by Don Kinyon
Taeniacara candidi is a particularly attractive dwarf cichlid from the central and lower Rio Negro, central Amazon, and upper Rio Branco. They are somewhat slimmer than most of the Apistogramma species. Adult males can reach about two and three-quarter inches, the females under two. The males have a large spade-shaped tail with an extended tip in the center, elongated ventrals, and a jet-black stripe that runs from in front of the eye to the tail. The caudal, anal, and ventral fins can have shades of blue, yellow, red and brown. There is no way to do justice to this fish in print; it will have to suffice to say the fish is beautiful. The female, though lacking the fin extensions and much of the color, is still an attractive fish herself.
I started out with two "pair" of these fish to try and raise up and start breeding. As it turned out, one of the females was a young male.
I kept the fish in a twenty-eight gallon bare-bottomed tank with an outside power filter, a lot of bog wood and live Java Fern, and a layer of oak leaves. The water was straight rain water, zero hardness, kept at 82° F. The pH of the tank water was kept under five and one half with dilute phosphoric acid (so sue me, it works).
With daily feedings of live foods: white worms, mosquito larva, blood worms, and chopped earth worms, they grew quickly and the female started to show some heaviness. Soon the largest of the males had chased the two smaller ones into corners and the female picked out an inverted flower pot. Two days later, the male was still patrolling the area and the female, now yellow and black, was poking her head out of the hole in the pot. By reaching in and holding the pot’s bottom toward the front aquarium glass, the eggs in the pot could be seen. The female doesn’t like this very much, but I had to know.
This situation continued for seven days, at which time the fry followed the mother fish out of the crock and began to graze on the algae around the tank. The male at this time was still keeping the two smaller males at bay, and the female positioned herself above the fry. She hovered there, keeping her head relatively still and moving her tail in an up-and-down motion. I’ve never seen this exact behavior by a female before, but it must have some meaning the fry, or maybe to the males.
At this time, it was clear that the two smaller males were not coming out of hiding even to eat, so I removed all the males from the tank. This may not have been the best thing to do. Once the males were gone, the female ignored the fry and searched the tank.
As long as the mother was no longer showing maternal behavior, I thought it best to remove her also. This left the fry a little confused, but they managed to stay pretty much in a group and find enough food to survive without mom’s help.
They fry ate microworms and newly hatched brine shrimp, each once a day, and grew fairly quickly. At one month they had grown to three-eighths of an inch and at two months some are over one half inch.
Right now, the young fish are in a fairly large tank along with some Apistogramma of the same age, and show behavior of adults already; they have staked out territories and let no one near without a confrontation.
Although these little cichlids may take more care and maintenance than is the average, I think anyone would find they are worth the trouble.
This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 31, # 1