Lesson Learned - Apistos

JeffK

Well, for many months I researched which apistos would have the best chance of coexisting in a 4 foot tank. After reading all the info I could find online, reading old threads on another site posting myself to speak with experienced members there, etc. I decided to try 2 pair of apistogramma borellI as they are one of the most mellow apistos and "usually" don't get too rough with one another. (The big issue here for me was 2 males in the tank). I got the blessing of those who also agreed borellI were a great choice.

I set up the tank with lots of breaks in the sight lines, lots of caves, plants, etc. and made a thread here looking for any other advice for preparing this tank. I got the thumbs up here as well - everything looked go to go. I introduced 2 pair a little over a month ago, with some pics on this thread here:
New Apistos!

It seemed that even though the tank was 48 inches, those 2 males always seem to be near each other. They would "display" to one another. Then they started "tail waving." I figured this would be as bad as it would get. Then the lip-locking started:

lip lock.jpg
I moved some things around to try and restructure the territories. Then everything seemed ok - I figured one of them won and the other lost, but I believe they were both trying to claim the entire 2 foot by 4 foot tank. I never noticed either one with damaged fins or hiding, staying up near the top of the tank, etc. but one morning, I did find one of the males dead. I can only assume this was the result of the territorial dispute as water parameters have remained constant.

My lesson learned: cichlids are territorial, even 1.5 inch apistos. When you think you're doing all the right things, success may still depend on individual fish personalities. If I tried this again, I still think it may work, but I won't try it again. Many post questions here asking how many males they can keep in their 55 gal (4 foot) tank, etc. While sometimes it may work with more than one, the safest bet is to just keep ONE male cichlid in that size tank. I know I learned my lesson - I'll stick with my remaining 1 male and 2 females - much greater chance for success!
 

toolman

Sorry to hear it didnt work out with the two pair. I read your other thread but didnt answer. I love apisto'sb may get some in future, will follow.
 

Lucy

Darn fish never care how much research we do, how many books and profiles are written about them. They'll do their own thing no matter how much we prepare!

Sorry it didn't work but thanks for sharing your experience.
Beautiful fish though.
 

Anders247

Sorry for your loss.
I do think though, it's possible to keep two males together, it just depends on the personality of the individual fishes.
Fish seem to have their own weird likes and dislikes of other individual fish, especially when it comes to cichlids, as they tend to be one of the more personable fish....
 

JeffK

Sorry for your loss.
I do think though, it's possible to keep two males together, it just depends on the personality of the individual fishes.
Fish seem to have their own weird likes and dislikes of other individual fish, especially when it comes to cichlids, as they tend to be one of the more personable fish....
I agree, and maybe if I tried it 5 more times all 5 times would be successful, it's just this one time it did not work (and apistos can be expensive, so I'm going to stop trying and cut my losses!)
 

Mcasella

When my apistos were still young the developing male killed the other developing male when I wasn't around to rescue him to another tank, disappointing, but it was this males personality.
 

DioAquatics

Sorry for the loss of your beautiful borellI male. It's really a shame when things don't work out how you want even after all the research we do.

My bigger male cacatuoides actually beat my smaller male so bad that he broke his back. The little guy survived for a little while but eventually passed.
 

Cherie G

Sorry to hear about your loss, but thank you for sharing your experience as I am sure it will be helpful to many others. Apistogramma borellI are one of my favorite fish and I would love to have them some day. Good luck going forward!
 

JeffK

Sorry to hear about your loss, but thank you for sharing your experience as I am sure it will be helpful to many others. Apistogramma borellI are one of my favorite fish and I would love to have them some day. Good luck going forward!
Thank you - that's why I posted. I read so many threads here of "What else can I stock..." "Can I fit some more..." etc. Sometimes it's best to let the fish have a little space and not try for "maximum stocking" numbers. And more than 1 male cichlid in a smaller tank will most likely end badly!
 

Redshark1

Not sure why people would think 4ft = a whole territory never mind two !
 

