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What do I do with all these babies?

I'm not sure, they're in rainwater with about 10% tap (to heat up the water during wc as it's so cold rn). I know that some apistos do ok in hard water, although most won't breed successfully as the eggs can't develop. I think ideally there would so some RO/rainwater/peat involved, not sure if maybe CO2 makes it better with a lower ph? I've never really understood that side of it, not using co2 myself. I saw there was another thread arguing about this a few days ago, with some saying that clean water of any kind trumps ph. Anyone else have any thoughts on the possibility?

I live close to Croydon so would be a local pickup when they're bigger. I'm happy to give them to UKAPs members as I think they'll get better care than whoever comes into the lfs!
 
An... interesting update.

pxl_20210215_152838279-jpg.jpg


Pretty sure she wants to bang her babies, talk about an oedipus complex!

That's got to be the quote of the day 🤣

Your tank looks great by the way, I love the natural look of your planting.
 
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Bear in mind I live in Norfolk, but it's not that weird to breed siblings. In a perfect world it isn't ideal but you do get it in the wild ocassionally. Physically you probably wouldn't notice any difference to if you bred them with a non family member as it takes many generations for most defects to occur. Would it be better if you added more diversity with an unrelated fish, arguably yes but probably more for our piece of mind. There is no issue if you don't want to raise the next generation either.

I know someone who has kept cherry shrimp and endlers in their tank for well over a decade, never adding new stock, and they are unnoticeably different to any others you would see. That doesn't mean they have the same vigour or health of more diverse fish though.
 
That's got to be the quote of the day 🤣

Your tank looks great by the way, I love the natural look of your planting.

:p

This tank looks so natural as others have said and would to see a proper presentation.

Thank you both! Even though there's no CO2, I do spend a stupid amount of time staring at the tank and planning how to make it look more serene + better for the fish to placate the desire for a new bigger tank. I'll post some more photos tomorrow of the whole thing :) I'm the daughter of two gardeners, maybe all that dragging me around every garden in the UK as a kid actually did rub off...

Bear in mind I live in Norfolk, but it's not that weird to breed siblings. In a perfect world it isn't ideal but you do get it in the wild ocassionally. Physically you probably wouldn't notice any difference to if you bred them with a non family member as it takes many generations for most defects to occur. Would it be better if you added more diversity with an unrelated fish, arguably yes but probably more for our piece of mind. There is no issue if you don't want to raise the next generation either.

I know someone who has kept cherry shrimp and endlers in their tank for well over a decade, never adding new stock, and they are unnoticeably different to any others you would see. That doesn't mean they have the same vigour or health of more diverse fish though.

🤣
That's good to know, thank you! Reassuring in a way, I think we'll see as they get closer to the right age whether I don't think of how weird it is every time I see a pair together. The parents Mr Apister and Motherfish are from 2 different sources, so hopefully that keeps the genes fresh for a while. Wish I had a big enough tank to keep some babies on and get Motherfish a new husband as well, alas. On the upside if Motherfish does have any more fry with her current babies soon as she seems to want, I'm pretty sure the current brood would polish them off almost immediately, they are very greedy. I can't be keeping multiple broods at the same time, it's too much work!!
 
Giving her a new husband is definitely the best thing if you are wanting to breed them further but apart from the weird feeling you get, a little bit of piscatorial incest isn't much to worry about.
I'm trying to build a perpetual pencilfish group. I'm at about ten years now and I have swapped fish for new ones to try and maintain condition but unless you are going for many generations then I don't think you need to be overly concerned.
 
Giving her a new husband is definitely the best thing if you are wanting to breed them further but apart from the weird feeling you get, a little bit of piscatorial incest isn't much to worry about.
I'm trying to build a perpetual pencilfish group. I'm at about ten years now and I have swapped fish for new ones to try and maintain condition but unless you are going for many generations then I don't think you need to be overly concerned.

