by Don Kinyon
For the longest time there were stories and magazine articles about the Apistogramma pandurini from somewhere in or around Peru. The ACA even had a small article in its journal about the fish. All the pictures I was able to find, including the ones in the article, showed a washed-out tattered specimen that, other than for curiosity, wouldn’t make you want the fish in your tanks.
Until I had a chance to see the live fish in a setting that was comfortable for them, they held little attraction.
I was able to get access to a group of young fish, a greater portion of them males, and housed them in a fifty-gallon breeder tank. After a couple of weeks, when the fish were at home, I picked out my pair for breeding and housed them in a fifteen-gallon of their own and slowly changed over their water to all rain water, while the remaining fish were in a little harder water with a pH of 7.6. The pair was fed on mostly live and frozen foods, along with some freeze-dried and dry prepared foods. In about a week, the fish spawned; not the breeders in the fifteen-gallon, but a pair that was still in the fifty breeder. These fish had been fed some live and frozen foods, but much more dry and freeze-dried.
Because of the large number of fish in the fifty, many of them Corydoras species, it was too much of a gamble to let the parent fish raise the brood. The flower pot with the eggs was placed into a one gallon bowl filled with water from the breeding tank and a little acriflavin to keep the fungus down. Then slowly over the next week, I replaced the water with rainwater. In two days at 77F, the eggs hatched, and in seven more the young were swimming on their own.
The fry ate freshly hatched brine shrimp as a first food, along with vinegar eels and microworms. Half the water in the small tank was replaced every day to keep the tank fresh. In a little over a week, the young were moved to a seven gallon tank with the same water, fed on the same small live foods until they were five weeks old. I was able to cut down the water changes to every second day. By this time, the young fish were 3/8" long and had to once again be moved.
I split the young into a ten-gallon and a twenty-long tank. The fry numbered about fifty, so they were still a little crowded, but responded well to the extra room. I started feeding them the same foods as the adult fish: assorted chopped worms, frozen adult brine shrimp, and prepared dry foods. They ate heartily and grew well with twice-weekly water changes, and at two months the bigger fish were over one half inch.
As much press as these fish get, I think they will catch on in the hobby in a big way. I hope so.
This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 30, # 2-3