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Taenicara candidi
by Don 'Z-Man' Zilliox

Taenicara candidi Myers, 1935 is the single representative of its genus and grows to only about 2 inches SL with the lanceolate caudal fin adding another ¾ inch. The tips of the ventral fins are also long and flowing making this species very slender and delicate. I always thought it was a beautiful fish but never acquired any as they were so expensive and I heard very difficult to maintain much less get to breed. Thanks to the Internet I came in contact with David Sanchez who was interested in some Apistogramma sp. "Rio Mamore" I had for sale or trade. Well anyway, we swapped and I received two young pair of Candidi.

Using his instructions, I set up a 20-gallon long tank with RO at TDS of 40ppm and added 5-3" clay flowerpots, Java moss and Killie type yarn mops. I also had no pH meter so I put a handful on common garden peat moss in a 7-gallon pail and filled it with RO water. I used about 5 gallons of that water to the tank, which gave it that light tea color and lowered the pH to about 5.5 and the temperature was a constant 78 degrees. During the first few weeks I did notice a lot of chasing so I also put in small groups of those PENN-PLAX Lok-Rocks but set them on their sides so the fish could not see very far along the tank. To my surprise, I saw some cream colored eggs pasted inside one of the indented sections but still left both pair in the tank thinking my water qualities were not ideal for a viable spawn. That's how much I really know about fish, as I soon had about 20 fry swimming around and finally I removed all but the caring female. The reverse trio was put in another 20-gallon tank and sure enough I then ended up losing one of the males. At least I had my fry. The adults were always fed live baby brine shrimp and the fry took it readily upon free swimming.

Now fast-forward to the ACA Convention in Detroit where there was 2 pair of these fish in a tank in a Chinese auction for Sunday. Being the frugal guy I am, I sprung for $10 worth of tickets. Big spender, me! I had seen other Candidi in a local store for $50 a pair! Along came Saturday and Phil Ryti was at the raffle table and called me some sort of a cheapskate until I purchased at least another $10 worth. Well, guess which ticket was drawn on Sunday? One of those he sold me the day before! So this convention was successful for me if only for these fish.

Reaching home I set up my 30 breeder similar to the first tank and introduced these 4 along with the other 3 from before. I at least had the fry going so I had nothing to loose. To my amazement, they all lived very happily together and within a few weeks I had more fry swimming but then the trouble began. The fry were doing OK but all the adults were always fighting over them. Lots of damaged fins but no deaths still I became very uneasy and added more handfuls of Java moss. Six months passed and I sold some pairs but did not see many more new fry. I assumed it was getting a bit crowded. I have no gravel and only bubble-up filters so I broke down the tank completely AND found more eggs. This time I removed the Lok-Rocks with the eggs and the female to their own 5-gallon tank and have done this now three more times with a lot of success with only a few non-hatched spawns. It seems that if the females are not fighting off intruders, she has more time to care for the eggs and subsequent fry. On one occasion I removed the female after 2 weeks which I found to be too early to let the tiny fry fend for themselves and more died in that tank than in the tanks where I left the mother in for over a month.

Here is a case where a larger tank is necessary, unlike a lot of the Apistos which are considerably larger and can easily be bred in tanks as small as 5-gallon. Still I like a 10 or 15-gallon when I have one available for them but would think that a 33-long would be ideal for the T. candidi. It seems the Candidi males need their space when not interested in breeding and any nearby males come under attack. Give them plenty of room and you should have no problems.
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