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Re: tank bred vs. wild (was inbreeding) spawning

Comments on posts that I generated a few weeks ago, about my a. viejita 
spawning failure--thanks, Bob and Gary, for the comments. I kept an eye on 
the eggs that I had pulled and left to remain, isolated, in the tank. They 
did fungus. So I checked water conditions. Although I sporadically check 
water conditions on different tanks at various times, and all were running at 
about 60 ppm hardness (my water becomes quite soft in the winter on its own), 
this particular tank was at a whopping 120 ppm, for some inexplicable reason. 
I couldn't figure out why, (decomposing snail shells?) and rather than dig 
out the old r.o., I changed water using distilled. It made little difference. 
I ordered an AP TWP, and in the meantime, scrounged up a water softener 
pillow I had laying around. It took less than 12 hours to drop the tank to 
about 20 ppm (this was not intentional). I placed a terra cotta pot which 
they'd ignored earlier, back closer to where they had been spawning of their 
own choice. She laid the eggs on the outside of the pot, I noticed maybe 20 
eggs. Dad was on good behavior, and both appeared to be attempting to do 
their job. I kept a nightlight (about 7-1/2 watts, just enough to dimly light 
the area) at night. Today I awoke to find all eggs gone again. I have a few 
choices. Do I move the happy couple to a fishless & snailless tank?  They 
were basically raised in this tank and feel quite comfortable here. I don't 
know how they react after being moved. Would I do better to attempt to catch 
the killies and snails and leave the viejita's in place? I'm down to my last 
couple, so it's do or die. My options are a 10 gallon tank, currently empty 
and virtually snail-less, with a sand substrate and lots of plants, or a 20 
gallon which sits under the 29 gal they are currently in, with snails & 
plants, and a few slow-moving fish which can be removed. Any suggestions on 



Bob wrote:

> The conditions necessary to get fish to spawn are not as stringent as the 
>  conditions necessary to get them to brood-care.  Also, the cardinals and 
>  killies are bullet-shaped for a reason.  The cardinals especially are 
> willing 
>  to take a hit or two in exchange for a tasty egg snack or free-ranging 
>  I get proper care from my cacatuoides that have probably been 
>  for at least twelve or more generations, including a couple consecutive 
>  generations that I hatched out separate from the parents.
and Gary wrote:

> I think there are a couple of issues operating here, and it is hard to 
> comment
>  without more information. I'll give a couple of examples.
>  With veijita in tapwater of 140ppm, clutches ran at about 10 to 20 fry at 
>  place. Once I softened that to 50-60ppm, I got up to about 50 fry. I've 
> the
>  same general pattern with other species, whatever their origin. Veijita is 
>  softwater apisto.
>  In tanks that are too small, a charged up fighting male often won't calm 
> down
>  without harming the female. I've always seen a "reverse trio" as a recipe 
> for
>  disaster in anything smaller than a four foot tank. You can keep a big 
>  together, or a group with one male. In between usually goes wrong for me.
>  Water quality can affect things too, even beyond pH and hardness. If your 
> female
>  were eating the eggs from hunger, then feeding close to the eggs might be 
> plan.
>  However, the reason for eating the eggs isn't old-fashioned recreational
>  cannibalism.
>  They eat eggs from generalized stress, if the eggs are decaying or 
> unfertilized,
>  or if they can't hold their territory. Putting food close to the eggs would
>  create conditions two and three.
>  Causes for egg loss you might want to investigate before looking at the 
> vs
>  tank-raised debate are polluted tankwater-overfeeding, snails, no light at 
> night
>  (I increase viable clutches radically with a cheap little night-light on 
>  shelf beside the tank - cichlids defend visually), water hardness, 
> temperature or
>  fish-predators.
>  In my experience, the key to apisto breeding is to keep your fish alive 
> until you
>  figure out how to stop making mistakes in your set up. There are few things
>  easier to do than to mess up a perfectly functional breeding pair of 

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