Apistogramma Always Hiding

  1. FishTankJake Initiate Member

    Hello, I purchased two quite young Apistogramma viejita about 3 months ago. I intended for this to be a future pair but I believe I have ended up with two males. One is much larger than the other, but they both are constantly hiding. There isn't much aggression as the smaller of the two hides far away from the larger, dominant apisto. My question is, how can I encourage at least the larger of the two to not always hide? The only time I see them in the open is when I feed them and I quietly watch from a distance. I thought of maybe the solution of adding dither fish, because the only other fish in the tank are three Otocinclus catfish. The tank is a 10 gallon. All help is welcomed, because I want to see this amazing fish in its true glory, and not hiding in a cave. Thanks ahead of time.
  2. _Fried_Bettas_ Well Known Member Member

    First, I believe a 10 gallon is a bit small for a pair, much less two males. Dither fish are supposedly necessary to bring them out into the open, but I haven't tried a tank without dithers, so I can't say from experience how much difference this makes. But you certainly don't have room for dither fish.

    I can tell you that mine came out a lot more when they were in a heavily planted 20 gallon, than they do now in a 29 gallon without plants, only bare driftwood and caves. So I think plant cover helps them feel comfortable, despite the fact that it doesn't match their natural environment.

  3. FishTankJake Initiate Member

    Thanks for the reply, I will probably rehome the smaller apisto to my 36 gallon to see how things go there. The current setup has a rock cave, two pieces of driftwood and some plants. If I do move the smaller one do you think I could add dithers to lure the larger one out of hiding, or is that still overstocked? I still am not completely positive I do have two males.

  4. _Fried_Bettas_ Well Known Member Member

    Most schooling fish require too many numbers, but perhaps you can use something like 3 guppies as dither fish. It is not uncommon to use livebearers as dithers.