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How to start breeding in hard water?

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by Mil, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Mil

    Mil New Member

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    Hi. I have a male and female hongsloi and cacatuoides, in separate tanks.
    They do the dance, go into caves, brush each other and show all the signs of mating, chasing each other but never fighting, even swimming near each other for long periods, but I have never had any eggs or fry ☹️
    My LFS said I would never be able to get them to breed as the water in London is so hard. I have a ton of live plants, moss and loads of almond leaves.
    Any tips or help to get some fry would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    The tanks sounds a good environment.

    Could you use rain-water? I have very hard tap water (I live nr. Bath UK) as well, but I've bred some of the more tolerant Apistogramma successfully in rain-water.

    The other thing would be diet, with some <"live-food">.

    cheers Darrel
  3. Ade205

    Ade205 Active Member

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    Time and patience is the key! Your Hongsloi may spawn but I doubt you'll get any fry hatch in such hard water.... your Cacatoiudes though have a very good chance, I can't stop mine breeding currently! I'm in Derbyshire and my water is 7.5ph out the tap and a tds of 40ppm. Only two species I've bred in my water straight out the tap are Cacatoiudes and Borellii. Most other species spawn but i never get fry unless I reduces hardness, and in some species this reduction needs to be significant.
    Are your pairs both in their own tanks? If so, do you have any dither fish? And what sort of caves do you have? Ideally you need entrances just big enough for the female... the male does not need to enter the cave to spawn. I'm convinced sand substrate helps, nearly all my females build sand up around the entrance of their caves to the point where they can hardly fit in themselves. I'm convinced this is to make them feel secure that no predators can get in once they have laid their eggs!
    Finally, as Darrel suggests, diet. Conditioning is vital so lots of live and high quality food. An abundance of food convinces fish it's good time to have babies!

    Ade.
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  4. Mil

    Mil New Member

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    I live in a flat I'm afraid so not been able to collect rainwater over the last few months, but there is a collector in the communal terrace i could use, will be a lot of trips back and forth but willing to give it a go. Do i need to condition the rainwater or filter for any bits/leaves before using it?


    The Hongsloi are in with 5 amano shrimp, an aquatic frog and a betta, which they seem to get on with no problems, just the occasional chase from the betta but they occupy different parts of the tanks, betta top and Honglsoi at bottom. I have half coconut shells with small holes in both tanks, stuck into the substrate so both females actually barely fit in only sideways, and they do go in and stay in there for a few hours at a time. I'll get some photos of the set ups soon.

    Originally when i got the Hongsloi the female went yellow after i introduced the male and would chase the male around relentlessly, so after about 2 weeks I separated them for a few months, now they are back together the female went yellow again but now the male chases the female, no biting or real aggression, but it seems shes not interested anymore she just sort of clamps fins and goes sideways when he gets too close, they have been in the same tank around 2 months now.

    The Cacs are in a community tank with 10 cardinal tetra, 6 corydoras habrosus, 6 amano, a hillstream loach, 4 baby mollies about 2 months old (not even an inch big) with 1 female adult mollie (looking to remove the molly female as in the past 4 days I've noticed shes recently started chasing the apistos). The female hongsloi was in this tank when I had separated them due to her aggression and they were fine as there are loads of hiding places and caves in the larger 125l tank. Weirdly the male Cac would flirt with her rather then the female Cac when they were in together. The Cacs are a proven pair as someone had returned them to the LFS because they had spawned and they didn't want that (mental!).

    I terms of diet, I feed them daily with small tropical pellets, now and then throw in algae and carnivore wafers and then every 2-4 days they get frozen bloodworms and also once a week maybe some other frozen foods, i have one of those with about 5 different things in one packet and mix it up, black worms, glass worms, BS etc. and then to top it off once or twice a month I get live worms from the LFS which all the fish go crazy for! They eat everything i give them and aren't picky at all.

    I've basically spent the last 3 months reading as much as I can on here, and trying to do everything right but i just don't seem to be able to get them to spawn, so annoying! Could the hard water have that much of an impact?
    pH is around 7, Nirite and Ammonia 0, Nitrate I never allow more than 40, do a 30% weekly change. Water is incredibly hard, both kH and gH, but i don't have the ability to get accurate numerical values for them, just '>14d' for gH and '10d' for kH but that's with strip tests.

    Sorry for the long message, trying to give as much info as i can.
  5. Ade205

    Ade205 Active Member

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    Edit.... in my first post I ment 400ppm tds!!!

    In my experience the hard water doesn't stop them spawning, just stops the eggs from developing and/or hatching. My Elizabethae spawned many times in water similar to yours but never was there fry. After countless spawns and attempts to lower water hardness more and more, I finally got fry with water at 5.0ph and pretty much 0ppm tds.

    My water is harder than yours yet have no issues spawning Cacs.
    I fear your tank is way to busy for spawning Apistos successfully. The Corys stand out as a very likely issue with your Cacs not spawning, they occupy the same level as the Apistos and should they spawn I fear the Cardinals will be feasting on the fry too! Having said all that I have a retirement tank with Corys, Tetras, and even Discus, and some of my old Cacs spawn regularly in this tank and are continually improving their rearing success with each spawn! Interestingly, dispite the fact Apistos produce more male fry in high temps, in this tank that runs at Discus temps, an abundance of female Cacatoiudes has been the result of these spawns!

    Ade.
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  6. Garri Ausmus

    Garri Ausmus New Member

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    I have gotten both species to spawn monthly. The trick i used was to study the fish and found their secret. spawn maybe once a year at 80 degrees F and produce nothing but males. The best temp to spawn them to get even female to male is 72 degrees F. I simply removed my heaters from their tanks and went out to buy a few more ten gallon tanks for all the fry.

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