"piscatorial incest! what a phrase! 😂Thank you for the advice, I'm thinking I might try to find her a new husband, or maybe start upping the amount of tapwater to rainwater ratio so they don't breed as much - the babies are lovely but a lot of work, would prefer it happens once a year rather than constantly. The only thing that stops me is that Mr Apister was an exceptionally pretty fish (my photos did not do him justice), and I seen lots of other images of macmasteri online and they looka bit rubbish in comparison, will have to try to source another good one.

Your colony of pencilfish sounds fascinating, do you have a thread on it? I would love to see some photos as it sounds very successful. Currently have my eye on a bigger secondhand tank so I can keep some pencilfish with a bigger group of the apistos and keep the babies.
 
Sorry I don't have a tank thread. I used to enthusiastically take pictures of everything but then I realised I never looked at them and stopped. I'm in the midst of a revamp with the tank, swapping out the old substrate so I can add some cories or apistogramma (can't decide which but it will likely not be till next year anyhow). I'll try and document the change and post it.
 
Hi all,
Your colony of pencilfish sounds fascinating, do you have a thread on it?
I've kept a couple of different Copella sp. as loose harems. These were <"Copella arnoldi">, and I still have <"Copella callolepis"> (and their still spawning), but I've only have one surviving fry (now 3/4 adult size). They aren't strictly Pencilfish, but they are <"the same family">.

My experience with the Lebiasinidae generally has been that they are a lot fiercer than most people acknowledge and that the males are very territorial. I know experienced fish breeders who got hold of N. morthentaleri and N. rubrocaudatus when they were new fish and very expensive, only to find that they needed very large tanks to keep more than one male in and even the females are quite aggressive to one another.

cheers Darrel
 
Hi all,

I've kept a couple of different Copella sp. as loose harems. These were <"Copella arnoldi">, and I still have <"Copella callolepis"> (and their still spawning), but I've only have one surviving fry (now 3/4 adult size). They aren't strictly Pencilfish, but they are <"the same family">.

My experience with the Lebiasinidae generally has been that they are a lot fiercer than most people acknowledge and that the males are very territorial.

I'd love to do splash tetras but haven't the space, or the money, for a group the sized I'd like.

It's a very fair description of their territoriality but there are some very calm pencilfish as well, like Eques. I keep my beckfordi (I'd suggest middling in terms of aggression ) in a jungle style tank which is important, but in a decent number (16-20). I only see the males sparring occassionally and the females hanging out in a group this time of year but as soon as the water temperature raises and they get live food, the females and immature males, are glad of all the cover.
 
Hi all,
but there are some very calm pencilfish as well, like Eques.
Yes assuming I go down the route of some new dwarf cichlids (and I'm pretty sure I will eventually) I will definitely use N. eques as their dither.

I'll keep the C. callolepis that I have until they all eventually wander off to the great fishy heaven, but I won't keep them again, unless I do it as a bigger group in a much bigger tank.

cheers Darrel
 
I was definitely planning on a group of Eques, what they lack in colour they make up for in being amusingly bizarre! Have you ever kept them with tetras?

Also slightly tempted by some of the coral beckfordii, so I don't have so many baby apistos in the future though...

Yes assuming I go down the route of some new dwarf cichlids (and I'm pretty sure I will eventually) I will definitely use N. eques as their dither.
What ones are you considering? I spend far too much time dreaming of all the lovely SA dwarfs I'd like to keep! These apistos are a gateway fishdrug.
 
Hi all,
What ones are you considering?
Probably A. baenschi or A. panduro.
I was definitely planning on a group of Eques, what they lack in colour they make up for in being amusingly bizarre! Have you ever kept them with tetras?
I've had them in the past with Black-Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi), I started using the Tetras as dithers and I decided to have a swap, but I still had a few tetras left. I probably wouldn't recommend it, they are definitely not a very competitive fish.

cheers Darrel
 
Probably A. baenschi or A. panduro.

I've had them in the past with Black-Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi), I started using the Tetras as dithers and I decided to have a swap, but I still had a few tetras left. I probably wouldn't recommend it, they are definitely not a very competitive fish.

cheers Darrel
There was a pair of panduro at my LFS recently, they're really wonderful IRL with that red-striped tail and neon patches, and the female is particularly special looking, v good choice!

