Apisto Heaven

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Ed Seeley, 14 Apr 2008.

  1. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Well maybe...

    This weekend I took the plunge and cleared out my old 180 litre tank. It's a 36" x 18" x 18" tank with a homemade wooden hood. Lighting was two, 18W T8 Interpet Daylight pluss with a 55W T5 power compact Daylight plus too. Filtration is an Ehiem 2128. CO2 will be pressurised from a FE into a DIY reactor on a solenoid to turn it off overnight but I'm waiting for the new regulator to arrive still.

    This has never really been a scaped tank and is really my collectoritus tank where I keep all the plants I like. As such it's generally a mess! It's also my main tank for getting dwarf cichlids paired up and established before I move them to other tanks. As such it's always been a sort of jungle meets cichlid home and really it will remain that way!

    This time the cichlids are 7 Apistogramma eremnopyge. This is a gorgeous species from Peru with red spots on it's side and a prominent blotch near the caudal peduncle. I've bred them before but lost the original female and her fry. The two remaining males have been biding their time in a two footer but when I bought my Biotoecus sp.'Tapajos' I ordered 3 new females and another male. I was sent a bonus female too so needed to rethink the layout slightly, but more of that later...

    This tank has split slate as the background and I toyed with removing this but didn't have the time or the inclination to after I'd cleared the tank. I like the background and so kept it! My Ancistrus also spawn behind part of it so if I put them back they'll spawn there again hopefully!

    All the old fish (20 odd Cardinals, 1 old Diamond tetra, a pair of ancistrus + a dozen or so babies and a pair of Pelivicachromis taeniatus 'Bipindi' were moved into the 2ft tank while the fish for this tank are in my QT for a week or so.

    All the old Flourite and sand substrate was removed as were all the plants into various containers. The plants were also cut right back removing all old/huge leaves. While doing this I found that the Ancistrus must have spawned recently as I found 12 or so little ones hiding around the tank. Catching them slowed things down dramamtically!

    Then I started to sort the 'design' out. This is all practicality really. For breeding apisto I've found females like a territory of about 12" diameter or a 6-8" radius. With 3 females this meant I would be able to comfortably have three cave groups on sand at the front with two Aquasoil areas for serious planting at the back. However 4 females meant that one of those planting areas needed to have a cave too.
    I also wanted only some Aquasoil to copy elements of my Rio's design and reduce the effects of the aquasoil's leaching at first. I also found that even the plants in sand grew better than ever becuase, I assume, of the nutrients coming from the Aquasoil. So pure sand front and Aquaosoil backs. (I also had a 9l bag of Amazonia left from doing the Rio!).
    Also Apistogrammas, being Geophagine cichlids, love to chew the substrate over and I'm not sure how they'll like Aquaosil but they love sand so a nice large area of that was needed.

    Anyway basically big bogwood pieces on the right with Windelov fern and then slate pieces on the left. These separate the sand from the Aquasoil as the chewing of the Apistos would otherwise mix them I'm sure.

    So dry it looks like this (please excuse the rubbish pictures - I nearly forgot to take any and hurridly snapped a few shockers!)
    IMG_0004.jpg

    I dumped the Aquasoil in the two pockets created by the hardscape and then carefully added sand into the front area. I started off with a pretty thin layer of sand at first (about an inch) but added some more when planting to some areas.
    I planted everything dry except the Cabomba furcata as I've never found planting Cabomba dry that easy and it dries out very quickly for me. So I added enough water to let me plant it wettish.
    IMG_0005.jpg

    Then I topped the tank up. The water is 2/5ths tap water (Hot water to warm up the RO) and 3/5the RO. I haven't added any RO Right as there will be some minerals in the tap water. Then I switched the filter back on and had a beer. The fish will stay in the QT until Nitrite readings are 0.
    IMG_0013.jpg
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The plants have started to adjust to their new situations today.
    IMG_0015.jpg

    Even though I've hacked the swords and ferns back I need more plant mass in there. I also need to add some wood/rocks with ferns/anubias/moss to divide up the lines of sight in the foreground area.

    The cave areas look like they will do the job once the surrounding plantings grow in.

    First left front,
    IMG_0016.jpg

    Middle,
    IMG_0017.jpg

    Right Front,
    IMG_0018.jpg

    and Right Rear.
    IMG_0019.jpg

    Also the drop checker has remained this colour since I put it in the tank!
    IMG_0021.jpg

    There's no CO2 injected in here so what's going on? It's 4dKH water in there!

    As I said this is a tank designed to breed fish rather than being scaped, but hopefully it should look good once everything's grown in.

    Oh and the other fish will be 10 Nannostomus eques, 4 Fundulopanchax gardneri gardneri 'Nsukka Gold', 6 Aphyosemion bivittatum 'Funge', 3 Epiplatys dageti dageti 'Nkwanta GH96' along with the 7 Apistogramma eremnopyge and possibly a pair of Ancistrus sp.3.
     
  3. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Looks like you have the magic DC in there. lol Why you got a drop checker in a non CO2 tank anyway?

