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Stocking a backup tank

Ben Rhau

OK, while I'm stuck in the house, I'm spending part of my time dreaming on tanks. I have one tank and can probably manage to scale out to 3 small tanks without too much marital strife. :)

I'm spec'ing out both a 10-gallon hospital/QT tank and a 15 gallon backup tank that can accept fish from my 20 long to avoid breeding conflicts. Trio of resticulosa-complex in the 20.

I know how to set up a QT tank. For the 15 gallon, I'd like it always to be going, so there should be some fish in it. Which option is best?
  1. Pencils/dithers and inverts only, until it needs to accept an apisto. Least interesting, but most flexible.
  2. Male apisto of different species and appearance from my resticulosa. More interesting, but less flexible. e.g., It may work if I pull the male from the 20 long to create a non-breeding "roommate" situation. Would probably not be a good idea to move a female with brood into this tank. If this option, what male would work best for size/temperament and sufficiently different appearance. Agassizi?
  3. Male Bolivian ram. I'm guessing this is roughly the same as #2, and I believe they do OK at temps that my apistos tolerate.
Am I thinking about this right?


Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
If it were me I would consider it a tank to remove apisto from breeding tank when needed. As such, I'd use it as a small fish community tank: a school of small tetras and cory catfish.

Ben Rhau

Pretty frustrating that I can't set up that backup tank immediately.

The dominant female just had her third spawn wiped out. Yesterday morning I saw over 30 fry. 6 hours later, it had dwindled to about a dozen. I sat and watched for about 20 minutes and I think what's happening is that the female can't corral the fry quickly enough when they stray. I did see mom collecting wandering fry best she can, but I witnessed 3 fry get far enough away that she couldn't see them. At that point, they're doomed. The male doesn't eat them, but the other female and the pencil fish do. By this morning, all gone.

Some observations:

As I read in Linke/Staeck, it's not uncommon for resticulosa to lay an additional clutch 2-3 weeks after the first one. That's what happened in this case, and it's the second one I'm referring to.

The first clutch survived about 3 weeks, and winnowed out I'm guessing due to a combination of overfeeding and predation. I was determined not to overfeed the second time.

Second clutch as I said lasted only 2 days. I wonder if the mom is just worn out and doesn't have as much energy to rear them. The tank has a lot of plants, hiding spots, java moss, etc. I don't think it's from a lack of structure.

I do have two separate day/night light cycles, and I wonder if this contributed to the problem. The light goes on 7am - 10:30am so that I can get a morning feeding in before I (usually) go to work. The second period is 5pm - 10pm. I wonder if the fry loss between 10:30am and 5pm had to do with the lack of light. There is still some (not very bright) ambient light, and there are no nocturnal predators in the tank. Just the apisto trio and 5 nannostomus marginatus.

Finally, in both cases, the fry do not take BBS in the first 1-2 days of free swimming. Wondering if it's worth vinegar eels next time, or if I just wait until they are a day older.

Once the world settles a bit, I'm itching to get the other tanks going, so I can just remove the entire apisto hut with mom and brood and rehome them so she can rear the fry in peace. I could also keep the male separate to prevent overspawning. In the meantime, if it seems like I'm missing something obvious, I'd love any advice.

Ben Rhau

Well, I was happy to see at least one of them made it. Looks to be a little over 1 cm.


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