Alas, I've just been tempted by a larger tank and had fantasies of tetras with pencils! then again, a big shoal of only one will probably looking much more gorgeous
 
When I kept eques I only had them with corydoras, basically similar to a pair of apisto's in terms of competition, and they did fine. I do think that even your average tetra can easily out compete them though because species like black neons can hammer the food when it goes in.
They are poles apart from beckfordi which are greedy guts that would be first to the food.
 
Evening :)

I thought I would do an explanation about how my tank is planted in case anyone wanted to know, since I noticed some people maybe wanting to plant in a similar way. I'm really flattered that people like my tank and my planting!! :)
This is my first tank and I've spent the past 9 months learning a lot and fiddling with it a lot, it's not finished or perfect by any means, it's absolutely riddled with spirogyra which is the bane of my life. However I am pretty happy with the natural-ish feel of it, it's definitely looking the best it's been so far. Motherfish as always takes pride of place in the front.

PXL_20210222_135255489.jpg


I don't use CO2 but I do use rainwater, which I think helps me grow plants which are more picky. I like to just try plants and see how it goes, sometimes it's great, sometimes it's rubbish, I was very sad when my Rotala Wallichii hardly grew for 2 months, but every failed plant is a spot for a potential great plant, so I ripped it out and added an echinodorus instead lol. Every area of the tank I've completely changed at some point as I've learnt, except for the tiger lily and the crinum as their roots are extensive and I don't want to disturb them. I use soil under sand so I can grow a wider variety of plants, and can grow some red plants without CO2. I really like mixing colours, so I have dark pink from the tiger lotus, a brighter pink/red from the Ludwigia sp. Mini Super Red, a hint of orangey-red from Rotala Hra (this plant doesn't love me but it puts up with me and has about 50% nice stems, it's a bit hidden atm cos I did a trim of the roots a week ago), and browny-pinks from Echinodorus Rose. I also like to make sure that all the shades of green are there, from deep dark greens, to emerald-rich, to bright and yellow-y. I think it gives the tank more depth and contrast. If I did the tank again I would've included some java fern on wood because that's a really nice green. I think thats what's nice about the right side bit of tank, it's just nice green stripes with slightly different shades and textures, if I had a bigger tank I'd do the same but with even more varieties of long thin plant.

In a no CO2 tank obviously some plants won't be as thick and luscious, but I still like them so I fake that by cramming in lots of plants with different heights, leaf sizes and textures to cover any bare areas and make it more interesting. It's not dissimilar to the way a floral bouquet is done. I use a lot of grasses (Vallisneria Nana, Echinodorus Tenellus, Eleocharis acicularis) which always fill an area out and give it definition in a nice fluffy way. The vallis nana adds height and movement but isn't too thick or heavy, the smaller grasses add volume. I don't know why, but apistogramma look great amongst grass so I recently added a lot more of it and I love it. I use a few stem plants as background clumps (Rotala Hra and Heteranthera Zosterifolia), but they're not as good without CO2 and have tatty bottoms, which I hide with echinodorus and grasses, as well as place a few single stems of stem plants which do grow nicely for me (Ludwigia sp. Mini Super Red, and Ludwigia Arcuata) at the front of the clumps, where they blend in and add highlights. When you mix the plants up a bit it makes it look more natural, you can just take a few stems from one bush and dot them around the rest of the tank and it'll just soften everything, like in the wild when plants sow themselves and end up in random areas as a nice surprise.

My feature plants are Nymphaea Lotus red and Crinum Calamistratum (which if I did it again I might not put where it is, it'd go further into the back and it really has taken over the front, but I don't have the heart to move it because it's a real star plant). I also have 2 Echinodorus Rose, and 2 Echinodorus Hadi Red Pearl which are low with round dark green leaves, I really like them. The Echinodorus Rose in the front left corner I would move and put a Hadi Red Pearl there instead, but the otos really like sitting on it so I won't for now. Echinodorus make fantastic filler plants for both background and foreground, they look especially beautiful with grasses so are perfect for my tank, and they come in all sorts of sizes and colours. My dream is to get the very rare Echinodorus Iguazu 2009, which is massive and a fabulous green.

