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Cichlid Apistogram of Cockatoo: Keeping Fish at Home

The apistogram of the cockatoo (apistogramma cacatuoides) is one of the simplest and brightest cichlids in content, but it is not very common. Probably, it is not so often chosen because of the inconspicuous color of the young.

However, the cockatoo apistogram is perfect for placement in common aquariums. It is non-aggressive and small-scale, although it is better not to place it with fry and shrimp, because the cichlid can begin to hunt them.

For the first time the cockatoo fish was described in 1951. Its main habitat – Bolivia and Brazil, as well as it can be found in the tributaries of the Amazon, the waters of Ukuali, Solimos. Prefers reservoirs with stagnant water or minimal current.

Most often these are tributaries of the Amazon.

Fish can live in different creeks, marshes, backwaters and streams. Usually in such places at the bottom there is a large number of branches and fallen leaves, and because of the large amount of tannins, the water acquires a brownish tint.

The parameters of water in such reservoirs can be different and depend on a certain season: when the leaves fall, the water becomes more acidic and softer.

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The apistogram of a cockatoo has a little body typical of a dwarf type cichlid. Males are larger and grow up to 10 centimeters, and females are about two times smaller.

These cichlids live about 5 years.

The fish got its name because of the first longer rays, resembling a cockatoo parrots tuft and located on the dorsal fin in males. Coloring may differ even due to living in different water bodies.

Recently, many different colors have appeared, and even a double one is found. Fishes possessing it are called cockatoo apistograms in double ed.

Unlike other apistograms with a short and barrel-shaped body, the cockatoo is elongated. Their body is slightly thickened at the sides, muscular.

The mouth is rather large and usually slightly open.. They have a powerful lower jaw., which makes them look like a bulldog, but it doesn’t spoil the look and overall impression of the fish.

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Kakadu can be suitable even for beginner aquarists, but only if conditions in the aquarium are stable. The adaptation process is going well for them, the fish have a peace-loving disposition and are not prone to fights.

In the wild, apistograms are omnivores. Their main diet consists of insects, an abundant amount of which is in the foliage that has fallen on the bottom. In the aquarium can eat all kinds of live, frozen and artificial feed.

These fish prefer not to swim to the surface, but to pick up food at the bottom or in the water column.

From the favorite delicacies of the cockatoo can be identified:

When choosing a dry food should pay special attention to the date of production and shelf life.

To keep the cockatoo apistogram at home, it is enough to choose an aquarium with a volume of 70 liters. These fish love water, in which there is a large amount of dissolved oxygen and moderate flow. To create such conditions, you need a filter.

It is better to use external, because The cockatoos apistogram is very sensitive to ammonia levels..

Be sure to regularly change the water and wash the soil. The optimum water temperature for the content is 23–27 C, pH is 6.0–7.8, hardness is 5–19 dGH.

Sand is better suited as a primer. In addition, it is required to make various shelters in an aquarium in several places.

It is necessary to select one shelter for each female, so that they all have their own territory. Cockatoo cichlids like to be in aquariums, where there are a lot of different vegetation, soft light and a bit of dry foliage at the bottom.

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Cockatoo cichlids are great for keeping in common aquariums. They are calm and thoughtless. As neighbors it is better for them to choose fish with the same non-aggressive behavior.

Well fit barbs, catfish, tetra. Even their content is allowed with viviparous species of fish – swordtails, picios, mollies, etc.

Cockatoos get along well with scalars, because the water parameters for these fish are similar.

With small shrimp cichlids are unlikely to get along, because they will eat or chase them, like small fry. Not suitable for keeping with acara turquoise, cichlasoma severum, veils, blue discus and other large or aggressive fish.

It is better not to contain more than one male cockatoo in small aquariums. This is permissible only in spacious tanks, otherwise fights and battles for the territory can not be avoided.

Fish apistogrammy polygamous. They live in a “harem” of a male and several females that protect their territory.

Fish that are ready for breeding are considered to be eight to ten months old. As a spawner, a small aquarium with a capacity of about 15 liters will do.

During one spawning, the female is able to lay off up to eighty eggs. She usually spawns at the shelter, attaches her to the wall and begins to care for her. The male at this time is engaged in the protection of offspring, so several different shelters should be placed in the aquarium for spawning.

These can be large snags, pots, coconuts. Also in the tank is needed vegetation.

In order for the eggs to hatch, the pH of the water in the aquarium for spawning should be 6.8–7.2 (but not more than 7.5), the level of hardness should not be less than 10. The temperature should be maintained at 26–29 degrees.

Cockatoo spawning will be more successful in more acidic and soft water.

For the selection of a good pair should be purchased from six fry and more, which should be grown together. As they grow, some individuals may become sterile or get problems with the spine, so out of six fish you may get a pair or, if lucky, a small flock.

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The female, having prepared for spawning, is painted in various shades of yellow. On the gill cover through the eyes is a curved strip.

Sometimes in the central part of the calf appears the same color speck round shape. Having adopted a similar battle coloration, the female begins to respond to the male’s courtship, turning the caudal fin and carrying out wave-like movements with the whole body.

The incubation period is approximately two or three days. On the fourth or fifth day, the hatched fry begin to swim. For fry, as an initial feed are suitable:

  • rotifers;
  • ciliates;
  • Artemia nauplii;
  • Micro-Min dry food.

In order to prevent the degeneration of brighter gray fish, it is best to carry out regular selection. It is noteworthy that when the female cares for the offspring, it becomes yellow.

Cockatoo fish can get sick due to poor water quality, to be infected through food or from new fish that were not quarantined after purchase. When dark spots begin to appear on the body, this may indicate infection with lymphocytosis.

If eye bulging is observed – you can suspect tuberculosis or dropsy. When feces become transparent whitish, and the color darkens, most likely, the fish has hexamytosis.

Abdominal distention and reduced activity – inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

With such symptoms, it is better to immediately contact an experienced aquarist to help pets as quickly as possible.

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