The South American cichlid astronotus is famous for its unusualness. The body of the fish is high and large, the mouth and eyes are large, and the character is extremely sociable. In nature, a hydrobiont grows to 40 centimeters in length.
If the fish has long been living in a home aquarium, it eventually begins to recognize its owner and take food right out of their hands.
For the maintenance of astronotus you will need a large spacious aquarium of 300 liters, although for a pair of fish a two hundred-liter aquarium will be quite enough. The temperature regime in the aquarium should be within 24 – 30 degrees, astronotuses are not demanding to the chemical parameter (water hardness can be up to 25 degrees, the active response of the medium is from 6 to 8 pH).
In the aquarium it is necessary to provide high-quality filtration and powerful aeration of the aquarium. It is desirable to put the filter more powerful.
In order not to rot the remnants of undernourished feed into the aquarium with astronotus it is desirable to add large ampoules, small ones are not suitable, as they can be eaten. Once a week it is necessary to substitute water for fresh in the amount of 1/3 of the total volume.
When setting up an aquarium for astronotuses, you must take into account their behavioral patterns in nature. Fish have a predatory character and a pugnacious temper. Adult fish may well eat smaller neighbors or seriously injure larger fish of similar size.
Therefore, it is best to keep astronotus in a separate aquarium, but if you want someone to hook up large cichlids, which is desirable to grow with astronotus.
The fish have another interesting feature – they regularly organize redevelopment in the aquarium, tear aquarium plants and move the aquarium equipment. Therefore, it is better to securely fasten the entire aquarium paraphernalia and equipment, it is better to refuse the aquarium soil and place large run-in boulders and driftwood in the aquarium.
If you decide to lay the soil in the aquarium, it is desirable to use the smallest fraction and lay it a layer of no more than 1.5 centimeters.
From aquarium plants, it is best to use unrooting and floating in the water column (healeti’s bolebitis and Thai fern).
I would like to elaborate on the process of feeding of hydrobionts in more detail. Astronotus is almost omnivorous inhabitants of the aquarium.
From live food it is better to give fish a corret, bloodworm, live small fish, sea fish fillet, shrimp meat. In addition, the astronotus needs feeds of plant origin.
In order for your pets to get a complete balanced diet, you need to alternate types of feed. It is not recommended to constantly feed the astronotus with live fish, as they quickly become accustomed to such food and eventually refuse any other food.
From meat feed, it is better to give preference to beef heart, cut into small pieces. It is possible to feed pets with a heart no more than once a month, as this is fraught with obesity and loss of reproductive functions.
For the successful breeding of astronotus it is necessary to start growing healthy producers. To do this, you need to buy 12 – 14 fry, and, both the largest and medium ones are suitable. Selected fish should be planted in a 400–500 liter aquarium and actively fed with bloodworms and insect larvae.
Twice a week it is necessary to substitute 1/3 of the water for the same fresh temperature (26 – 28 degrees). From the third month of life, fry need to be transferred to a different diet consisting in the advantage of sea fish and squid meat.
At six months of age, the young astronotus must be transferred to feed for adult fish.
By the age of six months, the fish begin to divide into pairs. Each pair of fish occupies its territory in the aquarium (as a rule, a large stone in the corner of the aquarium), which will be carefully protected from any unauthorized entry. Feed producers moderately and once a week you need to arrange a day of unloading.
If your pets have grown to 27 centimeters during the year, then this is quite a decent figure.
The pair selected for breeding must be kept separately, but harems are possible when there are several females per male. But only if they get along with each other.
Spawning occurs on the bottom or large stones. However, the best option is ceramic tile.
Spawning is stimulated by a partial change of water and a rise in water temperature of up to 30 degrees. For a couple of hours before spawning, females develop a 15-millimeter ovipositor, and in males a seed tube.
In the process of spawning, the fish become brighter in color.
After the fish have cleared the future substrate for spawning, up to 1500 cream-colored eggs are deposited. You can leave the caviar in the aquarium so that the producers independently take care of their offspring, or transfer it to a separate bailout with the substrate and part of the water from the spawning aquarium. The bailout should be a small 20-liter aquarium where you need to install a spray directly above the cage.
This will allow the air flow to move the water and massage the eggs. The main thing is not to allow air bubbles to touch the calf.
After that, in the aquarium you need to add methylene blue, so that the water becomes a slightly blue color.
Two days after spawning, the larvae appear at the water temperature of 30 degrees. They detach from the substrate and settle to the bottom, where they gather in large piles.
All unfertilized eggs and substrate must be removed from the aquarium, and the eggs are removed through a sponge filter.
Four days after hatching, the larvae spread in the aquarium. To feed the fry you need a microcorm and nauplii of artemia.
After a week, you can try to feed the finely chopped tubule, and after another three weeks the choke and small bloodworm. Young astronotus grows very quickly and at the age of one month their length can reach 3 centimeters. Astronotuses multiply up to 10 times with an interval of a month, and then they have a break of 2-3 months.
Hydrobiont can spawn until the age of 12.