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New to fishkeeping, here for advice and like minded company!

IsaacT

New Member
Good evening(or morning, or afternoon, depending on where you're from)! I started my first tank in September of last year and recently added an Apistogramma macmasteri which I purchased from one of my LFS owners here in Tucson, AZ. I have been reading forum threads from this site for awhile and learned a lot, but sometimes you just cannot find what you are looking for no matter how good at Google-Fu you are. So, I decided to make an account so that I can seek answers more directly. I'll attach a photo of my tank as it was a few days ago(though I since moved the filter to the other side as I was worried I was introducing too much flow into the cave and the Java Fern cover). It is stocked with 1x Albino Bristlenose Pleco, 1x A. macmasteri, 2x Nerite Snails, and 18 Neon Tetras. I had hoped that the Neons would help make the apisto a bit more comfortable so he would come out more often. If anyone has advice for helping him be more comfortable to roam the tank, I'll be glad to hear it, otherwise I'll just give him as much time as he needs and hopefully at some point he will be more courageous.

At some point I plan to move the bristlenose out to his/her own tank to free up a bit of stocking(to either keep it more understocked, or too add some lower bio load fish) and to put the bristlenose in an environment where it will be easier to gravel vac debris out.

At any rate, I get the distinct impression that I am rambling, so I will end it there. It is nice to be here and I look forward to meeting you all.

-Isaac

PS - the photo is a composite of a few images so I could get the macmasteri exposed correctly in one and the neons/scape captured correctly in the other. It was NOT some sort of timing photography miracle lol.

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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Welcome here, too. How about a little apisto behavioral psychology. First, in the wild, apisto are a prey species for larger fish and birds like cormorants and kingfishers. As such they need many hiding places to escape from predators living both in the water and above. Your neons help as dithers, but your tank as it is now has relatively few hiding places where an apisto could avoid larger predators. Add to that, that the tank is very bright, which makes them easier to see by predators. Even a passing shadow will drive them into hiding. All make for a rather shy fish, at least until it accepts that there are no predators around. I have 2 suggestions. First adding more (tight) hiding places using plants, rocks, wood, etc. Second add some surface cover in the way of floating plants. Good luck.
 

IsaacT

New Member
Welcome here, too. How about a little apisto behavioral psychology. First, in the wild, apisto are a prey species for larger fish and birds like cormorants and kingfishers. As such they need many hiding places to escape from predators living both in the water and above. Your neons help as dithers, but your tank as it is now has relatively few hiding places where an apisto could avoid larger predators. Add to that, that the tank is very bright, which makes them easier to see by predators. Even a passing shadow will drive them into hiding. All make for a rather shy fish, at least until it accepts that there are no predators around. I have 2 suggestions. First adding more (tight) hiding places using plants, rocks, wood, etc. Second add some surface cover in the way of floating plants. Good luck.

Gotcha. So I do keep the tank a lot dimmer than this but I will definitely keep that in mind. Any floaters specifically you would recommend? I have a little bit of frogbit in the tank currently, but when the roots get super long they start getting tangled, and I'm not sure what to do when that happens. Is duckweed sufficient? I hear it can really take over, but without long roots, I feel like it might be easier to maintain?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Gotcha. So I do keep the tank a lot dimmer than this but I will definitely keep that in mind. Any floaters specifically you would recommend? I have a little bit of frogbit in the tank currently, but when the roots get super long they start getting tangled, and I'm not sure what to do when that happens. Is duckweed sufficient? I hear it can really take over, but without long roots, I feel like it might be easier to maintain?

I have a floater mix of Limnobium (Frogbit), Salvinia (floating fern) and Hydrocotyle (pennywort) floating on top of my tank. You want the roots to be somewhat tangled, as otherwise the plants just get tossed around in the current, which makes some of them melt or just wither.
Duckweed is not sufficient, sadly. And it's really a pest to get rid of again, once it established.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Some people trim Frogbit roots, but I just let them get long. In addition to above, Pistia (water lettuce) is also good.

Regarding duckweed, I have successfully gotten rid of it, but it’s a pain. It doesn’t tend to like the soft water that apistos prefer, and because the leaves are so small, it’s difficult to cull. With plants that have larger leaves, it’s easy to pull out or trim the unhappy ones. With duckweed, the leaves you want to remove are evenly distributed across the tank, so it always looks messy. I don’t recommend it.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Regarding duckweed, I have successfully gotten rid of it, but it’s a pain. It doesn’t tend to like the soft water that apistos prefer, and because the leaves are so small, it’s difficult to cull. With plants that have larger leaves, it’s easy to pull out or trim the unhappy ones. With duckweed, the leaves you want to remove are evenly distributed across the tank, so it always looks messy. I don’t recommend it.

Interestingly duckweed never even got a foothold in my tanks. Also because the water is too soft and I tend to have quite some surface agitation. Just yesterday I saw one (1!) piece of duckweed among the almost complete coverage by salvinia and the others. So, persistent it is nonetheless.
 

JeffInKentucky

New Member
I have a mixture of water lettuce, frog bit, and my planted anacharis has started to arch across the topic. The roots and cover have been beneficial, since my apistos have been much more visible around them.
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