Help Breeding Apistogramma bitaeniata - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2020, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Help Breeding Apistogramma bitaeniata

I've had a pair of wild caught Apistrogramma bitaeniata for about half a year. I'd been hoping they would breed without much effort on my part. While I've seen some courtship and some cave-sharing, they haven't bred yet (as far as I can tell). I've decided to really make a push to breed them. I've never bred or raised fry before and I need some help.

The A. bitaeniata are currently in this set up:

Tank: 20 gallon long
Filter: sponge filter rated to 40 gal (until recently there was an Aqueon HOB on this tank too).
Light: standard Aqueon LED hood (really bad lighting IMO)
Plants: Amazon sword, Anubias sp. (recently added), Amazon Frogbit, Salvinia, duckweed
Decor: a bunch of small sticks, a few pieces of wood from the store, decomposing leaf litter, sand substrate, some seed pods from Tannin aquatics (only one of these is large enough for both fish (sterculia pod)).
Tankmates: 7 Cardinal tetras, 7 X-ray tetras

with these water parameters, (after a ~week without a water change, I do 25-50% water changes weekly),

Temp: 79.5 F
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0, 0, 0 ppm (I have been aggressively changing water recently and maybe underfeeding some)
pH: 7.4-7.6
KH: 3 dH
GH: 4 dH

I have a 10 gallon that's currently set up with shelldwellers. However, I want to convert this into a dedicated breeding set up and fry rearing tank for the A. bitaeniata.

The fish mostly eat flake food, but I have a BBS hatchery and they do get live BBS every once and a while. I feed pretty lightly a few times a day. Sometimes I forget to feed some days.

Here are some things I think I need to do:
  • Move the pair to the 10 gallon. I think the smaller space will help encourage breeding, make it easier for me to notice fry, and make it easier for me if I need to be changing the water more often.
  • Feed more, get some hearty live foods like blackworms.
  • Get more caves/hideouts. The pair is pretty skittish, and I want them to have multiple options for laying sites.

Besides that I don't really know. Do I need to lower the pH and hardness with RO water? Should I change the temperature? Should I have the pair alone in the 10 gallon or should I have dither fish? Should I have different dither fish than I currently have in the 20 gallon? Should I plant the 10 gallon really heavily?

One huge unknown for me is how to raise the fry. It's my understanding that cichlid fry can take BBS as their first food so I don't think I need to culture anything smaller. Besides that I have no idea.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2020, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdrc View Post
I've had a pair of wild caught Apistrogramma bitaeniata for about half a year. I'd been hoping they would breed without much effort on my part. While I've seen some courtship and some cave-sharing, they haven't bred yet (as far as I can tell). I've decided to really make a push to breed them. I've never bred or raised fry before and I need some help.



The A. bitaeniata are currently in this set up:



Tank: 20 gallon long

Filter: sponge filter rated to 40 gal (until recently there was an Aqueon HOB on this tank too).

Light: standard Aqueon LED hood (really bad lighting IMO)

Plants: Amazon sword, Anubias sp. (recently added), Amazon Frogbit, Salvinia, duckweed

Decor: a bunch of small sticks, a few pieces of wood from the store, decomposing leaf litter, sand substrate, some seed pods from Tannin aquatics (only one of these is large enough for both fish (sterculia pod)).

Tankmates: 7 Cardinal tetras, 7 X-ray tetras



with these water parameters, (after a ~week without a water change, I do 25-50% water changes weekly),



Temp: 79.5 F

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0, 0, 0 ppm (I have been aggressively changing water recently and maybe underfeeding some)

pH: 7.4-7.6

KH: 3 dH

GH: 4 dH



I have a 10 gallon that's currently set up with shelldwellers. However, I want to convert this into a dedicated breeding set up and fry rearing tank for the A. bitaeniata.



The fish mostly eat flake food, but I have a BBS hatchery and they do get live BBS every once and a while. I feed pretty lightly a few times a day. Sometimes I forget to feed some days.



Here are some things I think I need to do:


  • Move the pair to the 10 gallon. I think the smaller space will help encourage breeding, make it easier for me to notice fry, and make it easier for me if I need to be changing the water more often.
  • Feed more, get some hearty live foods like blackworms.
  • Get more caves/hideouts. The pair is pretty skittish, and I want them to have multiple options for laying sites.



Besides that I don't really know. Do I need to lower the pH and hardness with RO water? Should I change the temperature? Should I have the pair alone in the 10 gallon or should I have dither fish? Should I have different dither fish than I currently have in the 20 gallon? Should I plant the 10 gallon really heavily?



