Apistogramma cacatuoides 'Triple Red'

by Don Kinyon

What a beautiful fish! I was lucky enough to beg a bunch of young fish from another club member and raise them up, and ended up with a male and a harem of six females. The tank that they were in was small for that many adult fish, so I gave back all the females but two.

When the young fish were about five months old, they surprised me with a bunch of eggs. A few days later, they ate them. However, in a little over a week, the male spawned with the other female and before they could eat them, I removed the flower pot they laid the eggs in. There was a 5.5-gallon tank empty, so with water from the adults’ tank and a sponge filter, it was ready to go.

The water in both tanks was straight out of the tap, 7.4 pH and about 8° hardness. The temperature was kept at 78° F. In the hatching tank, I added a little acriflavin, about 1/3 the recommended dose, to keep any fungus from spreading. In two days, the eggs hatched, and in five more, the fry were swimming on their own.

They immediately accepted newly hatched brine shrimp and micro worms, and grew fairly quickly from the start, for Apistogrammas. With about 50 baby fish in a 5.5-gallon tank, it was necessary to do a partial water change every day, or at least every second day.

In about three weeks, they had hopelessly outgrown their home, and a 20 gallon long tank opened up, so the group moved. They were, by this time, eating most of the same foods the adults were, only chopped to size. They seemed to be more comfortable in the large tank, and grew all the more quickly. At eight weeks, the males were showing colors and at ten weeks, the sexes were unmistakable, even for me.

Given a little room and an occasional break from dry foods, these fish show off their colors consistently. They are an easy Apisto to keep, not very fussy about water parameters, and still show cichlid-like behavior.

This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 31, # 1