12-29-2007, 03:37 PM
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I have learned that Apistogrammas can be one of the more demanding of the cichlid family. They are not as hard to keep as, let's say, discus, but one must ensure that water condidtions are near pristine. These fish enjoy and thrive in softer water. I keep mine in a blacwater biotope with driftwood and relatively heavy planting. The tank should be relatively well planted and offer many hiding and spawning areas.
They are also relatively peaceful except at spawning time. They are excellent parents defending their brood against all comers. They will pair off and severely punish, even kill, any other of their species unless adequate spawning and territorial areas are provided. A large tank is best, say 70g or larger for multiple pairs. The tank footprint rather than the volume is what is important here.
If you are looking for a fish that is active, swimming at all levels, and at the forefront, the Apistos are not the fish you are looking for. They are somewhat reclusive, hiding in the plants and other protected areas. They are bottom dwellers for the most part, although mine do come up the the upper regions for food occasionallly.
Feeding is not complicated. A good quality flake food with occasional treats of brineys, tubifex worms, bloodworms, blackworms, white worms, daphnia, or other live type foods whaether processed, frozen or live is a great way to keep them healthy. These should only be fed 2-3 feedings per week based on feeding 2-3 times a day, 7 days a week.
Many experts concur that keeping these fish is not for the beginner. I have had them for many years and had both success and heartache. If you do your research and buy with your head and not your heart, you will have success. Good luck.