One huge unknown for me is how to raise the fry. It's my understanding that cichlid fry can take BBS as their first food so I don't think I need to culture anything smaller. Besides that I have no idea.
My apistos are spawning every 2 weeks
My ph is 6.2
Kh near 0
No data on gh

20g long heavily planted

I feed them bloodworms and crisps

A LOT OF NATURAL CAVES

u can see my setup here in this link (
) but im also attaching pictures here

Mares are 12 green fire tetras, 2 cory and 2 plecos....it wasnt my plan for them to breed so this might help you


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2020, 07:14 PM
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I've been out of the cichlid breeding game for many years but I'll share what I knew back then: Keep the pair in the ten gallon (although I would upgrade to a 20 gallon at minimum), no dither fish, raise the temp and bring down the PH and hardness to match their natural habitat and start a live diet regimen. Also try to keep the tank in a quiet location so the breeders don't get nervous from constant human activity.

Save the 10 gallon for raising the fry. Be prepared to lose the first hatch to parent predation (mom & dad sometimes have no idea what to do). Definetly look into some other options to go along with the baby brine shrimp(in my day we also fed infusuria along with other young worms and Daphne.

I had a shared filtration system between the two tanks to maintain similar water parameters and to assist with fry transfer.

Finally, observe and take notes during the entire process. My biggest problem was trying to decide when to remove the fry from their parents. My primary species were angels and discus so I had to wait until they didn't need momma any more for nutrients before moving them. If I waited to long or stuck my face up to the tank too much it was bye bye babies.

Good luck, and read (research) as much as you can since I'm sure a lot of my advice is dated.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2020, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aguila9 View Post
I've been out of the cichlid breeding game for many years but I'll share what I knew back then: Keep the pair in the ten gallon (although I would upgrade to a 20 gallon at minimum), no dither fish, raise the temp and bring down the PH and hardness to match their natural habitat and start a live diet regimen. Also try to keep the tank in a quiet location so the breeders don't get nervous from constant human activity.

Save the 10 gallon for raising the fry. Be prepared to lose the first hatch to parent predation (mom & dad sometimes have no idea what to do). Definetly look into some other options to go along with the baby brine shrimp(in my day we also fed infusuria along with other young worms and Daphne.

I had a shared filtration system between the two tanks to maintain similar water parameters and to assist with fry transfer.

Finally, observe and take notes during the entire process. My biggest problem was trying to decide when to remove the fry from their parents. My primary species were angels and discus so I had to wait until they didn't need momma any more for nutrients before moving them. If I waited to long or stuck my face up to the tank too much it was bye bye babies.

Good luck, and read (research) as much as you can since I'm sure a lot of my advice is dated.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Apistos will raise their kids until a certain point, u will be able to see the fry swimming with mom and thats when u take them out.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 01:49 AM
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My first suggestion is to leave the Apistogramma bitaeniata in the 20 Long. A 10 gallon tank is really too small for these fish. The males of bitaeniata can grow easily to 4" total length. The females can also be very intolerant of their larger mate when they are guarding spawn or fry. In a small tank w/ limited hiding space, the male can be in real danger. The males tend to hide a great deal and usually tolerate non-spawning females without damage. This species is one of the more intolerant of nitrogenous wastes - keep them in larger quarters and change water frequently.

Hiding places/spawning sites are important for any Apistogramma and for this large species, I'd suggest a couple of coconut shells & driftwood pieces, one cluster at each end of the 20L and shells facing away from each other. You want the fish to have a site which is out of the line of sight of the other, preferably with plants or hardscape dividing territorial boundaries. If the male is too aggressive with the female or if you wish to promote breeding, place a small mirror on the end of the tank which the male prefers. This will dilute his aggressive displays, as will use of sand for displacement of aggressive behavior and foraging. Dither fish are not usually necessary and can be a real danger to fry, picking them off one by one. With enough depredation pressure, the female may give up or eat the fry.

Your feeding at present is not going to be conducive to breeding. Richer foods like blackworms, frozen bloodworms & frozen brine shrimp will be welcome and bring them into reproductive condition when fed at least twice daily. Just a few days of heavy feeding will usually encourage the female to develop eggs, turn brilliant yellow and begin to display to the male. Water changes are even more important with heavier feeding. I've had pairs which are not compatible after spawning and those who are tolerant and rear the fry together. If your female is not tolerating the male and there is physical damage, remove the male & let her rear the fry.

Other than that, just be patient and leave them alone to populate your tank. It will be necessary to feed the fry daily with newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii which the fry of bitaeniata can take from day one. Microworms are also a good first food but are not as nutritious. A few sunken pellets, gel food pieces or finely crumbled flake food will be picked at by the fry and their parents. Keep quantities small so as to avoid overfeeding issues. Removing the eggs for incubation & rearing is possible - rearing them as angelfish are reared. The mother Apisto does a far better job though.😊

Good luck with this gorgeous species.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdrc View Post
I've had a pair of wild caught Apistrogramma bitaeniata for about half a year. I'd been hoping they would breed without much effort on my part. While I've seen some courtship and some cave-sharing, they haven't bred yet (as far as I can tell). I've decided to really make a push to breed them. I've never bred or raised fry before and I need some help.



