by Don Kinyon
For the longest time there were stories and magazine articles about the Apistogramma pandurini from somewhere in or around Peru. The ACA even had a small article in its journal about the fish. All the pictures I was able to find, including the ones in the article, showed a washed-out tattered specimen that, other than for curiosity, wouldn’t make you want the fish in your tanks.
Until I had a chance to see the live fish in a setting that was comfortable for them, they held little attraction.
I was able to get access to a group of young fish, a greater portion of them males, and housed them in a fifty-gallon breeder tank. After a couple of weeks, when the fish were at home, I picked out my pair for breeding and housed them in a fifteen-gallon of their own and slowly changed over their water to all rain water, while the remaining fish were in a little harder water with a pH of 7.6. The pair was fed on mostly live and frozen foods, along with some freeze-dried and dry prepared foods. In about a week, the fish spawned; not the breeders in the fifteen-gallon, but a pair that was still in the fifty breeder. These fish had been fed some live and frozen foods, but much more dry and freeze-dried.
Because of the large number of fish in the fifty, many of them Corydoras species, it was too much of a gamble to let the parent fish raise the brood. The flower pot with the eggs was placed into a one gallon bowl filled with water from the breeding tank and a little acriflavin to keep the fungus down. Then slowly over the next week, I replaced the water with rainwater. In two days at 77°F, the eggs hatched, and in seven more the young were swimming on their own.
The fry ate freshly hatched brine shrimp as a first food, along with vinegar eels and microworms. Half the water in the small tank was replaced every day to keep the tank fresh. In a little over a week, the young were moved to a seven gallon tank with the same water, fed on the same small live foods until they were five weeks old. I was able to cut down the water changes to every second day. By this time, the young fish were 3/8" long and had to once again be moved.
I split the young into a ten-gallon and a twenty-long tank. The fry numbered about fifty, so they were still a little crowded, but responded well to the extra room. I started feeding them the same foods as the adult fish: assorted chopped worms, frozen adult brine shrimp, and prepared dry foods. They ate heartily and grew well with twice-weekly water changes, and at two months the bigger fish were over one half inch.
As much press as these fish get, I think they will catch on in the hobby in a big way. I hope so.
This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 30, # 2-3