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Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
Hi,
l am new to this forum and just obsessed with wanting to have a pair of a apistogramma. l have a 75 gallon nano tank and spent a lot of money on a pair of apistos. l put them in and they never did well from the beginning and died a few days later. l gave up on getting anymore because I didn’t have the best water parameters for them. Well l can’t get them out of my mind so I purchased a 20 gallon, thats all l could afford and that’s the biggest size that my wife would allow, anyway I want to house just a pair and devote the tank setup and water parameters just for them. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated. l am going with easy plants with enough led lighting some mopani wood and spider wood. maybe some almond leaves if the ph is too high, will the mopani wood be enough to get the ph down with the tannins also any particular stone that would works better . l understand that regular sand would be the best substrate is that true, any particular brand of sand. And again anything else you could throw at me to help me get started. Also l am going with a Sechem tidal 35 do you think that’s plenty?
Thanks
 
Last edited:

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
882
apistogramma is a genus; different species have different requirements. As to which species will do well it depends a bit on your water parameters (gh/kh/tds). Also is your 20 a 20 high or a 20 long? For a 20 high a flexible species would be borelli. They are also a clear water species so can handle water that is a bit harder than other species but still if your water is too hard it will be not be good for them. They are polygamous and not pair forming so the tank needs some structure so the male can hide from the female if she has fry because she will not be friendly towards the male.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
I have a 20 long haven’t decided on the species yet maybe cacatuoides. I will be aquascaping it so there will be some good hiding spots.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
l am going with easy plants with enough led lighting some mopani wood and spider wood.
Fast growing plants (e.g. pennywort, hornwort, both you can leave floating) and floating plants are good to start with. Anubias and java fern are often recommended as easy plants, but you will want plants mainly for biological filtration, any slow growers are not suitable for that. Also start out with considerable amounts of plants. If you think it's enough double or triple the amounts. The light should have a brightness regulator. You want to avoid too bright lights, find the sweet spot for bright enough for the plant vs. dark enough for the fish. Make sure the wood forms sight blockage (lowest 10.-15cm above the sand), avoid open areas like a full strip of open sand along the front. Leaf litter (Catappa, oak, beech) is a must have.
maybe some almond leaves if the ph is too high, will the mopani wood be enough to get the ph down with the tannins also any particular stone that would works better
1. pH depends on KH. Without your KH you can't make a plan to change parameters.
2. Rocks can only raise KH, thus raise pH. There is no naturally occuring rock that will lower KH/pH.
3. For wood and botanicals to have impact on water parameters KH has to be under 2°.
4. If your water is hard (high KH) the necessary prerequisite to change that is dilution by RO or rainwater.
I'll leave that topic at that until you can provide the parameters of your source water (GH, KH, pH).

l understand that regular sand would be the best substrate is that true, any particular brand of sand.
Brands don't matter. Fine sand (grain size 0.2 - 0.5 mm) is optimal. Pool filter sand is a cheap option.

Also l am going with a Sechem tidal 35 do you think that’s plenty?
Again, brands don't matter. Is the filter designed for the volume of your tank? Does it have room for mechanical and biological filter media alike? Does it provide sufficient surface agitation? Then it's doing an ok job.
(Have to admit: Seachem doesn't sell anything but useless additives in my country and is getting a lot of justified backlash for the ludicrous products they sell.)

haven’t decided on the species yet maybe cacatuoides.
I recommend staying away from domestic forms of A. cacatuoides, A. agassizii and A. macmasteri. Weak genetics, always sick, die early mo matter what you do.

I will be aquascaping it so there will be some good hiding spots.
Little schematic for a well structured tank. Important is to have sight blocks glass to glass.

structure dwarf cichlids.jpg
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
Fast growing plants (e.g. pennywort, hornwort, both you can leave floating) and floating plants are good to start with. Anubias and java fern are often recommended as easy plants, but you will want plants mainly for biological filtration, any slow growers are not suitable for that. Also start out with considerable amounts of plants. If you think it's enough double or triple the amounts. The light should have a brightness regulator. You want to avoid too bright lights, find the sweet spot for bright enough for the plant vs. dark enough for the fish. Make sure the wood forms sight blockage (lowest 10.-15cm above the sand), avoid open areas like a full strip of open sand along the front. Leaf litter (Catappa, oak, beech) is a must have.