    Looking at the scape it reminds me of an amphitheatre. lol Hope it doesn't turn out that way if you know what I mean!!! :twisted:

    Will watch this one because waiting to see the fish.

    Andy
     
  4. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I'll be adding CO2 once my new regulator arrives. It should be here this week sometime. The drop checker was in there before when I had another CO2 kit on this tank so left it there.

    Cheers, I think...
     
  5. johnny70

    johnny70 Member

    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    Bakewell, Derbsyhire
    NIce!

    can wait to see these fish, I'm a HUGE apisto fan :D :D :D :D

    JOHNNY
     
  6. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I was meaning like the sand enclosed by a circle in an amphitheatre. By 'I hope it doesn't turn out that way' I meant I hope that the apistos don't start to war too much!!.

    Looks nice though. I like sandy tanks (and so do they)

    Andy
     
  7. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Blimey Ed, that's some stocking list.

    Sam
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Nice layout Ed. :D Good Apisto information too. From my limited experience with this group it's hard to believe so many can share that space. :wideyed:

    Cheers,
     
  9. johnny70

    johnny70 Member

    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    Bakewell, Derbsyhire
    Where have you got the apisto's from Ed? not a one you often see that:)

    JOHNNY
     
  10. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I would have thought that tank would only be big enough for 2 pairs, are the A.eremnopyge especially peaceful?

    How do you get on with the plants growing in a particulaly soft water environment? Do you have to be careful about the plants you use?
     
  11. johnny70

    johnny70 Member

    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    Bakewell, Derbsyhire
    Plenty of room in there for those apisto's we have 1 pair A baenschi and 3 pair of A trifasciata in a 90 ltr:)

    JOHNNY
     
  12. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    How haveoyu done the backgound?
     
  13. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Right I understand! We'll see in a week or so hopefully!

    Thanks for the compliment. I don't like the slate divider, but had nothing else handy to do the job. Once I add a few more bits to break up the line of sights then I should hopefully visually break up the slate a bit too.
     
  14. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Cheers Johnny. I like them too! :lol:

    I think a big species group should have great interactions and should bring a huge amount of fun to the tank.
     
  15. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
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    Cheers Sam. Just a few species I had knocking around in various tanks... Sounds bigger because all the killies have such long names!!!
     
  16. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Cheers Clive. I think it'll look ok once the plants grow in. There are a lot in there that can't really be seen until they get growing like the Crytocoryne becketii on the back right around the swords.

    I have been keeping two males in a two foot tank and they have co-existed for over a year with no major injuries. Sparks will fly when they settle down in the new tank but there's a fair bit of room for them to hide and if there are problems I will be able to move some males out. The females should be fine as each will have her own little area with some caves in the centre. Once everything grow in there will be no direct line of sight between each cave complex either.

    Also this is a haremically polygamous species that doesn't form pair bonds. The females each have their own patch and then the males try to guard as many females from other males as possible. If there's any trouble it should be between the males and, as I've found them not to be too aggressive I'm pretty hopeful. I do have spare tanks if there are major problems.

    In the wild Apistos have been found at densities of 50 fish per square metre so my tank is pretty bare in comparison (I know this is probably only a temporary density and the fish can usually move away but it's food for thought!)

    Beeky I find all plants much easier to grow in soft water and would never go back to tap water for my main tanks. I don't grow Vallis as this is known to like harder water, but I've never tried it! Apart from that I have grown a wide range of plants.
     
  17. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I got a pair of wild fish from a supplier originally but they were old fish I think and didn't breed. Then I got a trio from Peter Lovett which turned out to be a reverse trio. The smaller male was a sneaker male and you couldn't tell him apart from the female. That female then died while brooding her second brood (she'd killed the first batch when her second brood came along) and that brood didn't survive. I then had the two males sharing a 2ft tank for a while and while there was some chasing they both got on fine so I have high hopes for them in a 180l tank.

    The last batch I got from Mark Breeze (Microman) along with my Biotoecus sp.'Tapajos'.
     
  18. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The background was done by getting a large chunk of slate from an aggregate supplier. I then used a bolster to split this up into loads of thin peices. As they broke and split they were slightly random and I pieced them together using the straight sides to form the background. It also comes down the two sides. The pices are siliconed onto the glass.

    The only problem with it is that dirt and debris does collect behind it but I try to syphon this out using a thin plastic tube every so often. My bristlenoses also like to hide behind there too and breed there.
     
  19. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Well I've just tested the water and quite unbelievably the nitrite reading is 0! I was expecting some reading even with an already established large filter on the tank. I know some Ammonia from the Aquasoil would have converted into nitrite by the filter so can only assume that it's been oxidised all the way to nitrate and the filter can cope with the load! I am now very tempted to add the fish as they are currently in a 14" quarantine tank and would enjoy the extra space I'm sure!

    In fact I am now going upstairs to move them across. I'll then do a large water change tomorrow just to be on the safe side before I go to see 'The Hives'!
     
  20. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Where do you get your killies from? I'm interested in adding some Epiplatys to my community, are there ones to avoid?
     

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