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How to tell if Cacatuoides paired up

I have 2 males and 1 female A. Cacatuoides in a 20 gal and it seems that the female “temporarily” pairs up with the smaller male but he still ends up chasing her around. The ither male is much larger and clearly staked out his territory in a small cave. Whenever the other 2 approach his hide he always oushes them away. I believe the female is ready to breed or ar least pair up due to her prominent coloration but how do I tell if they pair up? Should I try removing either one of the males or females for a while?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Females decide with which male they will spawn. When she is ready to breed she will display to her preferred male. Courtship displays rarely last more than 15 minutes prior to spawning. If both males drive her away, then they know she is not ready to breed and will drive her out of their territory in hopes that a receptive female will swim by.

You really don't provide enough information to say more. Questions I have:
Does each fish have a territory of its own that it controls?
Is this tank a 20 gal long or high
How is the tank decorated?
 
Whoops, sorry about that. There’s tons of leaf litter for them to hide in. 20 gal long but I and they have all staked out necessary territoy although thr larger male seems to have a signifcantly latger one compred to the others(like 50% of the tank).
 
Also, I heard that draining the tank’s water to a couple inches then refilling it all after a day or so helps stimulate breeding; could I try this?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I think patience is what you need. If water quality, maintenance, nutrition and lay-out are right they should reproduce. The only other thing I might do is remove the male in which she appear less interested. The extra male might be a distraction.
 

Fish Folk

New Member
New A. cacatuoides keeper here. I wondered whether my pair would spawn as well -- I even feared we had a "sneaker male." The male did show for the female, but she seemed uninterested. After waiting a month or so, I did do a water change and the female immediately changed colors -- see photo before (female has marked lateral line) and afterward (female is yellow, with lateral line gone). She began harassing him to spawn! They did the deed within about 12 hrs. They are the only pair in our 20 long. We did give them time beforehand to bond as Mike recommends too . . .
Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 2.01.15 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 2.02.15 PM.png
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
... After waiting a month or so, I did do a water change ...
I hope you are actually doing regular water changes more often than once every month. I consider myself a 'lazy aquarist', but I do at least a 25% water change with gravel cleaning every 2 weeks - including tanks with only 1 fish.
 

Fish Folk

New Member
Yes! We change water weekly, or bi-weekly. We have had the pair for about a month. Then, it was after a particular regular water change that they got friendly.
 
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