Apisto as a centerpiece?

Danny002

I have a 20 long that's coming along pretty well and will be ready for fish relatively soon. My family have been bugging me a ton about putting what they think are "tiny fish" in the tank and have been suggesting impossible stocking (an oscar, angelfish, you get the jist). Anyways, I've started to cave to the idea of a centerpiece fish. I've always loved apistogramma cacatuoides and I was wondering if they would work with glowlight and ember tetras. I would be happy with a pair or a single male, whatever would work better. However, I do have some concerns.

Would the apistos eat the tetras? This is specifically referring to the ember tetras, none of which are over an inch long. I'm not super attached to the embers, but I wouldn't exactly be thrilled to lose them. And if they would eat/ constantly harass the glowlights, that's definitely a hard no.

Would the apistos be comfortable in the tank? It has a sand substrate and I'll be planting a ton of vals and some crypts in the gravel portion (just a couple inches in the back). However, I know that cichlids like caves, and I don't have any of them in there, nor is there a place in the tank that I could put them in without seriously compromising the visuals of the tank.

Aside from all that, here is the rest of the planned stocking and the parameters of the tank:
Stock: 7 glowlight tetras, 8 ember tetras
Temp: sits somewhere between 78 and 80, but it feels colder than that so I might be trying out a different thermometer just to be sure
pH: 7.4-7.6 (hard to tell on the test)

So, would this work? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for alternative centerpieces? The other fish are red, and I want to stick with the red biolife so ideally it would be something red, orange or something along the warm color spectrum.
 

MrBryan723

The tank is a little small for apistos, but since its a 20 long, i think it would work.
There's always a chance of small fish getting harassed/eaten when dealing with semi aggressive species. But since apiatos are small and not noted for their speed, the risk is small.
Also imo you're pretty well stocked as it is, so keep an eye on your water parameters and maybe increase your water change schedule a bit to offset the extra nitrates they will produce.
 

Danny002

The tank is a little small for apistos, but since its a 20 long, i think it would work.
There's always a chance of small fish getting harassed/eaten when dealing with semi aggressive species. But since apiatos are small and not noted for their speed, the risk is small.
Also imo you're pretty well stocked as it is, so keep an eye on your water parameters and maybe increase your water change schedule a bit to offset the extra nitrates they will produce.
Thanks, now that I'm thinking about it more, I might keep the embers in their current tank (a 10- small for the current stock, I know, but I stay on top of my parameters) as I'll be getting a young female betta soon and I think they would make good tankmates. Everything I've been able to find on apistos says a 20 is good for them, is that not accurate? Would a single male or a male/female pair work better?
 

Celestialpearl

Actually, I think you could get away with that.

The 20 long has the footprint to allow it. The fish will fair better with a well planted tank as the apistos mature. IMO, when they are not broody, they are fairly peaceful and typically only spat at each other. I have 4 juvenile apisto macmasteri gold and one mature apisto panduro male (lost the female) in my 20 long along with 6 khuli loaches and 4 mystery snails and 20 neon tetras. My big three are 0,0,10; ph 7.2 and temp of 78.

It was heavily carpeted with sag and micro sword, but my floating plants took off and choked out the carpet. I have a large sponge filter as well. I do 20% weekly water changes with remineralized RO. I think I get away with it due to a oversized sponge filter and heavy plant stocking.

I don't think you'll have issues with the ember tetras. They won't get big enough to eat full grown ember tetras. If the apistos are mature they may chase the embers, but I doubt they would eat them. The glow lite tetras should be fine as well. Apistos really only get aggressive when in breeding and are otherwise a peaceful fish IME. Breeding is where you will run into issues with aggression because they will defend their territory and young if fish get too close, still I think a 20 long could work.

As for your tank, Apistos do shift the sand around when breeding and looking for a place to spawn. I do not think it is absolutely necessary to have sand, but this is a natural behavior of the fish. If you want to have a breeding pair, you are definitely going to want a cave of some type. This can be made from a seed pod, coconut husk, artificial clay cave, a realistic painted rock cave, etc. The cave is essential to the whole breeding process. The female will entice the male into the cave to breed and then kick the male out and lay her eggs on the roof of said cave. The male will help her guard the surrounding area keeping other fish away. If your goal is to have them raise young, then a cave is a must.
 

Danny002

Would I be able to sort of hide the cave inside of the vals? There's room for it but would they be satisfied with it in there? Also, approximately how big should the cave(s) be?
 

Celestialpearl


IMG_2762.JPG

You can always try to hide the caves. I have three in this tank. Two are visible, one glaringly so, the other harder to spot. The third is under the wood in the back.

This is the tank I intended to move the Macmasteri into, but it needed to mature as I got the fish before I set up their tank.
 

Celestialpearl

There's room for it but would they be satisfied with it in there? Also, approximately how big should the cave(s) be?

As far as what they like.... They will accept what is there if there is only one and the parameters are right. I always try to provide options.

When my Panduro where showing breeding dress, the female stuck to the caves in the more shaded side of the tank. The sagitarria was taller over there as well.

When I looked up breeding, I read the cave should be big enough for two full gown fish to fit in and turn around, the opening not too much bigger than the fish. The inside of the cave should have a smooth surface, but not glossy smooth. The female needs a smooth surface to stick the eggs, and the eggs need to be able to stick to said surface.

I have also seen people use broken terra cotta pots which are bigger than the caves I have and appeared to be well bigger than the fish. So this could be a little trial and error.

I haven't gotten to breed them yet unfortunately. I cannot speak from my own experience to what worked and hasn't worked for me. My macmasteri still have a a couple months before they hit full maturity and since I lost my mature female panduro I never got to see babies, though she was trying. She jumped ship and I have since made and put glass lids on all my aquariums.
 

Danny002

Hey everybody, I'm back with another question: Could I keep just one A. Cacatuoides male, or would that cause problems?
 

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