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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After having some tank issues, I think I am ready to start planning a SA community tank. Been doing lots of reading, and learned lots; GREAT SITE.

Had a Blue Ram, and still have Bolivain, love both, was thinking about pairs of each but maybe not, as it seems GBR may not be good choice for community given water requirements...

SO now I am thinking a couple of pairs of the following....

Mikrogeophagus altispinosus (Bolivian)

Apistogramma borellii (Banded Dwarf)
Apistogramma cacatuoides (Cockatoo)
Apistogramma agassizii

Laetacara curviceps (Dwarf Flag)
Laetacara dorsigera (Redbreast)

with dithers maybe a few
Tetra (cardinals, Black phantom...)
Red Pencil (really cool)
and a
Clown Pleco

as I understand it's not good to mix species due to Conspecific Temperament, although it is possible in large tanks.

Does that mean any 2 apisto's, or any 2 of the same 'complex'?

Would 2 different Laetacara work?

I know 3 pair may be too much for 20 Gal, but I have seen as many as 6 4" Africans in a 10G, maybe it was luck... BTW I plan to had several territory markers, caves, small pots, driftwood, maybe some Texas Holey Rock.....

What do you guys think?

· Registered
2,883 Posts
Even two pair would be too much if it's a 20 gallon high, it's pushing it even in a twenty gallon long. South americans don't respond well to the overcrowding to reduce aggression that africans do. They want/need their space and will get violent, even these little dwarves.

Is it a 20 long? If so can try a pair of GBR and apistos or laetacara and apistos ... the bolivans I'd only do the pair given their larger size.

A 20 high (ie standard 20) I'd stick to either a single pair of laetacara or microgeophagus or a trio of apistos or nannacara. Can do the dithers and oto's/clown plecos with any of them, in fact the dithers would deffinately be recommended.

· Registered
2,384 Posts
I agree with a lot of what dwarfpike has said.

It's accepted wisdom from the more experienced apisto keepers not to mix different species with similar body shapes.

I would also be very hesitant in mixing a pair of curviceps and a pair of dosigerus in the one tank. From my experience, Laetacara species have very strong pair bonds, but if you bought an unpaired male and female of each species and put them in the same tank, you are just as likely to end up with two curvceps/dorsigerus pairings. I have a six foot with two breeding pairs of curviceps in it, and there is enough aggression between the two pairs, that I would hate to see them in even a 20 gallon long.

I am being transfered for work soon, and once I have moved and setup my new house I'll be setting up three 50 gallon, 3 foot by 18 inches by 18 inches, dwarf SA community tanks. These tanks have been a while in the planning, and I was due to start setting them up this weekend, but was told this week about my impending transfer, so I decided to hold off.

Tank 1
1 pair Laetacara curviceps - Dwarf Flag cichlid
1 trio Apistogramma agassizii sp. rio tefe
9 Carnegiella strigata strigata - Marbled hatchetfish
12 Nannostomus marginatus - Dwarf pencilfish
7 Corydoras julii
5 otocinclus

Tank 2
1 pair Laetacara dorsigerus - Red breasted dwarf acara
1 trio Apistogramma borelii sp. paraguay
12 Aphyocharax rathbuni - Green Fire tetra
9 Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi - Black Neon tetra
12 Corydoras hastatus - dwarf corydoras
5 otocinclus

Tank 3
1 Trio Apistogramma iniridae
1 Pair Dicrosus filamentosus - Checkerboard cichlid
12 Paracheirodon simulans - Green neon tetra
9 Hemigrammus rhodostomus - Rummy-nose tetra
3 L104 Panaque maccus - Clown pleco
5 Otocinclus
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