Mcasella

Not sure why people would think 4ft = a whole territory never mind two !
Because many people, including those on here, have had documented success with multiple pairs in 4ft tanks.
 

IcedColdMine

Well, for many months I researched which apistos would have the best chance of coexisting in a 4 foot tank. After reading all the info I could find online, reading old threads on another site posting myself to speak with experienced members there, etc. I decided to try 2 pair of apistogramma borellI as they are one of the most mellow apistos and "usually" don't get too rough with one another. (The big issue here for me was 2 males in the tank). I got the blessing of those who also agreed borellI were a great choice.

I set up the tank with lots of breaks in the sight lines, lots of caves, plants, etc. and made a thread here looking for any other advice for preparing this tank. I got the thumbs up here as well - everything looked go to go. I introduced 2 pair a little over a month ago, with some pics on this thread here:
New Apistos!

It seemed that even though the tank was 48 inches, those 2 males always seem to be near each other. They would "display" to one another. Then they started "tail waving." I figured this would be as bad as it would get. Then the lip-locking started:

lip lock.jpg
I moved some things around to try and restructure the territories. Then everything seemed ok - I figured one of them won and the other lost, but I believe they were both trying to claim the entire 2 foot by 4 foot tank. I never noticed either one with damaged fins or hiding, staying up near the top of the tank, etc. but one morning, I did find one of the males dead. I can only assume this was the result of the territorial dispute as water parameters have remained constant.

My lesson learned: cichlids are territorial, even 1.5 inch apistos. When you think you're doing all the right things, success may still depend on individual fish personalities. If I tried this again, I still think it may work, but I won't try it again. Many post questions here asking how many males they can keep in their 55 gal (4 foot) tank, etc. While sometimes it may work with more than one, the safest bet is to just keep ONE male cichlid in that size tank. I know I learned my lesson - I'll stick with my remaining 1 male and 2 females - much greater chance for success!
My Apisto Red-Neck male is cool with everyone, he doesn't even mind the gouramis touching on him......

I don't even think he knows there a juvinile apisto female in the tank lol. He spends all his time eating my plants xd.

As my female just schools with the sparkling gourami...... so idk....... I was hoping my apistos would pair.......

I guess it just depends on the fish.......... as my 46 I got from craigslist had a MASSIVE oscar....... but he won't even eat the cory :/
 

JeffK

Because many people, including those on here, have had documented success with multiple pairs in 4ft tanks.
All depends on the individual fish personalities - sometimes it works, sometimes not.

My Apisto Red-Neck male is cool with everyone, he doesn't even mind the gouramis touching on him......

I don't even think he knows there a juvinile apisto female in the tank lol. He spends all his time eating my plants xd.

As my female just schools with the sparkling gourami...... so idk....... I was hoping my apistos would pair.......

I guess it just depends on the fish.......... as my 46 I got from craigslist had a MASSIVE oscar....... but he won't even eat the cory :/
I've never had issues with cichlids bothering other tank mates - GBR, Bolivian Ram, laetacara dorsigera, apistogramma borellii, sajica. I've had m/f apistos before, even m/f/f apistos. But 2 males in the same tank did not work for me.
 

IcedColdMine

I've never had issues with cichlids bothering other tank mates - GBR, Bolivian Ram, laetacara dorsigera, apistogramma borellii, sajica. I've had m/f apistos before, even m/f/f apistos. But 2 males in the same tank did not work for me.
I had german rams, they were aggresive towards eachother, I also had danios and red tetras, they literally waged world war 3 on eachother and my sparkling gouramis :/
 

JeffK

I had german rams, they were aggresive towards eachother, I also had danios and red tetras, they literally waged world war 3 on eachother and my sparkling gouramis :/
Geez - you just never know...
 

MattS99

I had german rams, they were aggresive towards eachother, I also had danios and red tetras, they literally waged world war 3 on eachother and my sparkling gouramis :/
Heh. And my GBR runs away from guppies and a platy. Just goes to show off the diversity of cichlid personality.
 

