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How to start breeding in hard water?

Mil

New Member
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!
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
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!
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
 

Ade205

Active Member
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.
 

Mil

New Member
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.
cheers Darrel
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?


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.
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.
 

Ade205

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

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.
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.
 

Garri Ausmus

New Member
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.
 

Attachments

Mil

New Member
It’s been a month now and still no luck. I’ve attached photos of the smaller and the larger tanks so you can see the set ups and give me any pointers please.

Also some photos of the male and female Hongsloi. You can see how yellow the female is, usually like this all the time, I just can’t get them to produce any eggs as yet. Spends a lot of time in the cave but always comes out to feed everyday and swims in and out, never seen any eggs when trying to shine a light in there when’s she’s out of it.

I have also removed all the mollies from the large tank which seems to have made everyone a lot more peaceful. There are two caves in this tank and the female swims in and out and all around but again no luck yet.

Any tips appreciated!
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Mil

New Member
BTW....what do you feed them?

A mixture of everything really. dried pellets daily and some frozen foods 2/3 times a week and throw in live food probably once a fortnight. sinking pellets (both carnivore and algae) couple times a week too. The smaller tank has a dwarf frog in there and so that has to have frozen bloodworm at least every three day.

I recently added 4 ruby tetra into the smaller tank to add some dither fish in there too.
 

Mil

New Member
You should think about some worm culture ;)....life food is essential!
I do try to get live bloodworms and tubifex about twice a month, but I’m not able to grow any cultures at home myself. Should I be feeding live worms more often? I’ve had issues with camallanus worm previously and heard it’s from the live foods which is why I don’t feed more often.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
...... I’ve had issues with camallanus worm previously and heard it’s from the live foods which is why I don’t feed more often.
Unfortunately Camallanus infection is <"really common in Apistogramma from SE Asia">. In the wild you can get transmission via infected copepods (like Cyclops), but in the Aquarium transmission is always from fish to fish.
I do try to get live bloodworms and tubifex about twice a month, but I’m not able to grow any cultures at home myself. Should I be feeding live worms more often?
Difficult if you can't keep food cultures. I'm reluctant to <"buy Bloodworms or Tubifex">, mainly because they are commercially collected from sewage farms etc., but I don't know what the alternatives are for you.

Have a look at <"Culturing live foods">, some cultures (Micro worms, Grindal worms) take up very little space.

cheers Darrel
 

Spidy

Member
When I had trouble spawning my Macmasteris (same scenario as you, all signs were there but nothing happened) I got sick of it after a few weeks and decided to add pencil fish as dither fish. As soon as I did that, I got a spawn the following week.
 

themountain

Active Member
5 Year Member
Good idea Spidy ! As I said before live food is essential...maybe you could catch some on the weekend in some ponds around ? Mosquito larvae and such.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
When I had trouble spawning my Macmasteris (same scenario as you, all signs were there but nothing happened) I got sick of it after a few weeks and decided to add pencil fish as dither fish. As soon as I did that, I got a spawn the following week.
My A. sp. abacaxis did the same thing except they spawned the same day I introduced some N. Marginatus. Maybe just a coincidence?
How could adding dithers act as a trigger?
 

Spidy

Member
Happens too often to be a coincidence. Most breeders and books on the subject recommend doing this.

My guess is the pair see them as new competition and are coaxed to spawn before things get worse. That's just a guess and I would love to hear from more experienced breeders.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Another possibility is that apisto feel more comfortable when small fish are around. Smaller fish, particularly schooling species, alert the apistos when there are predators around - being the first to be eaten!
 

Mil

New Member
Wanted to bring this back and update everyone on the smaller tank (the larger tank i replaced the dead male Cac with a pair of Kribs, as the LFS didnt have any new stock for ages, and they produced fry in about a week).

I still haven't had any fry from my Hongsloi.
But from the advice of everyone above i have:
- added in 8 pencilfish (Nannostomus marginatus),
- rescaped the tank as best i could by changing up the plants and changed the driftwood to a bigger piece
- removed the Betta fish
- added in a lot more catappa leaves every few days
- added in alder cones every few days
- added more shrimp
- added in 2 aquatic dwarf frogs (i read these go well with apistos and they dont even interact, the apistos are happy to just swim right over them)
- feed live worms a lot more, usually once a week now, frozen foods 2-3 a week on top

The day after the rescaping of the tank i noticed the female was not running away from the male and was in the cave a lot more.
Last night i shone a torch into the cave and saw about 7-8 tiny white dots on the side of the cave. But then when i looked a few hours later they were gone.
Did i spook her into eating the eggs, if indeed they were eggs? And are eggs white in colour?

The next step is to get some peat and/or RO water. the LFS sells 25 litres of RO water for £2.50, is this decent or am i better off with going with peat?

Thanks all.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Yes, it is a good chance that you 'spooked' her into eating the eggs. I never 'spotlight' breeding caves. I just not behavior and wait.

The color of eggs varies depending on diet. White eggs can be fertile, especially if produced by females fed mostly on dry foods. Red eggs indicates feeding a lot of carotene-rich foods (brine shrimp, color foods); green eggs a diet that has a higher plant base.

Peat works fine - if your tap water is moderately soft. Otherwise you will need to mix tap with RO/DI/distilled water. Whether or not buying RO or investing in an RO unit depends on you needs (quantity) and cost of tap water. The average hobbyist-grade unit produces 2-3X more waste water than product.
 
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