PXL_20210222_134451332.jpg

Sorry you can see my reflection, will one day soon try to take some better pics.

I really love sandy areas, but I don't like just basic sand with nothing in it, it looks a bit barren to me. I use a few handfuls of gravel and some small pebbles (I picked them up at the edge of the stony carpark at my allotment lol) to add a bit of variety to the sand, along with some small dried leaves and twigs, and I keep MTS to turn it + they look cute in it. I think of the aquarium a bit like a theatre set with layers of lines adding depth, and in the front/around sand I use small grasses to create definition. My grasses are mostly grown in drifts, like triangles/lines coming out from the heavier planting. I never plant in a grid, and I prefer to plant grasses individually rather than in a big clump so it looks more feathery. If I had wood in my tank I would follow the lines of the wood and extend in that directiom across the sand with the grasses. I use Hydrocotyle Verticillata at the edge of the major planted areas with the grasses, they look like toadstools and are really magical. Previously, before my tank got overrun with algae that took it over I used Hydrocotyle Leucocephala, which I glued to small pebbles and made pretty arches. It looked great and is not as demanding as Hydrocotyle Verticillata. The grasses and hydro are thicker by the bigger plants, and then thin out but still there as details. Finally I have some small buces (Bucephalandra Kedagang Godzilla) which I glued to my prettiest pebbles, these act as a strong structured mini entrance plants, like bushes at the sides of your front door or something lol. Most lowdown plants are a bright green, and the buces add a nice bit of dark green and purple, something like Crypt Albida Brown would work well too to add that little detail.

2020-10-01_10-36-552.jpg

The tank many months ago with Hydrocotyle Leucocephala archway, and when my lotus was a behaving better.

The most important thing to me is that the fish enjoy their home, which I think they do! The kuhlis love rooting about amongst the mulmy roots, and climbing through the stem plants, the otos basically live in the echinodoruses big wide leaves, and the apistos seem to like it all, honestly my faouvirte fish they're so intelligent and funny. The big handfuls of leaves also provide a feeling of depth in the tank and help it look more natural. Since I don't have a dark background, I put big dried leaves right at the bottom back of the tank between the plants and the glass, partly to get the depth that the darkness brings, and also so the fish feel safer and not exposed.

Some babies, they're really getting bigger :(

PXL_20210215_105039622.jpg
 

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Evening :)

I thought I would do an explanation about how my tank is planted in case anyone wanted to know, since I noticed some people maybe wanting to plant in a similar way. I'm really flattered that people like my tank and my planting!! :)
This is my first tank and I've spent the past 9 months learning a lot and fiddling with it a lot, it's not finished or perfect by any means, it's absolutely riddled with spirogyra which is the bane of my life. However I am pretty happy with the natural-ish feel of it, it's definitely looking the best it's been so far. Motherfish as always takes pride of place in the front.

View attachment 163500

I don't use CO2 but I do use rainwater, which I think helps me grow plants which are more picky. I like to just try plants and see how it goes, sometimes it's great, sometimes it's rubbish, I was very sad when my Rotala Wallichii hardly grew for 2 months, but every failed plant is a spot for a potential great plant, so I ripped it out and added an echinodorus instead lol. Every area of the tank I've completely changed at some point as I've learnt, except for the tiger lily and the crinum as their roots are extensive and I don't want to disturb them. I use soil under sand so I can grow a wider variety of plants, and can grow some red plants without CO2. I really like mixing colours, so I have dark pink from the tiger lotus, a brighter pink/red from the Ludwigia sp. Mini Super Red, a hint of orangey-red from Rotala Hra (this plant doesn't love me but it puts up with me and has about 50% nice stems, it's a bit hidden atm cos I did a trim of the roots a week ago), and browny-pinks from Echinodorus Rose. I also like to make sure that all the shades of green are there, from deep dark greens, to emerald-rich, to bright and yellow-y. I think it gives the tank more depth and contrast. If I did the tank again I would've included some java fern on wood because that's a really nice green. I think thats what's nice about the right side bit of tank, it's just nice green stripes with slightly different shades and textures, if I had a bigger tank I'd do the same but with even more varieties of long thin plant.

