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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I have a 100 litre (90cm x 30 cm footprint) low tech planted aquarium with 6 rosy barbs. It's a well established tank with sand substrate driftwood, loads of moss, anubias, an african crinum and java ferns. The fish and plants have changed over the years but it's been kept running without any breaks for 11 or so years.

I know the barbs might eventually outgrow the tank and I have an empty 120cm long 240 litre aquarium that could be set up for them in future if they do, but they are currently only about 1 inch to 1.25 inches long and don't seem to grow very fast (due to cooler water temps perhaps?).

My question is can I keep a pair of apistogramma borellii in the tank with the barbs, at least for a while until the barbs outgrow the tank? Would the barbs be too nippy for the cichlids? Or would the cichlids be too aggressive should they spawn?

I was thinking of borellii in particular because they also seem to be subtropical and can live comfortably in cooler temperatures (currently the tank is unheated and is around 20 - 22C although it gets a lot warmer in summer).

Is this a bad idea or could it work?
 

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I haven't kept borelli, but my cacatuoides were generally pretty civil with the community fish as long as no one tried to get close to a nest, and even then it was mostly just a charge to startle off the intruder. They can hold their own though, up to and including against young adult angelfish.

I think it's mostly going to come down to fish personality, but you're probably ok. Most likely there will be a little jousting as they figure out who's who, but they should settle down after a few days. Just be prepared to set up the second tank if it's not panning out. Even if they aren't killing each other, you will want to keep an eye on whether they are stressing each other out too much, particularly as the barbs grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I haven't kept borelli, but my cacatuoides were generally pretty civil with the community fish as long as no one tried to get close to a nest, and even then it was mostly just a charge to startle off the intruder. They can hold their own though, up to and including against young adult angelfish.

I think it's mostly going to come down to fish personality, but you're probably ok. Most likely there will be a little jousting as they figure out who's who, but they should settle down after a few days. Just be prepared to set up the second tank if it's not panning out. Even if they aren't killing each other, you will want to keep an eye on whether they are stressing each other out too much, particularly as the barbs grow.
Thanks for the input 😁

I'm a little wary as I've never kept SA cichlids before, only Kribensis (and they were fine in a community tank until they bred - then were quite aggressive, although mostly beat the cr*p out of each other not the other fish).

I probably won't be able to get the A. borellii for a while anyway as they've sold out of them at my lfs, though he said he might get them in again in a month or so, so we'll see. If it's not possible to get them, then maybe another apisto species?
 

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Cacautoides are probably the most readily available apistogramma species, and are bred in quite a few attractive color morphs. They are a tad smaller than a krib, similar behavior though in a community tank (I've kept both, as well as Bolivian and German rams, which are somewhat less agressive but pickier about water parameters).
 
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