1. pH depends on KH. Without your KH you can't make a plan to change parameters.
2. Rocks can only raise KH, thus raise pH. There is no naturally occuring rock that will lower KH/pH.
3. For wood and botanicals to have impact on water parameters KH has to be under 2°.
4. If your water is hard (high KH) the necessary prerequisite to change that is dilution by RO or rainwater.
I'll leave that topic at that until you can provide the parameters of your source water (GH, KH, pH).


Brands don't matter. Fine sand (grain size 0.2 - 0.5 mm) is optimal. Pool filter sand is a cheap option.


Again, brands don't matter. Is the filter designed for the volume of your tank? Does it have room for mechanical and biological filter media alike? Does it provide sufficient surface agitation? Then it's doing an ok job.
(Have to admit: Seachem doesn't sell anything but useless additives in my country and is getting a lot of justified backlash for the ludicrous products they sell.)


I recommend staying away from domestic forms of A. cacatuoides, A. agassizii and A. macmasteri. Weak genetics, always sick, die early mo matter what you do.


Little schematic for a well structured tank. Important is to have sight blocks glass to glass.

View attachment 12262
Wow a wealth of information thank you. My kh is 1-2 and gh is 12 in my 75 only issue is the ph comes out at 7.8 but I am hoping with the tannins to bring that down. I am having second thoughts about getting the apistos worried about being able to give them what they need. I was thinking about my next favorite German ram cichlid but not sure yet. I am not going to rush this so I can try and get it right. Also no aquariums in my state have any nice apistos so that means online and with this freezing temperature you know
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
My kh is 1-2 and gh is 12 in my 75 only issue is the ph comes out at 7.8 but I am hoping with the tannins to bring that down.
That KH sounds promising. Take a glass of water from the tap and leave it stand open on the counter for 24 hours. Then test the pH again.
BUT: If your KH is under 2°, the pH tests are unreliable. Expect it to deviate from the actual pH by up to +/- 1.0 points.
I am having second thoughts about getting the apistos worried about being able to give them what they need. I was thinking about my next favorite German ram cichlid but not sure yet.
To be frank with you... Mikrogeophagus ramirezi ("rams") are probably the most overbred dwarf cichlid there is. For fish from the normal trade: Unless you provide 100% ideal conditions you can expect the fish to drop dead within 3-6 months, usually it's less than 1 month. Mass production leaves its mark on the gene pool. If any, get them from a reputable breeder or wild caught. Even most strains of domestic Apistos are less finnicky.
I am not going to rush this so I can try and get it right.
Excellent. If there's anything you do need for this in heaps it's patience.
Also no aquariums in my state have any nice apistos so that means online and with this freezing temperature you know
Seen the pictures on TV. I'm a continent over, we have temps above freezing point at the moment.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
That KH sounds promising. Take a glass of water from the tap and leave it stand open on the counter for 24 hours. Then test the pH again.
BUT: If your KH is under 2°, the pH tests are unreliable. Expect it to deviate from the actual pH by up to +/- 1.0 points.

To be frank with you... Mikrogeophagus ramirezi ("rams") are probably the most overbred dwarf cichlid there is. For fish from the normal trade: Unless you provide 100% ideal conditions you can expect the fish to drop dead within 3-6 months, usually it's less than 1 month. Mass production leaves its mark on the gene pool. If any, get them from a reputable breeder or wild caught. Even most strains of domestic Apistos are less finnicky.

Excellent. If there's anything you do need for this in heaps it's patience.