In a no CO2 tank obviously some plants won't be as thick and luscious, but I still like them so I fake that by cramming in lots of plants with different heights, leaf sizes and textures to cover any bare areas and make it more interesting. It's not dissimilar to the way a floral bouquet is done. I use a lot of grasses (Vallisneria Nana, Echinodorus Tenellus, Eleocharis acicularis) which always fill an area out and give it definition in a nice fluffy way. The vallis nana adds height and movement but isn't too thick or heavy, the smaller grasses add volume. I don't know why, but apistogramma look great amongst grass so I recently added a lot more of it and I love it. I use a few stem plants as background clumps (Rotala Hra and Heteranthera Zosterifolia), but they're not as good without CO2 and have tatty bottoms, which I hide with echinodorus and grasses, as well as place a few single stems of stem plants which do grow nicely for me (Ludwigia sp. Mini Super Red, and Ludwigia Arcuata) at the front of the clumps, where they blend in and add highlights. When you mix the plants up a bit it makes it look more natural, you can just take a few stems from one bush and dot them around the rest of the tank and it'll just soften everything, like in the wild when plants sow themselves and end up in random areas as a nice surprise.

My feature plants are Nymphaea Lotus red and Crinum Calamistratum (which if I did it again I might not put where it is, it'd go further into the back and it really has taken over the front, but I don't have the heart to move it because it's a real star plant). I also have 2 Echinodorus Rose, and 2 Echinodorus Hadi Red Pearl which are low with round dark green leaves, I really like them. The Echinodorus Rose in the front left corner I would move and put a Hadi Red Pearl there instead, but the otos really like sitting on it so I won't for now. Echinodorus make fantastic filler plants for both background and foreground, they look especially beautiful with grasses so are perfect for my tank, and they come in all sorts of sizes and colours. My dream is to get the very rare Echinodorus Iguazu 2009, which is massive and a fabulous green.

View attachment 163501
Sorry you can see my reflection, will one day soon try to take some better pics.

I really love sandy areas, but I don't like just basic sand with nothing in it, it looks a bit barren to me. I use a few handfuls of gravel and some small pebbles (I picked them up at the edge of the stony carpark at my allotment lol) to add a bit of variety to the sand, along with some small dried leaves and twigs, and I keep MTS to turn it + they look cute in it. I think of the aquarium a bit like a theatre set with layers of lines adding depth, and in the front/around sand I use small grasses to create definition. My grasses are mostly grown in drifts, like triangles/lines coming out from the heavier planting. I never plant in a grid, and I prefer to plant grasses individually rather than in a big clump so it looks more feathery. If I had wood in my tank I would follow the lines of the wood and extend in that directiom across the sand with the grasses. I use Hydrocotyle Verticillata at the edge of the major planted areas with the grasses, they look like toadstools and are really magical. Previously, before my tank got overrun with algae that took it over I used Hydrocotyle Leucocephala, which I glued to small pebbles and made pretty arches. It looked great and is not as demanding as Hydrocotyle Verticillata. The grasses and hydro are thicker by the bigger plants, and then thin out but still there as details. Finally I have some small buces (Bucephalandra Kedagang Godzilla) which I glued to my prettiest pebbles, these act as a strong structured mini entrance plants, like bushes at the sides of your front door or something lol. Most lowdown plants are a bright green, and the buces add a nice bit of dark green and purple, something like Crypt Albida Brown would work well too to add that little detail.

View attachment 163502
The tank many months ago with Hydrocotyle Leucocephala archway, and when my lotus was a behaving better.

