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I stand corrected

Last night as I was on my way to bed, I spotted a female A. cacatuoides 
guarding a clutch of about 60 eggs- on TOP of the suction cup of a 
submersible heater.  There were no cave structures, as this is a grow-out 
tank.  She was only 5 months old.  Dave Sanchez stated a few months ago that 
his Apistos reached sexual maturity in 4 months, and I said 7 was more like 

Well, now mine are spawning at 5, so I was wrong, and perhaps 4 months is 
feasible under ideal conditions.  It should be noted that in the five months 
since they hatched, they were moved once from a ten gallon to a twenty that 
had been freshly set up with new water just for this purpose, and again last 
month from the twenty to a thirty, again with fresh water.  They also 
received 10% daily changes for the first three weeks, and every other day for 
a month after that, before they went to the twenty-gallon.  Then the routine 
10% weekly.  I would guess that overall, nitrate and DOC levels have been 
kept fairly low.  Food for the last week has been earthworm flakes in the 
morning, and a mix of Tetraminh and frozen brine in the evening.  From 
hatchout to five days old, they were not fed, as the spawning tank was heavy 
with algae.  From five days until four months, they received de-cap almost 

I couldn't see any males guarding the perimeter.  Typical teenage boys.  
Hit-and-run.  Also, none of the males in the tank have their extended dorsal 
rays yet, though I moved one along with a largish female a week ago into a 
ten by themselves.  Today I see her dancing for him, and trying to coax him 
into a cave of her choice, but he's not biting just yet.

I haven't been softening the water in these tanks, because it seemed too 
early to worry about it.  Cacatuoides are reputed to accept harder water than 
most Apistos, but mine never have before.  This female and "probably" a mate 
did the did at GH 5, KH5, and pH 7.6.  This is certainly in the normal range 
for the species, but mine are many generations from wild, and have always 
spawned more willingly when peat is added to the water.

I have a high female/male ratio in this batch of "triple reds".  If anyone 
would like to send a few males about the same age in exchange for a few 
females, email me off-list.

Bob Dixon

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