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Apisto Aggression


  1. Peruvian Fish
    by <kathy/> (Wed, 28 Oct 1998)
  2. Mouth to mouth combat
    by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/> (Sat, 15 May 1999)
  3. RE:A. cacatuoides, what's wrong?
    by "gkadar" <gkadar/> (Tue, 22 Feb 2000)
  4. Husbandry of A. panduro
    by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/> (Sat, 29 Jan 2000)

Peruvian Fish

by <kathy/>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998
To: apisto/

On Mon, 26 Oct 1998 wrote:

> I managed to order some Apistos through a local store from a Peruvian
> The species are A. nijsseni, A. pandurini, A. sp. Sunset (A. atahualpa ?)
> and Apistogrammoides.
> Although they┬┤re all gorgeous species, I understand that particularly these
> Searching the archives I found a message that mentions Uwe Romer keeping A.
> sp Sunset successfully in "colonies."  The same search yielded comments
> that this species is monogamous, aggressive and suicidal.  Great.  I feel
> like I got myself a blind date with a beautiful psychopath.  I would be
> gratefull for any hints on housing these.


I find that things depend on the fish.  Had a pair of nijsseni that were
incredibly aggressive to each other.  Then the next set, I had four
spawing in a 10 gallon tank together, ended up pulling one female out and
leaving a trio in and they successfully raised the fry in the 10 gallon.
Then I just had a pair of panduro spawn in a twnety with 12 other stray
apisto's.  The fry didn't make it there.  I have noticed with higher
densities of fish there are usually enough targets no one gets singled
out.  Of course then you need to keep up on your water changes, and have
the disease problems of a high density tank.

Good luck


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Mouth to mouth combat

by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/>
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999
To: apisto/

Lip locking is the final stage of apisto territorial display. This only happens
when both fish are of about equal strength. One will eventually win the tug of war
and drive the other off. In the wild the loser leaves the area and no one gets
hurt. In a tank the loser doesn't always have this option. If all 8 sq. ft. of tank
bottom is claimed by the other fish, then the loser may be driven from one
territory to the other. Keep an eye out for any hiding at the top of the tank or
looking kind of beat up. You'll have to take him out or risk losing him. BTW
studies with apistos have shown that males, if given the opportunity, will take
over the entire bottom of a 200X50 cm (80X20") tank.

Mike Wise

alex pastor wrote:

> I've never seen them do it before, but two of my male borellii were locked
> jaw to jaw this morning, oblivious of the fact that it was chow time and the
> loaches were wacking them around, as a unit.
> They've only got  8 square feet (+ACE-) of tank bottom to occupy, and there are
> only about 8 males in the tank, but apparently that's not good enough.
> Will they damage one another in a major way?  Is moving them a must?
> Honestly, I can't keep setting up new tanks all the time.  I can barely
> manage with what I have.  I'm in Toronto. Anyone want extremely healthy
> macho borelliis just let me know.   Come and get 'em.
> G. Kadar
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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RE:A. cacatuoides, what's wrong?

by "gkadar" <gkadar/>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000
To: <apisto/>

-----Original Message-----
From: Scot Gillespie <>
To: '' <>
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 7:09 AM
Subject: RE:A. cacatuoides, what's wrong?

>One other male "temperament adjuster" I have used; tape a small mirror on
>the outside of the tank facing inwards at a corner for a few hours each day
>or so. The male will be diverted into challenging this incommer, and keep a
>watch for him returning.

I think you've just hit the nail on the head.  Almost all of my tanks have a
mirror-like mylar backing taped on.  And generally cichlid aggression is
low.  I do know that 'Duddley' the gigantic Angelfish gets 'mad' at himself
on a regular basis, more so when the algae is scraped off the glass.
Recently we did an experiment and held up a photograph of himself in the
front of the tank.  He went into high dugeon.  All his fins expanded to
their full glory and he gave the picture the 'evil eye'.  Excellent
opportunity for another photograph too. :)


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Husbandry of A. panduro

by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000
To: apisto/ wrote:

> IMHO, I would take out the other male, and watch closely to see which female
> becomes the dominant one.  These guys are really hard on conspecifics and
> won't survive with more than a pair per tank.  If you don't take out the
> "losers", you will end up with only one pair in the tank anyway.  

I think Bob has said something not often said in discussion about fish
behavior. Apistogramma females are tough. We tend to view the question
from the male perspective - with expressions like "harem spawning". My
experience of njisseni, panduro and some other species is the females
are intensely territorial, kill each other and will run at sub-dominant
males. Males are surely bigger, but in some species, it seems males deal
with males while females sort things out among themselves.
With pelvicachromis taeniatus Moliwe, I observed that females ran the
show. As soon as they showed their first sexual characteristics, they
began to fight, and to do each other in. I could not keep two adult
females in a 20 gallon for long. One of my aquarist friends noted his
extra  females got 'a mysterious bacterial infection'. I think they got
harassed to death. The males never displayed such a consistent level of
With my agas, I've had up to four females in a tank with one male, all
spawning in the traditional harem set-up. They didn't fight like
njisseni-type apistos, but there was territorial sparring. Certainly,
there's no black and white rule, but if we paid more attention to the
behavior of female dwarf cichlids, I think we'd see a lot of the older
literature at least was looking through testosterone-tinted glasses.

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