The most important thing to me is that the fish enjoy their home, which I think they do! The kuhlis love rooting about amongst the mulmy roots, and climbing through the stem plants, the otos basically live in the echinodoruses big wide leaves, and the apistos seem to like it all, honestly my faouvirte fish they're so intelligent and funny. The big handfuls of leaves also provide a feeling of depth in the tank and help it look more natural. Since I don't have a dark background, I put big dried leaves right at the bottom back of the tank between the plants and the glass, partly to get the depth that the darkness brings, and also so the fish feel safer and not exposed.

Some babies, they're really getting bigger :(

View attachment 163499

I avoided getting Hydrocotyle Verticillata as it seemed like it was overly demanding but it seems to work for you without CO2! Anything in particular that keeps it healthy?
 
Hydrocotyle Verticillata as it seemed like it was overly demanding
It’s much “happier” in very soft water ... as long as it gets sufficient light (not a lot of light but it will lose ground in an overgrown tank where the Rotala Vietnam H’ra and H micranthemoides have filled the space) it will meander along (not the same growth that you see in Tropica’s plant video)
 
@ shangman fantastic story tank

If you get a larger tank and want to continue with the rainwater, I’d suggest a D filamentosus group, I kept a group of 7 in a planted Rio 180, they remain my favourite fish

Aquarium Glaser has a series of short articles and excellent photos from Dicrossus sp. Du hast nach Dicrossus gesucht - Aquarium Glaser GmbH

(though really I’ve not seen any photos online that show the true colors and iridescence of the fish I had - they were wild caught but no information on locale)

One of the better articles (ie more resemble my own experience ;))Dabbling in Dicrossus: A discussion on sexing, spawning, and rearing under-appreciated dwarves by Rebecca Goldring | Cichlid Room Companion
 
I avoided getting Hydrocotyle Verticillata as it seemed like it was overly demanding but it seems to work for you without CO2! Anything in particular that keeps it healthy?
It’s much “happier” in very soft water ... as long as it gets sufficient light (not a lot of light but it will lose ground in an overgrown tank where the Rotala Vietnam H’ra and H micranthemoides have filled the space) it will meander along (not the same growth that you see in Tropica’s plant video)
As Alto said, I think it's the soft water that really helps. When I started the tank I got 1 pot of it, and it never died but it basically never grew, I think it wasn't a fan of me cycling the tank or something. A few months ago I thought... well it doesn't grow but I'll get another pot anyway and use it as a detail plant, and surprisingly now it's growing very well and even gaining some height in some areas. I just use rainwater, change about 40% every week + fertilise with TNC Complete once a week. I also have quite high light (probs why I can't get rid of the spiro) for a lowtech tank I think, though I do have a lot of floating plants to cut it.

@ shangman fantastic story tank

If you get a larger tank and want to continue with the rainwater, I’d suggest a D filamentosus group, I kept a group of 7 in a planted Rio 180, they remain my favourite fish

Aquarium Glaser has a series of short articles and excellent photos from Dicrossus sp. Du hast nach Dicrossus gesucht - Aquarium Glaser GmbH

(though really I’ve not seen any photos online that show the true colors and iridescence of the fish I had - they were wild caught but no information on locale)

One of the better articles (ie more resemble my own experience ;))Dabbling in Dicrossus: A discussion on sexing, spawning, and rearing under-appreciated dwarves by Rebecca Goldring | Cichlid Room Companion
I may or may not have just bought a very nice second hand larger tank for my birthday 👀👀👀👀

And I may or may not have been oggling @dw1305 <post on his Discrossus> yesterday... though I was hoping they wouldn't mind sharing with a pair of my macs in this magical larger tank. I'm thinking of keeping just a few really great fascinating species, probably some nice pencils, as well as a few more otos (my otos are all extremely fat and I'm convinced I can eventually get them to breed if I have a few more).

They do look like wonderful little fish, just the sort of thing I like. Thank you for the link to see more about them! What was your favourite thing about them?

Where did you source yours from, I've never seen them in any of the shops I go to or on any online lists?

It is fascinating how difficult it is to capture the beautiful of fish in photographs and even videos, somehow their brilliance and subtle irridescence never quite gets captured.
 
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