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Best Apistogramma species

InNi2010

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6 Feb 2022
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Sutton Coldfield
Hello peeps,
Just thinking about what are the best apisto species for a small tank
I really like the Apistogramma Macmasteri and agassizii but are they for nano tanks?
 

mort

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15 Nov 2015
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How are we defining nano? If you let us know the tank size it will make things easier.

Are you also wanting to keep a pair or just a single fish? For the most part they don't need massive tanks if kept on their own but because of their temperament you need more space for pairs. When they breed it complicates things further because a female with fry isn't to be messed with.
 

shangman

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When I kept a pair of macmasteri in a 10g (edit: 45l cube) (first time keeping apistos and I read online it would be fine) it was immediately obviously too small one they were in. I think online generally prior only keep them in tanks this size temporarily to breed. Luckily I also had a 15g, so I put them in there and they did very well and looked much more proportional.

I would say 15g minimum for a single or pair for them to do well, and they still look great and steal the show in a bigger tank too. I now keep a pair in my 50g and they look fabulous and use all the space.

Be aware that some apistos will fight eachother if they don't get along, both males and females can bully the other to death so if possible it's good to have a backup tank.
 
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MichaelJ

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I would say 15g minimum
Hi @shangman Just wondering if this is UK Gallons ? as in 4.546 L per UK Gallon ... if so 15g is 68 Liters. I would agree that is a meaningful minimum for one bonded pair depending on the amount of hardscape. I've kept apistos in 60 L with just plants and some coconut shells.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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mort

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The tank shape can be more important than volume if it's a non standard rectangle tank. For cichlids in general, footprint is important because it's territory that they require. I bred borelli in a 60x30 but they are quite timid for apistogramma, other species would be better in larger accommodation. More space is never a bad thing.
 

MichaelJ

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The tank shape can be more important than volume if it's a non standard rectangle tank. For cichlids in general, footprint is important because it's territory that they require. I bred borelli in a 60x30 but they are quite timid for apistogramma, other species would be better in larger accommodation. More space is never a bad thing.
Yep, I always preferred so-called breeder tanks... not only is it better for territorial fish such as cichlids. but you also get a larger surface area for gas exchange... :)
 

shangman

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Hi @shangman Just wondering if this is UK Gallon ? 4.546 L ... if so 15g is 68 Liters. I would agree that is a meaningful minimum for one bonded pair depending on the amount of hardscape. I've kept apistos in 60 L.

Cheers,
Michael
Oh I was thinking of approx 60L minimum tbh, must've got confused on conversion which is more like 13g. My tank was 63L. I'm dyslexic and not great with stuff like this sometimes whoops o_O

So instead of thinking about it in volumes let's try length measurements which I think makes sense in a more visual way 👀. In my opinion, a single pair of apistos should be kept in a tank with a footprint of 60cmx30cm, and a height of 30cm (they will use the whole height of the tank if you structure it well, not just bottom fish) minimum. This is the minimum in which I think the fish will be content and not look cramped once they're adult.

They constantly tour the perimeter of their territory surveying and investigating and hunting, they need space for that. Ideally go bigger on footprint, as the apistos really do use all of it and enjoy it.

And while we're at it, it's great to have more space for them to go with some other tiny fish too, pygmy cories or pencilfish are in particular really charming fish to keep with apistos.

If you're gonna keep apistos you might as well give them all the trimmings as they reward you by being very amusing. Mine are like the lord and lady of the tank, give apistos the dignity they deserve.

If your tank is smaller, get something else!
 
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MichaelJ

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Hi @shangman I very much agree - As for tank mates I almost universally, went with Cardinals or other small tetras, with a preference for warmer and softer acidic waters, as they tend to stick to the mid-level of the waters and didn't bother the apistos too much and also they would offer a nice cue for the Apistos when dinner was served up :)

Cheers,
Michael
 

shangman

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Hi @shangman I very much agree - As for tank mates I almost universally, went with Cardinals or other small tetras, with a preference for warmer and softer acidic waters, as they tend to stick to the mid-level of the waters and didn't bother the apistos too much and also they would offer a nice cue for the Apistos when dinner was served up :)

Cheers,
Michael
Yes I keep them with cardinals too and they're lovely. I would love to keep some with tiny tucanos or very schooling green neons too.
 
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castle

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norfolk
I don't think any Apisto is a safe fish, they all have a difference in personalities, and just because you've selected a "pair" in the shop, that doesn't mean that they are. They are now bred by the thousands, so I guess they may be slowly loosing some aggression.

Small dithers can be food for apistos too; I certainly can recall some green neons slowly disappearing.
 

shangman

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so...its OK to stock them with neon/cardinals and cories
right?
A 60L isn't big enough for cardinals, I kept 10 temporarily in my 63L and they just couldn't swim about enough. Total improvement when I moved them to a 180L. Look for small tetras and rasboras instead, so you can have 10-15 of them which would look great and make the little fish happier. I think in a 60L it's best to just keep the apistos and 1 other type of small schooling fish ideally, I kept more and I think it didn't help the calmness of the tank and led to one apisto jumping. Long term it is more peaceful and healthy for the tank to do it this way.

Pygmy corydoras (corydoras pygmaeus) are not the same as other cories, pygmies are smaller and swim in the midwater as schooling fish sometimes, and they couldn't eat apistogramma eggs/fry, the apistos don't really care about them and don't hurt them even if they get chased a little during breeding. I wouldn't recommend normal cories, even small ones with apistos in a tank that size, as they behaviour can clash and the apistos can get aggressive when breeding. The apistos will fiercely protect their young by chasing/lunging at other fish, but most fish realise this and swim away quickly, I've heard that cories don't always understand this agression and get hurt when they don't swim away.

I haven't personally had any problems with my apistos eating small fish, only shrimps. Looking online if it happens it's very rare, and probably only with a large male apisto with a very large mouth like cacatoides. My apistos aggression had always been worst towards each other than other fish, which may get a "go away" lunge by a female with fry, but never any touch or actual hurt.
 
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mort

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Cories can be a argument for apistogramma keepers because purist breeders often say that in a 60x30 with a breeding pair the best tankmates are nothing at all. It's certainly true that apistogramma can be very aggressive to bottom dwelling species like cories because they see them as a threat to their spawn. In a really big tank you can normally get away with it as the cories have somewhere to go but the smaller you go, the more potential you can have for problems.
Other mid and upper water living species are easier to mix but as castle mentions it's down to the individual fish.

Edit, was typing as Rosie did and she made my point much more eloquently.
 
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