Apistogram of the cockatoo (Apistogramma cacatuoides) is one of the most popular in aquarium dwarf cichlids.
A very beautiful and bright fish with many color variations is so named for the peculiar structure of the dorsal fin, resembling a cockatoo parrot.
Originally from South America. It inhabits shallow calm rivers, bays, streams and bays of rivers located in the tropical forests of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil.
Keep close to natural shelters of roots, stones and plants in areas with a soft bottom.
Powerful elongated body slightly flattened on the sides. The color varies from gray-yellow to brown with a blue tint on the sides.
The back is olive, the belly is yellowish-orange. The longitudinal dark stripe stretches from the snout to the caudal fin, where it ends in a dark spot with a white edging.
In some individuals, this strip is not solid, but consisting of individual specks. Dark spots scattered along the back, capturing part of the dorsal fin.
All fins except the dorsal greenish shade, with a scattering of light and dark spots. Dorsal greenish-orange, sometimes with a red tinge, the first rays are dark.
There are individuals with yellow or orange anal and pelvic fins.
The color scale of the fish is very wide, but in most species there are blood-red spots on the tail fin. Derived various breeding forms.
Characteristic features of the species are the unusual shape of the dorsal fin and the massive mandible projecting forward.
As a rule, the length of males does not exceed 8 cm, and females 6 cm.
For a couple, you will need a capacity of 50 liters, but it is better to have a male with several females. For a flock, a minimum capacity of 100 liters is required. Loves shelters of stones, koryag, caves, grottoes, as well as dense thickets of plants.
The soil is needed soft, as the fish are kept at the bottom, constantly dig in it.
Temperature: optimal 25 – 27 ° C (upper and lower limit 22-30 ° C);
Stiffness: 5 – 12 ° GH.
Effective filtration with aeration and regular water changes are required. Fish are very susceptible to nitrates.
In addition to the spawning period, they are not aggressive and may be contained with species of similar size. In exceptional cases, large males attack small fish.
Predatory fish and in nature feed on invertebrates and insect larvae. In the aquarium, they take any food, but preference is given to live and ice cream: mosquito larvae, crank and chopper, pipe worker, daphnia.
Kakadu is a little phlegmatic and not very agile, so you need to make sure that they are not pushed back from the trough by more active and large fish.
Males are larger, and their color is more contrast and brighter, the rays on the caudal and dorsal fins are more elongated and sharp than those of females, which also have no red spots on the tail. The tail fin of males is strongly concave, abdominal elongated.
Females are able to change their grayish-yellow color to bright lemon with longitudinal black stripes during the period of caviar care.
They are able to spawn both in general and in a separate spawning tank.
For a pair of fish requires spawning from 15 liters with soil, several plants and a large number of different shelters (clay pots, stone caves, grottoes). Before spawning, the temperature first decreases to 23 ° C, and then gradually increases by 4-5 ° C over a period of two days. Aeration and replacement of 1/5 of water is necessary, preferably with peat.
Water parameters for reproduction: 25-28 ° C, dH 3-10, pH 5-7.
The female spawns inside the shelter she has chosen, and then cares for her. The duties of the male include the protection of the territory.
The performance of the female is 80-100 eggs.
The incubation period is 2-3 days. On the 4-5th day, the hatched fry swim and feed on rotifers, ciliates, nauplii of Artemia.
At reproduction of this apistogram it is important to carry out selection among the fry. Otherwise, after several generations, the fish will degenerate and lose their vivid colors inherent in the mind.