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Apisto Aggression question

8414 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  DCguy
I have a 55 Gallon tank, on one end I have made a large rock cave with river rocks, in the middle are two large pieces of driftwood (20-22 inches each) and on the other end of the tank is another large rock cave made from river rocks. The tank is planted, but not very heavily.

I have a pair of Apistogramma cacatuoides triple red and a pair of Apistogramma agassizii blue tail. The problem is the Triple Red is the dominant male, for a good part of two weeks he claimed the tank as his and pushed the Blue Tail back into the other rock cave. Well I come home tonight and my blue tail is near the top of the tank with his female not that far behind, apparently the triple red has claimed the entire tank and isn't even letting the blue tail female have much room.

What are my options here? I thought about either making it a heavily planted tank or getting rid of the Blue tail pair.

Any other thoughts?
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Unfortunately that's just how it is somtimes, I would add a lot of plants and other items to break line of sight, if the dominant male can't see the others he won't bother with them.
Yeah, thanks Dirty, I'll pick up a nice selection of plants on Saturday to turn it into a heavily planted tank.

I have recieved advice from experienced apisto breeders that it is often not a good idea to keep different species of apistos that have a similar body shape together.

I would consider agassizii and cacatuoides to have a similar bady shape.

And don't let thier size fool you. I had a large community tank with multiple pairs of agassizii (2 trios), geos, keyholes and dwarf flag cichlids, and the smallest cichlids in the tank, the female agassizii, were the most aggressive fish in the tank. The males just showed aggression towards each other.
you can also take a look at the caves. Often times, as aquarists, we set up a cave or a structure, and think that our fish will love it. So, if we have two pairs, we set up 2 caves and call the job done. The fish swim by and go, thats not a cave, I would never live there!

You need to give them a lot of options, and make sure that they are spread out over the tank. Another good thing is to break up the line of sight with driftwood, plants, or rock piles so that they cannot see each other all the time.

In a dwarf south american tank, the easiest thing to do is just plant the heck out of the tank. It gives them hiding places under and around leaves, breaks up the line of sight, and they have to swim around it, so they dont go darting from one end of the tank to the other.

I will also say that dwarf cichlid aggression drops dramatically in different species, so if you have pairs of different shaped fish, then they likely wont bother each other, its when they are similarly shaped that they get all worked up.
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I've tried Apisto Comunities several times and have found that a 4' tank just isn't enough space to keep more than one male ocntent... but a 6' tank is a different story...

Best of luck...
Thanks guys, I'll plant the heck out of it and see how that works, if not then I'll sell off one pair. Beautiful fish, so I hope the heavily planted bit will work out. But I do think it will, I say this because after observing their behavior if my dominant Triple Red can't see the Blue Tail male or female he leaves them alone and they just swim around in their own space.

That and I think the rest of my tank will enjoy a heavily planted tank. While I'm on that has anyone tried keeping cory cats and yoyo loaches together? I have a small school (5) of corys and wanted to try to add a small school of yoyo loaches.
Most loaches are pretty good at keeping to themselves and not bothering anyone... Check the max size of the yoyo's though as some loach species (clown loach) can get pretty large...
Yeah YoYo's max out at 6 much as I'd love Clown's I wouldn't be able to house them. Of course I have a LFS that will take back any of my fish so I could get clowns then just sell them back to him for store credit when they outgrow my tank.
you could add some dithers, that might take care of the agression problem. If it was my tank I would try it in the hopes it would work so I could keep all of the cichlids, but thats just me.
Sorry newb question...what are dithers? Never heard that species.

And yes, I want to keep both pairs as they're both beautiful fish. Even the females have color to them and have decently colored tails.
dithers are schools of fish that are basically only there for the cichlids to chase and release agression. You could use tetras, barbs, danios, or basically any small schooling fish. In my experience, and many others as well, they work wonders for keeping fish from fighting as often.
I have two schools of tetra in the tank already and the Apisto's just ignore em :/
oh well, I figured it would be a good suggestion.
Metalhead is confusing dither and target fish ... although dithers can be used as target fish too (the aggression spreading thing) that is not a dither's primary purpose. Dithers are schooling fish used to draw out shy cichlids. Basically the smart cichlids peek out and see the schooling fish out in the open and think "no preditors out there, must be safe to come out cuase those dumb tetras are happily swimming about."
So what would be considered a target fish? Some male guppys?
dithers and targets are the same thing as far as i'm concerned.
Target fish are rarely needed with most apistos ... the term is usually used for extra cichlids when breeding larger species that don't have a strong pair bond ... ie if you force pair a pair of convicts instead of getting 6 and letting them pick their own mates, it's good to throw in another cichlid (preferly on the other side of a see through divider) so the convict pair can vent their aggression at the target instead of themselves ... hence the name.
So basically if the heavily planted tank doesn't work then the Blue Tails have to go...


Well I'm going to plant the heck outta that tank this weekend! No line of sight for the Triple Red!
Well, I found some nice target fish, however my blue tail is still too skittish to come down from the top of the tank. About how long should I wait to see if he starts to feel comfortable again to come down from the top?

I feel bad for the little guy, his fins are all clamped up and what not, not healthy for him to be living the way he is, but I planted my entire tank and added some other fish for my dominant triple red to chase around. Hoping he decides to come down soonish.
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