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Simple Apistos
by Alan DeAngelo
used with permission of the Apistogramma Study Group

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.

Photograph Nature Organism Yellow Fin

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.

Water Fin Organism Fish Adaptation

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!
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