break down waste quickly. Just as the critters that live in the mulm which results from leaf litter and botanicals breaking down.

My boon is probably: low stocking density (right now 8 fish under 5cm in 100 liters), very low EC/TDS (meaning little nutrients), dark water from the humic substances (means light reaches only the few cm right under the surfsce and below that nothing will grow) and ultimately a healthy community of microorganisms using up all the stuff that occurs.

So basically your position is that the bottom should only be populated with the pair of apistos, and perhaps some dither fish zipping around the top for the humans to see. For a 32g, that's a lot of bottom for such a tiny pair of fish :-D
Indeed. Because if you want a display with dwarf cichlids, forgo on the females, only keep a single male or in a sizeable (dimensions matter, not volume) tank a bachelor group. If you want to breed though, leave all the other fish and focus on the cichlids. But also my point: Dwarf cichlids deserve a tank tailored to gheir needs and you will see the whole repertoir of behaviours and the fish really thrive. If you want that to be part of a community chose one that shares the habitat in the wild and recreate it while taking into account what may stress the fish. Because stress (environmental and social) is the number one killer of dwarf cichlids. Stress knocks out their immune system then the fish.

IMG_20240124_202450.jpg
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
563
Location
San Francisco
For a 32g, that's a lot of bottom for such a tiny pair of fish :-D
If there is proper structure, a lot of the footprint will be taken up by hardscape or plants, so it will not be empty. If you prefer to see more fish in the tank, you could instead get a large number of smaller shoaling fishes. Dwarf cichlids demand large territories.
 

Apistomaster

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
702
Location
Clarkston, WA
I must be lucky. I've kept Apistogramma spp. for a long time but I have never seen any that took the eyes out of any fish, let alone a Corydoras. Never seen one that tried swallowing any catfish either.
However I have fed live albino Ancistrus larvae to my Discus and they ate them with relish, so to speak.
 

Lord Happy

New Member
Messages
6
Location
South Florida
Happy day!

Thanks to everyone for their contributions and the passion is clear. I will attempt to re-home the corries as they are usually easy to corral. The loaches are far too crafty given the plants and dragon stone. I will be going to the swamp this weekend for some muck, and adding black sand as well.

I also appreciate the concepts of species only tanks, biotopes and fish stress. We all strive to do the best we can do for ourselves as hobbyists, and sometimes that isn't always in the best interests of the fish, which, unlike puppies, are viewed as being more disposable. It's a spectrum, of course, and there's a place for all of us on it.

There's also a guy in town who is happy to sell me a large amount of scuds for very little money. Last time I picked up a decent-sized cooler filled with them, so there will be something of a food web being built as time passes.

So my key takeaways...I have structure embedded in an established planted tank with water parameters a bit higher than preferred, a substrate to be improved with sand and muck, a pair of corries to re-home, tanins to add with the muck... all very doable.
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Moving the snails to another tank? :D

My water kills snails. But then again... they barely occur in the habitat naturally.
 

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