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)
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.