When reading the hobby literature, often one sees that an aquarist
has created the ideal habitat and conditions for a certain species and
only then would his fish breed. Fortunately, many of us have found that
the exact replication of conditions is seldom required. Apistos in my
experience are no exception.
Chicago area water is tremendous African Cichlid water, hard and with
a pH of 7.4. Tanganyikans thrive in it as do mbunas from Malawi. Strangely
enough though, fishes like Apisto's from soft acid water do quite well
also. To date I have successfully kept and bred; A. agassizii, bitaeniata,
caetei, gephyra, pertense and what was sold to me as ortrmanni. None
of these species required peat or chemical additives to induce them
into the act.
Why then do some Apistophiles dabble with Alchemy to get their fish
to breed? Well, why do some folks wash their cars weekly, or chew their
nails constantly? The reason, in most cases, is that they enjoy fiddling
with things. Most salt water enthusiasts can't leave well enough alone
and insist on "playing" with their water chemistry, etc., etc. What
makes Apisto keepers different? Not a thing.
Now, don't get me wrong. There may be an occassional fish that needs
to be coaxed and spoiled and treated with all the TLC you can muster
to get results but overall, don't fix it if it ain't broke.
In an issue of the Apisto-Gram, 7-87, I read that A. nijsseni needed
just such care. I wish that I could refute that but can't. You see,
several years ago, when A. nijsseni came into the Chicago area, I purchased
four immature fish, so I went with two large and two small, figuring
that at least one would be a female. Well, I ended up with four beautiful
males and at $25.00 each, I can tell you that I was very disappointed.
However, I had four gorgeous, healthy males in my tanks. There was absolutely
no sign of distress at all. Would they have bred if a female was present?
It's hard to say, however, they did just that for one area aquarist.
The most important thing to keeping any fish healthy and happy is clean
water, enough good quality food, a secure feeling in the way of rocks
and plants and a comfortable water temperature. If these conditions
are met, most fishes will be willing to reward you with a cloud of fry
hovering about them. Remember, they live in a constant environment in
the wild, barring seasonal changes, and do not have drastic chemical
changes weekly as they can have in a small aquarium.
As I stated before, this has worked for me with the above species and
well over thirty other cichlids. Will it work for you? Try it and see.
Keep it simple and you may be surprised! □