It is amazing what a few black worms will do to cure apisto shyness. This video is of some Apistogramma. sp. ‘Melgar’ that took two days to lose their fear of the camera… but it required liberal quantities of worms to do it. This has to be one of the most under-appreciated dwarf cichlids from Peru. I think it is beautiful, especially the huge females. Here is a picture:
I love to feed fish. I think that we all do. I especially like it when the fish I am feeding are aggressive on the food, and the best food for that is live black worms. Here is a video of several of my dwarf cichlids I have set up in spawning tanks getting a treat. I feed black worms a couple times each week to the fish that can handle them. You will see some Congochromis sabinae and some Nanochromis splendens getting some worms, but those fish only get them every other week or so: and even then they do not get many. The apistos can handle the worms though, and in the immortal words of the incomparable Charley Grimes, ‘Nothing like worms to eggs in a belly.’
The tanks are all 10-gallon set up for breeding. All the structure is in the back, away from the light. The spawning site that I hope the fish use is visible from the front. I use yarn mops in dwarf cichlid tanks for a couple reasons. A fish being picked on can hide very well buried in a mop, and when that mop is mature it will be loaded with infusoria for the fry to eat. I also use wood, magnolia leaves and live plants (potted crypts and free-floating java moss) for structure. The filter is in the back corner, which makes it another place a fish can find refuge under. There is only a little sand on the bottom. Lighting is very dim (which is why some of the video resolution sucks). The magnolia leaves add tannin, but sometimes they make the water cloudy, which you will see in a couple tanks. After a week and a few water changes, however, the tank will clear. I also use alder cones, which add some antiseptic chemicals to the water.
The tanks all start with two pairs or two trios. After a few weeks I will remove any fish that are obviously not handling aggression. By the time fry start to appear, most tanks have a pair or a trio. There is a tank in the video with some A. kelleri, which cannot stay in a 10-gallon tank forever. This is one of the mouthbrooding species, and it gets BIG.
Here is a video showing two Apistogramma species from the most recent order from Peru. I set these fish up in the photo tank and decided to get some video as well.
Apistogramma bitaeniata ‘Rio Tigre’ is one of the prettiest forms of this species I have seen. I really like the black, white and yellow markings. Just after I put them into the photo tank a couple males really lit up, but by the time I had the video camera in my hand they stopped. Here is a still pic though:
The second species in the video is a bit of a mystery. It was shipped as A. payaminonus (a holy grail species), but that is not what was sent. I think that they are one of the cruzi-group fish that comes from the same area, possibly A. playayacu. It is a pretty fish though. Notice in the pictures and video how bent and skinny the larger fish are. This is sue to malnutrition, and can happen rapidly, especially in older fish. But the condition is usually reversible with plenty of food and good water quality. I generally stay away from buying these larger specimens, however, and choose younger fish when I can. Here are some still pics of a young male, an old male and a female:
Here is a video on a subject that I have been wanting to show you for a while…. unpacking a large order of fish. A lot of planning goes into getting a new order of fish into the fish room, especially am import from out of the country. In this case, 30 boxes from Peru!!!
This video shows a pair of Apistogramma defending their spawning site from their own reflections in a mirror. I use ‘mirror therapy’ to keep cichlid pairs bonded, especially pairs that I do not have extra fish of the same species for. I am convinced that an individual in a pair kept in a tank without tank mates has the potential to go nuts and start seeing its mate as a threat. I usually keep extra fish in with the pair as targets, but it that is not possible a session with the mirror once a week seems to reset their bond.
Here is a video of a recent aquarium makeover I did. The tanks are two 350-gallon monsters set side by side so that they look like one long 700-gallon tank. These aquariums have been running for several years, and were not very well maintained. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), the previous keeper was unable (or unwilling) to keep the filters clean, and the owners went looking for someone else to do the job. I apologize for the iPhone video. I did not think about documenting the project when I started, and the phone was all I had with me when I realized I should probably make a blog video.
Summer is coming to an end, and I am now back to getting in some fish. Watch the blog for some video posts about what I have been doing all summer. Here is a link to the current stock list. Jump on these fish early, especially the wild fish from Peru. I do not have many and when they are gone they are gone until next year.
I visited the COAST aquarium club in southern California a few weeks ago, and one of our tour stops was Dr. Anthony Mazeroll’s fish room. Dr. Mazeroll is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Soka University of America. His work on wild fish genetics and environmental impact of humans takes him all over the world. His fish interests are just as broad. He has a huge DIY aquarium in his living room that is full of Lake Tanganyika cichlids. His fish room has a fish diversity from fancy bettas to wild discus. Dr. Mazeroll is a man truly dedicated to tropical fish, both professionally and as a hobby. Enjoy….
Here is a glimpse of the fishroom and homestead of my good friends the Bireley’s. Rich has a love of large tanks and the monster fish that go into them. Most serious hobbyists have one or two large tanks, maybe up to a 220 gallon (my largest is only 110!). Rich has several large aquariums, and some even larger vessels for holding fish. At one point in the video, Rich explains that the fish he is talking about needs a larger tank… the 180 it is in just will not do! You will also meet Anjoli, Rich and Laura’s daughter, who loves her big fish as much as her dad does. Great family. Great fish room. Enjoy….