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Thanks! I could only find the bare minimum on google, I was looking in case anyone has had the chance to work with them before. Here’s the 125 they’re going into. There are some angels and Cacatuoides but I’ll remove anything that becomes a problem for the newbies. I don’t foresee any issues though. May add some pottery but don’t want to detract from the natural look. I only used 1/4th of my almond leaves, may add twice this amount since there are shrimp in there too. I dont expect the shrimp to last forever
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It looks good, and will be even better when the plants grow more. I would consider adding more wood to provide more structure at the higher parts of the tank. Make plenty of natural caves and crevices rather than adding pottery, and maybe add some floating plants?. Something like this one of mine that I would put Ivanacara in if I could get them...

On that subject, a while back my local fish shop owner told me he might be able to get Ivanacara bimaculata, and, like you, I tried to do some research on them and found very little, except that they are very rare in the hobby, come from a remote location in Guayana and are practically impossible to get unless someone goes there to collect them. At this point I became dubious and asked the guy again, he said they were coming from Indonesia! And conceded they might have been I. adoketa after all, but in any case it was too late to order them as they had sold out. All very strange! Here is the tank I would have put them in, and it normally has more leaf litter, need to get some more...

Natural environment Branch Wood Plant Natural landscape
 

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In that tank at the moment I just have some Copella and a few Otocinclus. I started with 6 Copella but now there are more than 20! I have been waiting for some interesting dwarf cichlids to become available, but here (in Ecuador, surprisingly maybe), they are very rarely available, just keeping my eyes open until something interesting turns up. I have other tanks with bigger cichlids.

Regarding the almond leaves and wood, I have never had a problem with them, even though I have soft water with low KH, the pH doesn't seem to drop below 6.6-6.8. Perhaps because I do regular weekly water changes (tap water is 6.8). Without the water changes maybe the pH would gradually decrease, but that would probably not be a problem for your fish.
 

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i love your tank! I’m sure I’ll lose most of the shrimp but it’s for the good of the colony :devilish:

Thank you for your feedback, I will definitely be looking to get mine looking more like yours. What do you keep in there? It looks like a slice off a riverbank!
I just added some water lettuce, hopefully that brings more natural vibes. I want to avoid pottery after seeing your example. Looks like I need some more wood! Does the decaying organic matter on your substrate affect your parameters? I’ve been wondering if itaffects our tanks like overfeeding, it was the main reason I held off on adding more almond leaves. It looks so nice and natural
Just realised you are probably referring to nitrates rather than pH. Well in this tank I can barely register nitrates, the seachem test comes out the palest pink there is (0- 0.1). Low stocking, and water lettuce soaks them up. Never have any ammonia or nitrates.

Also I was wondering where you are in the world? When I was investigating this species before I remember that someone in Sweden had some and was breeding them…

Also if you do keep them in the community tank, though obviously not ideal, it is still possible to rear some fry if you take some out when they are free swimming and rear them separately. I have done this with Laetacara. Good luck anyway!
 

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Interesting, and very hopeful that they are the correct fish!

I only found these, not much information here but you might be able to contact him.

 

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I am not sure as there is so little information about them, but I would not be surprised if they need very soft, low pH water to breed successfully (for the eggs to be fertile and not attacked by fungus), even if the adults can survive OK in slightly harder water. You might find you eventually have aggression issues with the cacatuoides anyway.
 

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I think you are doing everything right, but I am not very experienced at this, I do have very soft water with almost no KH, but the pH out of the tap is about 6.8. I have always added almond leaves to some tanks but the pH has never dropped significantly despite the low KH, probably as I do regular water changes. That said I have never put 70 leaves in at once, that might make a difference.
 

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Do you think almond leaves would be more effective in RODI water? In an apistogramma forum I’m being told I need RODI for the Bimaculata and I’m not fully understanding why low TDS is needed for some soft waters while it isn’t really suggested for others, such as my cacatuoides. I’ve got the RODI unit for my reef tank so I’ve been doing RODI as about 70% of my WC make-up
Probably, I have not measured the TDS or conductivity of my water and never used RO water as my water is so soft. It is the true blackwater species that need this sort of water with very low pH, conductivity and TDS. I think one reason is the very low bacterial count of this type of water, fishes have not evolved immunity to infections they never encounter. A. Cacatuoides is not a blackwater fish and is found in a range of different water conditions.
 

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Hmm yes, a male breeding tube should be much smaller, thinner and pointed. I believe Epsom salts can be used to treat an anal prolapse but I have never experienced this and have no idea of the dosage or how to go about treating it. Hopefully someone else can help
 
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