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Apistogramma bitaeniata
by Kaycy Ruffer at www.kcff.net

A male bitaeniata (with female).This species is found in the wild in the Amazon; Peru and Brazil and was first found in 1961.

I purchased about a dozen very young individuals of Apisto-gramma bitaeniata in the summer of 1994.

I set the pair up in a 10-gallon tank containing pure R.O. (Reverse Osmosis) water, with a half inch layer of fine sand, a plastic plant, and a two-inch flower pot. The temperature was 76F. The pH was 7.2 and the hardness was 50 ppm. I fed the pair newly hatched brine shrimp, live adult brine, and sometimes ground flakes.

These two turned out to be quite a pair. These two started spawning at about one and a half inches. Their clutch was usually around 100 fry per spawn. With this pair the female would not allow the male near the flower pot while she was tending to her eggs, which are a yellow to orange coloration depending on the foods fed to the mother. (This is very common in most Apistos.) The male would always hide near the front of the tank in front of the sponge filter until he was allowed to help in the care of the fry. It took between two and three days to hatch and another five to seven days to be free swimming. I never noticed the female moving the fry around in the tank. She just took care of them inside the flower pot where she had spawned.

While looking at the eggs through my camera I could see there are clear areas at the ends of the eggs. These are actually a part of the egg and this is where the head and tail will appear, at opposite ends, as the fry develops. This is the first indication to me that those particular eggs are fertile.

Another indication to me that these eggs are fertile is the black spots on the yolk sacs.

A female
Apistogramma bitaeniata in breeding coloration, with several large fry.When caring for eggs or fry the females' body and fins took on a deep yellow hue with a black horizontal line across her side with a black blotch in the middle of the line. The front part of her ventral fins also turned black. She was such a beautiful contrast compared to her normal coloration.

Once the fry were free swimming I began feeding them newly hatched brine shrimp. After the fry have been free swimming for one week the female would finally allow the male to help in the care of the brood. The interesting thing about the pair that I noticed was the caring for the fry. The male would stay at one end of the tank with his 'half' of the brood and the female would stay at the other end of the tank with the rest of the fry. This separation would go on for another week and a half and then the babies were everywhere and the pair were hard pressed keeping their little charges at their respective ends of the tank.

I also noticed the male took on a yellowing coloration but not with the intent of the female while caring for his group of fry. I haven't heard of this color transformation in A. bitaeniata males from anyone else breeding this species.

When not in brood care colorations the pair are still quite beautiful without the yellowing hue.

 

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