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New Apistograma set up advise please

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by csmcmullen1, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. csmcmullen1

    csmcmullen1 New Member

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    Hello. I am setting up my 50-55 gallon flatback hex Ocianic tank. I have drilled it and made a 20g long into a sump.
    I want to create a Apistograma biotope tank. I am thinking of 3 A. Cacatodis (1 Male and at least 2 female). 15-20 neon or cardinal tetras. 5-6 hatchet fish. 5-6 cory cats. And maybe a pleco.
    My question is what plants and substrate to use. I have some sifted dirt I plan to use but what to cap with. I have heard sand can stop gas exchange in the substrate.
  2. Saulo

    Saulo New Member

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    I have used regular rock gravel 2mm to cover the dirt. As I am adding some catappa leaves on top it looks very nice.
    As for plants I like rotalas of all sorts. So you should be good on that.
    on another tank of mine, I see that the Apistos really like the Anubia and the root system getting into the soil adds a very protective area for the fries. So I would recommend that as well.
  3. Karin C

    Karin C New Member

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  4. Tom C

    Tom C Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    If you really want an Apistogramma setup:

    - Apistogramma belong to the tribe Geophagini, which means that they "eat earth". This is a very frequent and natural behavior, they will normally sift the substrate almost all day long, in search for food.
    I strongly believe that most Apistogramma species won't thrive in the long term without fine sand on the bottom.
    I have fine sand as substrate in all my tanks, and lots of plants in many of them. No problems with gas exchange or plants that don't thrive.

    - Don't combine Corydoras with Apistogramma. They don't live close together in the nature.
    Apistogramma are territorial fishes, especially when they breed. Corydoras won't understand "territorial communication" like "Don't get closer or I will attack you" from the cichlids, and the Corydoras will approach the Apistogramma's territory again and again. As the dwarf cichlid will have difficulties finding vulnerable places on the (armored) body of the catfish, they will sooner or later find out that the eyes are the most effective place to attack to make them leave the place. You'll quite often end up with Corydoras with one or no eyes at all.
    Besides; Corydoras will often eat any small fry they'll find ....
    (Yes, I know: there are people who have had this combination for years, without any problems. I also know many people who wouldn't listen, but who, after seeing what happened, never will repeat the experiment.)

    - Apistogramma and plecos is a bad idea.
    Apistogramma rest/sleep on the ground at night. Nocturnal plecos will scare them and chase them up toward the surface, again and again, every night. This creates no sense of security and well-being, and may cause life-threatening stress for the Apistogramma.
    I've seen how species of Ancistrus demolish Apistogramma's caves at night, and how eggs and fry can "disappear"...
    I never find plecos or similar fishes at exactly the same spot as Apistogramma in the wild (unless they are caught in the same rest water pool during the dry season.)
    If you want to get rid of algae, and to keep catfishes in the same tank as Apistogramma: Use Otocinclus species.

    Good luck!
  5. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Hi,

    Plant roots keep aerating the sand substrate if you´re worried about that.
    Also, floating plants help immensely with the sense on security plus they are easy to prune and are really efficient in helping with keeping water quality up.