NightShade

So sorry to hear that, but I'm sure plenty of people will find this VERY useful now, & in the future. It's an awful lesson to learn, but a good one to warn of/share with others. I myself am trying to decide which dwarf cichlid species to have in my tanks (although, they are obviously small enough to only have one male whatever I decide - I want them ALL!! Lol... hard to choose) but it will help those who research, & YES, no matter how much you research, you can never be prepared! The beauty of cichlids, IS their personality... other than the beauty, why else do we want them so badly?

Sorry for the loss of your beautiful borellI male. It's really a shame when things don't work out how you want even after all the research we do.

My bigger male cacatuoides actually beat my smaller male so bad that he broke his back. The little guy survived for a little while but eventually passed.

KingD so sorry to hear, I'm sure that was a difficult thing to go through - trying to save him.
Btw, your apistos are BEAUTIFUL! I want their babies!!! Lol
 

DioAquatics

KingD so sorry to hear, I'm sure that was a difficult thing to go through - trying to save him.
Btw, your apistos are BEAUTIFUL! I want their babies!!! Lol
Yea it sucked because I got them both as little juvies. I thought clean water and good food would help him but he didn't do very well afterwards and passed. Thank you though! When I get them breeding, I'll sell the babies on here lol
 

NightShade

Yea it sucked because I got them both as little juvies. I thought clean water and good food would help him but he didn't do very well afterwards and passed. Thank you though! When I get them breeding, I'll sell the babies on here lol

I know, I was following your fish room thread, and somehow I don't remember reading about him being injured/sick, but I've been really busy, & may have missed that - and I'm sorry for that too. Unfortunately, clean water and good food was all you could do, and you did all you could. I'm sure you'll have good luck with the rest of them! And I'm sure JeffK will have good luck with the rest of his beautiful borelli!
 

DioAquatics

I know, I was following your fish room thread, and somehow I don't remember reading about him being injured/sick, but I've been really busy, & may have missed that - and I'm sorry for that too. Unfortunately, clean water and good food was all you could do, and you did all you could. I'm sure you'll have good luck with the rest of them! And I'm sure JeffK will have good luck with the rest of his beautiful borelli!
I didn't really share much of it since I was treating him, well trying to at least. I tried my best to get him back to good health but I guess he was just too far gone so I had to put him down. Thank you, I hope I have good luck with my apistos, same for JeffK with his
 

Redshark1

Nice fish, but common sense tells me one pair of territorial fish per 4ft tank.
 

Redshark1

Because many people, including those on here, have had documented success with multiple pairs in 4ft tanks.

Your terms seem imprecise.

What does "success" mean?

Do you mean many people put multiple pairs into a 4ft without them killing each other so it must be OK (despite the stress/injury caused)?

What does "documented" mean?

Do you mean that they wrote it on the internet?
 

Mcasella

Your terms seem imprecise.

What does "success" mean?

Do you mean many people put multiple pairs into a 4ft without them killing each other so it must be OK (despite the stress/injury caused)?

What does "documented" mean?

Do you mean that they wrote it on the internet?
Able to breed and raise fry without harm to either pair of parents.

Documented, as in written (with pictures) or videoed proof of the statement above.

Success to accomplish or have accomplished a set goal/purpose.

It depends entirely in the fish, which is why it is not recommended, one person's success is anothers disaster.
 

JeffK

Just a quick update here... I recently ordered some endlers for my 20 gal long that came in smaller than I expected. My laetacara dorsigera immediately went after them. Trying to keep them from becoming an expensive snack, I moved the dorsigera to my 33 gal long, and moved my male and 2 female borellI to the 20 gal long (I've kept them successfully with endlers in the past). I must say, the borellI seem to like this tank much better - it's like their old 4 ft tank was so big for these little guys that they were getting lost in there. Now, they come right up to the glass when I approach the tank, and they can get food easier with endlers and ember tetras. Here's a pic I took tonight:

20171001_185158.jpg
 

JeffK

Another pic of this guy:

20171001_185105-EFFECTS.jpg
 

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