Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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tah1795 02-08-2011 04:24 PM

Apistogramma cacatuoides - biotope
I am getting a pair of A.cacatuoides thursday.
I am planning on making the tank a biotope.

So far I know Apisto. cacatuoides is from the Amazon, so that is the biotope I am planning
Cockatoo Apisto (Apistogramma cacatuoides) - Seriously Fish

Tank stats-
Size- 20 gallon
Decor- Driftwood, petrified wood, rocks
Substrate- sand
Plants- Amazon sword & Amazon frogbit
Fish- pair of A.cacautoides, maybe a shoal of small tetras?

What kind of leaves should be added to the bottom of the tank to add tannins?
I have many ficus leaves but was worried about the sap.
I can collect maple, magnolia and oak leaves but how do you make sure they are safe?

aunt kymmie 02-08-2011 04:28 PM

You are right, don't use Ficus leaves. I use Indian Almond leaves. They are safe, make for a great leaf litter on the bottom of the tank and my cacatuoides love them. I get mine from a gal on ebay. She's great, has a lovely product and it's cheap! I just received 50 grade B leaves (they look grade A) for only $6.00.

(I can't comment on the other leaves you mentioned as I only use the Indian Almond leaves.)

Amy's Ketapang Indian Almond Leaves Catappa items - Get great deals on blackwater breeding teabags items on eBay Stores!

tah1795 02-08-2011 04:32 PM

Can you post a picture of your fish please?
I would love to see them.

How often do you have to replace the leaves?

aunt kymmie 02-08-2011 04:44 PM

3 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by tah1795 (Post 584681)
Can you post a picture of your fish please?
I would love to see them.

How often do you have to replace the leaves?

Not very often. Without snails or shrimps to feed on the leaves they last a long time. I usually just add a few leaves each month, and if the others look really broken down I'll pull them out.
My cacatuoides are extreme juveniles, not much color and VERY tiny, barely measure an inch. Here the most recent pictures of some of them. (Notice the oto in the background in one of these pics, he is bigger than the cacatuoides, at the moment, lol)

tah1795 02-08-2011 05:09 PM

very cute!

What size is the tank?

aunt kymmie 02-08-2011 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by tah1795 (Post 584722)
very cute!

What size is the tank?

Thanks! The tank is a 75 gl.

tah1795 02-12-2011 01:59 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Got my Apistos!!
So cute!!

I am going to be getting more plants for the tank, right now I only have Echinodorus bleheri and amazon frogbit, does anyone know of any other amazonian plants?

aunt kymmie 02-12-2011 04:43 PM

Awesome, they are real beautys! I always find it amazing all the different colors this apisto can be. It'll be interesting to see what yours end up looking like as adults versus mine. They are such cool little fish. Congrats!! :-D

Byron 02-13-2011 12:22 PM

Responding to your questions in this thread.

I use oak leaves, they work very well. Maple should be OK. Magnolia I would avoid, I've no scientific data but as I have a magnolia tree |I would not put those leaves in an aquarium. Oak and maple must be completely dried, preferably picked off the ground not live off the tree, and then laid out to totally dry.

The habitat info on the linked site is bang on; I know Matt who manages that site.

I would not use petrified wood, it has been known to affect water chemistry. Real wood (bogwood, driftwood) is fine. Rocks I would also ignore, if you want an authentic habitat.

Other Amazonian plants are any of the Echinodorus (sword) species, and in a 20g two that are ideal are both in our profiles, the pygmy chain sword and the dwarf sword. Click on the shaded name and check them out.

On tankmates, definitely have other fish. All apistos can be very shy on their own, and may stay hidden. With dither fish as we call them, they will be out and about more often. And any of the peaceful, quiet characins (some tetra species, hatchetfish, pencilfish) work very well. Nothing active, as this can unsettle the quiet dwarf cichlids. There are many options, have a look through our characins section in the profiles. If you find some you like, and have further questions, ask away. I have kept almost all of those species at some point.


tah1795 02-13-2011 12:57 PM

Does petrified wood affect the chemistry in a good way or bad way? (raise or lower)

I might move my Serpaes into the tank with them but i think 20 gallons is too small for a school of 6.

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