Seen the pictures on TV. I'm a continent over, we have temps above freezing point at the moment.
any online fish farms that you would recommend ?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
any online fish farms that you would recommend ?
I live in Europe. My sources won't ship to you. ;)
Also are there any good books on apistogramma care that you would recommend
I don't know if they are all available in English. In German I like Uwe Römer's Cichlid Atlas, which I know should be available in English as well, but otherwise I think some people here have better recommendations.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
I live in Europe. My sources won't ship to you. ;)

I don't know if they are all available in English. In German I like Uwe Römer's Cichlid Atlas, which I know should be available in English as well, but otherwise I think some people here have better recommendations.
Is there anyway to get it aside from Amazon its $199.00
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
882
To be frank with you... Mikrogeophagus ramirezi ("rams") are probably the most overbred dwarf cichlid there is. For fish from the normal trade: Unless you provide 100% ideal conditions you can expect the fish to drop dead within 3-6 months, usually it's less than 1 month. Mass production leaves its mark on the gene pool. If any, get them from a reputable breeder or wild caught. Even most strains of domestic Apistos are less finnicky.

E
You can get wild rams; but i'm concern your water is too hard for rams to breed if that is your aim. The cut off point seems to be somewhere around 120 tds; the lower the better. Also most dosmestic rams tend to lousy parents and frys are quite small. Hum - for some reason i've read that black rams and gold rams from black parents are more hearty than other colour morph. I dont' know factually if this is true but that is what i've read. Gold rams i've kept usually lasted around a year if purchased as adults.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
You can get wild rams; but i'm concern your water is too hard for rams to breed if that is your aim. The cut off point seems to be somewhere around 120 tds; the lower the better. Also most dosmestic rams tend to lousy parents and frys are quite small. Hum - for some reason i've read that black rams and gold rams from black parents are more hearty than other colour morph. I dont' know factually if this is true but that is what i've read. Gold rams i've kept usually lasted around a year if purchased as adults.
Not looking to breed l am a step above a beginner. Just looking to enjoy some beautiful fish something I don’t have to deal with too much aggression in a 20 gallon which has its limits in terms of size and quantity so I figured a pair of apistos or ram cichlid
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
Is there anyway to get it aside from Amazon its $199.00
Outch, I paid 30 bucks each for the volumes used from a 2nd hand bookstore in town. Admittedly firstly the books are outdated in terms of taxonomy and probably in some other ones too and secondly the german language editions have had bigger numbers and higher circulation.

You can get wild rams; but i'm concern your water is too hard for rams to breed if that is your aim. The cut off point seems to be somewhere around 120 tds; the lower the better.
I think this applies for holding conditions as well, when getting wild caught ramirezi. Similar to Dicrossus in that regard. They only really shine when the water is really soft.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
I have an aversion against domestic forms and especially A. cacatuoides, so neither will make my list.

Beginner level water parameters and behaviour: A. borellii, hands down.
Beginner level water alone: A. macmasteri, A. trifasciata

Next step would be A. agassizii (non-domestic), A. hongsloi, A. panduro, A. ortegai.

Availability: All of the above should be easy to find.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
I have an aversion against domestic forms and especially A. cacatuoides, so neither will make my list.

Beginner level water parameters and behaviour: A. borellii, hands down.
Beginner level water alone: A. macmasteri, A. trifasciata

Next step would be A. agassizii (non-domestic), A. hongsloi, A. panduro, A. ortegai.

Availability: All of the above should be easy to find.
Thanks
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,046
Location
Germany
A. borellii: 1m,2f if you want to breed, 1m or 3m males only if not.
All the others: For a display tank: A single male. If you want to breed you'd need a bigger tank or a second tank to separate the fish if necessary.
 

Don cheech

Member
Messages
49
A. borellii: 1m,2f if you want to breed, 1m or 3m males only if not.
All the others: For a display tank: A single male. If you want to breed you'd need a bigger tank or a second tank to separate the fish if necessary.
Not looking to breed not at that experience level so 1 or 3 males
thanks
 

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