The A. bitaeniata are currently in this set up:



Tank: 20 gallon long

Filter: sponge filter rated to 40 gal (until recently there was an Aqueon HOB on this tank too).

Light: standard Aqueon LED hood (really bad lighting IMO)

Plants: Amazon sword, Anubias sp. (recently added), Amazon Frogbit, Salvinia, duckweed

Decor: a bunch of small sticks, a few pieces of wood from the store, decomposing leaf litter, sand substrate, some seed pods from Tannin aquatics (only one of these is large enough for both fish (sterculia pod)).

Tankmates: 7 Cardinal tetras, 7 X-ray tetras



with these water parameters, (after a ~week without a water change, I do 25-50% water changes weekly),



Temp: 79.5 F

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0, 0, 0 ppm (I have been aggressively changing water recently and maybe underfeeding some)

pH: 7.4-7.6

KH: 3 dH

GH: 4 dH



I have a 10 gallon that's currently set up with shelldwellers. However, I want to convert this into a dedicated breeding set up and fry rearing tank for the A. bitaeniata.



The fish mostly eat flake food, but I have a BBS hatchery and they do get live BBS every once and a while. I feed pretty lightly a few times a day. Sometimes I forget to feed some days.



Here are some things I think I need to do:


  • Move the pair to the 10 gallon. I think the smaller space will help encourage breeding, make it easier for me to notice fry, and make it easier for me if I need to be changing the water more often.
  • Feed more, get some hearty live foods like blackworms.
  • Get more caves/hideouts. The pair is pretty skittish, and I want them to have multiple options for laying sites.



Besides that I don't really know. Do I need to lower the pH and hardness with RO water? Should I change the temperature? Should I have the pair alone in the 10 gallon or should I have dither fish? Should I have different dither fish than I currently have in the 20 gallon? Should I plant the 10 gallon really heavily?



One huge unknown for me is how to raise the fry. It's my understanding that cichlid fry can take BBS as their first food so I don't think I need to culture anything smaller. Besides that I have no idea.
I would raise the temp to around 82-83

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

Now that I think about it. I think the female did develop eggs at one point a while ago. She became EXTREMELY yellow with some black facial markings and became quite aggressive with the tetras. I never saw any fry though. I might've been feeding live blackworms at that time. I think I'll try that again.

Based on what everyone said, and what I've read elsewhere on the internet. I'm going to,
  • Move the X-Ray tetras to the 10 gallon. I would like to move the Cardinal tetras too, but I think that would end up overcrowding the 10 gallon. What do you think? The cardinal tetras are much slower and more passive than the X-ray tetras, I think they're less of a threat to fry for sure.
  • Get 2-3 more caves for the 20 gallon long and keep the A. bitaeniata in the 20 long.
  • Feed live blackworms and frozen bloodworms heavily for a few days.

Hopefully, that'll be enough. If not I'll try lowering the hardness and pH with RO water and/or raising the temperature.

I've been thinking of getting a couple otos for the 20 gallon. Is this a bad idea, will they eat fry or eggs? The sword plants in the tank are doing OK, but the older leaves become quite choked with algae and detritus.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdrc View Post
Thanks for the replies.



Now that I think about it. I think the female did develop eggs at one point a while ago. She became EXTREMELY yellow with some black facial markings and became quite aggressive with the tetras. I never saw any fry though. I might've been feeding live blackworms at that time. I think I'll try that again.



Based on what everyone said, and what I've read elsewhere on the internet. I'm going to,
  • Move the X-Ray tetras to the 10 gallon. I would like to move the Cardinal tetras too, but I think that would end up overcrowding the 10 gallon. What do you think? The cardinal tetras are much slower and more passive than the X-ray tetras, I think they're less of a threat to fry for sure.
  • Get 2-3 more caves for the 20 gallon long and keep the A. bitaeniata in the 20 long.
  • Feed live blackworms and frozen bloodworms heavily for a few days.



Hopefully, that'll be enough. If not I'll try lowering the hardness and pH with RO water and/or raising the temperature.



I've been thinking of getting a couple otos for the 20 gallon. Is this a bad idea, will they eat fry or eggs? The sword plants in the tank are doing OK, but the older leaves become quite choked with algae and detritus.
As you can see in the video i posted, i keep the couple with green fires, maybe the more peaceful tetras wont be an issue

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by victorusaconte View Post
As you can see in the video i posted, i keep the couple with green fires, maybe the more peaceful tetras wont be an issue

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Unless u wanna keep the fry, then u need to have a breeder tank only with the couple

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